Board game is board game, first person sim is first person sim. Get over it

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Moraelin
08/12/02 08:04 AM
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Since this seems to be a recurring issue in various threads, I thought it deserves a thread of its own.

Basically: what works in a turn based board game is one thing, what works in a real time simulation is another thing. Gameplay is different, and things which just mean you have to apply some strategy in one of them, are things which are just an unneeded pain in the rear in the other.

E.g., take the jump-and-seek game you play with a light mech against a heavy in the board game, until you win initiative. It doesn't even work in a first person sim. There are no turns and there is no initiative.

Think going with a Hussar against something Assault class which has 3 MP walk, 5 MP run and loads of weapons. If you even tried running behind cover from time to time in a RT sim, you'd just give them time to target you with their heavier weaponry. Ooops, you're dead. Why? Because there are no turns. The assault doesn't have to wait until you finish your move, but can target you and shoot in the middle of it. The only chance you _might_ have is if you're skilled and nimble enough to stay behind them _all_ the time. (Basically turning it into a scenario where the assault mech _never_ wins the initiative. Not so realistic by board game rules, either.)

Speaking of which, when was the last time you jumped behind someone in MW4 or whatever? And if you did, you got shot in mid-air, didn't you? It just doesn't work like in the board game.

E.g., I hear this talk about a floating reticle. How the heck would a floating reticle have to work, to simulate the board game? Have you actually did the maths? I'll bet not. Tell me, how _do_ you make a floating reticle that makes a PPC less accurate up close than at a distance? (See the minimum distance on that one.) It doesn't work like in the board game, because that floating reticle always makes it more accurate up close than at a distance.

Make the reticle move depending on the distance to the target? How do you explain THAT to the player? His mech started shaking with fear because the enemy is close, or what?

But let's say you do make it depend on distance. Now suppose you fire two weapons, at distance 2. A LRM and a light laser. For one it's way under the minimum distance, so the reticle would have to pretty much wiggle all over the screen, from border to border, to have half a chance of missing something mech sized. For the other it's pretty much optimal distance, so it shouldn't wiggle much. How _do_ you make a reticle move that covers both weapons? You can't.

Or do you have a separate reticle for each weapon? Try to imagine how annoying it would get with 10 reticles moving around like crazy on your screen.

Or let's talk vehicles. In one corner you have a 10m tall mech, in another you have a 2m tall vehicle. Let's say both stand still. How do you make the reticle move so the probability of hitting both is equal at equal distance, as per board game rules? You can't, huh?

That's not even trying to go in depth or anything. I'm just scratching the surface of what kind of difference we're talking about. The rules in the board game are utterly and totally unfit to be taken as they are and put into a real-time sim, because they're way unrealistic. There's just _no_ way in heck to have a MW5 that's faithful to the board game, unless MW5 will be a hex based board game.

So, like, let's give it a rest please. If you can program a proof-of-concept floating reticle that actually implements the board game rules faithfully, ok, I'll be happy to eat my words. But until then, I stand by my statement that you're asking for the impossible.
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Moraelin - The proud member of the Idiots' Guild
CrayModerator
08/12/02 08:20 AM
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>So, like, let's give it a rest please

So, like, you didn't even touch on my complaints about the board game-to-computer game conversion (which have nothing to do with the practical issues of the conversion), so I won't be giving it a rest.
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer

Disclaimer: Anything stated in this post is unofficial and non-canon unless directly quoted from a published book. Random internet musings of a BattleTech writer are not canon.
Moraelin
08/12/02 09:06 AM
194.114.62.34

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There are very few exceptions, which _could_ have been done like in the board game. In fact, the only one that comes to mind is the MW4 customization system, which didn't use crits.

But other than that, I'd be more happy to listen to an example of something which is different between board game and first person sim, and which indeed didn't have anything to do with the practical issues of such a conversion.

