Hey all, as I’m implementing gameplay mecanics for ammo we need some feedback from the community on how you’d like to see ammo working in the game.
There are currently 3 candidates:
KISS ( keep it simple stupid ): a global pool of ammo ( per ammo type of course ) in the ship internals. Each weapon consumes ammo from that global pool. Individual weapons won’t run out of ammo unless the corresponding ammo type has run out. Pretty simple to implement, understand ( from a new player’s point of view ) and won’t clutter the HUD too much.
Ammo per-weapon: each weapon mounted on a hardpoint has its own ammo count. When it runs out, the weapon basically becomes useless until ammo is replenished at an allied station or supply ship. This is a bit more complicated to implement, might add depth to the gameplay and clutter the HUD.
An hybrid solution between 1) and 2): each weapon has its own ammo container which gets consumed when the weapon fires. When empty, the weapon starts a “reload” mechanic which might take some time ( think about it like some cooldown ). The weapon cannot be used under cooldown. The reloaded ammo is taken from a global pool like in 1). This is the most complex solution to implement and we might also need ideas to represent ammo on the HUD if we go in that direction.
Other ideas for ammo mecanics are also welcome.
A global pool of ammo, each weapon consumes ammo from that shared pool
Per-weapon ammo: a weapon running out of ammo does not impact another weapon’s ammo
Per-weapon ammo which reload under a cooldown from a global pool of ammo
Shared pool for similar ammo makes the most sense for me - assuming we are not talking missiles/missile pods that would clearly require separate / external reloading. So as long as it is bullets equivalent, a central feeding system seems believable and would be easy to use.
There’s something to be said about overheating your weapons though. Better heat exchangers could be a bigger better/heavier mod to your ship that allows you to fire for longer at the cost of maneuverability.
In a future where warp travel is possible, centralized ammo pools with automated loading systems should probably be a given. It would also be a refreshing departure from other games.
I agree with @Skyentist though. Time permitting, continuous weapons fire should cause a heat buildup that needs to be managed. You can also add stat-based heat management components to the ship’s equipment loadout so people can have fun trying to balance the feel of their weapons.
Keep it simple in the short term and add complexity where needed in the future. Both options 1 & 2 will run out of ammo, it’s just that #2 adds a further nuisance to gameplay as well as dev time. Perhaps there is a better strategy in how and where the ammunition is obtained?
I see certain problem with universal ammo, it might not be the case, but it could be wort consideration.
If we have two weapons and one of them is more powerful then the other. It obviously will be used more often.
People will min max, they always do.
They will be either alpha-striking if possible…will it be possible? (shooting everything at once)
Or there will be a point when someone will say: “why does that other weapon even exist if nobody uses it?”
With energy weapons it seems logical…but for the rest …yeaaahh not so much.
I vote Per-weapon ammo
I’m a little concerned that everyone’s picking option #1 besides the simplicity. Never having to reload? Infinite gun chambers? Every game known to man has magazine reloading…option 1 seems like an over simplification. Does this mean guns never overheat? No capacitors, heat sinks, or drum barrel mods to customize loadout, etc? Option 3 sounds like more of a standard.
Modern games do have reloading. A lot of the early FPS did not. Shared ammo pools are also more common the further you go back to the past but those are less commonly used due to balancing reasons. Not the balancing issues we will encounter though. Older games let you carry many different weapons at the same time, I:B wont.
Also the reason modern games do reloading is to mimic real guns (Even though most magically reclaim usually lost cartridges …). This does not have to apply here. First, in the future all guns may be belt fed. And secondly I:B ships and turrets are more like airplane guns than they are like infantry weaponry. Airplane guns also never reload.
This still can be the case with every option Flavien provided. I-Novae has to balance every weapon variant/stat arrangement in such a way that it has pros and cons. If one weapon is just better in every way, it will be used more often but this does not have much to do with the type of ammo feed …
Unbalanced weapons have a place in RPGs and Loothathlon games but not in I:B.
I also Vote for option One and maybe option Three if people really like reloading … I don’t like reloading.
I like the flexibility these two options would give. You could mount two types of weapons on the ship you could use depending on the situation you are in without having to guess beforehand which situation will happen more often. Mounting that weapon already is enough of a compromise.
