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Erik

Unique armors

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Armor is something many players are wishing right now and I have some unique ideas for the armor system,
so here they are:

Most games handle armor in a very simple way, with every piece of armor having some arbitrary "armor value"
and all "armor values" of every piece of armor the player wears get added up and damage gets reduced in
some magical way dependent on the total armor value.

While this system works, it only allows for linear progression and provides no choices for the player
higher armor value always equals better. Because the armor value is arbitrary, the amount of protection
the armor provides is not clearly presented to the player.

So my idea is to throw that all out of the window and provide three different types of armor,
which all function differently, allowing the player to choose how he wants to protect himself.
Three different armor types with unique systems for each may sound daunting at first, but it's
actually really simple:

Padding:

Padding is the first type of armor the player is likely to acquire.
Leather, wool, gamberson all are early game materials this type of armor can be created from.
Padding armor subtracts a percentage value of the damage.
That means a piece of leather armor may give 30% damage reduction,
resulting in attacks only damaging the player by 70% of their damage value.

Mail:

Mail, unlike padding, requires metals to craft.
Crafting a iron chainmail armor piece is also significantly more time intensive than a piece of gambeson.
It may also provide much more protection, especially against weaker attacks.
Mail armor simply subtracts its damage reduction value from the damage.
A piece of mail with 12 damage reduction will reduce the damage the player takes from
attack that does 15 damage to 3 damage, or a 10 damage attack to 0 damage.

Plate:

Plate also requires metal to craft, but in greater amounts that mail armor. While
being the most expensive type of armor, it also arguably provides the most defense,
most of the time. It is really an all or nothing type of armor.
Plate armor has a deflection value which determines the chance to simply reduce the damage to zero.
A piece of plate armor with a deflection value of 60% reduces any amount of damage the player
takes to zero, 60% of the time, while 40% of damage don't get reduced at all.

All types of armor have their purpose, unique advantages and disadvantages. The player should be able
to equip two types of these armors on the same armor slot, effectively combining their defense.
The damage reduction by padding is calculated after mail, to prevent it from being overpowered.

Armor weight:

To make armor even more interesting, pieces of armor should have a weight, which slows the player
down a bit
. Padding is generally lighter than mail and mail is generally lighter than plate, which
is the heaviest. Different armor materials may also have a different weight, 
steel being lighter than bronze. This also makes using single armor types more viable,
as they now have a speed advantage against using two types.

Armor slots:

A thing this system doesn't really allow is adding all armor values together to form a total
armor value which determines damage reduction. Instead, attacks must always hit one armor slot,
which could be determined by chance, like in TFC, or by detecting where the attack landed on the player.
For PvP combat the latter makes more sense, it however requires there to be few armor slots.
For PvE chance based makes a lot more sense, as for mobs aiming at specific body parts is no challenge.
Implementing both ways is most likely the best way to go, as it allows for more exciting PvP,
by placers having to target specific, lesser armored body parts for maximum effect and
mobs don't always hit the unarmored spots. For mobs, mob specific hit chances make a lot
of sense: Wolves should be way more likely to hit the legs than the head of a player.
Ideally the system would also take the position of the attacker and target into count,
if the wolf is at head height, it's most likely to bite the head and least likely
to bite the legs.

The armor slots that should be provides are imo: Head, body and legs.
The head should have the smallest hitbox, the body the largest.
Ducking should also lower the heads hitbox, so dodging attacks this way is possible.

Being only limited to three armor slots however significantly lowers cosmetic player
customization. To remedy this, different cosmetic variants of armors may be able to be
crafted, like plate body armor with or without pauldrons.

(Technical implementation stuff) Significance of arbitrary armor values:

While not shown to the player, the armors should have arbitrary armor values in the
code/json, instead of the flat reduction values or percentages the player gets to see.
This has one important reason: Armor scaling.
While a 90% damage reduction armor seems only 10% better than a 80% damage reduction armor,
it's actually twice as good, letting half as much damage to the player.
I.e. it has twice the survivability. And that is the problem, the survivability scales
hyperbolic with linear scaling of the armor value. To fix this, arbitrary armor values
need to be used in the code/json, which get calculated into the displayed armor value
to scale linearly with the survivability. So 10 arbitrary value is exactly twice as
good (twice the survivability) as 5 arbitrary armor value, which may account to
90% damage reduction and 80% damage reduction in the game for the player.

