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Messages - Ron Losey

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1
The Last Days / Re: Combat Damage Model (RCM)
« on: November 25, 2011, 06:12:57 AM »
OK, it's confirmed.  GA has the file and will finish testing it ASAP...  after which point, if there are no immediate issues, maintaining the file will be his job.

Any of you wanting to organize other rebalance work will need to contact the devs ... I am officially dropping out of the loop.  Surely you all can figure it out.

I'll check back a couple of times to see how TLD is coming along, but unless something serious changes, I'm thinking this will be the last of these projects for me.  It's just too stressful to spend that much time thinking about what blades do to living bodies.

2
The Last Days / Re: Combat Damage Model (RCM)
« on: November 24, 2011, 07:57:31 AM »
For the record - conscripts are normally poorly trained as well as poorly equipped, but that doesn't mean they're fodder.  The general military procedure, historically, is to use such low-quality troops in reserve and security duties, in order to free up higher-quality troops for the more aggressive and front-line operations.  During this time they can be given additional training (and equipment as it becomes available), and will likely see very limited combat - so they can get better without being torn to bits.  Once they are ready for full-scale combat duty, they would be rotated to front-line units and new conscripts would move into their former jobs.  This applies no matter if you're talking about modern military reserves or the Roman Auxilia ... there are plenty of combat support roles for the poorly trained and equipped, without just using them to soak up hostile fire.

For game purposes, the conscripts could escort caravans and man fortifications, theoretically freeing up the heavy infantry and cav for offensive combat operations, and putting the best hardware where it can be best used.  This would be sane, historically justifiable, economically reasonable, and militarily effective.

(Only a total psychopath would put his weakest units on the front row.  Lighter, faster units ... maybe, particularly if they were mostly intended as skirmishers ... but not the poorly trained conscripts.  That's just a waste of manpower.)

---------------------------

We haven't seen any major bugs in a couple of days.

Sent a dev version of this to GA (I hope, if the mail went through), with the recently mentioned bugs touched up somewhat.  As soon as he confirms that the dev team have it and it is working, I'll be ready to hand the whole mess over to them.  Somebody else can work out the factions and the economic issues.

3
The Last Days / Re: Combat Damage Model (RCM)
« on: November 20, 2011, 05:34:29 PM »
Obsidian is very sharp, but not very hard. It flakes and breaks very easily -- which is what makes it ideal for flint-napping. It actually cuts sharper than surgical steel, and would be great for penetrating 'soft' armours -- like leather -- but shatters and splinters very easily when applied against more durable substances (ie. any metal armour).

Obsidian shatters because it is absurdly hard.  Also true of glass, and diamond for that matter.  It is so hard that it offers no flexibility at all, which creates problems for a blade... i.e. it flakes and splinters, making it relatively easy to form, but also quick to dull or break.  Steel makes a better blade because it can flex somewhat under pressure, greatly increasing the life expectancy of the actual cutting edge and reducing the tendency to shatter (unless the steel is over-hardened, in which case it develops the same problems).

Strangely enough, records of Cortez and his band of merry plunderers tell wild stories about the Aztec obsidian weapons.  It seems that obsidian arrowheads and spear points will, in fact, go through metal heavy enough to stop musket ball.  Cortez staged some tests, because nobody could really believe that neolithic weapons were a match for the steel of Toledo... turns out, they were, and then some.  However, for practical purposes, it should be noted that the Aztec were absolute master craftsmen at making stone weapons, because they had very limited metal to work with (gold and a little copper - only stuff that would melt in a non-oxidized wood fire).  If you're careful, you can sharpen obsidian to a cutting edge that literally tapers to a single molecule ... good for microbiology or punching holes in Spanish steel armor.  In the hands of a bunch of total psychotics like the Aztec, whose major economic activity was taking prisoners to sacrifice and then using their heads as basketballs, it can be turned into some very formidable (albeit rather clumsy) blades.

But for game purposes, the point on the spear in question was rather small and mostly just a stabbing point, not an elongated blade.  Had it been a series of these stones arranged like saw teeth, the way the Aztec deployed them, it would most certainly provide some cutting power.  But a simple point is a simple point, regardless of what it is made of.  It's going to make a smallish puncture, a wound only immediately debilitating if it hits some critical system (heart, central nervous system).


