The Ur-Quan Masters Discussion Forum

The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release => General UQM Discussion => Topic started by: Shiver on October 19, 2009, 03:50:41 am



Title: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Shiver on October 19, 2009, 03:50:41 am
After many plays with it, I'm starting to think that the current (v1.20) balance mod Dreadnought might be a bad addition. It's at exactly the level of power it needs to be to match Kohr-Ah and Chmmr, but the ship is sort of mindless during gameplay. There is almost no skill involved in playing as this ship and only a little when trying to stomp on it. The tension present in other game-deciding fights such as Druuge vs. Chmmr just isn't there with any of the frequently recurring Ur-Quan match-ups. Ur-Quan mod fighters just roll right over everything that isn't carrying a fool-proof countermeasure to deal with them. It was a mistake to place so much emphasis on an automated weapon.

So I'm going to try changing things around. If you have any ideas on how to upgrade the original Dreadnought, this is the place for them. I have some new ideas up on the drawing board already but I want to hear yours.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Angelfish on October 19, 2009, 11:34:37 am
How about making the fighters have 2 crew instead of 1? That'd make fighter spamming a bit less profitable.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Death 999 on October 19, 2009, 04:24:57 pm
1) Greatly increase the fighters' speed (reducing duration to hold total distance traveled constant), but reduce their total damage output. This would lower the stakes so if one pair of fighters gets alongside early in its flight, you don't lose the whole ship. Options would include:
1a) limit their ammo. I'd suggest 3 or 4 shots. If the interdicting shots count, then raise that figure. There could be an excuse for interdicting shots not counting on this total.
1b) have each shot count down their return timer by a substantial amount
1c) slash their fire rate.

Alternately...

2) substantially increase their weapon range and have them stay at that longer range. It's much easier to turn and pick them off if they can't keep up with your turning. This will help some ships far more than others.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Angelfish on October 19, 2009, 04:35:58 pm
To make them easier to pick off, you can also make them behave a bit more like standard small fighters, so instead of shooting from the sides they'd have to shoot from the front and thus make specific manoevers to be able to do this (engage, fire, turn around for another run). Not only would this make them easier to kill because somewhere during engaging or during turning they'd have to enter a firing field in which they are easy to pick off, but it also makes it look way cooler :)... But I can imagine that programming the fighters this way could prove to be a bit difficult.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Death 999 on October 20, 2009, 04:12:13 pm
It'd help for that purpose to make them able to pass through enemy ships. And while we're at it, asteroids. Make the opponent need to actually shoot them down...


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Shiver on October 20, 2009, 05:21:12 pm
Death999: Can't use any kind of super fighter. That means there either needs to be a tertiary ability, an upgraded fusion cannon or more ship mobility. Again, the problem is that the current mod Dreadnought takes no skill. It's already right where I want it in terms of power.

Angelfish: I can dial back different features on the current fighters no problem. But I'm not looking for fighter nerf suggestions, I'm looking for Dreadnought upgrade suggestions.


Quote from: Death999
It'd help for that purpose to make them able to pass through enemy ships. And while we're at it, asteroids. Make the opponent need to actually shoot them down...

The current mod fighters are already asteroid-proof and shipcrash-proof. Many of the features on the current fighter will carry over into later revisions of the Dreadnought.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: AngusThermopyle on October 20, 2009, 05:40:02 pm
How about something that makes the Dreadnought accelerate faster (and attain higher velocities) than it does currently when using a gravity whip? It would be difficult to control at first, but more powerful in the right hands.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: SuddenDeath on October 20, 2009, 08:45:34 pm
How about something that makes the Dreadnought accelerate faster (and attain higher velocities) than it does currently when using a gravity whip? It would be difficult to control at first, but more powerful in the right hands.

Simply reducing its mass would do this, right?
In that case, it would also be more responsive to things like the Chmmr tractor beam.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Death 999 on October 21, 2009, 05:32:23 pm
Death999: Can't use any kind of super fighter.

it's a nerf. If you get fighters in on the enemy, how many hits do you expect it to inflict? Something like 6?

