Realistic damage

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Fritz
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Realistic damage

Post by Fritz »

Just a few thoughts.

What has annoyed me since playing the original Elite is how equipment damage is handled. There are several logical and/or annoying problems:

* Damage is completely random; losing a military shield booster is just as likely as losing the advanced space compass or a coffee machine.

* The first hit going through the shields can already cause severe damage.

* Only additional equipment and cargo can be damaged, never engines, controls, lasers, torus drive, witch drive, and not even missiles. Or the pilot... :roll:

* Damage is always total (apart from the space compass which sometimes keeps working for some time).

* Many repairs can only be done at rare high-TL systems which can force a player to abandon (i.e. not saving) a trip, especially when he is on a time critical mission. Surviving without some equipment can be a challenge, but it is simply annoying if you have to cross half a galaxy avoiding any trouble just to make a repair. And a game should be fun, shouldn't it?

* Only the player ship can be damaged, NPCs can flee and regenerate completely over and over again, even if they were only one or two laser hits from being destroyed.

* Last but not least: The damage handling completely ignores one crucial thing: the hull, the part which would be the first to be damaged in reality.

If we imagine a real ship, laser beams going through the shields (whatever they are made of) wouldn't hit the contents of the ship (equipment, cargo) but the hull which is made of thick metal plates, probably thicker on a police or navy ship than on an orbital shuttle. Essential or very expensive military equipment would be protected by additional interior bulkheads.

After receiving multiple hits, the hull would become weaker. In reality, two or more hits at the same spot could even cause a hole. Of course Oolite can't calculate the exact coordinates of each hit, and even if it was possible it wouldn't make sense without defining the coordinates of each piece of equipment and freight container inside the ship.

But Oolite could calculate something like a "hull integrity" given in percent. It could be displayed in the HUD with a bar, like shields and temperature. The probability of any equipment or cargo getting damaged should be zero as long the integrity is above a certain limit. let's say 66.6 %, and it should increase with sinking integrity. Below 33,3 % essential or very expensive equipment could be at risk, and if integrity drops to 0 %, the ship is destroyed (and not when the energy is exhausted, which doesn't make any sense).

Some equipment is on the outside (lasers, missiles, main engines, injectors) and could be handled differently. But even if they are treated as if being inside the hull, it would be more realistic than in the current game. Engine damage should be only from shots coming from behind, and front/aft Laser damage could also be handled like this. The existing core game should be able do this without much additional effort because it can calculate front and aft shields.

Other than energy and shields, the hull shouldn't regenerate itself, but it should be repairable at any station. The game could be made even more interesting, if an on-flight repair could be made after scooping up some metal plates! This should of course only be possible under green condition and without the ship moving, or perhaps inside a rock hermit (the latter would allow more time for this to be used by advancing the clock). Likewise, "computers" could be used to fix electronic equipment and "machinery" to fix other equipment. A low-TL system or rock hermit could become a high-TL system if you bring the right cargo!

(Note: The fact that a space station circling a TL 3 system is treated itself as being TL 3 is another logical flaw in Elite/Oolite, because a space station is always high-tech! But for interesting gameplay this is an acceptable solution.)

Damage to essential standard equipment should not be total: A damaged laser could have a slower pulse rate, a damaged torus drive could be slower (but still faster than the main engines), damaged engines could slow down the ship, a damaged witch drive could have a reduced range, and damaged controls could reduce pitch and/or roll rates. And a damaged pilot... let's just forget this one...

Things could be made more complicated if a hull that isn't far from breaking apart (integrity perhaps below 33 %) would force the pilot to reduce the stress by reducing roll, pitch, and speed, or by avoiding witch jumps. If he still chooses to put stress on the hull, the integrity could become even worse. The flight computer could prevent him from doing this below a certain integrity limit (perhaps 10 %).


I'm not expecting this to be implemented in the near future, and it probably needs more than an OXP. It would also need careful balancing, so that the game doesn't get easier or much more difficult. But I'm thinking abut this every time I feel that a damage is "unjustified". When I was new to Oolite I lost my brand new extra energy unit the first time I would have needed it, and today I lost the brand new navy energy unit immediately after a shield had broken down...

