Author Topic: Early gun balance  (Read 12017 times)

Offline Slaughter

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Early gun balance
« on: January 14, 2017, 09:09:58 am »
Thread made to help Solarius with gun balance, althrough so far it seems good.

I'm going to use spoilers not to spoil people. I'm almost finishing November 1997 - more like Nightmare November.

Spoiler:
Glock: The very definition of "pop gun". Makes one appreciate the starting pistol in X-COM. The main advantage is that this is your first "burst" gun - well its more of a double tap. Good for cultist killing at close range.

.45 Pistol: Didn't like it very much, don't remember making much or any killing with it. I think its the aim shot cap that kills it. Once I got the Magnum, I never looked back even through the .45 shoots faster.

Beretta: Good little gun. Hits reliably, shoots fasts, decent-ish power. The Magnum is the "Sniper Rifle" of pistols, the Beretta is more like a very precise assault rifle. I used to use it in a Beretta/Tazer combo, and later on a Beretta/Uzi or Beretta/Small Shotgun combo. Starts to show obsolesce when you fight zombies.

Small Shotgun: At first sight it sucks at distance combat. But when zombies and other creatures starting getting on your face, you will realize its true role is a close-quarters combat weapon. I obsoleted it after I got the normal shotgun, but started using it again once I realized its a fantastic anti-zombie weapon. It can be used one-handed no prob. I use it as a side-arm for a lot of soldiers in zombie infestation missions.

Pump-Action: Will get obsolete fast, but does ok in early cultist missions. When I got a better one, discarded this entirely.

Magnum: A Divine Weapon. With it, a agent can finally hit reliably with stopping power. Closest thing to a sniper rifle you can get for a while. Until you get the Hunting Rifle and then the Nitro Express, keep using this on your most accurate agent.

Shotgun: Good weapon, decently precise, sadly not fast enough to be shot thrice. Great vs zombies.

Uzi: Good if the enemy gets point blank and lacks armor, otherwise I found it too imprecise. Obsoleted by the MP5.

Hunting Rifle: Light, precise, decently powerful. Became my sniper weapon. Nice snap shot.

HKMP5: So, this is a mini-rifle. Decent-ish accurate, burst has crap precision but I never had opportunity to use it in close-range. Good. It made Uzi and Beretta obsolete for me. Needs more testing, I want to see it vs zombies or werewolves.

Nitro Express Rifle: Used it in a few missions so far. Great gun! Cultists in my experience usually get one-shotted, werewolves survive it barely. Sadly had no chance to test on Yeti.

Guns I didn't use (yet): Flare Gun (seems like a crapshot), Minebea (I researched it just after MP5. Seems obsolete, but that x6 round burst seems to rock in CQC), AK47 (researched, got a few in storage but not enough bullets).


Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Early gun balance
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2017, 01:07:04 pm »
Thanks for the feedback! For now I'll withhold comments, maybe there will be more. ;)

Online ajnunezr

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Re: Early gun balance
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2017, 07:09:12 pm »
I´m almost in December, and have to say that the Magnun is a life saver. I´m playing in Veteran. For the Strange Life form missions, guns are total crap, but I think this is really ok. I use Hunting Rifles + Shotguns. But it gets tricky to capture animals alive. I have been very lucky though, normally I get a bleeding one alive in the last turn. In the cultist activity missions, guns rules, normally I have a fast firing one (Glock, low damage, but against unarmoured folks rules, or to give the final blow) and the Magnun or if I´m in close combat, the small shotgun. I don´t see very useful the Pump action shotgun. Will test now the normal Shotgun, but the small one have a place in my squad hearth XD.

Oh, and BTW, I spam in a cultist mission just in the side of a house, total carnage, luckily I happen to have a grenade I got from another mission. Only one agent live to tell the story.

