Brass Watch Games

Shipyard Development News 4 April 2016 — Back From the Dead Edition

by Jonah on April 7, 2016

It’s been a long time. Like, a really long time. Like more than half a year. Yeah… Sorry about that. I can’t even say I’ve been especially active either. Between starting my first year at university and various other real-life engagements, as well as a general lack of inspiration, development of Shipyard has been at a complete standstill for most of that time. However, I’m finally climbing back on the wagon with the intention of finishing alpha 1.0 before putting the game officially on hold to work on smaller, more manageable projects.

Since I’ve been inactive, I’ve been playing a lot of games. In what can be very loosely described as research, two in particular–World of Warships and From the Depths–have grabbed my attention and given me some fresh ideas that got me interested in working on Shipyard game again. Specifically, they’ve given me idea regarding how to deal with weapons now that the majority of systems are free-form.

Armor and Weapon Type Changes

Right now, a system’s only defense is its hit points, which has a number of negative effects on gameplay. Since the beginning it has been possible, and indeed optimal, to focus fire on an enemy ship’s rectors to quickly disable all of its defenses. This is a cheap tactic that requires little in the way of skill and, once you figure it out, makes the game significantly less enjoyable. Additionally, since free-form systems are really just 1×1 systems with very little HP under the hood, weapons that deal a lot of damage in a single shot are wasted on them. I’m planning sweeping changes to address these problems.

The first of these changes: armor. In addition to hit points, which represent the integrity of the functional parts inside a system, systems will also have an “armor” stat representing the thickness of solid metal protecting the outside. At first, each system will have a hard-coded armor value, but eventually I plan to allow the player to control the armor thickness over different parts of the ship. At the moment, reactors and engines have the most armor because they are the most important systems to protect. Each weapon type will behave differently when confronted with higher armor values:

  • Ballistic weapons, which are being renamed to kinetic weapons, will have an “armor penetration” value, and will work on an all-or-nothing basis. If the weapon has enough penetration to punch through the enemy’s armor, it will do its maximum damage to the system. If not, it will do zero damage.
  • Explosive weapons’ damage will be spread out over multiple tiles regardless of the target’s hit points. However, its damage will drop sharply with higher armor values–perhaps even being divided by the square of the target’s armor. This means that they are only effective against lightly-armored parts of the enemy ship.
  • Energy weapons will target a single tile like kinetic weapons, but rather than the all-or nothing system, their damage will be merely reduced by armor rather than negated entirely. The reduction will not be nearly as sharp as with explosive weapons, though. Whereas explosive damage is divided by the square of the armor value, energy damage will scale linearly.

It’s hard to remember even where I left off; I’ve had to go back and read my old posts to remind myself what I was doing all those months ago. Hopefully, though, I manage to stick with it and get the update out in a reasonable time. No promises, but for the moment anyway I’m feeling pretty inspired.

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