Weapon Balancing and You!

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Weapon Balancing and You!

Postby Riet » Tue May 01, 2012 6:55 am

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Re: Weapon Balancing and You!

Postby Hadji|DP » Tue May 01, 2012 10:21 am

....this MUST be stickied.
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Re: Weapon Balancing and You!

Postby Vino » Tue May 01, 2012 11:34 am

Riet I love you and your thread.

Thank you for not including recoil in one of those dimensions. I hope we can all agree that recoil is a terrible method of weapon balance.

Here's how I've balanced all of the weapons so far:

M1911
ROF: Low
Damage: Average
Accuracy: Average
Weight: Light

P99
ROF: Average
Damage: Low
Accuracy: Good
Weight: Light

M3
ROF: Terrible
Damage: Extreme
Accuracy: Low
Weight: Heavy
Aim in for better ROF

MP5K
ROF: High
Damage: Low
Accuracy: Low
Weight: Moderate

Vector
ROF: High
Damage: High
Accuracy: Abysmal
Weight: Heavy

FAL
ROF: Average
Damage: High
Accuracy: High
Weight: Heavy
Aim in for better accuracy

High Explosive Grenade
ROF: Low
Damage: Holy Shit
Accuracy: Unnecessary
Weight: Light

That was all taken from the ingame text, so it exaggerates a little bit.

Terp and I had a discussion yesterday that the M1911 should have higher damage to compensate for its lot rate of fire. I asked him to wait until the playtest to see how all of the new changes are working before doing anything drastic. I suppose this would be a good place to start discussing it.
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Re: Weapon Balancing and You!

Postby ThinRedPaste » Tue May 01, 2012 3:00 pm

I've been fiddling with the settings, but only with my own local files. I won't try to submit any changes until after the playtest. but I'd like to get a second one set up as soon as possible after the first, to try my tweaks and get feedback there.
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Re: Weapon Balancing and You!

Postby Riet » Tue May 01, 2012 4:28 pm

The problem with higher damages for high rate of fire weapons, is that then the DPS is exponentially increased. You generally want for all weapons to have similar or the same DPS, based on all 3 aspects I discussed. If you raise the damage to match a higher rate of fire, you will need to reduce the accuracy in order to keep the balance.

Also, recoil. I didn't add recoil, because it's truly not a big issue. As it stands now, I would overlay the recoil variable onto the damage variable, but reduce it in some way so your view isn't kicking all over the place. Making it correlate to damage will also allow spammy weapons to still kick the same amount over the same amount of damage made as one of the heavier hitters, so that no one weapon has any sort of recoil advantage. I personally wouldn't mind if recoil is very small, because it's just another aspect of the game we'd have to fine-tune, plus nobody likes when they're in an action movie-esque game and have to account for their characters going to the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy. It's another thing we can learn from TF2, you'll notice that not many of the guns even have recoil, and if they do, it's not a whole lot and doesn't affect the core gameplay.
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Re: Weapon Balancing and You!

Postby Vino » Wed May 02, 2012 1:32 pm

It's just a crummy way of balancing a game, and weapons with ridiculous recoil aren't fun and are difficult for new users.
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Re: Weapon Balancing and You!

Postby Antagonist » Thu May 03, 2012 7:17 pm

Yah man. I think that if you're gonna have recoil at all, you gotta put some serious, serious, serious work into it. Gotta have that risk/reward of spraying vs bursting vs tapping like CS has, and that pretty much requires an overhaul of the health system too to make it economical to fire fewer rounds (not fun in an "action" shooter). Having the whole screen drift with no reset even if you just shoot once just feels unexpected and looks kind of stupid. I never liked it too much in games. The screen shaking doesn't even make the gun feel powerful to me. I just think it feels really weird to be following the gun with my vision while it drifts in different directions. If that's supposed to simulate the power of your gun, you might as well have that terrible (optional) feature from Unreal, where you could have the whole screen flashing whenever you fired the minigun to simulate the power of the gun.


