The Ur-Quan Masters Discussion Forum

The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release => General UQM Discussion => Topic started by: Shiver on March 06, 2019, 09:37:26 pm

Title: Balance Mod updated
Post by: Shiver on March 06, 2019, 09:37:26 pm
All this news circulating about Star Control got me messing with my old Super Melee mod again. Balance Mod was my attempt at fixing and improving UQM's combat for competitive PvP matches which began a little over 10 years ago from today. After some experimenting and tuning, I've updated it again. A theme of this update is reverting back to original game mechanics anywhere I can get away with it. Ur-Quan fighter craft no longer drain energy from the target they're shooting at - while there was a good reason for implementing that, it encroached on Chenjesu's design too much. Supox gets its old battery regen back, VUX limpets get their old duration back, Arilou's teleport burns 3 energy as before, and Shofixti's glory device can crack Chmmr satellites again. I restored Umgah's default, faster turn rate and instead impair the ship's turning while the ship's Antimatter Cone is active, which feels pretty good in-game.

I added something new as well: An 'aim-assist' for my favorite ship, the Melnorme Trader. This feature is optional and can be toggled on and off with the 'down' key, When toggled on, the ship sends out little holograms which trace the charge-up weapon's firing path. Being a specialized sharp-shooter, Melnorme has always been a difficult one to play. I hope this feature helps other players enjoy piloting the ship as much as I do. Cheers!

Title: Re: Balance Mod updated
Post by: Death 999 on March 06, 2019, 11:35:09 pm
Ah, good. I always felt that the power drain on the fighters was out of place.

I guess I could look into making a mac build.

Title: Re: Balance Mod updated
Post by: astkr5 on March 13, 2019, 07:02:15 am
The Umgah change is very welcome. After playing the Melnorme for years the aim-assist takes some getting used to, but I like that the option's there. It's been a long time since I looked at the game though -- did you adjust any point values since the last iteration of the mod to compensate for some of these (relative) nerfs/buffs or do you think most of these are just minor thematic or quality-of-life stuff?

Title: Re: Balance Mod updated
Post by: Shiver on March 13, 2019, 09:44:13 pm
The only point value change was for Ilwrath, which got bumped up from 10 to 12. Although I did re-tune the ship's weapon (slightly shorter range & the diagonal flame spouts drain 1 extra energy per shot instead of 2), it probably should have been at that value all along. Mod Ilwrath has always been noticeably stronger than its vanilla counterpart.

I don't think any changes in this update alter the match-up dynamics enough to necessitate other point value changes.

Title: Re: Balance Mod updated
Post by: Mormont on March 17, 2019, 09:18:39 pm
Cool, I'll try to take a look soon!

Title: Re: Balance Mod updated
Post by: Shiver on September 09, 2019, 02:31:15 am
I've updated the mod again to version 2.10. Included is a change log of the past two updates...


* Photon shard detonation also releases a small shockwave which inflicts 1 damage to non-friendlies within a smaller area than shrapnel blast radius. This effect is accompanied by a new, pretty animation.
A little extra damage has been added for shard explosions. This is helpful when your shard barely misses the enemy ship, or when clearing out hostile objects such as Ur-Quan fighters.
* The Shrapnel graphic at max-zoom has been reverted to its old image. The larger replacement graphic I added years ago is a bit ugly. With the new shockwave, the extra projectile coverage (the reason for the altered graphic) is not needed.

* Aim-assist holograms now shift position relative to the Trader's trajectory, making this tool much better for lining up shots.
* Confusion disables the afflicted opponent's 'Down' key again.
This must've been missed when the mod got ported from 0.6.2 to 0.7.

* Dart velocity 90 -> 80.

* Tightened spread of front gun just barely.

* Siren Song cooldown 24 -> 23.
* Max crew capacity 42 -> 32.

* Afterburner puff duration 72 -> 60.
Vanilla afterburner flames last 48 frames. This is still longer.
* Weapon relativity lowered from full to 3/4.

* Fighter laser cooldown 12 -> 14.
* Will not launch fighters against Earthling, as seen in vanilla UQM and probably pre-0.7 versions of Balance Mod.

* A fully ensnared opponent's turn rate is reduced a touch more.
* Increased maximum warp-in distance from the enemy ship slightly. Again.


[General Changes]
* Fleet scoring system reverted; the alternate point system that grants partial points for damaged ships is no longer displayed.
* Several AI fixes restored. These were not transferred over when this mod was ported to UQM 0.7.

