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Feature Request Soldier Weapon Types During Boarding

Discussion in 'Build 15 Brainstorming' started by Pieter Boelen, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    It is far, FAR easier to have them all Average anyway as adding better qualities just adds more complexity to the code.
    All shore soldiers get "Average" as well. How come that isn't a problem then?

    Anyway, nobody is stopping you from doing some weapon repairs. Most blacksmiths can even do that in batch.
    And since they'll all be the same type of weapon, that makes the Blacksmith Batch even more efficient.
    So you can still equip your crew with Good and Fine weapons anyway, so I don't see the problem. o_O

    I already addressed that: It is totally possible to have the weapons depending on player/NPC level.

    There are three things we can do:
    1. Do nothing
    2. Try to make the current "hardcoded" Soldier Weapons at least as good as it can be
    3. Skip that altogether and rewrite the Equip system to take into account "officer types", so Guards and Indians can get weapons auto-assigned instead of them being hardcoded

    Obviously #3 is best. It is also by far the hardest and most risky.
    If nobody actually cares about having this feature, then dash it all and let's go for #1 for the time being until we CAN do #3. :diomed
     
  2. Tingyun

    Tingyun Corsair Storm Modder

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    Thanks for reading over the proposal everyone. My responses to the excellent points raised so far:

    1) On why I want to create new items, and how I think doing so addresses Grey Roger's excellent balancing concerns:

    Basically, I think the current hard task is to look at current weapons, and find one that satisfies all four requirements: 1) right stats for given tier 2) acceptable picture 3) acceptable name 4) not worth too much gold.

    Inevitably, some compromises result. I read every post in this thread, and most of the problems cited seemed to result from those inevitable compromises.

    For example, there would be limited tiers/eras, and Grey Roger's excellent points regarding it unbalancing the game by making things unreasonably hard/easy vs navies at certain periods, or his excellent points about how stocking up after one victory would unbalance things for the player.

    If I can instead create swords (it might be less than 20, it might be more, I would need to see when I get in there), I can probably create 3 tiers of weapons by level, with historically appropriate choices for the eras, and with fine tuned stats/gold.

    3 tiers would smooth out the differences and choppiness in going from one batch of soldier weapons to the next (i.e., Grey Roger's excellent points regarding soldier weapons becoming too difficult too early, or making the player overpowered after one victory, are largely the result of the choppiness of the 2 tier leveling system we are using here, and the more tiers the less they become a concern)

    Basically, I believe I can avoid the problems mentioned throughout this thread by creating swords, and I want to make sure people are ok with it being a large amount (how much it ends up being I won't know until I can start figuring out how many eras I need to divide up and how many new swords are needed).

    2) Why I want to use existing models as placeholders for now, and then we circle back afterwards to add new models (perhaps with @Jack Rackham expert leadership :) )

    I want the task to be manageable as something I know I can do within he next several weeks. It is easy for me to cannibalize an existing model that looks somewhat appropriate as a placeholder, it would be significantly more time to find a new one for each.

    3) @Grey Roger , here is why I proposed average quality

    Balance justifications: what I said about limiting the player stocking up entirely on these swords was in response to your concerns earlier in the thread (you voiced this concern several times). I think you had a very good point with this concern. Because we are using a rough two or three tier leveling system for soldier weapons, there will always be some choppiness where soldier swords become too good too soon when player level just passes the mark, and it makes sense to not overwhelm other sources of swords. Of course blacksmith allows the player to opt out of this anyway, at their choice if they deem it more fun, as Pieter points out.

    Realistic justification (or rationalization ;) ): Sword quality is measured in relation to that style of sword. Soldier weapons will be slightly better than average for their tier, so presumably average quality for them is still well-made objectively, but it also reflects they would need to be maintained in good condition by the blacksmiths etc, which the military wouldn't find too difficult. Same for why there are average quality French noble swords and the like--they are certainly above average objectively, but average for their type in craftsmanship.

    Follow up question:

    1) Can I create a historical era IF statement in the item describe file? Since Eras will probably only follow the standard before/after golden age division, I'm wondering if for some swords it would be possible to have their name/description change slightly for, say, napoleonic and Revolution eras (on the chance I find very specific information on the types of swords being issued). If it is possible, could someone write me a quick example I can use to model?

    I would only do that of course if the swords looked substantially the same across the two eras, and there were specific info out there for what was being used. But since some rough division of the eras into two periods is inevitable, I wanted to see if changing description/name by era were an available tool to consider.

    Revisions to the proposal so far:

    1) After a working version is ready using the quick method of reusing existing models, it will be submitted for all team members to look at incorporating new models for the swords as their time allows.

