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What should a Combat DLC look like?

Discussion in 'General' started by SirConnery, Dec 15, 2019.

  1. Cameron_XV Trainee Engineer

    It is pretty unlikely that any future space combat is going to involve anything resembling a dogfight. It will mostly be done by ships firing guided projectiles at each other from thousands of kilometers away. Even dogfights now in aerial combat are not really a thing any more, it mostly involves shooting missiles at each other from beyond visual range.

    Changing direction in space uses a lot of fuel, so most combat maneuvers will simply be ships randomly altering course slightly to make them harder to target over long distances.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  2. Lord Grey Apprentice Engineer

    Well, guided projectiles would be the weapon of choise if cost doesn't matter. The defens would be a rapid firing gun or a Kessler syndrom cannon, fragment emmiter, however you want to call an oversized shotgun. For that reason I still would like to have a heavy artillery gun. It may be tricky to impossible to hit a target, but countermeassures would only be to counter with a projectile with more energy to stop or deflect it and bullets would be cheap like shit.
  3. captainbladej52 Apprentice Engineer

    On this point the safe zone is not a true shield, although it wouldn't be too hard to make it into one. The issue outlined in bold is not the fault of the safe zone block, but bad coding and setup on Keen's part. In order to use a safe zone offensively, they must first be within one km of an opponent's base. They must also get the thing setup, powered, and protect it for the 120 seconds to capture the base, all without being seen by the opposing faction/group. If an opponent is online, this is going to be or should be extremely hard to do and only becomes easier if an opponent is offline. Whether the opponent is online or not, the overall result is the same, they switch the zone on and capture the base.

    Offensive use of the safe zone can be eliminated completely with a simple change to the functionality of the block from Keen. Since the safe zone must be mounted to "station" in order to function, we're talking about immobile object vs immobile object. All Keen needs to do is add an additional check to the Safe Zone to prevent it from powering up if it's within 1-2km of an enemy station. This is a problem with a very simple solution. The only way they would be able to steal a station using a safe zone at that point would be to completely surround it right at the range cutoff with safe zones of their own, or take the station by force.
  4. Cameron_XV Trainee Engineer

    Non guided projectiles, now matter how fast, are easier (in general) to counter than guided munitions. You may be able to make unguided projectiles travel quite fast, too fast in fact. So fast that they can be stopped by hitting a bubble of gas. For a projectile traveling several tens of kilometers per second an easy to to defeat it is to launch airbags in the direction the rounds are coming from. At that speed the rounds might as well be hitting a brick wall. Ablative armour can also be quite effective at stopping very high speed projectiles too, it is one of the ways the ISS deals with small asteroid impacts.

    Guided munitions that gain speed as they approach the target would likely be the most effective type of weapon.
  5. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    But what if cost DOES matter?

    We start wishing for weapons as if we have a government trough at our disposal. Some of us are just poor miners trying to scratch out a living in the frontier. We might be able to get our hands on some military surplus stuff, but I can imagine a lot of weapons would be... custom built. Player made weapons are a thing, but they involve using parts not at all intended for weaponry. That's ok, but perhaps we could get parts we could use to construct weapons. Parts that may or may not be suitable for other purposes. This concept works well in the game for building mining machines, but when it comes to combat machines you pretty much have to get mods in order to get variety.

    Especially if they can assess their situation and change attack plans on the fly.
  6. Einharjar Junior Engineer

    Oh my gods, it's been... a long time. Friends! Fellow engineers! How are ye?!

    Combat DLC... oh um... oh dear. No. No "combat" DLC. In fact no "any item that drills, repairs, shoots or grinds" of any sort as a DLC. And I'm sure Keen agrees.

    I am very happy with what my measely few bucks years ago has gotten me with this game so I will gladly throw money in their faces for more DLC, just not... content DLC that involves tools of any sort. That too far in to P2W territory and we all know that.