Don't forget that a lot of stuff is really interconnected. As just one example, once you don't have the roll for body part hit and number of missiles hit, the balance between weapons changes _massively_. To the point where if you don't tweak some other stuff -- like the much maligned time to recharge -- you end up with unbalanced situations like MW2 (the DOS version) where I'd kill 4 Battlemasters with a light mech.
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Moraelin - The proud member of the Idiots' Guild
BroCaptMaximus
08/12/02 06:28 PM
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Personally I could care less whether the Mechwarrior PC games accurately reflect the board game rules. I just want to see the PC games do a better job of portraying the mech cockpit/HUD layout as described in the books.
Greyslayer
08/12/02 06:41 PM
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'where I'd kill 4 Battlemasters with a light mech.'

I think my record was with a modified Jenner IIC ... 15 Stormcrows ... no cheats.

Greyslayer
Greyslayer
08/12/02 06:45 PM
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'Tell me, how _do_ you make a floating reticle that makes a PPC less accurate up close than at a distance?'

You don't, you make it mis-focus like it is meant to do in the board game. The modifiers are there to represent how hard it is to hit with the full force of the weapon due to the safety constraints on the weapon (inhibitors). How would this equate in the first person? Less damage or return damage depending on how close the target got to you (or both). Simple.

Greyslayer
Bob_Richter
08/13/02 04:05 AM
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Well, more or less, but let's concede all of your points for a moment.

Why change the construction system? Why screw with the weapon characteristics?

Why introduce new 'Mechs that don't even work in the board game?

In other words: Why create a Mechwarrior game that's not even really based in the Battletech Universe. That's what MW4 is, and I fear it's what MW5 will be as well.
-Bob (The Magnificent) Richter

Assertions made in this post are the humble opinion of Bob.
They are not necessarily statements of fact or decrees from God Himself, unless explicitly and seriously stated to be so.
:)
Moraelin
08/13/02 05:15 AM
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I don't think the DOS version ever put you against 15 opponents in a single mission. (Though the later versions did.) But yeah, a Jenner worked like a charm. (Heck, with a lot of luck even a Locust worked.) Run behind, aim at a leg, Battlemaster falls down. No need for cheats since being able to aim everything at one leg in a Level 1 game, and to have all SRM's hit, was already cheat enough compared to the board game.

'Course I still preferred a medium once I could afford those, just in case they managed to squeeze in a shot or two. But Heavy and Assault mechs were just a liability in that game.
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Moraelin - The proud member of the Idiots' Guild
Moraelin
08/13/02 05:18 AM
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Well, ok, that part would be welcome.
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Moraelin - The proud member of the Idiots' Guild
Moraelin
08/13/02 05:27 AM
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Assuming that by construction system you mean the customization hangar, I'll concede that I see no good reason for that.

On the other hand, I must also concede that I never liked FASA's system that much in the first place. Feel free to flame me for it, if you wish. I can understand why the criticals are there, and how it works for balance, but my first reaction to it way back when I first saw it was along the lines of "uhh... so I can put a SRM on the left arm and the SRM ammo on the right leg? How the heck does the ammo go from here to there, then?" From a casual gamer point of view (i.e., stepping out of the die-hard FASA fan point of view), the MW4 customization made more sense.

Screwing with the weapons, I'd assume it was done for balance. See the other posts for how in games which didn't screw with the weapon balance, ended up with a massively unbalanced game.

Why make a BT game that's not really based on BT... Well, that is a good question. Guess it's one of those situations where you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't. The board game rules are just too unfit for a first person sim, so either way you're going to tick off someone.
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Moraelin - The proud member of the Idiots' Guild


Edited by Moraelin (08/13/02 05:29 AM)
Greyslayer
08/13/02 05:37 AM
216.14.192.226

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15 mechs total. 3 waves of 5 Stormcrows. The Jenner IIC was modified with a ER PPC very little armour. The objective was to hover around 1000 meters dodging all of their ER Large Lasers yet because you are walking backwards and they are running forwards they become in range of the ER PPC thus taking damage. The last Stormcrow just managed to damage me before it died or else it would be a completely clean mech. If they managed to close I used the JJ to get me out of harm's way.

In the original game (which is where you seemed to switch tact to) I preferred the Warhammer ... keeping distance between myself and a Battlemaster I was able to take out the unit more often than it could close to engage me with its short ranged weapons.

Still all these examples might not have happened so often if the AI had actually ever evolved from Mechwarrior game to Mechwarrior game. It is sad for me to say this but maybe the way they program AI that they are not ready to even attempt something like a boardgame version of battletech as much as I would love it.

