No Guts No Galaxy

BattleTech and MechWarrior => MechCommander => Topic started by: SeanLang on 28 Dec 13

Title: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SeanLang on 28 Dec 13
Let's talk about weapon & re-balancing in MCG!

Variables we are able to change:

Ranges
- Minimum
- Short
- Medium
- Long
Load Value (Tonnage)
Damage
Recycle (Rate of fire)
Ammo (*if ammo dependent)

Heat is currently not a factor in MCG. What we believe they did is taken the weapon weight & added x tonnage (load value) to it based on the number of heatsinks it would take to make heat neutral or close too.

IE: Medium Laser = Laser, Load Value of 4.0 (1 ton for the weapon, 3 heat sinks for heat neutrality)

My thoughts are to create a formula based off the variables above that create a 'Power' value, much like BV. The variables add/subtract from said 'Power' value.

IE: A Large laser would be more/less powerful as 5 medium lasers due to it's weight, range bonus etc...

This type of system can be modified by the type of weapon it is as well; energy, ballistic, missile. So if the weapon is ammo dependent it may do more damage, but require a re-supply for extended battles.

Thoughts? Ideas, discuss!
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SerEdvard on 29 Dec 13
Can weapon accuracy (hit%) be modded as well, or is it just a factor of the pilot skill?  I ask because I always felt that long range weapons such as ER PPCs and LRMs were too powerful, especially when boated, and that brawling was underrepresented overall but especially later in the game.  Not sure whether the best approach to balancing long range vs short range combat is through individual weapon range/damage tuning, stiffer long range accuracy penalties, etc.
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SeanLang on 4 Jan 14
This is the last remaining hurdle. I need some feedback, brainstorming etc..
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SerEdvard on 6 Jan 14
I've been working on a framework for weapon balancing, and here's what I've come up with so far.  Still have a lot of details to work out.  Feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Note:  Numbers in [brackets] are placeholders and likely to change.

MechCommander Weapon Re-Balancing v0.1

Objectives
- Give each weapon type a role/niche on the battlefield;  make lasers/PPCs/missiles/ACs feel unique and useful
- Discourage boating of one weapon or one weapon type
- Increase overall engagement range to accommodate a larger battlefield view from higher video resolution
- Preserve existing "pace of battle";  keep average "time to kill" roughly the same as vanilla MC
- Keep  pace with changes to stock mech loadouts  (based on TT)

Challenges
- Limited variables able to be modified (only damage, range(s), recycle time, load/weight value)
- Load value is the only construction/mechlab constraints; players can freely modify weapon loadouts (No limits/penalties for boating, no hardpoints)

General Approach to Re-Balancing
- Give each weapon type very distinct advantages and disadvantages to encourage loadout diversity
- Approximately double the max range of all weapons
- Use range brackets and range to-hit modifiers to adjust weapon accuracies (more on this below)
- Increase ROF for low damage weapons
- No modifications to weapon load values (unless the folks working on editing the stock mech loadouts say otherwise)

A Note on Weapon Accuracy and Range Modifiers
I think one of the main tools that we have for weapon re-balancing is modifying the min/short/medium/long range brackets and how MC calculates whether a weapon hits the target when it fires.  MC takes multiple factors into consideration when determining to-hit, including pilot skill, attacker movement, target movement, RANGE TO TARGET, aimed shot, etc.  I put emphasis on range because it appears to be the only weapon-specific variable that MC appears to take into consideration when determining to-hit.  More specifically, each weapon has a value for min/short/medium/long range (which we can modify), with short/medium/long range bracket each representing about 1/3 of the max range for each weapon plus minimum range in vanilla MC.  (For example, a laser currently has a min/short/medium/long range of 0/25/50/75).  When a weapon fires, MC applies a to-hit modifier depending on which range bracket the weapon was fired from, the default being 0/-10/-20 for firing from short/medium/long range (not sure exactly what these values are, possibly percentage points). 