    I've seen what most have submitted as options and really, I'd rather keep things simplistic and have the weapons upgrade be a massive set of module blocks to spur more player creativeness. A great example of the DEW laser mods that require aligning beams, amplifying them and what not before actually delivering the power to an emitter to use as a "gun" or cannon. It's a player made weapon, sorta'. I love the idea of weapons that are "some assembly required". Easy upgrade I want from keen? Missile/Torpedo blocks. I've been using the Large Torpedo Block mod for literally years now, and it's practically replaceable.
    Another option? Some sort of module setup for building Rail Guns. Longer barrels = more damage, whilst more capacitor banks = more charge. More barrel requires more charge, things like that. Small and Large grid variants of all three I've mentioned so far, a module DEW system, a module Rail Gun / Kinetic Kill system and a module Missile / Torpedo system. That's what I'd like to see. Just those.

    As for armor? I've been wanting keen to overhaul armor for ages because for gods sakes I know the Russians threw a metric ton of Steel on the Foxbat because Titanium was too difficult to manufacture back then but geeze Keen; I shouldn't be building everything out of god damned Steel and heavier Steel in the 2100s.
    At least let us have access to Composite Fiber Paneling, 6061 grade aluminum and 61A-4V titanium... please? PLEEEEAAAASE?

    In other words, I'd also love to see 3 new ores, Carbon, Aluminum and Titanium.

    And as a result I'd like to see 6 total armor sets for our structural blocks;
    Composite - very slow to produce, very very low mass, very low HP
    Aluminum - easy to produce, very low mass, low HP
    Titanium - very slow to produce, very low mass, moderate to high HP
    Steel - easy to produce, high mass, moderate HP
    Reinforced Steel (heavy) - moderate to produce, very high mass, high HP
    STS Armor. - very slow toproduce, very very high mass, very very high HP

    Oh and I'd love to see the same treatment with engines. Hell Keen, why not make your old Upgrade Modules a real thing now instead of a many year old block mod example for our childhood? I mean I'd love to have more module style blocks that improve my engines in some way I see fit.
  7. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    Yeah. What was the deal with upgrade modules for engines? All the Modders put the ports in, but the modules went away.

    Explain yourselves, Keen.
  8. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    Hmmm... just as I predicted. Shut shields out of the picture and all discussion of combat ceases. Meanwhile Star Trek: Picard still delivers space combat at it's finest.

    Yes, I'm depressed.
  9. hippybaker Trainee Engineer

    i think tougher armor was the overall preferred solution..
  10. captainbladej52 Apprentice Engineer

    Simply because an item can drill, shoot, repair, or grind would NOT automatically make a combat oriented DLC "pay to win". Especially if they added free versions of the items to the base game and what was left in the DLC was purely a cosmetic alteration of the free blocks. Case and point the Locker blocks in the decorative DLC. In fact the lockers actually have less cargo space in them than the standard cargo blocks, so you're technically downgrading by that argument. If you honestly think them having a tool of any kind in our hypothetical DLC is "pay to win" then you have no idea what pay to win is. If you want pay to win look no further than Hearthstone, or the original incarnation of Battlefront 2 before EA removed all the microtransactions. The only way SE would ever hit "pay to win" territory is if they stuck a weapon in the DLC with 5 times the normal damage and range of a regular weapon that fired target seeking projectiles and said "come get this DLC exclusive weapon." THAT would be pay to win. But the stuff Keen has put out there now, not even close. Even the Industrial cockpit Keen stuck in the first DLC didn't constitute "pay to win" as the stats weren't that huge of an improvement and if you intended to actually see out of that cockpit and actually use it effectively, it was extremely limited in how it could be mounted to builds compared to the other cockpit types. It was/is still a fun block to have, but was hardly game breaking. Pay To Win also doesn't apply to SE as you don't win the game nor do you lose the game, unlike something such as Call of Duty where there is a clear set of objectives and winner(s) of each match. Any such objectives in SE are defined by players and not part of the base game. The only exception to that rule would be if Keen released a mode where those rules applied, and I don't see that happening.

    This sounds like a balancing nightmare and like it would take a large amount of Keen's dev time away from them to fix the constant issues with it. The only way around that I see are placing clear limits as to how many "improvements" per say can be done to a singular weapon. You also wouldn't want folks who can only access the "base" versions of these weapons to have zero chance against someone using maxed out weapons. Yes the maxed out guy should have the edge for obvious reason, but he shouldn't be invincible either. I don't think folks are opposed to adding new weapons, the only question is what to add and how powerful it should be. I also don't think it should required a spreadsheet to find the optimal setup for what you want to do either.

