Author Topic: [RESEARCH/PROGRESSION] Lasers from Heavy to Pistol  (Read 6480 times)

Offline NeoWorm

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[RESEARCH/PROGRESSION] Lasers from Heavy to Pistol
« on: July 25, 2014, 05:55:41 pm »
Quite simple reorganisation of research progression of laser weapons. You start with heavy laser and move towards the pistol. It may seem a little odd, but there are reasons why it can work. First reason is that the problem with technology is miniaturisation, so it should be harder to make pistol than tank mounted cannon. Second reason is that Heavy Laser is not that useful and often is ommited by player in favor for plasma weapons. This mod makes it more viable because you can get it much earlier. But since its heavy and slow weapon, it isn't viable as common squad weapon, so it should be quite ballanced.
Also Laser Tank have to be researched now. To counterweight research time needed for this topic you can access the tank sooner than before.

Generaly this slows down the research a little and makes the Heavy laser little more interesting weapon without actually changing it.

I made a Ufopedia entry for Laser weapons topic where I wrote some fluff that explains the progression, I will add some image later. Also I modified entries for Laser weapons to reflect the changes in progression.

There are 3 versions with some diferences:
CannonFirst - Starts with craft Weapon than Heavy and Tank than Rifle than Pistol. (There can be disballance because of the Laser defences that still rely on Laser Canon)
HeavyFirst - Starts with Heavy Laser than Rifle and Tank than Pistol than as Cannon.
TankFirst - Starts with Laser Tank than Heavy than Rifle than Pistol than Cannon.

I didn't thoroughly tested all three versions. Currently I am playing with Cannon First that delays deployment of Rifles the most and so far it seems quite fair. But I am open to all suggestions and feedback.

Also there is one bug - when Laser Tank topic unlocks, it doesnt appear in the "We can now research" window - It may have to do something with the lenght of the string or the "/" in it. I will investigate later.

Offline Arthanor

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Re: [RESEARCH/PROGRESSION] Lasers from Heavy to Pistol
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2014, 08:18:56 pm »
Very interesting mod. I am liking the trend of more in depth thinking for the tech tree. If the issue with lasers is indeed miniaturization, it would certainly make sense to have things the way you have them in the CannonFirst or TankFirst version.

I usually research the laser rifle ASAP, so I can use it for all my soldiers until I have amassed enough plasma clips to reliably use them without much manufacturing (I am an Elerium miser). The side effect is usually that right after the rifle, I got for Alloys -> Personal Armor -> UFO stuff & Plasma, never bothering to complete the laser tree. This way would force me to get to the research that I never do.

I would, however, tweak the research times further. The laser pistol is usually a pretty quick research, which it still is in your mod. Usually, the last improvement is the hardest one to get when it comes to miniaturization (you've already used all the easy tricks). Conversely, at 420 scientist-days, the cannon takes a WHILE at the beginning, especially with a small research crew.

The total cost of the laser line in the vanilla game is: 50+100+300+460+420 = 1330 scientist-days
Heavily back loaded (rifle at 450)

In TankFirst, it is: 50+300+300+460+100 = 1210 + 420 (for the tank) = 1630 scientist-days
Roughly even but longer overall (rifle at 1110!)

In CannonFirst, it is: 50+420+300+460+100 = 1330 + 300 (for the tank) = 1630 scientist-days
Even more front loaded (rifle at 1230!)

I would consider recosting things like:

Laser Tank: 250
Laser Cannon: 170(or the other way around in the CannonFirst mod)

With the most expensive of the two being the first researchable one and unlocking the cheaper one. It's a large project at the beginning, but the benefits are obvious. Either a new weapons for crafts or a better tank to escort your rookies. Split this way, the cannon and tank add up to the original 420, but you can do the optional one later so it's no SO front heavy.

