Author Topic: Combat realism model  (Read 51486 times)

Offline Ron Losey

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Combat realism model
« on: February 07, 2007, 08:48:28 PM »
For those who have not been reading the suggestions thread, I am attempting a test project to port the now widely popular "Combat Realism Model" to the Mesoamerican Mod.

Guspav will be getting me the Python source soon, and I can start.  However, I need a couple of things.  The first are testers - PM me with e-mail addresses where I can send the modified item_kinds1.txt files.  This is going to move fast - I need some testers with some free time.  (I figure I can have most of the changes made in two days or less.)

Second, I need some preferences on history and gameplay:

One - does everybody want obsidian weapons to be deadly or blunt?  History says that the Aztecs generally fought to disable their opponents and take them as prisoners (usually to be sacrificed later).  The obsidian weapons could be quite deadly, and were murder against the Spanish armor (which did not stand up well to obsidian at all) - but they were really intended to be semi-lethal.  I'm thinking they should be deadly, at least on the stone-studded sides, as is currently modeled - but since I really haven't been a major part of this mod's development, I would like other opinions.

Two - the Aztecs used two types of arrows.  One was simple sticks with fire-hardened tips - light and cheap, but not very effective for anything but hunting squirrels.  The other were obsidian or flint tips - much more trouble to build, but much more deadly.  With the Spanish also came the option of arrowheads using copper or other soft metals, or imported Spanish steel.  Which should I model, or all of the above?

Three - Aztec padded cotton armor was light.  This is going to show a lot more when weapon damage becomes more realistic.  It may require a rebalance of faction strength, to give the Spanish a realistic numeric disadvantage.  I know nothing about how that code works, so somebody else will have to look into that.

Four - I know generally about Aztec weapons, but unlike the Japanese weapons I modeled in Onin-no-Ran, I'm certainly no master with them.  It would be best if, after I get something together, someone who has done some test cuts on meat with obsidian blades could look over the results for feel.

Post here, or PM me with an e-mail address if you would be interested in helping test this.  For any PM or e-mail, be sure to mention this is is for the Mesoamerican Mod, and not ONR or one of the others planning to implement this model in the near future - I want to make sure to get you the right files.

Ron Losey

The Pope

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Re: Combat realism model
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2007, 12:33:09 AM »
A lot of Spanish troops also had quite light armor, and very few wore full plate. It could be interesting having to target the lightly protected legs as an Aztec.

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Combat realism model
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2007, 01:06:46 AM »
A lot of Spanish troops also had quite light armor, and very few wore full plate. It could be interesting having to target the lightly protected legs as an Aztec.

Ironically, the extremely hard obsidian weapons were historically quite effective at penetrating the Spanish steel armor.  Much more effective at penetrating armor, actually, than they were at cutting meat - giving them many of the armor-piercing properties traditionally associated with axes, maces, and military hammers/picks.  The Spanish feared them, and for good reason.  That's also why the Spanish didn't wear more armor than they did - because the weather was too hot, and any reasonable level of armor wasn't really helping them that much anyway.  (No army could afford full plate for everybody.  That would be absurd, like putting everybody in your army into a tank.)

The problem with obsidian is that it is quite heavy, making the weapons a good deal slower than their steel counterparts.  This is a pretty painful weakness, especially if your armor is too light to take a hit.

That, and the Aztec missile capability was centered around the atlatl dart.  The killing power of an atlatl dart is quite amazing, actually (like it will reliably put a bear on the ground, if you hit him anywhere vital) ... but its accuracy leaves MUCH to be desired.  That gave the Spanish a substantial advantage in ranged capability, since both crossbow and arquebus are relatively easy to use.  (I can teach just about anybody to shoot pretty straight in a few hours.)  Ever tried to use an atlatl?  You can practice for a week, and you'll still miss a human-sized target half the time at thirty paces.

(As I said, I'm no master with the Aztec weapons, but I do know SOMETHING about them.)

But no, I doubt selective targeting would be your biggest problem.  I rather suspect that horses and long pikes, supported by a hail of annoyingly accurate missile fire, would create bigger problems for you than the armor.

