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A Proposed Shield Solution

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kaen

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Post Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:51 am

A Proposed Shield Solution

So here's my suggestion for changes to modules. I'm taking for granted that there's a problem with shield being used too much:

Problem
The use of shield is grossly disproportionate to the use of other modules. This leads to needlessly homogeneous gameplay, and limits the strategic depth of Bitfighter.

Cause
Shield is nearly essential to a competitive loadout. This is because it has the property of nullifying all damage in exchange for energy consumption. Energy is cheap (it recharges passively), and health is expensive (you have to repair actively), so it is always better to shield than to be hit.

Compounding Factors
It takes just five phaser shots to kill a ship at full health. Phasers fire ten shots per second, so it takes about half a second to go from full health to explosion. Shield uses 33 (of 100) energy per second. Factoring in passive energy regeneration, that means you get a total of five seconds of invulnerability if you start from full energy. So having shield makes you survive at a minimum ten times longer than when you have no shield.

When you boil it down, shield has exactly one effect: it keeps you alive longer. Once you make this realization, it's easy to see that other modules could take the place of shield as a defensive tool. Armor and repair do this directly, and cloak does it indirectly. Now, we have a solution approach:

Solution Approach
If we make Armor, Repair, and Cloak more desirable, Shield will cease to be the obvious choice for a defensive tool.

So, let's break it down:

Shield:
  • Nullifies all damage
  • Lasts for ~5 seconds
  • Has no other use

Repair:
  • Nullifies 16 damage (less than a single phaser shot!) per second
  • Lasts for ~8 seconds
  • Can repair you, engineered items, and teammates for no extra cost

Armor:
  • Nullifies 50% of all damage
  • Passive, costless
  • Makes movement a little wonky

Cloak:
  • No effect on damage, but lets you avoid combat entirely
  • Costs 14 energy, lasts about 10 seconds
  • Lets you sneak by enemies (typically) without detection

As you can see, no module even approaches shield's effectiveness. Without defense, you can die in a half second. Shield guarantees you will live at least five seconds. Repair by itself will not affect your lifespan under direct phaser fire. Armor will get you up to a whole second. Cloak actually comes the closest to shield's defensive usefulness, letting you avoid fire for about ten seconds, but you won't be able to shoot back.

So how you do solve the problem stated above? I believe it involves buffing repair so that it repairs faster, at least so it can handle sustained phaser fire, at least for your own ship. Cloak's energy consumption should be reduced, so that it's cheap to fly around cloaked (since combat and flag-carrying both uncloak you). It's worth mentioning that buffing cloak effectively buffs sensor, because their desirability is so tightly intertwined. Armor should be buffed to perhaps 75% damage reduction, letting you live for at least two full seconds of phaser fire.

Finally, we should uncomment the code in the following block:

  Code:
     if(isModulePrimaryActive(ModuleShield)) // && mEnergy >= EnergyShieldHitDrain)     // Commented code will cause
      {                                                                           // shields to drain when they
         //mEnergy -= EnergyShieldHitDrain;                                       // have been hit.
         return;
      }
 


Giving players a way to disable an enemy's shield prematurely, if they have the skill and accuracy to do so.

Thanks for reading, and I can't wait to read your comments :zapdance:
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Skybax

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Post Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:05 am

Re: Kaen's Shield Solution

I like it.
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sky_lark

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Post Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:07 am

Re: Kaen's Shield Solution

Great post, thank you. I finally understand why there's so much opposition to shield. I love the idea of boosting repair, cloak, and even armor, although I am slightly concerned the protection boosts compounded with 019 benefits might make it a tad too strong. But hey, I'd love to see a lot more people using armor and getting knocked around like penguins! ;)

That said, I don't agree with your last point. You made a strong argument for raising other modules up to the level of shield. Let's not go back to the original proposal for weakening shield too. Three points I can make:

I. There are numerous instances in which shield is your only protection against a barrage of enemy fire, ie. you cannot strafe to avoid. It doesn't seem fair to penalize players for using shield to protect themselves in these instances, especially given the primary argument for adding a shield drain is that it rewards players for skill: on many occasions luck plays more into damaging a player than raw skill.