    2) I will keep references where possible to materials showing the look of the historical basis for the new swords, in case that aids such future work, and submit that here for everyone's reference.

    Followup questions:

    1) Is everyone ok with those steps, first I make a working version with placeholder reuse of existing sword models, then the team circles back and adds some new sword models where they think it is important?

    2) Is everyone ok with me not taking a significant role on the second part of that, the new models? I don't want to commit to more than I can promise here.

    3) Is everyone ok with some swords going into play with reused models, in the case the team only feels like or has time to incorporate new models for some of them? Just want to make sure my work in setting this up isn't going to go to waste if people get busy and only some models are replaced.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
  3. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    What text would you need to have changed? If it's a single variable, maybe something with a preprocessor might work.
    But even so, separate weapon IDs would be more straightforward.

    That is of course the most practical for you.
    Though you could have a look at that thread of weapons I posted to see if any of those fit.
    No custom models will be made anyway, so either you use a model already in the game or one from that thread.
    I don't think there are really any other options.

    Reusing textures is definitely not a problem for practical reasons.
    If a custom model is feasible based on already-existing files, that might be nicer.
    But not crucial.

    Please note though that we could also decide to revert back to "random weapons in boardings" altogether for the time being.
    Then we can keep this on the wish-list for when the Equip system can be rewritten.

    Actually, what you could do in preparation for that is still figure out where in the weapon line-up we have gaps for the soldiers.
    So you could even start adding weapons without them necessarily going into immediate use in boardings.
    And then you can just add weapons in small batches, rather than being required to do the whole job in one go.
    Might make it more easy to accomplish?

    In any case, this here is definitely more a Feature Request than an actual bug/gameplay issue.
    As much as I'd like to see Soldier Weapons in use at sea, just like on shore, it is not crucial.
     
  4. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    Not so. Sword quality has nothing to do with the style of sword, it is a measure of how well the sword has been maintained. Excellent is fresh out of the blacksmith's forge after you've paid him lots of money to do the best possible job on it, which is why you don't find them on random people - swords don't tend to stay in that condition for long, at least not unless you have a blade care kit. With use (actually depending on how many times it has been used to parry), the sword will deteriorate as it loses its edge. The game has no mechanism for you to sharpen and polish the sword yourself, except that having the blade care kit implies you've been doing so, which is why it doesn't degrade as quickly. Military personnel would be expected to maintain their weapons in good condition, though if they've recently been in a fight then they may have degraded, or some soldiers / sailors might be a bit lazier than others. The net result is that it is entirely reasonable for naval boarders to have all grades of weapon from Fine down to Worn.

    There's not much performance difference between the various levels. The main effect is that they stay usable for longer. So I put any Fine or Good weapons I capture into the weapons locker and sell the rest. I'd rather like to continue doing so.
     
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  5. Tingyun

    Tingyun Corsair Storm Modder

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    Pieter,

    That makes sense.

    How about I do this for now: I'll research and write up a proposed weapon list for one nation, say Spain, across the eras and level tiers. I'll include the stats I would use if new, or the current blade if old. Then I'll post here, before taking the time to implement in code, look for models, etc.

    Then people can voice their opinions on whether they like the concept in terms of its demonstration, or they would rather stick with random weapons for now.

    Sound good?
     
  6. Tingyun

    Tingyun Corsair Storm Modder

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    Grey Roger: Ok, my rationalization doesn't work so well then. ;)

    Given the practical and balancing concerns still point in the direction of average, let me try a new one: at sea in the Caribbean, there aren't as many blacksmiths for the military to maintain their weapons, and the Caribbean navy isn't as professional or well supplied as back in Europe. So generally the weapons are maintained at lower quality, but they keep them well enough maintained so as not to be worn and face the possibility of breaking in combat, so average rather than worn.

    Edit: one further point: I am trying to respond to the concerns you voiced earlier in the thread, where you didn't like how this system let the player stock up on good weapons easily, as it was potentially overpowering. I thought average helped with this concern. But you instead want it be a good source of the player stocking up? Also, any reason why the blacksmith doesn't work for players wishing to opt-in on this?
     
  7. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    Works for me! :onya
     
  8. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    At sea there aren't any blacksmiths which is why you never find Excellent weapons. Fine and Good should still be available. Pirates and merchants can manage to keep their blades at that quality, so naval crew certainly ought to be able to manage it.

    If the Caribbean navy is not as professional or well supplied as the European fleet then they won't have as much access to standard weapons in decent condition and will use whatever they can capture from other ships. That's not a justification for limiting them to Average quality weapons, it's a justification for letting them use random weapons and forgetting all about this. ;) On the other hand, if they're getting a supply of standard weapons then they are as professional and well supplied as the home fleet.