----------------------------

I'll check on both the uruk and corsair armors.  Probably just typos, or prices not changed, or both.

4
The Last Days / Re: Combat Damage Model (RCM)
« on: November 20, 2011, 02:18:31 AM »
Arrows tend to go through a shield, partially.  While that inch of arrow sticking through on the back side doesn't do much to the face of the shield, it can cut the grip, straps, or the user's hand ... which can make the shield extremely difficult to hold, if possible at all.  The large Roman shields had a center grip and placed an armored metal cup over it, to reduce this, but most shields that strap to the forearm offered little protection from this type of damage.  Even with metal heavy enough to stop an arrow, a well-placed dent can make one hard to hold.  So yeah, arrows can disable a shield ... not specifically by "breaking" the surface (although, since they do tend to penetrate, that is possible too, especially if the shield was cheaply made), but by partial penetration and causing problems on the other side.

In the throwing knives or rocks example - you're not going to get partial penetration with those.  The arm of the user, and the straps and handle of the shield, are all quite safe.  Javelins, on the other hand, take this a step further - even if they don't hit anything vital on the back side, the size and weight of the weapon forces the shield to be dropped.  It's just really tough to balance a shield anyway, and a three-foot javelin sticking out of it will totally ruin your day.

Then again, getting hit with an arrow can be deadly.  If the shield just catches one or two, before you end up with one an inch from your face and have to ditch the shield, that's one or two that did not end up in your body.

-------------------------

If ordering troops to take prisoners is an issue, somebody with the troops file will need to distribute some non-lethal weapons.  That is historically how real paramilitary/law enforcement deal with the problem - issue hardwood batons (or in the case of Japan, metal truncheons ... but Japan was always known for doing things a little extreme).  I do not have the troops file.

(Note to whoever does that ... check the weapons.  Maces with spikes or flanges are not "non-lethal" ... they are pierce now.  Only weapons that genuinely look like they would not cause massive lacerations are "blunt".)

A mob beating somebody for thirty minutes and doing little or no damage ... that sounds like what often happens to riot police.  The armor protects them from taking any real damage, but they still end up curled in a ball while a hundred angry people kick them repeatedly.  It does look crazy to watch, but that happens a lot, really.


----------------------------------

Harad short spear shows a smallish stone tip, probably obsidian or some other volcanic glass.  It was set to pierce because obsidian is very hard, but that little point in the model is not going to make much of a hole, even if they manage to keep it sharp (which would actually require replacing the tip often).  It is an ineffective spear design, when it comes to stopping a person.

Rhun short sword is curved so steeply that I'm not sure you could ever get a straight jab out of it.  I did not change that, but I know what the devs were thinking... it's a steeply curved falchion, not a "short sword" in the sense of the Roman gladius.  (You can get a stab out of a curved blade, if you know how - but it's usually a pretty weak attack, more so if armor is involved.)

-----------------------

Bleeding script is not part of the item specs ... you will need to get somebody else to plug that in.  It can be found down in the discussion thread where the conversation was held.  It is somewhat bugged, in that the last hit point of damage causes the bleeding victim to twitch a lot ... somebody will need to clean that up before it will be ready for TLD.

Another good one was the topography map in the little "backspace" command screen.  Can't remember who wrote that one ... Fisheye, maybe?  Anyway, I can look it up if somebody wants it.  It does work on 1.0x, I know.

5
The Last Days / Re: Combat Damage Model (RCM)
« on: November 19, 2011, 03:36:51 PM »
The release notes were with the last version ... I double-checked, after that first incident.

Everybody read the "cut, pierce, and blunt damage" explanation in those notes, if you haven't heard me explain this before.  "Pierce" does not mean "puncture" or "stab" - it means "pierces armor better than it damages tissue".  Stabbing someone with a knife is 32 cut, stabbing them with an ice pick is 16 pierce ... same armor penetration, roughly, but the knife does twice as much tissue damage.  A wooden pike has some limited penetrating power just from its weight, but the actual damage potential is dismal no matter how you look at it... that's "pierce", but at a very low number - ineffective both ways.

