Home Forums Free SciFi Gaming Projects Pioneer Please add beam weapons!


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    Just spent some time trying combat, and after giving it a good go, ended up rage quitting.  Limiting weapons to plasma shots only just doesn’t work with this flight model – i’m lucky if i score one hit in a million.


    A simple 1-on-1 scrape turns into a half hour of ducking and weaving while trying to lead fire at wildly varying distances, and all the while i’m thinking “this is tedious as ***…i’d be able to actually hit him if only i had a laser”..


    Presumably beam weapons have been omitted because projectiles are considered more fun.


    I beg to differ, it’s total frustration and just doesn’t make any sense – why would such ineffective weaponry even be available, let alone the only option? 


    At least provide the option of beam weapons?  That’s not going to deny anyone the use of projectiles if they prefer..



    Humble Book Bundle ends on 9/11/2019


    I’ve never managed to hit anything other than the ground (not even buildings!), but it would be interesting to hear what other players think about combat with our current weapons. As I’ve understood it, other players here have far more skill than I, and can actually hit ships, maybe even with out much effort?


    I think Jonh Jordan, who was around when those decisions were taken, has said combat is too boring with laser weapons. I’ve never experienced them in pioneer, but their equivalent in Frontier worked well, I think.


    I think we should, they can have limitations to compensate, like overheating rapidly, shorter range or … something, as well as cost + size/weight trade offs to consider.


    I did start on trying to bring them back, you can search the source code for when they were removed, but I have no time 🙁


    I avoid combat all the time. Assassin missions too. Catching the target is hard enough, and staying on the same speed levels is really something to manage carefully, not to mention the shooting itself. You can set relative speed to a ship, and set the thrusters for 0 km/s relative to the engaged ship but its still hard to keep up.


    As for the weapons itself, if you manage to get into range and get the same speed as the target…. the one with more missiles win, hitting a projectile laser in these conditions is REALLY annoying. I end up getting relative speed to 0, and placing myself directly behind the ship i want to attack. If they are already in the “attack mode” im simply screwed.


    Each, shooting beams would make more sense. Projectiles seems like fun but hitting with them at these high-velocity speed battles is simply hard.


    Moreso, since the combat is SO hard, any assassin or pirate career options are almost impossible as well and not really that profitable if you can’t scrap a single ship..


    Yes it can be tricky to hit ships with the current weapons, especially with the lower tier ones. It gets a bit better with the faster firing duel pulse lasers. But I too wished this game had beam lasers too. In fact I stated as much even way back when Tom Morton was coding it, ballistic weapons were talked about too back then. Multiple hardpoints or auto tracking turrets for some of the bigger ships would be a great thing to see too. I think adding at least beam lasers would bring in alot of new players because there is nothing more frustrating for new players than to be blown up all the time. It puts them off. Of course there is a problem that the NPCs tend to be very good marksmen even with the present weapons, so some balancing would need to be considered too before beam lasers are handed to them also.


    This, it has to be said, would be a lot of work for our glorious Pioneer dev team though, so its totally understandable that they are no in the game as yet. Coding isn’t easy. It takes time, skill and a lot of effort for someone to sit down in their free time and do this out of pure love for the game. After everything else the dev team has done up to now, how far the game has come since the early builds, I can’t ask them for anything more. In fact I am so grateful for all they have done: Its a modern day Elite II, a game I dreamed about ever since my original Amiga died of battery acid that leaked all over it’s motherboard and fried it, but I digress.


    EDIT: Could any of the Oolite coders help? They have some damn fine weapons over there…. :flirt:


    yes beam weapons please 🙂


    I don’t think bringing back beam weapons would fix combat in Pioneer. It needs much more thought and work to find the feel and handling for that. Especially because Pioneer doesn’t force you into an arbitrary speed limit, which makes a lot of things harder for the player. And more interesting in my opinion. 🙂


    Is there a combat guide somewhere? I tried to scrap with some mafia ships and had to quit because I couldn’t make heads or tails of what was going on. How do I set my speed relative to the ship I’m targeting? What’s the number that appears in positive and negative form underneath the “leading” indicator? Is there a piece of equipment that tells me a targeted ships stats?


