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Author Topic: Standardized Language on Weapons  (Read 595 times)

dgchessman2

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Standardized Language on Weapons
« on: January 15, 2022, 03:04:35 AM »

I've noticed a couple of these come up in the past, but wanted to toss them out here again.  Even something as simple as a 'template' released from official sources could clear up these issues really quickly:

BEFORE WE BEGIN, A WORD OF CAUTION!!
If you are perfectly pleased with how Starsector is now and where it is going, please refrain from continuing further.  Please.  Don't even read it.  Go elsewhere.  Your purity, fervor, and unshakable dedication to the cause is.... well... better used somewhere far, far away.

RECOIL - Not only does it need to be clear to the players exactly what this does, and which weapons do it, but I've yet to see it expressed graphically either.
  • Recoil - (of a gun) move abruptly backward as a reaction on firing a bullet, shell, or other missile
Recoil is a rearward force
Muzzle rise is a CONSEQUENCE of poor recoil, and leads to instability.
Game already has 'accuracy' (with no stat attached, of course).  So if we mean the weapon loses accuracy over extended firing... call it that, not 'recoil', please.

PROJECTILE - This word is craaaazy vague.
  • Projectile - a body projected by external force and continuing in motion by its own inertia especially : a missile for a weapon (such as a firearm) 2 : a self-propelling weapon (such as a rocket) projectile.
Is a bullet a projectile?  Of course!
Is a beam a projectile?  Nope!
Is a blaster bolt a projectile?  Ummm...
Is a missile a projectile?  Well, yes, but...
How about lightning bolts?
Yeah.  Gotta clean this up.  Players should be able to navigate their bonuses, not have to guess.

ENERGY - Because this is used both to describe a CLASS of weapons (MOST of which fire something that does Energy Damage) and a type of DAMAGE (Mostly done by Energy Weapons) it can lead to confusion in technical descriptions and bonuses.
  • Energy - the property of matter and radiation which is manifest as a capacity to perform work (such as causing motion or the interaction of molecules)
  • or  a degree or level of energy possessed by something or required by a process.
You don't ACTUALLY have to call the class anything at all.  There could be 3 classes of weapons, or 20, as long as the hard points know the difference... the names are immaterial.  They could be dedicated PD mounts.  Or whatever.  There's just no necessary reason to use the phrase twice without a purpose!
'Energy' as a DAMAGE type is then further subdivided by Beam or not.  That part's not bad... odd... but it works.  A damage sub-type? Buuuuutttt...!
The beam subtype seems to be able to be applied to anything!

So, a weapon that does energy damage may not qualify as an Energy weapon, and an Energy Weapon may not do Energy damage, or may do it in a modified Beam form.
..... yeah...

TRACKING - This one is a bit more subtle
  • Tracking - follow the course or trail of (someone or something), typically in order to find them or note their location at various points.
    "secondary radars that track the aircraft in flight"
Funny enough, we TRACK missiles, but missiles don't have 'tracking', nor do they 'track', they have 'guidance'... or turn rate.
PD weapons have turn rate, which makes sense as pure turret movement.  But!  When a turret is moving to specifically follow a target... we call it tracking!  **laughs**
Now, this is definitely one of those jargon/English/weird ones.  But there's enough tangled up in it... AND the stats in question are ALREADY suuuuper vague... there ends up being a stumbling over one's own feet.  Still, I find myself surprised that these little artifacts are still lying around.

AND LASTLY!
All of these issues would becomes LESS severe (it's up to you to decide their severity in the first place) if the weapon stats listed on pop-ups changed dynamically.  Then there's an immediate feedback system of 'Oh, it says it increased tracking, but you meant turn rate?  That's the only numbers that changed'.  But without dynamic weapon stats, these little stumbling blocks have to be inferred, ignored, or taken out and tested individually.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2022, 03:07:30 AM by dgchessman2 »
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SCC

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Re: Standardized Language on Weapons
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2022, 03:37:51 AM »

You don't ACTUALLY have to call the class anything at all.  There could be 3 classes of weapons, or 20, as long as the hard points know the difference... the names are immaterial.
How would you call the Energy Weapons Mastery skill and its effects? It boosts energy weapons regardless of their damage type. Remember, it's meant to apply to Graviton Beam and High Intensity Laser, too.

Is a bullet a projectile?  Of course!
Is a beam a projectile?  Nope!
Is a blaster bolt a projectile?  Ummm...
Is a missile a projectile?  Well, yes, but...
How about lightning bolts?
Yeah.  Gotta clean this up.  Players should be able to navigate their bonuses, not have to guess.
Funnily enough it doesn't come up in vanilla. The only projectile speed bonus applies to ballistic weapons, which shoot only projectiles. All beams or missiles are in other weapon types.