Are you volunteering to test?

The Pope

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Re: Combat realism model
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2007, 01:34:43 AM »
I'll give it a go, but I'm already putting a lot of my time into modelling and texturing so I doubt I'll be able to test it thoroughly.

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Combat realism model
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2007, 01:49:07 AM »
Yeah, well, I don't have the source code yet either.  Guspav said something about cleaning something up over on the suggestions thread ... I said send them anyway, because what I was doing probably wouldn't affect other bugs one way or the other.

PM me an e-mail address where I can mail the modified files. 

And, as I said, this is going to move fast.  I'm on break for Chinese New Year at the moment, so I can work this stuff 16 hours a day for the next week or two.  (After that, I might have to actually teach some classes again.)  From the time I get the files, we're talking 48 hours to make the changes and initial tests, and have it ready for review for incorporation into the finished mod.

(Speaking of finished mods, this model comes out in Onin-no-Ran as soon as Fujiwara finishes with a couple of unrelated bugs ... it is astounding.  I am extremely encouraged by how well it has turned out, especially considering how fast we threw it together with minimal personnel.)


Offline guspav

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Re: Combat realism model
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2007, 01:00:43 PM »
OK let's talk about those points you made a bit:

I I don't think obsidian bladed weapons were very effective against steel (or iron), a heavy blow from a macuahuitl or an axe against a steel plate would result very likely in the weapon's blade shattering or at least chipping

II obsidian is actually lighter than most metals (or maybe all) having a density of about 2.6g/cm3 and most metals over 5 (steel and iron about 7.8g/cm3, or copper about 8.96g/cm3)

1.- I think the damage types are all right.. at least for the macuahuitls: cutting for swinging and blunt for stabbing. Some more opinions would be fine though. I think the damage for obsidian weapons should be pretty high, sharp obsidian is like glass and that cuts a lot better than any metal.. it is, however. very brittle.

2.-  Fire hardened arrows are ok to be included(they'd have like a -3 damage or something), about soft metal arrows (like copper) I'm not so sure, the aztecs (mexicas) didn't use copper that much, the tarascans however did a bit and only to make large tools, I think it was much too precious to turn it into arrows when obsidian worked fine. Steel tipped arrows are completely out of place, none of the natives had the means or the knowledge to work steel or iron (there's a rumor about moctezuma having a meteoric iron dagger, but like I said it's just a rumor)

3.- you are right, the cotton armor was light and Cortes himself prefered to wear one most of the time (that he wasn't going on a big battle) because he said it deflected arrow better.. now I'm not sure it would, but of what I'm sure is that it would be A LOT more confortable to wear than plate.. so to correctly model it, I'd give it light armor stats (like they are right now, but might be tweaked) and a very low weight to be able to move faster.
Faction strength is balanced right now.. could be tweaked a bit more  I guess.

4.- like I said before obsidian is very much like glass(it actually *is* volcanic glass), you could try with a broken bottle :D.. also obsidian is usually referred as one of the sharpest materials in existence if not *the* sharpest of them all since it can reach almost molecular thinness (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsidian)

anyway I'm cleaning the items files a bit right away, just tell me where to send them, Ron


« Last Edit: February 08, 2007, 01:03:47 PM by guspav »

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Combat realism model
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2007, 06:38:53 PM »
E-mail address on my profile.  RonLosey@hotmail.com.  Send the files there.

I know I have read that obsidian cuts steel.  It's like a diamond cutting glass.  Nothing short of heavy plate will stop it, and then it is more because the attacker is not strong enough to drive the obsidian through the metal - not because it would not work given sufficient force.  It will cut chain armors and most scale/lamellar constructions to shreds - they're just not heavy enough to stop it.

