Author Topic: [Answered] Balancing Armour and Shields in Blockade Runner  (Read 4381 times)

universeboy4

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 70
[Answered] Balancing Armour and Shields in Blockade Runner
« on: January 19, 2014, 10:27:24 am »
Hi everyone, here we can discuss how balancing of armour and shields will work. There are two extremes, and we can obviously end up with anything in between these two.

Star Trek style:

Any ships without shields or that have their shields destroyed in combat do not last more than a couple of hits.

Battlestar Galactica style:

Armour is the go-to defense and can withstand hundreds or thousands of hits without many problems.

What do you guys think?

Which one will work best in gameplay?
Which one is the most balanced?
Do either of these extremes work or should we go for something inbetween?

« Last Edit: January 21, 2014, 06:33:20 pm by Aaron »
Proud leader of the [DSA] Deep Space Alliance.

RLS0812

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 65
  • Captain of the SS Clueless
Re: Balancing Armour and Shields in Blockade Runner
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2014, 01:53:09 pm »
Shields for energy weapons.
Armor for projectile weapons .

My YouTube Channel Filled With Geek, Nerd, Politics, Economics, & More ! 
[Click Here]

Hufer

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 192
  • I have a Geary Complex.
Re: Balancing Armour and Shields in Blockade Runner
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2014, 02:10:30 pm »
Shields for energy weapons.
Armor for projectile weapons .

The idea that a shield can block an energy weapon yet not a projectile  doesn't make sense.

Since any projectile travelling fast enough to avoid a point defence system would be primarily about transferring the kinetic energy from it's velocity into the hull of the enemy ship(shield) and possibly detonating it's warhead on impact.

It all comes down to a factor of balance, design choice, and what ZanMgt can realistically integrate.

Niwantaw

  • Founder
  • Eternal Skipper O.Q
  • *
  • Posts: 1448
  • Grille'd
Re: Balancing Armour and Shields in Blockade Runner
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2014, 02:32:26 pm »
I'd rather that it was more certain weapons were more effective against shields or armour than it being shields for energy and armour for projectile.


I'd like it so that the whole shield vs armour thing would depend on your playstyle. Would you opt for heavy armour that means you're tough to destroy but when it's gone you've got to go back to a ship yard and repair it. Or would you opt for the lighter but energy intensive shields that allow you to hit and run far from friendly repair facilities without worrying too much. Just don't try and tank on an armoured battleship in a slugging match because it's tougher.


Where on the scale people tend to would depend on their preferences. Some might just go for masses of both but then they'd both be heavy and short on "spare" energy. I'd expect most people to tend one way or the other. Want a battleship? armour all the way. Want a battlecruiser? Probably going to go for heavy shields instead. (the increased power draw would lead to a larger reactor but I imagine that it'll still on the whole be a mass saving as long as you were willing to either use low power draw weapon systems, juggle power or sacrifice weapon payload.)
"God damnit why does everything have to be in sweedish? I don't understand shit"-Davee

<Strait_Raider> "The Big 4 could be equipped with a Bren gun or a 3 inch mortar..."
<Strait_Raider>That's like... my two favorite things.
     Put together.
     That's like... Kate Upton in a Tiger

universeboy4

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 70
Re: Balancing Armour and Shields in Blockade Runner
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2014, 03:40:00 pm »
WARNING: POTENTIAL LONG POST AHEAD

Here is how I think the balance for armour vs shields would work, this is just my opinion, if you have any contributions or suggestions they are more than welcome.

Fighters and Bombers: Main defense is through shielding to avoid slowing the ship down. Once the shields are destroyed the fighters will be easy pickings for even the lightest of weapons, meaning one shot kill with most weapons once the shields fall.

Frigates and Destroyers: These ships will be large enough to moutn a certain degree of heavy armour with less worry about manueverability than the fighters and bombers. However, once the shields are down a squadron (5-10) of fighters should be enough to take it out with little difficulty.

Light Cruisers: These ships will mount a significant amount of shielding and armour. Their shields will regenerate quickly making it very difficult for fighters to do any significant damage whilst they are up. Once shields are down the armour is sufficient to withstand a couple of shots from battleships and dreadnoughts before destruction. However, a bomber equipped with powerful explosives or missiles could deal catastrophic damage with appropriate fighter escort.