Recoil is a rearward force
Muzzle rise is a CONSEQUENCE of poor recoil, and leads to instability.
Game already has 'accuracy' (with no stat attached, of course).  So if we mean the weapon loses accuracy over extended firing... call it that, not 'recoil', please.
Recoil is way shorter and while it doesn't mean that, it implies that by being mentioned. Recoil is mentioned either because of unpleasant impact on your body (irrelevant on a ship) or because of accuracy loss.
I wonder how useful would replacing the text with degrees for accuracy would be.

dgchessman2

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Re: Standardized Language on Weapons
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2022, 03:45:23 AM »

You don't ACTUALLY have to call the class anything at all.  There could be 3 classes of weapons, or 20, as long as the hard points know the difference... the names are immaterial.
How would you call the Energy Weapons Mastery skill and its effects? It boosts energy weapons regardless of their damage type. Remember, it's meant to apply to Graviton Beam and High Intensity Laser, too.

Just as an overly simple example:  Type 1 Weapons.  Or Lamda Weapons.  Or Blue Weapons.
I'm glad that the game never locked Attack/Defense/PD weapons into specific slots... but when a game does that, it HELPS with some of the language and confusion.  I just hate all the other consequences.  Creativity ftw!

I've been trying hard not to delve too hard into suggesting SPECIFIC solutions, because those are endlessly controversial and debatable.  Rather, I prefer to SUGGEST things that need attention, and maybe spitball some rough-draft examples of 'solutions' so that it's clear that solutions ARE out there.

Recoil is a rearward force
Muzzle rise is a CONSEQUENCE of poor recoil, and leads to instability.
Game already has 'accuracy' (with no stat attached, of course).  So if we mean the weapon loses accuracy over extended firing... call it that, not 'recoil', please.
Recoil is way shorter and while it doesn't mean that, it implies that by being mentioned. Recoil is mentioned either because of unpleasant impact on your body (irrelevant on a ship) or because of accuracy loss.
I wonder how useful would replacing the text with degrees for accuracy would be.

You see an AWESOME, intuitive representation of this in the expanding/contracting reticle of many games!  Though, again, you usually get a very vague stat that sorta approximates it... but the reticle and its rate of contraction/expansion do ALL the talking!  ^_^  I loves it!  BUT!  Unless we had a little firing demo going on where we could watch the weapon lose its accuracy in the window, or some other visual representation that doesn't need a verbal expression... a verbal expression of some sort would be nice.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2022, 03:54:04 AM by dgchessman2 »
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Yunru

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Re: Standardized Language on Weapons
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2022, 03:49:38 AM »

I'd much prefer that I can shoot "blue damage" from my energy weapons, the thought makes me giggle.

dgchessman2

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Re: Standardized Language on Weapons
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2022, 04:00:41 AM »

I'd much prefer that I can shoot "blue damage" from my energy weapons, the thought makes me giggle.

See?  And that's exactly right.  I meant it as a point towards the categories rather than damage types, but really... as long as they don't have overlap  **shrugs**  It's all gravy.  Either one.  Change both, even!

But this is a classic game problem, right?  We're not gonna sit down and hard-think caliber, muzzle velocity, energy at release, refraction, scatter effect.... we gotta have simplified terms for complicated (and imaginary!) weapons.  So it's a tad silly to have Omega Weapons shoot Red types of Damage as a Beam.... but... there's no confusion there.

Or, even more silly, you could go full Rock/Paper/Scissors ('cause that's what the Auxiliary Damage types ARE, really!) and just call them that!  But we'd have to mix in some others... maybe cross-genre...

My Blue weapon mounts fire Calvary damage, which does half against shields, but double against armor!
ABSURD!  But... not... actually any crossed wires.  Just an excess of silly.
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dgchessman2

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Re: Standardized Language on Weapons
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2022, 04:05:39 AM »

Is a bullet a projectile?  Of course!
Is a beam a projectile?  Nope!
Is a blaster bolt a projectile?  Ummm...
Is a missile a projectile?  Well, yes, but...
How about lightning bolts?
Yeah.  Gotta clean this up.  Players should be able to navigate their bonuses, not have to guess.
Funnily enough it doesn't come up in vanilla. The only projectile speed bonus applies to ballistic weapons, which shoot only projectiles. All beams or missiles are in other weapon types.

You're right, I didn't mention that, but it's entirely a mod translation issue.  If it wasn't such a deep and fundamental building block, I'm not sure it would even be noticeable.
It's more that the unmodded base game provides and demonstrates the way those weapon categories could/should/will get filled out.  And while they may not exercise their right to party funky in Vanilla, modders are gonna party how they want to, and the only voice that's gonna be able to suggest a little uniformity will have to come from the top.