If it could only do 2 hits, then it'd spend a lot more time in transit, where it can be more easily shot down.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: CelticMinstrel on October 21, 2009, 05:40:51 pm
How about something that makes the Dreadnought accelerate faster (and attain higher velocities) than it does currently when using a gravity whip? It would be difficult to control at first, but more powerful in the right hands.

Simply reducing its mass would do this, right?
In that case, it would also be more responsive to things like the Chmmr tractor beam.
Wouldn't reducing the mass make it less responsive to the tractor beam?


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Shiver on October 21, 2009, 06:28:12 pm
Quote from: Death 999
it's a nerf. If you get fighters in on the enemy, how many hits do you expect it to inflict? Something like 6?

High speed fighters sounds like a different can of worms, but I'll remember your suggestion.


Quote from: AngusThermopyle
How about something that makes the Dreadnought accelerate faster (and attain higher velocities) than it does currently when using a gravity whip? It would be difficult to control at first, but more powerful in the right hands.

I can program that. Ur-Quan wouldn't benefit from it much at all, though. Forward firing weapon + fighters which you need to break gravity whip to retrieve? It's not going to change any match outcomes. The same bonus applied to VUX, Mycon, Earthling, Kohr-Ah and maybe a few other ships would be devastating.


Quote from: SuddenDeath
Simply reducing its mass would do this, right?

No.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Death 999 on October 21, 2009, 07:09:18 pm
If they're high speed low damge, they act more like long-range missiles... which if they got shot down hurt you. You can't just get two lucky fighters through out of a squad of 8 and finish off a ship starting in good health, as you can do now.

But you're right. Ships like the Penetrator have a lot of trouble from fighters now; raising their speed even slightly would make the match insane.

Maybe the song can have a chance - maybe peaking at 10% nearby - of converting nearby CREW_OBJECTs to friendly floating crew?


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Rob on October 21, 2009, 08:23:31 pm
Fighters aside, I think it would be interesting to increase the speed, keep the firing rate of the fusion bolts the same or slightly higher, and make their range significantly shorter.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Shiver on October 23, 2009, 06:52:23 pm
Fast Dreadnought would probably work, but it wouldn't be thematic to have a Dreadnought that moves faster than Kohr-Ah or Chmmr.


Something I've noticed about the Dreadnought (vanilla or mod) is that it almost always has excess energy around. This is not true of Kohr-Ah or Chmmr at all. Those two ships are constantly leveraging their energy against their opponent throughout combat. Both have energy hog weapons (FRIED, either Chmmr weapon) which are powerful but limited by how fast their ship can recovery battery. The best solution in my view is to nerf the fighters back down to a supporting role and make them cheap on energy to launch, then give Ur-Quan a powerful yet highly inefficient energy hog weapon. This way Ur-Quan players will use the ship's crew as a back-up weapon after their energy banks have been depleted. I can think of two approaches here:

A) Increase the velocity of the fusion cannon so that it functions as a long range weapon, but increase its energy cost significantly. Ur-Quan will be forced to use fighters to protect itself from flanking ships or when under attack while its battery is low. I can use either the jumbo bolt graphic or the regular one depending on how powerful this weapon turns out to be. The downside to this option is that the fusion cannon will be almost identical to the Druuge mass driver in function.

B) Add a third weapon that fires a long range homing projectile which does 1 or 2 damage and eats up 1/2, 3/4ths or even all of the Dreadnought's energy to fire. The downside is that this would be a full-blown third weapon in a game where every other ship has two, and I'm not sure that's a line I want to cross. Ilwrath's tri-flame does partially break this rule already.

Any thoughts on this?


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Rob on October 24, 2009, 05:36:03 am
Yes, I like this idea. It would also take care of the thematic problem, in fact it would add to the thematic element I guess you could say.