There is too much (bad) luck in the damage handling, and adding a layer "hull integrity" between shields and random damage would reduce this.
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Re: Realistic damage

Post by Layne »

Boop: http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/Breaka ... pment_OXPs

Boop: http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/Breaka ... ort_System

Boop: http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/RealisticDamage_OXP

Boop: http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/BattleDamage

Not a comprehensive solution, but, between these, the part and parcel of your concerns have been addressed in a tidy fashion. They'll mix up how your ship takes damage in any number of in-ter-est-ing ways.
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Re: Realistic damage

Post by Fritz »

I' knew about some of these OXPs (but not "BattleDamage") and I'll have a more detailed look in them. It doesn't look like any of them would address my main concern, that equipment damage should only occur if the hull has taken some damage already, but seeing these OXPs raises my hope that this can actually be programmed as an OXP somehow.
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Re: Realistic damage

Post by Layne »

Fritz wrote:I' knew about some of these OXPs (but not "BattleDamage") and I'll have a more detailed look in them. It doesn't look like any of them would address my main concern, that equipment damage should only occur if the hull has taken some damage already, but seeing these OXPs raises my hope that this can actually be programmed as an OXP somehow.

Well, there are also the 'armor' oxps-- Ironhide and Hardships, both of which include scripts to add external damage sinks that block at least some of the damage that would hit internal components. If you want to have a closer look at them, the general principles could be re-applied to an oxp to simulate hull damage prior to equipment damage. I have not used Hardships myself and I removed Ironhide from my game a long time ago, but Ironhide, at least, used a system where part of the damage was absorbed by the armor and part of it got through to equipment-- which is very much how it would work if you simply called that the ship's hull to begin with and dispensed with the whole pretext of armor.
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Re: Realistic damage

Post by phkb »

I've got a tweaked version of IronHide which does some of what you're asking, in that the armour takes the damage and only passes on damage to equipment once it falls below a certain percentage. I'm still tossing around the idea of making a new oxp from this or not.

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Re: Realistic damage

Post by Diziet Sma »

So.. you complain about a number of things that aren't logical or don't make sense, then you go and make a totally illogical statement, that makes no sense, like this?
Fritz wrote:Damage to essential standard equipment should not be total:
Doesn't sound very 'realistic' to me.. :lol: :mrgreen: :wink:
Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied

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Re: Realistic damage

Post by Smivs »

A couple of points, and thoughts.
Firstly, it is often the most recently fitted equipment that gets damaged - I don't know why - so that might explain why your shiny new cat-flap is always getting shot off.
Also, (handwavium) the damage can be cause by a number of reasons, not just a direct laser hit on the equipment through a damaged hull. Vibration/shock can play a part as could minor damage to vulnerable secondary equipment eg a damaged power coupling could be unimportant normally but means the shield boosters cannot draw enough current say.
And of course the first hit after shield failure could cause damage - you seem to find this surprising. The first bullet to hit you after you remove your bullet-proof vest probably wouldn't do you a lot of good, would it?
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Re: Realistic damage

Post by Norby »

Defensive Equipments in Hardships (which should be installed by very advanced players only) do something similar using fine-tuned damage_probability in [wiki]equipment.plist[/wiki]. For example Euipment Box can take over the first equipment damage. Maybe worth to separate these into another OXP for all players.

Alternatively if you install [wiki]Repair Bots[/wiki] then you can fix your damages during flight.

You have good ideas just need somebody who will make these, moreover must be solvable at OXP level due to the core game is pretty resistant against any changes in the game mechanic.

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Re: Realistic damage

Post by Disembodied »

Fritz wrote:I'm not expecting this to be implemented in the near future, and it probably needs more than an OXP. It would also need careful balancing, so that the game doesn't get easier or much more difficult. But I'm thinking abut this every time I feel that a damage is "unjustified". When I was new to Oolite I lost my brand new extra energy unit the first time I would have needed it, and today I lost the brand new navy energy unit immediately after a shield had broken down...

