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Author Topic: [0.8a][Guide] Armor and You  (Read 22132 times)

xenoargh

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Re: [0.8a][Guide] Armor and You
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2017, 10:56:44 AM »

I think you're not calculating this correctly, because you're not factoring in the raw DPS of the weapons, but are just looking at per-shot reduction curves.  

Let's look at some examples and further analysis:
Spoiler
A Chaingun, if it can ever get into range, is far better than it appears to be, because of its low TTK due to its high rate of fire.

It's still a horrible deal, Flux-wise, and it requires being at point-blank ranges, which is why it's generally derided as a lame weapon, but if range / kiting isn't an issue and you can survive to close the distance (and have Flux to spare)... in theory, it's pretty nice.  Practice?  Not so much; the ACG's one of the weakest weapons in the game right now, because it's simply too inefficient to use with shields up and ships mounting one have to get too close before they can open fire, limiting its utility.  

The Heavy Mauler's attractive because it's a kiting gun, not just because it has good Armor-piercing ability; if you have superior speed, you can eventually whittle down Shields with it or score hits on a target that's unshielded at a distance.  If it was short-ranged, it wouldn't be attractive; it's a poor Flux-trader.

This is also why the Pulse Laser, while it looks kind of bad vs. the Heavy Blaster, is not as bad as it looks on your graph; it's firing 3 times a second, so it's doing very comparable damage but with a totally different Soft Flux profile, because the Soft Flux is being bled off between shots and it's considerably more efficient as a Flux trader.  

There are also very few opponents in Vanilla where it's way behind the curve on Armor-kill; if you do your math with 500, 1000, 1500 Armor, these are all very different pictures (the Pulse Laser is better TTK and efficiency vs. 500, IIRC).

Moreover, I think you're vastly-overrating the importance of this mechanic here, in terms of HE's supposed "Flux efficiency".  

Even when we're talking about missiles, that cost zero Flux (but cost OPs) I think you're missing a few crucial things in your analysis.

To put it one way:  the only missiles I ever bother using aren't HE.  The only missiles I ever actually fear coming at me aren't HE.

Instead, that would be Salamanders and Sabots.  The first I use because it helps Flux-lock enemies as they waste Flux killing them (instead of killing my fleet) and the second because it's not only quite good at Overload and hard to intercept, it's powerful enough to punch right through even Enforcer armor if a salvo lands.  

I don't fear Harpoons.  If I die to them, I've made a serious error and the AI caught me Venting.  But I do fear Sabots... because there isn't a right answer; they're going to either Overload me or do appreciable damage to my armor or Hull.

Same with Light Needlers vs., say, the Heavy Mortar (its closest equivalent, in terms of range, OPs, etc., right now).  

On paper they look horrible against high Armor values.  In practice, unless your example Dominator's shield stays down, I'm using them to Flux-lock it, and that's worth way, way more (because its offensive potential against me and the rest of my fleet is nil) than Armor-killing a little faster is; I'll get there eventually and the Dominator will die.  

So please don't look at this issue without understanding the other mechanics here.  

Frankly, most HE weapons are badly underpowered, because they're so poor for Flux-trading, and that's the vast majority of the struggle, not Armor-killing, even against ships where high Armor looks like their theme.  This has been largely true forever, and HE weapons have largely underperformed forever; they look really good when opponents are out of Flux (or don't have Shields, which used to be more thematic), but they're really pretty poor performers during 90% of the time a fight takes, because most of a fight is about the Shields and Flux trading successfully, not the Armor or Hull.

Just for fun, try loading up a Hammerhead with a single rack of Sabots, two Light Needlers, ITU and a pair of Tac Lasers and take on a Dominator in the Sim.  It's pretty instructive, watching the AI have to keep shields up for the Needlers to pound at because of the constant threat of the missiles and Beams.
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SCC

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Re: [0.8a][Guide] Armor and You
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2017, 12:02:38 PM »

And I think it's not a guide "how to flux-lock everything" or anything like that... It's about weapons interacting with armour.