II. A potential usage contradiction - If I shoot a guy shielding, he'll lose energy faster, but so will I; and I cannot guarantee that it will have any effect at all on his health. Therefore, the drain would have to be more substantial than what I use while firing for me to justify the effort, but a large drain would worsen shield dramatically, negatively.

III. Not to mention the strangeness of using a shield that only half works. If an enemy and I are locked in a battle, then when I use shield it is out of necessity. I am using strategy and skill to activate shield to protect myself. If the enemy can still put damage on me (in the form of energy loss), even while I am shielding, then it unfairly dampens that strategy and skill I use to operate shield efficiently. It ensures that my opponent always wins, to some extent, so long as he hits my ship. That really diminishes the competitiveness of Bitfighter, and not in a good way.

Other points are way cool. :zapdance:
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Quartz

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Post Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:07 pm

Re: Kaen's Shield Solution

I wonder how a game just plain without Shield would go. We should try it some time. Get a game together and vow not to use it, see what happens.
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kaen

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Post Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:08 pm

Re: Kaen's Shield Solution

sky_lark wrote:I. There are numerous instances in which shield is your only protection against a barrage of enemy fire ... it doesn't seem fair to penalize players for using shield to protect themselves


I see it as a reward to the player who had the strategic sense to force you into that position, rather than a penalty of use to you. In that situation, you should devise a new strategy, or try to avoid running down a defended corridor. If that is impossible, then it's a levelmaker's error.

sky_lark wrote:If I shoot a guy shielding, he'll lose energy faster, but so will I ... Therefore, the drain would have to be more substantial than what I use while firing for me to justify the effort.


With my proposed changes the decision on your part whether to fire back or not depends on whether you think you'll hit him frequently enough to be energy-profitable. So that introduces a new interesting tradeoff for you to decide on. Additionally, it has the advantage of rewarding the skill of accuracy, in my opinion a much more respectable skill than timing.

sky_lark wrote:III. Not to mention the strangeness of using a shield that only half works. ... If the enemy can still put damage on me (in the form of energy loss), even while I am shielding, then it unfairly dampens that strategy and skill I use to operate shield efficiently. It ensures that my opponent always wins, to some extent


Here you are forgetting that you can fire on his shield, too. It doesn't dampen skill, it makes it a larger factor in the equation of who wins. You have to decide which course of action is better in each situation, based on your knowledge of your own skill as well as your opponent's. Combined with the choice of whether to fire back or not, it adds more depth of skill and strategy, not less.

As always, thanks for the well thought-out response, sky_lark.
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Quartz

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Post Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:24 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

sky_lark wrote:But hey, I'd love to see a lot more people using armor and getting knocked around like penguins! ;)

Pretty sure that won't be in 019. My understanding is that the Armor will function more like a tank in 019, in that you are knocked around *less* by explosions.

kaen wrote:I see it as a reward to the player who had the strategic sense to force you into that position, rather than a penalty of use to you. In that situation, you should devise a new strategy, or try to avoid running down a defended corridor. If that is impossible, then it's a levelmaker's error.

Funny how you believe in "levelmaker's error" while watusimoto seems to be adamant that levelmakers should be given as few tools as possible (whether directly or indirectly) that could potentially lead to a bad map.
Y'all developers need to make up your mind on that one.
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Skybax

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Post Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:35 pm

Re: Kaen's Shield Solution

Quartz wrote:I wonder how a game just plain without Shield would go. We should try it some time. Get a game together and vow not to use it, see what happens.

We've done that before. It's called a DogFight.
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kaen

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Post Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:46 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

Quartz wrote:Funny how you believe in "levelmaker's error" while watusimoto seems to be adamant that levelmakers should be given as few tools as possible (whether directly or indirectly) that could potentially lead to a bad map.
Y'all developers need to make up your mind on that one.