Medium Cruisers: Similiar to light cruisers, except that fighters are now completely worthless against the shields, with even dozens to hundreds of fighters hardly making an impact on the shields. The armour will start to become a significant defense, meaning that frigates are only a moderate threat, even without shields.

Heavy Cruisers: Because their armaments are becoming more powerful, these ships will be almost impossible to deal more than minor damage to when using destroyers and below, even when shields are down. Their shields are still strong, but no match for the amount of firepower that can be utilised by a battleship or dreadnought.

Battleships: These huge ships (500m-1km) are very slow, but in return they get amazingly strong armour, which means that an unshielded battleship is still an enormously dangerous threat. Even insane swarms of fighters (around a hundred thousand) just cannot do anything because their guns cannot help. Battleship shields are no longer the main defense, because the regenerative ability of shields is not effective when faced with the huge broadside firepower of opposing capital ships.

Dreadnoughts: These ships are even larger (1km-2km) and therefore even slower than the battleship. Shields are almost useless now, but this is compensated for by the insane thickness of armour these ships carry. Nothing less than heavy cruisers will so much as slow down these behemoths.

Mothership/Flagship: These insane ships (2km-5km) are so insanely powerful and slow that only the largest alliances and governments would even dream of deploying one. These ships are the pride of the alliance or government they belong to. Their speed is almost non-existent, but it hardly matters. Many of these ships will not even mount shields, choosing instead to mount armour hundreds of metres thick (yes, hundreds of metres thick) which means that nothing less than a fleet of opposing battleships and dreadnoughts will make this ship flinch. Deploying fighters is too stupid for words, even tens of millions will simply have no effect at all, even if allowed to fire unimpeded.

Sorry for the long post guys: the TL; DR version is this: For smaller ships up to cruiser shields are good so that they can remain manueverable, whilst above that size class, when speed is less of a concern, armour becomes the go-to defense.
Proud leader of the [DSA] Deep Space Alliance.

RLS0812

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 65
  • Captain of the SS Clueless
Re: Balancing Armour and Shields in Blockade Runner
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2014, 04:09:25 pm »
Just a note:
 In real life, humans can not produce any kind of force field that can repel matter effectively - only energy.
 Also if you have an anti "mass" power shield, wouldn't it ( logically ) rip the hull off the ship it's shielding ?

My YouTube Channel Filled With Geek, Nerd, Politics, Economics, & More ! 
[Click Here]

MRC

  • Founder
  • Knows dev CPR
  • *
  • Posts: 316
  • Mental breakdown in progress...
Re: Balancing Armour and Shields in Blockade Runner
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2014, 04:59:38 pm »
I personally think shield should either not be there or cover only a limited arc, this would let fighters and smaller ships have at least a chance of disabling a weapon or something before being completely annihilated by anything larger.

Also, managing, disabling and repairing subsystems seem to be a big part of what's coming in BR, the traditional full coverage shield would be detrimental to this concept.
With love.  ~MRC

RoflTankFTW

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 103
Re: Balancing Armour and Shields in Blockade Runner
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2014, 05:23:08 pm »
I prefer the "it's up to you" approach that Niwantaw proposed. It allows for infinite creativity in a sandbox universe, rather than a black and white "this system is better than that because reasons" (which would lead to copious amounts of space-tube cheese builds leading to a boring game in general).

Defenses should be scaled by how much you want to put into them, not arbitrary values that allow 1 uber-powerful rare block/system to tank everything. If you put 400 generator arrays all over your ship and power them properly, you should be a damn sight tougher than the guy with 1 generator array. Same goes for physical armor, you got more of it, you're going to be tougher but slower.

All in all, you should be able to dictate exactly how and what your defenses should be. However, to emphasize more balanced designs (rather than freeform cheese builds that arise from too much freedom), physical plates should be better in a long term fight; whereas shields should be more of a rapid recharge, low strength system for absorbing rapid or glancing blows without having to repair physical armor.
Operator of Black Moon PMC Shipyards
http://forums.blockaderunnergame.com/index.php?topic=1833.0

"Before all else, be armed"-Nicollo Machiavelli

TJSeabury

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 151
Re: Balancing Armour and Shields in Blockade Runner
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2014, 05:25:05 pm »
I'm also of the opinion as stated by @RLS0812 and @Niwantaw that shields and armour should be strong against energy or kinetic attacks respectively.  Its simply a matter of making the game play fun by adding a mechanic that allows strategy, i.e. "don't just make a ship with just a super laser because it won't be very effective at all versus shields."  Though as a matter of balancing game tactics and advantages I propose that there be a third category of defense, so that one style of play will never be dominant because it will always be strong on one side and weak on the other.

