[Suggestion] Change Chance to Hit Calculation

Based on how chance to hit is calculated based on what cliffski stated in another thread:

So right now there are three things that affect chance to hit: target size, target speed, and weapon tracking speed (modified by target boosters). I think adding the speed of the firing ship could easily be added in, and make dog-fighting a much less painful experience. The Eqaution I changed was the hit chance. It went from 1-(target speed/tracking speed) to 1-(target speed/(tracking speed+(firing ship speed*.5))). It’s basically adding half the speed of the ship to the tracking speed of the weapon.

A few examples:

Dogfighters (ignoring broken rebel fighters).

ships: two 2.6 speed fighter with 2.8 tracking speed weapons.
Current method = 3.74% - not the 2% minimum, but still pretty terrible.
New method = 19.15% - much better. Now the ships can shot each other down in a reasonable amount of time.

Slow anti-fighter frigate against dogfighters.

ships: 2.6 speed fighter, 0.15 speed frigate with 2.8 tracking speed weapons.
Current method = 3.74% - same as old dogfighter.
New method = 5.01% - not that much better, but the frigate is slow, so it doesn’t get much benefit.

Fast anti-fighter frigate against dogfighters (Speed helps!).

ships: 2.6 speed fighter, 0.50 speed frigate with 2.8 tracking speed weapons.
Current method = 3.74% - I see a pattern.
New method = 7.72% - ok, not amazing. But Twice as good as before!

Now this might add to much accuracy to even faster frigates. On the other hand, if you load 3-4 engine on a frigate maybe they should get a boost like this.

I’ve upload an excel file that does these two calculation to compare here: mediafire.com/?sharekey=1b4d … f6e8ebb871

I like the idea. I am not sure I understand how frigate speed should help a frigate against a fighter though, I mean it’s not exactly going to be pulling in behind the fighter. Intuitively that just seems wrong. I can understand from a game mechanics perspective though, it’s good to make frigates more accurate against fighters because right now I can’t seem to kill fighters with anything but other fighters and even that takes a LONG time.

I’m also worried that we’ll continue to see the situation where medium fighters, heavy fighters with armor or even fighters with pulse lasers will continue to never been used. More variety would be good.

If I understand you correctly, you want to make speed for fighter dogfights even MORE important? Armored fighters are already useless as it is, shouldn’t any balance changes go the other way?

This is assuming that once the balance of fighters is done the max speed is the range of 2.6 or something. A point where every weapon is not 2%. I think other balance changes are needed also, like where everyone doesn’t always use laser canons over pulse lasers on fighters because they use less energy. If there was an actual anti-fighter weapon for fighters that wasn’t so good against frigates/cruisers then yes, I think speed should still be important.

Also armor needs an overhaul either in general, or at least for fighters. Right now fighters become less durable with armor than without, an obvious flaw.

This change never makes it harder to hit a fast ship anyways. It just makes fast ships better at hitting other fast ships. It has basically no change on slow cruisers or frigates.

It should make a difference tho. A cruiser moving at 0.15 should have a better chance to hit anything than a cruiser with no engines. It’d make it another way of ensuring people put engines in their ships.

fighter armor should play a bigger roll in bombing runs. Intuitively I would think a bomber run could get some great hits on some cruisers and then be moppe dup by anti-fighter obviously, while superfast laser fighters should get raped by cruiser anti-fighter while the cruiser sustains little to no damage

I don’t know, it doesn’t seem too weird to me. Even if a fast frigate wouldn’t be dogfighting per se, it could still maneuver more quickly than a slow one to reduce relative velocities and generally line up shots a little better.

Yes I see what you’re saying and I am thinking that I am just in a different place with regard to how I mentally think about a frigate. When I think of fast anti-fighter ships in a space sim, I think of the corvette class. Frigates are essentially smaller cruisers in my mind, however this definitely not the case in this game and I am probably the one who needs to adjust his thinking process.