This is a little off-topic, but I'll bite.

Wat and I sometimes disagree, especially on this point. The devteam, like every group of human beings ever, has some disagreements. This particular point is still up in the air while we discuss the merits and costs of creative freedom.

Ultimately though, we all make concessions and compromises driven by reason and our unity in a single utilitarian goal: to make Bitfighter the greatest amount of fun to the greatest amount of people we can.
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watusimoto

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Post Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:38 am

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

Well said.
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tazinator

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Post Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:13 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

this is too technical for me, I don't have the mental cognitivity to read that today.
Basically: Shield good keep you alive, everything else ok
Turbo keeps you alive AND maneuvering. I regard turbo as even more necessary than shield or any other module, simply because moving is even more valuable than sitting in one place.
Armor + spy bug is pretty interesting, and a cheap way of getting around I learned today. It's really more of a hack :D
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amgine

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Post Wed Sep 09, 2015 11:55 am

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

How about if shields have a "health" gauge and if they are shot for X amount they break and cannot be used for X seconds until they are repaired OR you die from something.....
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watusimoto

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Post Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:00 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

I thought about making armor work that way
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amgine

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Post Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:09 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

Notable this would balance shields considerably and make way of other modules to be used more.....

Also interesting to note it would help emphasize on skill you would have to play more strategically to avoid obstacles....
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furbuggy

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Post Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:22 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

I think shield should remain the way it is. It's simple, it's straightforward.

Other modules are used pretty regularly.
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amgine

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Post Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:06 am

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

There are a couple of concerns I have with this....

1.Shield gives complete invincibility for X seconds with no draw back while other modules have default drawbacks and weakness a couple of concerns with this.

2. It gives a complete advantage of over modules as people can just sheild against all other modules such as cloakers thus harming the other modules viability due to it gives invincibility.

3. People can just shield then run and go grab a energy pack or let there sheild build back up while other people are left defenseless.


Therefore I feel a balance on sheilds whould be made maybe after a sheild takes 20 damage it is unusable for 5 seconds....
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FairNSquare

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Post Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:01 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

Honestly kaen has done a great job with this detailed post about balancing the game more.

Balancing a game is extremely vital, otherwise numerous problems would occur make the game less than it should be. Since Bitfighter is my #1 favorite game, I love to make the game more balanced.

I'm for this change.
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raptor

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Post Fri Oct 02, 2015 5:52 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

This was a really old post that was necromanced. We have made several balance modifications since then:

- Phaser is slightly weaker
- Shield lasts less time
- Armor is stronger (maybe too strong now)
- Repair range was increased and ability to heal was amplified slightly
- Other things that I forgot

Bitfighter version 019x was, in my opinion, the best balanced version that has come out since I started with this project (with Bitfighter 013f or so).

Of course, there can be improvement.
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Skybax

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Post Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:13 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

I still like what LA said about making it so repair healed a certain amount of points instead of a percentage of health.

Like if the ship has 100 health, and armor makes you have 200 health, shield should only restore 25 HP per second instead of 25% per second. If that makes sense.
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amgine

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Post Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:36 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

This is a interesting note but what if "shield" and "armor" were combined for example while you have the shield up you don't negate damage but instead take less damage...
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Nebula fighter

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Post Mon Oct 05, 2015 11:18 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

amgine wrote:There are a couple of concerns I have with this....

1.Shield gives complete invincibility for X seconds with no draw back while other modules have default drawbacks and weakness a couple of concerns with this.

2. It gives a complete advantage of over modules as people can just sheild against all other modules such as cloakers thus harming the other modules viability due to it gives invincibility.

3. People can just shield then run and go grab a energy pack or let there sheild build back up while other people are left defenseless.


Therefore I feel a balance on sheilds whould be made maybe after a sheild takes 20 damage it is unusable for 5 seconds....


