Firing arcs - for GSB 2

It’s simple: because a symmetry of firing arcs simplifies tactics and reduces the number of variables that a player must juggle.

It does this in a way that also removes potential additional blind spots and lack of gun concentration / arc overlaps
that the symmetric-arc fleet is not burdened by. Those would otherwise weaken the asymmetric-arc fleet by offering
the symmetrically-arced enemy a potential pathway that is comparatively “under-defended” towards the asymmetric-arc fleet.

Or to phrase it differently:
This allows the player to avoid having units which function at what may very well be a drastically lower level of utility
than the rest of his fleet, thus narrowing any gap between his own fleet’s performance and that of the enemy’s fleet.

No, I agree it’s not as cool as what you’re advocating, but IMO this is where cosmetics should probably take a back seat to deadly efficiency. In games with discrete weapons-firing arcs that aren’t all 360 degrees, everybody either lives or dies by establishment of local firepower superiority. I maintain that it’s both easier and quicker to reliably attain that goal with symmetrical firing arcs. Asymmetry of turret placement on the hull, as well as with size and and orientation of those same firing arcs, makes the attainment of local firepower superiority a more unreliable, harder and slower process. That’s what alarms me.

I admit that there might be some latitude here for doing the cool thing instead of the efficient thing. If there’s a way to make asymmetry useful for a ship’s firing arcs, we should use it without hesitation.

I’m still not fully convinced such utility exists in meaningful quantities, though. I’m not a fan of asymmetry that exists solely for aesthetics’ sake and might end up actually putting asymmetric ships & their asymmetric array of firing arcs in danger from the enemy. Likewise for my feelings about maybe putting an official unit into GSB2 that suffered from a seriously lopsided firing-arc array only because it was mistakenly believed that the Rule of Cool was more important in a battle than an effective set of firing-arcs. [-shrug-] Yes, fun is important in this game, but too much of this precise kind of fun here can get some ships needlessly blown-up. I hope that my attitude makes sense to everyone.

Honestly, I agree with you here. GSB2 would be great if we had additional valid maneuver tactics to choose from when compared to GSB1. The current menu is dismayingly short.

Outstandingly awesome example of what I meant, Berny. ( “Damn it, boys, they’re getting away!” ) You da man! :slight_smile:

I admit that the topic of firing arcs fills me with panic because of the implications for AI. The AI for GSB is fairly complex (believe it or not) but the main problem is it has to be FAST. I’m aiming for 500+ ships per side at 5120 res on a reasonable gaming PC, with all graphics on insane levels, and that doesn’t leave much time per-frame per-ship for any complex AI.

As a result, and partly because I want the game to be accessible to new players, I see firing arcs as something that affects a few slots, but not many. I haven’t decided on spinal-mount new slot-types yet, but if they go in they will certainly be arc-limited.
My gut feeling is that the majority of slots could stay as they are now, with 360 coverage, but maybe restrict a few of them on each ship. My main motivation for that is this adds a new level of decision making to ship layout.
Right now, apart from the fact that turrets at the front have very slightly longer reach, exactly where you place a weapon on a ship is pretty much irrelevant. Having 4 weapon slots at 360 and 2 at 180 changes that. Suddenly you have to decide which weapon you can sacrifice some coverage with.

It also means a more interesting choice of hull. Fighter hull A has 10% speed boost, BUT it has only 90 degree forward firing lasers…oh the agony of decision. Suddenly fighters are less multi-role, and you need that combination of ships for specific tasks.

Also, I have to admit I see it as a modding boon. If arcs are in there, even if used sparingly, it allows modders to go nuts with them.

oh yes, i think we’ll have quite a blast exploring all the new possibilities.

Wow! With respect, I really hope that you were including “necessary airtight improvements to GSB2’s AI relative to how it was in GSB1” was included in that before referring above to how little time per-frame per-ship is left over for useful AI weapon-arc interactions will require. I’d gladly part with some optional visual fluff if it meant having an AI that we could finally trust not to stab us in the back via its wasteful ways.

Considering how much serious discontent about GSB1’s weaponry AI is still being voiced (even at this very late date), and the repeated clear statements from players who want that AI to never, ever again make the same boneheaded mistakes such as unleashing an entire bomber squadron’s worth of anti-cruiser torpedoes onto the very first enemy fighter that sqdn. sees on the way to the enemy cruisers – in spite of the human player having explicitly deleted the Attack Fighters and Attack Frigates orders from that sqdn. to keep that from happening – please forgive me for saying that I’m more than a bit concerned at how little meat is apparently still left on the bone for, as you say, any complex AI in the sequel game. :open_mouth:

That’s good to know; thank you for the clarifications. Hopefully the subject of firing arcs will not be diluted more than what we now know is how you intended it to be. I had definitely hoped for some more utility than that in the implementation, as have others.

