Home » MODDING HQ 1.13 » v1.13 Modding, Customising, Editing » v1.13 Weapon & Item Refinement » Balancing for Large Pistols
Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265573] Mon, 25 October 2010 03:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kazuya

 
Messages:222
Registered:January 2009
Starwalker
I think you forget one thing: There will always be a worst item (you cannot make several items without one being the worst, unless they are all equal).

Being the know-it-all that I am, I'd like to point out that you commit a logical fallacy here. It depends on how you define the "is better than" relation among the items. It is perfectly possible to measure the quality of an item in a way that leads to a non-transitive relation, that goes in a circle. EG, Item A is better than item B, B is better than C and C is better than item A.

An example for JA2 items could be that you examine three pistols (A,B,C) and determine their quality, by having two computer opponents repeatedly battle each other. Each computer opponent uses one mercenary with identical stats and equipment, except for their weapon. Now it is perfectly possible, that the above mentioned relation occurs, without invoking statistical anomalies. Meaning that the measured outcome is identical to the actual probabilistic outcome expectation.

I hope, I made myself clear, although I'm afraid that I started to go way over everyones head when I used the term transitive.

Anyway, there is actually another thing that I would like to point out. You mentioned the turbular magazines of shotguns. Currently, when I reload a shotgun in 1.13, the game uses as many APs a character has left to load shells into the gun. After playing a little bit the DOM mod, I actually encountered a situation where my merc, who was equiped with a shotgun, ran out of ammunition. An opponent appeared at the end of his turn about ten tiles away. When my turn started, I loaded a single shell into the gun, and I shot that sucker. This would have been impossible with the current handling of 1.13, because the game would automaticly try to fully load the shotgun before giving control back to me.
Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265574] Mon, 25 October 2010 03:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kreutze
Messages:3
Registered:October 2010
Just my two cents, but no matter what armour you've got on, getting hit with a .50 is going to break ribs. Perhaps bigger handguns should have some serious stamina damage associated to them, would make them good enough against single creepers at close range, but still mostly useless against armoured crowds.
Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265576] Mon, 25 October 2010 04:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sorca_2

 
Messages:206
Registered:September 2010
Location: California, USA
Starwalker, thanks for your reply. I greatly appreciate your work on 1.13. Before I continue I just wanted to restate that I'm coming from the perspective of an admiring player/modder just wanting to share my ideas about how I think it could be improved for everyone.

Starwalker
So your idea of upping reload AP would destroy the relation between the guns again.

Could we not multiply them all by a common factor to preserve the relation? For example, if we doubled them, the Glock 17 would go from 12 to 24 and the AK-47 would go from 20 to 40, and the Minimi would go from 32 to 64. Are you saying that the problem would be that the difference between the Glock and the AK would double as a result (16 instead of Cool?

If so, couldn't we increase by a base number like 30? Then the Glock would require 42, the AK 50, and the Minimi 62. This preserves the original distance between them.

Or, we could combine the methods: Adding 15 and multiplying by 1.5 would result in Glock: 33, AK: 45, Minimi 63. This increases the costs evenly without moving the distances between them as much.

If the problem is purely because of the shotguns, it seems like a small conceit to allow them to be reloaded a little proportionately faster than they should--they're already not that great to begin with and have to be "manually reloaded" between shots.

Starwalker
If it would cost AP to take the grenade from the vest and then put it back, then this would be the same as charging AP just for looking at a spot and spend a thought about it. Because we could not overcome this problem, AP-costs for handling the contents of LBE have been limited to the backpack (as it was already from the start with NIV).

Since we limited the penalties to the backpack, could we not limit the AP penalty to the regular (TT 3-day) pack? The grenade slots are entirely in the vests anyway, right? It's true that you'd get the penalty if you were using a stack of grenades in the pack, but that would just be an incentive to use the grenade slots you're given in the vests and holsters.

Starwalker
That guns fit into them as well is normal, even in real life, you need just to keep the flap open or distort it a bit so that the barrel of the gun sticks out of the pack. So it is not that unrealistic, IMNSHO.

Then why is there a size limitation at all? For example, some weapons will fit before adding a suppressor but not after. Obviously the original intent must have been to prevent you from running around with 6 huge weapons. What I'm saying is that it should go a little further and prevent you from running around with 6 of anything larger than a machine pistol because it would make the smaller weapons more valuable.

And are you saying that it's not unrealistic to carry 1 weapon in the pack or 4? If it's only 1, then perhaps the pack could have one bigger (current size) slot and the rest would be limited to machine pistols and smaller. The effect would be dulled a little, but it would still be pretty good if there was an AP cost to draw a weapon out of the pack.

[quote:Starwalker]It boils down to this: You ask us to stop people from abusing game features, but we cannot do that, because the game engine has limits and there will always be some thing that can be exploited. If we plug one hole, another one will be found.[/quote]
On this one I totally get where you're coming from. On the other hand, there is obviously a limit since you can't put a LAW in a revolver holster, right? Therefore, at some point the line between "preventing exploits" and "improving gameplay" exists. I agree there is no way to plug every exploit, but there are opportunities to improve.

I understand what you're saying about a coder restricting my choices for me. Obviously I could play a game in my imaginary world where the packs are limited in the ways I suggested. What I'm saying is that making a few adjustments to the pack slots would make the default game play more realistically, would even the playing field against the AI, and would make the early weapons less immediately disposable for everyone the same way the whole New Inventory System improved on the Old Inventory System for everyone.

In fact, due to the limited number of weapons each merc could carry, you'd be more likely to use a team of specialists which would further increase the value behind JA2's RPG elements.

