I havea suggestion for the firing arcs of weapons. Currently in GSB all weapons have a 360 degree firing arc, which would indicate that all weapons are located on the highest or lowest point in the ship. There have been requests (and I myself have attempted to implement through modding) a limited firing arc or no firing arc at all: a spine mounted weapon where you have to point the ship in the direction you want to fire.
All could easily be addressed with the parameters: PFD, LM, RM
PFD = Principal Firing Direction in degrees
LM = Left Maximum arc in degrees
RM = Right Maximum arc in degrees
For example a beam laser with the firing arc of 0,180,180 normally faces forward, but can turn a full 180 degrees in both directions to cover all 360 degrees.
The same beam laser with a firing arc of 270, 90, 90 normally faces left and can turn to so it points directly forward but no further, and directly astern but no further.
For a spine mounted type weapon the parameters would be 0,0,0 which means that it faces forward and cannot turn left or right. 180,0,0 means it faces astern and cannot turn.
If anyone can suggest improvement to this, please feel free add your ideas. Thanks
I also like it however some weapons would definitely not be affected by this such as missiles which could just turn after being launched any direction.
it would also add the possibility of weapons which are more expensive but have a greater arc or a full 360 degree arc (think a defensive turret which floats slightly away from the ship connected by a cable or single-person-wide rigid tube, or a bubble turret a-la WWII bomber defenses)
If we do have firing arcs In GSB 2 there better be away to enhance the controls of the ship so you can take advantage of those arcs. Having a ship randomly engaging different targets without concern of which weapons can fire would be a disaster.
Good point. A simple quick fix would be to code the Ai so that ships will always attempt to orient themselves so they can bring the maximum amount of weapons to aim at a target.
I think firing arcs will really open up the game. At the moment all but the fastest frigates are next to useless against anything apart from other frigates. When they take on a cruiser they are destroyed by 6 cruiser weapons (more if there is more than one cruiser) raining fire on them simultaneously. A fast frigate with keep moving orders will be able to fly in and out of arcs of fire of a target cruiser and have a chance of getting off some shots. Two or three fast frigates against one cruiser would be very dangerous. If the cruiser and only bring two weapons at a to bear on a frigate before it has moved, it is in trouble.
In terms of aiming the ship, the current attack orders are not about guns, but about where the AI steers the movement of the ship, right? Well, have the ship to point the nose at the target type with the highest % attack order.
Set cruisers at 100%, frigates at 99%, and fighters at 98%. The ship will now aim first at any Cruiser possible to use the spinal. When none are around, then frigates, etc.
That is fine if you want to charge ahead… GSB already does this. But what if your arcs are all on the side - a la good old fashioned battleships/ships of the wall. With GSB already driving straight down the throat unless you try and get hinky with some strange escort/formation orders, firing arcs are rather superficial until you get flanked.
What if you have to worry about asymmetrical designs like the order and empire? The Order has ships perfectly suited for strange alternate asymmetrical loadouts. How about a player who decides to place everything on the port side of his frigates and envisions creating a space opera version of the Cantabrian circle- firing from the port and rear arcs in a fast spinning circle of doom. A specific set of orders would have to be there to define weapons armed on the left versus right versus behind (a few WWII nation destroyers had 1 mount forward 2 mounts in the rear) and will it effect fighters? Again world war II had some funky fighters with rear mounted turrets (Defiant anyone?), and would the resurgence of the lufberry circle arise amongst fighters attempting to avoid the inevitable spiral of death syndrome?
Revisiting this so as to ask for some more opinions, as I am experimenting with it today I’m linking it to the slot, rather than the weapon, which I think makes more sense, and for some more interesting decisions about equipping weapons and selecting hulls.
if it’s linked to the slot, perhaps you could also link some sort of boost to the slot? for instance, you can put a deathray in a 360 turret slot, or a directed one, but the directed slot has an X% more damage output?
I have somewhat mixed feelings about that. Mind you, most of these are positive, but I’m just a little uneasy.
Somewhat related, the concept of “minimum range” doesn’t really make much sense to me. I don’t get what’s preventing the ship from firing at another one nearly point blank. The concept of maximum range vs ideal range totally makes sense, but I can’t imagine a reason why they wouldn’t be able to fire at an enemy because it was “too close”.
An interesting idea, but I’m concerned about how it would impact the player. That could be a slippery slope leading down into Balance Hell. In fact, one could just as easily argue in favor of reversing the process you suggested: instead of buffing up the performance of a gun that in a narrow-arc turret, nerf it down according to how much wider-arced of a turret you installed it into. That would help avoid putting an upgrade into the player’s hands that might be exploited to be quite devastating. Instead of using your arc-traverse-to-damage-scored modifier to make ships overpowered, should we instead make them underpowered? I admit I’m not fully comfortable with going in either direction.