Another mechanic mentioned by @MRC is making shields directional.  While this is cool and could very well be an option to allow craft to focus more energy into there shields it will also allow smaller ships to have stronger shields on one side.  Perhaps if we had at the shielding control station several shield modes to choose from, such that a range of a few setups are possible from full encompassment to narrow forward shields. This would allow for all sorts of game play and tactics to be created and employed. Lets not forget that no matter what the shield setting a gap needs to open in the shield for firing weapons or engines. Another aspect that I'm sure fighter enthusiasts will love: trying to drop some rounds through the momentary opening.

For a moment can you imagine if two ships are engaged in combat launching salvo after salvo of broadside attacks with the utmost ferocity, shields set to a narrow configuration on the brunt of the incoming fury. Suddenly a radar contact, a squadron of fighters leaves they're ambush position from behind the blind side of an asteroid and closes on the enemy ship, its shields still in narrow mode. The fighters close at terrible speed and the bridge crew act as they should an change the shields to full encompassment, knowing full well that it will reduce it effectiveness against the savagery of the broadside bombardment.  The fighters close fast, the shields extending at their maximum rate to protect the completely vulnerable side of the ship.  The fighters fire weapons,  high-damage limited-range burst lasers,  the ships hull flashes, red then white and the thick metal armour being flung aside like so much molten slag in a puff of decompression and detritus as the shields snap shut.  The bridge now fully exposed to vacuum on one side and the shields being stretched as they are, ever closer to failing under the barrage from all sides.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 05:43:20 pm by TJSeabury »
"At the end of time, a moment will come when just one man remains. Then the moment will pass. Man will be gone.
 There will be nothing to show that we were ever here... but stardust."

Niwantaw

  • Founder
  • Eternal Skipper O.Q
  • *
  • Posts: 1448
  • Grille'd
Re: Balancing Armour and Shields in Blockade Runner
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2014, 05:38:24 pm »
I'm also of the opinion as stated by @RLS0812 and @Niwantaw that shields and armour should be strong against energy or kinetic attacks respectively.

I'm just gonna clarify my point. I /don't/ want that. While some weapons might be more effective against shields or armour I don't want it to be a case of no matter what both are needed. Just a case of if you're reliant on one you've got to keep an eye out for certain weapon types. (E.G: Shields might be bypassable with fancy rockets, or certain weapons might chew through shields faster than you'd expect while being less effective vs hull.)

Not some blanket rule.
"God damnit why does everything have to be in sweedish? I don't understand shit"-Davee

<Strait_Raider> "The Big 4 could be equipped with a Bren gun or a 3 inch mortar..."
<Strait_Raider>That's like... my two favorite things.
     Put together.
     That's like... Kate Upton in a Tiger

TJSeabury

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 151
Re: Balancing Armour and Shields in Blockade Runner
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2014, 05:45:34 pm »
I'm just gonna clarify my point. I /don't/ want that. While some weapons might be more effective against shields or armour I don't want it to be a case of no matter what both are needed. Just a case of if you're reliant on one you've got to keep an eye out for certain weapon types. (E.G: Shields might be bypassable with fancy rockets, or certain weapons might chew through shields faster than you'd expect while being less effective vs hull.)

Not some blanket rule.

Of course not, it will be a matter of balance and effectiveness, not completely bypassing.
"At the end of time, a moment will come when just one man remains. Then the moment will pass. Man will be gone.
 There will be nothing to show that we were ever here... but stardust."

RLS0812

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 65
  • Captain of the SS Clueless
Re: Balancing Armour and Shields in Blockade Runner
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2014, 06:50:25 pm »
There is another game that has armor that regrows over time .... would be fun metric to have if you have the "tech" to produce it.