Adding relative speeds into calculations wouldn’t make any sense unless you take into account the direction of travel so I don’t think it will add anything to the game and just over complicate things. Leave hit calculations as they are and just make better anti-fighter weapons or tweak fighter engines some more.

True, traditionally you’d call those corvettes, but with only 3 ship classes in the game each one is going to be wearing a few hats. :-p After all, we’re building bombers on fighter hulls, and cruisers are filling every heavy ship role you can think of.

Well, it’s just an abstraction - you don’t necessarily have to account for relative speeds in the simulation, you can just assume that a faster ship will be able to take advantage of its maneuverability for targeting purposes.

That being said, I don’t really care one way or another as to whether or not speed influences accuracy in the game. It’s just a means to an end, namely making it easier to hit superfast fighters, and there are certainly plenty of ways that could be done. It would also incentivize faster ships in general which would be good, but that could be done in other ways as well.

While this isn’t a bad idea, I’m inclined to change the hit calculation entirely.

Doesn’t it strike anybody as odd that any weapon could miss a stationary, 200-size ship (cruiser) 11% of the time, even at point blank? That guy is a sitting duck and should be totally annihilated.

Likewise, even a moderatly fast fighter is nearly untouchable against weapons that are nearly comparable to it, getting only a 6.9% hit chance. And, when weapons are ridiculously faster than the enemy, there’s still only a 60% chance of landing a hit.

These aren’t storm troopers we’re talking about; I want my ships to hit what they shoot at. There’s nothing gratuitious about watching rookies fire across a room at each other for 10 minutes, missing every shot.

Suggested Solution #1
Let’s add some realism (I know, realism is boring, but it colors our expectations). A few assumptions:

  • Tracking speed determines the weapon’s ability to “keep up”. If it can’t, it’s going to miss consistently (maybe get a lucky shot, but I wouldn’t even go that far). If it can keep up, the tracking speed won’t otherwise affect the weapon’s ability to land a hit (there’s a difference between tracking speed and shot accuracy).
  • A weapon doesn’t normally fire perfectly straight. There is some spread to the shot. The further the target is, the more the spread will matter. Maybe the spread is the same for all weapons, but it would make sense that it not be.
  • The further away a target is and the smaller it is, the more detrimental spread will be to hitting it. For exmaple, shooting at a 10 ship at 500 range will miss if there’s even a slight variance in the angle of the shot. Conversely, a 200 size ship at 50 range is going to be harder to miss than the broad side of a barn.

Let’s say our new spread spec is in metres/metres, which is spread size at some distance away (in the real world, the spread would be an angular thing and you’d have to look at the arc section, but this is simpler). The hit chance is:
(ship_size/range) / spread, with a max of 100%. If the ship is the same size or larger than the spread, a shot is gauranteed to hit. If it’s smaller, the percentage of hits is the percentage of the spread that covers the ship.

The advantages of this are:

  • Ability to make weapons whose accuracy falls off over distance. Think of a shotgun that does huge damage at close range but almost nothing at long range.
  • Encourages ships to try and maintain range as a defensive mechanism and get in close as an offensive mechanism.
  • Big ships up close are always a sure hit. This only makes sense: you’re shooting a laser at the broad side of a barn. Unless you’re down 10 pints of moonshine, you should be able to hit it every time.
  • It removes the low hit percentage when tracking speed is only slightly faster than ship speed. (As long as tracking speed is sufficient, hit chance is determined only by the spread).
  • It removes the requirement for a weapon’s speed to be ridiculously larger than ship speed in order to get reasonable hit chances.

Suggested Solution #2
The previous solution handled spread in a realistic manner, but tracking speed is still arbitrary. If we’re going for realism, let’s go all the way and treat tracking speed like it would really work.

Tracking speed is limited by the rotational speed of the weapon. A big gun can’t move fast enough to keep up with a fast moving enemy. The further away an enemy is, the slower the turret needs to rotate to keep up (for the same length of arc section, the angle decreases as radius increases). Also, the enemies absolute speed doesn’t matter, because a fighter flying straight into a laser is going to get hit no matter how fast he flies towards it. What really matters is the his transverse speed – how fast he is going tangential/perpendicular to the weapon.