Greyslayer
Moraelin
08/13/02 05:43 AM
194.114.62.33

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OK, so you have an answer to the PPC problem. It's not faithful to the board game rules, either, but fair enough.

Let's tackle the LRM's, then. How do you explain to the player that a missile exploding up close, where it also has all the fuel in it, does less damage than at the maximum range? I've spent some time thinking about possible solutions. Do you make them shoot upwards and then stabilize towards the target? People will just bow before firing then. Do you make the missiles shoot in a wide spray in random directions and the converge back on the target after 150m or so? Then someone will just use them as a makeshift LBX at close range, for increased instead of decreased chances to hit. Do you make them do splash damage so shooting them at pointblank range is suicidal? Whoppee, splash damage is perfect for hitting two enemy mechs, or a whole group of vehicles, with a single shot.

Even better: what do you do about the AC-2? How do you make a high velocity weapon like that be less accurate or do less damage at range 3 than at range 15? Neither of those has any logical explanation. Shooting over a flat arc up close is always more accurate than dealing with the curved trajectory at a bigger distance. And the damage done is also higher up close, since the velocity does decrease in air for the shells.
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Moraelin - The proud member of the Idiots' Guild
Moraelin
08/13/02 05:47 AM
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That I'll have to concede. The AI was nothing short of abhominable in all MW games. Heck, in MW4 the AI team mates were bloody useless, since they always shot me in the back more often than they shot the enemy.
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Moraelin - The proud member of the Idiots' Guild
Greyslayer
08/13/02 06:35 AM
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'It's not faithful to the board game rules, either, but fair enough.'

How can it be truly faithful to the boardgame then? Simply put there are two constraints on the original PPC: Feedback controlled by inhibitors and a lack of focus again a reason from inhibitors. The only way I could think of coming even close to the board game would be to step down the damage to the target and force damage on the firer for firing within an unsafe range.

Ok you tackled LRMs but I'm not sure you read why LRMs take 180m before they become affective. LRMs (at least in the Inner Sphere) do not arm the second they leave the launcher but require a certain distance before the arming mechanisms are suppose to come into effect. Now how this causes a sliding scale rather than a straight modifier until a certain distance is not clear to me but it is a game mechanic. Now how can this be represented in the game is again simply just a sliding scale of damage, its not brain surgery but it should force the player to try to use a weapon at a more optimum range.

'what do you do about the AC-2? How do you make a high velocity weapon like that be less accurate or do less damage at range 3 than at range 15? '

What do you do with a sniper rifle against a uzi at 10 yards? Hope for the best it what. A long-barrelled weapon like the AC2 and AC5 are harder to manaouver in close quarters. A good way to represent this would be to have 'weapon lag' or simply put a delay as the weapon is swung into place so reflex shots will normally shoot wide, unfortunately this affects all ranges but again the idea of say an AC2 is to shoot further than most other weapons so reflex shots are not your call anyway.

These are what I can think of.

Greyslayer
novakitty
08/13/02 08:42 AM
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And it was the first game where the field mechanics did not have access to every possible engine type in both standard and XL versions. The customization ability was reduced, but probably only reduced to a level that you could expect to be done on the field in a few hours or less.

Yet, the drastic change in the feel of the weapons since earlier versions was still unpleasant.
meow
Bob_Richter
08/13/02 09:14 AM
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>>>See the other posts for how in games which didn't screw with the weapon balance, ended up with a massively unbalanced game. <<<

Name a Mechwarrior game that DIDN'T screw with the weapons balance. (ah. Never mind. No such beast.)
-Bob (The Magnificent) Richter

Assertions made in this post are the humble opinion of Bob.
They are not necessarily statements of fact or decrees from God Himself, unless explicitly and seriously stated to be so.
:)
Moraelin
08/13/02 09:20 AM
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I think the very first MW2 (the DOS version) pretty much took the weapons as they were. Not sure, though, since at that time I was blissfully unaware that the board game even existed. But I seem to remember that there was no such thing as different recharge times, for example. (And if I remember right, there was no customizations at all, only standard designs, so the weapon weights and crits didn't even matter.)
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Moraelin - The proud member of the Idiots' Guild
Bob_Richter
08/13/02 09:24 AM
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>>>I think the very first MW2 (the DOS version) pretty much took the weapons as they were.<<<

Very first MW2?