* Top speed lowered (44 -> 42).
* Teleport energy cost reverted to default (4 -> 3).
The higher cost hasn't been needed, so I've dialed it back down.
* Forward teleport's minimum distance increased a bit (240 -> 250).
* Teleport transit time increased by 1 frame.
* Post-teleport weapon freeze decreased by 1 frame.
* Post-teleport movement freeze decreased by 1 frame.
The skiff spends a shorter instant disabled after a teleport.
* Removed post-teleport freeze of the teleporter itself.
Arilou performs feints against Shofixti a tiny bit better this way; it can't be stuck next to it for even a small fraction of a second.

* Point value increased (10 -> 12).
Ilwrath hard-counters Arilou and has been too useful elsewhere to cost 10.
* Hellfire spout diagonal attack consumes energy at a lower rate.
* Hellfire spout velocity decreased from 35 to 32.
* Holographic Targeting Aid added! When toggled on, the Trader will periodically send out holographic tracers which replicate their primary weapon's firing path. This feature is only detectable to its pilot; it does not display for cyborg/network-controlled Trader ships. Press 'Down' to toggle this feature on and off.
* Blaster pulse relativity (which applies the ship's trajectory to its projectiles) increased from 1/2 to 3/4.

* Glory Device damage inflicts extra damage vs non-ship objects.
Glory Device is now more capable of shredding Chmmr satellites, although not as easily as it did in vanilla UQM.
* Re-arranged dart gun projectile velocity (92 -> 90) and duration (9 -> 10).
The shorter duration given to this projectile made it look choppy, which has been reverted.

* Battery regen delay restored to its original value (5 -> 4).

* Turn speed restored to its original value ("turn_wait" 5 -> 4).
* Turn speed slows down while the Drone's antimatter cone is active (+2 turn_wait).
Balance Mod's "big cone" made this ship a little overpowered until the ship's turn rate was nerfed. Turn_wait 5 was perfectly fair, but it gave the ship an unsatisfying, sluggish feel. This new variable turn rate lets the ship's pilot shift focus between mobility vs attack & defense.

* Fusion bolt "shot cycling" gimmick removed; fusion bolts only fire out of the front of the ship again rather than cycling between the front, left arm, and right arm.
* Fusion bolt energy cost reverted (5 -> 6).
* Fusion bolts use a wide sprite again, as seen in previous versions of this mod.
* Fusion bolt relativity (which applies the ship's trajectory to its projectiles) decreased from 100% to 75%.
Full relativity for the fusion cannon did not feel right and was too disadvantageous when moving away from an opponent.
* Fighter laser no longer drains target energy per laser strike.
This effect was neat, but it encroached on Chenjesu's design space too much (energy-siphoning support craft).
* Fighter laser cooldown decreased substantially (24 -> 12).
* Fighters hold their fire against invulnerable targets.
Ur-Quan keeps the upper-hand against Utwig this way, which is crucial for game balance and the main reason behind the energy-draining fighter beams.
* Fighter laser color reverted (cyan -> yellow).
* Turret no longer fires upon enemy ships. It is now strictly a defensive countermeasure.
* Turret expends more energy per shot (1 -> 2).

* Ship mass lowered (5 -> 4).
This gives the ship more 'bounce' when colliding with large ships, which helps it get away from a stationary Utwig after warping in right next to it.
* Limpet duration restored to its original value (72 -> 80).
The small nerf I gave to this was not needed.
* Battery capacity increased up to 36.
* Increased maximum warp-in distance from the enemy ship slightly.

* "Spitball" weapon relativity decreased 2/3 -> 1/2.

Title: Re: Balance Mod updated
Post by: Shiver on September 22, 2019, 10:44:15 pm
Played some more games, did some more tinkering. Most notably, we're bringing back odd point values. Shofixti, Ilwrath, and Mycon in particular are much better off with them. This is a long change log, and I don't know if anyone follows my adjustments closely, but here it is.


* Forward teleport's destination has reduced lateral variance.
Forward teleport is randomized to prevent skilled players from to warping with total precision. For some reason, I wrote lateral variance to be double compared to forward/backward variation. I don't know why anymore, but this has been rectified.
* Melee camera repositions to Arilou's destination one frame sooner during a teleport cycle.
This looks smoother.
* Ship cost decreased. (18 -> 17)
* Ship cost decreased. (12 -> 11)
* When attacking with a full battery, the side spouts will fire 2 shots each rather than 3.
Too much burst damage from this weapon was causing problems for Androsynth and Mmrnmhrm while duking it out at close range.

* Holo-targeting cooldown increased. (12 -> 13)
Aim-assist animation appears less frenetic this way.