The numbers don't help me, as they are added when the Python code is compiled.  But Gondor was one of the first groups, so #125 is probably it.  I'll check on the Harad short spear and the Rhun short sword.

And for the record ... yeah, thrown projectiles seem faster when you're young and easily impressed.  Try the hatchet-throw again.  I could be pretty effective on a tree stump if I got my range just right, but hurling one at somebody (or something) that was trying to kill you ... just about as effective as running out of ammo and throwing the gun at them.  Militarily, their real application was to cause confusion - force an enemy to quit charging or preparing to strike and start dodging and/or hiding behind shields.  Axes did this extremely well, because it spins so you have no idea where the thing is headed... everybody within ten feet of the target will take cover.  And if you do stick one in a shield, it renders the shield extremely hard to use, just because of its weight.  In reality, they also sometimes bounce off of the ground and come back at you again, causing even more chaos.  (Can't get M&B to simulate that.)  They're somewhat like hand grenades in a modern war - a clumsy attack, really - short range, no aim, limited explosive charge - but they cause no end of panic if some nut flings one at you.

And balance issues are to be expected.  The workflow here is to get one variable - the item stats, since they're subject to the limitations of reality, for the most part - nailed down to some kind of standard.  Then other adjustments can be made to the more arbitrary numbers.  That's a much better workflow than endless chasing your tail trying to balance multiple variables all at once.

6
The Last Days / Re: Combat Damage Model (RCM)
« on: November 19, 2011, 10:15:02 AM »
Horses run 60 to 90 HP ... a solid hit in the head from heavier weapons should bring them down (with the 2x head shot multiplier), if there's no armor to speak of.  A really solid hit to the body should put them down, again minus armor, but you'll really have to hit them - they're big animals, they can shrug off a little damage, at least long enough to finish the fight.

If the shot was just poorly done and the projectile shoddy - well, critters might take a hit in the head and not go down.  It does happen ... my dad watched a guy he was hunting with, hit a deer right through the middle of the head - ear to ear - with an arrow (with an almost two-inch wide broadhead, no less), and the stupid thing didn't go down.  Three of them chased it for hours, because for legal reasons in that particular wildlife management area, the guys with black powder rifles were restricted to buck only, and the deer with the joke arrow through it's head was a doe.  They finally did end up shooting it with the guns, because the guy with the bow couldn't hit crud - the head shot was literally an accident.  The game warden looked at them very suspiciously when they told the story, but he figured that poachers would not come to him and try to explain it, so he let it go.  That's not the only story like it that I've heard, but that one I know everybody in the story, and they all told the same story (with the same mix of humor, dismay, and a slightly queasy feeling), so I figure it's pretty accurate.

Seriously, the tissues of the brain are certainly more vulnerable than most parts of a living body, but NOT every hit in the head area is immediately fatal - on man or horse or whatever.  There are a lot of places on a head where injuries are not immediately debilitating, no matter how hard you hit them.  Add just a little armor, particularly if it is concentrated around the most vital areas, and it throws the numbers all out of proportion.  You can put a projectile through a horse's sinus passages or some places on the jaw, and draw a lot of blood without really damaging anything immediately critical.

Weapon damage is just crazy that way.  In one way, weapon damage is sudden and deadly, but then there's a chance that it just won't work out as planned.  That's what makes damage models for games so hard - reality is more complex than a simple formula will compute.

But I bet the horse didn't take a second arrow very well, unless it was wearing some serious armor ... the chances of getting lucky twice in a row drop off pretty fast.
-----------------

I'll check that armor - it may just be over-priced, or it may be a typo.

------------------

On the orcs ... do note in that report, riders (without horses) beat the crud out of said orc.  The only issue was that, due to armor and general toughness, and the Rohan guys probably not being well equipped to deal with heavy armor, it took some time.  (They were, after all, armed to fight from horse ... a very different problem than how you arm infantry.)  Had the big orc actually beaten the heavy troops from Rohan, that would be a different issue. 