My YouTube Channel Filled With Geek, Nerd, Politics, Economics, & More ! 
[Click Here]

CmndrMarcsBirger

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 300
Re: Balancing Armour and Shields in Blockade Runner
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2014, 11:43:17 pm »
Shields and Armour go hand in hand. That is, if your ship can power the shield generators, which I suppose won't be difficult for a galaxy spanning civilization(s) that this game will set upon.

Shields are your First line of Defence, generally soaking up tens if not hundreds or even more times of damage than the armour will. Once those fail, your armour is your Second line of Defence before damage reaches the Hull of your ship. Once that starts being blasted away your either on a fast or slow trip to becoming space dust.

But just to give an idea on how well armour can be, take a look at this real world material:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlite

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/5158972/Starlite-the-nuclear-blast-defying-plastic-that-could-change-the-world.html

Quoting the article:

"coated eggs were subjected to light-energy sources that simulated a nuclear flash, equivalent to a temperature of 10,000 C. 'They did it twice and it was still there. Charred, but intact." -The material, not the eggs, was charred

"Most materials vaporise beyond 2,000 C. Pure carbon, which has the highest melting point of all elements, melts at 3,500 C."

Impressive stuff, to bad its not out in the public...  Another example of Science Fiction becoming Science Fact.

Now once can imaging a futuristic version of this stuff made with who knows what else being resistant to fusion rockets and particle guns.

Cy83r

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 1254
  • It's Shooowtime!
Re: Balancing Armour and Shields in Blockade Runner
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2014, 03:39:05 am »
Reminds me of the correlations theorists have been making between Townsend's gravitronics work and supposed extraterrestrial applications of the B2 Spirit.

Anyways, assuming fluid shields and plate armor of no outstanding quality; armor plate is useful in so far as blunting the initial attack or making a vessel immune to lesser grades of firepower while shields, in addition to being a regenerative barrier will be vulnerable to any amount of firepower focused on a single point - it'll be interesting to see how the fluid dynamics react to multiple impacts spaced apart.  I'm guessing you'll see the center of any group of shots against shielding become stronger as the ripples bounce into each other and pack the density on in odd points.

"Hard shell" bubble fields that allow physical matter to pass while blocking energetics will also be interesting in that I'm curious if kinetics would classify under blockable impacts or physical matter that passes through and where a fast-moving ship classifies within that gradient as well.
Jibreel: Yeah but [Hufer] that's like [Axis] complaining that his Toyota Camry is stuck in the mud and you responding "Well my M1 Abrams doesn't seem to be having much trouble."

Me2005

  • Founder
  • Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 2104
Re: Balancing Armour and Shields in Blockade Runner
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2014, 11:31:20 am »
For a moment can you imagine if two ships are engaged in combat launching salvo after salvo of broadside attacks with the utmost ferocity, shields set to a narrow configuration on the brunt of the incoming fury...

This is an interesting idea. I'm of the opinion that any given ship should be mannable by one player, so re-adjusting shields on the fly is probably going to be difficult, and it'd be a skilled player that could actually do it under fire.

BUT, having shields that can be set to provide "depth" of coverage or "bredth," and then also having distinct projection points from which the shield can origionate sounds like a really good idea. Fixes some of my points about fighters getting wasted by caps with neigh-impenetrable shields, still allows then to have neigh-impenetrable shields, but only in one direction.

The way it'd work is that you'd be able to take your shield-power and allocate it to the projectors (usually beforehand, possibly have a few presets) for either tightly-focused low arc but "deep" coverage or covering a wide arc but very narrowly. Maybe you set a certain power shield to 1* coverage and it's 1 kilometer deep, or that same shield to 180* coverage and it's 6 meters deep. Each meter of coverage reduces damage done by incoming fire to the actual ship by X.

As for armor, it's got mass. An easy way to make armor and shields identical as far as damage absorption vs. cost would be to make the fuel for the shields mass the same as the armor for an estimated engagement time. Actual balance would need to vary based on actual gameplay; it might make sense for shields or armor to be stronger based on other mechanics.
But you were dead a thousand times. Hopeless encounters successfully won. A man long dead, grafted to machines your builders did not understand. You follow the path, fitting into an infinite pattern. Yours to manipulate, to create and rebuild.

I know who you are.

You are destiny.