And by the way, a steel axe will cut a tremendous amount of metal.  I have done the test cuts on that, and so have others.  A four-pound axe will go through European chain armors like paper, and up to 1/16 inch hardened steel plate (a good deal heavier than most armors) will either cut/shatter or crease to the point of penetrating the target.  Granted, it takes a really solid hit to do that ... but still, it makes quite a mess.  From what I read, obsidian blades have many of the same properties.  I unfortunately can't give you the sources on those at the moment, because it's just been too many years since I saw that material.  I'll try to find them again.

Obsidian itself is sharp and relatively light, but a string of stones on the side of a wooden club is both heavy and not too sharp.  The ragged edge produced by various oddly-shaped stones has nowhere near the slicing properties of a smooth razor edge.  The stones themselves tend to drive in and hang in meat (and armor), creating excess resistance.  The same problem appears with modern serrated edges - they're fine for slicing bread, but not worth a dime on a fighting knife.  They leave an ugly wound, but nowhere near the killing power of what a heavy sword with a smooth razor edge will do.  (You're from Mexico - I thought all Mexicans knew how to fight with a knife.   :green:  ::) )

Obsidian weapons are also heavy, because while a steel blade is maybe a quarter inch thick and two inches wide, the Aztec clubs were a heavy board an inch and a half thick and four inches wide, lined with stones an inch thick.  For similar length, the total volume of the weapon is about 20 times greater - so mass per unit volume tells you nothing.

I'll start by modeling the arrows using either obsidian or heat-treated flint.  I think the current mod only uses the "barbed arrow" model.  We can add the others for variety later.  Although Spain had a strong archer tradition in the Roman period, I doubt they did much with longbows in the Americas - so Spanish steel-tipped arrows were likely quite rare.  (Unless, of course, someone got hold of their crossbow bolts and reused the tips in longer arrows, or traded for such supplies.)

And as for this rescale, I don't think you have any idea how much I intend to change.  I'm talking about a rebalance around European long swords doing cut damage between 50 and 65 points.  Plus or minus 2 or 3 points is going to be nothing.  I'm not tweaking things - I'm rebalancing the whole game... hopefully to a point where unarmored humans don't take 10 arrows and keep fighting.

(For preview, Onin-no-Ran should be releasing this combat model soon.)

Standing by for the files.

Offline guspav

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Re: Combat realism model
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2007, 08:23:51 PM »
OK I'm sending you 2 files
one is the source code, still pretty messed up, but the items should be fine (you might have to change module_info.py so that the mod is correctly compiled where you want it, but I suppose you already know how to do that :D)
the other one is the compiled mod, you'll need it for all the textures so that it gets more or less playable, please note that you can't enter any town save veracruz (zendar) because of that stupid menu I can't fix yet.

hmm all you said is pretty interesting, but no, I don't know how to fight with a knife as 99% of we mexicans  :lol: I do know how to fight with a katana and a jo, but that's another story :P
 I also have cut tons of meat with knives and scalpels (I'm a veterinarian, go figure haha) and yes, I am aware that serrated knives totally suck when cutting meat, even chainsaws don't work too well, nothing like an axe or a well sharpened knife (please note that I have used axes chainsaws and knives on DEAD animals, don't get weird ideas)
i hope the mod in it's maimed state doesn't bother your tests too much.

About the macuahuitls, it is true that their blades were oddly shaped (they had to be since they were sharpened by hitting them) but even so there are accounts (which might just be tall tales) of their blades being tremendously sharp and deadly:
In Bernal Diaz's Chronicles he says they are sharper than any of the swords they brought and that in a battle a horse was killed with a single blow.
There are also codexes where arms and heads are severed by obsidian weapons in battles.. those might be exaggerations, but who knows?

I'll ask my beta testers if they're interested in testing your damage model and will contact you as soon as I find out.


Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Combat realism model
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2007, 09:15:52 PM »

A fellow student of kenjitsu ... my favorite.  Although I always thought the jo was over-rated.  You really should add the tanto to that list - it's much more useful for self-defense situations.

Hope you appreciate the Mexican jokes.  I teach in China now, but I was born in Oklahoma.  Most of the Mexicans there are illegal immigrants, and so don't represent the best or the brightest ... if you get my drift.  They are, however, unusually quick with a knife - even by the harsh standards of cowboys and indians up there.  Comes with the territory, I guess.