Getting some tough sucker with heavy armor who keeps taking hits and getting back up, and having to take some time to beat him into the ground, is not unreasonable.  In fact, it happens all the time ... military and police often report some junkie or madman taking 20 hits from handguns and being run over by a car, and still fighting.  Inflicting critical damage can happen fast, or not so fast ... and against heavy armor, it's much more likely to be on the not-so-fast side.  And Tolkien's orcs were monsters bred for war, so much like junkies and insane people, once they get worked up to a frenzy, some of them are likely to keep fighting until you physically cut their heads completely off.  (Also like junkies and insane people, they're about as likely to fight each other as the enemy - a point that greatly benefited certain hobbits in the story... but I don't advise trying to model that in M&B.)

That's where that zero-damage stun factor comes into play.  It means that you can beat somebody (some thing, whatever) into the turf, no matter how much armor they are wearing.  Armor does not make you unstoppable - it just makes you less likely to be injured or killed (or at least injured less seriously) by any given attack (how much less depending on the specifics of the attack and the armor).

-------------------------------------

And somebody else has to mirror the download - that's the only site I can get working from here, at the moment. 

Sometimes it does strange things like that ... give it a few minutes, usually it clears.

7
The Last Days / Re: Combat Damage Model (RCM)
« on: November 19, 2011, 02:28:13 AM »
Some of the Dunland sharpened sticks are "pierce" and at very low values, as they really would produce little tissue damage.

But the spear in error was a Gondor spear, and it was a typo ... I finally found the darn thing.  Fixed for next version.

8
The Last Days / Re: Combat Damage Model (RCM)
« on: November 19, 2011, 01:26:37 AM »
Which spear?  Which faction sold it?  Because I didn't find it ... well, I suppose I could check EVERY spear, but how long would that take?  They are all named "spear".

------------
The throwing axe velocity is not a joke.  You ever throw a hatchet?  Throwing a Cherokee tomahawk is still something people play around with, out where I came from ... and while it can be done, and more efficiently than you might think, lobbing one of those things for any distance is like trying to throw a bowling ball.  It's not really an effective attack, except for the point of extending your reach by a bit (which can work to your advantage, for a number of strange reasons).  The speed, arc of travel, and limits on effective range are accurate ... annoyingly so, it seems, if you favor them as a "ranged" weapon.

The lower speed on thrown weapons has the secondary advantage of getting the AI to get close enough to actually make them effective, instead of just hurling them all straight up into the sky from 50 yards out and wondering when and where they will come down.

Smaller and better balanced weapons, like the Roman-type military darts, will get a little better range - but even then, to make a single throw effective, you will need to get pretty close.  Attacks from more than 20 paces were done in volley against squad-sized targets, and even then it was considered extreme range.  Axes are a lot shorter ranged than that, much heavier and harder to throw.

Anyway, throw an axe at something, and watch.  They look like they fly in slow motion, and getting one to hit blade-first is pure guesswork.

----------
Personally, I think pretty much all the bows could be used from horse, with the possible penalties in how M&B handles horse archery pretty much compensating for the increase in difficulty when doing so.  But again, I'll leave that one to someone else, as a game balance issue, rather than start something.

9
The Last Days / Re: Combat Damage Model (RCM)
« on: November 18, 2011, 09:32:49 PM »
Ok, guys, beta version:

http://www.wupload.com/file/2526575242/MEBCM-Beta1.rar

This should get the known errors (at least most of them) as of today, minus the serious economic concerns that are really beyond the scope of this project.

I still did not modify the "usable from horseback" flags on most items - that's a game balance issue more than what I care to play in at the moment.  Also have not really worked the item weights - as previously stated, recalculating how M&B handles encumbrance and developing a scale on item weights to match would be a whole new project.

Once again, everybody check for typos and bugs in the stuff I changed.  While suggestions and random discussion on the game can be a lot of fun (or not), it's not getting this project finished.  And personally, I don't have the time, energy, or mental or physical health to stay on this much longer ... so we're going to have to get it together ASAP, so I can give it to the mod leads.

Then you can throw all of your suggestions at them.  For the moment, however - bug reports go here.

10
The Last Days / Re: Combat Damage Model (RCM)
« on: November 18, 2011, 07:14:19 PM »
Merlkir:  Exactly.  Even a blade that does not really cut through can inflict considerable blunt force trauma.

