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Karnot

Weapon statistics visualization

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Imagine you playing a slow-paced shooty game, all your enemies wear heavy armour, you have an inventory with multiple guns in it, but instead of showing you a tooltip with weapon damage numbers - there is a small button labeled "test". If you push this button, a window appears, in which you can see a fixated weapon and a machine that slides armour plates before it, one after another. Then the gun shoots the plates and you can observe what a particular gun will do to an armoured foe, and a magnitude of its effect. For instance a particular weapon might pierce the armour easily or dent it, crack and shatter it or bounce, melt it or reflect.

 

Obviously after some time in the game, you, the player, will be able to generally predict what a particular weapon would do, but would it remain too much of "style over substance" ? A neat visual idea, but a bad design and interface choice ?

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It might be amusing at first, but it could get old. Also min-maxers would just view it as a barrier I think. They would find a way to convert it to a table in Excel. ;) It may have some value if the weapon system is so complex that it isn't easily summed up in numbers.

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My main question is how useful it would likely be to players: given, say, a pistol and an assault rifle, how much will a test-firing reveal? Is your in-game armour model sufficiently complex that the assault rifle's stream of bullets would eventually penetrate? Once a round has penetrated, how do I tell how much damage it does to the enemy, especially if I'm not familiar with the significance of different types of wound?

 

Note: I'm not saying that it can't work, just pointing out concerns that I have.

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Well, to answer your last question it wouldnt really matter how much damage the weapon actually does, as the main obstacle to eliminating the enemy will be the armour, as long as that is disposed of - there will be grievous damage inflicted. As for the model - yes, i am hoping to make it that complex, although it wont be that obvious visually in the actual game. I am thinking of having 5 hotspots per armour plate, so hitting one area will actually penetrate or weaken it in that particular spot.

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I'm not a weapons expert so I likely can't think of a realistic scenario. The type of complexity I'm thinking of is factors like:

  • Whether certain weapons/ammo are effective at glancing angles.
  • Whether certain weapons/ammo are effective at extreme range.
  • Can the bullet do effective damage if it ricochets?
  • How bullets will interact with existing damage, e.g. maybe it's more effective to use a simple armour-piercing round followed by an explosive round.

Other environmental type effects (e.g. blowing up an ammo dump) would probably be too advanced to "test".

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Fair enough; in that case, it makes some sense. Another possibility that comes to mind, by the way (which I recall seeing in other games) is an automated demonstration: show the gun and a target, then have the gun automatically blast away, showing its effect. This may, however, not be suited to your game.

 

If I may ask, why do you intend to make the damage non-obvious, given the importance of the enemy's armour state? I would imagine that being able to gauge the state of an opponent's armour, and quickly interpret the effect of a shot in the field (whether it missed, glanced off, hit an undamaged piece of armour or further depleted a damaged piece of armour) would be very useful to players. Is it intended to be in the service of realism?

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I don't want to see an animation play ten different armor tests one by one. Can the visual display be combined into one display?

 

If 'armor' is just a matter of thickness (i.e. a single value increasing), you could display it like this:

Displaying_data_with_non_numerical_visua

 

If there are various 'types' of armor that different bullet 'types' are good or weak against, you could display it as say, 5 suits of armor in a circle or semi-circle, and various amounts of penetration shown on each suit.

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being able to gauge the state of an opponent's armour

 

And you shall. By seeing bullet dents decals, or cracks, or even outright holes.

 

 

Is it intended to be in the service of realism?

Well, no, not as such. What i want is to hide the mechanics' numbers from the players, thereby forcing them to rely on empirical data. It is realistic, in a sense, though.

 

 

you could display it like this:

I could. What you've given me, is a very clean and neat idea, and i may well end up using something like this, but firstly, it's probably a little too clean cut, for how do you show that a machinegun with a large bullet spread has to hit one area with 12 bullets to punch through ?

Secondly, if i was to use this, i may as well just put a number in a tooltip, for what would the difference be ?

 

 

I don't want to see an animation play ten different armor tests one by one.

That was sort of my point, will people get tired of something like this instantly ? Like that stupid constellation UI bit in Skyrim ? Nice to look at but super annoying to actually use.

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It can be perhaps combined with training. E.g. in training with a weapon one actually learns to use it and how effective it is by shooting selected armor instead of dummies. A trainer may tell you something about the weapon, too, so that a preselection can be established.

 

During gameplay, the "statistics" may then be displayed as "effective against" with some thumbnail images of armor types. The player may also be allowed to use such an icon based system for memorizing their own preferences, e.g. a "use in case of" field can be populated with icons of armor at own decision.

Edited by haegarr

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I like this one. Stick to my original idea, but leave rating the weapons to the players themselves. I do like this, but i think it will be a bit hard to integrate into my setting, as there wont be too many armour types as such. Well, basically there are couple levels of normal armour and an anti-beam kind. And absolute most weapons will not be beams. So, let's say i have here 3 machineguns, which vary in their rate of fire, caliber, and spread. What icons or categories can you come up with to assign them to, so it could be gleaned and used quickly ?

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