Heavy Laser: 250 (more than twice as much as the original's pistol; but once you know how to fit it on a tank/plane; it should be accessible to make it portable; also, you need to give the squaddies something to keep up with the aliens! and Heavy > Pistol)

Laser Rifle: 300 (Same as in the original, but happens after 50+250+250+300 = 850 scientist-days, instead of the original's 450. 400 scientist-days is more than a month later with the starting crew, or more likely ~10-15 days with a dedicated growing lab)

Laser Pistol: 310 (Makes it half the research time of the plasma pistol which seems reasonable)

The total for the whole line is:
50 + 250 + 250+ 300 + 310 = 1160 + 170 (for the optional tank or craft cannon) = 1330, like the original, but more evenly distributed so it's not so harsh at the beginning, and it now makes sense to research everything.

Whichever optional one is fast at 170 once you get your lab going, so it's worth it for a new craft weapon or tank.
Faster pistol than plasma to give to your explosive users is good too, especially if you use some restrictive plasma tree.

This mod would work particularly well with an alien ammo mod. It delays the distribution of laser rifles to everyone which makes the new ammo for the old rifles useful for longer.

Offline Recruit69

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Re: [RESEARCH/PROGRESSION] Lasers from Heavy to Pistol
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2014, 09:41:54 pm »
Upon completion of heavy ==> small weapon class for laser etc, should then open the path to plasma weapons being made available for research if in inventory?

Offline NeoWorm

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Re: [RESEARCH/PROGRESSION] Lasers from Heavy to Pistol
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2014, 09:51:44 pm »
Arthanor>
Thanks for feedback. May I straight up use the times that you posted? I wanted to tweak the times myself after some research, but you have probably better insight than I. Only thing that I would do differently is probably the pistol research. In Cannon First version the pistol is very last weapon to be researched and after all it is only a pistol, a sidearm. It seems  needless to annoy players by pushing the time up with this research. So I would probably keep it quick.

Also I am thinikg about lowering the sell cost of Laser Cannon with Cannon First version because its the most profitable weapon to manufacture, it could disbalance game when it becomes pretty much the first manufacturable item. And maybe rise the pistol value a little. I will have to go through the item profitability page on Ufopedia for this.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2014, 09:55:29 pm by NeoWorm »

Offline Arthanor

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Re: [RESEARCH/PROGRESSION] Lasers from Heavy to Pistol
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2014, 10:34:24 pm »
I would be happy to see those times used! Then I didn't work on it for nothing ;)

Regarding the pistol times, I like the idea of keeping it higher since it makes the total time of the laser research line the same as the original, which I personally think is important. It reduces the impact of the mod on the overall game: If a player used to research all laser weapons before, using your mod should not change the experience significantly beyond inverting the research order which is its one intended purpose.

Although the time seems long since it is tripled, it is still half the time required to research the plasma pistol and gives you a pistol with free ammo and ~90% of the damage (46 vs 52). Tweaking its accuracy (it is actually much less accurate than a plasma pistol. I never realized that. Rifles are much closer to each other.) and profitability (it is highly miniaturized, so should be sought after; also compensates from the potential decrease in profit of the other weapons) could make it more attractive too.

Also, if you combine your mod with something like the "Plasma Needs Elerium" mod with its tech tree (another weapons tech tree tweak which would make sense to use with this one), the plasma pistol will come after Elerium and Plasma Weapons (A new step similar to the Laser Weapons step); plus you need to research the clip too (an additional 400 scientist-days, for a total of 1000 scientist-days just for the pistol, excluding the pre-requisites!). The laser pistol, at 300, doesn't look so bad.

I never looked at the profitability of manufacture, as that is something that never occurred to me when playing the game (my engineers are usually busy building something I need, not running their own little arms factory!). I fully agree that reducing the profits on the early laser weapons (from you mod: Cannon/Tank/Heavy) would make a lot of sense, since they would be the most approachable to other weapons manufacturers. Especially if they happen to be some of the most profitable weapons of the game!
« Last Edit: July 25, 2014, 10:39:23 pm by Arthanor »

Offline wsmithjr

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Re: [RESEARCH/PROGRESSION] Lasers from Heavy to Pistol
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2014, 04:06:12 am »
This is interesting. My only issue with it is then that it seems pointless to bother with the pistol. If its at the end of the chain then I would skip it in favor of plasma pistols of which you would have  quite a collection of by then. And even if you were forced to research to access something else down the line I doubt I would bother to manufacture any of them.

