Further Neutron Blaster rambles

SFBDon

Upon further experimentation in OP, I discovered that the game uses non-SFB range brackets for the TR beams. While a little odd in terms of TR beams, this works better for the Neutron Blasters. I replaced the TRL with a chart based on my records for the NBs, and reducing the power cost to 2 + 2.

I’ve also made some changes to some other items in the EXE file to play around with, including a max ship sped of 50, faster hi-speed drones, two-turn plasma Fs that move at 48, improved fighter weapons for Montel, among others. I look forward to sharing this and the OP15a shiplist with Belkov very soon.

Advertisements

Neutron Blasters vs TR Beams

NB_v_TR_charts

My notes on the NB Damage Charts are incomplete, compiled from SFB notes taken in 1988-1994 with data gaps filled in. Using this conjectural chart:

range 0 NB = TRL

range 1-3 TRL slightly higher avg

range 1 NB rolls 1 & 2 higher damage

range 2 NB rolls 1 & 2 = damage

range 3 TRL rolls 1 & 2 average higher than NB

range 4-5 TRL averages slightly higher >NB

range 4-5 NB minimum damage higher >TRL

range 6-8 roll 1 TRL higher damage >NB

Range 6 NB average higher >TRL

range 7-8 NB average higher >TRL

range 9-12 NB average higher > TRL by 1+

range 9-12 NB minimum higher >TRL

range 13-16 NB average almost double TRL

range 13-16 TRH average slightly higher > NB (.16)

range 17-25 NB average more than double TRH

range 17-25 NB maximum double TRH (6)

NB has 11 ranges (0,1,2,3,4-5,6,7-8,9,10-12,13-16,17-25)

SFC TR Beams can only have 6 ranges (0-3,4-5,6-8,9-12,13-18,19-25), but the ranges can be changed.

In terms of damage, NB are very similar to TRL beams, with a slightly higher close-up punch and much better mid- to long-range. At long range NBs equal TRH in damage and are twice as powerful at sniping range, indicating that the NB is powerful heacy weapon. There is a noticeable difference when compared by damage per arming power however. Neutron Blasters (in SFB) required 6 points of power (3+3) plus a point for “flare shields” when firing; TRH beams cost the same (3+3) minus the flare shield cost, and TRL are less at 4 points each (2+2). Using this metric, NBs are half as efficient as TRH out to range 8 and about equal to TRH in ranges 13-25, and somewhat less efficient than TRL to range 8, about the same as TRL in range 9-12, and more efficient out to range 25. Some of this disparity will be improve when the flare shield cost is eliminated. There was an overload function available for NBs in SFB, something that TR Beams do not have.

Moving forward in SFC, there are several possibilities. The damage chart to TRLs could easily be modified to match the NBs, leaving the TRHs for Andromedans. The overall arming cost for NBs could be changed, perhaps to 5. The cost per “turn” can be modified to make it a 1, 2, or even 3 turn arming cycle (longer cycle means lower cost per turn, leaving more power per turn for other uses). Another, and more radical, idea would be to rebuild the weapon in one of the 5 Disruptor slots. This could restore the overload function, and disruptors have 9 range brackets, 3 more than TR Beams (0, 1, 2, 3-4, 5-8, 9-15, 16-22, 23-30, 31-40). The man problem with this is that the arming cost & cycles for all disruptors are controlled by the same function, so any changes would affect all disruptors equally. We could make this nuNB a single turn weapon like disruptors, essentially halving the current damage chart but this would be a significant change to the NBs as we have seen them. Experimentation and testing will no doubt be helpful in deciding which method might be best.

A dramatic shift

One reason for the relative quietness in gaming terms is the dramatic news that came from the SFC community on Dynaverse. By using a hexadecimal editor, it is possible to change anything in CE/OP/SFC3 that relates to what might be a chart in SFB – weapon damage abilities, ranges, power costs. I have already begun experimenting with a few things, including ships moving faster than 31, slower plasmas, more powerful drones. More details to follow….