Someone must have thought the size-restricted packs were a good idea... otherwise we'd have infinitely sized slots, right? Very Happy

[Updated on: Mon, 25 October 2010 05:00] by Moderator

Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265577] Mon, 25 October 2010 04:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kellomies

 
Messages:51
Registered:October 2010
Gazz
In an ideal game, they would have a role. That would make it borderline believeable that a team of "experienced mercenaries" attacks a hostile country equipped with no more than small handguns.
This way of starting the game is completely idiotic. Maybe with a chopper crash, parachute insertion gone wrong, or shipwreck, it could be explained that the mercs arrive with no more than what they could walk / swim away with but even then, there'd be a high probability of them keeping their assault rifles in arm's reach.
I wouldn't expect them to arrive with less equipment than some 3rd world country bum outfit.
Isn't this more a "philosophical" question of how one approaches the game start, though, rather than anything related to how the pistols are treated under the current statting system? Certainly you'd think the mercs came in armed to the teeth rather than with popguns, but that's an issue of MercStartingGear.xml - and on the same vein, you'd expect even the initial AA opposition to be toting at least bolt-action rifles and vintage SMGs instead of handguns even if the first guys you meet are something like the local Border Patrol stationed in the ass-end of nowhere...
But this is obviously a matter of the equipement assignement files, not the stat system. And doubtless some people enjoy the "With This Stick" approach to early game no matter how little sense it makes - I know I found the ridiculous starting gear more than a bit annoying already way back when vanilla originally came out, but it also made finding each and every decent shooting iron a cause for excitement.
Quote:
In fact, if I'd intend to "live off the land" for a while, I'd probably bring AK-47 - not pistols, which enemy soldiers are unlikely to have ammo for.
Just to nitpick, but Arulcan History 101 reads more like you'd want to bring kit you can kept fed with NATO-standard munitions - how many Latin American monarchies you know of the Soviets supplied? ('course, finding a LA monarchy to begin with might be tad difficult... *handwave*) Not that Deidranna couldn't well have started buying Kalashnikovs by the ton to expand the Army on the cheap, of course, but odds are the older Cold War vintage arsenal is that of a "free world" minor client.
Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265584] Mon, 25 October 2010 12:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Starwalker

 
Messages:769
Registered:October 2005
Location: Hannover, Germany
Gazz
Pistols do not have any role whatsoever beyond a very early point in the game.
From a purely game design point of view, that's a problem because it eliminates a whole class of weapons from the game.
You don't create content in the first place if you intend to make it useless.
For small caliber pistols, there's no helping it. They just cannot be boosted far enough by any stretch of imagination. Large pistols - maybe.

That's why we have AET ammo for a lot of pistols. It makes them useful later in the game. And as I pointed out elsewhere, pistols are useful in buildings, because their short range does not matter too much, but their speed does.

Gazz
In an ideal game, they would have a role. That would make it borderline believeable that a team of "experienced mercenaries" attacks a hostile country equipped with no more than small handguns.
This way of starting the game is completely idiotic. Maybe with a chopper crash, parachute insertion gone wrong, or shipwreck, it could be explained that the mercs arrive with no more than what they could walk / swim away with but even then, there'd be a high probability of them keeping their assault rifles in arm's reach.
I wouldn't expect them to arrive with less equipment than some 3rd world country bum outfit.

Yeah, no real merc would arrive in the area of operations with just a pistol, but this is a game that rewards the player with better equipment. So if you start with good equipment, there's just one step to best equipment, whereas when you start with crappy equipment, there are many more steps up to the best. Although I do not like it any more then you do, I can see where the original developers came from.


Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265585] Mon, 25 October 2010 12:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Starwalker

 
Messages:769
Registered:October 2005
Location: Hannover, Germany
Kazuya
Starwalker
I think you forget one thing: There will always be a worst item (you cannot make several items without one being the worst, unless they are all equal).

Being the know-it-all that I am, I'd like to point out that you commit a logical fallacy here. It depends on how you define the "is better than" relation among the items.

I knew that. But: No matter how you define that "is better than" relation, there will always be a worst one once you decide which relation you want to use.

Kazuya
It is perfectly possible to measure the quality of an item in a way that leads to a non-transitive relation, that goes in a circle. EG, Item A is better than item B, B is better than C and C is better than item A.

Your explanation goes further than mine, it shows that changing one relation may screw up the others. Because, basically that 'ring' you describe is what I tried to achieve with my overall gun balance in the first place (though not within a single class of guns). I wanted to have no best gun and no worst gun, I wanted best guns and worst guns for "the situation at hand".
For example, a sniper rifle and a pistol, which one is better? That depends on the situation, in the desert the sniper rifle rules, in a building the pistol rules.


Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265588] Mon, 25 October 2010 12:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Starwalker

 
Messages:769
Registered:October 2005
Location: Hannover, Germany
sorca_2
Starwalker
So your idea of upping reload AP would destroy the relation between the guns again.

Could we not multiply them all by a common factor to preserve the relation? For example, if we doubled them, the Glock 17 would go from 12 to 24 and the AK-47 would go from 20 to 40, and the Minimi would go from 32 to 64. Are you saying that the problem would be that the difference between the Glock and the AK would double as a result (16 instead of Cool?
[...]
If the problem is purely because of the shotguns, it seems like a small conceit to allow them to be reloaded a little proportionately faster than they should--they're already not that great to begin with and have to be "manually reloaded" between shots.

The problem would not be the difference, because doubling would keep the relations intact between the guns that use clips. The problem would be the shotguns, which would need to have their reload costs doubled as well (and they would be way too slow then). Now that would make all non-clip shotguns obsolete.

sorca_2
Starwalker
If it would cost AP to take the grenade from the vest and then put it back, then this would be the same as charging AP just for looking at a spot and spend a thought about it. Because we could not overcome this problem, AP-costs for handling the contents of LBE have been limited to the backpack (as it was already from the start with NIV).

Since we limited the penalties to the backpack, could we not limit the AP penalty to the regular (TT 3-day) pack? The grenade slots are entirely in the vests anyway, right? It's true that you'd get the penalty if you were using a stack of grenades in the pack, but that would just be an incentive to use the grenade slots you're given in the vests and holsters.

Yes, it could be done for the Combat Pack, I guess. You'd need to contact ChrisL about this.

sorca_2
Starwalker
That guns fit into them as well is normal, even in real life, you need just to keep the flap open or distort it a bit so that the barrel of the gun sticks out of the pack. So it is not that unrealistic, IMNSHO.

Then why is there a size limitation at all? For example, some weapons will fit before adding a suppressor but not after. Obviously the original intent must have been to prevent you from running around with 6 huge weapons. What I'm saying is that it should go a little further and prevent you from running around with 6 of anything larger than a machine pistol because it would make the smaller weapons more valuable.