So yeah, I kind of hate on recoil. If you're not gonna read this because it's too much text, then ok. I just needed to get some of this off my chest because I hear a lot about how wonderful recoil can be and I just don't agree...

Recoil doesn't do much because once you learn how to control it, you'll burst snipe with the ak47 from half the map away just like in TS. Hell, by the end of the 3.0 lifecycle, the only gun I used was the desert eagle and it had the worst recoil of all the pistols. I was spamming at close range all the time because it was the best way to get a kill in mid stunt anyway. At that point, picking up a weaker gun with less recoil and more bullets would just have been stupid. The supposed trade-offs between huge damage/huge recoil and low damage/low recoil just weren't there when you could fire a whole DE mag into a guy with some practice. Recoil didn't make a difference in TS except for new players. If you just started playing, it's like rolling a dice whenever you're shooting. Nobody who likes predictable and skill-based challanges will enjoy features that make you feel like you are out of control of your weapon. It's just confusing, like Vino said.

From a design perspective, there's really no excuse for a videogame character to allow a his gun along with his vision to drift like in TS. Not in a modern game with a creative team like y'all that can come up with many better solutions. It doesn't work like in TS even if you're shooting a pistol one-handed. It feels really weird when that shaky shit happens to your ingame character who's an FBI agent or a super assassin, when it wouldn't happen to your average conservative survivalist at the shooting range. And TS isn't the only bad example of this kind of recoil. It's not even the worst example. If anyone played any of the big mods for UT during the big realism game craze (INFilitration, Strike Force, SWAT), you'll remember guns that made you put the mouse on the highest sensitivity setting just to control the crazy flailing recoil even when firing on 3 round burst. TS' recoil was particularly large in 3.0, but it didn't make a difference. Even the games that had much more recoil than TS didn't stop people from spraying. INFiltration servers had smgs banned from servers because they were so über compared to assault rifles when people learned how to control recoil.

Having flailing recoil in a game kind of reminds me of the way I feel about games where your player character is a genetically engineered prototype cyborg god of war, and the developers still put a stamina bar in the game that only lets you run for five seconds. The first moments into the game, you feel like shit trying to run until you find out that the dodge move your guy has doesn't drain as much stamina and even lets you glitch jump all over the place with some practice. Eventually everyone learns about this and the whole game becomes an airplane simulator and the devs are forced to either change it and alienate all the pr0s for the sake of the newbs or just let the game be all about exploiting that one glitch. Just like devs do with stamina bars, they think they're putting fun and realistic obstacles in the game, but they actually just unknowingly challenge the players to find a way to break it. Allowing a vulnerablility like that can have hilarious results but it's not always good gameplay design. With stamina bars, people will find a new way to get around instead of running. With recoil, players will eventually render it useless just by playing with it, which in time makes the most powerful guns superior in all situations just like in TS.

-EDIT-

Reading this whole thing, I just realized how negative it sounds. Understand that I had a lot of fun with TS but I think that DAB without recoil, like Vino's decided, can become much better and much more approachable without anyone feeling like we're missing out on a critical feature.
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Re: Weapon Balancing and You!

Postby Riet » Fri May 04, 2012 12:22 am

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Re: Weapon Balancing and You!

Postby TOGSolid » Fri May 04, 2012 6:29 am

Recoil can work great. Just not in anything Source based. HL engines suck shit at making guns feel good with dat dakkadakka.
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Re: Weapon Balancing and You!

Postby ThinRedPaste » Mon May 07, 2012 8:14 pm

I was thinking about this while out on the bike today, and I think we're still jumping the gun on balance, maybe. I feel like what we should do is get the entire arsenal implemented at least in a placeholder capacity, then start a process: get a test crew together where we put up a server, have everyone use the same gun for a few minutes, and collect data on how to make THAT gun "feel right" irrespective of the other guns. Then take the server down, change the scripts accordingly, and try it again. Focus on a single weapon per session, until we have them each dialed in for feel. Only after that do I think we'll have a decent starting point to actually balance stuff from.