Combat Log SD 11501.31

Lessons In Darkness

Another afternoon meeting, wherein most of the internet problems happened during the warm-up talk than during the games themselves. A software update on Belkov’s side allowed us some time to discuss trans-dimensional happenings and review the little Cabot story Montel had written. Belkov paid me the highest compliment in saying that I write Cabot better than he does, a distinction I would disagree with strongly (I was instantly captivated by the nugget of a story Belkov had about Cabot and a Lyran diplomat) but I will accept the compliment proudly

Meeting duration 2:38

  1. Free4All Late 333. Duration: 11:29  Victor = Montel
    Fed NCLM Akagi, Kli D5K  vs R-Sunhawk, Seahawk-D

    Belkov’s lower-end fighters dies swiftly under ADD fire. Both Colonial ships managed to escape.

  2. Free4All Late 611. Duration: 10:48  Victor  = Belkov
    F-BCF, CC+, NAC  vs R-Omnihawkp, 2xSabrehawk HDWs

    The curse of AI wingman: although I had turned on negative tractor on the BCF, when I handed control
    over to the AI it turned it off, allowing it to be anchored. (I self-destructed it to try to teach it a lesson).
    The NAC decided on it’s own to tractor the OMH, which didn’t turn out too well for it either.

    Feds gather

    Feds gather

  3. Free4All, Middle, 450-600 range. Duration: 9:38  Victor = Montel
    ISC-CCY, CSP, CLW  vs.  R-BSGW1, KD4R

    Another attempt to test drive this ship. As with it’s last appearance, Belkov had fewer choices of fighters
    than he should have, mostly phaser-armed Asps. Once again, they were lost to ADD fire, and, eventually,
    the Battlestar and it’s escort.

    There's Klingons on the starboard bow,starboard bow..

    There’s Klingons on the starboard bow,starboard bow..

We spent some time reviewing this battlestar and it’s issues. Mainly, Belkov felt that the ship was well-armed, if a little underpowered (although all ships can feel that way at times). We discussed the merits of adding power versus lowering the movement cost as a way to achieve the same. We both felt that it would be nice to maintain the historical aspects of the battlestars flown back in 1986 while still improving on the ships in SFC. Ultimately, the best thing would be to “fix” the problem with the fighters, both in  their availability to Belkov, and maybe improving the fighters of that era.

 

We did have two game crashes, both early after starting. In both cases, the ships I flew had “unusual” fighters of Montel’s creation. One was the “MRS fighter” that were deployed on Federation ships, and the second was a set of “UFO” fighters on Hydran units to re-create the System War opponents for the early Battlestar. SInce i know I have test-flown these fighters successfully before, there may be an issue between the versions of the shiplist & ftrlist on Montel’s and Belkov’s battle computers. More research to follow.

Combat Log SD 11401.19

AAR-02

CA-OMHP+2xSPM

F-DVLX

F-NER

Success!!

After a long struggle, the upgrade to OP has been successfully installed, run, and battles fought. Only a couple were fought on this inagural run, but predominantly with new ships. OP2014 is now the official mod of the Montel/Belkov Gaming Commission. And with new horizons, interesting new issues…

A) Free 4 All, BPV 400 duration 12:3   – Federation NCB & DWV (F8s & F18s) vs CA Megahawk & SED

     Fed victory, SED destroyed, MH escapes

B) Free4All, BPV 780, dur   – Fed DVLX (F14s, A10s, F18s) & NER  vs  CA OMHP (Eagles) & 2x SP-M