Less 'fault', more 'framework'.
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Kriby

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Re: Standardized Language on Weapons
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2022, 04:42:48 AM »

I've also noticed that the weapon wordings can be a bit ambiguous at times. Would probably be good to have some standardized vocabulary (with highlighted keywords?) across all weapons as the game gets polished up. Also reminds me of another suggestion to show skill/hull mod modifiers on weapon statistics in the refit screen which I think would also help clear up confusion.

Not sure why you included a disclaimer to the effect of "if you disagree, go away". Seems provocative and more an argument against the strength of your suggestion rather than anything else.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Standardized Language on Weapons
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2022, 09:58:42 AM »

I agree that recoil is strange choice of terminology that doesn't really describe the actual mechanic well. Calling it spread or accuracy would be much clearer IMO.

I'm pretty sure Merriam-Webster is presenting two contradictory uses of the word projectile. In my understanding, a rocket would not be called a projectile since it is self-propelled. For the game specifically, I think everything that is not a beam or a missile is a projectile? I've never personally encountered a situation where I had an issue with that terminology.

I agree that the overloading of the term 'Energy' between weapon types and damage types is a bit of an issue. I wouldn't mind if one of them was renamed.

Missiles do track, tracking a sub problem in the guidance system. Guidance is an umbrella term for target identification, tracking, and control of the missile to successfully reach said target. I think using the word tracking in the game is not super precise, but I also think it's very obvious what it means in the context of the game, so I'm pretty indifferent to changing this.
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dgchessman2

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Re: Standardized Language on Weapons
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2022, 05:58:16 PM »

Missiles do track, tracking a sub problem in the guidance system. Guidance is an umbrella term for target identification, tracking, and control of the missile to successfully reach said target. I think using the word tracking in the game is not super precise, but I also think it's very obvious what it means in the context of the game, so I'm pretty indifferent to changing this.
I think it's more than just precision of language.  In terms of mechanics they ARE just talking about rotational speed, are they not?  Speed, and Tracking.
I guess focusing on the word 'tracking' might have been too specific, but why use two terms when they reference the same game mechanic?  They even occupy roughly the same field on the screen!

...That said, I still think it's a bit insulting to NOT have the actual measurement there in the UI also.  It doesn't have to be prominent, but... if we're scrutinizing weapons for their stats... I'm pretty sure we can handle (and deserve!) to also see '14°/s'. BUT!  That's a separate issue!
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Amazigh

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Re: Standardized Language on Weapons
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2022, 08:21:05 PM »

I'm pretty sure we can handle (and deserve!) to also see '14°/s'. BUT!  That's a separate issue!
Unfortunately, Missile turn rate is a little more complex than that.
Missiles have a maximum turn rate (in degrees), and a turn acceleration (in degrees/sec).
But this doesn't even give the full story! as they have acceleration and deceleration (how fast the missile bleeds off velocity not in the intended direction of travel) stats, which can have notable changes on the ability for the missile to track its target. For someone not familiar with how these stats influence the behavior of a missile in flight, it would just be confusing to have four numbers thrown at you rather than just a simple single word descriptor.

The current stat is sufficient to give a general overview of what the missile will perform like, and if you really want to know the real in-game performance, it takes all of a few seconds to open the simulator and fire off a few volleys.

RECOIL
While recoil isn't necessarily the dictionary accurate word to use, the average player will think "My gun fires shots in a wide spread, maybe this thing that says it lowers recoil will make it fire in a narrower one." which is perfectly sufficient imo.

PROJECTILE
(Excluding mod content because mods can do weird and unusual stuff) Anything fired by a non-missile weapon that has has travel time and is not a beam is classed a projectile.
And as said before, the only use of this modifier in the base game is in reference to ballistic weapons, and all base game ballistics count as projectile weapons.

ENERGY
Possibly could change from energy damage, to pulse damage?
I'm not really sold on that name, but it'd help on the minor confusion that you can sometimes get with energy weapon/energy damage mixups.
It's not something I feel is a major issue, but in in order to save the rare bit of confusion it might be worth considering changing one of the names.
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dgchessman2

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Re: Standardized Language on Weapons
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2022, 09:39:48 PM »

I'm pretty sure we can handle (and deserve!) to also see '14°/s'. BUT!  That's a separate issue!
Unfortunately, Missile turn rate is a little more complex than that.
Missiles have a maximum turn rate (in degrees), and a turn acceleration (in degrees/sec).
But this doesn't even give the full story! as they have acceleration and deceleration (how fast the missile bleeds off velocity not in the intended direction of travel) stats, which can have notable changes on the ability for the missile to track its target. For someone not familiar with how these stats influence the behavior of a missile in flight, it would just be confusing to have four numbers thrown at you rather than just a simple single word descriptor.

