Update: BKMod v0.1 (weapons) is released! See my new post further down the thread for info and the downloads.
[size=130]BKMod - Preview[/size]
I’m working on a mod, which I’ve given the working name “BKMod” until I can come up with something more creative. Unlike most of the other mods that have been discussed in this forum, I’m not intending to add new hulls or visual elements. Instead, my plan is to create an entirely new set of modules that can be used with the standard hulls (or perhaps slightly modified hulls that use the existing graphics). I doubt that my mod will be better balanced than the official version at the start, but my goal is for it to enable the creation of diverse fleets that will be fun to build (and watch explode).
I’ve mostly been working on weapons so far, and I’ll probably release a package of modules this coming weekend for interested players to test out.
My design for the weapons groups them into several categories:
Main weapons all have similar maximum ranges, between 800 and 900. They do pretty substantial damage, have pretty decent tracking and good penetration characteristics. They are less expensive than most other weapon classes, and should be the primary weapons on many of the ships in a balanced fleet. The most common main weapons are beams, but will be at least one missile launcher in this category too. There are several sizes of most weapons in this category, so that you can always find one that will fit your ship.[/]
Artillery weapons have very long ranges (more than 2000), but are exceptionally heavy, don’t track at all well and have very long minimum ranges (950, usually). If they manage to hit, they deal huge amounts of damage and penetrate most defenses. These guns are why you don’t want your ships to stop moving, ever. Plasma Cannons and big missiles are in my mod as artillery. When their crappy tracking is taken into account, this class does a little bit less DPS than main weapons.[/]
Skirmish weapons have ranges in between the main and artillery classes (1200-1500), and are intended for ships that stay out of main weapon range. They’re much lighter than artillery, but do less damage than either of the previous categories. Compared to most other weapons, they use a lot of power and/or crew for their DPS. There are a few weapons of each kind in this category (plasma, missiles, beams). I’m not actually sure how well these will function in the current version GSB, since skirmishing ships are likely to wander into main weapon range and get vaporized, the way the keep moving order works now. I have them in my design in the hopes that a future game update will provide orders that allow skirmishing as a viable tactic.[/]
Close range weapons do lots of damage. Lots. They tend to be a lot like Main weapons, but a bit lighter and capable of firing faster. The trade off is that they have maximum ranges well under 400, so any ship relying on them will need to get past the optimum ranges of a lot of main weapon turrets before returning fire.[/]
Specialized weapons do things that don’t fall into any of the range-based categories. Fighter weapons as well as anti-frigate and anti-fighter counter-weapons fall into this category. Some of the weapons in this category can be seen as making similar trade-offs as the weapons in the earlier categories, but they often have much poorer penetrations than the others. Machine guns are the main anti-fighter weapons up close, while anti-fighter missiles are capable of long range intercepts. Rockets, rail guns and autocannon provide heavier hitting firepower to deal with fast, moderately defended frigates and light cruisers. In addition to dogfighting weapons and torpedoes, fighters also get ultra-short ranged “bombs” that deal artillery class damage from inside their targets’ shields.[/]
Many modules will be available with identical stats on both cruiser and frigate hulls (all artillery and the heaviest weapons in the main and close range categories will probably be cruiser only). Since frigates have a few more than half the number of module slots as cruisers do, you should be able to design a slow, heavily defended frigate that functions much like half a cruiser if you want (it should cost a bit more than half what normal cruiser does once I work out balanced prices). While fighters will have several weapons that are unique to their class, some of the weapon types will share common characteristics regardless of scale. So dual and quad mounted machine guns available to frigates (and maybe cruisers) will shoot more bullets than a single fighter machine gun, but each bullet will do the same damage.