There is too much (bad) luck in the damage handling, and adding a layer "hull integrity" between shields and random damage would reduce this.
I suspect that in part this may be observational selection - i.e. when a new/valuable/important piece of equipment gets damaged, you notice it. When something relatively trivial gets damaged, you don't pay as much attention to it. So it may just seem as if the game is being "unfair" or that damage is "unjustified", because those are the times that stand out in your memory. I know I'm guilty of this, and not just with Oolite.
Fritz wrote:Many repairs can only be done at rare high-TL systems which can force a player to abandon (i.e. not saving) a trip, especially when he is on a time critical mission. Surviving without some equipment can be a challenge, but it is simply annoying if you have to cross half a galaxy avoiding any trouble just to make a repair. And a game should be fun, shouldn't it?
Yes, but part of the fun should be that the game is challenging. If nothing ever inconvenienced you - if all missions were successful missions, if you never had to fight back against adversity - to me, that wouldn't seem like much fun. However, I would like to see some sort of system where the player could try to make running repairs themselves: some sort of mini-game where, if the player is successful, the damaged equipment can be brought back online (maybe at a reduced efficiency or effectiveness) for one more jump. The player would have to make the repairs after each jump, and failure would result in the item's complete destruction. (Something like this version of Hunt the Wumpus could be converted into such a mini-game: there would be a similar system of interconnected nodes, only instead of a wumpus, the player is trying to locate a damaged power-coupling. The wumpus's "smell", the canary, the sound of running water etc. is replaced by indicator lights, and so on.)
Fritz wrote:If we imagine a real ship, laser beams going through the shields (whatever they are made of) wouldn't hit the contents of the ship (equipment, cargo) but the hull which is made of thick metal plates, probably thicker on a police or navy ship than on an orbital shuttle. Essential or very expensive military equipment would be protected by additional interior bulkheads.
This relies on huge assumptions - primarily that all (or even most) ships are well-built and intelligently designed. It could be (and it seems to me that this suits Oolite's general atmosphere better) that most ships are patchworks of new and old, of cobbled-together parts and half-understood high technologies crammed in to veteran hulls. Life is cheap, times are hard, and very few pilots have the luxury of having a fully equipped ship custom-built from the ground up with every last item shielded and protected and armoured. Not forgetting, too, that mass and volume = money: yes, you can add extra internal bulkheads, and wrap layers of shielding around your most expensive pieces of kit - but consuming all that extra space, and adding all that extra mass, has to come at a price. Either your padded and protected ship gets bigger, slower, clumsier, and easier to hit, or you have to sacrifice more and more cargo space to accommodate it all. Or both. These kinds of tradeoffs are inevitable: Oolite ships are not battleships. Even out-and-out military ships, like the Asp, have clearly had to give up internal space in return for speed and toughness.

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Re: Realistic damage

Post by Fritz »

phkb wrote:I've got a tweaked version of IronHide which does some of what you're asking, in that the armour takes the damage and only passes on damage to equipment once it falls below a certain percentage. I'm still tossing around the idea of making a new oxp from this or not.
That sounds very promising! This percentage thing would be the main point of my changes, and everything else (repairing by scooped metal plates, the need to reduce stress to a damaged hull) would be optional. I can't imagine how this OXP would work (for example how you would display the hill integrity in the HUD), but I'm just starting to play around with OXP development. My first approach would be to introduce an equipment called "hull" with a very high damage probability and to reduce this probability with increasing damage.
Diziet Sma wrote:
Fritz wrote:Damage to essential standard equipment should not be total:
Doesn't sound very 'realistic' to me.. :lol: :mrgreen: :wink:
You are right. But the game would be rather unplayable if you could be left drifting in space without engines or control. And please don't mention escape pods! I never used them, even on the C64 version, because it didn't feel right. These things are probably the most absurd feature in the game. I work in the insurance business in the real world, so I am competent enough to make this statement! :lol:
Smivs wrote:Also, (handwavium) the damage can be cause by a number of reasons, not just a direct laser hit on the equipment through a damaged hull. Vibration/shock can play a part as could minor damage to vulnerable secondary equipment eg a damaged power coupling could be unimportant normally but means the shield boosters cannot draw enough current say.
Yes, but fixing a power coupling wouldn't need a 50 LY travel to a TL 11 planet! :wink:
And of course the first hit after shield failure could cause damage - you seem to find this surprising. The first bullet to hit you after you remove your bullet-proof vest probably wouldn't do you a lot of good, would it?
There is a significant difference between a policeman or soldier and a space ship: Between the shield (=bullet-proof west) and the cargo/equipment (=human body) a space ship has its hull, which can be seen as a second bullet-proof vest!
Disembodied wrote:... part of the fun should be that the game is challenging ...
Yes, of course. But a "random challenge" (completely random damage) is like throwing a dice, it is quite different from a "skill challenge" like being able to survive a big fight by careful aiming and making the right decisions depending on laser temperature, shield and energy levels. You can fight perfectly and still loose some important equipment that forces you to reload the last save if you don't want to lose your contracts and to make a long, boring repair journey through the galaxy. Of course it's only my personal opinion - and I must stress this! - but to survive and still having to abandon the game is much worse than being shot to pieces! And if you think that "fighting perfectly" means that the shields never should go down, try fighting 15 or more assassins at once! And no, I don't want to use WMDs.