The shield is integral to bitfighter gameplay because it solely tests a user's ability of timing for conservation of energy. Turning the shield into pseudo-health or armor would remove this unique feature of the game.
You are right that the shield be comparatively more necessary than other modules as it has little drawbacks.

I can think that to level the playing field for shields, adding some kind of a long range slow-shooting instant hitscan weapon (weaker than the phaser) that would be able to bypass reaction times would force players not to rely on their shields (at least in open areas with little cover). This would encourage the use of cloak and the enhanced sensor module. :zapdance:
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furbuggy

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Post Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:06 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

Considering that things are almost balanced as they are, any adjustments made for balance should be as simple and small as possible, because large changes could have unintended consequences. Large changes could result in an over correction, or even entirely new problems.

As far as I'm concerned the #1 priority is to change repair. Instead of repairing a percentage of maximum health per second, make it repair at a flat rate. This would make Repair + Armor less broken.

If people still consider shield to be OP, then we should simply increase its cost in energy.
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amgine

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Post Thu Oct 08, 2015 10:37 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

Problem is even with the "balances" 99% of games are with a shield while other modules are being neglected

1. Other then me no one ever used the armor and the boosts or sensors are never used

2. Cloak is almost underwhelming I think when you are cloaked it should last about 30 seconds be default ( its still way to high energy wise the energy usage should be close to negligible.) it should hide the flag but to balance being harder to see have higher energy when carrying a flag usage maybe only 15 seconds. this would actually help sensors usability.

3. Repair if anything is underwhelming Its range is so small so you have to be right on a friendly ship turret or forcefeild and not moving to heal it and even then it heals slow it takes less then 2 seconds to completely undo more then 10 seconds of repair if anything repair needs to be faster and better range havinga flat rate would hinder repair more then help it.

4. Shield still makes you invincible to everything and has pretty much no drawbacks compared to other weapons I think it needs some sort of drawback of some kind....
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furbuggy

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Post Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:58 am

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

1. People use armor.
2. People use cloak.
3. People use repair.

4. Armor + Repair practically negates any damage a person will take if flying in reverse, add on to the fact that repair costs so little energy that you can fire phasers on top of it, and it's broken. I know you like that combination amgine, but I believe that the consensus is that it's broken.
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amgine

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Post Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:50 am

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

1-3. Not really Compared to shield use of the other modules is negligible if you look at the bitfighter stats I bet 99.99% of games had shield compared to other modules which shows there should be balances made to shield in general.

4. While it is true the combination was over powered it was only because they were used together nerfing repair would harm its usability even more instead repair should less effective when used with armor repair is already underwhelming making it even weaker would make it less usable repair is so slow and has very limited range it takes way to long to repair something only to have it destroyed a half second later.
Last edited by amgine on Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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furbuggy

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Post Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:11 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

Making repair a percentage of maximum health would not nerf repair outright, it would only nerf the combination of armor + repair.
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amgine

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Post Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:06 am

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

Perhaps its a good idea to try that then though testing would have to be done to make sure its balanced and works ok.

I still think the usage of other modules is way importationate Notably no one ever uses sensor.
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sky_lark

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Post Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:12 am

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

amgine wrote:Perhaps its a good idea to try that then though testing would have to be done to make sure its balanced and works ok.

I still think the usage of other modules is way importationate Notably no one ever uses sensor.

Nobody uses sensor because the games we play are primarily small games, and sensor becomes inefficient. I bet in larger, 7v7 games sensor becomes a valuable tool to cut down on cloakers and to plant spybugs.
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amgine

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Post Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:57 am

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

I disagree Low player counts is the best time to use a sensor because it would be easier for people to sneak by notably on large maps where as when you have 7 vs 7 situation its virtually pointless as it would get destroyed on spawn.

It is notable that the sensor is getting a buff in Build 20 though. this may releave any issues.
Last edited by amgine on Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Skybax

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Post Tue Oct 27, 2015 2:02 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

amgine wrote:I disagree Low player counts is the best time to use a cloak because it would be easier to sneak by people notably on large maps where as when you have 7 vs 7 situation its virtually pointless as it would get destroyed on spawn.