That said I do like that it helps the heavy laser and laser cannons which I've always liked on general principle if not due to effectiveness.

Offline Arthanor

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Re: [RESEARCH/PROGRESSION] Lasers from Heavy to Pistol
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2014, 05:30:03 am »
Well, it's a trade-off. You can research plasma pistol for 600 scientist-days, plus the clip for 400 (total: 1000), or research the laser pistol for 310 scientist-days. Of course, in the end, the aim is to make you research both: the laser pistol because you want a better  pistol now, and later the plasma pistol because you want the best pistol (and to unlock the plasma tree, if you use a plasma research tree).

IF you couple this mod with something that restricts plasma research and requires a "Plasma Weapons" research before researching anything (and after Elerium-115), this means you could have a decent pistol with lasers much earlier than you would have the "best" pistol with plasma.

I agree it is a bit wasteful, but some tweaking of the laser pistol accuracy (to make it closer to the plasma one, much like the laser rifle is close to the plasma one in terms of accuracy) and profitability (selling compact laser pistols could be worth quite some money with.. organized crime?, whereas bulky heavy lasers/laser cannons shouldn't) and suddenly, the laser pistol could be worth researching.

It requires some thinking, as I agree that the laser pistol is not really a sought after weapon, but I am also wary of increasing the time before laser rifles are accessible much more compared to the original game, or changing the total time of the laser research tree.

Offline KingMob4313

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Re: [RESEARCH/PROGRESSION] Lasers from Heavy to Pistol
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2014, 05:45:56 am »
Quite simple reorganisation of research progression of laser weapons. You start with heavy laser and move towards the pistol. It may seem a little odd, but there are reasons why it can work. First reason is that the problem with technology is miniaturisation, so it should be harder to make pistol than tank mounted cannon. Second reason is that Heavy Laser is not that useful and often is ommited by player in favor for plasma weapons. This mod makes it more viable because you can get it much earlier. But since its heavy and slow weapon, it isn't viable as common squad weapon, so it should be quite ballanced.
Also Laser Tank have to be researched now. To counterweight research time needed for this topic you can access the tank sooner than before.

Generaly this slows down the research a little and makes the Heavy laser little more interesting weapon without actually changing it.

I made a Ufopedia entry for Laser weapons topic where I wrote some fluff that explains the progression, I will add some image later. Also I modified entries for Laser weapons to reflect the changes in progression.

There are 3 versions with some diferences:
CannonFirst - Starts with craft Weapon than Heavy and Tank than Rifle than Pistol. (There can be disballance because of the Laser defences that still rely on Laser Canon)
HeavyFirst - Starts with Heavy Laser than Rifle and Tank than Pistol than as Cannon.
TankFirst - Starts with Laser Tank than Heavy than Rifle than Pistol than Cannon.

I didn't thoroughly tested all three versions. Currently I am playing with Cannon First that delays deployment of Rifles the most and so far it seems quite fair. But I am open to all suggestions and feedback.

Also there is one bug - when Laser Tank topic unlocks, it doesnt appear in the "We can now research" window - It may have to do something with the lenght of the string or the "/" in it. I will investigate later.

Brilliant. I was about to go down the same path with my mod, that heavy chemical lasers have to be done first, although there was going to be an oblique reference back to 'The Bureau'.

Offline NeoWorm

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Re: [RESEARCH/PROGRESSION] Lasers from Heavy to Pistol
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2014, 11:51:33 am »
Ok, I changed the times for researching according to Arthanor's calculations and tweaked the prizes of items for CannonFirst version. Now the Laser Cannon is second most profitable item to manufacture while pistol is first but still less profitable than Cannon was originally. Also Laser Tank profitability didn't changed, but the initial cost (500k) and time spent on manufacturing (1200 hours) makes it quite hard to craft at the begining of the game, which should be enought not to disballance the game.