By the way, FooF, I'm pretty sure sabot's per-shot (as in, this pellet shot) is 200, not 100.

Megas

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Re: [0.8a][Guide] Armor and You
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2017, 12:15:20 PM »

Quote from: xenoargh
Just for fun, try loading up a Hammerhead with a single rack of Sabots, two Light Needlers, ITU and a pair of Tac Lasers and take on a Dominator in the Sim.  It's pretty instructive, watching the AI have to keep shields up for the Needlers to pound at because of the constant threat of the missiles and Beams.
I just tried that and Dominator does not do that.  It dropped shields and vented often, and allowed some of the kinetics to hit armor.  The fight ended significantly faster with one kinetic and one HE mix than with two kinetics.  With two light needlers, I needed to use Sabots to finish off Dominator before CR decayed too much and Dominator would win by time out.  Arbalest and Heavy Mortar was faster by at least a minute (but harder due to lack of shot range, got into its autocannon range much more) and I did not need to use Sabots.  Then I tried HVD and Mauler, and two HVDs.  HVD and Mauler was about three minutes faster than two HVDs.  HE speeding up kill times is important, especially when the enemy is firing back!
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xenoargh

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Re: [0.8a][Guide] Armor and You
« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2017, 12:23:25 PM »

Interesting; that worked pretty well in 0.72 (but not with the Hammerhead, lol); maybe it's shield-tanking less :)

I think that it's also worth noting that these dynamics are more important in fleet engagements than 1 v. 1s; when you have roughly equal firepower on both sides (rather than a hugely-lopsided fight like that) the importance of Armor is pretty limited, imo.
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Megas

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Re: [0.8a][Guide] Armor and You
« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2017, 12:36:10 PM »

And in the campaign, there are battlestations.  Their most dangerous sections are not protected by shields, and destroying them fast will help.  This is also a rare case where beams, specifically High Intensity Laser, can be very useful (and dangerous because the battlestation uses HILs against you).
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FooF

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Re: [0.8a][Guide] Armor and You
« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2017, 03:31:24 PM »

Ah, there it is: the beam penetration coefficient is 0.5, as I'd remembered; it's in settings.json as "dpsToHitStrengthMult".

For vanilla burst beam weapons, we can find their armor penetration by looking up their dps in weapon_data.csv.  Remember, this isn't the same DPS you'd see in the Codex - this is the damage done per second that the beam is active.

Burst PD Laser: 350 DPS -> 175 armor penetration
Phase Lance: 1000 DPS -> 500 armor penetration
Heavy Burst Laser: 400 DPS -> 200 armor penetration
Guardian PD System: 1000 DPS -> 500 armor penetration
Tachyon Lance: 1500 DPS -> 750 armor penetration

To calculate the values you'd see in the Codex, the relevant numbers are damage/second, chargeup, chargedown, burst size, and burst delay.

For example, the Tachyon Lance has 1500 DPS, 0.5s chargeup, 1s chargedown, 1s burst size, 4s burst delay.
A burst beam weapon does approximately 1/3 damage (0.333*DPS - at least, that's what the Codex's calculations use) during both chargeup and chargedown, and deals its full damage during the burst size interval.  This gives us a burst damage of 1500*(0.333*(0.5+1)+1) = 2249.25 damage.
And the full firing cycle takes 6.5 seconds (just add up all the times involved; chargeup + chargedown + burst size + burst delay), which does in fact work out to ~9.231 shots per minute, which the codex rounds to 9.2.  We can also divide burst damage by firing cycle to get the listed DPS - in this case, ~346.038.

There's one more thing that's important for mods: beam weapons do their damage in ~1/10th of a second ticks, so if a (modded) weapon has, say, 0 chargeup, 0 chargedown, and a burst size of .25, it'll only tick for damage twice during its duration - and the codex will end up listing a notably higher burst damage than you'll actually get in game.