So why is this a big deal?  Because we can modify the short/medium/long range brackets AND the to-hit modifier at each range! There's no reason why short/medium/long should each be 1/3 of the max range... for example, weapon A could have a very large short range bracket that extends nearly to the max range (highly accurate regardless of range), whereas weapon B could have a very large max range but evenly distributed range brackets (accuracy increases with decreasing range), and weapon C could have it's entire range be in the long range bracket (low accuracy weapon at all ranges).  It's just another way to help differentiate weapon types and give each weapon a unique role on the battlefield.
 
In summary:
- Minimum range --> weapon does not fire at less than this range, same as vanilla MC
- Short range --> highest accuracy, change to-hit modifier to [ 0 ] from 0
- Medium range  --> medium accuracy, change to-hit modifier to [-20] from -10
- Long range --> lowest accuracy, change to-hit modifier to [-40] from -20, weapon will not fire beyond this range
- Short/medium/long range brackets need not be evenly distributed;  a weapon could have it's entire range be short range or have no long range bracket
- Increase the to-hit modifiers to exaggerate this effect

Weapon Re-Balancing Details

TBD


It's getting late and I've got work tomorrow, so I'll have to leave it here for now... more details forthcoming!
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SeanLang on 6 Jan 14
@SerEdvard, this sounds like a great start! Will chat later with you on TS3 about this!
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SerEdvard on 9 Jan 14
Sorry for the delay, but here are the details with some numbers, charts, and graphs...


Vanilla MCG takes a very simplistic approach to weapon range and accuracy.  Each weapon's firing range is divided up into short/medium/long range, each consisting of 1/3 of the max range.  The weapon then incurs a small accuracy penalty when fired at medium range, and double penalty at long range.  Furthermore, all weapons are categorized as then short/medium/long range, and each weapon within that category has the exact same weapon range profile.  (For example, ER PPCs and LRMs are both categorized as long range and thus have the exact same min/short/med/max ranges).  IMO, this leaves many of the weapons in MCG feeling very similar and indistinguishable, as the only factors that differentiate one weapon from another is damage, recycle, and load/tonnage value (and cost/rarity).

And this is what Vanilla MCG weapons look like in chart form:

(http://cf.geekdo-images.com/images/pic1887808_lg.jpg)

So what is Battle Value?  It's a dimensionless number that I made up to quantify relative worth of each weapon, which I calculated by multiplying the raw DPS by the integrated sum of the weapon accuracy over the whole weapon range.  BV/LG is the Battle Value divided by the load value, which give a normalized number that allows for direct comparison between weapons of different sizes.  Although this BV value isn't perfect, some weapons clearly stand out as being dramatically overpowered, such as the Large X-Pulse Laser (sweet jeezus!), LRMs, Gauss Rifle.  And the Heavy LBX AC sucks big time, apparently.


Enough about vanilla, MCG, what about the weapon rebalancing?

As a reminder, here are the key goals of the rebalancing:
- Increasing the overall range of all weapons (by almost double) due to increased monitor resolution
- Using range brackets to dramatically affect weapon accuracies at all ranges
- Doubled accuracy penalties at medium and long ranges for all weapons
- Roughly preserve existing overall damage output and pace of battle
- No changes to default load/tonnage values (yet)

Here are the details of my proposed MCG weapon rebalancing
[All numbers are subject to change]:

(http://cf.geekdo-images.com/images/pic1887807_lg.jpg)

Some things jump out right off the bat, such as the overall increase in weapon ranges, different max ranges for different weapons, and different proportions of the short/medium/long range brackets for each weapon and weapon type. Max ranges are now individualized for each weapon, based on TT values.  Short/medium/long range brackets are also individualized for each weapon;  some weapons have long range but fair/poor accuracy at longer ranges (lasers, PPCS), whereas some weapons are more accurate nearly to their max range (ACs, LBXs, streak SRMs).