And are you saying that it's not unrealistic to carry 1 weapon in the pack or 4? If it's only 1, then perhaps the pack could have one bigger (current size) slot and the rest would be limited to machine pistols and smaller. The effect would be dulled a little, but it would still be pretty good if there was an AP cost to draw a weapon out of the pack.

Well, you'll need to haul your loot some way, won't you? If Combat Packs are forbidden to hold at least some of the smaller rifles, then you'd need a full backpack on your mercs to carry surplus guns. And that backpack would need one Combat Pack slot to be transported in (while the backpack is empty), because even an empty backpack causes movement penalties (which you want to avoid like hell)

sorca_2
[quote:Starwalker]It boils down to this: You ask us to stop people from abusing game features, but we cannot do that, because the game engine has limits and there will always be some thing that can be exploited. If we plug one hole, another one will be found.[/quote]
On this one I totally get where you're coming from. On the other hand, there is obviously a limit since you can't put a LAW in a revolver holster, right? Therefore, at some point the line between "preventing exploits" and "improving gameplay" exists.
[...]
Someone must have thought the size-restricted packs were a good idea... otherwise we'd have infinitely sized slots, right? Very Happy

Indeed, you just found out that the NIV-team drew that line somewhere else than you would do it Wink


Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265589] Mon, 25 October 2010 12:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Starwalker

 
Messages:769
Registered:October 2005
Location: Hannover, Germany
Kazuya
Anyway, there is actually another thing that I would like to point out. You mentioned the turbular magazines of shotguns. Currently, when I reload a shotgun in 1.13, the game uses as many APs a character has left to load shells into the gun. After playing a little bit the DOM mod, I actually encountered a situation where my merc, who was equiped with a shotgun, ran out of ammunition. An opponent appeared at the end of his turn about ten tiles away. When my turn started, I loaded a single shell into the gun, and I shot that sucker. This would have been impossible with the current handling of 1.13, because the game would automaticly try to fully load the shotgun before giving control back to me.

Ooops, overlooked that one Sad

Well, you can control your shotgun loading by using differently sized ammo. If you have a shotgun that packs 7 rounds, and you use a 2-round stack to load it, it /will/ be faster.

By the way, for magazine-fed guns it costs always more AP to reload from a 'wrong'-sized magazine, but this penalty does not exist for guns that are loaded shell-by-shell.
So for magazine-fed guns it is better to have correctly-sized mags, for shotguns with tubular mags it is always good to have some smaller stacks of ammo available, just for emergency reloads (and it makes use of the Tiny pocket).

[Updated on: Mon, 25 October 2010 12:44] by Moderator



Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265598] Mon, 25 October 2010 16:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Buns

 
Messages:677
Registered:September 2010
Gazz
I'm just tossing ideas around and yes, you have the balancing pretty well done for a realistic approach. Pistols are actually way too good already because for any "real" combat use, they are not even on the scale. (100-150 m under combat conditions? That's rather questionable... on a shooting range. =)


That's a general problem with scale in game: For the purpose of weapon range one tile is considered to be 10 meters - on the other hand, you can stabb an enemy one tile away and a soldier prone covers two tiles. In reality you cannot stabb anyone ten meters away, not even with a sarrissa, and no man covers 20 meter while prone. So, one tile obviously is one meter.

For weapon range this would mean that the effective range of a pistol would indeed be some 25 to 50 tiles - and most ARs would be able to shoot across the entire map.
Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265601] Mon, 25 October 2010 16:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Luppolo

 
Messages:157
Registered:July 2009
i think the bobby ray description for .50 pistol ammo sums up almost perfectly what those guns are in game
Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265602] Mon, 25 October 2010 17:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wil473

 
Messages:2805
Registered:September 2004
Location: Canada
Increasing breath damage across the board for specific weapons requires duplication of the ammunition types used by these weapons. There would be a LC Ball, LC AP, LC HP, etc..., each granting higher breath damage. All magazines for a LC weapon would use these ammotypes instead of the stock ones. Not that the work is too terribly difficult, I've got four different types of AP (not counting SAP) going, one for pistols, the old one, one for full power rifle cartridges, and one for heavy bullet intermediate cartridge rounds. Then again, as it has been said before, this type of re-balance is really meant for modding beyond the basic framework given in the various v1.13 distributions.

[Updated on: Mon, 25 October 2010 17:12] by Moderator



Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265607] Mon, 25 October 2010 18:21 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Gazz

 
Messages:32
Registered:October 2010
Location: Bavaria
Kellomies
Isn't this more a "philosophical" question of how one approaches the game start, though, rather than anything related to how the pistols are treated under the current statting system? Certainly you'd think the mercs came in armed to the teeth rather than with popguns, but that's an issue of MercStartingGear.xml - and on the same vein, you'd expect even the initial AA opposition to be toting at least bolt-action rifles and vintage SMGs instead of handguns even if the first guys you meet are something like the local Border Patrol stationed in the ass-end of nowhere...

That was only a side remark related to the "usefulness" because starting gear is not the topic here.
I already changed that in my game so that's not really an issue.


Starwalker
Yeah, no real merc would arrive in the area of operations with just a pistol, but this is a game that rewards the player with better equipment. So if you start with good equipment, there's just one step to best equipment, whereas when you start with crappy equipment, there are many more steps up to the best. Although I do not like it any more then you do, I can see where the original developers came from.

I know why they did it. It's merely bending believeability just a bit too far. =P
In your regular CRPG like Gothic, you start with the classic ship wreck situation to explain why you went adventuring without bringing any equipment worth a darn...
The "growing" bit is a core feature of the role-playing elements and the further they can stretch it, the more mileage they get out of it. In a consequent implementation they would have the player start with clubs and throwing rocks and later upgrade the coolness level to slings. Shortbows next.


Quote:
Just to nitpick, but Arulcan History 101 reads more like you'd want to bring kit you can kept fed with NATO-standard munitions - how many Latin American monarchies you know of the Soviets supplied? ('course, finding a LA monarchy to begin with might be tad difficult... *handwave*) Not that Deidranna couldn't well have started buying Kalashnikovs by the ton to expand the Army on the cheap, of course, but odds are the older Cold War vintage arsenal is that of a "free world" minor client.