    There’s no dedicated combat manual (yet). Combat is too minimalistic and rough around the edges for that.


    You can set the reference frame to the opponent by ctrl+leftmouse-ing the target (works on planets, stations too). Then Set Speed mode will adjust your speed relative to your target, so you just have to set it to 0, and it will try to match it practically.


    The numbers at the lead indicator is your relative speed. Negative is you are getting closer, positive if getting further to the target.


    There’s an equipment called Radar mapper, that displays basic information on the target, like Hull and shield strength, equipment and cargo. Although you can’t buy it on every station. Gates Spaceport has it for example.


    There’s a feature to spawn a combat test ship with ctrl+F12. It’s bugged right now, giving no weapon to the Kanara it spawns, so it will try to get as far as possible from you. Which makes it a good practice target when you are starting out. Setting it as the reference frame, and picking around a 100-250 m/s speed you will be able to get as close as 20m to it after a while (which is quite hard to do without setting the reference frame on it.) Note, don’t try shooting it close to a station, because Police will come after you, and they are quite a nut to break.


    Hope this helps.


    I have no problem with combat mechanic.

    BUT, i do think that you need to add beam weapon. It has its vibe and diversifies a combat.


    Got right into AJ’s FFED3D and forgot about this thread…


    CANNOT get into ED for the life of me.  Just tried Evochron Legacy and had exactly the same problem – space speed limit, doesn’t even have velocity units let alone reference frame handling.


    So we have AJ’s FFED3D, and Pioneer, and that’s about our lot, for decent space games.


    With its superior graphics and terrain generation, Pioneer would be THE current benchmark, if only it had laser combat..


    FFED3D has the fun combat, but terrain generation, collision detection etc. is woeful.  


    It would be a real pity if Pioneer can’t just get this little push over the edge that could get the snowball rolling..


    Re. Tom Morton’s original concerns that lasers are too quick, well, just use a weaker one then.  I sometimes find that using a 4 MW beam gets a little too much, and swap down to a 1 MW beam just to rinse more action from the combat.


    Another concern in a previous thread here on this subject was that there was no way to dodge beams in FE2 – although not really true since we had discrete front / rear thruster control, so could thrust orthogonally to incoming fire vectors.  But in FFE (thanks to John Jordan IIRC) and Pioneer, we have full retro thruster control – which you can map to a joystick’s hatswitch, or, my preference, the WASD and Lshift / Lctrl keys.


    Here’s a little half hour playthrough from a few days ago, and if you scroll through to the fight scenes you’ll notice that the incoming fire always seems to be angled away from me… this is because although they’re actually aiming straight at me, i’m near-constantly applying retros, in varying combinations, in order to duck and weave between incoming beams, throughout the contact:




    ..the only time i get toasted there is when i briefly lay off the lateral thrust..



    Pioneer has all the elements in place to be able to capture (and expand upon!) this unique and exhilarating martial art that DB, almost inadvertently, to this day, it seems, still doesn’t realise he invented 20-odd years ago.


    I liken it to Defender in 3D.  Or maybe classic Doom / Quake Arena, but with 6DoF, no walls, big FO lasers and nuclear-powered flying tanks.


    All the other spaceflight games have drunk the same Biggles-in-space kool aid.  But here’s proof zero-G Lazer Quest with full discrete thruster control is not just viable and fun, but far moreso than the planes-in-space (or submarines in treacle, in ED’s case) paradigm all others have fallen back to.


    There’s an epic game lying just below the surface here, a simple, elegant premise, instantly accessible, visceral, intuitive and exciting.  It could make a fantastic platform for a multi-player experience, despite common misgivings about time-acceleration or networking constraints.


    The base game’s there already, all it’s missing is the frenetic, senseless violence of desperately-aimed megawatt lasers vaporising cold steel, those deathmatch furballs grazing the surface of a gas giant at 90 km/s, set to the music of Mussorgsky and Grieg..



    A niche has been created, that remains currently unfulfilled.  We seem to be the only people aware that, by all rights, it deserves to be bigger.   It should be setting the paradigm..