What about a Chenjesu type of modification to the fusion bolt? I have two specific ideas in regard to that.

a). Like the Chenjesu missile, the fusion bolt will propagate as long as you hold down the fire key. Once you release it, it would explode (by explode, I mean it would burst into small fusion blasts in multiple directions, like the Chenjesu shrapnel) with a power or range in proportion to how long you held the key (up to a maximum that would be roughly equal to the Kohr-Ah FRIED), which would thus dispel a range of energies (which makes it different from Chenjesu). Rapid fire of the fusion bolt would roughly follow the way it is now. An additional modification to not make the Dreadnought overpowered would be to decrease its speed slightly, but that can be worked out later.

b.) Turn the Dreadnought into a Broodhome with fighers. So, the fusion bolts would release shrapnel with a set range and energy. Might be interesting, might not.

Either way, I think you're pretty limited on your options unless you're planning on designing an entirely new weapon, right? You could either make the range bigger on the fusion gun, make it more powerful or make it do a trick (perhaps fire from different angles at the same time). Hope those ideas help.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Death 999 on October 24, 2009, 05:41:58 am
To increase its viability as a long range weapon, you could make it longer. If each shot is a huge pillar of flame, a slightly-too-early shot is still a hit.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Shiver on October 25, 2009, 12:30:44 am
Experimenting with Long Range Fusion variant. Results pending...


To increase its viability as a long range weapon, you could make it longer. If each shot is a huge pillar of flame, a slightly-too-early shot is still a hit.

Yeah, definitely. I'm leaning on duration more than velocity right now to differentiate the weapon from Druuge's mass driver.


Quote from: Rob
What about a Chenjesu type of modification to the fusion bolt?

[...]

Don't like either of those ideas. Ur-Quan needs to be unique, not a knock-off of some other ship. Plus, the Ur-Quan exploding fusion bolt would have to surpass the Chenjesu weapon to make the ship competitive.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Mormont on October 26, 2009, 03:27:57 am
How about you keep the current fusion bolt as is and add a super fusion bolt as a third weapon? It could be longer-ranged and have a bigger graphic and hitbox, maybe deal eight damage, but would consume a whole lot of fuel.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Bleeding Star on October 26, 2009, 11:36:15 am
Giving the fusion bolts slight homing ability  (e.g. flagship with one ATS unit) would increase utility. Though perhaps not do much to increase the fun factor of the ship.

Longer range would also be a good idea, though not quite up to the range of the mauler.

While you note that the Dreadnought often has large reserves of energy available, I find that once I get in range, I'm firing fusion bolts constantly an always short of energy. Dropping the cost to make the fusion bolts more spammable would increase effectiveness once in range.

Don't like the shrapnel idea as it duplicates the Broodhome too much.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Shiver on October 30, 2009, 04:15:09 am
I tried a new fusion bolt with Melnorme red pulse range (a fairly small jump from 1600 to 1800 distance) against Gekko playing various ships and it wasn't nearly enough. Dreadnought projectiles are very easy to avoid with anything when fired over a long distance while moving at their default velocity. So if the solution to the Dreadnought's lackluster performance is longer cannon range, it would pretty much have to become a duplicate of the Druuge projectile. I've decided that that's a bad solution.


Quote from: Bleeding Star
Giving the fusion bolts slight homing ability  (e.g. flagship with one ATS unit) would increase utility. Though perhaps not do much to increase the fun factor of the ship.

This is the next approach that I'm looking into. Some sort of weak homing capability. Maybe make the weapon not seek at all until it has traveled for 6-10 frames. Combine limited homing with slightly longer range and we might have something worth playing as. I'm not sure about the details yet.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Shiver on November 07, 2009, 06:12:37 am
/ ! \  DOUBLEPOST  / ! \

I've got a new Dreadnought (http://wiki.uqm.stack.nl/User:Shiver/Balance_Mod/Change_Log#Ur-Quan_Dreadnought) in Balance Mod v1.21 which is now available for download that uses a semi-homing fusion bolt. I left the mod fighter behavior pattern in (the pursuit AI, not the projectile interdiction or energy drain) so they are still pretty vicious. This build might not be permanent but I gave it a thorough 2 hour testing session with Gekko and it seemed alright. The ship takes more skill to win with than the last one, but there are still plenty of match-ups you can breeze by with indiscriminate fighter spam.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: psydev on November 10, 2009, 08:19:14 am
I've always had the impression that the canonical Ur-Quan dreadnought would have a fusion blaster with a variable charge--that is, the Captain could choose to fire either smaller fusion bolts or to charge up to fire a massively powerful bolt. I imagine that a weapon that can fire many small shots could do them in quick succession, like stream of fusion plasma, at least for a while. In practice this might resemble a "flamethrower" type weapon: weak but likely to hit a target with a flood of fire.