*shrug* The Lord of War wouldn't have minded, I'm sure. =)

TBH, I didn't study Arulcan history at all. Could be an island right off Cuba for all I know and Mistress Deidranna a recent... institution.


Starwalker
That's why we have AET ammo for a lot of pistols. It makes them useful later in the game. And as I pointed out elsewhere, pistols are useful in buildings, because their short range does not matter too much, but their speed does.

I disagree with the "useful" bit because MP with AET ammo seem to do a much better job there and the "large pistols", that this topic is about, are so slow that you can just as well use something like a Colt Commando - argueably even a short shotgun.


Starwalker
I knew that. But: No matter how you define that "is better than" relation, there will always be a worst one once you decide which relation you want to use.

No, that's an oversimplification.
Kazuya was talking about a stone/scissors/paper principle where all weapons would have one area of expertise - however small - where this weapon class would indeed be the optimal choice.
There should be no "worst in every conceiveable situation" weapon class.
(While "large pistol" is not technically a weapon class, it shall be for this topic =)

However, the large pistols have no such situation. Their "speed" advantage does not exist. Enough SMG / carbine are faster or compareable and totally take their lunch money with firepower, range, add-ons, and accuracy.

Concealability is not an issue in this game. It was in Star Traveller and few other games. That would be a classic benefit of pistols.

That's why I came up with oddball constructs like the super armor piercing which is purely a fantasy feature to give "large pistols" a reason to exist.
Body armor or not - a hit with a .50 pistol round is likely to do a bit more than stamina damage even if it's "just" a ball round.

Unlike other calibers, the .44 mag / .357 / .50 AE don't seem to be used in any rifles so this would make them easy to edit without causing unwanted side-effects.


Luppolo
i think the bobby ray description for .50 pistol ammo sums up almost perfectly what those guns are in game

But it doesn't emphasize enough how cool it is to have a .50 pistol. =P
Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265620] Mon, 25 October 2010 19:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
DepressivesBrot

 
Messages:3736
Registered:July 2009
Gazz
Unlike other calibers, the .44 mag / .357 / .50 AE don't seem to be used in any rifles so this would make them easy to edit without causing unwanted side-effects.

There are rifles for these large caliber pistols. At least the .44Mag has some old Winchester repeater, not that it helps the caliber much. The rifle neither has the speed of an average SMG, nor the range and single shot power of a true rifle like the SKS.
Similar carbines for .50 and .357 are included in AIM, but that's not the topic.

Buns
That's a general problem with scale in game: For the purpose of weapon range one tile is considered to be 10 meters - on the other hand, you can stabb an enemy one tile away and a soldier prone covers two tiles. In reality you cannot stabb anyone ten meters away, not even with a sarrissa, and no man covers 20 meter while prone. So, one tile obviously is one meter.

If you want to play a bit with this relation, there's now a global weapon range multiplier in the options.ini, however, 'true range' is probably unfeasible in anything short of a full sized 2000x2000 map, which probably wouldn't really be fun to play.


Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265624] Mon, 25 October 2010 19:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Gazz

 
Messages:32
Registered:October 2010
Location: Bavaria
DepressivesBrot
There are rifles for these large caliber pistols. At least the .44Mag has some old Winchester repeater, not that it helps the caliber much. The rifle neither has the speed of an average SMG, nor the range and single shot power of a true rifle like the SKS.

Ah, the Winchester Trapper. For some reason I thought it were .45.
It's a pretty stupid "rifle" that might just as well not exist. *shrug*

Quote:
Similar carbines for .50 and .357 are included in AIM, but that's not the topic.

Well, suppose one can't anticipate every mod.
It's not like there was a shortage of weapons in the regular 1.13 version. There are already so many that they are way past the point of useful diversity.
Any more would just be for the sake of "having more gun types".


And nah, there's no real point in adjusting the scale or increasing the map size by much. If the maps are too big, they become annoying because at night it can already take an eternity to find the last hiding enemy trooper.
On IronMan mode you can't just have your mercs run around like headless chicken, reloading the quicksave when you know in which general area the last one is hiding.
Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265625] Mon, 25 October 2010 20:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wil473

 
Messages:2805
Registered:September 2004
Location: Canada
Well, thanks to this discussion thread, I added the Winchester Trapper in .357Mag. Opportunity cost was so low that I didn't even bother firing up the XMLEditor to add it. Research on it it also led me to allow sniper scopes on both Trappers as I am presuming the ones in my mod to be post mid-1980's.

Actually, I may just implement the idea about increased stamina damage, effort to implement isn't that high relative to something like mucking about with LBE upgrades...

[Updated on: Tue, 26 October 2010 00:14] by Moderator



Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265626] Mon, 25 October 2010 20:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sorca_2

 
Messages:206
Registered:September 2010
Location: California, USA
@ Starwalker:
Starwalker
The problem would not be the difference, because doubling would keep the relations intact between the guns that use clips. The problem would be the shotguns, which would need to have their reload costs doubled as well (and they would be way too slow then). Now that would make all non-clip shotguns obsolete.

Ok, thanks for narrowing that down for me. It's unfortunate that a handful of unpopular weapons are throwing it off for the hundreds of others, especially because it would be realistic to make them slower. A couple of possible solutions:

- Increase their cost, but not at the same factor as the other weapons.
I read online about "speed loaders" for tubular shotguns. Could we just offer the appropriate ammo amounts (is it just 7?) in a speedloader much the same as how the revolvers all have speed loaders? This could justify it at least somewhat. I could draw the speedloader image(s) if necessary... Very Happy Or how about a cheap speed-loading attachment?

- Increase their cost at the same factor anyway. Yes, this would make the tubular shotguns take forever to reload, but it wouldn't make them obsolete if you use them correctly. From what I was reading about the real life tactical use of these shotguns, I saw a few rules: 1) never empty the entire magazine when firing, 2) reload just a few shells at a time on the fly whenever possible, and 3) if you have to reload the whole tube, find cover first. Fortunately, these rules actually tie into the game pretty well already. If the cost to reload the entire shotgun is so huge, you would need to obey the first two rules to properly manage your ammunition (using the smaller shell sizes) so you don't get into that situation. If you do get into that situation, you'd have to obey #3 by finding cover or waiting for an opportunity in real-time.

