Balancing new ships, weapons, and modules...

I’m knee deep in some weapon balancing, and I’m trying to work out the best way to make sure that my ships, weapons, and modules work well with the ones from the base game. I’m wondering how you all go about balancing these things? How do you know that your weapon should be doing 5 less(or more) damage to be balanced? Same for modules… Is my new engine just too fast? Too slow? Does the new power supply output too much energy to be fair? (These are just examples I’m thinking up to stir the pot a bit…) If I’m creating new hulls, do I have enough hard points? Too many turrets? Is my ship shield bonus too much? Should I add(or subtract) from my armor bonus?

I’m really trying to wrap my head around balance testing and I’m wondering how you guys do it. Thank in advance!

Easy, make few graphs, you need to adjust the curve to meet what you see in testing.

example: lets say you want your ships to do a certain damage/second depending on range

then you need to put a “tax” on range, since ships are slow and cannot close the distance easily, guns with shorter range need to do more damage/second than longer range ones in order to be worthwhile.

most of it is trial/error testing though, graphs can give you a reasonable idea but people will allways come up with something you didn’t see coming.

It doesn’t hurt to run your new ships through every scenario map.
Create a few scenarios using the new ships and fight against it with a vanilla fleet and see how it goes.
But mostly just test, test, TEST. :[]

One method to see if the mod you are doing is unbalanced respect the main game ships is to fight against that mod using the standard ships. That’s how I’m testing the mod I’m working on (but I haven’t added much to the game so I haven’t tested much with it).

Anyway I think the best way to know if the mod needs some balance is when others players use it. With this way, people will help you find those unbalanced parts and even find the ones you haven’t noticed.

What I really want is to compartmentalize all the stock ships and modules.

I want an “unrestricted = race_name_1, race_name_2, etc” line for all the stock modules. where all the stock races are listed. Then if I add a new race, it has NONE of the stock module available unless I specifically make copies for the new race and unrestrict the new one to whatever new races are added.

The tribe is a great example. They should simply not have armor, shields, and any weapons they do not use. None. Not available to them.

If a race has their own beam laser instead of the standard one—they should NOT HAVE THE STANDARD ONE AS AN OPTION. I’m for “optional” things in most cases, but the whole notion of different “races” in GSB is broken, IMO, since they share, well, everything. Hull armor/speed/integrity/power modifiers doesn’t cut it, IMO, we need more racial distinction otherwise it’s too cookie-cutter, IMO.

I can’t agree with that, but I’m not going to go in to it because I don’t want my forum thread hijacked. (No offense) I’m still really interested in how people are balancing their mods.


I’ve been working on a mod, myself, and my comments above are very related to balance.

I can just throw some ships in, and add some new weapons that are balanced to the stock stuff, but since virtually all the stock modules are available it’s hard to make the new race unique in the least. If I give them something good, then handicap them in another way, it doesn’t matter because the player can simply not use the “handicapped” modules in favor of stock ones.

See what I mean?

Right now, the only balance tool for a new race is to make things like negative bonuses on the hull to discourage some things—and this has zero effect on adding weapons that you do not intend.

For example, I wanted to make a new race that might have many more hardpoints, but each weapon would do less damage (because the pictures of the ships in question are covered with little turrets). I can make a new race. I can make what I feel are balanced little turrets for them to use (restricted to just the new race). Then anyone who eventually plays the mod can simply put stock weapons on the myriad hardpoints, and the new hulls become totally unbalancing.

Balance, IMO (trying to stay completely on topic here) is not just what the modder intends, but anything the player can subsequently do that you might not want them to do. The current game is too homogenized via inter-racial modules.

As far as I know, the only way to do it is to duplicate the original modules and restrict them to the vanilla races one by one.

Yeah, it is. That also means to insure that the stock game is “stock” I’d have to make copies of every single module for each race (any module that I don’t want the custom race to have access to, anyway).

Gonna be messy :slight_smile:

I don’t dispute that your comments are related to balance. I’m just saying I’m trying to find out how people are going about playtesting their mods for balance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally interested in what you’re saying, I’m just fearing that the conversation will move to “How to design a race or mod so they are balanced” rather than “How to balance a race or mod that is already sitting on my hard drive, but is over(or under) powered in comparison to the four default races and The Tribe”, which is my current problem. (Sorry for the long sentence)

Yeah, I understand.

So for that purpose, the only variables are hull bonuses, and the number of slots/hardpoints.

Nothing else matters except special weapons that are better (since if any new weapon is not better, they’ll just use "stock"weapons. I suppose a really special module might become the hallmark of a certain race as a way of balance.

I tested weights, BTW, and a ship’s weight is simply added up modules. Any 2 frigates with the same modules weigh the same—this provides a sort of way to balance vs speed. If you want loads of slots and less of a speed loss, give a speed bonus. 20% more slots than the average frigate given a 20% speed boost might come out in the wash.

This is very rudamentary, but here’s how I see it

you’ve got essentially 9 factors going into a weapon which determine it’s balace:
Cost (amout of honor it takes to field each individual item)
Range (how far the weapon fires at)
Damage (how powerful it is)
fire interval (how long it takes before it can fire again)
Power (how much power it takes to use it)
Crew requirement (how much crew it takes to use it)
Weight (how much each unit slows the ship down)
Armor/shield penetration (how effective it is against defenses)
Tracking speed (how well it targets other craft)

Just from the few days I’ve been playing around with modding the game and making effectively new stuff from the stock here’s at least how I determine the numbers

a weapons cost is more or less 10X the damage it does, call that the “Base cost”

now the other 7 factors can either raise or lower that base cost

Fire interval: multiply the damage by 50. for every 100 points faster or slower add/subtract 100 from the cost

Power: a weapon uses power equal to it’s damage output. for every point more power used reduce the cost by 100, for every point less power used increase the cost by the same amound.

crew: use a base of 10 crew to man a weapon for every 1 crew member more or less the weapon requires add/subtract 10 from the cost.

weight: this plays much less of a factor IMO but the base weight should be 10 X the damage, for every 50 points more/less weight the cost will go down or up by 10

Armor/shield penetration: I group these two, but in truth shield penetration plays a BIG roll. Use a baseline shield penetration = to the damage the weapon does…for every additional point of penetration increase the cost by 100, and for every point less penetration decrease the cost by the same amount.

Range: this is a little tricky, but I tend to determine the range by multilying the damage number by 10 for the MINIMUM range, increase that number by 50% for the optimum range and increase the second number by 50% for the maximum range…I’m still perfecting this but for every 200 points more range I add 10 to the cost and subtract 10 for every 200 points less range the weapon has.

bear in mind this is just how I’ve been approaching things and I may well be totally wrong about it…afterall I’ve only been playing the game for about a week and have been modding it for a mere 3 days.

I am in the same situation with my mod. I have introduced 3 new varients of the existing weapons. I am using the same method as mentioned earlier. For example: to offset a 100% improvements in one factor, i have handicaped 5 others factors by 20%.
However this is only starting point, but as Dantalion said . . you have to test, test, test.

However, if you develop an algorithm for better balancing, Please let me know because it will probally be better than what i am currently using.