    But the military wouldn't necessarily get better types of swords than others. They go for bulk and cheap. So military swords shouldn't be better than average for their tier, but would perhaps be of better than normal quality. So, base performance and price similar to cheaper swords of the relevant level, but quality biased away from Worn and in favour of Fine.
     
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  9. Tingyun

    Tingyun Corsair Storm Modder

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    Grey Roger,

    You make very convincing points. If everyone else agrees, I will go with the interpretation you propose. You also solve the balancing problem much better than I had.

    So, then, the following revision:

    1) random weapon quality, biased towards better conditions, fine mostly, some good rarely average.

    2) but I'll make the swords themselves cheaper and around normal or slightly below normal for the level tier in terms of weapon stats.

    Pieter, in terms of coding the weapon quality, should I do it by adapting the random gun assignment code you already gave me to give the +1 and +2 versions, or is there some other way you prefer me to do it? If that way, I know how to do it, but if another way, please give me an example to use.

    EDIT: will write up the example demonstration over the next couple of days, will post by Monday at the latest, probably will do it earlier though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
  10. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    Making sure that there are appropriate nation-specific soldier weapons for all periods and levels definitely sounds worthwhile to me.

    With the amount of difficulties proposed here though, I'm tempted to not bother with the GiveSoldierWeapon function at all though.
    Hardcoding it all in there to full satisfaction would probably take far too much effort, which isn't really worth it.

    So I suppose my suggestion is to consider the current situation an interesting, but failed, experiment.
    We can disable it for the time being so all ships get weapons the same way again.
    Eventually we can have character-specific weapon assignments and that will eventually reinstate this, but do it properly.

    In the meantime, you can probably just start filling in those gaps that we'll need filled eventually.
     
  11. Tingyun

    Tingyun Corsair Storm Modder

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    Pieter, in other words, for now, I should just prepare the background research on what soldier swords I think should be added, with appropriate stats, and not worry about the coding it in part? Maybe I should make a new beta brainstorming thread where I post the proposed sword names, stats, and links to historical background, and then we can work on slowly filling out the models and such?

    Also, do you agree with Grey Roger's concept, soldier weapons average in terms of stats (so not quite as good as comparable level best swords), but later we balance with higher quality? We need to figure that one out so I can make the proper judgments in filling in the gaps.
     
  12. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    I think so, yes. Once you linked a model (from @ostrov?) with proposed stats and description, you can probably add it to the game for "common use" for the time being.

    Since we'll be skipping on the "manually assigning", eventually the Equip system would take care of the qualities.
    That's what it currently does for non-soldier boarding crews anyway.
     
  13. Tingyun

    Tingyun Corsair Storm Modder

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    Ok, so soldier weapons will be of average stats then, and we will plan to bias the qualities towards high when the equip system is in place.

    New plan understood, I'll approach this as a long term project over the next several weeks to a month or more, and slowly trickle in new soldier weapons in a dedicated brainstorming thread.
     
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  14. Levis

    Levis Find(Rum) = false; Staff Member Programmer Creative Support Storm Modder

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    I moved this topic here because for now it was reverted back because of problems in balance. We can discuss it some more and look at it again after the public release.
     
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  15. Jason

    Jason Buccaneer Storm Modder

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    :shrug
    Ahoy Pietr,

    I know we have had this for quite a while now, and I want to raise a couple of questions first in re weapons, when this change was implemented all the soldiers were equipped with soldier weapons, that is muskets and bayonets. That has now been changed to random weapons (see a previous post by me for issues with that).

    The bigger question I want to raise the reality of crew full of soldiers. I think we all know that in the age sail warships would carry a relatively small contingent of Marines, I think somewhere between 15 - 120 depending on size of the vessel.

    I think this game is wonderfully complex and works really well and I have no idea weather it is even practical to have warship crews reflect this reality. Sailors would have random blades an pistols (no blade worse than a cutlass) and the Marines muskets and bayonets.


    :keith
     
  16. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    The last EXE still has the "special Soldier Weapons" enabled, but with the next upload I make, that will be reverted as it was not appreciated.

    It is indeed already disabled in the new ZIPs, but I was not truly involved in the making of those.
    That was @Levis' and @Tingyun's work.

    As for differentiating between Soldiers and Sailors, that makes sense and would be quite cool. It would also require a fair bit of additional work.
    We've got a somewhat related Build 15 feature request for this here: Feature Request - Soldier Weapon Types During Boarding | PiratesAhoy!
     
  17. Jason

    Jason Buccaneer Storm Modder

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    I think this an excellent approach.
     
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