Standards and Guidelines for Weapon Stats

I think we need to have a discussion about putting solid guidelines into the game for what the stats of melee weapons mean, and what they should be when people create them. I’d like to have a discussion about that here.

My initial proposal:

[size=12pt]To-Hit Bonuses[/size]
To-hit bonuses start at ‘-2’ and are modified as follows for weapons that have the following properties:
Grip - Grip is a measure of how well you can control the weapon to quickly respond to situational changes.
-1 - Particularly hard to grip items, (especially those that are innately slipper or very rounded with no obvious gripping edge) such as basketballs and barrels, or which are dangerous to hold because of very sharp edges, like scrap metal and broken glass.
+0 - Any object that doesn’t fall into one of the categories below. Examples include 2x4s, computer monitors, wires, stingers and clothing. Basically, anything that has a grippable component, but which is too thick, too thin, or too flimsy to grab comfortably in a way that can reliably control the object.
+1 - A weapon with a fairly solid grip, like a pipe, a rock, guitar neck, pool cue or a heavy stick
+2 - A weapon with a dedicated grip shaped to the hand, like a sword, axe, knife, or police baton, or that is strapped to the body (or is a piece of the body). Fists would get a +2 bonus here, bringing them to “0” total, since none of the others would apply.

Length - Length allows more surface area for potential contact, and reduces the need to control the positioning of the body to guarantee a hit. It also allows the player to strike from a safer distance, allowing them to worry more about trying to hit without being hit in return, and allows for swings with larger arcs, making dodging such a strike more difficult.
+0 - Any object without a length bonus.
+1 - Objects that, when held, extend over a foot (1/3 of a meter) in length from the hand. A normal american 12inch ruler is the handy boundary guide for when an item should switch over to a +1 bonus (the ruler, losing several inches when held, does not get one - unless you added a handle to it!)
+2 - An object that is over 3 feet in length from the point where it is held. Includes swords, spears, quarterstaffs, poles, and a lot of other stuff.

Striking Surface - Some weapons need to strike in a certain way to be effective. Others are more difficult to use “incorrectly”.
-2 - Single-Point weapons - Picks, spears, syringes. Any weapon that has a single point that must contact the enemy in a specific way in order to deal a decent amount of damage. Also, weapons with difficult attack angles, like scythes, where the damaging part of the weapon is faced away from the enemy.
-1 - Line of damage weapons - Swords, knives, and other weapons that require a solid strike along a particular piece of the weapon, where the weapon can be said to have an attack angle, fall here. Weapons that have point attacks but are still effective without any solid hit, such as a nailboard, would also fall here.
+0 - attack-anywhere weapons - Clubs, pipes, maces, etc, where the weapon will be dealing full damage with a solid blow no matter how it is angled, because every surface is a striking surface.
+1 - Weapons that can still do significant damage even with glancing blows would fall here. Jagged tearing weapons and electric weapons like a stun baton would fall here.

This would give us the least accurate weapon probably having around a -4 bonus (stings), with the most accurate probably being a +4 (a quarterstaff), and most items people would think of as “improvised weapons” having a +0 bonus. The max bonus or penalty is +/-5

Those generally sound good, how about tacking on:
balance - A measure of how well-suited the item is for being swung/thrust/etc. This factors in both how well suited it is to be handled and overall weight, so light but lopsided items would have ok balance, and very heavy but evenly balanced items would have worse effective balance.
-2 - Very clumsy or lopsided items ill-suited for swinging or thrusting. Characterized by requiring effort just to hold steady. frying pan or pot(a heavy pot, a light one would go down to -1), chainsaw, chair, vacuum cleaner.
-1 - Balance of the object is uneven, but in a way that at least doesn’t interfere with swinging. axes, sledgehammer, rifle, scythe, most polearms.
0 - Neutral balance, neither well nor poorly weighted for the typical use. Heavy stick, rock, pool stick, kitchen knives, claw hammer, metal pipe, crowbar, handguns.
+1 - Well-balanced for swinging or stabbing. Baseball bat, golf club, heavy swords
+2 - Exemplary balance, generally counterweighted somehow. Quarterstaff, light swords and fighting knives, short spears.

Personally I’d say striking surface could use a -3, scythes in particular are not just bad at it, they’re notoriously, ridiculously bad at it.

PLEASE standardise these in some way, so all attributes go from -2 to +2 or something. Nothing is worse than everything having a different scale, and this has caused all sorts of problems with previous indie games I’ve been involved.

