Feedback Focus: Armaments

[/color][color=#6666ff]Another feedback focus thread for you, this time on weapons![/color]

[color=#6666ff]What we have now[/color]
[/color][color=#6666ff]We currently have 3 classes of weapon in game: [/color]
[color=#6666ff]1. The Jerusalem, a fairly high damage single shot weapon that requires some accuracy
2. The Emanation, a short range spread weapon
3. The Brassraven, a high output, low damage gatling type weapon [/color]

  • [color=#6666ff]These are intended to cater for a range of play styles and give some options for the two weapon slots. [/color][/li][li][color=#6666ff]These weapons operate on individual cooldowns and also accrue heat when used. [/color][/li][li][color=#6666ff]When heat goes over a certain threshold (currently set to 60%) there is a chance that one of your weapons will become inoperable until heat dissipates completely.[/color][/li][li][color=#6666ff]When heat gets to 100% your are unable to move your locomotive and take damage to your hull until heat starts to drop. [/color]

[/color][/u][/i][color=#6666ff]What we’ve heard[/color]
[/color][ul][li][color=#6666ff]You’d like clear (and visual) cues as to when the weapons are ready to fire.[/color][/li][li][color=#6666ff]There is no indication in the Hold screen (or the descriptions of the weapons themselves) of which weapon is your main weapon and which is your secondary[/color][color=#6666ff] weapon.[/color][/li][li][color=#6666ff]The Jerusalem is hard to use because of the difficulty in lining up shots, the difficulty in controlling the locomotive, and the lack of an auto aim. Controlling movement and weapons with the left hand is difficult. [/color][/li][/ul][color=#6666ff]
[/color][color=#6666ff]What we’re looking to do[/color]
[/color][ul][li][color=#6666ff]We’re experimenting with the role heat and cooldowns play in limiting player damage. [/color][/li][li][color=#6666ff]We’re making some changes to the HUD to make heat and Hull distinct and easy to read. [/color][/li][li][color=#6666ff]We’ll be trying some variations to the penalties for overheating aimed at making them more immediate and less flow breaking. [/color][/li][li][color=#6666ff]Auto-aim: We’re looking at bullets that arc to a greater or lesser extent based on an options screen slider. [/color][/li][li][color=#6666ff]We’ll be releasing new weapons in the future, including ‘large’ weapons which can only be slotted to the Large Armament Slots of Parsival and Moloch class locomotives (N.B. you’ll only be able to slot large armaments to large slots, but small armaments cam be slotted to both small and large slots) [/color][/li][/ul][color=#6666ff]

[/color][color=#6666ff]What we’d like to know[/color]

  • [color=#6666ff]Do you have a favourite weapon?[/color][/li][li][color=#6666ff]Do you have a favourite combination of weapons?[/color][/li][li][color=#6666ff]Do you feel that one weapon is clearly superior to the others?[/color][/li][li][color=#6666ff]How much does heat gain affect you in combat?[/color][/li][li][color=#6666ff]Have you rebound your combat keys? If so, what do you find most comfortable?[/color]

edited by FailbetterFuzz on 11/17/2017
edited by FailbetterFuzz on 11/17/2017

Personally, at the start of every game I like to sell the Emanation and equip a second Jerusalem cannon.
It gives me a little bit of extra starting cash, and while the lack of a spreadgun necessitates better aim, you can fire the twin Jerusalems quickly and they don’t build up much heat.

I really hope to see lots of variety in weapons and ship components for Sunless Skies, and so far it’s looking good in that regard.

Marauder locomotives fire projectiles which if I am not mistaken can damage the player if they hit directly or if they explode close enough nearby. Having experienced some difficulty in lining up direct hits, I would like to see player armaments with area-effect properties. Worrying a bit less about perfect accuracy would allow the player to more freely maneuver in combat, which is more interesting than sitting in place and taking potshots. I believe my ideal weapon would fire a shell which explodes when striking enemies or terrain, and which can be prematurely detonated by the player (e.g. by pressing the weapon’s hotkey while the shell is in flight).

I played for a while with the starting weapons but after reading comments on the forum I tried double Jerusalems but I wasn’t accurate enough so took too much damage from my opponents.

I am now using double Emanations. You do need to get reasonably close but if you can get side on to whatever you want to fight a few broadsides take down most things. The only problem is heat and ending up not being able to use one of the guns or move.

I haven’t tried the Brassraven.

I did put the combat keys to 1 and 2. The same as in Sunless Sea as that works for me.

I think Sunless Skies should retain the same “combat mode” that Sunless Sea had. The health and status of monsters and other enemies should be immediately and clearly shown once combat mode is entered. Additionally, icons showing weapon cooldowns should appear.
After that, I suggest one of three directions:

Option 1:

The same auto-aim system as in Sunless Seas. I quite liked this one – The player could always fire the weapon before it was fully locked, with a chance of a miss, so there was a tactical element to it. This would be the simplest option and one players would be familiar with.
Option 2:

If you want to retain the fixed weapon systems you have now, then players need clear indicators of where the bullets are going. So maybe a dotted line in front of the weapon for a single-shell gun, and a blast cone for shotgun-type weapons. At the moment, the players have no indication of even how far the weapons range is, so it will fix that issue as well.
If you go that route, I would prefer to have a lot more weapon mounts on the ship: Front and rear, but also on the sides. As you observed, controlling both ship movement and aiming is difficult with the left hand. Having more firing points means precise manoeuvring is less of an issue.