Hm. This may be something I haven't heard of, but all the mechwarriors (from 1 - 4) that I've seen so far have played with the weapons balance. Usually by dramatically altering the rates of fire of the weapons without changing their other stats. (Though MW4 was pretty good about this, it was the OTHER crap it did that bothered me.)
-Bob (The Magnificent) Richter

Assertions made in this post are the humble opinion of Bob.
They are not necessarily statements of fact or decrees from God Himself, unless explicitly and seriously stated to be so.
:)
Bob_Richter
08/13/02 09:27 AM
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...but I really should have responded to this with the first one.

>>>Assuming that by construction system you mean the customization hangar, I'll concede that I see no good reason for that. <<<

"customization hangar?" LISTEN to yourself! There's no such thing in the Battletech Universe. What there is is a system of rules for 'Mech construction, the construction rules.

There are better construction/customization systems, but they just wouldn't be Battletech. Even then, I'd toss them for something LIKE MW4's pods but with more flavor. And I'd give an arm and a leg for something that distinguished between Omnimechs and Standard 'Mechs for customization purposes.
-Bob (The Magnificent) Richter

Assertions made in this post are the humble opinion of Bob.
They are not necessarily statements of fact or decrees from God Himself, unless explicitly and seriously stated to be so.
:)
Bob_Richter
08/13/02 09:31 AM
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>>>>Speaking of which, when was the last time you jumped behind someone in MW4 or whatever? And if you did, you got shot in mid-air, didn't you? It just doesn't work like in the board game.<<<

There's a reason for that.

1) Jumping doesn't take a mere 10 seconds. (this should be corrected...somehow...yeah.)
2) Turning doesn't take the full 10 seconds it often does in the board-game. (this CAN be corrected.)

And yet, I actually do get some good back-shots in MW3...

>>>take the jump-and-seek game you play with a light mech against a heavy in the board game, It doesn't even work in a first person sim.<<<

Actually, it does, but in very different terms.

-Bob (The Magnificent) Richter

Assertions made in this post are the humble opinion of Bob.
They are not necessarily statements of fact or decrees from God Himself, unless explicitly and seriously stated to be so.
:)
Moraelin
08/13/02 10:45 AM
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Uh... I see you do understand what I meant by "customization hangar", after all. Basically I just mean: "that place where you go to change weapons on a mech". Whatever it's called.

(Sorry. I only have the German version of MW4, so I wouldn't even know what the English name for that thing was.)

And hey, I already conceded that it didn't go by the FASA construction rules. Or even anywhere near those.
---
Moraelin - The proud member of the Idiots' Guild
Kottos
08/13/02 11:19 PM
12.90.18.10

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Well, I guess I'll take a stab at some of these.

For jump capable mechs continuously jumping behind the enemy: I've done this in mechwarrior 2 and 3, sometimes to good effect. The jump jets in Mech3, I think in the default relaxed mode, were the closest I've yet seen to the board game. I often tried to jump behind or DFA other players. Yes, you get shot at in midair, but the torso only leans back so far. A clever opponent might realize what you are doing, turn, and unload on you as you land. I suppose that would be equivalent to the board game jumper losing initiative.

Fast light mechs getting shot in mid move: This problem is born mostly of the rock steady crosshair all the games give you. If you have a weapon with 0 travel time, such as a laser, and a rock steady crosshair, a light mech running flat out is dead. Just wait until it crosses your target and fire. The zoom feature should be removed, and the crosshair should be a probability cone. That way, the farther away the target, the worse your aim. This accurately reflects most board game weapons. Also, running in a straight line is a bad idea. Zig zag to your destination, and vary the throttle as well. I have heard mention of level 3 rules for mechs "sprinting." Sprinters move faster than at at run, by going straight to the target rather than dodging as they go. They are, because of their predictable straight line course, easier to hit than a running mech.

Cover gives the enemy time to bring heavier weapons to bear? Hiding behind a boulder should allow the boulder to soak up the weapons fire. Yes, I'll leave cover eventually, but I can leave in a number of ways. Still not a garunteed shot.