The current stat is sufficient to give a general overview of what the missile will perform like, and if you really want to know the real in-game performance, it takes all of a few seconds to open the simulator and fire off a few volleys.
I love it!  ^_^  Now, I never did quite manage to nail down calculus (but I sure did grind my head against it), but I'm nearly positive that we could come up with a 0-100 scale, call it 'Agility' or something generic, and have it read:
Agility :    FAST      75.4muu*
(*made-up units)

And I've brought up how bloody important it is to see the weapon fire before.  I give almost anything to be able to hover my mouse over the ship model and have it fire for me if I idle my pointer over a heardpoint.  That would save SO MUCH TIME jumping in and out of simulations!!  But for COMPARITIVE ease, a fractional expression of missile.... something.... [INSERT STAT HERE?] with both a macro-stat (Fast) and a micro-stat (75.4muu or whatever) would just, in my opinion, fill in the little 'Mind the Gap!' void.  It's awkward to have to step over, that's all.  Nothing critical.  But I think... totally fixable?  Or modifiable if the work 'fix' offends folks.
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dgchessman2

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Re: Standardized Language on Weapons
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2022, 09:46:34 PM »

While recoil isn't necessarily the dictionary accurate word to use, the average player will think "My gun fires shots in a wide spread, maybe this thing that says it lowers recoil will make it fire in a narrower one." which is perfectly sufficient imo.
I'm gonna have to respectfully disagree with you.  Honestly?  I thought for quite a while that reducing recoil would increase firing speed, or rather, the speed between shots.  And when I tried to... disprove that I found it not only difficult, but there's actually the Accuracy stat on the weapon!

I understand now that Accuracy is most likely the base 'spread', and 'recoil' is the INCREASE in that 'spread' over time.
I'm not going to claim to have the best words to express it stashed in my pocket...
...but I feel pretty strongly that not only is 'recoil' not the BEST word, because it IS a weapon-associated term, it leads even the educated player down the wrong road.

.....AND there just isn't an easy, clarifying answer!
I can't, for instance, hover over the term 'recoil' and get a tooltip explanation!
That just compounds things.
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dgchessman2

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Re: Standardized Language on Weapons
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2022, 09:52:35 PM »

(Excluding mod content because mods can do weird and unusual stuff) Anything fired by a non-missile weapon that has has travel time and is not a beam is classed a projectile.
And as said before, the only use of this modifier in the base game is in reference to ballistic weapons, and all base game ballistics count as projectile weapons.
I follow you  ^_^  I promise!
.... a missile, by definition, is still a 'projectile', even self-propelled, fragmentary, or whatever else.

It's only plasma, but teeeeccchhhnniiicccaaallllyyyy a wad of plasma is a projectile as well!

Only the beam doesn't meat the dictionary definition.  Every weapon but beams takes stores of SOMETHING, exerts force on them, and then releases that primed projectile to exit the weapon and move towards the target (hopefully)

I KNOW it isn't the end of the world!  **laughs**  I do, I promise!
But these corners being smoothed and sanded is the sign of a master-crafted game.  Removing little idiosyncrasies and contrary language.
Not because you CAN'T figure it out and translate it in your head.
But because we deserve language where additional translation isn't necessary to play/understand.
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SCC

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Re: Standardized Language on Weapons
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2022, 11:25:27 PM »

It's only plasma, but teeeeccchhhnniiicccaaallllyyyy a wad of plasma is a projectile as well!
Even better: in the game, projectiles fired by Plasma Cannon are projectiles.
I love it!  ^_^  Now, I never did quite manage to nail down calculus (but I sure did grind my head against it), but I'm nearly positive that we could come up with a 0-100 scale, call it 'Agility' or something generic, and have it read:
Agility :    FAST      75.4muu*
(*made-up units)
Why would we reduce it to a number, if there are multiple ways of arriving at the same number? It's a sum of different numbers, allowing for technically same number missiles to have significant differences in their behaviour. It wouldn't be any more precise than current text, but it would mislead to you to think it is more precise.

dgchessman2

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Re: Standardized Language on Weapons
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2022, 06:21:50 AM »

Why would we reduce it to a number, if there are multiple ways of arriving at the same number? It's a sum of different numbers, allowing for technically same number missiles to have significant differences in their behaviour. It wouldn't be any more precise than current text, but it would mislead to you to think it is more precise.
So then leave it as an abstract ratio.
Add in a toggle to fill in that Settings menu a bit.
Agility : FAST    75 / 250 (or 250 / 75)
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