Option 3:

Once combat mode is entered, the mouse point becomes a targeting reticule. Use mouse buttons 1/2/3 to fire weapons, and the bullets go where the reticule is. Each weapon on the ship has a firing arc similar to Sunless Seas. This completely separates piloting on the left hand from aiming on the right hand, which I think more players would be comfortable with. Clicking to fire when the reticule is outside all the firing arcs just means that no weapons fire.
Whichever way you go, I would like to say that I would prefer more weapon mounts to less, and port/starboard mounts in addition to front/rear/deck arcs. Maybe some ships could have only one weapon but 360 of fire. Another ship could have only broadside guns, making for a completely different combat style. It really would open up a lot more options for weapon combinations on different mounts. Allow players to put cargo bays into unused weapon slots if they want to have a less-combat orientated ship without having to buy a whole new vessel.

I found torpedoes to be almost prohibitively expensive (and took up valuable cargo space) in Sunless Seas and would like to see Skies open up more on this. I can also see possibilities for laying mines: rear-mounted torpedo and rear-mounted mine-layer mounts could be particularly interesting.

Finally, with a much bigger map, I would encourage the creative designers to consider combat when designing the regions. Some regions could be entirely inhabited by monsters, requiring weapons optimised against “soft” targets. Other regions could be more occupied by locomotive opponents, better tackled with armour-piercing weapons. Players would have to plan accordingly. To go along with this, I would encourage you to make it so unequipped weapons and torpedoes do not take up normal cargo space – This detracts from the enjoyment of being able to haul cargo and trade.


I’m partial to the idea of weapons having firing arcs like in Sunless Sea, but rather than showing up throughout the entire combat event, you could (for instance) hold down the fire button for a weapon to bring up its firing arc, so you can get a sense of how to line up your shots. I honestly don’t have much trouble with aiming myself, and consider it a fun and integral part of the challenge of the game, but if people are having trouble it’s best to provide some assistance, and more tactical options (quick shots vs aimed ones) are often welcome.[li]

I agree with other people in the thread that a visualization system for enemy health and names as well as our own cool-downs would be welcome, as would a more gradual integration of the heat system, maybe as a linear de-buff.

I’m also very interesting in seeing a great variety of weapons, to enable different kinds of tactical engagements with enemies. The use of a variety of strategies and unusual weapons enables some great role-playing moments outside of direct story choices. I was a big fan of the baiting and unclear devices in Sunless Sea, for instance. ^_^

I rebound mouse buttons to firing, which makes it a lot easier. I’d suggest making left and right click be the default buttons for firing weapons. The only issue, which isn’t a big deal at all, is that if left-click is bound to a weapon, then clicking on storylets, if none are currently open, fires the weapon along with opening the storylet. This seems like it would be pretty easy to fix, although I’m aware that plenty of things seem easy to fix but are harder.

In terms of weapon combinations, double Jerusalems sounds pretty cool but I haven’t tried it yet. Generally I use either Jerusalem/Emanation or Jerusalem/Brassraven. If I’m using a Jerusalem and an Emanation, I have the Jerusalem on left-click and the Emanation on right-click. Jerusalem/Brassraven is my favorite combination so far. The Jerusalem provides consistent, low-heat damage at range for initiating fights (so you can make enemies notice you), while the Brassraven does huge amounts of damage very quickly as a finisher but can’t keep it up after you hit 100 heat. If I’m running Jerusalem and Brassraven, I keep the Jerusalem in the primary weapon slot bound to right-click and the Brassraven in the secondary bound to scroll wheel. Since the Brassraven fires as fast as you give it inputs, the scroll wheel lets you shoot ridiculously fast, so if you can get it lined up square you can do extremely fast damage. Most of the enemies currently in the game, in my experience, have low enough health that one really good Brassraven salvo will finish them off, as long as you can aim it correctly. Against something with higher health, or if you miss, a single Brassraven salvo will basically cripple you by generating too much heat for you to shoot or dodge, so I wouldn’t necessarily call it overpowered per se, but it’s definitely strong.

One other thing that’s worth mentioning: as far as I can tell, high heat short of 100 will only disable your primary weapon. This is why I have the Brassraven in the secondary slot. If I go above 60 heat, it will only disable the Jerusalem, meaning that I can still keep firing the Brassraven as long as I’m not at a full 100 heat.
edited by illuminati swag (Benthic) on 11/21/2017

[color=#6666ff]Thanks for everyone’s feedback on this. I’m going to let this thread drop now since we’re currently working on some combat tweaks which should be released in our February update. There may be further tweaks after a second round of feedback gathering, but we’ll look at getting more feedback from you kind folks once the update is out. [/color]
edited by FailbetterFuzz on 1/24/2018
edited by FailbetterFuzz on 1/24/2018