Floating reticle: The idea is simple. The crosshair is always a probability cone. When not moving, the crosshair does not move. When turning in place or moving at up to 2/3 throttle, the crosshair jiggles some. When moving faster than 2/3 throttle, the crosshair jiggles 2x as much. When jumping, the crosshair jiggles 3x as much as walking. If the sudden doubling of crosshair shake as you pass 2/3 throttle seems too uneven, have the crosshair jiggle increase steadily as the throttle increases.

Minimum ranges: For the minimum range penalties on oldtech PPCs and LRMs, I understood that this was due to the arming delay of the LRMs and the close focusing problems of the PPC. I propose that once the target reaches the minimum range in meters, there is a random chance that the weapon will fail based on range. Lets use LRMs as an example. 180 meters starts the minimum range for LRMs. LRMs that travel 180 meters have a 180/180 chance of working, i.e. every missile that hits explodes. LRMs that travel 150 meters have a 150/180 chance of working. Roughly 1/6 of the hits will be duds. LRMs that travel 1 meter have a 1/180 chance of working. Almost every missile that hits will be a dud. The odds of the weapon failing to be based on the minimum range of the weapon in question. To keep the players informed about how much damage was done, duds can have a different graphic effect than normal hits. For example, normal LRMs that hit explode, dud LRMs bounce off the enemy. The PPC graphic can become a blue field that focuses into a beam some distance from the muzzle. Within minimum range, the PPC must attempt to focus the beam closer to the muzzle than normal. A dud PPC shot represents the failure to focus the beam. For the minimum range on gauss rifles, an electrical discharge leaving the muzzle with the ball could be a standard graphic. A gauss shot dud might represent the muzzle discharge arcing through the ball and into the target, causing the ball to fly off to the side with an effect similar to a rail gun. (I realize that I probably just mangled physics there. If anyone has a better explanation of the minimum range on gauss rifles, I'd love to hear it.) As for the minimum ranges on AC/2s and AC/5s, I'm at a loss. Given the damage ratings of these weapons however, droping the minimum range on all autocannons wouldn't be that unbalancing.

Tanks vs Mechs: Does Mech4 allow players to drive tanks? If not, I'd say forget about it. The tanks encountered in single player don't need to be especially balanced, just balanced for the scenario.

My own personal gripe: Why can't the video games keep the damage-to-armor at the level of the board game? 2 PPC blasts to the arm of a Panther should remove the arm. Some people argue that dealing damage as does the board game would make combat too fast and bloody. I always thought mech combat was supposed to be fast and bloody.

What I have just described may be a programing nightmare or impossibility. I am not a programmer, so I don't know. But at first glance, the numbers seem to work.
novakitty
08/13/02 11:36 PM
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The minimum ranges (of LRM and PPC) are for two entirely different reasons,LRMs do not arm until that range (just set damage to 1/2 or 1/4 until that distance) and PPCs had a chance of feedback (random number checks are simple programming-wise). These two at least would be no difficulty to program, the only problem might be exactly what part of the game handles the code. But since PPCs have a travel time, should the feedback chance be determined as the shot is fired, or when it hits?
meow
KamikazeJohnson
08/13/02 11:42 PM
142.161.46.124

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For light ACs (and GRs for that matter) create kind of a "shooting from the hip" feel...try to imagine Unreal, but with the weapon barrel sitting about 6 feet above your head. At close range, you have a very poor idea of where that weapon is pointing, since you're "blind" to the end of your barrel. This especially makes sense with the "over-the-shoulder" style AC mounts like the Marauder and Shadow Hawk. Makes a lot less sense with arm-mounted weapons

I guess the above idea works for LRMs too.

PPC, I guess use targeting failure or misfiring.

Another thing to use...have the cross-hairs independent of the 'Mech facing, but have a separate one for each weapon (all under simultaneous control, but moving at different speeds. The result would be long-range weapons reacting more slowly to aim adjustments, making them useless point-blank
Peace is that glorious moment in history when everyone stands around reloading.
--Thomas Jefferson
NathanKell
08/23/02 04:36 PM
24.44.238.62

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Bingo. Change the data, not the way it's used. Moraelin has been focusing on how to implement some *mechanic* to account for min range, etc.--why bother? Just mess with the data (i.e. lower damage).