I could make it easy for me and set all damage probabilities to 0, but I like the basic idea that something can be damaged. I just don't like the completely random way it is handled, and I don't like that repairing essential equipment like the targeting enhancement is limited to high-TL systems. Perhaps I shouldn't reduce the damage probability but the TL needed for repairing... :roll:
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Re: Realistic damage

Post by Diziet Sma »

Fritz wrote:And please don't mention escape pods! ... These things are probably the most absurd feature in the game. I work in the insurance business in the real world, so I am competent enough to make this statement!
Don't go telling the Apollo astronauts that.. Or the folks on the ISS. Because they both had/have emergency escape systems in place. :wink:
Fritz wrote:to survive and still having to abandon the game is much worse than being shot to pieces!
It is, but it's also entirely realistic. Just ask any soldier or military pilot.. any time you're in combat, just killing the enemy before he kills you, is no guarantee that you'll get to live. Space is unforgiving.. to survive, but not survive, is entirely possible.
Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied

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Re: Realistic damage

Post by Disembodied »

Fritz wrote:
Disembodied wrote:... part of the fun should be that the game is challenging ...
Yes, of course. But a "random challenge" (completely random damage) is like throwing a dice, it is quite different from a "skill challenge" like being able to survive a big fight by careful aiming and making the right decisions depending on laser temperature, shield and energy levels.
Or, arguably, they're both part of a larger kind of skill – dealing with whatever gets thrown at you. The ability to take advantage of a lucky break; the fortitude to cope with an unlucky one.
Fritz wrote:Of course it's only my personal opinion - and I must stress this! - but to survive and still having to abandon the game is much worse than being shot to pieces!
But that's the thing: you don't have to abandon the game. You might have to change your plans, abandon a particular set of deliveries, take a hit to your reputation, and have to build it up again; take a hit to your cash reserves, too. Be flexible enough in your options to be able to cope with a bit of failure, survive, and move on.

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Re: Realistic damage

Post by Fritz »

The good thing about Oolite is that you can make the game like you want it! I could buy tons of useless OXP equipment (like a cup of tea or a beer cooler :roll: ) to reduce the chance of something important getting damaged, or I could take the programmers approach and simply change some values in equipment.plist. But I don't want the game easier for me (I'm near the point where the opposite is the case!), so it's not as simple as it seems.

A little bit off topic: Is it only me, or is the chance of equipment damage higher when the cargo hold is empty?
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Re: Realistic damage

Post by Wildeblood »

Fritz wrote:A little bit off topic: Is it only me, or is the chance of equipment damage higher when the cargo hold is empty?
Yes, it is.

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Re: Realistic damage

Post by Diziet Sma »

Wildeblood wrote:
Fritz wrote:A little bit off topic: Is it only me, or is the chance of equipment damage higher when the cargo hold is empty?
Yes, it is.
Yup.. the damage has less 'victims' to choose from.
Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied

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