I’d also agree with Kevin and say that there should be a -3 (or some other descriptor like an ‘X’) for items which are REALLY bad at each of the things (except length possibly).

edit: realise my second point sounds to contradict my first in terms of length, I just can’t imagine something having a negative length - this is why I was thinking a different descriptor for the really, really bad items. It could just be that all items go -/+ 3, but the ‘3’ is reserved for especially bad things.

We should have a recipe to convert a regular scythe into a war scythe though.

I was considering adding a balance condition too, but I think a simply -1, +0, +1 would be suitable. Otherwise we’d be getting into the territory for the total bonuses penalties being too extreme… which is why I left it out in my original draft. Most well balanced items are already getting a few bonuses.

To clarify my understanding of the proposal, these would be a set of guidelines for setting to-hit (and I assume damage and other stats later), not making these into attributes that we use to calculate the stats. You could depart from these guidelines if you have need, for example if you had a “wild and wacky action sword” (it’s the sword that’s hard to wield!) that’s specificically designed to be difficult to use, it’d be reasonable to set the to-hit value lower than the normal range provided by the guidelines.

I’m pretty sure we DO have a recipe to convert a scythe into a war scythe.

I don’t see the problem with having items with “extreme” values, if the items in question were intended to be used as weapons, you’d expect them to fall within some range, but arbitrary items should be arbitrarally difficult to use as weapons. And the impact is nonexistent for bad weapons, once you pass a certain level of penalty, it’s effectively useless as a weapon, but that’s fine. On the upper end, as long as we don’t end up with something silly like there being some “ultimate” weapon that ticks off all the categories and ends up being better than everything else by a wide margin, it’s simply a matter of matching the range of bonuses to the system. In fact I’m more concerned with the range been too tight and having minimal impact on the game rather than the range being too wide.

Other than the issue of having some weapon better than all the rest by some wide margin, which yes we need to be careful about, what is the problem with having a wider range of values?

EDIT To further clarify a few things:
I agree that if we just kept piling on attributes it’d be a problem, but I do think balance is a really critical attribute for a melee weapon. We could potentially combine grip and balance into a “wieldiness” thing, but that makes the guideline a lot less clear. Similarly I think -1 - +1 as a range for balance is quite restrictive considering how important it is for weapon effectiveness. For example if you have a sword and an axe that weigh the same, have the same length, fall into roughly the same category for edge effectiveness, but of course the sword is far better balanced, it doesn’t make sense to have them be extremely close in performance. The axe hits harder, but the sword is more agile, it’s the classic distinction.
When I say there could be outliers, I expect them to be 1% or less of the items, and pretty much always on the low end, at least without a REALLY good reason to bump it up to something higher. e.g. a lightsaber would reasonably have an even higher balance value than the nominal max, otherwise you’d need to push down even extrordinarally well-balanced swords to max - 1, and populate the nominal upper tier completely with extremely small and light weapons. Hrm, arguably a combat knife should be in a tier above e.g. a shortsword.

The concern is that the to-hit bonus is effectively an additional level. A completely unskilled person with this “perfect” weapon would be on par with what we consider a “very good” person with a ‘normal’ weapon (no bonuses or penalties). The larger we make the range, the less important we make weapon skill, because a completely unskilled person with a “good” weapon means accuracy simply isn’t a concern - item stats end up completely trumping and overwhelming skill.

And yes, these are just guidelines, individual weapons may have other buffs or penalties that would lead them to diverge from the guidelines.

I think it would be fine if the balance one went to -2, as solely from a realism perspective I really don’t see the benefit of a +2 to-hit bonus no matter how good the balance is. If anything, counterbalanced weapons should get a trait that lets them hit faster at that point, not make them more accurate, since from my experience the benefit of a weapon with a proper counterweight is reduction of recoil rather than increased accuracy.

Also, the sort of balance you are describing effectively neuters length, which is silly. A lightsaber shouldn’t be getting a balance to-hit bonus over a longsword. It should be attacking /faster/ thanks to its reduced weight, and it gets the bonus of not needing to be angled, but I don’t see any “balance” advantage to-hit being necessary or desirable there.

I also don’t see how a combat knife would be considered more balanced than a short sword? It’s already getting a speed bonus for being lighter, I think neutering the swords to-hit bonus from being longer would be a mistake.

These all seem pretty reasonable from my perspective. MA might give a bonus on the “striking surface” axis, but we can handle that in individual styles.

Looks good. Support.

How about the additional traits. like blocking? I think blocking is one of the most important traits a melee weapon can have.