    Too many tiers of armor can overwhelm a person and if we're going to have a tiered armor system you don't want it to be so complicated it requires a spreadsheet to figure out, much like above. I've always pictured it as having 2-3 categories of armor type blocks with a light, medium, and heavy version of each thing. Let folks pick what they want from there.

    Basic blocks: these provide basic structure and are similar to interior type blocks know. While they can be used as an outer hull material, they're weak against weapons so they won't be the best choice for an outer hull material.

    Armor blocks: basically what we have now but more durable. do a light armor, medium, and heavy variant. The type of armor produced between light, medium, and heavy could be controlled by what metal you use to construct the block. If steel then light armor, if equal amounts of titanium/steel then medium armor, if all titanium then heavy armor. As a 3rd sort of subtype for armor blocks you could specialize each block so that it's stronger against gatlings but weaker against rockets, one that's stronger against rockets but weaker to gatlings, and one that's more resistant to kinetic for those "oops I pressed the gas too hard." Wouldn't be necessary to specialize but could be done.

    Do one module for fuel efficiency, one for power and there you go. Give each engine a capacity of say 2 modules. They could go all fuel efficiency, all power, or one of each. Far as engines/thrusters in general, I personally hated how easy it was/is to piss hydrogen, even with a ton of tanks, generators, and ice to process, which is why I made my own modded thruster as result.

    Guess there's more folks wanting shields than you thought. Shameless plug cause reasons. In seriousness, I think we both want to see more durability, where we disagree is in the "how" of it. They could come out with yet another type of armor that's the same cosmetically as what we have now, only with higher stats. While that could work however, I don't necessarily know that "add a heavier metal" is necessarily always the best way to go about it. Both a shield and additional armor block do the same thing, just differently. A shield does its thing via large energy consumption, and the armor through its mass alone. Either way there is cost involved with the armor being the cheaper solution, and shields being more cumbersome to run. So both have their draws.
  11. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    It's difficult to discern how one can come to that conclusion. If the thread had blown up about shields that would support your point. Instead, the thread died altogether, which supports my assertion that people find it difficult to think beyond shields, as in nothing else will work, so put shields in.

    A point I have never disputed and, in fact, point out that shields are merely a redundant cosmetic replacement for more armor. However,
    Actually, a shield as envisioned by most players does its thing using no known proven method, and no one today can make one or even tell you how to go about it. It's just a thing that we know for certain must take a lot of power. How all that power is going to be used to convert kinetic energy into something else by defying physics as we understand it is just something we can chalk up to "they will have figured it out by then." It's interesting that in The Expanse, which takes place well beyond 2077, space combat appears to be happening without benefit of shields. The producers of The Expanse have given us a story that is both entertaining and fact based. Keen is attempting the same with SE. Does no one else see that? Does no one else see how hard that is when shows like Star Wars/Trek don't even try to be realistic so they take place a long time ago, somewhere way away from here or a long time from now, just so they don't have to explain the tech. SE is a good game without fabricated tech. If the jump drive and artificial gravity were removed they would not be missed. At least, not by me.

    So since television and the movies have not given us anything else that does what a shield does, there must not be anything else that does what a shield does, and apparently there is nothing else that does what a shield does that can be explained using known science. That, and there's no use in even venturing into space until we figure shields out. Shows like The Expanse are just whistling in the dark. No shields? No way!

    You mean to tell me that Keen's staff and the SE community can't come up with anything better than an energy shield? If we're done talking about shields that means we're done talking about combat in SE?

    This is all great news to me because it tells me that everyone approaches combat the same way, so if I do something different they'll never see it coming. If I'm lucky, they'll have shields and think all their problems are solved.

    Bwa ha ha
  12. KissSh0t Master Engineer

    Shields in the real world today consist of lasers which blind a missile's ability to see or by firing projectiles to intercept other projectiles... that is a realistic shield.

    So technically we already have shields in the game, turrets.

