Ship Weapons Overhaul

Dan Spencer shared this feedback 49 days ago

Suggestions for new Ship Weapons/Defenses.

Best way to tackle it is with a rock/paper/scissors type of approach. The first block to add to the game should be Shield Generators to provide one type of defense. Then come Armor blocks, then anything else is classed as System blocks.

For weapons, the classifications would be as follows:

Kinetic - Strong against Systems, Weak against Shields.

Explosive - Strong against Armor, Weak against Systems.

Energy - Strong against Shields, Weak against Armor.

Weapon Ideas

Adjustable Rocket Launcher (Explosive)

-Static placement

-Allows player to spend point values to the Range, Thrust (Speed), and Blast Yield of the rocket. For example, if a total of 30 points are given for the player to allocate, setting it to R: 9, T: 1, B: 20 would result in a slow moving, but very hard hitting torpedo-like rocket, while setting it to R: 5, T: 12, B: 13 would make for a fast moving, short range rocket that's hard to dodge and deals decent damage, but has limited range.

Homing Missile (Explosive)

-Static placement

-Very slow reload speeds, but capable of targeting ships and tracking their center of mass and deals moderate to high damage. Can also take a few hits before being blown up by defenses.

-When activated by a player, they take control of the static camera attached to the block (similar to that of the current turrets in game) and use it to select the ship they are targeting and then select "Launch".

Rocket Turret (Explosive)

-Turret placement

-This is already in the game, but for this overhaul, I would greatly reduce the damage it does and turn it into a quantity-over-quality type of weapon. Idle scanning still remains in place for automation, which is it's real strong suit.

Gatling Gun (Kinetic)

-Static placement

-Already in the game. Not but different here, but the large ship version is more of a fast firing canon.

Mass Driver Canon (Kinetic)

-Static placement

-A very long block for large ships only. Fires a single, very fast slug round and has a long reload. Chews up a lot of power to fire.

-Easily disables systems, but requires steady aim to land the right shot. Good for sniping.

Gatling Turret (Kinetic)

-Turret placement

-Same changes as Rocket Turret. Lower damage than Gatling Gun, but has the tracking and other capabilities that the current one does.

Plasma Gun (Energy)

-Static placement

-Burst fire weapon that fires plasma bolts that are very effective and accurate at short to medium range, but the spread quickly makes it less accurate at long range.

Ion Charge Blast (Energy)

-Static placement

-Draws from ship power until charged up, then can be fired, unleashing a powerful blast that does extra damage against Shields.

Laser Beam Turret (Energy)

-Turret placement

-Fires a straight laser beam at short range in bursts of about a second. Firing too many times in a row causes it to overheat and have an extra long cool down (think the turrets on the sides of an LAAT from Star Wars EP 2).


Shield Generator

-Consumes a buttload of power.

-Has a set number of hit points that recharge at a certain rate. When it hits zero, Shields go down for a set amount of time or until there is enough power to recharge them again, whichever is longer.

Point Defense Turret

-A small, cheap turret that only targets enemy missiles/rockets. Cannot be used offensively.

Deflection Plating

-Solar Panel-shaped flat plates that can be placed on the side of your ship. Causes many Gatling Gun and Turret rounds and lasers to deflect off instead of dealing damage.

Turret Scrambler

-An automated system that tries to hack enemy turrets and temporarily bring them offline for a short duration.

Comments (1)


In case you hadn't noticed, blocks that would qualify as systems are generally worse than even light armor and shooting any type of weapon at them will deal good damage regardless of type, disabling them and being more effective than a similar hit against an armor block. You can't play rock-paper-scissors without the scissors.

Additionally, shields have almost as many issues as water. I could go into more detail on that if you want, but let it suffice to say that they are bad in almost every way.

I could also go into the ways in which most of the weapons are obligatory damage type implementation or mediocre filler, but I really don't have the energy for that at the moment.


I'm sorry, could just be a little bit more rude?

You come at me with all this attitude of yours and attack me with a bunch of arguments that are for the most part, incorrect, invalid, or would hardly take any change to work around. In case you've never played another space themed combat game, what I described is similar to how many of them actually work, and they are very well balanced.

Take your attitude somewhere else.


Sorry, I was in a really bad mood at the time. The basic arguments are sound, though.

Effectiveness against systems blocks doesn't really help much, because systems blocks are wet tissue paper compared to even light armor blocks. If you're getting a significant amount of damage multiplied with the bonus, you've already won..

Shields are, almost without exception, a direct upgrade to armor without some weapon type specifically countering them. Additional power is much easier to pack on a ship than additional armor, especially considering that punctures in armor can be much more readily exploited. It's possible to fix this with diminishing returns, but that has its own issues.

The high end of shield-stacking would need to be balanced for both smaller and larger ships, battleships and scouts, and require a soft trail-off point to prevent shields from being essentially fixed-strength for a certain class of ship (which just leads to standard setups and penalizes creativity). Add on merging and subgrids, and the shield strength formula will be so complicated that we'll get clang between the subequations.

Of course, they also unnecessarily break the hard sci-fi rule. While jump drives and grav generators are necessary, shields aren't the only solution to ship combat.

The adjustable rocket launcher might or might not be practically implementable, depending on whether Keen has fixed projectile types. In either case, it's an overly complicated block that makes aiming difficult and attack prediction almost impossible.

The homing missile is interesting, but it intrudes upon the functionality of grid missiles and likely won't be great for sim speed in a battle with debris flying around. A version of standard targeting might help with this, having it check in a cone in front of it for functional blocks and locking on to the closest one. Combining this with only a weak tracking component would solve both of the issues with this.

Exchanging impact for rate of fire on the rocket turret doesn't really help it much. It's more expensive to use and still gets outclassed by gatling guns.

I'd definitely rename a five-meter-wide gatling gun to an autocannon. I still don't really like it all that much, because high RoF weapons are generally for tracking small targets and you can't really do that with a whole large ship. I would be ok with it, but unnecessary blocks take valuable dev time and add more complication.

The mass driver cannon gets undercut by its inability to deal effective damage to shields. You can't snipe systems when there are both shields and armor in the way. Without the shield and energy weapon system, it's a good option for large ship weaponry.

Increasing the gatling turret's rate of fire more and decreasing damage? Is there any particular reason for this?

I can't really see a role for plasma guns outside of being the basic energy weapon. It's a short range weapon, so a small ship could just mount rocket launchers and get a little closer to avoid dealing with shields. A large ship has this as a fixed weapon, which means it needs to get close to land hits on other large ships with this. Because of the speed limit, any close-range engagement is voluntary. Which means that a good captain won't allow it unless there's a good reason to get up close. Like if the enemy shields are down.

The ion charge blast is just the mass driver cannon but as an energy weapon. I don't think there's anything unique to talk about here.

The laser turret, in the way you've described, is pretty much the gatling turret but as an energy weapon. Better than the plasma gun, by a bit. I'd warn against letting it be straight-up hitscan though, because small ships rely on bullet travel time to be effective.

None of these problems are incorrect or invalid, and I've tried to add minor changes to fix issues when possible.

Many sci-fi games have tried similar systems, but Space Engineers is different enough that I'm not sure there is a game with comparable PvP. Attempting to model ours after others is likely to result in failure because of the underlying differences, and we'd be better off thinking of our own solutions than trying to copy successful combat mechanics built off of completely different foundations.