I don't recall seeing some of the requisite variables in the scripts though - rates of accuracy decay and regen, for instance. maybe i just missed them?
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Re: Weapon Balancing and You!

Postby Vino » Mon May 07, 2012 8:30 pm

Accuracy decay isn't in scripts. I think it's best that it's uniform for all weapons and not a balancing factor. I think I mentioned this in the other thread, I don't want the weapons behaving too differently in accuracy decay, it's not good for newcomers and I'd rather the accuracy decay be something players don't think about but just understand intuitively.

ThinRedPaste wrote:I feel like what we should do is get the entire arsenal implemented at least in a placeholder capacity


Currently I have one weapon in each category with a placeholder model. That covers all 5 weapons that I wanted to target for 1.0. If some artists get on that shit and make more weapons I'd be happy to include them but this is as much as I'm going to go out of my way for.

In other words, they are all done in a placeholder capacity, unless you think it's insufficient. Otherwise we should start the playtest process, as you say.
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Re: Weapon Balancing and You!

Postby ThinRedPaste » Mon May 07, 2012 8:56 pm

Vino wrote:Accuracy decay isn't in scripts. I think it's best that it's uniform for all weapons and not a balancing factor. I think I mentioned this in the other thread, I don't want the weapons behaving too differently in accuracy decay, it's not good for newcomers and I'd rather the accuracy decay be something players don't think about but just understand intuitively.

ThinRedPaste wrote:I feel like what we should do is get the entire arsenal implemented at least in a placeholder capacity


Currently I have one weapon in each category with a placeholder model. That covers all 5 weapons that I wanted to target for 1.0. If some artists get on that shit and make more weapons I'd be happy to include them but this is as much as I'm going to go out of my way for.

In other words, they are all done in a placeholder capacity, unless you think it's insufficient. Otherwise we should start the playtest process, as you say.


Well, akimbos are kind of hard to account for. They can be implemented in too many ways (linked shots vs alternating, unrealistic accuracy vs realistic randomness, comparable damage to singles vs reduced damage to account for spam, main advantage over singles [higher dps/rof or just capacity], etc), and we'll need to be sure the single pistols make sense compared to them. (my preferences there are alternating, unrealistic, reduced damage, rof advantage btw). and by "placeholder" I'm talking copypasta the p99 and 1911 with AKIMBO written on the side for now, just so we can get those dialed in too.

Also I completely, wholeheartedly, passionately disagree about accuracy decay not being a balancing factor. Per weapon class, maybe, but I think it should be one of the main things we use to set the classes apart from one another. maybe akimbos aren't accurate to start with, but their accuracy decays less than the other guns, so you can spam them better? Not sure what people will think of that idea, but its a hypothetical example.


Also: Riet says he can host a server tomorrow the 8th, so let's get this shit started. Let's focus on the Fal to start, I don't think it needs a lot of tweaking. Time to follow.


edit: the 8th at 8 eastern. be there or have your opinions go unheard.
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Re: Weapon Balancing and You!

Postby Vino » Tue May 08, 2012 12:46 am

Shit dude you need to plan a playtest more than one day in advance. I'm booked solid on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I suppose if you want to go ahead it's no big deal, everybody already knows my thoughts... please try to schedule ahead of time though, people have lives.

Anyway, I'll put an akimbo placeholder in next version.

Maybe since you so vehemently disagree with accuracy decay then we're talking about different things. It's probably my fault because what I'm calling accuracy decay isn't the same thing as what was in TS. What I put in this version of TS is a "hand steadiness" sort of mechanism. A weapon starts with its steadiness at 0 and that bounces up every time the player fires and falls back down to zero if the player doesn't fire. A steadiness of zero actually maps to a spread (the distance from center for a bullet) multiplier of about 20%, and a steadiness of 1 means that the weapon's accuracy is normal. This means that the first shot is really accurate, more accurate than what's in the script files, and the next shots decrease accuracy to the script file value. So, the hand steadiness mechanism starts the weapon with good accuracy and over one or two shots degrades it, but never decreases accuracy worse than the values in the script files.