On further consideration, I think -2 to +1 for balance as the typical range would be plenty. Really balance can be very BAD, but only rarely is it particularly good. Good point about a combat knife, sword, and lightsaber being in the same balance class (good, or +1), the benefit of the smaller weapons is simply weight, which translates into speed.

Balance would be really useful for differentiating between what should and shouldn’t be throwing weapons. Right now, Razorbar Katars are more useful than wooden javelins or iron javelins as throwing weapons, because they do essentially the same damage, but don’t take up nearly as much space in your inventory. Grip could also factor into how effective an object is as a throwing weapon. Again, these Razorbar Katars, aside from having bad balance, would probably be hard to hold properly to throw.

How it will affect the final odds of hitting? What is different from -5 to +5? And do they depend on the odds of hitting on the skills of hand-to-hand combat and a specific type of weapons. Just want to see concrete examples.
2х4: Grip: 0, lenght: +1, str_surf: +1, balance: 0, result: +2 to-hit
Sword: Grip: +2, lenght: +2, str_surf: -1, balance: +2, result: +5 to-hit etc.

Looking at the original list again, Striking surface would also be super useful for balancing throwing items. With lower levels of throwing skill, you’re going to have a lot of difficulty doing damage with traditional throwing weapons, which would likely have a Striking Surface value of -2. So you’d be better off throwing solid objects like rocks, that’d have a striking surface of 0, until your throwing skill gets high enough to use more advanced weaponry.

[quote=“Savidiy, post:11, topic:4377”]How it will affect the final odds of hitting? What is different from -5 to +5? And do they depend on the odds of hitting on the skills of hand-to-hand combat and a specific type of weapons. Just want to see concrete examples.
2х4: Grip: 0, lenght: +1, str_surf: +1, balance: 0, result: +2 to-hit
Sword: Grip: +2, lenght: +2, str_surf: -1, balance: +2, result: +5 to-hit etc.[/quote]

The to-hit bonus essentially grants bonus levels solely for the purpose of accuracy (or subtracts them)
A 2x4 would be: (-2+) Grip: 0, length: +1, strike: 0, balance: 0, result: -1 to-hit
While a sword would be: (-2)+Grip:2, Length: +1, Strike: -1, Balance: +1, Result: +1 to-hit

Paquito actually brings up a good point - I don’t think we have a lot of ways to control the ranged bonuses separate, but we should probably add them and guidelines for them.

Kevin, if you’re happy with the -2 to +1 range, I’ll add it to the OP and create a doc entry for it in-source for the whole to-hit proposal. Now we just need to decide on guidelines for the other stats, hah.

Sounds good to me, I think that covers the dominant properties of melee weapons.

Again, these aren’t new stats for weapons, these are guidelines for how to set the to-hit stat of weapons based on the real-world properties of the objects. Balancing melee vs throwing for different items is a seperate issue. I think I’ll open a thread for discussing that since there’s interest.

Another accuracy can influence the combination of weight of the weapon and strength of the character. Or if not on accuracy, the penalty time for a miss.

First: Kevin, to expand on these guidelines effectiveness, and in a slightly different vein, I think we should also consider changing it so that weapon penalties can only bring the players skill down so far. At a certain point the chance of hitting becomes completely random, but no item should really lead to you somehow actively trying to miss the enemy, you know? Basically, we might want to consider something similar to a reverse dispersion system. Penalties can make you less accurate, but not less accurate than random chance (although one could argue that low skill combined with unwieldy weapons really COULD make you less accurate than random, I suppose!)

And yeah reiteratingit won’t be calculated, but currently ranged components ARE calculated I believe, I was just suggesting it might be worth listing them explicitly and using guidelines like the above for the values. Edit: And I see you already made a thread to discuss whether changes need to be made and which changes, so nevermind! We’ll talk about it there.

Back on topic, damage is a bit more difficult than to-hit bonuses. Before I get too deep into it lets sort of review which factors might need to be considered:
Difference between damage types and how weapon is used- the propeties of a weapon can help or hinder damage in different ways depending on whether it is a pick, a spear, or a club.
Hardness - this one is obvious. More solidly built weapons do more damage.
Sharpness - How keen an edge it holds. Matters most for weapons that slice.
Balance - This is pretty much opposite to the balance bonus for to-hit. You can have one or the other - a heavier head means more damage but a weapon that is harder to control… Its only exclusive in terms of bonuses though - a weapon can be poorly balanced for both.
errr… other stuff. Needs more thinking.

