Thoughts on Damage

Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 16:01:00 -0500 (CDT)
From: Just This Guy <>
Subject: Damage Idea, Other Thoughts


One thing that has always bothered me about realtime strategy games, and
most games out there right now, is the fact that the lowliest weapon can
eventually fell the heaviest armor.  In Tiberian Sun, massed infantry can
shoot up a Mammoth MKII.

This is ridiculous.  There's no way that a 5.56 slug is going to do
hardkill damage to a buttoned up Abrams tank.  It simply won't penetrate--
probably wouldn't get through the outer plate on the reactive armor let
alone the meter of Chobham steel.

You should either implement a detailed table-lookup schema for the
armor/projectile battle (interactions between armor and various types of
warhead) or you should implement a weapon class system whereby a weapon of
class 1 has no chance of hardkilling a vehicle through class 3 armor.  You
might allow it to inflict half damage through class 2 armor, but 2 classes
above should be impenetrable.

One accurate way of implementing vehicle damage that I've thought of would
be as follows:

Maintain a low-resolution voxel model of the interior of the vehicle.
Say, a grid of 20x20x20 cubes.  Each one of these is assigned to either
empty space (the interior of an empty semi trailer) or some system, which
is then in turn assigned to a function.


A certain cube in the interior of a tank represents the vehicle's
autoloader.  The tank is engaged by a spalling warhead (warhead designed
to send a harmonic shockwave through the armor breaking off a percussion
cone of fragments inside the vehicle.  The warhead itself doesn't
penetrate at all.)  Several fragments are modeled, and their paths are
traced on a bouncing trajectory inside the vehicle.  Ascertain which cubes
intersect these paths.  The armor value of the cubes is compared with the
weapon class of the fragments (say class 1, same as bullets) and damage is
handed out accordingly.  Say the autoloader is destroyed.  It itself
explodes, producing further fragments inside the vehicle.  These fragments
bounce around reducing the crew into pastrami and intersecting the
ammunition compartments whereupon a catastrophic explosion destroys the
vehicle.  Complicated but might not be all that processor intensive
considering that we're dealing with a very low resolution model and
insanely fast processors.

Now what if the vehicle had an internal liner to prevent spalling?

Another thing this system would allow is different armor values for
different parts of a vehicle.  You might know that there is weak armor to
the left of the gun mantle on a Type V alien heavy tank, so you aim there,
and your recoilless rifle has a ghost of a chance to stop the tank before
it crushes you.


-Jason Thomas

Back to the Theories page

Intellectual ©, 1999, 2000