BVs are higher across the board because of the increased weapon ranges, but overall firepower (DPS) is about the same.  I reduced most weapon recycle times because I personally enjoy seeing more weapons fire in game and to further emphasize the changes to weapon ranges and accuracies.  My goal was to use BV and BV/LV as a sanity check that there is reasonable parity between weapons... I aimed for a BV/LV of 1.0 for energy (infinite ammo) weapons and 1.3 for ammo-dependent weapons, since BV does not take ammo dependency into account.

Here's a summary of each weapon type and their unique characteristics and plusses/minuses with the rebalanced stats...

Lasers (general)
+ Average DPS
+ Average load/weight
+ No ammo dependency
+ Very long max range (Large and ER)
- Low accuracy

Pulse Lasers (general)
+ Higher DPS than regular lasers
+ High accuracy
+ No ammo dependency
- Short range
- Higher load/weight than regular lasers

PPCs (general)
+ High pinpoint damage
+ Long range
+ No ammo dependency
- Minimum range
- Low accuracy

SRMs (general)
+ Light weight
+ Very high accruacy (Streak SRMs)
- Short range
- Low accuracy (SRMs)
- Ammo-dependent

LRMs (general)
+ Long range
+ Light weight
- Low DPS
- Long reload time
- Ammo-dependent
- Large minimum range

Autocannons/Gauss/UltraACs (general)
+ High accuracy
+ High DPS
+ Short recycle time (Ultra ACs)
- Very heavy, high load factor
- Minimum range (light ACs)
- Ammo-dependent

LBX Autocannons (general)
+ Very high accuracy
+ High DPS
+ Shorter recycle times than regular ACs
- Lower damage than regular ACs
- Very heavy, high load factor
- Minimum range (light ACs)
- Ammo-dependent
- Spreads out damage


Personally, I am very very excited to try out these changes in game.  I think this rebalancing will give the individual weapons a lot more flavor and character, in addition to making battlefield tactics more interesting and varied.  What does everyone else think?


Still on my to-do list:
- Clan weapons!
- Add new TT weapons per Phil's list (small lasers, ER lasers, machine guns, LRM10/15/20, SRM4/6, etc.)
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SeanLang on 9 Jan 14
@SerEdvard, can't wait to see the updated list. I think your methods will dramatically increase the playability of the other weapon systems, so looking forward to this.
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SeanLang on 9 Jan 14
@SirEdvard, let's get together soon, I'd like to get a beta testing of the numbers and play the game to see how things are working. Really looking forward to seeing how this plays out!
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SerEdvard on 11 Jan 14
Thanks, Phil!

I'm working on the Clan weapons now, and should have the modded compbas.csv and gamesys.fit ready to share soon for those who are interested in trying out the new weapons.  I'm going to try and play a full campaign this weekend with the modded weapons and see how things go.  If things feel good, I can then apply the same weapon balance approach to the full list of weapons.

Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SeanLang on 12 Jan 14
Can't wait to try this myself!
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SerEdvard on 17 Jan 14
Sorry for taking so long to post this, it's been a very busy week.

Here are the original Clan weapon status from vanilla MCG.   I changed the color of the range brackets to better illustrate the doubled accuracy penalties within the medium and long range brackets.

(http://i.imgur.com/Qq4y841.jpg)

... and here are the new Clan weapon stats, rebalanced along the same lines as the IS weapons with no changes to tonnage values.

(http://i.imgur.com/ToYAyAn.jpg)

Rebalanced Clan weapons retain their overall superiority to the IS weapons, typically by being lighter weight but some also have more damage.  Clan weapons have about 20-30% higher battle value than IS weapons.


Here are updated IS weapon charts, with some edits based on playtests and different colors for the range brackets to better illustrate the doubled accuracy penalties within the medium and long range brackets.

(http://i.imgur.com/Vdvvwbd.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/ITAGmcV.jpg)

I've played through about half of the original campaign so far, and I think the rebalanced weapons are performing well so far.   I have yet to encounter every weapon yet though, so more playtesting is needed. 