On weapon testing:  Yes, there are a lot of bad tests done, which produce a lot of aberrant results, both ways.  One of my favorite ones, recently, was very extensive but had two serious problems ... one, most of the swords in the tests were "replica", i.e. looked good but were never built with cutting in mind.  This meant that the few blades that were designed as blades (even poor blades) massively out-performed the replicas in cutting tests on cloth or leather.  (Against metal, the replicas made about as good a chisel as a real blade did.)  This produced some very odd conclusions, particularly since one of the blades that was actually hardened to take an edge happened to be a katana (enter the whole European vs. Japanese blades can of worms).  Second, the arrow tests were conducted with practice arrow tips - which are deliberately engineered to stop quickly in target backstops, particularly cloth or styrofoam.  That test massively over-rated cloth against arrows, and somewhat over-rated other armors, compared to what any hunter knows about sharp broadheads.  And that was one of the better tests I've seen.  They go downhill from there.  Fortunately, if you have a sharp eye for this sort of thing, you can sort out the issues, compare enough different tests and average out the results.  Even the poor test procedure tells you something - in that case, how really poorly designed arrowheads would do against armor.

On stun:  Getting hit hurts, even if it doesn't do any real "damage".  If you're getting beat up so badly that you can't do anything but be stunned, then you are losing a fight.

On fists:  Armor is generally tougher than skin.  Any armor at all will render most bare-hand attacks completely ineffective.  Punching somebody out rather depends on hitting something soft (say, the face), so that the target takes more damage than your fist.  Not to mention, have you ever seen anybody killed by being punched and kicked?  It's not easy to do.  Even gang stompings, where several guys knock somebody down and proceed to kick and stomp them into the ground, can take dozens of blows to incapacitate a mugging victim - zero armor, usually an accountant or some such (not a tough, generally damage-resistant sort).  Boxing matches go on long enough to be a spectator sport, and bare-knuckle matches are often not much faster.  Fist damage should be dismal ... that's why people started using weapons in the first place.

The impact of fists being marginal against armor is only an issue if you are trying to take prisoners - which is a pretty big problem.  Realistically, it can be hard to capture somebody alive, particularly if they would just as soon die here as whatever will happen to them as a prisoner.  Any weapon that is really effective is also usually deadly, at least without modern medical facilities, and using ineffective weapons (fists, small sticks, etc.) is a really good way to make somebody extremely angry.  This is reality - police face it all the time, where their use-of-force policies say that they can't do anything effective, but their target (even while unarmed - why they can't use more force) proves extremely hard to subdue.  Welcome to the fun world of realism.  Unless an entire group surrenders at once, taking prisoners is a tough prospect.

The damaged shields may only have 1 hit point, but they still have an armor value in the range of 60.  So that one hit point still requires the shield be hit pretty hard to damage it.  Plus, what did you expect from a broken shield?

The uruks have high strength and a bunch of hit points, to generally represent the point that they are scary beasts who live for nothing but war, and can shrug off a lot of pain and damage that would put a human into shock.  I did not have the files to modify that, but I can't disagree with the point.  Now, when you add considerable armor to that, yeah, they can get pretty formidable... particularly if nobody in the group has any decent anti-armor type weapons.  But that's not really a mistake ... it just makes the point that heavy armor can make a target more difficult to bring down than what you often see in Hollywood (where, often as not, the armor appears to be made of cardboard and tinfoil - both in how it looks and how it performs).

Don't think of it as charging men in plate armor.  Think of it as charging a whole herd of monsters, scary Halloween-looking critters with ink-black skin and fangs, atrocities bred for nothing but war and violence.  To kill them, you're going to have to totally beat them into the turf, because they will not just lay down and call for a medic if they get hurt.  Add effective weapons and armor to that, and they become quite formidable, as was very much intentional by their masters (who seriously believe they could win a war of epic scale using these guys as the front-line shock troops... and very well could be right).

The Dunland troops - the really high tier, nobility and the like, have slightly better gear.  Still nowhere near what anybody with some industry has, but slightly better.  Still, that was not my doing - I just put specs on what was there.

The equipment upgrade question - M&B does have a quite unreasonable system where equipment just grows on troops when they level up.  On a horde of mercenaries who were literally improving their status by scavenging, this might make sense, but not for army regulars.  We were planning to fix that in ONR, when Fujiwara got bogged down in Real Life (tm) and we couldn't finish it... it's a major re-organization to deal with - whole new troop trees, dialog with outfitters, a complicated mess to convert.

