Author Topic:  MCG Modding: Weapon Balance  (Read 5659 times)

28 Dec 13

Read 5659 times

Offline SeanLang

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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!

29 Dec 13

Reply #1

Offline SerEdvard

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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.

4 Jan 14

Reply #2

Offline SeanLang

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This is the last remaining hurdle. I need some feedback, brainstorming etc..

6 Jan 14

Reply #3

Offline SerEdvard

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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!

6 Jan 14

Reply #4

Offline SeanLang

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@SerEdvard, this sounds like a great start! Will chat later with you on TS3 about this!

9 Jan 14

Reply #5

Offline SerEdvard

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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:



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]:



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.)

9 Jan 14

Reply #6

Offline SeanLang

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@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.

9 Jan 14

Reply #7

Offline SeanLang

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@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!

11 Jan 14

Reply #8

Offline SerEdvard

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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.


12 Jan 14

Reply #9

Offline SeanLang

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Can't wait to try this myself!

17 Jan 14

Reply #10

Offline SerEdvard

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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.



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



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.





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!  :)
« Last Edit: 17 Jan 14 by SerEdvard »

18 Jan 14

Reply #11

Offline SeanLang

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Can't wait to try this, whenever you want to toss me the compbass & gamesys files!

18 Jan 14

Reply #12

Offline SerEdvard

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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

18 Jan 14

Reply #13

Offline SerEdvard

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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.

20 Jan 14

Reply #14

Offline SerEdvard

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