Laser Combat Reimagined OXZ

Discussion and information relevant to creating special missions, new ships, skins etc.

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Re: Laser Combat Reimagined OXZ

Post by Damocles Edge » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:07 pm

Just thought I'd post some feedback for this oxp following on from my decision to start playing the game from scratch using start choices option to start in an adder.
So far I have really enjoyed the different pulse laser options (only tried the default pulse and M-Blast options) but enjoyed the differing power output.
I have just upgraded to Hassoni Hi Rad bolt laser and all I can say is - WOW - was it meant to be this good?
Not sure what the effective range is meant to be, but I'm sure that in one incident I was able to hit a fer-de-lance that had just disappeared beyond radar range.
The power output also seems phenomenal, in one mis-jump episode I was able to see off a bunch of thargoid warships - my little adder does have an extra energy unit and shield boosters but my dog fighting definitely isn't that good by any stretch of the imagination.
Anyhow I just wanted to ask if this bolt laser is meant to be this good (only it seems too good IMHO) ?
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Re: Laser Combat Reimagined OXZ

Post by Redspear » Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:11 pm

Damocles Edge wrote: Just thought I'd post some feedback for this oxp following on from my decision to start playing the game from scratch
Sorry for the late reply - I missed this post somehow...

The bolt lasers shouldn't really be available to an adder (or even a cobra for that matter), rather they are included for testing purposes. The bolt lasers hit hard and at extreme range but not particularly often (opposite of a beam laser). They are meant to represent heavy laser installations on large, lumbering vessels like the python, that are relatively easy to hit themselves (what with their being large and lumbering...)

So if you're feeling a leap after swapping from a pulse laser then no wonder as (from memory) that's the best bolt laser available!

You're feedback is very useful though as an adder probably shouldn't have the required power available in order to run it effectively, regardless of the weapons availability.

I'll likely bump up the energy cost for the next version.
Thanks :D
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Re: Laser Combat Reimagined OXZ

Post by Damocles Edge » Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:26 pm

I decided to take a step back in the laser evolution from bolt lasers to beam ( I thought I owed it both to the oxp and myself to at least try them out).
Anyhow, I think I've stumbled upon something which was not intended.
I was presented at the main station with an option for just "Beam Laser" at 1000 credits, so seeing as this was in price terms the next step up from the 3 pulse laser options that I would start here.
After a short play I found that the beam operates as I would normally expect, in that it fired rapidly and consistently on the target up to a range of just over 15k, until it overheated upon this happening the enemy made very short work of my adders tissue paper shields.
So I thought I would head to the collective zero gravity factory (I try to buy most of my equipment from these commies stations as they really save you quite a lot of money), I thought at this point I would try the most expensive beam laser (as I had failed miserably with the cheapest) and so plumped for the Ergo offering at twice the money of the base beam laser (less of course the 15% discount that zero G yards offer).
To my surprise the Ergon only has a range of approx 6.8k :? (I found this back locking onto a target typically the zero G facility that I had just launched from and edging forward very slowly until my laser reticle turned red)
What? I remember thinking - the ship yard told me this had the longest range of any beam laser :shock:
So I thought maybe the coding has somehow been flipped and that laser stats are loading back to front.
I dutifully went back and swapped the Ergon for the Ingram mid price beam offering and launched again.
This time I found the effective range had dropped to 5.6k with the Ingram offering.
It was at this point that the penny dropped and I realised that the "Beam Laser" must be residual from the standard game laser offering and not a laser generated by this oxp.
I think for the adder (and certainly for me in an adder) the beam laser option is too fraught with danger (nigh on impossible for me) and so I have reverted back to the cheapest bolt laser on offer for the time being. That said for other who dog fight it may be great set of alternative beam weapons with varying difficulties.

It would be interesting to hear the experiences of others using this oxp, like I say I'm more of a sniper (I normally play in anacondas, pythons etc) so I am probably not the person whose comments should be used to help shape the beam laser / dog fighting aspect of this oxp

Hope this may help some small way.

Cheers and thank you for your efforts Redspear.
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Re: Laser Combat Reimagined OXZ

Post by Redspear » Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:11 pm

Damocles Edge wrote: It was at this point that the penny dropped and I realised that the "Beam Laser" must be residual from the standard game laser offering and not a laser generated by this oxp.
Based on your description I thought exactly the same and so I went to the code to check...