And, last but not least, I don't actually know how that 1/3 damage during chargeup/chargedown interacts with armor penetration.  The beam may or may not have reduced armor penetration during chargeup/chargedown; someone would have to test (or Alex would have to tell us).

Right. I could get the Tachyon Lance and Phase Lance numbers to work within the rounding error of the codex without the .333 modifier but the Burst PD and Heavy Burst PD were always a bit off. Interesting mechanic there.

As far as beams go, let me make sure I understand you. They're doing 1/2 their DPS against armor over 10 "ticks" per second during the "burst size" phase of the beam. If they have a chargeup/chargedown, they're doing 1/3 DPS. Most beams (save for PD) have charge-up times but then no burst size (indefinite), which means that if a beam fires longer than a few seconds, that .333 modifier gets averaged over time down to an insignificant value. That's good to know from a technical aspect but from a "how much effect does it have?" it's not that much if the beam is on for very long.

@ SCC

You may be right but all my numbers were pulled directly from weapons.csv. Not sure what to make of that.

Re: Assault Chaingun vs. Mauler debate

I used those two because a new player may look at an Assault Chaingun and see raw DPS and nothing else. As Techhead pointed out, there's a window (a rather significant one) where the Mauler outperforms the Assault Chaingun in almost every respect due to damage/shot but you wouldn't know that looking at the numbers in isolation. Yes, the raw DPS of the Assault Chaingun will almost always have better TTK values but you're also paying heavily for it. I'm simply bringing to light the flux dynamic which often goes unnoticed.

@ Xenoargh

Thanks for the thoughts. You're right, the guide is looking at weapons in the vacuum of armor damage only. I erred on the side of a new player not understanding armor mechanics so I had to be a little heavy-handed in my approach. You're right of course: taking down shields is extremely important, as is pressuring shields/flux, winning flux wars with high-efficiency weapons or making opponents waste flux on missiles, etc. The flux profile of a weapon is just as important as its damage, if not more so, in most cases. However, the guide isn't exhaustive and though I'll go back and re-word some things to emphasize these points, it's beyond the guide's scope to talk about defeating armor in relation to everything else. I think that would be appropriate for a tactics guide or something to that effect.

And as you say, once you get into entire fleets slugging it out, the efficiency of one weapon is probably not nearly as important as positioning, tactics, etc. However, that doesn't mean you can't be more informed how one particular weapon affects the battle. The difference-making potential of some of the Large weapons (no matter the damage type) can be pretty significant. Again, if a new player only sees DPS numbers without understanding how armor works, they look at a Hellbore and shrug because it doesn't seem all that powerful from a DPS standpoint. Yes, it's terrible in many respects but if you know when its appropriate, its a great tool for armor busting.

Overall, I'm just glad that we're having the discussion! I'm learning a lot. :P
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Wyvern

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Re: [0.8a][Guide] Armor and You
« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2017, 04:33:16 PM »

As far as beams go, let me make sure I understand you. They're doing 1/2 their DPS against armor over 10 "ticks" per second during the "burst size" phase of the beam. If they have a chargeup/chargedown, they're doing 1/3 DPS. Most beams (save for PD) have charge-up times but then no burst size (indefinite), which means that if a beam fires longer than a few seconds, that .333 modifier gets averaged over time down to an insignificant value. That's good to know from a technical aspect but from a "how much effect does it have?" it's not that much if the beam is on for very long.

Not quite right.  The "1/2 DPS" is used for the armor penetration calculation only.  So, for example, let's look at the tachyon lance again.  During its "burst size" duration, it hits for ten ticks of 150 damage each.  However, the damage-to-armor calculation is based off half the DPS; a tachyon lance hitting a target with 800 armor will, for the first tick, deal 150*(750/(750+800)) = 72.58 damage.  Assuming all of that damage applies to armor with no bleed-through to hull (not a completely safe assumption, but I'm not sure what the bleed-through calculations are), that would cut armor to 727, making the next tick deal 76 damage, then 651/80, 570/85, 485/91, and so on until by the ninth tick armor is down to its 5% minimum and the beam is doing 142 damage per tick.