He said sensor, not cloak.
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amgine

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Post Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:40 am

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

If your just going to correct everyones posts dont post at all.

Sensor is basically only useful against cloakers right now maybe a Idea would be to Give it a regeneration capability Ie if your in its range and of the same team you gain hp or energy back extremely slowly.
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Skybax

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Post Wed Oct 28, 2015 1:12 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

I corrected you because you were making an argument against something that wasn't even stated.

And now your argument doesn't make any sense after replacing cloak with sensor, since sensor would most definitely be more effective if you had more people to see.
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amgine

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Post Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:37 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

[quote="amgine"]I disagree Low player counts is the best time to use a sensor because it would be easier ot prevent people from sneaking by notably on large maps where as when you have 7 vs 7 situation its virtually pointless as it would get destroyed on spawn.

thats what I meant. thanks for helping me get that clear sometimes the words come out of the wrong order in my brain.


I still think sheild needs a major nerf After checking some data I have discovered on my server that shield accounts for over 95% of games.....
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Fordcars

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Post Thu Oct 29, 2015 3:05 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

No worries, I don't think it ever was a problem
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amgine

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Post Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:43 am

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

I think maybe having cloak make people completly hide people even but for higher energy usage if they are holding a flag.would buff cloak and sensor nicely

Also Maybe have sensor give ship's energy automatically when they are within a certain range and on the same team at a very slow rate. would also buff sensor even more.

Armor I think Needs a minor buff that when you hit a speed zone with armor Slip penalty is temporarily negated.

what do you guys think?
Last edited by amgine on Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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watusimoto

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Post Fri Oct 30, 2015 5:49 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

I think the sensor-energy idea is interesting; I want to mull that over a little.
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watusimoto

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Post Fri Oct 30, 2015 5:51 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

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YoshiSmb

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Post Tue Nov 10, 2015 5:31 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

As for the topic...

Why don't you add a trade-off for the shield? getting hit with the shield active makes you lose a small amount of energy.
Practicaly, it will deplete faster if you're under constant fire!
(Even faster if you're under heavy-fire...)
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amgine

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Post Tue Nov 10, 2015 8:25 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

That makes sense maybe have x2 x3 or x4 energy depletion if the shield is being shot at.

As far as im concerned shield is still kinda unfair it makes you invincible and has no drawbacks maybe it needs some sort of negative side effect.
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watusimoto

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Post Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:41 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

I kind of like this idea. Interestingly, the code for such is in the codebase, and came with the original Zap source, and was commented out, suggesting the original devs tried it and didn't like it.
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sky_lark

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Post Tue Nov 17, 2015 7:02 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

Yeah, I'm not a fan. Isn't the entire point to using a shield to protect yourself from enemy fire? You wouldn't use it if not being hit by enemy fire. So it's just a way to reduce the value of shield, and I'm personally in the camp of shield already being limited in its use. It's a cool compromise, I just don't think the compromise is necessary.
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amgine

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Post Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:30 pm

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

I disagree I think people are overthinking it I think adding some complexity like a breaking sheild system would add much depth to the game and keep game play from getting tedious and make it require more strategy.
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sky_lark

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Post Wed Dec 30, 2015 12:06 am

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

I'm all for increased strategy, I just view this as a way to decrease the value of shield. Shield doesn't need to be decreased – it is your only defense from enemy fire outside of strafing or walls, and you only get a few seconds as it is. Let's not make your ship even harder to defend.
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amgine

Posts: 1314

Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:57 pm

Post Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:43 am

Re: A Proposed Shield Solution

True its fairly useless when in high crwod areas where there are about 9001 bullets flying around.

But when you are in a 1 vs 1 situation having a sheild is a advantage over not having one repair is to slow cloak can be beaten easily by shooting in the direction of the ship especially in bottle neck areas armor is easily outdone if you shotgun them point blank and sensor is useless.
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