  13. captainbladej52 Apprentice Engineer

    I was just busting your balls on that one and being sarcastic cause reasons. In reality it tells me folks want more than one thing.

    If the goal is more durability then shields are a valid discussion point as they are one method that would accomplish that goal. The difference between them and armor would be how that goal is accomplished.

    Again I'm of the mindset that games don't always have to be 100% fact based all the time to be fun. I don't fault folks who want that 100% fact based 100% of the time as they're allowed that opinion, I'm just not one of those folks. I'm of the opinion there are times when games should allow for some breaks with reality for the fun factor. Otherwise if you're not having fun playing a game, which is the entire point, then why is one playing the game?

    In regards to how it could work the plasma containment method I mentioned before using some type of magnetic field or similar containment would be the easiest option with what we know today. Unless you want to get into alternate matter states beyond solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. Then that's where even my head hurts. With that said we have ways of containing plasma now, we just haven't gotten to the level just yet of getting it to form a solid object or semi-solid object. Given that we've gone from computers that take up entire rooms, to them being as small as a cell phone and now being a child's plaything, I don't see it as unreasonable to assume by the time of SE it could be possible to have further improved the containment techniques used for plasma. In regards to it being fact based, we actually do see some bits of this in nature and how such a thing could work. Have you ever heard of the Lunar Swirls on our moon? During the Apollo era they were first spotted and around that time it was discovered that there were localized magnetic fields on the moon that were capable of deflecting the high energy particles from the solar wind of the sun. Thus why part of the moon's surface appears to be more of a white coloration instead of the usual darkened color of gray. The "swirls" aren't as exposed to the high energy solar winds as the rest of the surface. Our hypothetical energy shields would function by containing plasma into a tight magnetic field. When our hypothetical projectile hit the barrier, the kinetic energy of the bullet would be dispersed over the surface of the shield, causing disruptions in the surface area of the barrier, thus requiring additional energy to maintain the barrier. The magnetic field would serve to deflect some of the kinetic energy and the plasma gives it something solid to disperse the kinetic energy into. Like the lunar swirls, the shield would not be 100% effective and there would still be some bits that made it through the barrier and impacted the ship, due to the shield not being able to disperse all of the kinetic energy all of the time. Eventually given enough of a pounding a shield would collapse from energy demands needed to maintain it and the ship not being able to supply it. In other words overloading the shield until for its own sake it shuts down for a time until it can be "rebuilt" per say. So it's more possible than what one might think, just not as practical in today's world, but could potentially be by the time of SE.

    The key difference here is that what armor does purely by having its mass, a shield would do via its energy. A shield yes could allow for lighter ships to be built as a side effect, that is true, however folks will still need to power the shield, which in turn would mean they will want additional sources of power on the ship, and potentially additional uranium, batteries etc to do it. Then there's also the issue of not wanting to leave their key systems exposed and unprotected when the shields fail. The one's who leave their ship systems vulnerable will be the inexperienced builders and it will make it easy to know who is a more experienced builder and who isn't. Shields to some represent an immediate solution that allows them an easy way to get more durability at the cost of increased energy demands. I would argue it's not really hard to generate energy in SE. Shields would satisfy the desire for extra durability without requiring too much extra in the way of infrastructure or weight to support them. If development cost is a concern, they could always borrow from the 2 most well known shield mods which are Defensive Shields and that of Cython's shields. For that matter they could even touch up the models a bit and then boom, insta shields with very little work. So it represents a quick and easy solution.

    I'm not opposed to other ideas, however most of them so far seem more complicated than they need to be.
  14. Einharjar Junior Engineer

    That's irrelevant to the fact that gaming communities assume they are, the back lash would be horrendous. The backlash over the new DLC Cockpit was enough as is and Keen quickly recanted by allowing even non-owners to use the cockpits of friends, just not build their own. In otherwords, I HIGHLY SUGGEST KEEN NEVER HAS NEW WEAPONS THAT ARE DLC. They should be included to all in a community wide patch, rather than piece meal. Simple as that. Crisis averted.