I also like the idea of a fusion blast that explodes at a certain distance from the dreadnought, creating a catastrophic energy release at some point in space, damaging nearby objects. This might be good for the powerful bolt, where the longer you hold down the "charge" button, the more it charges, and also the further it goes before exploding. A possibility, in any case.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Cedric6014 on November 10, 2009, 10:18:39 am
Fast Dreadnought would probably work, but it wouldn't be thematic to have a Dreadnought that moves faster than Kohr-Ah or Chmmr.


Something I've noticed about the Dreadnought (vanilla or mod) is that it almost always has excess energy around. This is not true of Kohr-Ah or Chmmr at all. Those two ships are constantly leveraging their energy against their opponent throughout combat. Both have energy hog weapons (FRIED, either Chmmr weapon) which are powerful but limited by how fast their ship can recovery battery. The best solution in my view is to nerf the fighters back down to a supporting role and make them cheap on energy to launch, then give Ur-Quan a powerful yet highly inefficient energy hog weapon. This way Ur-Quan players will use the ship's crew as a back-up weapon after their energy banks have been depleted. I can think of two approaches here:

A) Increase the velocity of the fusion cannon so that it functions as a long range weapon, but increase its energy cost significantly. Ur-Quan will be forced to use fighters to protect itself from flanking ships or when under attack while its battery is low. I can use either the jumbo bolt graphic or the regular one depending on how powerful this weapon turns out to be. The downside to this option is that the fusion cannon will be almost identical to the Druuge mass driver in function.

B) Add a third weapon that fires a long range homing projectile which does 1 or 2 damage and eats up 1/2, 3/4ths or even all of the Dreadnought's energy to fire. The downside is that this would be a full-blown third weapon in a game where every other ship has two, and I'm not sure that's a line I want to cross. Ilwrath's tri-flame does partially break this rule already.

Any thoughts on this?


Shiver

I think a tertiary weapon is perhaps more unthematic than increasing the speed.

My suggestion in two parts:
a) Increase the damage of the fusion bolt to 8 or increase the turning rate
b) Only the most recent two fighters launched stay in defence position - the rest attack as usual.

Loses the impenetrable fighter shield while keeping a couple in reserve for Orz marines. Countered by increase in damage or turning rate.





Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: psydev on November 18, 2009, 03:48:16 am
This might be a long shot, but I always envisioned the Ur-Quan Dreadnought as an strategic-industrial ship more than a tactical engagement ship. I read in some canon (either the SC manuals or in the dialogue) that a single Ur-Quan had been known to subdue an entire star system by itself. Given that, I think we can assume that it plays a mothership role and relies heavily on fighters.

In my imagination, I imagine raw material being shipped to the dreadnought where they are fabricated into spare parts and entire fighters. The need for cargo space, lots of fuel storage, machinery for fighter repairs, etc. makes it a hulking behemoth, and not too maneuverable. But this lack of maneuverability is made up for with its capacity to launch huge waves of fighters.

So, how about an Ur-Quan that captures asteroids and then uses them to repair the crew (i.e. to make more fighters?) Make the fighters as they were in SC2, kinda dumb and weak, and prone to running into things (but not to collide with asteroids). This makes them more expendable so that the Ur-Quan can launch wave after wave of fighters without worrying too much about not being able to replace them.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Shiver on November 18, 2009, 04:26:57 am
I'll keep an eye on this thread of course, but it will be difficult to talk me into implementing a new build. I'm satisfied with using Bleeding Star's idea for the moment.