-----------------------

Update:
We're getting a lot of suggestions and the like, but not finding many new bugs.  (Found some text bugs myself, but I'll get those.)  So I figure I'll go over the file and get some of these issues, and put together a beta version for one more round of tests.  If the stats themselves are working, then we can send this to the primary mod team, and all of these other suggestions can go to them (as I don't have many of the files to modify some of this, even if I had both the ability and desire to do so).

11
The Last Days / Re: Combat Damage Model (RCM)
« on: November 18, 2011, 04:33:10 AM »
I actually have to be careful not to over-rate maille armors.  They do look tough, all that metal head-to-toe.  However, tests by all kinds of re-enactment groups, European traditional martial arts people, and historians all pretty much confirm that while maille is tough, a hard hit with a heavy sword (or much worse, an axe) does tend to cut some maille.  While this damage is considerably less than what it would be without the armor, it is still equivalent of a horrible wound.

Say, for example, a solid sword blow that would cut a man in half.  Tests on meat, cutting dummies, and in some cases actual humans (citing some WW2 war crimes that were filmed and well documented, as examples, as well as the occasional crime with a machete or some such) all confirm that such damage is not only reasonable, but surprisingly easy to inflict.  Adding a coat of maille to the formula would turn that attack into what seems to be relatively minor damage - the blade will barely penetrate, leaving a cut two or three inches long and an inch or two deep.  However, that relatively minor damage would still be enough to be debilitating ... can you take a two-inch-deep cut across your upper arm?  I mean, ouch.  That's likely through the bone, and the major arteries ... the recipient of such an injury is surely down for the count, and without excellent medical care, will bleed to death in minutes.  That's not at all like getting whacked with a stick ... even the hit that barely penetrates is more awful than anything most people have ever seen, easily on par with the kind of damage you see from car crashes and high explosives.

So I have to be careful when rating armors, to remember that even hits that barely penetrate can still make big holes.  Armor is most useful for protecting from the less-than-solid hits, the ones that just touch the target but would still be massive wounds without the armor.  A lot of that kind of stuff goes around in melee (or a volley of arrows, for that matter), and anybody without decent armor will pick up serious and possibly debilitating wounds from stuff they never even saw coming.  But no body armor could ever be heavy enough to protect from all kinds of weapons, if you get hit solidly... it would weigh tons.  Even the heaviest armors are more to force the enemy to use heavier and less versatile weapons (and so make him generally inconvenienced and less effective), more than to completely protect the wearer.

All of that said, you're only noticing it here because troops (player and AI) can't just take a few hits and use their hit points as alternative armor.

--------------------------
On the other point:
No society can equip their entire army with high-end gear.  Maille was (and still is, honestly) hard to make, in the sense of being both material and labor intensive.  Likewise, decent swords require some work by somebody who knows what he is doing.  Expecting that kind of gear on conscripts would be absurd, no matter what budget a nation had, nor to what extent their economy was geared up for war.  Knights would have family-owned gear, but they would also be considered on-call active duty military at all times, so they would fall under the professional standing army category.  Anybody else who joined the guard would either have to bring some of their own stuff (England did a lot of that) or use whatever they had on-hand.

The modern equivalent would be ordering a military draft, and then trying to provide enough tanks and other armored vehicles that they could all ride to the war.  I mean, sure, there are some old tanks around that could be patched up and put back into service, to account for a few - and some in reserve units, militia and the like (whatever they call them in your locality).   You're still going to come up about a million vehicles short, even if your tank production numbers were staggering (see, for reference, the USSR in WW2).  No matter how you figure it, a bunch of those guys are going to end up as infantry ... they might get some trucks to take them to the front lines, if they're lucky.

That said, much like tanks and aircraft in WW2, many ancient and Middle Ages societies did produce staggering volumes of weapons and armor.  So it is not totally unreasonable to see quite a bit of the stuff in a battle ... just not standard issue on every recruit.