Code: Select all

(
		4, 10000, "Dual 22-18 Beam Laser",
		"EQ_WEAPON_BEAM_LASER",
		"Two lasers alternating down the same barrel. Rapid fire, short ranged combat laser.",
		{
			condition_script = "oolite-conditions.js";
			available_to_all = true;
			weapon_info = {
				range = 5120;
				energy = 0.5;
				damage = 6.0;
				recharge_rate = 0.1;
				shot_temperature = 3.2;
				color = "yellowColor";
				threat_assessment = 0.5;
			};
		}
	),
That should override the standard beam laser (note the EQ_ name and the short range). If you were using one of these against enemies with the standard oolite beam laser then no wonder you were struggling... Beam lasers are meant to be short range generally with this oxp - an upgrade from pulse but not a massive step up as they are in the standard game.

Perhaps the asto factory is generating another piece of equipment that has the same cosmetic name (i.e. 'Beam Laser'). That could be the method the author used to offer it for sale with a cheaper price.
If so that's a good find DE, thanks :)

Assuming that this is indeed the case, I can try to override that equipment item but oxp overriding oxp can be messy and may not always work in the way one would like...
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Re: Laser Combat Reimagined OXZ

Post by Damocles Edge » Sat Mar 23, 2019 6:03 pm

Thanks for the quick reply Redspear
Redspear wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:11 pm

Perhaps the asto factory is generating another piece of equipment that has the same cosmetic name (i.e. 'Beam Laser'). That could be the method the author used to offer it for sale with a cheaper price.
I should point out that the "Beam Laser" was bought at a main station and not an astro / zero g station.
Also at present I have yet to see the "Dual 22-18" beam laser offered anywhere (main stations & oxp) I am only seeing "Beam Laser", "Ingram 1928 A2" and "Ergon BX47" options.
At present it appears that the low cost beam option "Dual 22-18" is being replaced by the default beam.

Hmmm

Second thoughts, that gives me an idea - I will try removing commies oxp to see if it remedies what I am experiencing and report back.

Thanks again :)
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Re: Laser Combat Reimagined OXZ

Post by Redspear » Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:40 am

Damocles Edge wrote: I should point out that the "Beam Laser" was bought at a main station and not an astro / zero g station.
Also at present I have yet to see the "Dual 22-18" beam laser offered anywhere (main stations & oxp) I am only seeing "Beam Laser", "Ingram 1928 A2" and "Ergon BX47" options.
Ah, OK that does sound like something different...

Damocles Edge wrote: I think for the adder (and certainly for me in an adder) the beam laser option is too fraught with danger (nigh on impossible for me) and so I have reverted back to the cheapest bolt laser on offer for the time being. That said for other who dog fight it may be great set of alternative beam weapons with varying difficulties.
This oxp is designed to both improve and explain the distribution of lasers, so it's a matter of finding a laser that suits your ship and (to some extent) combat style.

You're right that beam lasers don't suit an adder and you should find that they are never installed on non-player ships that are so slow. The adder isn't fast enough to control the range in most combats and so it needs a laser with a good range: the less powerful but much longer range pulse laser is therefore the better choice.

As I've mentioned upthread, there's player progression and weapon upgrading to consider. With that in mind, not only are there 3 pulse laser types to consider but there are also 3 military lasers with reasonable range and good to great power.

Bolt lasers in future will be python, anaconda and the boas only. Otherwise they would be the ideal (if overpowered) choice for an adder.
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Re: Laser Combat Reimagined OXZ

Post by Damocles Edge » Sun Mar 24, 2019 5:28 pm

Just a quick update after removing commies oxp - which by the way is great for getting your ship serviced at zero g stations when you have a smuggling hold installed.

I have played a reasonable amount of time with commies removed and not found any change in beam laser options available, it is still giving me the mid priced "Ingram" and high priced "Ergon" options, the economy "Dual" beam is still absent but I am still getting the default "Beam" option for 1k (and still with a 15k range.

Just traded my adder in too - was hoping to get a cobra mk1 (as I've never flown one and wanted to do the path without skipping any), but a cobra mk2 x was available for only 12.5k more so I will have to do the cobra mk1 another time. The cobra mk2 feels like a Rolls Royce after getting used to the adder (which is a great little ship - would be a great option for new pilots learning to dock).
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Re: Laser Combat Reimagined OXZ

Post by Damocles Edge » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:17 pm

Some more feedback, this time concerning beam lasers.