I suggest having ammo be displayed in kilograms or grams and weapons having a stat that shows kg per shot and kg per second used.
I voted for the first option, for the reasons others have mentioned, with the small caveat that, in the event that there are different calibers, there wouldn’t be a shared ammo pool for all the different caliber guns a ship may have equipped.
Make reloading automatic. When that is done, the reload simply becomes a delay at a certain point during combat, scaring the crap out of the player. Not now! Of course, it also serves as a reminder of how much ammunition they have left. You can be sure that a player who is waiting for that multi-second reload process to complete is checking how many reloads he has remaining.
Manual reloads could be possible for those times when there are just a few rounds left in a magazine and the player would like to cycle his weapon(s) into the next magazine to avoid a reload at an inconvenient time. When you do that, and a ship carries many magazines, you then start to think about repacking magazines (to consolidate the rounds in the partial magazines into as few whole magazines as possible).
As for ammo pools, they should match the control options.
If I have one switch to throw to turn my point defenses on and off, then I have one ammo pool. It doesn’t matter how many turrets there are because I think of my point defenses as being either on or off. The HUD would reflect that.
If I have four sets of point defenses (front, left, right, rear), then I have four ammo pools and four HUD indicators. That means that if I’m using tactics that tend to result in enemy ships approaching from my front, then my front point defenses are going to run out of ammunition before the other three sets. I then have to either retire or change tactics.
But anyway, the control system drives all this stuff because that’s the way the players will think about employing their weapons.
Ammo pools could have reloading as well, with an ammo pool divided into “magazines”. So those 20 weapon turrets might be fed with a series of three magazines of 50,000 rounds each. The point defenses go down for a few seconds as the system switches from one magazine to the next. The turrets themselves just become damage emitters for a given weapon system.
As ever, the overall gameplay determines how this stuff really needs to work.
I think part of the problem with reloading of any kind is aiming being automatic.
When you have control over where you’re aiming, you can fire bursts to conserve ammunition and reloading can be useful.
On any of the ships with turrets - where chance to hit is based on auto-tracking, and also your target may leave your field of vision - also having to wait for a reload is going to become frustrating.
If one on one combat isn’t going to be a long, drawn out affair, I really don’t see the need for reloading anyways, unless the magazines are only capable of holding a handful of rounds. If there is going to be any reloading, I would have it so the magazines would be really big, a couple hundred rounds per mag. Modern aircraft, and even WWII era craft, had capacities of this size. Reloading, however, isn’t something that even modern aircraft do, afaik, simply because of space limitations and increased mechanical liability.
Assuming that technological limitations concerning reliability of reloading, I can’t see why it would mean sacrificing large magazine sizes, starting at ~250 rounds at least. Of course, you would only have a few reloads, maybe only one, depending on loadout.
If we’re going for reloading, I’d go all the way and have limited ammo pools for each gun/turret. If we’re going for the sim, let’s go all the way.
If the desired effect of reloading is to create pauses in firing that a player has to deal with, then I think a heat mechanic will serve the same purpose. You can then add limited heat sink dispensers so that players can decide whether to wait for heat dissipation or drop a heat sink to keep firing.
Well I chose 2, because I imagine there could be more gameplay opportunities when the player has to watch the ammunition on each weapon and use it according to the situation, instead of just blindly “firing everything”.
But in honesty, I feel that the weapons themselves should be discussed / fleshed-out before the ammo mechanic. Will there be lots of weapon types within the same class, with different mechanics and reasons to switch between them during combat? Or will there be 2-3 types which will be chosen by players to complete a build designed to fit a specific tactical role?
With lots of different weapons, I feel that ammo per-weapon would be nicer. With a battery of the same weapon type, choosing the global pool option is a no-brainer.
I totally agree. In update 91 the only difference Keith mentioned in his theoretical scenarios were that energy weapons will have infinite ammo whereas projectiles will have limited ammo. There better be more depth to it than that!
Regarding ammo management, I voted for option 1.
On smaller ships I think projectile ammo should be a shared pool (per type) but missiles should be per launcher.
On capitals, I think projectiles and missiles should be shared across the whole ship but (dev time dependent) have some reload/reallocation mechanism.