Soldier-Borne Weapons

If you have any feedback, we'd love to hear from you!
User avatar
Dev Team
 
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:00 am
Location: Canada

Soldier-Borne Weapons

Postby MaxShields » Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:00 am

This page serves to discuss concepts relating to the weapons carried and employed by characters. Ship, vehicle (assuming there are any) and astrobase-scale weapons will fall under a different topic.

Weapons are going to be an opportunity to inject many small details that can help differentiate between the abilities and aptitudes of different characters. Civilians may be unable to use them at all, or very poorly, most military members of the station will have at least basic weapons-handling knowledge, and elite forces could dominate much larger numbers of inferior troops thanks to their skill and the quality of their equipment.

From what I can tell on the initial character skill sheets that have been posted, there is the possibility of both melee and ranged combat in Astrobase Command.

I will focus this particular entry on ranged weapons.

In general, ranged weapons could fall under three major categories: personal, crew-served, and special (though this last category could be referred to otherwise, as I will discuss below).

Personal weapons can encompass anything from a sidearms (pistol) up to rifles and light machine guns (whether these fire bullets, biological entities, or packets of coherent energy is of little importance.) They are sufficiently compact to be employed by a single character. They offer the potential to deliver lethal force at varying ranges, but generally do not decisively tip the scales of any particular engagement in favour of one combatant or another if the forces are similarly equipped.

Crew-served weapons require more than a single character to set-up, load, and operate. These could be anything from general purpose machine guns, mortars, rocket launchers, to light cannons, and death rays. These represent significant force multipliers that can deliver massive force at ranges that far exceed those of personal weapons. Their presence on the battlefield can tip the scales in favour of the force that has them and employs them most efficiently. They are cumbersome to deploy and move about and vulnerable to the effects of casualties, though other appropriately-trained friendly forces can step in to fill the spot of a member of the weapons team that is incapacitated.

Special weapons can include both melee and ranged designations, but have effects that require a different game mechanism to carry out when compared to checking for this impact of a projectile along a ballistic trajectory. Grenades, grenade launchers, and their ilk could fall into here.

If we look at how weapons can fit into a tech progression tree, there are a number of interesting things that can be done to make the pursuit of their development a worthwhile endeavor for the player, with more sophistication than simply having a "congratulations, you have unlocked Rifle Level II, +30 damage.") A variety of traits or characteristics could subtly enhance their performance and provide a wide range of research options for characters to pursue without necessarily needing to escalate in a few steps from slug thrower to portable black hole generator. For example, developing caseless ammo could allow a weapon of a given caliber to carry more rounds at less weight than a version that uses cased ammo, or frangible rounds ensure that boarding actions have less chance of breaching the station's bulkheads or sending unintended ricochets zinging into friendly forces further down the corridor. Explosives could develop traits like "Insensitive Munition" that would reduce their chance of being set off by explosions in or near storage magazines.

Looking at technological progression from the point of view of the rest of the character's gear, enhancements like exoskeletons/power armours could allow a single character to carry and operate crew-served weapons, thereby making that character far more powerful than others. The training and the technology needed to achieve such a specialist character would represent a significant investment that the player would have to monitor and carefully consider his employment, lest he lose a valuable asset because of a poor tactical decision. These fellows could fit in nicely somewhere, I think:

Image
Image source: Matt Plog, DeviantArt

User avatar
Petty Officer
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:59 am

Re: Soldier-Borne Weapons

Postby PensiveElephant » Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:12 am

I like these weapon categories - though one thing has to be added: choice.

Astrobase Command begins with offering the player the chance to edit their own race. While doing so the player, especially the nerdy one, will have to wonder: how far can I push this? is this merely cosmetic?

You did point out that you are focusing on ranged weapons here - but my question is this - can melee/bionic/etc. weapons be used in lieu of ranged weapons - say your race is a warrior culture with a melee leaning (<cough> Klingons <cough>) and you want melee weapons to be dominant. Do you think it should be possible to use them without utilising ranged weapons at all?

User avatar
Dev Team
 
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:00 am
Location: Canada

Re: Soldier-Borne Weapons

Postby MaxShields » Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:33 pm

PensiveElephant wrote:I like these weapon categories - though one thing has to be added: choice.

Astrobase Command begins with offering the player the chance to edit their own race. While doing so the player, especially the nerdy one, will have to wonder: how far can I push this? is this merely cosmetic?

You did point out that you are focusing on ranged weapons here - but my question is this - can melee/bionic/etc. weapons be used in lieu of ranged weapons - say your race is a warrior culture with a melee leaning (<cough> Klingons <cough>) and you want melee weapons to be dominant. Do you think it should be possible to use them without utilising ranged weapons at all?


I like the idea of being able to concentrate in one discipline over another at the cultural/species level, should the player choose to do so (you're right on track with choice being essential). This would give the player the opportunity to make some tough decisions about play style, and could offer distinct advantages in the close confines of an astrobase, while making battles in on open planetary surfaces far trickier. It should also offer the choice to adapt to other specializations if the player realizes that he has adopted the wrong play style. This adjustment could come as part of an empire course correction through technological development (new weapons, cybernetics), and would therefore take some time to migrate from one specialization to generalization or another specialization.