     Colonial victory, DVLX & OMH destroyed, NER escapes

I’d like to blame my sloppy playing on my over-exuberance on seeing the new ships flying, and to take full credit on taking out the OmniHawk, but I can do neither. Whatever distracted me, I allowed Belkov to close in quickly and lock the DVLX in a tractor beam, preventing it from launching WW or fighters. It took quite a pounding and I decided to give up on it. Transferring command to the NER, I circled helplessly for a few minutes before I got the bright idea to try a tractor from the NER to OMHP to break it’s hold on the DVLX. While this was successful, it was too late to do anything with it. Then a lot happened really fast. The DVLX may have launched fighters; it did fire on the OMH, taking down its #1 shield. The NER also fired, taking down the #6 shield and scoring some internals. The OMH then fired a barrage of plasmas at the DVLX, which blew up, but the explosion also destroyed the Omnihawk, which then caused the “self destruction” of all 4 of it’s Eagles. Suddenly, a lot of things had blown to pieces! It took 3 slow-motion replays to get some of this timing figured out. It’s remotely possible that the OMH had taken just enough damage prior, and the DVLX explosion was just big enough on a down shield to cause it’s destruction, but it still seems… odd. (Though, highly reminiscent of the fabled “Condor bomb” in SFB, when an exploding DN took out a fleet, leading to coutnless arguments and a few rule changes.) It is also possible that SFC:OP does not just use the “explosion strength” heading in the shiplist (put there from after afore-mentioned rule changes) and uses a version of the SFB “Commander’s Edition” explosion rules that include missiles, mines and armed fighters still on the exploding ship. More research will be needed, and in this particular battle, both Belkov and myself could only laugh over the resulting pyrotechnics

Year-end review 11300

The end of another solar cycle brings me around to reviewing the game data. This year fell a little short as compared to others for two rather important reasons – the OP13 upgrade and Operation:Exodus. With the best of intentions, I transmitted most of the upgrade data to Belkov back in July, only to discover that some bug crept in along the way. Without a working shiplist, the various models and sounds were of little use. More importantly, Belkov’s decision to execute Op:Exodus meant that the game be understanably put on the backburner. Fortunately, circumstances now allow for more F2F meetings, as well as on-site upgrade installation.

COMBAT REVIEW SD11300

  • Gaming sessions:   10
  • Battles fought:         35
  • Free For All             30       Victories:  Montel = 21    Belkov = 9
  • Fests                         5       Victories:  Montel =   3    Belkov = 1

While seemingly lopsided in favor of Montel, it’s important to note that most of these games were played with OP2011, and that many of the Montel victories were suing “new” or “modified” units, This is more indicative of the problems IN the OP11 version and why the newer upgrade was needed. For example, several Montel victories involved SFB fighters like F14s, which were undervalued in terms of BPV in OP11, and have been corrected in the OP13 upgrade.

Over the years, the number of losses and wins balance out. Inclusive from SD10801 to 11312, there were:

  • 489 battles over 147 sesssions
  • Montel = 257 victories   (177 Free4All, 62 Fests, 18 Random)
  • Belkov =  198 victories  (159 Free4Alls, 33 Fests, 6 Random)

Prior to the OP2011 implementation the wins/loses were almost split 50/50. Again, this may indicate some imbalance in the OP11 BPVs rather than an overall flaw, but ultimately comparison with the OP13 upgrade will be needed.

Image

Brace for Impact! Jettison the lifepods!

Combat Log SD 11307.27

Bah, and curses. After a computer restore on Belkov’s end led to a re-install of the OP2013b mod, we found it not working on his box. The workaround that was successful last time, sending the shiplist via email rather than thru ftp did not help us this time. The OP2011 batch and file still worked, so we had one game just to blow off steam. A Fed DNH & DWA vs a FHKD and 2 SaberHawks, I was sure I was toast, especially after the DNH failed to launch a WW in time to prevent a plasma barrage, but the DWA made short work of the SBH’s fightes, and despite the punishment it had received, once the FHK got too close to the DNH the tide was turned. Still, a overall disappointment – the latest OP2013 list is vastly improved, and getting closer to being “official”. I look forward to sending the files manually so that we might get it working soon.