What do you think?

Starwalker
Yes, it could be done for the Combat Pack, I guess. You'd need to contact ChrisL about this.

Excellent! Will do.

Starwalker
Well, you'll need to haul your loot some way, won't you? If Combat Packs are forbidden to hold at least some of the smaller rifles, then you'd need a full backpack on your mercs to carry surplus guns. And that backpack would need one Combat Pack slot to be transported in (while the backpack is empty), because even an empty backpack causes movement penalties (which you want to avoid like hell)

That is an excellent point! Couldn't we decrease the size of the backpack down to machine pistol size (or perhaps one larger so you can't holster it, LOL) to fit in the new smaller combat packs? If not, as long as we go with the above combat pack AP cost, then I don't think it would be that big of a deal to have one current-sized slot in the combat pack to accomodate one empty backpack or one larger weapon. In fact, keeping in mind what you said about putting in one weapon with the barrel sticking out, that might actually be a good compromise anyway.

[Updated on: Mon, 25 October 2010 20:26] by Moderator

Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265628] Mon, 25 October 2010 21:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sorca_2

 
Messages:206
Registered:September 2010
Location: California, USA
@Gazz:
Gazz
Well, suppose one can't anticipate every mod.
It's not like there was a shortage of weapons in the regular 1.13 version. There are already so many that they are way past the point of useful diversity. Any more would just be for the sake of "having more gun types".

I know what you mean; I was pretty disheartened about adding new weapons as well. However, I think there is actually a little bit of room in the default 1.13 arsenal for the highly discriminating JA2 gunsmith. I wanted to add some weapons to my game, but I didn't want to keep slicing the diversity pie thinner and thinner, so I just added weapons that were unique or fell outside the performance spectrum in at least one way.

Examples... a faster not-crappy shotgun, an earlier coolness "sniper pistol", and an SMG-sized HK53 that kicks ass at room clearing. It's like the poor man's PDW. I used the Sledgehammer .50AE in my current game and it was pretty good. Equipped with a foregrip and used by a Auto Weapons merc led to many splattered heads especially with the Trigger Group. Of course, it can't compare to a 7.62 weapon later in the game, and the ammo is somewhat hard to come by. I made an M1 Garand EBR which turned out to be the sleeper hit. It can take all of the best attachments, it's got good range and high damage so it made a great mini-sniper weapon. It doesn't have the range, accuracy, or 10x scope of a real sniper rifle, but it fires much faster and does more damage than the 7.62 rifles.

Have a look at some of them. MissingName has some good ones too, and I just added some more fun .22 weapons to that thread last night. The revolver is definitely unique and the bullpup adds some depth to the .22 roster with near-recoilless burst capability. MissingName's suppressed .22s have early night ops written all over them.

[Updated on: Mon, 25 October 2010 21:01] by Moderator

Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265636] Mon, 25 October 2010 22:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Starwalker

 
Messages:769
Registered:October 2005
Location: Hannover, Germany
Gazz
Starwalker
I knew that. But: No matter how you define that "is better than" relation, there will always be a worst one once you decide which relation you want to use.

No, that's an oversimplification.
Kazuya was talking about a stone/scissors/paper principle where all weapons would have one area of expertise - however small - where this weapon class would indeed be the optimal choice.
There should be no "worst in every conceiveable situation" weapon class.

Was that not what I explained in the paragraph after the sentence you just quoted?


Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265652] Tue, 26 October 2010 01:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Gazz

 
Messages:32
Registered:October 2010
Location: Bavaria
Yeh, no offense meant. We do want the same kind of balance.
Not one weapon that becomes the Dominant Strategy (tm) of the game. DS is the bane of many strategy games. It's also very hard to avoid with a game that includes "progression" with equipment and skills.
Like trying to build a fire-proof building from dynamite bricks. (don't try this at home, kids)

I'm just willing to accept a higher ratio of fantasy / realism. =)

Kinda strange. Seems like every second user here is a Kraut.
Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265653] Tue, 26 October 2010 01:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sorca_2

 
Messages:206
Registered:September 2010
Location: California, USA
Yeah, I noticed that as well--I finally have one place for all my German news, updates, and opinions!

Anyway, I'm curious to see what Starwalker will say about my second-to-last post above. I felt like we were getting close to making all holstered weapons more valuable. We can all argue about large pistols later, as far as I'm concerned.




EDIT: Err... small problem. The last post by ChrisL was over 18 months ago. Once we get this sorted out I will still try to contact him.

[Updated on: Tue, 26 October 2010 01:33] by Moderator

Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265654] Tue, 26 October 2010 01:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Gazz

 
Messages:32
Registered:October 2010
Location: Bavaria
sorca_2
That is an excellent point! Couldn't we decrease the size of the backpack down to machine pistol size (or perhaps one larger so you can't holster it, LOL) to fit in the new smaller combat packs?

It's not a gun so it won't fit in the holster or sling regardless of size.

A combat pack doesn't necessarily need to have 3 identical "large" slots.
One large (for one rifle... or backpack?) and 2 smaller ones work just as well.
Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265680] Tue, 26 October 2010 13:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Starwalker

 
Messages:769
Registered:October 2005
Location: Hannover, Germany
sorca_2
Anyway, I'm curious to see what Starwalker will say about my second-to-last post above. I felt like we were getting close to making all holstered weapons more valuable. We can all argue about large pistols later, as far as I'm concerned.


Changing shotgun ammo to speedloaders would change the shotguns to work like clip-fed guns (i.e. the guns would need to have the clip-fed tag set to 1), as the speedloaders for revolvers already do. That would make all of the shell-by-shell-loading code obsolete. The speedloaders cannot possibly be a workable attachment, as there's no switch supported by the code that would change between clip-fed and non-clip-fed during the game.