Whilst pulse lasers work well I am finding that beam lasers are like a radical step back in that it is far easier to get kills with pulse weapons and verging upon impossible to get kills with beam options.
I decided to make a concerted effort to play with a beam weapon up front (whilst having a bolt laser on the rear - just in case :wink: ).
I will detail my experience in an attempt to explain my conclusion.
I opted for the ergon beam as it marginally has the greater range (excluding the default beam which still has 15k range), the ergo is good for just under 7k range. so I fitted this to my cobra mk2 x.
I engaged a hostile fer de lance ducking and weaving to avoid his fire I maneuvered behind him and opened up on him with the ergon beam, this promptly went to red overheating but the fdl showed no sign of fleeing. I waited for the laser temp to cool all the way down and opened fire again this time just before the laser overheated the fdl promptly hit the fuel injectors to get to safety.
Hitting the jump drive after a short wait (to ensure that the FDL wasn't still in attack mode in which case it would just fuel inject to safety). I then started the process again of maneuvering behind and opening fire, this time I opted for an alternating fire with intermittent delays to try and lower the FDL's shields but avoid over heat, sadly each time this occurred (and this was several times), the FDL would just inject away leaving me to try and take him down before he exceeded the 6.8k range of my weapon (which after repeated attempts I can say is impossible).
After repeating this process numerous times, the only way I was able to destroy the FDL was due to the fact that he has eventually exhausted his fuel and was unable to inject away (the FDL has a max speed of 300m/s whereas my cobra mk2 x has a max of 350m/s). So eventually after 10 minutes or so of this repeated process I had the FDL, what I had to do is treat the laser with a feather touch of very short intermittent pulses, eventually taking the shields down and destroying the FDL.
Whilst I was able to do this with a lone ship, more than 1 opponent would be impossible, so I think the damage caused and possibly the range may need some tweaking to be a viable option but at this point the only plus point for a beam weapon over a pulse weapon is the rate of fire . In every other respect it feels vastly inferior (range and damage).
I am going to give military options a try to see how they fare and will report back
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Re: Laser Combat Reimagined OXZ

Post by Damocles Edge » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:46 pm

Damocles Edge wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 5:28 pm

I have played a reasonable amount of time with commies removed and not found any change in beam laser options available, it is still giving me the mid priced "Ingram" and high priced "Ergon" options, the economy "Dual" beam is still absent but I am still getting the default "Beam" option for 1k (and still with a 15k range).
I believe I may have just inadvertently found the cause of this issue.
After deciding to progress and try out military lasers offered by this oxp, I thought I would make the process of obtaining military lasers easier by requiring less travelling to a specific system (which is enforced by Weapon Laws oxz) and so decided to temporarily remove it whilst I play tested military lasers.
To my astonishment when I loaded my save game and hit F3 i found

Image

The appearance of the highlighted laser would suggest that there may be a conflict between Laser Combat Reimagined OXZ and Weapon Laws OXZ

Hope this may help in some small way

Cheers
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Re: Laser Combat Reimagined OXZ

Post by Redspear » Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:37 pm

Damocles Edge wrote: I believe I may have just inadvertently found the cause of this issue.
You've been doing a great job of bughunting my oxps, thanks! :D

Now I did have a theoretical solution for these kind of equipment conflicts but didnt write it down... I'll look into it.
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Re: Laser Combat Reimagined OXZ

Post by Redspear » Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:18 am

I've remembered my 'solution' but haven't tested it yet. It should work for equipment items generally but weapons may be a special case.

Suppose there is an equipment item "EQ_X" and oxp A wants to change its properties while oxp B wants to change its availability. Both oxps would either require overriding the equipment.plist entry in its entirety or (in the case of oxp B) somehow universally exploit oolite_conditions.js.

There is another way however that would only require oxp A to change the original equipment.plist entry.

  • Oxp A makes its changes to EQ_X as before
  • Oxp B installs an item on the player ship that is incompatible with EQ_X
  • Oxp B creates a new item EQ_Y that includes EQ_X and includes its own condition scripts

Where it could all go wrong:

If incompatibilty extends to items including EQ_X.
If weapons are a special case for 'inclusion'.
It does rely on the player not already having EQ_X installed but a check and then a removal of EQ_X and and installation of EQ_Y should solve that.

I expect there are other ways but my understanding of javascript (and oxps generally) is at a modest level.
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Re: Laser Combat Reimagined OXZ

Post by Damocles Edge » Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:34 pm

I'll do the time honoured thing that my family does in situation like this by nodding and smiling :)

What I understood for sure in that last post from Redspear

Redspear wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:18 am

I've remembered my 'solution' but haven't tested it yet. It should work for equipment items generally but weapons may be a special case.

The middle bit (pretty much all of it), I heard this in my head as it tried to follow what was going on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUdbZ9QY5VU

Redspear wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:18 am

I expect there are other ways but my understanding of javascript (and oxps generally) is at a modest level.
I'm pretty sure that there are lots of people on this board who will understand what you are talking about, if you want to avoid disappointment please don't expect me to be amongst them :lol:
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Re: Laser Combat Reimagined OXZ

Post by Redspear » Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:18 pm

Damocles Edge wrote: The middle bit (pretty much all of it), I heard this in my head as it tried to follow what was going on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUdbZ9QY5VU
:lol:

Damocles Edge wrote: I'm pretty sure that there are lots of people on this board who will understand what you are talking about, if you want to avoid disappointment please don't expect me to be amongst them :lol:
I included it here in case anyone could see something I couldn't (or in case it actually helped someone else).