Interesting indeed. OK, it sounds that while discrete firing arcs are indeed a thing in GSB2, it’s not going to be overly complex as far as the percentage of gun slots per hull that are anything other than 360-degrees. Somewhat disappointing, but I can live with that.

However, I would politely hold your feet to the fire when the time comes to decide exactly how far to take that feature. :stuck_out_tongue:
If each official/vanilla ship is only going to have a relative few gun slots that are something other than 360 arcs, then setting up the way that each ship’s firing arcs will overlap – and in which directions those arc overlaps will extend! – will become very important to the players. Let’s make sure that all of those choices are tactically useful; not mere filler for the sake of merely making things look “different” from hull to hull, please.

Perhaps firing-arc orientation – the default angle at which the entire arc is “pointed” away from the ship – will be more prominent instead of fancy intricate mixtures of different arc traverses. Is that what you foresee happening?

And is the ability to rotate a weapon slot (in order to assign its arc some other orientation) a feature that will appear in the sequel’s Hull Editor?

Agreed in full! That’s the spirit, mate. :wink:

A question:
Will a gun slot’s firing arc be able to exist as a “fragmented” arc which includes two or three segments?

Imagine a gun emplacement that is located amidships on a hull. It has obstructions ahead of it that prevent it from firing forwards.
However, it can fire in a 120-degree arc directly to the left, as well as a similar arc to the right.
There are no surface obstructions directly aft of it, so it could also fire in a 90-degree arc astern.

Do you understand what I am asking for? As a modder, I would indeed love the freedom to specify that a single gun slot could have a firing arc made up of at least two non-contiguous areas of space. Three or four would be great, but having at least two would still offer a lot of creative potential – such “crenellated” firing arcs could allow modder-made ships to do some funky things even with only a small number of individual weapons on board. Please tell me that such a thing would be possible in GSB2.

Fighter AI will have to be revamped. The current fighter vs fighter creates what was known as the “Death Spiral” as they constantly circled each other until gooey explosive death occurred. A narrow arc means fighters will be turning constantly never having the ability to fire because they keep sliding out of their firing arcs.

WW1&2 Created a whole schlew of ways of dealing with it - much on 3rd dimension which would not apply to GSB. But perhaps an AI that will not just blindly circle - or a player chosen method of engagement? The perpetually circling method works great if their are front and rear arcs and fighting on the defensive. An attack run which the squadron will setup a distance away - run straight to the target pass the target reassemble and fly back? Etc.

AC-130 Gunship - now that is completely asymmetrical

Don’t get me wrong, there is definite scope for improving the AI from the version in the base game. I just don’t want to make too many promises I can’t keep. Also GSB is actually multi-threaded, at least for some graphics, which does free up time for AI in the main thread.
I’ll probably work on the AI a bit later this year. Right now I’m quite graphically focused because I’m about to commission the new GUI, and I need workable graphics for that, and also I will be showing GSB2 at the UK eurogamer show in London this September, where graphics will be more important than the deeper AI for snapshot playing.

AI might not be worked on until then.
I’ll definitely be doing a lot of AI consultation with players, including a lot of pesudocode. It’s a big part of the game.

Multiple-arcs for a slot does complicate things more than you might think.

My 2 cents . .

I really like the idea of Firing arcs as it helps add a new dimension to help separate the ships. I would imagine inside the module or weapon slot icon, you will see either a full circle or a segment showing the orientation and size of the area where the slot can traverse.

Also I like the idea that turrets are not symmetrical in the firing arc. Modding wise you would specify the center line (0 - 360) and the angle it can traverse (0-180). (Suggestion: With Turret Traverse, even if the number is equal to 180, the turret still swings back past the centreline should a target move through its “blind spot”)

Cliff I do hope that you implement the suggestion of an additional new type of slots, as it would:

  • Constrict the locations where you can deploy powerful spinal-mounted weapons.
  • Add another consideration for ship selection
  • Open a new dimension for modding
  • Bring a healthy amount of diversity to the old hull-loadout dynamic

A questions which is somewhat related to Firing Arcs and Ponyus’ suggestion:
While I am not keen on having a damage multiplier (up or down) for arc restricted weapons, how about this for an alternate suggestion

Arc Restrict Multi Link turrets, but have each turret in the array deal damage.
That way you get

  • A damage boost from an array of turrets,
  • Another dimension to ship selections and loadouts

I was thinking what if we let the player specify how big the arc is, and the bigger it is the more money it cost, but (if I understand you idea right) I like yours too, Darkstar.