Why is linear armor survivability so important?

While the armor values can be balanced correctly to have a linear survivability curve,
modifiers to the armor value that may be added in the future, like smithing quality,
would still scale wrongly. While this can also be solved by programming the smithing
quality system in a way that improvements increase the survivability linear,
mods may not do this correctly, as the may not know of the problem.

Armor penetration:

While this system makes armors more unique, it doesn't really make certain armors much
less effective against certain weapons
. This can be easily archived by having
armor reduction modifiers on specific weapons. These modifiers reduce the armor
value of their type by their percentage:

50% padding armor penetration reduces a 80% damage reduction armor piece to
40% damage reduction for the damage calculation.
The survivability scaling here is not linear on purpose, to make
armor penetration more impactful than just having a weapon that does
that percent more damage. Although, that is debatable and maybe having
it lower the survivability (the arbitrary value) would be a better choice.

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On the surface, I really like that as an idea, although I obviously haven't spent a while to fully think it through. One suggestion I can think of is allowing for more than 3 armour slots for greater customisation but these more granular slots still fall under the same 3 hitboxes for damage calculation. This way you could have boots and leggings both count towards leg armour for instance.

I also wonder at the balancing of chainmail as it could easily negate all damage from some sources if used in enough quantity. Should it perhaps be capped at always leaving a chance of 1 damage getting through? Maybe this chance could be determined by how much the damage has been reduced beyond 0.

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While its good to discuss these kinds of topics.  Its better - having working code that actually demonstrates or allows permutations of these ideas to be game tested.

The B.A.M. mod is LGPL. You could fork it...

 

Edited by Melchior
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On 8/1/2019 at 1:15 AM, Melchior said:

While its good to discuss these kinds of topics.  Its better - having working code that actually demonstrates or allows permutations of these ideas to be game tested.

While that's true, I think this concept is a bit harder to develop as a mod for me, because I need to create art assets for the different types of armor and their combinations, which I'm not good at. I also don't really see huge benefits of making a mod for this suggestion, as balancing can't be done in a representative way and the concept is not as hard to grasp as many of my other suggestions.

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I'm late to this discussion, since this was posted the day we left for 2 week vacation.  But my belated 2 cents is that having armors whose damage reductions operate in different ways is probably going to be confusing, mainly, possibly also hard to balance.  If you did have 3 types of reduction in the game, I think it'd be better if they were consistent across armors, rather than each armor only using 1 of the 3.  It would look like a consistent system.   3 different things could read as indecisiveness, or incompleteness.

I of course have a preference for the 'tier vs tier' notion I touched on in this post, but that's for a different topic.

As for the rest I generally agree.  Keep the number of 'active' armor slots small (gauntlets and boots and such can still be there for decorative or accessorial purposes), armor could affect other things like combat speed or number of container slots, etc.  A lot depends on the overall goals of the system. 

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On 8/17/2019 at 4:22 AM, redram said:

But my belated 2 cents is that having armors whose damage reductions operate in different ways is probably going to be confusing, mainly, possibly also hard to balance.  If you did have 3 types of reduction in the game, I think it'd be better if they were consistent across armors, rather than each armor only using 1 of the 3.  It would look like a consistent system.   3 different things could read as indecisiveness, or incompleteness.

I think splitting the three reduction types is actually less confusing, helping a player to distinguish the types of reduction and remembering them easier, because they associate them with a type of armor. That is what makes the system consistent, because the player can see from the type of armor the enemy is wearing, which type of damage reduction he gets.

As for 'tier vs tier', this is like the polar opposite of it, going completely against a linear progression. Instead this system offers a lot of different options to the player, all with their own distinct advantages and disadvantages. The thing I personally dislike about a 'tier vs tier' system is that it's not the players choices that would win a battle, but how long the player played and thus progressed in armor tiers.

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Nothing prevents a tier vs tier system from having other factors like speed reductions or damage type specific reductions.  That can still be based on the actual type of armor, rather than material.   As far as basic reductions go there's always going to be a statistically superior one, even in your scheme. 

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