(Personally, I'm part Cherokee - they call us the civilized tribes, because our warriors are slow with a scalping knife.)


Now, to be realistic:

I did NOT say that the obsidian-bladed weapons were incapable of removing your arm.  They can be quite deadly on the initial strike, if you are relatively strong (i.e. the power-strike attribute in the game) and good with one (which I am not).  However, they still severely lack the killing power of, say, the aforementioned katana.  You can slice a man in half with one of those without even trying.

Statistically, in the absence of power-strike or high skill bonuses....  You're looking at about a 30% chance of immediate incapacitation on the first strike with the katana (based on test cuts, practice combat, crime statistics and personal experiences, and historical anecdote), and I figure about half that with the Aztec obsidian weapons.  I figure I can simulate this by setting the obsidian weapons to pierce damage (as I did with axes), but it's going to be a balancing act.  That should get the fact that they cut armor as well as similarly sized steel weapons, but their performance against meat is greatly reduced.  As I said, I got a very accurate model for axes using this technique ... I think the same will work here.


I wish all of my test cuts had been on dead animals.  Unfortunately, far too many of them were done on live humans.  (At least they were alive when I started - although I was pretty much figuring I was dead.)  I hope I never have to draw a blade on another human again.  If you never have, keep it that way.


I'll see what I can do with this.  You say towns are disabled, except Veracruz?  Can do.  I'm assuming this is still for .751 - or is it maimed because of the port to .808?  (I do need that information.)

The Pope

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Re: Combat realism model
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2007, 01:15:58 AM »
I have doubts that any sword would have much chance of cutting people in half. A one hit kill, sure, but in half?

Offline guspav

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Re: Combat realism model
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2007, 01:55:28 AM »
no, towns did work in 0.751 it's the conversion that has gone weird (I think armie did some weird changes that I have still not figured out) maybe you should download the 0.751 version and see for yourself :D

i don't think piercing damage would be very good for blades in general, what would you wear armor for if it can be easily bypassed?

and I agree with Pope, cutting a man in half with a katana is an exaggeration, you'd need to be incredibly strong to go through all that bone and tissue.. unless you're El Cid and can also pick up a lion with your left hand and throw it back into it's cage (no, really, that's what says on that book) oh and cut a man in half with your sword, (that's why I mentioned the lion thing :P)

oh well you do your thing and let's see how it turns out  :green:
« Last Edit: February 09, 2007, 02:06:57 AM by guspav »

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Combat realism model
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2007, 02:23:41 AM »
I have doubts that any sword would have much chance of cutting people in half. A one hit kill, sure, but in half?

Well ... my test cuts on animal carcasses say they will.  So do a lot of other people's tests.  Cold Steel Inc. has demonstration videos of their blades hacking entire pigs in half.  They act like this is a good trick, but you can repeat it with a ten-dollar blade from a junk store, if you get a good sharp edge on it.

If you want a human example, both eyewitness accounts and archaeological evidence from the Japanese massacres at Nanjing, China (WW2) say that even the lousy machine-rolled steel parade swords they were handing out at the time would go completely through a human body.  Those were often parade swords, and not even really intended to be sharpened.  The Japanese officers took bets on if they could cut a person in half *vertically* (head to groin, just to one side of the spine)- and they sometimes could do it.  Those were witnessed and sometimes filmed, plus I have personally talked to people who saw it.  (I work in China - there are still many hard feelings toward Japan left over from that war, and older people who were kids at the time talk very freely about why they don't trust the Japanese.)

(Note to Japanese people - that is neither an attack on you or your culture.  I am a great supporter of Japanese traditional culture.  I only blame the perpetrators themselves for such atrocities.  The Chinese greatly over-react and blame an entire civilization for the failings of a few bad apples.  Although I have to give the perpetrators credit for their twisted sense of style - if you're going to have a massacre, you might as well have some fun with it.)