And regarding floating reticles--the problem here is that if its floating, you can still see where it is at any given second. So do it like the original Rainbow 6--don't show the reticle itself, *just* the probability cone. The shot will go somewhere within that cone.
-NathanKell, BT Space Wars
Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.
Thomas Jefferson
Moraelin
08/24/02 03:10 PM
217.83.141.185

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The only problem is that someone will still come and post along the lines of "But the board game rules say that it doesn't hit, not that it does less damage! Microsoft has ruined the game!"

How do I know? Because that's what we're seeing right here and now. Microsoft did fudge the data, so this thing stays balanced in the new context, and that's precisely what's causing the whole protest. Some people want it to be _exactly_ like the board game. Just fudging with the numbers to keep it in the general direction isn't enough. They have to be able to _exactly_ reproduce their board game design in the game, and viceversa, and get _exactly_ the same results.

So if the existing fudging the numbers caused this much protest, what gives you the idea that some other fudging the numbers wouldn't?

And incidentally: the probability cones in FPS games shouldn't be there at all, either. The spread for a real assault rifle when fired from the shoulder would be under +/- 1 pixel on your screen in 640x480, maybe +/- 2 pixels in 1280x960. Get the real weapon's data and calculate the angle of that spread.
---
Moraelin - The proud member of the Idiots' Guild


Edited by Moraelin (08/24/02 03:15 PM)
NathanKell
08/24/02 09:01 PM
24.44.238.62

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Which means that the cones *should* be there for BT, since "Get[ing] the real weapon's data and calculat[ing] the angle of that spread" leads to a very wide cone indeed.

Also, you are here making a large mistake. Going with reduced damage instead of chance-of-missing leads, on the macro scale, to precisely the same result in terms of total damage/total rds fired @ certain range. Therefore it *is* completely true to the game, but in an analogue rather than digital sense. What I object to in MW4 (and all other MWs at that) is where the average damage/second at range is NOT equal to what it is in BT. And that latter IS perfectly calculable (range and other conditions -> target number -> %chance, then * weapon damage / turn length = average damage/sec).

In the end: what matter the method, if the result is the same?
Vs what seems to be the MW4 ideal: what matter the result if the method feels right?
-NathanKell, BT Space Wars
Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.
Thomas Jefferson
NathanKell
08/24/02 09:14 PM
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And another thing:
I'm sick of "balance". Yes, a PPC beats a Small Laser all hollow. So what? It's supposed to! It masses more, generates more heat, and it's pure idiocy to make the SL fire faster to "balance" it against the PPC.
You want a "balanced" match between a Wasp and an Atlas? Very simple. Take a company of Wasps. Don't try to "balance" them one on one--that's the whole point of Assault mechs, they are more powerful. (Side note: No, I'm not a champion of assault mechs; in fact I favor Mediums and Heavies to the exclusion of their fatter brethren, with a fair load of Lights too).
-NathanKell, BT Space Wars
Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.
Thomas Jefferson
novakitty
08/24/02 10:21 PM
209.242.100.230

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I suspect the timings are based of of the Solaris 7 dueling rules. A PPC has a 3 cooldown time, meaning it only can ever be fired once per standard turn. A small laser has a time of 1, meaning it can be fired twice as often. This was based on a somewhat logical assessment of what each weapon entailed. A small laser takes less time to cool down because it stresses the systems less each firing, that is just sensible, not for sake of some pathetic elusive "game balance" that everyone seems to want.
meow
NathanKell
08/24/02 10:41 PM
24.44.238.62

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And until the end of time I'll decry them.
"A small laser takes less time to cool down". Isn't that handled by the fact that it generates 1/10th the heat? What balance there is in Battletech weapons--and L1 energy weapons *are* balanced pretty well, IMO--is totally and completely *destroyed* by the S7 timings. That's why there's such hatred of "SLAS boats", because, using S7 timings, they're at least 2-3 times as effective as they should be.
Let alone the fact that AC/2s become magically as damaging as PPCs.

Gah, I hate that system.
-NathanKell, BT Space Wars
Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.
Thomas Jefferson
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