The 1/3 dps during chargup and chargedown, by contrast, is an unknown; those ticks against the same 800 armor might be doing 50*(750/(750+800))=24 damage, or they might be doing 50*(250/(250+800))=12 damage.  I really don't know which applies.

Oh, and for modded burst beams, there's actually one -more- consideration: beam speed.  Vanilla burst beams have extremely high speed statistics, to the point where you can ignore the amount of time it takes the beam to reach its target, but several modded beams are slower - resulting in bursts that will only do the listed damage at point blank range, and do some fraction of it at their maximum range.
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FooF

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Re: [0.8a][Guide] Armor and You
« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2017, 04:52:30 PM »

As far as beams go, let me make sure I understand you. They're doing 1/2 their DPS against armor over 10 "ticks" per second during the "burst size" phase of the beam. If they have a chargeup/chargedown, they're doing 1/3 DPS. Most beams (save for PD) have charge-up times but then no burst size (indefinite), which means that if a beam fires longer than a few seconds, that .333 modifier gets averaged over time down to an insignificant value. That's good to know from a technical aspect but from a "how much effect does it have?" it's not that much if the beam is on for very long.

Not quite right.  The "1/2 DPS" is used for the armor penetration calculation only.  So, for example, let's look at the tachyon lance again.  During its "burst size" duration, it hits for ten ticks of 150 damage each.  However, the damage-to-armor calculation is based off half the DPS; a tachyon lance hitting a target with 800 armor will, for the first tick, deal 150*(750/(750+800)) = 72.58 damage.  Assuming all of that damage applies to armor with no bleed-through to hull (not a completely safe assumption, but I'm not sure what the bleed-through calculations are), that would cut armor to 727, making the next tick deal 76 damage, then 651/80, 570/85, 485/91, and so on until by the ninth tick armor is down to its 5% minimum and the beam is doing 142 damage per tick.

The 1/3 dps during chargup and chargedown, by contrast, is an unknown; those ticks against the same 800 armor might be doing 50*(750/(750+800))=24 damage, or they might be doing 50*(250/(250+800))=12 damage.  I really don't know which applies.

Oh, and for modded burst beams, there's actually one -more- consideration: beam speed.  Vanilla burst beams have extremely high speed statistics, to the point where you can ignore the amount of time it takes the beam to reach its target, but several modded beams are slower - resulting in bursts that will only do the listed damage at point blank range, and do some fraction of it at their maximum range.

I see now. I would not have been able to figure that out from the weapons data. What that do, from a perspective of charting armor penetration, is allow me to treat them as very rapid-fire weapons. I don't think I'll be able to get them to work on my chart without a lot of added steps but at least I know how they work.

Thanks!
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Alex

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Re: [0.8a][Guide] Armor and You
« Reply #23 on: May 06, 2017, 04:56:54 PM »

Re: Sabot damage - it is indeed 200. The 100 in the spreadsheet only applies when the actual missile hits something, which doesn't happen very often. The 200 comes from sabot_srm.proj, which defines how the projectile splits into the warheads, which includes the damage they deal.

(The spreadsheet isn't super useful for multiple-stage missile weapons.)
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FooF

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Re: [0.8a][Guide] Armor and You
« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2017, 04:58:55 PM »

Re: Sabot damage - it is indeed 200. The 100 in the spreadsheet only applies when the actual missile hits something, which doesn't happen very often. The 200 comes from sabot_srm.proj, which defines how the projectile splits into the warheads, which includes the damage they deal.

(The spreadsheet isn't super useful for multiple-stage missile weapons.)