And I still think that pistols have their use in the game as they are. If you want the large caliber pistols to be usable later in the game, you may want to change the AP ammo's type from AP/FMJ to XAP/SAP (if there's no AET available in that caliber).

Downsizing the empty backpacks leads to an exploit that existed earlier (but was diminished somewhat in the meantime), because the game contains code that gradually increases the backpack's size according to how it is filled (that's why LBE-items have two sizes, their empty size in items.xml for storing them elsewhere, and their filled size in LoadBearingEquipment.xml). So if we lower the lower end even more, it would be possible to put the backpack into another LBE-item's pocket while it is partly filled!
The backpacks have an empty size of 27, and with the exception of items with size 32 (which are only RPG warheads at the moment), this is the biggest size of item that fits into a combat pack slot (exactly for the reason I mentioned in the preceding paragraph: get the backpack a little bit larger by putting something into it, and it should no longer fit into the Combat Pack [unfortunately, if it reaches size 32, it fits again for the reason above {RPG warheads}]).
Example: Fill an ARUC with rifles just to the point where it does no longer fit into a Combat Pack's large slot. Then use the XML-Editor to lower the ARUC's empty size to 10 (just for the example's sake). Most probably it will fit now into the Combat Pack's large slot again, perhaps even with more rifles in it. And yes, that's much worse than having a single rifle in a Combat Pack slot.
Now you might think it would be a good idea to not only make the backpack smaller (when empty), but disallow larger sizes (above the backpack's new size) inside Combat Packs. But that would dissallow /all/ items of the bigger size(s)! Size 27 is also used for a lot of ammo belts, which then can not be transported in a Combat Pack any longer. And size 26 is the size of the Toolkit and the Medical Kit!
So, your idea would only work with a major revamp of the size-system (the concept and the code), which means that new sizes would have to be assigned to 1362 items in basic 1.13 alone (and the DBB-guys would lynch us...)

sorca_2
EDIT: Err... small problem. The last post by ChrisL was over 18 months ago. Once we get this sorted out I will still try to contact him.

Send me a PM with your email-address and your questions, and I will forward it to him, if his email-address cannot be found in the Bear's Pit.

EDIT: ChrisL's last time in the Bear's Pit was March 2010, that's not 18 months.

[Updated on: Tue, 26 October 2010 13:51] by Moderator



Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265683] Tue, 26 October 2010 14:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Buns

 
Messages:677
Registered:September 2010
DepressivesBrot
If you want to play a bit with this relation, there's now a global weapon range multiplier in the options.ini, however, 'true range' is probably unfeasible in anything short of a full sized 2000x2000 map, which probably wouldn't really be fun to play.
Yes, I guess this would be the reason for the two scales used in game.

This indeed does disfavour small range weapons such as pistols, because you can easyly hit something with it at ranges of 25 to 50 meters. These should be 25 to 50 tiles, and that way, like in reality, much to far away for the opponent to reach you before you have emptied the clip into his head.
Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265706] Tue, 26 October 2010 18:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Gazz

 
Messages:32
Registered:October 2010
Location: Bavaria
Starwalker
And I still think that pistols have their use in the game as they are. If you want the large caliber pistols to be usable later in the game, you may want to change the AP ammo's type from AP/FMJ to XAP/SAP (if there's no AET available in that caliber).

I'm more interested in tweaking the values until they "feel right" in game so I added 5 new ammo types that I could attach to those few pistol calibers.
That way I don't mess up the entire game if I change something. =)

Currently all my "large pistols" have AP / AET available at the minimum. Other ammo types if there were enough existing types to go around. (didn't bother to create new and entirely useless ammo types...)
Their armor piercing values were lowered by 33 % across the board, dropping AET from 0,75 to 0,5.
Large pistol firing AP are 25-29.
Will have to see how this works out.
Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265710] Tue, 26 October 2010 19:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sorca_2

 
Messages:206
Registered:September 2010
Location: California, USA
Starwalker
Changing shotgun ammo to speedloaders would change the shotguns to work like clip-fed guns (i.e. the guns would need to have the clip-fed tag set to 1), as the speedloaders for revolvers already do. That would make all of the shell-by-shell-loading code obsolete. The speedloaders cannot possibly be a workable attachment, as there's no switch supported by the code that would change between clip-fed and non-clip-fed during the game.

Hmm. That's unfortunate. What do you think of the second option:

sorca
- Increase their cost at the same factor anyway. Yes, this would make the tubular shotguns take forever to reload, but it wouldn't make them obsolete if you use them correctly. From what I was reading about the real life tactical use of these shotguns, I saw a few rules: 1) never empty the entire magazine when firing, 2) reload just a few shells at a time on the fly whenever possible, and 3) if you have to reload the whole tube, find cover first. Fortunately, these rules actually tie into the game pretty well already. If the cost to reload the entire shotgun is so huge, you would need to obey the first two rules to properly manage your ammunition (using the smaller shell sizes) so you don't get into that situation. If you do get into that situation, you'd have to obey #3 by finding cover or waiting for an opportunity in real-time.

So it would still take a long time to reload a tubular shotgun all the way from 0, but that's realistic right? The player should be reloading that thing a couple of shells at a time whenever he can or deal with the fact that it will take a while to reload from 0.

Starwalker
Now you might think it would be a good idea to not only make the backpack smaller (when empty), but disallow larger sizes (above the backpack's new size) inside Combat Packs. But that would dissallow /all/ items of the bigger size(s)! Size 27 is also used for a lot of ammo belts, which then can not be transported in a Combat Pack any longer. And size 26 is the size of the Toolkit and the Medical Kit!
So, your idea would only work with a major revamp of the size-system (the concept and the code), which means that new sizes would have to be assigned to 1362 items in basic 1.13 alone (and the DBB-guys would lynch us...)

Good point. Ok, so how about working backwards? Instead of resizing all those items or changing the code, what about resizing only the weapons that are above machine pistol size but below the current pack's size? If we increased them to be the current combat pack's size +1, then they shouldn't fit, right? We could also then increase the size of one of the combat pack's slots to be +1 as well so it could accomodate one of those weapons (with the barrel sticking out, as you said) and the rest of the slots could only hold items, ammo, or smaller weapons.

