JAF Weapon Rebalance - THE MASTER PLAN[message #338941] Mon, 12 January 2015 03:45 Go to next message

Registered:January 2000
Location: Danubia
A map in JAF is roughly 100x100 tiles (some smaller, some bigger). But the actual battlefield size is only 20 tiles. That's the default vision range for everyone (scopes and perks can increase it, adverse conditions can lower it). Visually, those tiles are what fit into your screen too. See the example below (I confess I zoomed out more than default game allows). So I started from the assumption that 20 tiles is your sniper range and then divided that range into sectors of 5, for easier reference and measurements.

Problem with default weapon setup
Atm JAF has a big problem with SMGs. Basically it suffers from the same problem as BIA. In mid-game ARs and Sniper rifles replace everything but handguns. They work at range, they work upclose. Nobody wants the puny dmg SMGs anymore. Also I feel the shotguns and handguns are way too limited in range (basically they only work at 5 tiles and suck up to 10, while in my setup they work up to 10 tiles with chance shots allowed up to 15 tiles). The biggest issue is the overlap between 0-10 between SMGs and ARs. It's an unfair "fight" because ARs pack more punch, so you will never pick the lower damage SMG.

My proposal moves the ARs and SRs to the medium to long range. For under 10 tiles, you are better off using SMGs (longest range, burst), shotguns (biggest dmg, higher AP cost) and handguns (lowest AP cost, best interrupts). These three classes balance themselves much better than SMG vs AR because in most cases SMGs use the same ammo as handguns (so their dmg is comparable), while shotguns are door kickers with high AP cost and huge dmg.

Since the calculations are done using the old spreadsheet calculator provided by FC, LMGs and rifles aren't included. I feel like if we manage to balance the main classes, the rest will follow, so that's not such a big problem. I used the concepts outlined here as source of inspiration. Their scheme divides the main weapon classes as follows:

So let's get to work and see how that would translate into a JAF scene. One more note. Ideal CtH is not what most players will experience until the end of the game. At start of the game they will most likely use mercs with 75 marksmanship or near that value. So based on ingame results, I've added a small legend showing "real CTH" for an average merc, using absolutely no bonuses (standing up, enemy standing up, shot to torso, neither wounded, no cover, no attachments, no bonuses, no maluses at all):

The chart uses as reference the following weapons: Colt M911 / Benelli M4 / Walter MP / M16 / SVD

I fully recommend clicking the image and opening it in full view to judge the actual scale.

A word about bonuses
A second improvement I feel needed regards the bonuses. They basically cover the gap between IDEAL CTH and REAL CTH. But if a weapon at a certain range only has 80% ideal CTH, you can add extra AP as much as you want, you can crouch, you can add attachments, nothing will change the IDEAL CTH value. Except maybe those attachments which affect core values (Effective Range, Muzzle Velocity, Base Accuracy and Mobility). Don't know, haven't tested yet.

Default aim bonus for JAF is an universal 10%. Which I feel is too large, because in most cases you will hit the IDEAL CTH on level 1 aim thus the level 2 aim (fully aimed) is completely wasted and gives no better chance. I feel that lowering the AP costs, but also making the bonus 5% actually works better. People can see their CtH grow in increments of 5% while they spend 2-4 APs extra and that feels right. Of course, even in this case there will be low CtH shots where the fully aimed level won't help you much. But in most cases, using the proper weapon for the situation, you will feel the improvement.

Further research is needed, as I said, using attachments and different bonuses/maluses. How does it look so far? Do you feel like Sniper rifles are too harshly penalized at close to medium range? How about Assault Rifles? I felt like penalizing them a bit in order to make room to SMGs.

See ideal CtH chart

Legend of the chart:
Blue = Handguns
Red = SMGs
Orange = Shotguns
Green = ARs
Purple = Sniper R

[Updated on: Mon, 12 January 2015 12:33]

Re: JAF Weapon Rebalance - THE MASTER PLAN[message #338952 is a reply to message #338941] Mon, 12 January 2015 18:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message

Registered:July 2006
Location: France
Reading the whole presentation, i kind of agree with almost anything. Ingame tests would help confirm it all.
It's hard to balance weapons' CTH apart, when you have damage, AP costs, etc.

I have some doubts about SMGs still. I like the "balancing firearms range diagram", however the other images and charts don't show the same result when it comes to very close range. In the first one, SMGs shine in mid/late CQC and a little in mid range, where in the others they shine all the way to mid range. They should (maybe) be a little less efficient at very close range (yellow on the image and curvy at the start of the chart).

Concerning the aiming bonus and AP cost, i'm still unsure about what to do. For both (pseudo) realism and gameplay effect, i'd like aiming to be effective. I'm afraid i won't bother spending APs for a mere 5%, especially if i can shoot twice instead, while in real shooting or in a fps game i'd take that second to aim properly before shooting all the time if i want to hit, because the effective CTH changes a LOT. There is really something to be done about the AP cost. At the moment, you simply can't aim(x2) with several weapons because it costs more APs than your merc has in a turn. But do we change the Merc APs, the weapon AP cost or the aiming cost? Maybe you're right and we shrink the aiming cost and bonus. But then we're limited to a small aiming total bonus.
There is another problem with aiming, the formula. I didn't have a look at it lately, but i doubt they changed it. The way they implemented the aiming bonus has strange effects ingame. Often, aiming doesn't change the CTH at all, and it should...
So, i don't really know how to mess with aiming, properly.
Re: JAF Weapon Rebalance - THE MASTER PLAN[message #338953 is a reply to message #338952] Mon, 12 January 2015 20:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message

Registered:January 2000
Location: Danubia
I found out (and explained above) why sometimes spending APs doesn't increase aiming. It's exactly the reason why I want to lower the bonus and the AP costs. Let's talk by example, it will make it easier to understand:

You're at 10 tiles away from an enemy aiming with a SMG in a complete no-bonus/no-malus situation. According to the "ideal CTH chart" of the weapon, you should have lets say a 65% maximum cth (talking out my ass, it's just an example, but walk with me). Your mercenary is a scrub with low MRK, though. So his actual CTH is about 55%. What happens next is very interesting. Your unaimed AP cost is 8. Your first level of aim will be 8x1.5=12 AP. That will give you a 10% increase to 65%. You say, ok, this is better, let's go to the next level of aim. And that level is by default 8x2.0=16 AP!!! And guess what... your CTH is still 65%!!! You curse the game, the devs and the day you bought it.