I'll just let you know when I've done it then :wink:
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Re: Laser Combat Reimagined OXZ

Post by phkb » Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:38 pm

A small bug in your "shipdata-overrides.plist" file. Line 117 reads:

Code: Select all

		like_ship = "oolite_template_morayMED";
This line is unnecessary in the overrides file, and will cause problems with other OXP's, like this:
10:33:09.284 [shipData.merge.failed]: ***** ERROR: one or more shipdata.plist entries have like_ship references that cannot be resolved:
griff_morayMED-NPC, interstellar-help-ship-13, morayMED, oolite_template_morayMED

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Re: Laser Combat Reimagined OXZ

Post by Redspear » Sun May 05, 2019 2:29 pm

Ready for update soon, just needs some testing.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd attempt a more visual explanation of what this oxp is trying to achieve.

Nature of ranged combat : When an opponent is both faster and has longer ranged weapons they can control much of combat

Image

In the upper image the cobra is chasing the python. If the cobra has the red laser then it can immediately open fire but if it has the blue laser then it is out of range. All is not lost however as under normal circumstances we would expect the cobra to be able to move into range on account of it being the faster ship.

In the lower image however, the python will struggle to gain ground on the cobra as it is the slower of the two. The cobra can choose to engage only when it wishes two whilst the python is subject to the whims of the cobra pilot.


Rear mounted lasers make range doubly significant :

If you face a foe who is both faster and has a longer ranged (rear facing) weapon then pursuit is not only fruitless but potentially deadly.
This is especially true for non player pilots who aren't always the brightest...

In the second image, we can see that the python's blue laser is out of range while the cobra's red laser can still do damage.


The problem :

In Oolite (as in Elite) laser range increases with laser power (or at least with combat effectiveness). This compounds the issue and grants fast ships with long range lasers near invincibility in many (but not all) combat scenarios.

To moderate this effect, the player is one of the few pilots allowed to use a military laser (best range and best power available) else combats become extremely deadly when outnumbered. To balance that choice, with the military having DOUBLE both range and power of the beam laser, the player must often be heavilly outnumbered in order for combat to be challenging.

The result is that keeping one's distance while using a rear mounted laser is both the most boring and successful tactic available. Worse than that it is sometimes the only viable one.


My 'solution' :

Remove the idea that more range must equate to more power.

So, by granting pulse lasers more range than beam lasers one must choose between range and power. Which is the better choice then depends not only on the speed of your ship but also on the facing of the laser mounting.

Slower ships would likely favour pulse over beam lasers or else they could be made very vulnerable to sniping. Fast ships on the other hand may rely on their ability to close in, do the damage quickly and get out again and so a beam laser may be the more preferable. Even fast ships might prefer a pulse laser on the rear mounting so that they could not be sniped at freely when trying to escape.

3 kinds of each laser ( 3 pulse, 3 beam etc) so that there is still a progression - you can buy a 'better' laser than before it just won't improve in both range and power. The military laser remains an exception as the player can still benefit from a 'super weapon' but its dominance will no longer be absolute. Greatest power it retains but greatest range no longer, that award goes to the new bolt laser.

The bolt laser

The idea of the bolt laser is to grant only the largest and (typically) slowest vessels a weapon of exteme range. These vessels are some of the easiest to exploit when you have a longer ranged weapon and allowing them to be picked off easily by an adder with a miliary laser seems wrong. If the bolt laser has more range however then it should not also have more power or we are back to square one.

To try to make sense of the idea that a laser restricted to the largest vessels should have less power than one that is not, rather than reducing shot power, instead rate of fire is reduced. So although it hits harder than a military laser it hits much less often.


Cosmetics

Whilst far from problematic, I still think that their is room for some more variation in the standard game. Lasers can not only look but also behave differently. The RGB colour model has been used with one of the three secondary colours missing: cyan, which has here been granted to the bolt laser. Adding the remaining secondary colour (rather than adding tertiary ones) should not increase confusion when presented to most player's eyes.

Military lasers have been made (in most cases) slighty slower than beam lasers and so they exhibit a slight stutter which adds to their character as well as reinforcing that of the beam laser. The bolt laser meanwhile fuctions like a large cannon - great range and power but slow, granting it a distinct flavour and making any successful dodge highly significant.

6 distinct laser types
  • Pulse
  • Beam
  • Mining
  • Military
  • Thargoid
  • Bolt
6 distinct colours
  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Blue
  • Magenta
  • Green
  • Cyan
6 distinct characters
  • Long range, Slow
  • Short range, Very fast
  • Mines asteroids
  • Long range, Fast
  • Omni-directional
  • Extreme range, Slow
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