This should also eliminate the backpack conflict because we didn't make the combat pack slots smaller or change the backpack's size--you could actually carry empty backpacks in all of the combat pack slots, just like it is now. Moreover, you should still be able to put the above resized weapons in the backpack for looting/donkey/hoarding purposes.

Starwalker
Send me a PM with your email-address and your questions, and I will forward it to him, if his email-address cannot be found in the Bear's Pit. EDIT: ChrisL's last time in the Bear's Pit was March 2010, that's not 18 months.

I only saw his last post (April '09), not his last login. I just found it in the User List though--had never used that before. His e-mail address is listed here, but thanks for your offer. Maybe it would carry more weight from you? Very Happy Still, I wouldn't want to approach him until we have the above details sorted out anyway.

[Updated on: Tue, 26 October 2010 20:00] by Moderator

Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265734] Wed, 27 October 2010 01:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wil473

 
Messages:2805
Registered:September 2004
Location: Canada
I revamped the item sizes a few versions of UC-1.13NAS ago. Still doing minor tweaks, but overall a lot of what is being suggested with LBE pockets and item sizes is achievable with current coding/tools over a weekend by a committed modder. Well, the actual work took an evening, it was the planning of a new system that took a while. One thing I did notice, for some reason the version of UC-1.13NAS prior to the resizing had a lot of unused sizes.

Starwalker, are all 35 item sizes actually being used in stock v1.13? Like a lot of XML projects, I've diverged away from the stock XML's to the point where any changes to stock are more or less harmless to the project. (Unless again, if the modder decides it is worth it to incorporate the changes. Code changes on the other hand can be a killer...)

I found it useful to have a larger diversity of pistols and MP's sizes, though this was actually done to allow for both holsters that could take a pistol with a suppressor attached and those that could not.

See here for documentaion of the planning process (note the listed system is similar but not actually the system of sizes finally implemented): http://www.ja-galaxy-forum.com/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=260684#Post260684

[Updated on: Wed, 27 October 2010 01:13] by Moderator



Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265767] Wed, 27 October 2010 18:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Starwalker

 
Messages:769
Registered:October 2005
Location: Hannover, Germany
IK do not know off-hand, but you can just start the XML-Editor, choose Items/show-all and sort by size. Then you can look for gaps.

Remember, in basic 1.13 a number for size does not only define size, it defines shape as well for the non-gun items (we have four numbers for the same size, but four different shapes [malleable, flat, long, cube]). That's because we were sure that size isn't everything, if a pocket can take one large thing, that might be a cube, but not something of the same volume but a different shape.
I believe I explained that in my Modding-the-NIV thread.


Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265770] Wed, 27 October 2010 19:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sorca_2

 
Messages:206
Registered:September 2010
Location: California, USA
Starwalker, that's good to know that +1 might not necessarily work. I don't think it should impact the combat pack large weapon stuffing issue as long as the between-sized weapons are resized properly then. Any thoughts on the shotgun reload AP thing above? Just trying to find an optional system that we can agree is realisitic and fair. I know the tubular shotguns are getting a hit, but remember that all of the other weapons are getting the same hit as well. I just think it will mean that we'll have to adapt to some more realistic shotgun tactics and take advantage of the shell-by-shell code.

It seems like wil473 is already part of the way down the right track; I might have to get in touch with you at some point.

If the weapon-resizing thing isn't an issue, then we're down to just the shotgun reload AP. If we get that sorted out and I can't contact ChrisL, we'll have to come up with an alternative for implementation. Except for the combat pack AP/zipper, I think I could implement the rest in my own game. However, I have no idea how to turn that into a set of three 1.13-compatible INI options. I'm willing to learn, but I'm guessing it's not something you can learn by yourself.
Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265796] Thu, 28 October 2010 00:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wil473

 
Messages:2805
Registered:September 2004
Location: Canada
Yeah, I know about the shapes problem. Introduced a new "shape" in the form or "Carbiner" where an item is equivalent to X-size, but can be hooked onto a pack biner. If there are .exe changes, there's always room for more potential item sizes...

Based on discussions on this thread, I went ahead and implemented a set of "Slow Large Calibre" ammotypes. 3/10 more stamina damage, 1/10 less AP than the old equivalents. Best of all, it didn't change the magazine.xml ordering. AP and ball still seems a tad overpowered right now, these are not slow moving tungsten rounds (see: implementation of SP-5/6 9x39mm XAP), so I may drop the AP damage further.

Otherwise I am nearing a release of Alrulco Folding Stock, which implements what I've discussed but for the "vanilla" campaign instead of the Urban Chaos campaign. It is designed to be a modding base (as I intend to immediately adapt it for the next version of Diedranna Lives!-1.13 and later another major revamp of UC-1.13). Just don't use the XMLEditor for more than examining it.

[Updated on: Thu, 28 October 2010 00:51] by Moderator



Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265816] Thu, 28 October 2010 13:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Starwalker

 
Messages:769
Registered:October 2005
Location: Hannover, Germany
sorca_2
If the weapon-resizing thing isn't an issue, then we're down to just the shotgun reload AP. If we get that sorted out and I can't contact ChrisL, we'll have to come up with an alternative for implementation. Except for the combat pack AP/zipper, I think I could implement the rest in my own game. However, I have no idea how to turn that into a set of three 1.13-compatible INI options. I'm willing to learn, but I'm guessing it's not something you can learn by yourself.

I can multiply reload costs by 1.5 and see how that works, even make it downloadable elsewhere before (if!) it become part of basic 1.13. It will take some time though, my free time is no longer as much as I had when I started working on 1.13...


Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265830] Thu, 28 October 2010 18:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sorca_2

 
Messages:206
Registered:September 2010
Location: California, USA
Awesome. I think the only thing that could possibly be better than a "LONGER_RELOADS" true/false option would be a "RELOAD_AP_MULTIPLIER" setup so the player can choose what he wants it to be. Maybe restrict the values to between 0.5 and 3? Though I have no idea how to do that, obviously.