Offline ohartenstein23

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Re: Early gun balance
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2017, 03:17:39 pm »
My thoughts on the early firearms:
  • Glock: True for most of the low-damage pistols and SMGs, the low percentage of getting a single lethal shot is a nice feature to me.  Shooting a cultist with the glock usually leaves them wounded, and soon thereafter, unconscious.  The Glock has the added benefit of many shots per turn.
  • Beretta: I use it in a similar manner to the Glock for Cult Apprehension and Activity, and the extra accuracy puts it a step ahead in my mind.
  • Colt: The Strange Life Form pistol for me.  Rifle-level damage and high accuracy makes it great against the usually heavier armor of the creatures encountered.
  • UZI: Brilliant damage per turn, just have to get close.  I don't really carry it though, because it's hard to make it a primary weapon, and the 2x2 belt slot is usually filled with either medkits or two different secondary weapons.
  • Minebea: Love it! An UZI that sits in the QD and can fire aimed shots, what's not to like?
  • Magnum: The damage per shot is great sure, but I didn't like the short accurate range.  I'd rather use shotgun AP shells for the same role.
  • FN FAL: My favorite of the assault rifles, it does some real work in Cult Outposts and for other target-rich environments.  Close-range isn't it's forte though.
  • M16: Got the FAL early, so I didn't really use it.  It could be useful in a similar role to the light pistols, wounding targets to get the stun, but not really better than the handguns.
  • AK47: The close-range partner to the M16, I didn't really use it much.
  • SA-80: An M16 better at mid-range.  Maybe I'd use it to train rookie agents?
  • MP5: See the previous three rifles, but more ammunition downrange per turn. Not really worthwhile to me.
  • Small Shotgun: Keep it in the QD if you can't put a Minebea in there.  Wonderful emergency close-range weapon.
  • Pump-Action Shotgun: I didn't use shotgun scatter ammo for primary weapons, so I didn't really like it.
  • Shotgun: AP Slugs, all the way, all day. Best rookie gun, great when you need to kill everything on the map, one block at a time. If you want scatter shells, use the small shotgun.
  • Hunting Rifle: An easy-to-acquire rifle if you haven't been getting much from the Cults, I feel it's lacking compared to shotgun with AP shells, the Magnum, or even the Colt.  The range and accuracy are nice, but it doesn't win out as either a kill weapon or a wound weapon in my book.
  • Nitro Express: First time I used it, I gave it to everybody I could - the damage bonus from accuracy is hard to pass up.  However, rarely do you need that damage, and it's hard to carry anything else.  It's my heavy gun until I get a true cannon, only for special circumstances.
  • Arasaka: My clear favorite. High enough damage to reliably clear cult bases and hunt big game, high accuracy reaction fire, good clip size, I can't say enough good things about it. Needs backup at close range and is kinda heavy, but it can't cover all the bases by itself.

Offline Eddie

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Re: Early gun balance
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2017, 12:08:56 am »
Just started a new game, so haven't used that many guns yet.

When I was thinking about aimed shot performance, I noticed that the glock outperforms pretty much everything, including early rifles.
The glock has aimrange 30, which makes it way better than the other pistols at range. The other pistols have 20 and the mp5 has 25. Also the glock (and pistols in general) shoot very fast in aimed mode.
I think about long range performance, and because of these two things (aimrange, fast shooting) the glock is superior to the early rifles. The glock can do 4-5 aimed shots per round, at about 40-50% actual accuracy. That means roughly 2 hits per round. Rifles do 1 shot per round, and not at 100% accuracy.
The missions I played so far seldom had me shooting at things farther than 30 tiles distance, where the glock still has full accuracy. So right now I'm thinking: why the hell would I bring hunting rifles when I got glocks?

And while I was thinking about that, I also thought: Why would a pistol fire faster aimed shots than a rifle? Or an SMG? SMG is probably the right comparison.

My suggestion would be to have aimed shot speed of pistols in the same range as SMG's, which is 2 shots per round. And of course the aimrange of the glock needs to be lowered. Something lower than the 25 of the mp5 seems appropriate.

Alright, now I need to playtest that.

(Oh, and great mod Solarius, I'm having lots of fun playing it!)

