Author Topic: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas  (Read 20616 times)

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Offline qwadtep

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Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
I've always wondered why there aren't more dumbfire bombs. Yeah, reactive armor and all that, but a mission where you just strafe a shipyard or something with super-Tempests to cause as much damage as possible before reinforcements jump in would be all sorts of fun.

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Offline Black_Yoshi1230

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Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
I've always wondered why there aren't more dumbfire bombs. Yeah, reactive armor and all that, but a mission where you just strafe a shipyard or something with super-Tempests to cause as much damage as possible before reinforcements jump in would be all sorts of fun.

I was thinking about that too and wondering: why not have pre-programmed/pre-briefed or Lock-On-After-Launch bombs?

The former, I was probably thinking that since recon sensors would probably be able to identify the jamming suite on-board those ships, your targeting computer could already compensate and have a faster lock-on time.

Lock-On-After-Launch (I'm talking along the lines of AGM-114 Hellfire ripple firing), I'm trying to find some way to not make that tricky or broken, particularly if there's going to be a "tracking envelope." If it's a visual tracking envelope, that means the bomber would have to stay within the view of those targets, unless those bombers can laterally strafe. FS bombers were already barnhouses, but barnhouses with directional jets...
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Offline Spoon

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Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
Bomber gameplay is still a WIP and continues to evolve.
However, I'll put this here as an example of basic bomber gameplay without the sexp or lua-triggered "abilities".

You'll also see how Sledgehammers and Jackhammers behave differently in flight.
My face at around 1:30

Them mirv's are glorious.

(Also that mission remains my favorite BP mission and one of my favorite missions overal)
Urutorahappī!!

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Offline FIZ

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Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
One of our earliest prototype missions, from way back before War in Heaven released, was a pretty baller bomb run on a Tev destroyer group. Your A-10 namecheck reminded me of it. The brief was simple: bull your way down the threat axis, blow up the corvettes in your way, and maul the destroyer.


The way you describe it sounds almost like an alternative to the Delenda Est battleplan, with bombers taking the place of the Wargods' Frigates.

Part of this screams to me the climax in the film adaptation of Ender's Game.  I don't remember if it was much the same in the book, the Rackham tests seemed much more extensive.  Still sounds like a really cool concept, especially with drones, but I can form an opinion on why you decided to not go that route, doesn't appear to me to fit the UEF strategic doctrine.

It also triggered another recollection, the first Soviet carrier assault in Red Storm Rising.  Obsolete bombers [Badgers] launching drone missiles that read as more advanced bombers [Backfires] so that all of the interdiction forces were fooled into chasing the drones.  I recall the NATO fleet being fooled, both the AEGIS (which just shut down from target overload) and alert fighters with spent fuel chasing ghosts.  I know drones don't have much of a rich heritage in FS2 other than target practice, it is a happy thought that some mothballed Athenas would be a wonderful Badger.  (Also sub-space missile strikes would make a great distraction for sneaking in the hard-hitters, not sure if that is TEV exclusive though.)

I see holes in that working in FreeSpace for various reasons, not limited to linear line of sight, distances fired on Earth (in said book) are greater than combat missions in FS, Moore's law, etc.  However, I do feel the game under-utilizes stealth bombing, which even against human opponents (I'm letting my Allegiance experience get the better of me) can be so intense it's nerve rattling (in a good way).

That aside, to address another comment, the super-tempest anti-capship swarm is really, really really, for sure, hard to balance.  The Maxim is beast enough.  Pointing and holding click to make capships go boom really isn't lasting fun, (at that point just cheat to win) and defending against it is even worse, so I'm a stout supporter of having to sweat a little to make the bomb run instead of hiding in a crevice and holding down the trigger.  Smart weapons of today still rely on the computing power linked to the delivery system itself.  One thing I have pondered is a cruiser (or even smaller) sized dedicated missile boat saturating with anti matter rockets (think space MLRS) but the Narayana seems to fit the bill.

Anyways, I've used up my 3 lifelines in this post and I have no anime pic on hand to express emotion.  I do enjoy this conversation however; regardless of how you feel about flying bombers, they are essential to FS2 gameplay.

 

Offline qwadtep

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Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
However, I do feel the game under-utilizes stealth bombing, which even against human opponents (I'm letting my Allegiance experience get the better of me) can be so intense it's nerve rattling (in a good way).
I believe there's a bit of fluff stating that the Fedayeen wanted to do just that--load up their stealth fighters with antimatter bombs, jump through the Gate, and unleash hell on Delta Serpentis--but the Elders told them no. I'd assume the possibility still exists for a mission.

Quote
That aside, to address another comment, the super-tempest anti-capship swarm is really, really really, for sure, hard to balance.  The Maxim is beast enough.  Pointing and holding click to make capships go boom really isn't lasting fun, (at that point just cheat to win) and defending against it is even worse, so I'm a stout supporter of having to sweat a little to make the bomb run instead of hiding in a crevice and holding down the trigger.
Most bombing in Freespace is already hiding in a crevice and holding down the trigger thanks to the narcolepsy-inducing lockon times. I think if you got rid of that, and did some clever scripting with fighters and point defense to encourage players to keep moving, you could have a really fun experience.