Whether penalties can make you worse than random depends on your definition of random, what’s the chance of an unaimed weapon attack hitting something? practically 0 right? The problem with applying that reasoning to the melee system is we aren’t simulating anything, it’s just a game-y chance to hit thing, with ranged we tally up sources of inaccuracy in MOA, and pick a line within that cone for the actual trajectory, it’s a simulation of balistic fire. Since it’s a simulation, we can say things like, “this is the most inaccurate this shot is going to be”. But with melee we aren’t simulating the strike. I’m not saying we should, I’m not at all sure what that would look like in code, but that does leave us without a foundation to base things on. I’m not saying it’s hopeless or that we need to rework how melee works, we just need to be aware that this is a game-y “this is your chance to hit”, the realism comes in in the weapon stats, we at least want them to be reality-based, even if the underlying hit system isn’t a simulation.

So yea that’s pretty off-topic, I’m not sure if that has any impact on adding a lower cap for weapon stats. I guess I need to take a close look at the to-hit melee system and figure out exactly what to-hit means.

Speaking of, damage calculation is pretty crazy.
Bash is roughly (scaled) str + weapon bash, but capped by stat + skill, so no matter how good your weapon is, it caps your damage output. So ideal bash weapon is the fastest weapon that reaches your cap. Might want to reexamine that. Also note that str and weapon damage are added, not multiplied like you might expect. Obviously this is quite anti-simulationist, pretty reminicient of DnD.
Cut and stab both use the pertinent skill to reduce effective target armor.
Cut doesn’t reference a stat, but is scaled based on the pertinent skill.
Stab is scaled on stabbing skill, but only on crits. Also doesn’t reference a stat.

Breaking down weapon properties that would influence damage:
Impact surface can be blunt or broad, but either way there’s a part of the weapon that does the hitting, so we want to evaluate how good it is at doing its job. This is broken down into bash damage and cut damage, and cut damage is either applied as a cut or a stab.
Weight isn’t factored into the damage calculation, so if it’s going to have an impact (ha) we need to roll it into the damage numbers, might have seperate weight and balance, or just a “momentum” component that just says how much force it has behind it when it hits. This would be for a “typical” swing, not some sliding scale based on strength. Alternately we can factor balance into the damage as you suggest, and factor weight in on the code side. That would greatly reduce the range of weapon damage, and it would be a measure of “how hard does this hit for its weight”.
I might be myopic, but those two qualities, impact surface and momentum seem to cover it, to drill down into impact surface you have to start definining what kind of impact it is, and it gets all messy. And this might be too out there, but it seems to me these would be multiplied rather than added.

A side note, the damage calculations might just be messy enough that we need to revisit them before (or along with) definining guidelines for how to set their parameters.

My concern about the minimum result was actually solely from a game design perspective. I would very much like it to be /possible/ to use anything as a weapon, but with some of these negatives and the way its calculated you would never ever hit.

Basically I just think it should at least be POSSIBLE for a new player to whack a simple zombie with a trashcan to the head. All other concerns aside its just more fun that way. We already have it default to unarmed damage for certain situations right?

Also, yeah, damage is complex and kind of dumb.

Hi everyone. I am new C-DDA but not new to working out formulas for game calculations. I had spent a few years working on the TrinityCore project (WoW server emulator) before WoW-Cataclysm came out. (Mostly Database coding and data mining

I’m doing some calculations to work out these standards you are proposing here. The reality of damage, toHit, Accuracy, etc is that these values “should” be calculated out of the statistics of the weapon itself and not just eyeballed.

From just a few preliminary calculations we should be able to factor out all of the weapons damage range, toHit, and accuracy with just a few “variables” used to calculate them. I am going to work on this for a while right now and will post a few examples once I have something roughed out so I can show you what I mean. The downside is it would be necessary to add at least 1 variable to each item in the .json files. (At least the length at this point.)

I will get back with you shortly.

Edit: And please, if this is not wanted or needed, feel free to tell me. No harm, no foul. :smiley:

I think I’m understanding you to mean that you’d use weight, volume, and length of the items (and maybe other properties, like material), along with perhaps stats that replace the current bash and cut stats, and derive the final to-hit and damage numbers.

My main objections to the concept of deriving the combat stats from base properties are that I’m concerned about it introducing a lot of properties (causing a lot of unnecessary work in the future when adding items), the effectiveness of the items being obscured (also making adding and balancing items difficult), and the formulas being too rigid and ending up with nonsense results (which is a realism concern). If you have a solution that addresses all of those concerns, it’s worth looking into.