Edit: now that i upgraded to 0.6.1, I see the glock has aimrange 20 which makes half of my post moot.
Edit2: looked again. The glock has two aim range entries, one for 30 and one for 20. Game uses the 30 value.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 12:56:40 am by Eddie »

Online Dr.Crowley

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Re: Early gun balance
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2017, 09:56:16 am »
As far as I remember I used Glock, Colt and Beretta when I started the game. But later I dropped all pistols in a favor to HKMP5 (the best gun for the first 2 years - for Beginner Difficulty at least). As for Small Shotgun - yep, it was nice CQC weapon for the beginning but it becomes obsolete when you get Pump-Action Shotgun at least (or Shotgun). Dunno about hunting rifle and most SMGs - haven't used 'em at all. Anyway all of this becomes outmatched by BlackOps weapons. Well, except Arasaka - surprisingly nice rifle btw. Thank god the first enemy I got Arasaka from couldn't use properly :D

Sometimes I wonder if my "the harder it hits, the better it is" philosophy is actually adequate 8) I prefer to hit hard from afar, that's why aimed shot accuracy is critical for me. But sometimes even my rookie medic can hit the enemy with BlackOps SMG snap shot FROM ANOTHER CORNER OF MAP so I dunno.

Offline Eddie

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Re: Early gun balance
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2017, 12:50:48 pm »
"The harder it hits, the better" is the best strategy for agent safety, because if your one bullet or auto-burst can down the enemy, they can't shoot back :-)

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Early gun balance
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2017, 01:37:39 pm »
The glock has aimrange 30

Yep, as you discovered yourself (good job!), it was a bug. It had aimRange defined twice, once as 30, once as 20.

And while I was thinking about that, I also thought: Why would a pistol fire faster aimed shots than a rifle? Or an SMG? SMG is probably the right comparison.

Well... It's a design decision. The smaller the weapon, the faster it is to aim.

I guess you could argue otherwise, but I don't think it's inherently wrong.

My suggestion would be to have aimed shot speed of pistols in the same range as SMG's, which is 2 shots per round.

But they're much less accurate, compared to SMGs (as long as the SMGs have an Aimed Shot in the first place).

And no, not making them shoot so slow... That would kill their concept. :P Besides, I just can't see the reason behind it.

(Oh, and great mod Solarius, I'm having lots of fun playing it!)

Thanks!
It'll get even better when I remove all these bugs. :P


Offline Eddie

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Re: Early gun balance
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2017, 02:21:17 am »
Of course everything is a design decision. And I have no problem with that with alien or futuristic weapons. It's just for guns that are well known, I have a certain expectation of what they can and cannot do, and if things are different it bugs me.

This feeling is also influenced by other games I'm playing. Right now I play also DayZ and this game has supposedly quite accurate gun representations (I've never fired a gun in my life so no idea if that is correct). There SMG's are basically pistols with some addons to make autofire more controllable. And historically this is how SMG's developed. See for example:



This is a Luger that can do full auto. It has a lengthened barrel, an optional drum magazin and attachable shoulder stock. To actually make the full auto mode usable. But it can also be used as a normal pistol.

With that in mind, an SMG is basically a pistol with autofire. If you don't use autofire but do aimed shots at distant targets, there would be not much difference between the two. Maybe the SMG is a bit easier to aim if it has better sights. Performance at range is mostly determined by the bullet. Since an SMG by definition is an atomatic gun that fires pistol bullets, the performance at range is roughly the same.
So when I think for example about the difference between the glock 18 and the mp5 (both use 9 mm), I would expect that their snap and aimed fire is similar, with equal speeds but the mp5 a bit more accurate. The difference is mainly the autofire capabilities.

I have a vague picture in my head that is under development how I would balance all the guns. Let's see if I can satisfy my critical self ;-). Once it's finished and I have playtested it enough, I will post the results. Then you can decide if you want to try it or not and decide if you like it or not.
In the meantime, don't mind my ranting about gun balance Solarius. You can focus on creating content.

Offline mumble

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Re: Early gun balance
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2017, 05:52:05 am »
I think a big part is the general obtuseness of the weapon : pistols, smgs, melee weapons, ect, are very ergonomic, small, light, and easy to point and fire, and these factors are abstracted into this : TU's is an approximation of what a person can do for an entire turn : running, opening doors, turning, grabbing things, moving equipment, ect, and pistols and SMGS handle better. Because of this, its not so much "a pistols fire rate" compared to "a rifles fire rate" but rather how easy it would be to fire a weapon, particularly in the middle of other tasks. Aiming a pistol and firing, while running around, opening doors, ect, is a LOT faster than aiming with a rifle while doing it, due to the fact you only need a 1 hand grip, its lighter, shorter, ect, thus, lower TU's

....Granted, it would be nice to get a separate stat to say, dictate the fire rate of different guns seperate from just "how much TU's", enabling factors such as having "true automatics" have a better ability to spit more rounds than a pistol per round, being able to move and fire without either one taking TU's away from other tasks.. (as well as making akimbo guns a pheasable technique) But this is a tall task, and kinda off topic.