Ah, ok. Good to know.
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AxleMC131

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Re: [0.8a][Guide] Armor and You
« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2017, 12:15:22 AM »

This is madly useful and I have no idea why I didn't read through it when it was first put up.  ;D
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Re: [0.8a][Guide] Armor and You
« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2017, 01:07:58 AM »

Guardian PD System: 1000 DPS -> 500 armor penetration
A thing about Guardian is it is a quintuple beam so the Dps are distributing evenly on five beams.
So the AP is 1000/5 = 200 DPS -> 100 armor penetration (So it will not fry frigates too easily).
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Maniaks

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Re: [0.8a][Guide] Armor and You
« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2017, 11:30:50 AM »

Whereas the Pulse Laser’s 100 damage can be reduced to minimum by 567 armor, the same armor barely reduces the Heavy Blaster beyond 50%. That means that while the Pulse Laser is pecking away at 15 damage, the Heavy Blaster is hitting for 234…then 300…then…the armor is gone! It takes the Heavy Blaster 3 shots at 720 flux each (2160 total) to defeat that armor. It also defeated that armor in 3 seconds. Meanwhile, the Pulse Laser is still firing…and firing…and firing. After 8 seconds, it breaks through but also at the cost of 2750 flux. So, while the Heavy Blaster has more upfront flux cost (2160 over 3 seconds), it is actually the more efficient of the two. Once armor gets even higher, high damage per shot weapons shine. The Heavy Blaster vastly outperforms the Pulse Laser in these scenarios. Against 2000 armor, the Heavy Blaster breaks through in 12 seconds using ~10000 flux. The Pulse Laser takes 40 seconds and 13300. That’s 1/3 more efficient in terms of flux cost.

This is also why the Pulse Laser, while it looks kind of bad vs. the Heavy Blaster, is not as bad as it looks on your graph; it's firing 3 times a second, so it's doing very comparable damage but with a totally different Soft Flux profile, because the Soft Flux is being bled off between shots and it's considerably more efficient as a Flux trader.

It took Pulse Laser 27% more flux and 166% more time to take down just 560 Armor. When firing at shields, the HB is 24% less efficient than PL in trading vs shield. Please note that 560 armor is what you find on most destroyers and bigger ships that pose a threat. Basing just on these stats alone (ignoring turn rates) Heavy blaster looks to me as a clearly the better choice for a medium slot and Pulse Laser only if the ship doesn't have enough flux dissipation.
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FooF

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Re: [0.8a][Guide] Armor and You
« Reply #28 on: May 10, 2017, 01:21:37 PM »

It took Pulse Laser 27% more flux and 166% more time to take down just 560 Armor. When firing at shields, the HB is 24% less efficient than PL in trading vs shield. Please note that 560 armor is what you find on most destroyers and bigger ships that pose a threat. Basing just on these stats alone (ignoring turn rates) Heavy blaster looks to me as a clearly the better choice for a medium slot and Pulse Laser only if the ship doesn't have enough flux dissipation.

Bolded the important part. Most ships don't have the flux dissipation to sustain even a single HB. There are only half a dozen or so that can: Sunder (if that's the main armament), Aurora, Apogee, Paragon, Doom, Conquest, and Odyssey. Medusa has a hard time with it and so do Eagles/Falcons. None of the Frigates can sustain it for very long. 720 Flux/sec is gigantic and you need good flux dissipation and a very deep flux pool to mount more than one. HBs are strong but against anything but heavy armor, they are relatively inefficient and overkill a lot.

All that to say, they're not clearly the better choice. Just a good one in certain situations.  :)

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TaLaR

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Re: [0.8a][Guide] Armor and You
« Reply #29 on: May 10, 2017, 09:15:55 PM »

You don't need to sustain Heavy Blaster on player piloted ships. Having decent burst of several shots already makes it better. Pulse laser fails to punish even moderate armor enemies during their vent, Heavy Blaster easily decimates them.

Medusa is best typical user for it outside of SO builds - fast to make vent spam based style possible, and has some kinetic weapons to make inefficiency against shield much less important.

It's just AI can't pilot that kind of ships. It will raise it's own flux at wrong time (against shield) and a take lot of unnecessary damage/lose.
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