So from now on I'm going to call that mechanism hand steadiness instead of accuracy decay. I don't want that mechanism to be varied between each weapon. In fact, the player shouldn't even know it's there. Its purpose is to make it so that shots are more accurate if the player fires slower. That's a behavior that happens almost subliminally by the player, slowing down to get more accuracy. It's also a really good risk-tradeoff mechanic, where the player trades his rate of fire for more accuracy. It needs to be consistent throughout all the weapons. If you start to use it to balance weapons then it defeats its purpose - to be a behind the scenes mechanism that players use without knowing. If it's used in balance then players should know about it and make a conscious choice to use it.

Which brings me to why I don't want to include accuracy decay in the game. Let's say you present this information to a player

The Rifle
Accuracy: High
Rate of Fire: Moderate
Damage: Moderate

The SMG
Accuracy: Low
Rate of Fire: High
Damage: Low

The Pistol
Accuracy: Moderate
Rate of Fire: Low
Damage: High

This is the basic balance between these three classes of weapons. You can present this information to the player rather simply. There's three categories, each one of them is easy to understand. Accuracy? Well that's not an SAT word, everybody knows what it is. Damage? Pretty obvious. A player can understand the tradeoffs he's going to face for each of these weapons, before he enters the game.

"Accuracy Decay" ? What does that mean? Yeah you and I know it but nobody who wasn't part of the TS 2.1+ forums and tightly involved in the RC process will know. That's basically less than 50 people, out of hundreds of thousands who will play the game. How do you train a person on what "Accuracy Decay" is? Well you could, but it's not obvious and you'd have to have some text or something, and it generally means that the player reading and isn't playing the game which is bad. You could mix Accuracy Decay into just general Accuracy, but then is a weapon with high accuracy decay a low or high accuracy weapon? It starts with good accuracy but then the accuracy gets terrible. Is it high or low? Or you could just not explain to the player and leave them to guess why their high accuracy weapon goes to shit accuracy.

The gain of accuracy decay is a little bit of balance capability and a little bit of being able to differentiate weapons from each other. In my opinion we already have enough differentiation variables:

Weapon type which determines:
* Bullet penetration
* Damage loss at range
* Fire mode
* Use of aim-in
Rate of Fire
Damage
Temp recoil
Perm recoil
Accuracy
Mag size
Draw/reload time

That's a lot of differentiation, and it doesn't even include aesthetic things like the model and sound and animations. So we don't need much more differentiation or balancing power, I think we can get a sizeable arsenal without it. Ergo, not worth the usability penalty.

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Re: Weapon Balancing and You!

Postby ThinRedPaste » Tue May 08, 2012 1:45 am

Vino wrote:Shit dude you need to plan a playtest more than one day in advance. I'm booked solid on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I suppose if you want to go ahead it's no big deal, everybody already knows my thoughts... please try to schedule ahead of time though, people have lives.


its because of those lives that its so soon, actually. Riet will be unable to host for an as yet undetermined amount of time after tomorrow, and ive got crap going on the next few days. So this is when it was possible. But the idea here is to do a BUNCH of these. I dont expect every person to make every one.

I read the big post, but its too late to argue it right now. you'll hear from me about it though. Basically I want to add a "stability" stat to the little lists.
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Re: Weapon Balancing and You!

Postby misanq » Tue May 08, 2012 6:19 am

To be honest, I would call it recoil for the unwashed masses, since that's what MW, CS and BF3 call it and most people will equate everything from muzzle rise to stability decay and view vibration as 'recoil' anyway.

Either way, having stability be the equal across the board isn't really equal, since weapons that do more damage per bullet technically end up with an accuracy advantage. Though, how much the advantage is depends on how important stability in the first place, I guess.
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