This gives us the following variables:

  • Distance between ships (meters)
  • Transverse speed of target w.r.t weapon (meters/second)
  • Rotational speed of weapon (radians/second)

The transverse speed of the enemy divided by the distance between ships gives you the enemy’s angular velocity (the speed, in radians/second, at which it is rotating around the weapon). If the angular velocity exceeds the weapon’s rotational speed, it can’t keep up and so can never hit. If it’s less, the weapon is sufficiently fast to aim and can now shoot, with an accuracy dependent on the spread from suggestion 2.

This is how it works in the real world and it isn’t terribly complicated to predict (for people designing ships) or calculate (for the game). It also has the following advantages:

  • It allows for sniping weapons: slow turning but high accuracy. At a distance, they can pick off even small ships, but as the ships get closer the weapon will be unable to keep up the necessary tracking speed.
  • It encourages orbiting a ship and makes flying head first towards the enemy a suicide mission.
  • It means fast tracking weapons, like fighter lasers and cruiser defense lasers, will actually hit their targets.
  • It increases the advantage of fast tracking. With the current formula, tracking speed has little effect on the hit chance against a ship (even fast weapons can miss often). Now, fast tracking means the difference between hitting and missing completely.
  • It balances with suggestion 1. There, it’s always an advantage to be closer when shooting, because it means you miss less due to spread. With the ability to track decreasing as you get closer, it means there is a maximum to how close you can get. A fast fighter orbiting closely will be hard to hit, even with good accuracy, instead of being a gauranteed hit. Conversely, even slow tracking carrier weapons can pick off ships at long distance, which is the range they are meant for.

Beautiful James.

Of course what you suggest would mean a complete redesign of the weapon stats. One of the things that irks me about the weapons as they are now is it seems there are 1 or two best in class weapons for each purpose and then 3-4 crummy ones that have no special trait that makes them better at something than another. The proton beam is a good example: it has 3 points better armor penetration than the Beam laser, but every other stat is worse, (slower firing, can’t hit anything etc). So we end up with lots of choices, but many of them are flavor rather than substance.

With regards to your hit calc above, this would give missiles a reason to be used (especially at close range against fighters) as they would theoretically have the same to-hit chance regardless of range of the initial firing.

Overall I think your suggestion #2 would work well, at least in theory. As a pretty realistic model, it feels intuitive, which is important. It would also address some of the current problems with hitting fast targets, though I’d say the spread/accuracy values will need to be adjusted carefully to make sure it’s not too easy.

In fact, I’d say that target speed should still play a role in determining accuracy, simply because hitting a slow target is easier than hitting a fast one, regardless of how fast you can traverse your weapon. It’s a matter of prediction and reflexes, essentially - it’s much easier to calculate a trajectory that will hit a large, lumbering cruiser than a small, fast, dodging-and-weaving fighter, even if you have a weapon with infinite tracking speed and 100% accuracy. Of course, then you get into questions about what kind of fire-control systems these ships have, whether or not you can dodge a laser (you can if you’re far enough away!), etc.

One other point that would need to be addressed:

That would be fine, except that this is exactly what all ships do currently, and we don’t have any orders to get them to behave otherwise. “Keep Moving” helps a little for cruisers and frigates, once you’re in range, but fighters just zip straight towards their targets. Some amount of evasive maneuvering would have to be built into default ship movement, or we’d need orders to that effect.

Bottom line, I think the idea is promising. However, the ultimate question is, would implementing it be an efficient use of dev time? Or is there a “good enough” solution that would take 1/10th as long? I think we could probably get a pretty reasonable balance here just by adding some weapons with very high tracking speeds (and/or increasing it on existing ones) and possibly some tweaks to the current hit-calc equation.

I fully support JamesCooper’s suggestions on this thread.