Why this happens? You hit the maximum ceiling for that situation. Your weapons ideal CTH at that range is 65% and no matter how many APs you spend, you will never get past it. You can increase your chances by changing stance (tested) and applying a flat bonus. And you can increase your chance by using attachments, which affect the 4 basic CTH factors. But spending extra APs will do nothing for you.

My solution works like this: Instead of having one level of aim which costs 12 AP with 10% bonus and a level 2 USELESS level that costs 16 AP with 0% bonus, we split the bonus in two and alter the costs multipliers to 1.2 and 1.5. And the above example becomes:

"AimingAccuracyBonus": 5,
"FocusedAimingAPMultiplier" : 1.2,
"SuperAimingAPMultiplier" : 1.5,

Level 0 = 8 AP / 55%
Level 1 = 10 AP / 60%
Level 2 = 12 AP / 65%

compared to

"AimingAccuracyBonus": 10,
"FocusedAimingAPMultiplier" : 1.5,
"SuperAimingAPMultiplier" : 2.0,

Level 0 = 8 AP / 55%
Level 1 = 12 AP / 65%
Level 2 = 16 AP / 65% (useless)

You spend 12 AP in both cases, but you do it gradually. Or you can only spend 10 AP and use the remaining 2 to crouch. It's simply better and proper AP management. As I said, not even my alternation is fool proof when the gap between "ideal weapon CTH" and "actual merc CTH" is less than 10%. We need to test it with higher end mercs (95 MRK) and lower end mercs (50 MRK) and see what happens. Maybe we need a deeper change. But as it stands now, it's bad, very bad. Speaking of CTH formula, here it is:

CTH = (skillBonus + level) * (weaponAccuracy + penaltiesAndBonuses) / 100.0f

Your extra AP spent go into "weaponAccuracy" so the above is:

CtH = (75+1)*(65+10+0) / 100 (roughly 57% CtH for a level 1, 75 MRK merc using level 1 aim)

Full formula: http://thepit.ja-galaxy-forum.com/index.php?t=msg&goto=3 38910&#msg_338910

[Updated on: Mon, 12 January 2015 20:55]

Re: JAF Weapon Rebalance - THE MASTER PLAN[message #338958 is a reply to message #338953] Tue, 13 January 2015 01:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message

Registered:January 2000
Location: Danubia
Rebalance Take Two (SMGs nerfed, shotguns normalized)


RANGES: 0 / 0-5 / 5-10 / 10-15 / 15-20 / 20+

Colt: 80 / 80 / 60
M4 Shotgun: 76 / 76 / 63 / 23 (overall lower CTH)
Walter SMG: 80 / 80 / 73 / 20
M16: 44 / 64 / 76 / 80 / 76 / 64
SVD: 16 / 44 / 64 / 76 / 80 / 79 ...

Re: JAF Weapon Rebalance - THE MASTER PLAN[message #338963 is a reply to message #338958] Tue, 13 January 2015 14:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message

Registered:July 2006
Location: France
I've worked with the formula in the past, but the implementation of the aiming mode never was clear.
If the CTH limitation works as you say, then your proposition of lower AP cost and lower CTH bonus is pertinent.

The new chart seems OK. You chose to reduce SMG CTH over distance rather than making them a little bit less effective at very close range, why not.
Re: JAF Weapon Rebalance - THE MASTER PLAN[message #338964 is a reply to message #338963] Tue, 13 January 2015 15:28 Go to previous message

Registered:January 2000
Location: Danubia
I dont like blunt range limitations, especially for SMGs. A range cutoff makes it impossible to aim (X appears) with that gun. A CtH reduction gives you more information.. like "dude...wtf you're aiming there with an Uzi? Use a proper gun". Also considering SMGs have burst, they can be simply used for suppression fire, even if CtH is low.

As for bonuses, my observations are from trial and from what the FC spreadsheet gives me. From by poor math brain, if we wanted AP spent to aim not to be hard capped, they should've been applied last to the equation, like this:

CTH = Aim_Level_Multiplier + ((skillBonus + level) * (weaponAccuracy + penaltiesAndBonuses) / 100.0f) as a flat bonus
CTH = Aim_Level_Multiplier * ((skillBonus + level) * (weaponAccuracy + penaltiesAndBonuses) / 100.0f) as a multiplier
make it a multiplier of the skillBonus, so better mercs would make better use of their aim levels, while scrubs would gain less.

It was a design choice by JAF to make aim levels weapon dependent. I confess I didn't have the patience to read the entire 20 pages of Headrocks explanation of how CtH works in JA2, but I gave it a look. And in JA2 CtH seems way more dependent on merc level and skills so that's why it might be that people say the game "feels different". In JA2 you get a massive boost on CtH to aim when you use a high-end merc. In JA:F you get this boost when you pimp your weapon or use a better one. Maybe they did this because the campaign is short and they feared people will not have time level their mercs so they will be roflstomped by the AI. So the player has an easier progression - they just buy better weapons at shop!

[Updated on: Tue, 13 January 2015 15:29]

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