So far, I feel that long range, low damage weapons such as the light ACs (and maybe Large Lasers) may need a buff, as their main advantage is good accuracy at long range, but this advantage is difficult to utilize effectively due to the limited sight distances.  I also changed flamers into a sort of continuous fire weapon rather than a short range, high damage weapon.

To be continued!  :)
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SeanLang on 18 Jan 14
Can't wait to try this, whenever you want to toss me the compbass & gamesys files!
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SerEdvard on 18 Jan 14
Here are the modded weapon files v1.  Had to make a few last minute edits!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1VkMJotxpbPSTNDVm1mVlFvd28/edit?usp=sharing (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1VkMJotxpbPSTNDVm1mVlFvd28/edit?usp=sharing)
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SerEdvard on 18 Jan 14
Already working on an update to the weapon mod files.  I realized I got the LBX AC and Ultra AC values backwards. Also working on adding new weapons like LRM10/15/20, SRM 4/6, and Streak SRM4/6.  Will post the updated files once I've had a chance to verify the changes.
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SerEdvard on 20 Jan 14
Updated weapon mod files (v2):  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1VkMJotxpbPUGtyeG16bjN3V1U/edit?usp=sharing (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1VkMJotxpbPUGtyeG16bjN3V1U/edit?usp=sharing)
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SerEdvard on 31 Jan 14
Some screenshots showing updated descriptions with additional stats for the weapons in the mechlab:

AC/5:
(http://i.imgur.com/WmNFUdI.jpg)

Medium Laser:
(http://imgur.com/7c9XF1b.jpg)

SRM-2:
(http://imgur.com/akuOYWs.jpg)

LRM-5:
(http://imgur.com/LqXgsAS.jpg)
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SeanLang on 31 Jan 14
Can't really see the red text very well, may want to adjust that?

Love the details! Only issue really is how does the player determine range on the battlefield?
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SerEdvard on 31 Jan 14
Yeah, the red text is a little hard to read, but it is a little clearer in-game vs screencap.  I'll see if I can make it more legible.

I don't think there is a way to measure distance in-game other than trial and error.  The values are technically in game world units and not meters anyway.  I'll try to take some screenshots illustrating different distances, just to give an idea. 

Rule of thumb, a full screen width when zoomed out at max resolution is about 500m.  Zoomed in, a full screen width is about 200m.  Also, I believe basic IS sensor range is 350m, so some long range weapons like LRMs, ER PPC/LL, ATMs, AC2/5, and Gauss can fire beyond of sensor range if you have visual on the target.
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: Errodien on 31 Jan 14
Just put a thin black outline for the colored text and that should fix it.

Looks pretty... :D
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SerEdvard on 31 Jan 14
Here are some screenshots illustrating the weapon ranges at max resolution:

(http://imgur.com/j9kAAM8.jpg)

(http://imgur.com/vayz6om.jpg)

(http://imgur.com/seDf8vk.jpg)
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: Morkrah86 on 21 Feb 14
Im not too familiar with TT, and this all looks really sweet! But shouldnt lasers be the acurate weapons? And the balistic ones the inacurate ones with crazy dps (high rate of fire and/or bursts with hard hits? I love the ranges and acuracy fall off concept!

Is that 1280x1024?

Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: SerEdvard on 21 Feb 14
Hi Morkrah, thanks for the feedback! I chose to make lasers to be less accurate than ballistics purely for balance reasons. In TT, lasers are light weight and have no ammo,  balanced by their high heat generation. However, there is no heat in MCG so I thought accuracy would be the best way to do balance them.  Also, lasers can be much more boated easily than autocannons due to their light weight, so I was wary of making them high accuracy.
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: Morkrah86 on 21 Feb 14
Ahhh I see what you mean, unless you make the lasers heavier emulating the heatsinks required. Difficult to balance. Perhaps make lasers have longer reloads? To emulate cooling down periods? Just ideas! I love what you guys have done so far!  8)
Title: Re: MCG Modding: Weapon Balance
Post by: deranzo on 22 Dec 17
I can't see Machine Gun even if I use hereitcomes cheat along with some other weapons such as LRM 15 or LRM 20.