12
The Last Days / Re: Combat Damage Model (RCM)
« on: November 17, 2011, 10:55:34 PM »
Related to that, note that there is a tremendous difference between some mountain goblins with no gear and a patrol out of Mordor, whose orcs are equal to lower to mid level human troops of similar level.  On the extreme high end, Gondor will have some advantage in armor and weapons ... but not by much... and a significant advantage in heavy cav, to somewhat help offset the orcs having more troops in general.  It was in the books that Gondor could not have won the war by force of arms alone ... Mordor was, in any reasonable assessment, considerably stronger.

There isn't really any lower-tier armor in Gondor.  The recruits have little protection at all.  This is painfully realistic... professional standing armies might have time to build up their equipment, but when you try to quickly bolster their numbers with a bunch of conscripts, you sort of get what you pay for.

13
The Last Days / Re: Combat Damage Model (RCM)
« on: November 17, 2011, 09:29:45 AM »
I did fix a couple of the uruk leather armor prices yesterday, but ... for the most part, prices were all over the board when I got the file, and for the most part, I did not change them.  I did check weapon lengths, for the most part (missed a few ... most fixed now), but not really armor weights (as figuring out exactly how much M&B slows you for heavy gear would be a whole new realism package).  We are catching a few of those, along ... (as noted on the uruk tracker armor) but I'm not considering them a massive priority.

Economics are a bigger issue, in general ... your low-level recruits take more casualties than they would in Native or some other damage model.  This means that cost can be an issue ... particularly with the elves, which is where I started a test game and have faced terrible economic pressure just to maintain a smallish scout team.  I'm seriously thinking that starting difficulty may be a bit steep - maybe if there were more chances to make money (resource points directly, or rank points that get you a salary) doing some more mundane work early on.  (Delivering messages was a good start, if you could get lucky and pick up enough mail going one direction without getting into a major bloodbath along the way.) 

This economic concern is not new ... we had to turn up the loot settings for Onin-no-Ran until it was literally dropping the equivalent of every single item that had been used in the battle plus any food and goods that the party might have been transporting, and it was still frustrating to keep the money coming in.  Players being unable to rely on shrugging off a few hits does immediately put more strain on the rest of your army, which in turn costs more, especially before you have a skill set in surgery and trainer (to keep those troops alive and gaining skills and equipment) and/or the best armor in the game (to extend the player's freedom to take chances, at least by a little).

And on a previous concern - I tried to take on one of those wild trolls.  It took more than a dozen elven bows (some scouts nearby, not actually my guys) to stop him, they must have hit the thing 40 times.  With the bow I was using, I couldn't even scratch it.  I would say they're pretty darn tough, even though that one didn't get far trying to advance against an absolute hail of arrows.  One troll is certainly worth at least a dozen humanoid-sized infantry (who would not have lasted any longer under that kind of fire).


Somebody referring to this project as "precious" makes me wonder if it will end up getting thrown into a volcano by some really short guys.

14
The Last Days / Re: Combat Damage Model (RCM)
« on: November 17, 2011, 04:23:33 AM »
Yeah, I assigned troll skin to be "somewhat protective", on the order of a coat of heavy maille, plus or minus a bit.  (60 points, if I recall ... about the same as Gondor's heavy maille.)  You have to smack it pretty hard to get any damage through that at all.  I can turn it up some, but if we're not careful, it will get to the point where elven blades won't cut it either.

The big Mordor trolls actually wear armor, on top of being tough.  Damaging them at all is really a tough assignment.  I was shooting for making them about as formidable as I could make any living thing without it seeming absurd ... if they got up to the point of shrugging off hits from antitank guns, somebody would notice that things were getting a little strange.

Still, being used for target practice by an entire company of elven archers would probably do one in pretty fast.  It's a troll ... it's big and tough ... but it's not a titanium elemental.  (Reference to "The Order of the Stick", if anybody missed that one.)  You shouldn't need thermite to make a hole in one.

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Zbylut:  No idea what to say.  I'm not using the launcher, I set up a copy of M&B as TLD-only.  It works that way.  I have no idea exactly what that launcher does.

15
The Last Days / Re: Combat Damage Model (RCM)
« on: November 16, 2011, 11:07:58 PM »
Oops ... did the release notes not get in the download package?  Dammit ... they were supposed to be there.  Sorry about that ... I'll have to see what went wrong with WinRAR.  Next version will have them, for sure (but let's collect the bug list for just a bit longer first).