Quote from: Cedric6014
My suggestion in two parts:
a) Increase the damage of the fusion bolt to 8 or increase the turning rate
b) Only the most recent two fighters launched stay in defence position - the rest attack as usual.

a) Higher fusion bolt damage is a wrong-headed upgrade for sure. Ur-Quan would gain the upper hand against Chmmr and not a lot else.

b) I don't see the point in that. The current fighters aren't so much "defensive" as smart. Their behavior was modeled after the Sa-Matra sentinels by Elivsh Pillager months ago.


I've always had the impression that the canonical Ur-Quan dreadnought would have a fusion blaster with a variable charge--that is, the Captain could choose to fire either smaller fusion bolts or to charge up to fire a massively powerful bolt. I imagine that a weapon that can fire many small shots could do them in quick succession, like stream of fusion plasma, at least for a while. In practice this might resemble a "flamethrower" type weapon: weak but likely to hit a target with a flood of fire.

I also like the idea of a fusion blast that explodes at a certain distance from the dreadnought, creating a catastrophic energy release at some point in space, damaging nearby objects. This might be good for the powerful bolt, where the longer you hold down the "charge" button, the more it charges, and also the further it goes before exploding. A possibility, in any case.

Would you be offended if my response to this was "nope" and little else?


This might be a long shot, but I always envisioned the Ur-Quan Dreadnought as an strategic-industrial ship more than a tactical engagement ship. I read in some canon (either the SC manuals or in the dialogue) that a single Ur-Quan had been known to subdue an entire star system by itself. Given that, I think we can assume that it plays a mothership role and relies heavily on fighters.

In my imagination, I imagine raw material being shipped to the dreadnought where they are fabricated into spare parts and entire fighters. The need for cargo space, lots of fuel storage, machinery for fighter repairs, etc. makes it a hulking behemoth, and not too maneuverable. But this lack of maneuverability is made up for with its capacity to launch huge waves of fighters.

So, how about an Ur-Quan that captures asteroids and then uses them to repair the crew (i.e. to make more fighters?) Make the fighters as they were in SC2, kinda dumb and weak, and prone to running into things (but not to collide with asteroids). This makes them more expendable so that the Ur-Quan can launch wave after wave of fighters without worrying too much about not being able to replace them.


I tried an Ur-Quan build that used crewless robotic fighters back before fighters got all those behavior upgrades. It brought Ur-Quan up to the level of power that I wanted, but it was so hopelessly mindless to play with. The fighters became like those spammable Mmrnmhrm popcorn missiles. This "eat asteroids for crew" approach tries to recreate the same fighter spamminess, but also allows Ur-Quan to self-heal. I am not ever giving anything but Mycon a self-heal ability.


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Aneninen on June 20, 2010, 12:28:01 pm
Here comes a new idea - however, it gives a third abilitiy to the Dreadnought.
(In the case if you wants to change the latest version again)

How about (Down+Fire) launches a drone? (The image can be similar to the one which 'greets' you as you approach Earth at the start of the game)

- As the drone reaches the opponent it loses ALL its speed instantly
- Also, it disrupts every move as if the player released every key (eg.  the Trader launches its energy ball instantly, the Marauder's guided spinning blade stops etc.)
- Drone speed is about Orz speed and it follows the enemy ship, but, in an unintelligent way (it won't dodge shots, won't avoid being in front of the opponents weapon etc.)
- It has about 6 HPs so with a few exception one single shot is not enough for destroying it
- Only 1 drone can be active at the same time and it gets destroyed after the first successful hit
- Energy usage shouldn't be too high
- As an extra, it could cause the end of a Guardian's blazer form as well but doesn't affect the Probe's speed
- If it's too weak it can also cause the opponent vessel a 1 second freeze after the successful hit


Pro:
- Unique ability, no other ship has it
- It can force out the opponent from a Gravity Whip
- Devastating against ships with terrible acceleration


Con:
- Third ability which is non-canonique
- It doesn't cause any direct damage


Title: Re: Modding the Dreadnought, revisited
Post by: Death 999 on June 21, 2010, 04:26:46 pm
con: it doesn't fit the ship thematically.

Not doing direct damage is not a problem at all. Of the 25 special abilities, only 10 do damage (fighters, FRIED, tongue, BUTT, PDL, marines, comet, song, glory device, afterburner)