* Crew count increased. (20 -> 22)
I gave this jack-of-all-trades a little more crew to justify its 20 pt cost. It's been getting knocked around a lot lately.

* Ship cost decreased. (16 -> 15)

* Crew count increased. (16 -> 18)
Despite other changes, Orz still wasn't quite holding up. It would lose so much crew taking out Ur-Quan that a dingy Earthling or Thraddash could snipe it afterward.

* Ship cost decreased. (20 -> 19)

* Ship cost decreased. (6 -> 5)
Shofixti in particular really benefits from odd point values returning. I believe this ship has been over-nerfed for as long as Balance Mod has been around.
* Acceleration increment decreased. (5 -> 4)
Speaking of nerfs, here's another one! This helps prevent "kamikaze-less" wins, which are not desirable against well-played, fully-crewed ships. I may do away with this change later if it proves to be too much.
* Dart velocity increased. (80 -> 84)
Returning some of the reduced range from last update.
* Glory Device damage formula re-jiggered; it deals a bit more damage when that damage won't be lethal to the enemy ship.
The weird rules I attach to this weapon help Shofixti be useful yet leave Arilou with a better chance to survive against it - balancing those two ships against each other has been unpleasant to say the least.

* Lighting range cap extended. (160 -> 168)

* Torpedo duration increased. (24 -> 25)

* Ship cost decreased. (8 -> 7)
* Turn penalty while weapon is active increased. (2 -> 3)
* Fighter formation code revised. Fighters fan out from each other more and their movements are smoother. Fan out distance is much lower during a victory sequence.
* Jumbo fusion bolts narrowed in width slightly.
These were clearing out Orz marines (Ur-Quan's intended hard counter) too well sometimes.
* Point-defense shot may turn twice on the same frame while chasing a target.
A fringe accuracy buff to UQ's point defense.
* Point-defense shot duration decreased. (10 -> 8 frames)
These never stay around that long unless they somehow miss a target. This change prevents the shots from awkwardly careening around as much before they expire.
* Point-defense no longer targets Chenjesu shrapnel.
Accuracy against spinning fragments is abysmal. PD doesn't know how to pick out which bits will hit the Dreadnought, nor how to run into something that travels in a sharp curve, and I'm not going to teach it. Stopping the countermeasure in this instance prevents wasted energy.
* Ship cost decreased. (24 -> 23)
* Crew count increased. (20 -> 22)
A small boost to help Utwig tussle with Kohr-Ah. This should be fine, as more crew gives no real advantage versus Utwig's counters (limpets, confusion).

* Ship cost decreased. (14 -> 13)
VUX's price drop coincides with Utwig's. VUX should be a little more usable outside of its primary niche this way.

* Shield cooldown increased. (8 -> 10) Battery recharge freeze also increased to match.
Nerfed shield spam. It's easier to score hits against a defensive Yehat.

Title: Re: Balance Mod updated
Post by: Death 999 on September 23, 2019, 01:42:17 am
FWIW, I do read these. I'd love to play itů maybe I can get it onto one of the PCs in my family.

Title: Re: Balance Mod updated
Post by: Shiver on October 17, 2019, 09:52:52 pm
Here's a small update that helps out VUX and sands away a few more rough edges.


* After the blazer damages an enemy ship, it is non-damaging for a single frame (1/24th of a second).
This halves the rate of damage dealt whenever Androsynth 'wedges' into an opponent. It still wrecks things alarmingly fast, but no longer at "you blink, you miss it" speed.
* Diagonal spouts consume 2 energy per burst. (Was at 1 for the last few updates)
Lowering the threat this ship poses to Androsynth and Mmrnmhrm back down some more.
* Top speed 26 -> 27, as in vanilla.
This might get reverted in the future due to its trickiness versus Chenjesu and Kohr-Ah, but I want to see how it shakes out.

* Acceleration increment restored to previous value. (4 -> 5)
The accel nerf from the last patch has been detrimental. Shofixti needs accel to catch Syreen (usually via gravity whip), which has few counter options already.
* Energy regeneration delay increased. (9 -> 11)
This is a dart nerf, intended to impair Shofixti's ability to win fights without its Glory Device.

* Limpet energy cost 3 -> 2.
VUX has a faster battery in Balance Mod, but this higher cost was still too debilitating.
* For each limpet deployed, energy recovery stalls slightly. This effect is cumulative; dumping an entire battery's worth of limpets will stall recovery for longer.
Limpet energy cost has been scaled up by a fraction to match the ship's faster battery.