 

Offline FIZ

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Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
I'm curious... with the HTL models showing more than one person in the cockpit of most bombers, capships being piloted, and a more fleet command and control role introduced in act 3, where does the community stand on 'railed' missions, as in, you aren't pointing the ship?  I thought Windmills was quite brilliant.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that just turrenting would be kinda boring unless you got an exotic beam weapon, but the AI commands have really evolved in BP.  Instead of speculating, I should be checking out Battle Captains.

I apologize, I feel like my comments are all over the place.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
I would love to make your bomber backseater a gameplay mechanic, but I don't know if I'd go so far as to put the player in the backseat.

Got to play with a Vajradhara with prototype modal defenses today. Pretty simple ETS system — max out guns for berserk turrets, max out shields for rapid regeneration, max out engines for infinite burner supercruise. I'm hoping it doesn't add too much micro load. And it's a ton of fun to say I'M ****ING INVINCIBLE

(Senator Armstrong should be a backseater)

Right now the Vajra, the Vajradhara's main gun, is a low-ammo, short-range anti-warship primary that fires long rattling bursts. We're trying to make it feel like an anti-corvette A10. At another point we tried making it a smart missile primary that would fire a spray of turret-seeking anti-subsystem missiles followed by light bombs, but it just wasn't satisfying. Tech-wise, it'll probably fit right in with the rest of the heavy UEF fighter primaries, namely 'we put an antimatter on it'.

 
Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
I would love to make your bomber backseater a gameplay mechanic, but I don't know if I'd go so far as to put the player in the backseat.

Got to play with a Vajradhara with prototype modal defenses today. Pretty simple ETS system — max out guns for berserk turrets, max out shields for rapid regeneration, max out engines for infinite burner supercruise. I'm hoping it doesn't add too much micro load. And it's a ton of fun to say I'M ****ING INVINCIBLE

I got used to pumping energy levels around very quickly in WiH, because it felt necessary from the get go, so from my perspective, that wouldn't be too big to deal with.

Quote
a low-ammo, short-range anti-warship primary that fires long rattling bursts. We're trying to make it feel like an anti-corvette A10.


BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA RRRRRRRRRRRPPPPPPPP!!!!

(I really love the sound of the A-10's main gun, so if sounds even half as cool, I'll use the hell out of it).

 

Offline AdmiralRalwood

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Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
I would love to make your bomber backseater a gameplay mechanic, but I don't know if I'd go so far as to put the player in the backseat.

Got to play with a Vajradhara with prototype modal defenses today. Pretty simple ETS system — max out guns for berserk turrets, max out shields for rapid regeneration, max out engines for infinite burner supercruise. I'm hoping it doesn't add too much micro load. And it's a ton of fun to say I'M ****ING INVINCIBLE

I got used to pumping energy levels around very quickly in WiH, because it felt necessary from the get go, so from my perspective, that wouldn't be too big to deal with.
Voice recognition has commands for maxing/minning a specific ETS value (like "max engines", "min weapons", etc.); I've been thinking that those are useful enough that maybe they should be added as regular keys.

(Senator Armstrong should be a backseater)
If nobody else does it, I will ****ing make a mod mod that totally makes Senator Armstrong your copilot for bombing missions.

*player blows up a cruiser*
"NOBODY ****S WITH THIS SENATOR!"
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Offline The E

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Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
If nobody else does it, I will ****ing make a mod mod that totally makes Senator Armstrong your copilot for bombing missions.

*player blows up a cruiser*
"NOBODY ****S WITH THIS SENATOR!"

*launches torpedo*
"PLAYED COLLEGE 'BALL, YOU KNOW"
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Offline T-Man

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Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
"How did we survive tha-"
"NANOMACHINES, SON!"
(That guy freaked me out :lol:).

I quite like those ETS-linked abilities ideas and feel they'll be good; doubt it'd hassle players much especially in the Vajra, though might take a bit of getting used to if the change is made quite sudden and major (as in ship goes from snail to Sonic the hedgehog second you max ETS). Having them gradual buffs (like the turrets are in One Future) would work really well IMO. Like the direction you guys are going definitely :yes:.

I would love to make your bomber backseater a gameplay mechanic, but I don't know if I'd go so far as to put the player in the backseat.
Perhaps certain co-pilots could bring a certain buff of some kind? Like they make bombs lock-on quicker or managing ETS better? Or the ship has a special ability that represents the co-pilot doing something?). A player being co-pilot would probably be too boring for them in most FS missions though being co-pilot of a Vajra-style bomber and having 360 turrets would be fun (suddenly reminded of HW2 gunships).