If there's anything I can do to help, please let me know and I'd be glad to do so. I will e-mail ChrisL to see if he's around.
Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265831] Thu, 28 October 2010 18:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
DepressivesBrot

 
Messages:3736
Registered:July 2009
It wouldn't be especially hard to create such a multiplier, the only challenge would be to find all places where it has to be applied and skip the places where it mustn't be applied and topmost, make sure it doesn't spawn weird behavior.


Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265834] Thu, 28 October 2010 19:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sorca_2

 
Messages:206
Registered:September 2010
Location: California, USA
Well, it would only need to be applied to the weapons, right? I don't know where else in the code it would need to go, but I don't know anything about the code. Does it essentially function as a simple tag that refers back to the setting in the INI file?

Do you guys have any suggestions for a reasonably intelligent n00b thinking about dipping his toe into the pool of JA2 coding? Or is that like asking for advice on how to climb Everest? I really appreciate help from you guys, but I wish I didn't have to beg for help on every little thing. It sucks being full of ideas that I can't implement. Sad

[Updated on: Thu, 28 October 2010 19:22] by Moderator

Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265836] Thu, 28 October 2010 19:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
DepressivesBrot

 
Messages:3736
Registered:July 2009
Advice for getting into the code:
1) Get the code.
2) Get a compiler.
3) Get a C++ Tutorial, choose a game mechanic that interests you and try to figure out how it works to get a feeling for the code, .
Could be harder if you never had a structured introduction to programming (the language doesn't really matter, most are similar anyway).

Creating an ini setting is easy, just copy one of them and rename it. For the 'where', now that's the question, eh? There are only 8 files that reference APsToReload, so it should be a manageable task to figure out what each function does and wether it needs to be changed.




Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265839] Thu, 28 October 2010 20:12 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sorca_2

 
Messages:206
Registered:September 2010
Location: California, USA
Ah, great.

1) I'm assuming the code is what you linked here: https://81.169.133.124/source/ja2/branches/Wanne/JA2 1.13 MP
2) What compiler do you recommend for Windows XP? I don't know jack, so I looked up a list and GCC stood out to me, for example.
Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265843] Thu, 28 October 2010 21:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
DepressivesBrot

 
Messages:3736
Registered:July 2009
1) Yep.
2) Get Visual Studio Express from MS (free, just register), personally, I still use the 2008 version, but thats only because I'm to lazy to update to 2010. Project files for both are included in the download (along with those for 2005).


Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265863] Thu, 28 October 2010 23:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Zarax

 
Messages:45
Registered:February 2007
Location: Italy
Starwalker
sorca_2
If the weapon-resizing thing isn't an issue, then we're down to just the shotgun reload AP. If we get that sorted out and I can't contact ChrisL, we'll have to come up with an alternative for implementation. Except for the combat pack AP/zipper, I think I could implement the rest in my own game. However, I have no idea how to turn that into a set of three 1.13-compatible INI options. I'm willing to learn, but I'm guessing it's not something you can learn by yourself.

I can multiply reload costs by 1.5 and see how that works, even make it downloadable elsewhere before (if!) it become part of basic 1.13. It will take some time though, my free time is no longer as much as I had when I started working on 1.13...


Since I'm already hosting Kaerar's SCI you guys should remember my server is always at developers' disposal.
Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265864] Thu, 28 October 2010 23:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sorca_2

 
Messages:206
Registered:September 2010
Location: California, USA
@DB:
Cool, I will check that out. Thanks for the advice--you should really have some kind of badge for all the advice you give here IMO. Vote +1 from me if you ever need it.

All:
Please move the discussion about reload APs and realistic combat packs into this topic: New Options: More Realistic Reload APs and Combat Packs. It was getting pretty cluttered in here, and the title of this topic doesn't apply to most of what we're discussing now anyway.

We can continue to use this topic to discuss large pistols. On that note, if the ideas in that topic are ever implemented, large pistols would get a role as the "heavy hitters" in the small weapon arsenal.
Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265869] Fri, 29 October 2010 00:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Gazz

 
Messages:32
Registered:October 2010
Location: Bavaria
I've been playing with the changes from my last post for a while and heavy pistols have become rather useful.
The "deluxe armor piercing" bit extends their usefulness over a much larger part of the game while not turning them into super weapons early on. Early on there isn't much armor to pierce so the advantage is a theoretical one.

On a per shot base they are still considerably slower than a fast 5.45 carbine so with a protracted firefight or one at any kind of range, they still suck. But that's cool.

At point blank range they do serious damage even against armored targets so they are quite useful indoors - especially since you may not always have the AP for going burst/auto with that carbine of yours.
The one AP draw cost hardly matters and you can get one round off on comparatively few AP. They are seriously nasty if you dual-wield them.
That lowers their effective range to uhh... not quite so much... so it's nothing to use for "default combat".
Still, a 10% or so reduction of firing costs is reasonable IMO.

I'll probably reduce their range to "default" or only slightly extended again and the damage... a bit. That was only the first approach but the piercing has proven much more productive and it doesn't require giving them ridiculous "generic" stats.
Well, except for that one fantasy feature. =P

Re: Balancing for Large Pistols[message #265871] Fri, 29 October 2010 01:30 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
ctiberious

 
Messages:607
Registered:March 2007
I haven't posted in a long time. But I do pop in every few months. Don't you all just hate when real life interferes with hobbies? Smile Anyway, I wanted to at least attempt to answer Sorca_2 here rather then from his e-mail to me.

Technically yes, you could add a "zipper" cost to the combat pack, just like the backpack has, though it would require coding changes. The whole point of the combat pack was to have a limited capacity pack that was also easily accessible in combat. As compared to the backpack which has a large capacity but is actually a liability in combat. Of course, if you added a slight penalty to the combat pack, then other LBE pockets would be more of even greater use.

However, adding penalties to the combat pack doesn't have a direct bearing on large pistols. If you did add a penalty to combat packs, you're not going to make large pistols a better option. Therefore you're not "balancing" them in any way. If you want to improve the effectiveness of large pistols, then you really need to look into changes like extra range and/or damage (possibly with added AP cost to use) as has already been discussed. I know these kinds of changes would adversely effect the level of weapon realism Starwalker has always tried to maintain, but at the same time even a slight change might make these weapons more usable in the game. There's a point where realism needs to take a back seat to playability, after all.

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