So yeah ... it doesn't even take a good sword, or a particularly heavy sword, to cut a man in two.  I suspect you could do it with a cheap machete, at a soft spot (like horizontally just above the belt).

Most people in the modern world confuse the word "sword" with rapiers, unsharpened parade dress swords, and those tinfoil WuShu thingies.  Those are swords the way a spoon is a digging tool.

I figure my tachi would go through at least five bodies horizontally, or easily one diagonally.  I base this on test cuts I have done on various materials with various blades, and I'm pretty sure it's accurate.

The difference between a "one-hit kill" and completely severing the body part is usually only about another half an inch of meat.

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

A few animations to clean up, and I'll have the first version of the changes ready ... hopefully within a couple of hours.

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Combat realism model
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2007, 02:46:47 AM »

Guspav - I wrote that last one while you were writing.

The logic of the pierce damage is simple.  The computer figures pierce and blunt damage against only half of the original armor value.  Therefore, a weapon with damage of 60 cut and one with 30 pierce have the same chance of penetrating armor.  However, the one with 60 cut obviously has twice the chance of damaging meat.

This means pierce weapons with lower damage values can be used to represent weapons that have a greater impact on armor than on humans - such as maces and axes, and if I recall my physics right, obsidian.  Cutting weapons like being stabbed with a steel knife, on the other hand, are likely better represented by values like cut 45 than pierce 23 - the chance of piercing armor is the same, but being stabbed with a knife causes massive internal bleeding, and few people keep fighting with more than two or three such wounds.

It's just a question of balancing the numbers.

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

Here's a question.  I'm trying to clean up the animations while I'm here.  How were the macuahuitl carried?  On the belt, or over the shoulder?

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Combat realism model
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2007, 04:37:31 AM »
OK, guys ... alpha copy to you.  Check your mail.

Not perfect, but it gives a feel of where this is going.

The statistical chances of debilitation from the first, second, and following gunshot wounds is statistically accurate, according to the NATO study on combat injuries (back in the 60's - the one that caused everyone to put 3-round-burst settings on their automatic weapons).  I can back up that data. 

You will also find arquebus to be only moderately effective against plate armors - that matches surviving armors of the period that bear armorer's "proof marks", where they would fire a musket into one corner just to see if it was good before it was sold.

The obsidian blade injuries are based on the assumption that the study I saw on obsidian being relatively effective against light to medium steel armor was accurate, plus what I know of industrial lacerations (i.e. car accidents and such) made by similarly ragged edges.  I really need data from test cuts by obsidian-blade weapons against animal carcasses and armors, but I'm using a lot of assumptions and anecdotal evidence until then.

The steel blade numbers (both swords and axes) are based on test cuts by myself and others, and their accuracy is not in question.

Bows seem a little weak, still - I'm thinking how much I want to up them, and exactly how.  The power draw function throws me off quite a bit - it creates a lot of variation.

A lot of assumptions on the atlatl as well - the first being an attempt to adjust to the huge variation produced by the power-throw perk.  That was not easy to calculate.

Anything else you notice, tell me and I'll check on it.

---------------------
Unrelated note:  your menu problems are caused by the way .808 differentiates between towns and castles.  For this mod, they need to be set to towns for now ... as they are, it handles them as castles.  I don't know how to fix it, but I see what it is doing.



----------------------------------------------
Edit:  Your menu bug:

The module_parties.py file lists two locations as "castle".  The module_game_menus does not have an entry for "castle"... the closest thing is something about "castle_outside".  I don't know where it should be, or what you plan to do about it, but that's the error when you try to use "build" and is says something about no reference for "castle".  It's preventing the module_parties file from building properly, and therefore screwing up the menu options.

« Last Edit: February 09, 2007, 06:42:47 AM by Ron Losey »

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Combat realism model
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2007, 12:35:43 AM »
Update for anyone interested:

Initial test versions are ready, for anyone interested.  I'll have to repackage the changes to the menu system, but I can send a copy to whoever wants to help test.

The benefits were not as dramatic as the changes to ONR, but they do give a slightly more realistic feel to combat.