Can't post a mirror at the moment, because the internet server I am using is really bad ... most download sites are not working at all, and it took like ten minutes to upload that little bit of text on the only site that would work.  (Took two minutes to bring up this page of text too.)  Maybe somebody will fix this, eventually, but right now it's operating at carrier pigeon speeds.

The zero-damage stun effect is part of all RCM mods - it is deliberate, to represent the point that, even if a hit does not draw blood, the impact has some effect on the target.  No matter how much armor you wear, you can't really fight too well if somebody is beating on you with a stick.  It rattles you around to get hit, even if the attacker is wearing boxing gloves.  You can use this to your advantage as well, if you go up against really heavily armored troops.

In a scuffle, it's hard to judge killing power of a weapon.  Erratic movement means that hits are not uniform, like on a stationary target.  Also, M&B does a lot with basing damage on how far back you draw the weapon - a quick draw-cut doesn't stop much, while a blow that you can put your back into is another story.  Stab wounds are particularly hard to measure - if you don't have a lot of strength and skill behind the attack, jabbing somebody with the point of a blade is not a terribly reliable way to injure them.  (This is different from Native, where hacking something into lunch meat would not kill them, but a quick jab with any kind of a blade would just go through tons of armor.)  All of this is why most of the RCM numbers were confirmed on target dummies (the ones you find in the castles in Native), to avoid having to collect statistics forever and then filter out the solid hits from the ones with negative speed penalties and the like.  Really long weapons also have negative speed penalties if you strike too close to the hilt - an M&B engine issue, but it can work out in favor of the model.  Anyway, trouble knocking down a target in a particular number of strikes is a really complicated calculation to work out, unless you can get the target to stand still.

The Wargs are not as heavily armored as anything that wears metal, but they're still plenty tough, fast, and most of all dangerous on the offensive ... and they still attack without a rider ... so they don't have to be at the "top of the food chain" to be militarily effective.  They can still cause havoc among even pretty heavy infantry.  They're not supposed to be unstoppable ... and they are still enemies to be feared.

Really weak troops in TLD really are weak.  Ineffective, actually.  It creates some odd game balance issues.  Not my doing.  I also noticed that light infantry (like the wild orcs, particularly) tend to dance around a lot more than the slower-moving heavy counterparts ... making hitting and wounding them much more complicated (for both player and AI).  This is not entirely unreasonable ... inexperienced troops are more likely to scurry about, swing and miss, and generally cause more noise than damage, instead of doing something combat effective like their better counterparts would do.

I'll check the Dol Armoth heavy sword ... may be a bug.  Also the tower shield thing may have been in the patch ... I did not change it in the file I got, but that doesn't mean it is not a bug.


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Edit:
Rohan warhorse was a bug.  Leather armor was correct, but accidentally got the numbers from the metal-armored Thengal Guard horse (next on the list).  Fixed.  Why Rohan's armored horse is a little light, I have no idea ... it wasn't my decision to give them leather armor when Gondor and others got maille on many of their heavy horse.

Some of the reward swords had incorrect lengths.  Fixed.

Rivendell recruit light archer "armor" (shirt?) weight and price fixed.

Raised warg charge value just a bit ... they were reading a little low.

Dol Amroth heavy sword is correct - on a solid hit, it should bring down just about anything.  If you were not getting those results, the issue is not the sword.

Trolls may be reading low on hit points.  (They need "hit points" - body mass really is their issue.)  I can't do anything about that - somebody with access to the troops file has to touch that up.  Then again, Moria trolls aren't supposed to charge a line of long bows ... that's a big target approaching relatively slowly, and so is going to get thoroughly perforated, unless those archers are busy dealing with something else.  The cave trolls don't have armor - that was in the graphics I was given to work with (although I did rate their skin as somewhat protective).

Elves with bows should be utterly wicked against a horde of orcs, particularly if it is a horde - a bunch of low-level poorly-equipped orcs, not a well-coordinated force.  Then again, I would expect the orc archers and skirmishers to be able to put up enough arrows and darts and such to occasionally get one of the elves.

That's most of the stuff that has been mentioned... I think.

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