Also I am toying with idea to make the Laser tech requiring at least one autopsy. Logic is simple - you don't know what you are against and that you will need better weapons before actually encountering and examining alien.

Offline Arthanor

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Re: [RESEARCH/PROGRESSION] Lasers from Heavy to Pistol
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2014, 03:14:58 pm »
Nice! Got them all and will give 'em a try. Good work!

Offline BlackLibrary

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Re: [RESEARCH/PROGRESSION] Lasers from Heavy to Pistol
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2014, 12:47:25 am »
I'm starting testing on this.  Cannon first seems the most logical of the group upon playtest. 

However, the pistol needs a bit more edge since it now directly competes with plasma.  Its only advantage I'm seeing is that Plasma Pistol clips have to be manufactured after a while unless you horde them.  I didn't. 

I think the damage for the rifle and the pistol should be the same (60 Damage Units), with the advantage going to the rifle because its more accurate by far.  Makes the pistol an interesting choice then, and actually has a more solid purpose in the midgame.  The laser pistol became a midgame weapon instead of the first researchable weapon.

Offline BlackLibrary

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Re: [RESEARCH/PROGRESSION] Lasers from Heavy to Pistol
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2014, 01:03:11 am »
Also...when doing a mod, you should really only include the deltas (differences) from the main.  I had to change your original mod because it interfered with other mods that affected the graphics of the laser weapons. 

Again...only include the lines in the ruleset thats a change from the original.

Offline Arthanor

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Re: [RESEARCH/PROGRESSION] Lasers from Heavy to Pistol
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2014, 01:09:30 am »
I agree that mods should try to change as little as possible, especially if it is just rewriting stuff from the original rules.

As for the laser pistol, I don't think it should have the same power as the rifle, for the simple reason that a plasma pistol doesn't even do that much damage and plasma should remain the best weapon, as in the original game.

I think making the pistol a bit more accurate (it is SO MUCH WORSE than the plasma one in accuracy) is the way to make it relevant as a dependable (free-use) side-arm for close work by explosive/heavy troopers.

Offline BlackLibrary

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Re: [RESEARCH/PROGRESSION] Lasers from Heavy to Pistol
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2014, 06:50:22 am »
Accuracy is nice, but the Laser rifle should be more accurate and its at 100% on aimed.  The pistol is shabby, but a 20% increase is barely noticeable.

I could see your point...but I argue this...who are your enemies in midgame?  Snakemen & Mutons.  Laser Pistol is woefully useless against them, for the most part...and will get them both more mad than hurt on the first hit.  Even a laser rifle has to be up close and make sure you get at least 2 good hits in to make sure it -may- go down.  The laser pistol would need 2.5 to 3 shots to take down a muton.

If I may suggest, if not upping the power level, then reduce the TUs on the auto fire while also increasing accuracy. 

Why?  Because its mid game...and because the concept is not that the pistol is weaker...its just miniaturized version of the rifle (different than the vanilla concept).  Theoretically, what it lacks are the ergonmics that make it easier to be more accurate with a rifle .  Its not based on physics like a ballistic rifle.  Its not even power levels that makes it more accurate.  In this alternative to vanilla, the laser pistol is just a mini-rifle.  For all the research points invested, the pistol needs help against the foes of mid-game to justify.

Offline Arthanor

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Re: [RESEARCH/PROGRESSION] Lasers from Heavy to Pistol
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2014, 07:19:31 am »
You make a good point. I'm not sure I agree with the laser pistol at the end of the tree meaning that it should compete with mutons or snakemen. It's an early mid-game side arm, the plasma pistol at the beginning of the plasma tree is there for when you face resilient opponents.

There needs to be something to make it desirable, firepower isn't really it as it just looks wrong if laser becomes more damaging than plasma. Low TU costs, more shots on autoshot and better accuracy than it currently has might be it. Actually, high RoF autoshot and some improvement in accuracy would work really well. It's the same expected result, more dependable (more shots = closer to the average) and fits well with other modded high end high RoF laser weapons like scatter lasers.