    It’s close.  It has the brains with the ‘Braun’, all it needs is the brawn to splatter them..  A cult following would be sure to ensue..


    Bounder, now there’s name I’ve not seen in a good while. One of the originals no less from the pre-ED days on the Frontier forum. :queen:

    Remember those days Bounder? :girlcrazy:

    Needless to say, but I will anyways, I totally agree with you post.


    I still think bringing back beam weapons alone won’t really fix combat. Like then you could choose between pewpewbang or peeeeeeeeeeeewbang, nothing more to it really. Sure, dodging, maneuvering, aiming would be different for the two types of weapons, but nothing else really. Zapitizap, and either of you go bang.

    I agree that full newtonian combat is like the neatest thing to have, but don’t forget that you will most likely have some soft speed limit relative to your target. Nothing enforced, but go too fast and, you can’t really do much to your opponent since you already zoomed past by him. I don’t think you could do anything at 90 km/s relative to your opponent. Thankfully you already can set your reference frame to your opponent to at least make your life easier.

    Not to mention the superficial interface to aid combat. (that’s on track of improvement though)


    In my opinion a good combat system would have a lot of different factors, and lots of rooms to play around about those factors, so emergent stuff could arise. Like if you have a good part damage system, and manage to puncture your opponent’s propellant tanks. He might loose that fast enough to give him some annoying sideways thrust he must compensate for.  And also if you two managed to create a nice impacting trajectory during your shootout, then he might have a bad time when he realizes that he can’t correct his course because he’s out of propellant. You could just stand back and watch from orbit as he turns in to a crater. Show me a game where you can use orbital mechanics against your enemy 😀

    Or with a laser hot enough, you could overwhelm his already damaged heat management system, even if you are unable to puncture his hull, but could still cook him alive.

    But if his ship has a counter laser which can figure out where the beam comes from, and shoot back a strong enough laser to ruin the optics of yours. You only have laser weapons? Too bad. (I read about that one in John Lumpkins Trough Struggle, the Stars novel)

    Or you get your flight computer and nav recievers (too bad you were cheap and didn’t had enough redundancy) fried in a pewpew around Jupiter, and now you have to find a base and go there by eyeballing the whole thing. 

    Or your landing gear is damaged, and there’s no orbital port in the system, so you need to jump elsewhere, but you don’t have H2 in your hold, so you need to pump down most of your propellant to be able to jump, but then you have very little deltaV, so you need to resort on hohmann transfer on your approach to an orbital port. And then it turns out they don’t have parts for your ship, so you have to find another place which can fix your ship, but at least you could fill up your tanks.

    Just some ideas on top of my head.

    Sure this is exactly the opposite of a simple and elegant system, and would introduce a lot of things to balance, but in my opinion it would add to the game in the end.

    But to summarize: I think combat should be meaningful, and should have consequences beyond some damage % you have to fix at the next port.


    Sadly the biggest bottleneck is time and energy. But if there’s any coder out there with some time on hand, implementing proper combat would be welcome.


    And on the other side a lot of the Pioneer developers are more interested in having more and more diverse non-combat gameplay opportunities. That’s the real niche if you ask me. Sure most games have trading and taxi missions. But I’m not sure if there’s a space game where you can do Search and Rescue missions for example. Which still has potential in it.

    Proper exploration would be nice too, which is more than flying around in systems, pinging and looking at planets until a bar fills up. Imagine sample taking orders, flyovers above a certain area of a planet for a mining company for example. But then an extremist environmentalist goes after you, because the mining operation would destroy the living area of an endangered species. 

    Mission chains where a courier delivery is botched, and now you are on the run along with the recipient and you have to find a specific person before somebody else does, and that person refuses to part with his pet horse, you now have to find a way to bring that one too if you want to get out some money from the business in the end. 


    Sorry for the off-topic comment – but your game play ideas, nozmajner, are right on target (as always). I wish I had the time to implement them all!


    There has been a few games with SAR gameplay. Two I can think of are Vietnam Med+Evac and Search And Rescue 4 Coastal Heroes.

    These were pretty niche titles that few bought.

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