TL;DR : TU cost isn't just about fire rate, its about how the gun handles too.

Online Dr.Crowley

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Re: Early gun balance
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2017, 06:25:06 am »
I have a vague picture in my head that is under development how I would balance all the guns. Let's see if I can satisfy my critical self ;-). Once it's finished and I have playtested it enough, I will post the results. Then you can decide if you want to try it or not and decide if you like it or not.
In the meantime, don't mind my ranting about gun balance Solarius. You can focus on creating content.
By the way we have Juku121's still unused thread for various ideas to test.

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Early gun balance
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2017, 10:54:51 am »
Yes, Mumble's post is spot on: it's not about fire rate, it's about what you can do with a given item. Pistols are quick to use, for instance.

Of course it's fairly abstract, but such is reality of turn-based games.

Offline Eddie

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Re: Early gun balance
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2017, 01:57:36 am »
A (rough) method to compare weapons is to calculate accuracy*damage*#shots/Tu%

For the Beretta snap this number is 0,7*23/0,16 = 100
For the MP5 snap 0,6*25/0,24 = 62
For the MP5 auto 0,5*25*3/0,32 = 117

So you should only pick the MP5 over the Beretta when you can use autoshot. Otherwise the Beretta is *a lot* better. The increased snapshot range of the MP5 can't close the gap.

It's hard to get a feel for weapon effectiveness just by playing normally, as with the 0-200% damage range weapon output has a *really* high variance.
This "damage per tu" number did not mean that much in vanilla when most things died in 1-2 shots. In xCom Files most things can take more hits, so this number actually means something. Damage output is especially important on monster hunts.

I did a spreadsheet calculating this number for various weapons. Pistols have the highest snapshot effectiveness by far. As most combat in xCom files is at ranges where snapshot is useful (at least I play this way), I would conclude that pistols are a bit too powerful.

I was experimenting with giving pistols accuracy dropoff 3, but somehow it is not working. Crossbow has dropoff 3, which is working fine. Using the same line for a pistol changes nothing. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?


Offline Juku121

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Re: Early gun balance
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2017, 05:14:49 pm »
By the way we have Juku121's still unused thread for various ideas to test.

Well, if you want to see a first approximation of what an effort like that would look like, just download the now depreciated version and see. I am in the process of updating it to 0.6, but the essence is there. As far as gun balance goes, it's pretty complex and my unpublished WIP version is perhaps twice as complex now. I'll probably make a release at some point, but it's more so that Solarius and other modders can take my resources.

If I've learned anything, such rebalancing is largely an individual thing and your best bet is to make a minor 'rebalance' submod of the current XCF iteration and see if it generates any interest. But a dedicated thread for new game mechanics is a good idea. Maybe my thread is not necessarily the best place for that, but I'm not against it either.

...I would conclude that pistols are a bit too powerful.

Remember that pistols and other low-damage weapons also suffer the worst from armor, so it evens out somewhat.

Personally, I think you're right, but it's rather because of how long-ranged pistols are. I think aimed shots outrange machine gun fire (not 100% sure how this actually translates to gameplay, since I've never played a 'vanilla' game of XCF).

I was experimenting with giving pistols accuracy dropoff 3, but somehow it is not working. Crossbow has dropoff 3, which is working fine. Using the same line for a pistol changes nothing. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

Are you sure you've also set all the relevant ranges (aimRange, snapRange, autoRange)?

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Early gun balance
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2017, 06:22:55 pm »
Most pistols have aimRange 20, good ones 25... Really, saying they are more accurate than machine guns is just making a fool of oneself, and not even worth discussing.

Sure, in some situations pistols are better. In X-Com reality, more often than in many other combat environments. So? Otherwise pistols wouldn't be in the mod. And if someone really thinks they are better than rifles, what's stopping you from using only pistols? Certainly not me. But I don't really think it's a wise idea.