    Too many assumptions. We have a module ugrade system in the game to use a base for propagating such designs - they have limited module slots for example and certain modules only buff 1 stat while simultaneously nerfing another. This, in game-design, is the typical "Risk vs Reward" mantra and is something I whole heatedly believe in. Risk vs Reward works very well in SE because it pushes players to make actual choices with weight or effect. In a game about design, creativity and exploration; such a philosophy should be tantamount to any new systems Keen gives us to play with.

    These are not tiers per say, they're armors/structural material with use. Carbon Composite structures maybe is awesome for low mass applications where kinematic performance is key; their production time and low durability (symbolizing delamination issues) is their down fall in any application where getting a minor bump is the normal. Like wise, Titanium is in fact a direct upgrade to base armor (which is what we have now, Steel vs Heavy Steel), its very expensive to produce, requires a unique ore to be added and is only moderately stronger than steel alloys. It's primary purpose is high armor potential despite it's low mass.

    I harked back to when we had the Arc Furnace to make enhanced reagents. I wish they'd bring something like that back so that making a super material needed for Titanium or Super Conductors would be added.

    In my true dreams for SE, I'd love a variant of Draygos or Digi's atmospheric drag mod become a major game feature; then a new material or armor could be used - ceramic ablation plating and hafnium carbide nitrate alloy plating.

    They actually had this demonstrated in a keen released example mod years ago. I know I still have it but never use it. But that's the spirit! It's risk vs reward! I'd add a third module called an Overdriver - the point of which is to increase both power and fuel rate but is an active use module rather than a passive one (meaning you have to enable them manually, it's like engaging "after burners").

    No not really. I remember being in the shield discussion a long while back and was on the side of the group that actually supported them; just realistic ones. Wanna' know what my suggestion was?
    Two shield types - a Deflector and a Reactive Energy barrier. Both are actually IRL developments with the deflector shield being tested a few years ago in a particle collider to see if the deflector would prevent the target model from enduring high energy impacts from particles. It worked. The latter was invented initially by BAE a decade ago as well as a US defense company. The BAE version uses special plating with composite layers super conductive material linked to a massive on board capacitor. The plates composite layers were purposefully layers to keep a circuit broken; but when the shell of say an RPG-7 impacted the hull; it would complete the circuit and discharge the capacitor's charge along the conductive plates; pre-maturely detonating the weapon's warhead.
    The aftermath would show only a dent.

    The deflector was because I wanted Keen to add more survival challenges in space; IE Cosmic Radiation and Solar Wind.

    The REB was to have a new armor type that completely nulled explosive weapon types but had to be "armed" to use. It would discharge on all impacts, but it's primary use was making any warhead or missile HE weapon deliver only a fraction of their initial damage AOE.

    So I'm all for shields; just realistic ones based on known tech.

    As mentioned above, we have actual shields IRL; a deflector shield recreating a magnetic sphere for potential use in deep space voyages; was tested a few years ago. In the defense industry? BAE has been working on Reaction barriers that discharge mass electrical charge when a projectile smacks the plating and completes the circuit; the resulting release of capacitor charge pretty much completely neutralizes a warhead laden projectile.

    I would love for Keen to add these things.
  15. KissSh0t Master Engineer

    Magnetic shielding is intended for protecting against cosmic radiation, from what I understand it is not a technology that is available today for protecting humans in space, it is something that is being studied. If the game were to have something akin to that then the game would need other types of gameplay elements like environmental hazards / radiation dangers in space.

    Another shield I remember seeing years ago being developed was a roof skirt around the US Humvee, and when a RPG is fired at it just before the tip of the warhead touches the body of the Humvee the skirt fires something at the tip of the incoming RPG warhead basically neutering it's ability to explode, I forget what that technology was called.... but I guess what I said before fit's in this situation too, firing projectile at a projectile.
  16. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    I'm not arguing that Keen can't put them in and who needs an explanation because who cares. I get that. I'm saying every time a discussion like this starts it ends up with shields and lasers and we don't discuss anything else because television and movies have given us nothing else, so there can't be anything else. The people that play this game and know what it's all about can't come up with anything for combat other than energy shields and lasers, the two things other than artificial gravity and jump drives that shouldn't be in the game, and at least the other two have legit gameplay reasons to exist. For combat, SE needs shields, and lasers to break the shields. There's nothing else?