A weapon slot having either a fixed position or a limited amount of degrees seems interesting, but I’m not sure how having the area size being fixed to that slot makes any sense at all.

Personally I think it makes perfect sense that the Module Slot determines the Firing Arc of the weapon that is placed in it. Below are a few examples

Exhibit A: Iowa-class battleship
The Iowas carried ten twin 5 in/38 caliber Mark 28 Mod 0 guns, the mounts closest to the bow and stern could aim from −150 to 150 degrees; the others were restricted to −80 to 80 degrees. They could be turned at about 25 degrees per second.

(There are plenty of Real World examples but since its Gratuitous Space Battles we should look much farther afield)

Exhibit B: Venator-class Star Destroyer
Armed with 8 Heavy Turbolaser Turrets. As you can see from the schematic, the turbo lasers would not be able to fire through the full 360 degrees as they would start punching holes in their own ship.

Exhibit C: Star Wars Superlaser
One of the most powerful weapons in the Starwars universe, this weapon system would be similar to the proposed GSB Spinal Mount weapons, where the entire ship becomes the turret. (therefore the spinal mount has a very narrow firing arc)

In all cases mentioned above, the location of the weapon port on the ship will determine the Firing Arc of that weapon. Therefore I think it makes sense in GSB II to have the individual slot to determine the Firing Arc of the weapon.

hmm, in this case I disagree for the same reasons above. No matter how much money you throw at it you cant increase the field of fire. However maybe you could alter how quickly the weapon moves through the angle (ie tracking speed)

In other words, if you look at the empire ships with their triple turrets, in GSB 1 they cause the same damage as if the weapon was on a single turret slot. What I am proposing is that in multi turret slots each turret deals damage. So if the Multi Turret slots have 3 turrets then a weapon would do 3 times the damage if you placed it in a single turret slot. (which would be really awesome for when you have a convergence beam) To counter what may be overpowered (as your gaining extra firepower for no cost in crew/power), you could restrict the angles at which they could fire.

Darkstar is right.

The best overall solution for weapons is to have size classes of weapons. Say there are fighters, frigates, cruisers, and dreadnoughts (a new class). Have 3 module sizes. 1-2 “unit” size for fighters, frigates might take up 4 units, cruiser slots would be 4 frigate types, or 16 “units”, and dreadnoughts might take 64 units.

Each “unit” is abstracted as mass. You could design a “fighter” to carry much larger weapons, but it might be impossible to mount an engine to give it a speed better than 0.01 or something (you get the idea). Larger ships might mount a couple guns of their class size, and more guns of the next class size below (like a RL BB with 3 large turrets, a couple secondaries that might in fact be CA weapons, numerous guns (like the 5"/38 DP) that would be “main” guns on a DD, and countless AAA guns of a caliber that were in fact mounted on some aircraft (40mm, 20mm, even 0.50 cal).

It seems that you’re using the terms “firing arc” and “area size” synonymously. I was interpreting area size to mean the same thing as weapon range, ie, the minimum and maximum range from GSB 1, and you were interpreting it to mean the same thing as firing arc, so I guess it’s a form of miscommunication.

While I will agree that there has been some miscommunication, I do not think it is over the use of the term firing arc.

From what I have seen, people have been using firing arc in the same context. No one else other than yourself has mentioned the range of the weapons.

In reply to this comment, Archduke Astro gave a point of view on minimum range which to my mind was a very informative and detailed description.

A few days later, raised the issue again, in my opinion somewhat vaguely and open to interpretation.

But since its a topic on Firing Arcs and the area of coverage for a weapon would be the product of the Weapon Range and the Firing Arc, I translated it as your were still unsure about the arc aspect since range of the weapons really should be in a separate thread for discussion.

If you have misgivings about the range of the weapons and/or how it might be implemented in GSB II, I strongly encourage you to start a new thread in this suggestions forum and explain WHY. Because when you explain to us your thoughts and ideas there is less chance of miscommunication.

The topic diverged slightly, but yes, I know what a firing arc is. It is relevant because it makes sense that the location should be what is limited in terms of arc. If there is superstructure aft (say a Star Destroyer from SW), then no gun forward can fire through it. Smaller mounts might be ON the superstructure though, so you’d be able to cover all arcs - just perhaps with smaller guns only.