I could see some deliberate choices at the outset when the player is starting his first game, and then the rest would be the result of choices made during the research and development of technologies as the game progresses. How do you think it would be best implemented?

What if this concept is pushed as far as possible and you go beyond wanting to reproduce Klingons and instead want to produce a race that is entirely dependent on biological processes for its development, say trying to replicate WH40K's Tyranids? This may be beyond the scope of where the team is trying to go with things, but in this case you would not only be changing the nature of the weapons favoured by the civilization you are playing, but the very fabric of the astrobase you are building, which could in itself be a living creature that grows and evolves to meet new needs? I'm thinking this is material for your first DLC, Jellyfish Games! 8-)

User avatar
Dev Team
 
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:00 am
Location: Canada

Re: Soldier-Borne Weapons

Postby MaxShields » Sat Sep 28, 2013 7:03 pm

Some thoughts on weapons ranges.

Since the characters will have the opportunity to duke it out in the close confines of an Astrobase with the same weapons that they would use on more open planetary surfaces, it will be important to ensure that weapon ranges are sufficient that they remain pertinent in both environments. Games that have ranged weapons that barely reach out further than the characters can throw a tennis ball drive me crazy. Pistols that shoot the equivalent a couple meters less than a rifle, and heavy weapons that make it a stone's throw further than the rifle loose a lot of what makes them so important and distinct in the real world and scream gamification to me. There may certainly be game engine limitations that lead developers down this path, but I think Battlefront's Combat Mission series, and Eugen's Wargame series both do a very good job at this level (and many others, of course.) If ranges are artificially compressed, the essence of what makes an operation on a planetary surface may become very similar to an astrobase operation, simply in an environment with a different look and feel.

Weapons with limited ranges, but easy to handle designs (ranged, and melee as Pensive discusses above) would be at a disadvantage for a battle on vast open fields of farmland, but their compact nature would give them distinct advantages in close quarter battles in jungles or aboard an astrobase. Conversely, the long gun that is difficult to handle while floating through a starship whose gravity generator has been disabled, would be at a great advantage when taking on a bunch of balls of fur and fangs coming at a character from across a mountain ridge.

To give an idea of the spread in ranges, here is a very rough distribution of different range bands of effective range bands modern personal weapons:

Melee: maximum range of 2 meters with a potential to be lethal against an opponent with a ranged weapon at 7 meters or so if the weapon is not ready;
Pistols: 25 meters;
Shotguns: 50 meters;
Submachineguns and carbines: 75 - 150 meters;
Rifles: 200 - 300 meters;
Light Machineguns: 400 - 600 meters;
General Purpose Machineguns: 800 - 1200 meters;

As you can see, a game that has pistols being able to engage within a few character body lengths of each other to keep the action on screen, or facilitate whatever behind the scenes processes that need to occur to make the game run smoothly, loose a great deal of what makes each of these weapons useful and distinct from one another. Don't even get me started on RTS games that have heavy artillery that fire twice as far as rifles do. :evil:

Of course, I don't want to paint you into a corner. I just needed to get that off of my chest! :oops:

User avatar
Chief
 
Posts: 100
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:05 am

Re: Soldier-Borne Weapons

Postby MilitantLobster » Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:41 pm

Could there be possibilities for biological weapons? Things like teeth and claws, spitting, skunk spray, and squid ink would be cool choices to make during race creation. They could be chosen on a separate point buy system, or worked into the existing traits. Don't want a racial weapon, just don't put any points into it. More points could unlock an additional or upgrade the chosen weapon (no claws, to regular claws, to retractable claws).
Last edited by MilitantLobster on Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Dev Team
 
Posts: 175
Joined: Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:41 pm

Re: Soldier-Borne Weapons

Postby Adam » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:31 pm

MilitantLobster wrote:Could there be possibilities for biological weapons? Things like teeth and claws, spitting, skunk spray, and squid ink would be cool choices to make during race creation. They could be chosen on a separate point buy system, or worked into the existing traits. Don't want a racial weapon, just don't put any points into it. More points would unlock more an extra slot or upgrade the chosen weapon (no claws, to regular claws, to retractable claws).


These are definitely interesting ideas! However, we're currently focusing on weapons as items for the sake of tying them into crafting and mission rewards.

Although now I've gotten a flash of the Kzin from Ringworld and want to make that happen *shakes fist* Daammnnn youuuuu!

User avatar
Contributor
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2014 6:36 pm

Re: Soldier-Borne Weapons

Postby Ethan » Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:07 am

With boarding parties coming into the Base, an immediate parallel that came to my mind is the used by merchant ships to combat pirates. For the purposes of the game, it could be a crew-served weapon, and would give the player an opportunity to engage a boarding party if a) they were unsure if they were hostile or refugees/neutral or b) if it was in an area of the base that was sensitive to damage from conventional weapons fire. Less-than-lethal weapons could have a very interesting role as well as conventional, lethal weapons.

A link is here if you're interested:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LRAD

Return to Feedback/Suggestions