    I believe the closest we can legitimately get to shields in SE is harder armor, ablative armor, and electromagnetically enhanced armor. These are armor types. They can be used in place of or in conjunction with standard armor, and they are progressively more costly to make. They will do what shields do, which is to extend the amount of time it takes to break them. If you like the way your ship looks you can just replace your current armor with the harder stuff and retain your looks. The enhanced armor will require more energy reserves, so you might need to make room for some batteries or another reactor.

    Honestly, if you have an energy shield and you run out of energy or your source gets blasted, you have to rely on armor, which can't run out of energy or be turned off with a hack. In a fight, the less you have to worry about, the better. I don't have to worry about whether or not my armor is on, if it has enough power, whether or not I have ownership, or whether or not I can control it from the grid I'm on. I don't need to give an order to make it work, or remember which hotkey I have to use. The only problem with standard armor is that it is unrealistically weak. If it was actually armor we wouldn't be looking for fantasy solutions.

    Another reason I prefer harder armor is because it makes trying to blow up the other guy's ship even more pointless, which means you will need a reason other than "I want to blow that other guy's ship up". If the other ship is a combat ship it's going to be hard, and you may not have enough ammo aboard to do much more than punch a hole. So if you engage another ship you should be prepared to do more than just shoot at it. I believe a little more "personal involvement" in space combat would do much more for the game than flashy effects. Space combat in SE needs to be more than just parking next to another ship and blasting it with everything you've got. Boarding and repelling boarders should be essential skills for SE players. Battleships should engage at ranges beyond unaided vision.

    It would also be nice if NPC's did more than just show up and shoot. People that choose to play SP should have reason to avail themselves of new combat features.
  17. Einharjar Junior Engineer

    The magneto sphere is theory, as in scientific theory. It's known to work but needed to be demonstrated as an artificial system. Its been done several times including in recent history in which a molten sodium was used to replicate the dynamo of Earth's mantel? IIRC?
    The technological application was the one that caught my eye though. It was tested via a particle collider lab test in which a conductive material in the shape (funnily enough) in the Constitution Class star ship from Star Trek was charged and generated an artificial magneto sphere / field. Particles were then bombarded against the test article and the results showed that the magneto sphere / deflector "shield" worked. The particles were redirected along the magnetic field lines and never impacted the actual physical article. I can tell you that military applications of this are already underway...

    And yes I agree, I wanted more hazards in space so when I suggested a mimic of this tech be put into SE, it was also because I'd love to see things like Solar Wind and Cosmic Rays added into the game as well; something besides meteors.

    Yes this is the one I was referring that was created by a US based company. The BAE systems one is far more effective as it utilizes carbon nano tube or graphene infused composite plating (obvious classified stuff) that has several layers (since its been a few years since the test article, I'm curious if they ever migrated or tried Black Sulfates which if memory recalls, turns out to be just as effective as Graphene when subjected to the same manufacturing process). When a projectile touches that plating, it completes the circuit and the capacitor on-board discharges, largely vaporizing the projectile; while still using principles of the Faraday Cage to insulate the internal hull and passengers. While not field tests, it was tested via live fire tests and the results were quite astounding with only mere dents left on the outer plating of the APC test bed. The down side is the capacitor bank clearly has limited use before recharging and at the time this was tested, it was back in 2002 to 2005; high density batteries were still very expensive and the use of Carbon Nanotube composite material was just as expensive. I can assure you that today, in 2020, Carbon Nano Tube systems are in regular use in defense systems EN MASSE, they're massed produced now. We have that ability.
  18. KissSh0t Master Engineer

    Found the thing I remember seeing..... posted in 2009... daamm... I feel old.


    tried finding the one that neuters the warhead before it explodes but can't find it :<
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020 at 10:13
  19. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    Well obviously armor technology is advancing nicely, whereas energy shield technology seems to be stalled on that "how the hell are we going to pull that off" thing. One could probably safely predict all manner of armor technology and expect to see it in 2077. Mostly, there's plenty of new stuff that's becoming standard issue today that will have enjoyed 60 years of improvement. That's the kind of stuff that should make it to SE.