It seems that the method (whether a buff or a nerf) would be problematic: it forces the player to perform an extra layer of annoying calculations in order to determine if this sort of minimaxing is or isn’t advantageous in his current situation. The fact that a firing arc’s traverse can be anything from 1 degree to 360 degrees just makes it even harder to quickly decide if it will have a positive impact on any given hull’s intended role in combat, or not. Though your idea sounds cool, it’s hard for me to see it as something more than a new subset of number-crunching that may well be a problem for players.
However, I do like the overall concept of having some kind of way to get more performance out of a hull slot; I want to be clear about that. I had brought up a rather different road to that goal with my proposal of adding new Advanced Module slots and Advanced Weapon slots to the plain old slots destined for GSB2’s hulls – you can read more about it here. If we had a higher tier of guns that can do substantially more damage per hit (plus having other advantages, too), but can only be installed into one of the generally small number of Advanced Weapon slots in a hull, I think that would go a long way towards achieving your goal but in a way that’s easier for players to quickly understand and make use of. It would also add more and better functionality to the game due to the Advanced Modules aspect, too.
I can support that, as long as the total number of weapon slots aboard the majority of GSB2 hulls is high enough, and blessed with a useful enough array of overlapping firing arcs, as to allow a total number of installed weapons that’s sufficient to minimize lethal blind spots. (I don’t expect blind spots to be completely absent in GSB2; just minimized.) This is crucial because if firing arcs are truly being implemented for the sequel game, they absolutely should also be 100% applicable to Point Defense systems, EMP Cannons, Target Painters, etc. – PD being the most important of these, by far! – not just for the offensive devices that rack up actual damage points on the target.
That, coupled with the fact of some firing arcs will surely overlap with numerous others on a ship while other arcs will overlap only slightly (or even not at all???), is going to concentrate firepower along some angles while greatly weakening it on other angles. Therefore, in order to not be too dangerously limited, every hull class in GSB2 that also existed in GSB1 is going to need noticeably (in some cases significantly) more weapon slots than it had in the original game. Implementing that change will be a benefit to gameplay in general (after all, we’re here in order to get the maximum extent of pew-pew-pew! ), but will also be enough to achieve the “economy of scale” needed for firing-arc intricacies to bring to GSB2 at least as many tactical rewards as well as boundaries.
A potential problem is that, if the ship is given an overly narrow gun traverse for each weapon slot, the ship is going to be much too easily pecked to death with impunity by any attackers. That runs a substantial risk of draining the fun out of the game via having too many cheap kills. Of course I haven’t forgotten how one aspect of combined arms operations means bringing along enough specialized “wingmen” to cover you. I just want to make certain that you resist the temptation to design each individual ship’s firing arcs too creatively in such a way that cuts too close to the bone.
While GSB2’s ship diversity should be broader than that of GSB1, I think that we shouldn’t have a gamewide firing-arc environment where every ship’s officers are overly busy fretting about their own ship’s “unshielded thermal exhaust port” to be able to carry out a successful attack against another ship. Here’s what I mean…Starship AI code will need to take into account in which angles the ship enjoys heavy overlapping attack firepower, in which angles there is dangerously weak defense firepower, and steer the ship in accordance with those factors while also overriding them when necessary as a result of applying the human player’s exact Combat Orders. The AI will need to be really good at meshing those imperatives together, because it cannot plan ahead to the same extent that a person can, nor can it actually think – only the human player in charge grasps “the big picture”.
Cliff, we have not yet begun to discuss the relationship between the following inter-related things:
The average traverse (width) values that GSB2 firing arcs will need;
The different kinds of tactical roles ships will have based upon the width of their firing arcs;
The average number of how many super-wide, wide, medium, narrow, super-narrow mounts will exist on each hull size;
The average number of how many forward, aft, left side, right side, and 360-degree (if any) mounts on each hull size;
Total number of all weapon slots per average hull size.
So that’s some “food for thought” for us to ponder. It’s going to have a major impact upon the game, so we’d best get it right.
Also, this entire subject relates to GSB2’s new spinal-mount weapons – which, at a minimum, should cause immense damage to their target (16-20X the damage from the strongest GSB1 cruiser-sized weapon, scaled-up to GSB2 levels) – and the weapon slots into which they can be installed.
We need to nail down some kind of preliminary numbers for the spread/arc angle for this type of mounting; I don’t think that limiting them to a ultra-narrow, 1-degree straight line is necessarily the best plan. But making spinal slots able to traverse across more than, say, 22.5 degrees (one-quarter of a right angle) might not be a great idea, either. I think there’s a happy medium between those extremes.
As we ascend the scale of hull sizes, we come to the question of how many spinal-mount gun slots “should” a ship have, if it’s designed as being worthy of having any at all?
Depending on the other stats of those giant weapons, I could easily see the biggest ships having several (5 ?), while cruisers might have only one or two at most.
And should they all have the “traditional” (but useful) forward centerline orientation???
