Alpha Centauri 2

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri & Alien Crossfire => The Theory of Everything => Topic started by: Sigma on July 30, 2013, 06:40:24 PM

Title: Too many guns
Post by: Sigma on July 30, 2013, 06:40:24 PM
This is just something I've been thinking about for a while, and I'm wondering if those thoughts are shared.

I feel like there are too many weapons and armors in SMAC(X), and that the game could easily get away with having half, better distributed over the tech tree. The SManiac patch already sees this deficiency in the game's tactical design and adjusts it by relocated some of the weapons to smooth out the ladder from one stage to the next, but there are still issues.

In every game I've ever played of SMAC(X), I've really only ever used the following weapons:

Particle Impactor
Missiles (arguable; half the time I just run right for the Chaos Gun)
Chaos Gun
Plasma Shard
Singularity Laser

I've never had a war come down to who can field Gatling lasers first, I basically skip right over Fusion Lasers and Tachyon Bolts to get to the Plasma Shard, and by the time you're working through Quantum Lasers or Graviton weapon you are probably teching hard enough to just make a run for Singularity Lasers and consume your enemies in localized black holes.

I feel like if a Mod cut the weapon list down to something like what I posted above, it would make the conquest game that much more interesting, because it means that players could build and field armies with modern guns for longer periods of time before needing to upgrade with new equipment; I feel like it would also place more emphasis on tactics and unit design, as it would be harder to over power your enemy because your weapon has +1 over what they are fielding.

Take note that I don't play competitively so this experience may not be reflected in that environment.
Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: Buster's Uncle on July 30, 2013, 06:46:28 PM
Its definitely true that easily half the weapons/armor lists ends up being superfluous in practice.
Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: Geo on July 30, 2013, 07:36:52 PM
Superfluous for the teching attacker perhaps, but a lagging defender may be happy to have a weapon ready with only 1-2 points less combat value then an attacker.
Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: Buster's Uncle on July 30, 2013, 07:49:12 PM
I do maximize research, always - but who honestly upgrades units 32 times, ever?
Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: Geo on July 30, 2013, 07:52:45 PM
I do maximize research, always - but who honestly upgrades units 32 times, ever?

Few players, I'm sure.  ;lol
But when the need arises, it comes handy.  ;)
Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: Sigma on July 30, 2013, 09:03:20 PM
Superfluous for the teching attacker perhaps, but a lagging defender may be happy to have a weapon ready with only 1-2 points less combat value then an attacker.
With the large number of incremental upgrades, the lagging defender suffers more, because while he's trying to make the jump from the Gatling Laser to the Missile, the teching attacker has the opportunity to grab the chaos gun, then the fusion laser, then the tachyon bolt before he reaches the Plasma Shard. If the attacker has to jump from the Chaos Gun to the Plasma Shard, that's a much longer period in which his arms don't effectively improve.
Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: Green1 on July 30, 2013, 11:12:37 PM
You missed laser weapons :D Speaking of which:

When I read GURPS Alpha Centauri, they differentiated the weapons. You still had folks using impact weapons along with Plasma Shards and missiles. I would prefer each "item" have attributes and properties: strengths and weaknesses instead of just a higher number.

One thing I find kind of not immersive is that laser weapons are before impact weapons. Impact weapons from what I have read, are like futuristic recoiless bullet weapons. Think the movie Aliens. Now, from what we know of lasers as directed energy weapons, these things are poor. For early colonists good ol' modified kinetic impact machine gun would be the go to. A laser, particularly with 2010 (predicted 1999) tech is too big, bulky, too much energy and I doubt a rover is going to stand still and let you gradually melt it!



Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: Sigma on July 30, 2013, 11:20:05 PM
You missed laser weapons :D Speaking of which:

When I read GURPS Alpha Centauri, they differentiated the weapons. You still had folks using impact weapons along with Plasma Shards and missiles. I would prefer each "item" have attributes and properties: strengths and weaknesses instead of just a higher number.
I like that as well; in my imagined SMAC successor there would only be like four or five weapons in total, and you'd get access to them fairly early in the game, but as you tech up you can improve the weapons you already have instead of just replacing them with new types.
Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: Green1 on July 30, 2013, 11:33:07 PM
You missed laser weapons :D Speaking of which:

When I read GURPS Alpha Centauri, they differentiated the weapons. You still had folks using impact weapons along with Plasma Shards and missiles. I would prefer each "item" have attributes and properties: strengths and weaknesses instead of just a higher number.
I like that as well; in my imagined SMAC successor there would only be like four or five weapons in total, and you'd get access to them fairly early in the game, but as you tech up you can improve the weapons you already have instead of just replacing them with new types.

Correct... because sometimes it just will not do to carry around a pocket singularity when a bullet will do. Plus, I have never understood... if I am carrying a weapon with a tiny black hole in it, why not send a probe team with that weapon and just release the black hole right on top of the enemy city?

However, I would like photon wall armor. I imagine like that duel scene off of Dune...
Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: JarlWolf on July 30, 2013, 11:56:11 PM
I'm thinking that such weapons should have more statistics such as mineral cost+support costs as well as firing rate:
A black hole generator thing would require an INSANE amount of resources to maintain and power, as opposed to a grunt who is just using some dinky rifle.

Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: Sigma on July 31, 2013, 12:12:33 AM
Well here is how I figured it could work:

You've got four weapon classes: Ballstic, Explosive, Particle and Laser.

As you tech up, certain techs will add a % bonus to your attach for certain weapon classes.

More importantly, you can equip units with Advanced Weapons abilities for each type which gives a much bigger boost to its power, but at the expense of one of your ability slots as well as making the unit more expensive and harder to replace. That way fielding super powerful weapons like singularity lasers incurs a much heavier cost on you compared with just sending out grunts with laser rifles.

But that is likely beyond the capabilities of a simple SMACX mod without someone cracking the .exe wide open. What I'm theorizing is modding the existing game to remove weapons from it. I know it's possible to select which tech an existing weapon goes to, but what about disabling them altogether?
Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: Green1 on July 31, 2013, 02:11:42 AM
Well here is how I figured it could work:

You've got four weapon classes: Ballstic, Explosive, Particle and Laser.

As you tech up, certain techs will add a % bonus to your attach for certain weapon classes.

More importantly, you can equip units with Advanced Weapons abilities for each type which gives a much bigger boost to its power, but at the expense of one of your ability slots as well as making the unit more expensive and harder to replace. That way fielding super powerful weapons like singularity lasers incurs a much heavier cost on you compared with just sending out grunts with laser rifles.

But that is likely beyond the capabilities of a simple SMACX mod without someone cracking the .exe wide open. What I'm theorizing is modding the existing game to remove weapons from it. I know it's possible to select which tech an existing weapon goes to, but what about disabling them altogether?

Yes. Look at Lost Eden. Prime example.

Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: Sigma on July 31, 2013, 03:22:07 PM
I don't have access to my SMAC files right now, but am I missing any weapons here?

Hand Weapon (1)
Laser (2)
Particle Impactor (4)
Gatling Laser (5)
Missile (6)
Chaos Gun (8 ) <- had to add a space here otherwise the board would turn it into 8). The coolest weapon.
Fusion Laser (10)
Tachyon Bolt (12)
Plasma Shard (13)
Quantum Laser (16)
Graviton Gun (20)
Singularity Laser (24)
String Disruptor (30?)
Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: Geo on July 31, 2013, 08:16:13 PM
IIRC, just the extra progenitor weapons, resonance laser (6) and resonance bolt (12) or something like that.
Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: JarlWolf on August 01, 2013, 08:25:31 AM
There is also PSI as well.
Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: Sigma on August 01, 2013, 03:23:12 PM
I'll ignore Psi and the Resonance weapons, since one has variable attack power and the other are alternatives to existing weapons.

I've struck out which weapons I think could be conceivably removed from the game due to lack of use or poor placement in the tech tree:

Hand Weapon (1)
Laser (2)
Particle Impactor (4)
Gatling Laser (5)
Missile (6)
Chaos Gun (8 )
Fusion Laser (10)
Tachyon Bolt (12)

Plasma Shard (13)
Quantum Laser (16)
Graviton Gun (20)

Singularity Laser (24)
String Disruptor (30?)

Thoughts on this? One could argue that Missiles could be removed and the tech could jump straight from Impactors to Chaos Guns, but since Missiles are a requirement for Air Power and there's a ton of stuff in that same tier that people will probably go for before Superstring Theory, I figure that Missiles can probably stay around for a while.

The jump from Plasma Shards to Singularity lasers is justified because by the time you reach Advance Spaceflight you're likely already teching at a pretty high rate, so the time between getting Shards and Singularity Lasers is probably comparable to the time between getting Chaos Guns and Shards.
Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: Green1 on August 02, 2013, 03:55:25 AM
Missiles are a whole other sort of weapon than impact weapons or plasma rifles. There really should be a differentiation for that. You do not usually carry missiles to a Vietnam type infantry fight in the fungus. You use missiles for anti-air/ anti vehicle/ anti facility, improvement or city in the real world.

Missile chassis though, is fine. Those would be the difference between SCUDS and a group of soldiers with an anti-rover launcher.
Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: JarlWolf on August 02, 2013, 04:33:23 AM
The way I imagined weapons for the longest time in SMAC was that the Missile units weren't all equipped with explosive missile weapons, rather they had some sort of artillery or a few specialized troops carrying missile/rocket launchers, while the rest carried conventional weapons. I think that an improvement for missile would be that its a specialized sort of unit: Make them better against certain types of targets or something, or some sort of advantage but translate it to cost.

The reasoning for this is the missile chassis has a soldier behind one of those treads with the missile, and if you look at the tread itself it almost looks like a rocket barrage or a form of multi barreled howitzer. Weapons above conventional ones have these treads and the treads either represent heavy weapons or they are there to symbolize the mobile generators and other such support systems needed to keep the weapons functioning.

Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: Kilkakon on August 06, 2013, 04:42:38 AM
The Prog weapons were a nice alternative beeline. :)

Laser's pretty huge though. Means that workers can be killed easily rather than using a lot of health up.
Title: Re: Too many guns
Post by: Geo on August 06, 2013, 03:20:50 PM
Last weekend I checked on the animations of SMACX's caviar files. Gatling and Missile weapons have nice ones. Shard is kinda meh IMO.
It's a shame they play so fast you almost can't see it ingame.
Same with the scout, prog scout, and probe movement.