I'd like to talk about antimatter cannons. More specifically, about what's wrong with them, why is it wrong, and how to change it to be AWESOME instead.
Basically, as it is, you just have to add more amc blocks to your weapon to make it better in every stat. That's not very interesting, and it also means there's only one kind of good cannon; one that was built of many blocks.
Their function is also limited, they're somewhat awkward to use, and after a certain cannon size, look rather silly. Let me explain;
A single, solid AMC cannon, no matter how large, how powerful, will only ever destroy one block on hit. There's a little lag between a hit and the block's destruction, so cannons with high rates of fire tend to waste a few shots on blocks that are already destroyed. Meaning, you can't dig an 1x1 wide straight line into your enemy as quick as you'd like. That means it takes more time to reach the core.
But, even a little bit of movement could take the hole you've already shot into the enemy out of alignment from your gun, and you'll have to start poking a new hole in your target, further delaying the destruction of it's core.
Imagine you're flying a gigantic capital ship. You want to shoot down a tiny little fighter that could fit inside your main gun's barrel, but instead of instantly vaporizing it in a giant blast of energy, you'll start poking tiny holes on it as described above. Usually you'll have to destroy almost every block, one by one on that ship until you can reach the core. It's just wrong.
Fighting bigger ships isn't any better. In relative scale, your shots do even less damage. What does one missing block matter when your target was built of three million? (Yes, I have fought a ship that large. It was miserable. 15 minutes of punching tiny holes into the frontal hull, and no end in sight.)
You can't cripple your enemy; take out a few thrusters and he'll still have thousands more to fly with.
You can't break their cannons; as long as there's some blocks left, it'll keep firing.
Just watch or read any sci-fi stuff. You need large blasts of energy that can cut through a ship, and destroy entire chunks at once. That's how you reach the core, or destroy other important systems.
The way to solve these issues, is, first to make the cannons stats depend on the dimensions of the weapon, and then to add a few new stats.
For the wellfare of Missiles: One of those new stats for the AMC is Splash Damage, which might trouble some of you, but rest assured, I don't want AMCs to simply replace missiles. In time the missiles should be buffed up to be even more devastating than my proposed cannons. Plus, we already have a workaround to achieve splash damage: Scattercannons, built of several separate AMC lines. If built properly, it can be absolutely devastating, especially compared to missiles. In some cases it's nice, and probably a lot of ships would still use this setup, even if AMCs were to get splash damage. However this method is not without fault; Build a big enough scattercannon, and your shots will start to glitch out, and it can make home servers lag horribly.
Let's see those stats now.
-Damage; The more AMC blocks you add to your cannon, the greater it's damage will be; as it is right now. No changes needed. Simply because bigger guns are more powerful.
-Range; Should be increased by the length of the cannon.
-Penetration from Damage; An AMC bolt should not disappear upon impact, but keep on punching through it's target until it deals all the damage it can deal.
Example; You shoot once from a 1000-damage AMC cannon. The bolt strikes an 8 block thick wall of basic hull. It destroys the 1st block, and since basic hulls have 100 hp and 25% armor, it takes about 133 damage to destroy one. 1st block is destroyed, 133 is deducted from the AMC bolt's original strength of 1000, and it keeps flying on, at 867 strenght. It hits the next block, and the procedure repeats all the way until the bolt's strength reaches 0 and it disappears; It destroyed 7 blocks, and damaged the last one.
-Accuracy VS Splash Radius; The longer and thinner your amc cannon, the more accurate it'll be. A long, sleek barrel should make for accurate shooting.
Example: 100 block long 1 block diameter amc cannon = splash radius 1 (damages one block in one hit), accuracy is length - (height x width) = 100 - (1x1) = 99%
However, if you build a thicker barrel, say, also 100 long, but with a 2x2 mouth, your projectile will be scaled up to look as fat as the barrel, will have a 2x2 splash radius (can damage 4 blocks in a 2 by 2 square in one hit), and it's accuracy will be 100 - (2x2) = 96%
**: Barrel diameter should be checked at the output of the gun. Further inside we tend to build them in any shape we can.
It'd have a neat side effect; For short range, it'll be more beneficial to use wide-mouthed howitzers, while at long ranges sleek-barreled and precise cannons will be more effective.
Also, blocks destroyed by splash damage shouldn't count towards penetration. That stat decides how deep it can cut, while this one decides how large the hole will be. It'd also be neat if the bolt wouldn't just become bigger, but could scale in the x and y direction independently. Someone might want to build a flat looking cannon or some sort of wave-gun.
Rate of fire: Sometimes you'd like your small ship, or turret to be rapid firing, but you just can't squeeze in enough weapon blocks for that to happen. At other times you'd like a slow firing giant cannon; Rate of fire should be freely adjustable between a fixed* minimum and maximum value. Since a weapons power consumption is counted by shot, you'll keep draining your power faster and faster as you increase your rate of fire, and it doesn't even need any extra coding. (Id also like to see an overheating effect eventually, but that's a thought for another day...) It'd also work the other way; By setting it to a low rate, you could better manage a big cannon's energy needs. You could even see your batteries charge up for a shot, then deplete, then charge up again, which is way cool in a dreadful foreboding sense. ( IMMA' CHAAARGIN' MAH LAAZOOOR!!!!)
*: Rate of fire vs Splash Radius: Maximum possible rate of fire should be reduced by relative barrel thickness, much like accuracy, simply because chambering a large fat shell (or loading in a larger amount of plasma, or any sci-fi magic material) should take longer. It'll be good for balance.
Rate of Fire vs Accuracy: No one wants to be torn apart from two sectors away by a mutant sniper-minigun. Solution; The growing targeting circle seen in many games. Every shot fired adds a temporary accuracy penalty at the value of the cannons original accuracy penalty from barrel width. Penalty drains away when the gun stopped firing, at the same speed as it's rate of fire.
Example; 5 round burst with the 100 x2x2 cannon; First shot's accuracy is 100-(2x2) = 96%, second shot is down to 96 - (2x2)= 92%, the third is 88%, fourth is 84%, fifth is 80%, after the fifth, you're down to 76%.
Cap this effect at 50% of the original accuracy (cannon with 96% can't fall below 48%) to avoid ridiculiously sideways-shooting cannons.
Neat addition; Weapon Stabilizer blocks. Connect them to the weapon computer like the amc blocks. Build them in any shape you like, place them anywhere. (you don't want to mess with the freedom of creative building). Their function would be to negate some of the accuracy penalty per shot and reduce the maximum accuracy penalty, based on the difference between the amount of AMC and Stabilizer blocks connected to the weapon computer.
And that's all for now. Thank you for taking the time to read through all this.
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