Today its a quick talk about the armor system in the Synthetik Universe.
Unlike the technology ruleset, this is already mostly implemented in Synthetik 1, however, there are a few new important additions to be discussed and who doesn't love a bit of nerdy talk?
The new Machine Military medium tank with upgraded side skirts
Armor minus Armor Piercing
As you know, you will find armor on enemy units or on your character. Armor reduces the damage you take, to counteract this, ammo types have armor piecing values. But how does it work exactly?
Armor generally ranges from 0 to 100
0 Armor - Unarmored Humanoid or similar
25 Armor - A lightly armored unit or vehicle: a normal car or glider
50 Armor - A reinforced unit or vehicle: an armored bank truck
75 Armor - A heavily armored vehicle: a main battle tank
100 Armor - A extremely reinforced unit: a large heavy tank
Now lets compare technologies:
Armor Penetration (AP) Examples:
100 - Ion
30 - Ballistic Armor Piercing
15 - Ballistic Soft
15 - Explosive
0 - Scatter
As you can guess, armor piercing negates armor.
So if you have 100 AP and 100 Armor, it is as if the target were unarmored.
Having more AP than needed will not give you bonus damage however.
Here you can see the full chain of calculation:
So armor reduces damage somehow, but how exactly?
Each point of armor above an ammo's AP gives you a 1% chance to bounce a shot, greatly reducing its damage.
If you have 50 AP and your target has 100 armor, your shot now has a 50% chance to bounce off, simple right? Bouncing will deal reduced damage or even negate all damage (based on difficulty).
Armor 2.0 is a flexible system that can be made more hardcore or softcore in balancing with ease by using the deflection mechanic. Tweaking either the chance to bounce, or the damage that is left after bouncing can give you a certain degree of realism and difficulty.
In the current Synthetik 2 balancing, a deflection reduces damage by 75% and penetrating shots are being reduced by 50% of the armor value above your AP value.
(So if you have 0 AP on 50 armor, your shot will deal 25% reduced damage, assuming it does not deflect)
This is just a bit of polish that feels right. If that were not the case, then a shotgun shot that penetrated the armor of a tank by luck, would deal full damage. This way, the damage is slightly reduced.
Now the most unique part that makes this more realistic and unique;
Each point of armor below an ammo's AP gives you a 1% chance to pierce,
reducing the damage of the shot by 25% but the projectile continues through the target.
So no longer is piercing a target just somehow awkwardly fixed to certain ammo types, random or from upgrades, but it is much more realistically tied to your penetration value.
Thinking realistically, If you have an tank shooting a highly armor piercing SABOT shell (basically a metal arrow) onto an normal car, it will simply pierce the hull and go straight through. If it however would hit the engine which is much thicker metal, it will stop the projectile and deal a lot of lasting damage. These ammunitions are clearly designed against heavily armored targets, for a car you would choose an explosive projectile with much less armor piercing capabilities, but far greater total damage.
You know it from the movies "thankfully the shot went right through his shoulder"
As you can see in the video, a HEAT missile which is crushing tanks is really not optimal against the car, but the high explosive which would not be effective against a tank is totally taking it apart.
Reducing the damage when piercing (however still rewarding you by allowing you to hit multiple targets) makes a lot of sense as a projectile sticking in the target and coming to abrupt halt or getting blocked by a vital element like an engine, would generally deal more damage than something that pierces right through.
For balancing this concept is a big difference and means that you can actually have weapons with ideal targets, instead of "more is just always better".
Stumble- Hitting but deflecting off (Critical failure - continue as random angle ricochet)
Bouncing - Hitting but deflecting off (hit but failure)
Penetration - Entering only (perfect hit)
Piercing - Entering and exiting (hit and continue)
The perfect fit
So your ballistic armor piercing (30 AP) heavy weapon will do its best damage output to its perfect matching targets (Gliders, Bikes and such), while a shotgun with Scatter ammo (0 AP) will always hit the sweet spot on an unarmored target.
This will also be reflected in the new weapon design, and will give weapons clearer edges. Per example in S1, a sniper rifle with anti-material ammunition was just always gifted with the superior ammo type, but with ammo 2.0 and technology ruleset 2.0, you might actually want a soft-ballistic sniper rifle to focus on humanoid targets, where an anti-material rifle is something you bring to break these vehicles and heavier units. They will still work very well on unarmored humanoids, but no longer have the advantage on those situations.
This strikes a new paradigm where each ammunition type or armor piercing value has its own strength and none is made redundant by another.
Rear Armor & Backstabs
New is also the rear armor and backside hits. Units have a certain angle after which entering shots count as rear-armor and backside hits.
Units such as Riotshields have a lot of frontal armor but zero rear-armor, making them vulnerable from the back. This also counts for the Riotguard class, which can now hold up the shield for a lot of frontal armor, which then really deflects shots, including ricochets.
Armored enemies can have varied constellations of front to rear armor but generally it always makes sense to attack from the back.
This also enables weapons like Ballistic Soft ammo types to still be effective against armor when they are attacked from the rear side.
Additionally, any backside hits count as backstab and deal 30% more damage, regardless of the unit having armor or not!
Headshots -> Weakpoints
Headshots no longer exist and enemies now can have weakpoints instead.
The head is of course such a weakpoint.
While not being a ton in use yet, you can technically have a weakpoint at any area now and tanks, gliders and anything can technically have a different weakpoint. You could even have a weakpoint on the rear side. We try to use this more in the future on different units.
One important differentiation is that weakpoints are now affected by armor, so the head and other weakpoints do no longer have weaker protection (in S1 a headshot had -15 armor) but still take double the damage (or whatever your weakpoint multiplier is) when they are hit.
This makes sense as weakpoints are intended to be weak elements like an engine or head, but not necessarily weakly protected, and the rear side hits now act as a positioning based vulnerability. This however means that weak AP weapons can no longer bypass armor as easily by hitting a headshot, which further reinforces their roles. SMGs should ambush, not hit headshots and so on.
While the system overall makes a lot of sense, it is however designed around traditional armor and does not really take modern reactive armor or other special armor (like fracturing ceramics) types into account which might be used by tanks to reduce damage from highly armor piercing ammunitions.
However with the plating mechanic (which basically represents reactive armor and can absorb one damage instance) chiming in given the retro-futuristic design and timeframe of the universe, these special types should be covered.
Another special case would be sandbags taking a lot of small arms fire which has no super clear place within the system, but could be solved by having a lot of health and no armor while consisting of multiple pieces that would be affected a lot by area of effect attacks like explosives.
With Armor 2.0 we have what we think is a smart and flexible design that is authentic while staying simple to calculate (armor minus armor pen = chance). It is self contained and seemingly has no big observable holes in the logic, as such this damage calculation system coupled with the new Technology Ruleset v2 should be an amazing foundation for the future!
Let us know what you think!
- Shrike & Team FFG