Hell, I can even see some desirability for forward oblique (60-degree offset from centerline; front-left or front-right) spinal mounts, and even aft centerline ones!
Oh, and one last thing: All firing-arc stats must be made completely moddable.
If we have firing arcs - will we have the ability to control the ships better and to keep them in the proper firing angle? It is one thing to charge straight to your enemy but if we have arcs - and hopefully side arcs, can we then explain to our ships that they are to keep the enemy on one side and keep them there?
And there is a mention on minimum firing distance, I don’t agree seeing as in real life many weapons have minimum firing distances - but I would ask while creating a challenge and the ranges are decreased, the minimum will be decrease as will. This will keep the annoying challenges where weapon ranges where smaller than they’re minimum range.
What is it that concerns you? The stated grounds for your mixed feelings are very vague.
I am in favor of all weapons having a stated minimum range. Not only does it make the game more engrossing & immersive from a dramatic standpoint, but it’s also a nod towards some small measure of realism. This is how minimum range manages to give us both:
The closer that the target unit gets to the firing unit, the more that angular velocity is going to be a factor in to-hit calculations. Here’s one example. Ship-based anti-aircraft gunners discovered in WW2 (and GSB is based on some aspects of WW2) that it’s much harder to successfully target an enemy fighter that’s flying past you at 400 knots airspeed and at a close-in range of 100 yards, instead of one that’s still carefully spiralling towards you at 400kts but is 2,000 yards away.
Sure, we do have a “Tracking” stat for weapons accuracy, but the Minimum Range stat goes a long way towards reflecting the difficulties of putting your ordnance on target when the target is close enough that angular velocity is basically tying your firing solution into a Gordian knot. In real wet-navy combat, that applied to ship-vs-ship fighting as well as trying to swat enemy planes. In the historical time period that I’m most interested in – the Great War [size=85](which began 100 years ago this summer!)[/size] – it was somewhat easier for the big ships’ artillery to blaze away at each other when you and the enemy were some distance apart (as opposed to max range). Both sides were often approaching head-on or close to it, which did simplify the calculations in some ways even while complicating them in others (range-finding was strictly optical back then; no radar yet!).
But at very close ranges, such as one thousand yards (0.57 mile) or nearer? Not nearly enough time for a primitive analog fire-control computer (or the ship’s Gunnery Officer) to work up a solution. Reaction time to even very small changes in target bearing simply becomes unacceptably long when the target is really close to the firing unit. Even in the modern era, it’s not so easy; our computers are vastly more capable than any from 1914, but then again the closing speed of an aircraft or a missile is likewise much faster as well. If your computer ( or a shipboard AI, or a Mentat ) can somehow create an accurate fire-control plot, your turrets themselves are even more limited by basic inertia: how many radians per second can the gun and its entire turret mount traverse from its current bearing to the correct bearing of the incoming target? Especially if you’re involved in heavy combat and you may have a large number of hostiles opposing your smaller number of weapons and defenses? You get the idea.
If in WW1/WW2 you were really foolhardy at close range, you could try to aim your turrets visually and hope that the generally flat ballistic trajectory of your shells would reach the enemy’s vital spots. It didn’t always work out that way, and simply being at such close ranges was dangerous for other reasons (torpedoes). Better for GSB that cliffski removed that entirely, and abstracted such tedious yet dangerous guesswork into a hard limit of an inner weapon boundary that guns are just too myopic to ever reliably cope with.
Lastly, having a formation of small fast enemy frigates or a squadron of enemy fighters get “under your guns” is just plain exciting.
That’s a very good question, and touches upon a fundamental part of the entire firing-arc topic. Cliff’s going to have to answer that one.
For my part, I would like to see some of the GSB2 races’ navies have at least a few ships that are optimized in favor of broadside fire. Not a huge percentage of them; perhaps only two or three hulls – enough to be an interesting alternative. Traditional wet-navy style, fore-and-aft turret slot layout will generally serve well in a broadside engagement if the firing arcs are wide enough from the ship’s centerline. But ships which are specifically built to have the great majority of their guns firing only towards left and right – or half the turrets only firing left, and half the turrets only firing right? – would also be a fascinating layout to use. As far as actual hull-slot layout goes, I have no doubt that this can be done. What I am a bit nervous about is whether GSB2’s ship navigator AI and ship gunner AI can intelligently handle control of such ships.
Great idea for the online Challenges! It would be great to finally have that sort of maliciously unwinnable Challenge come to a permanent end. I’m tired of that.
Considering the designs of two races, Empire and Order, why do we require symmetry in our firing arcs at all? Why not have asymmetrical designed vessels? With the order’s strange design it could weapons only fire to one side and/or forward (A religious thing perhaps, shield on the left sword on the right?).
If an AI and driver AI could be designed it could change how battles are fought. Giving the ability for players to choose types of engagements, Straight down the middle charges, flanking lines of battle, a circling coracle. Right now we tend to have CHARGE, or slowly meander forward.