One ability I did consider reading through this thread was a big torpedo where upon launch the camera switched and the player actually remote-guided the torpedo (and so could use an AB or dodge fire etc). Would mean of course the player's ship would be helpless while he did it so maybe a bad mechanic for most FS, though if the co-pilot thing was ever put in it would work with that quite well as they could do it while the pilot dodged fire.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2015, 04:16:47 am by T-Man »
CAUTION: Rabid Imagination!

self-confessed UEF fanboy.

 
Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
I would love to make your bomber backseater a gameplay mechanic, but I don't know if I'd go so far as to put the player in the backseat.
Perhaps certain co-pilots could bring a certain buff of some kind? Like they make bombs lock-on quicker or managing ETS better? Or the ship has a special ability that represents the co-pilot doing something?). A player being co-pilot would probably be too boring for them in most FS missions though being co-pilot of a Vajra-style bomber and having 360 turrets would be fun (suddenly reminded of HW2 gunships).

That actually sounds like a really neat gameplay mechanic that would add a bit more depth to flying twoseaters.

It also made me wonder about wingmen pilots having quirks that made them better at various things, gave different pilots different strengths, which would sorta make sense from an Act 4 perspective, where it seems like Noemi's going to be leading a full squadron of the Toutatis, so picking and chosing which pilot was suited to the mission requirements would be important (eg, some pilots have a bonus damage against turrets making them better at defanging corvettes, others are better at intercepting bombers/strike fighters and thus are excellent escorts, that sort of thing)..

Not even remotely sure if it's possible to implement things like that, or whether all wingmen have the same aptitudes as defined by the AI..

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
That was going to be the flagship feature for Act 4 for a while, but I cut it after testing. I can go into why if people are curious, with the caveat that it's not coming back unless we test up something really compelling, and no amount of design posts are likely to change that!

 
Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
Hah, sure, I'll bite. I'm curious. Was it something that just didn't test well because you couldn't make the individual pilots unique enough to justify the extra effort it required to implement, or was it simply not big enough an impact on the gameplay?

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
It's basically a problem of readability. It's fun to fight alongside wingmen, and it's fun to give them broad commands. But once you cross into micromanaging individuals, you're starting to pull the player away from the core gameplay loop and into MenuSpace.

And, conversely, players see the effect of wingmen actions, but not the actions themselves. It's very hard to say 'hey, Beta 3 has +10% burner time, and that made a difference!' You have to go for really big changes to get readability.

The closest I got to really liking it was managing wing leaders - 'Alpha gains +30% burner time' or something like that.

 
Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
What about changing it so that rather than a specific ability boost, each pilot had a preference for a specific fighter chassis, and subsequently performs somewhat better in that fighter. So those pilots who like to fly the Uriel tend to be better in them, and perhaps not as good in Kents, while speed jocks tend to stutter in the slower gunships/bombers, because they're used to the speed and maneuverability. (Noemi, as the player being tabula rasa, doesn't really need an effect..)

That way, you're only doing it at the start of a mission, and it's more a matter of optimizing your forces for a particular mission, and you don't have to micromanage them in mission - if you feel like you'll need a Gunship wing in a mission, you'll know which pilots to assign to that wing and the Uriel's, because it's what they sim in and are best at?


Edit: I know, I know, you said no amount of design posts are likely to change the decision, but I can't help myself.  :lol:

 
Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
That doesn't do anything to give the player feedback, though. It's pretty hard to track what your wingmates are doing in FS; swapping out their fighters and loadout is probably the finest control over their abilities that's worth giving to the player.
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Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
just as a question of curiosity at the cost of a possible derail, are you guys (still) planning on releasing acts 4 and 5 together? or is act 4 going to be flying solo?

i recall 3 and 4 were supposed to ship together but the team changed its mind after realizing how boring bombers are rofl. just couldn't recall if the plan was to make 4 and 5 a tag team release or not afterwards.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
The original plan was to do 3, 4, and 5 together, but 3 was such an insane amount of work (and so full of lore we desperately wanted to get out there for discussion) we decided to ship it solo. I'm not sure how we'll deliver 4! It probably won't make the voice acting release for acts 1 and 2.

 

Offline Gee1337

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Re: Act 4 Preview: Durgas and Vajradharas
Think I'm going to have to see if I can produce an anti-matter bomb explosion. The last one I did in my sound pack was meant to be for something huge, but I'm thinking something more for the warheads themselves when they hit the target.

As for the balance issue of the bombers, I had an idea about that but I don't know if it is possible. But what about as the bomber payload decreases, the bomber sheds its defensive abilities for more dogfighting abilities. For example, fire a bomb and the armour threshold decreases, but speed and manouverability increase to compensate. This exchange of abilities would decrease and increase respectively and incremently as more torps/bombs are fired. Just an idea I'm throwing out there! :)

As for the idea of using a backseat turret, an example I can think of how it would work would be in X-wing Alliance where you could man the turrets on the Corellian YT series of freighters.
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