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Battlestar Galactica Online - Developer Blog 19 - Shadow Wars

20 May 2014

Hello Pilots,

While Tobias_BP prepares the carrier blog, I thought I’d give you an overview of the stealth fighter and its capabilities. For this blog post I’ll go over the following things:

  • Design Philosophy and Story
  • Stealth Ship Stats and Slot Layout
  • Weapons and Equipment
  • New Items and Changes to Existing Items

Design PhilosophyEdit

Always keep in mind that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.

-Murphy's Law of Combat

So one of the first things we I wanted to talk about was the design philosophy. We looked at building the stealth ship primarily as a speed based fighter. It’s not intended to get into turning fights and its strafe and turn speeds don’t really favor that kind of fighting. While you can modify the ship to turn and strafe well, it’s not optimized for it.

The quote above kind of reflects some of the design philosophy. The ship has quirks that make it feel like it’s something that engineers had to make design compromises on. We also wanted to have some behaviors that enemy pilots could exploit. We wanted to give it some quirks that make it feel like something that isn’t always optimal. So one of the first things you’ll discover is the ship’s pitch and yaw isn’t equal. It actually has a better pitch speed than it does yaw.

We also wanted to make a glass cannon that was very fast and could deliver a lot of damage, but couldn’t really hold up to a fight. With the stealth ship, you can get it up to as fast as 200 meters per second. So yes, this thing is really fast. It’s very fun to fly and can engage in hit and run tactics very well.

We’ve also created and exclusive item set for this ship. The idea is that these new items are designed to fit on the stealth ship and represent unique field modifications that engineers make to the ship as the need arises. The items set is based on a “costly choice” philosophy. So if you really want to get some power out of something, then you’ll have to give something up.

Finally, we wanted to make stealth less about “turning invisible” and more about the concepts of how actually stealth technology actually works. So, the stealth ship is never really invisible. If you can see it and select it, then you can target it. The hard part is finding it. To compensate for that, we’ve made some ships better at finding the stealth ship than others and we’ll go into that below.

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Stealth Ship Stat and Slot LayoutEdit

I thought I’d give you a bit of data on the actual stats of the stealth ship. The stealth ship itself has a basic and advanced version. We’ve changed up the naming conventions a bit, so they’re no longer called the “advanced” version. That’s mainly because “advanced” takes up a lot of space above the bracket, so we’re trying to make that smaller.

Ship

Raven Mk VI-R

Malefactor Type-1

Raven Mk VI-R/A

Malefactor Type-2

Role

Force Recon

Force Recon

Slot Layout
Cannon

2

2

Launcher

0

1

Hull

2

2

Engines

2

3

Computers

1

2

Hull Attributes
Hull Points

350

420

Hull Recovery

3 / second

3.6 / second

Armor

0

0

Critical Defense

60

60

Avoidance

520

520

Maneuverability
Flank Speed

70

85

Boost Speed

90

110

Boost Cost

0.5/second

0.5/second

Max Strafe Speed

30 meters/second

30 meters/second

FTL Attributes
FTL Range

5.25 LY

5.75 LY

FTL Charge Time

15

15

FTL Cost/LY

20

20

Power Systems
Power

120

150

PP Recovery

3 /second

3.6 / second

Electronics Profile
Firewall Rating

125

150

Emitter Rating

100

100

DRADIS Range

2250

2750

Visual Range

225

275

Now, you’ll probably notice it doesn’t have a ton of slots. The goal for this ship design was to actually reduce the number of slots on a strike. With that in mind, we had to increase the power of individual items. So where you’d normally need five items to achieve the same stats, you get that in two to three. We simply wanted to make the ship really easy to equip.

Weapon and Equipment OverviewEdit

Since we were designing a new ship, we decided we really wanted it to feel unique. With that in mind we designed a whole collection of new items and equipment. Some of them effect familiar attributes like speed, and they’ll feel pretty familiar. With the familiar things like speed buffs, we tried to give them universal names so players from both factions could discuss them easier. As an example, the speed buff for the stealth ship is called an “Arcjet Propulsion Controller” regardless of faction.

We also created some new items for the stealth ship that effected attributes that had never been manipulated before. An example is the LIDAR Range Finder, which increases maximum and optimal range of cannons by 50% for a few seconds.

With this, we also restricted it so the stealth ship can’t equip existing items.

We’re introducing a collection of new weapons and we’ve changed how weapons will be designed in the future. First, I’ll go over the weapons for the stealth ship. The stealth ship has the following cannons available to it:

  • KEW-2B Stiletto / Type 2 Insurgent – 11.7mm Machine Gun: This low power weapon is able to fire every 0.2 seconds. It’s a rapid fire weapon designed for harassment.
  • KEW-9A Dagger / Type 3 Insurrectionist – 20mm Autocannon: This is a standard weapon for any strike fighter. It has good hitting power, but it’s nothing flashy.
  • FC-39B Blackjack / Type-9FC Partisan – 8mm Flechette Cannon: This cannon fires a shell that explodes not long after leaving the barrel. It showers the target in hyper accelerated micro-projectiles. It is very accurate but has poor armor piercing abilities. It also has an optimal range of 150 meters.
  • Bonus Weapon – KKC-H1 Javelin / KKC Type 15 Instigator – 2 MJ Kinetic Kill Cannon (KKC): This is a new weapon class. It fires a hyper accelerated tungsten slug at targets. It’s designed for hitting lines and escorts. Its accuracy is terrible, but its armor piercing is excellent and it can hit a target at over 1000 meters. This weapon is exclusive to the Rhino and Marauder.

The really great thing about all of these cannons is that each of them has a unique visual effect and sound effect. So you really get to have a different experience depending on what weapon you have equipped.

The stealth fighter also has a collection of launcher weapons too. We’ve changed the design of launchers a bit for this ship. First, the launchers won’t have random damage. They will be a fixed damage. Rather than a weapon doing 125-200 damage, the weapon will just do a flat 200 points of damage. Additionally, the damage on missiles has been increased to create slower firing weapons, but weapons that do more damage. Finally, the power cost of firing a missile has been dramatically reduced to reflect the fact that a launched weapon doesn’t really require that much energy. It has its own power systems and doesn’t need power from the ship. There is an exception to the rule, but I’ll go into that below. Also, we’ve moved mines into launcher slots for the stealth ship.

The new launcher weapons are:

  • SIW-9M Wasp / Type-12B Wyvern – Interceptor Missile: This is an exceptionally agile missile intended to for use against strikes. It has a top speed of 200 meters per second and the ability to turn up to 170 degrees at a time. It does 375 damage when it hits with a power cost of 5. The cooldown on the missile ranges for 30 – 23.5 seconds.
  • ASM-A9 Zephyr / Type-2B Azazel – Heavy Missile: The heavy missile is intended for anti-line ship work. It does 750 damage per hit and has a range of 1200 meters. This is basically an escort missile attached to the underside of the hull. It has a top speed of 130, but very poor turning rates. It has a cooldown time that ranges from 75 seconds to 59 seconds.
  • DFSR-18 Hornet / Type 9RP-C Hydra – 88mm Rocket Pack: These have some cool new mechanics with them, and are the exception to the rule I mentioned above. These are simply dumbfire rockets the fire straight out from the launcher. They have good speed and hitting power. They also don’t require a target to be launched. With these weapons you have to really learn how to lead the target. These weapons have a high power cost because they can fire as quickly as every 0.9 seconds. They do 200 points of damage per hit.
  • Mk 90 Blackout / Type-H Incubus – Electromagnetic Mine Launcher: This harassment weapon is mainly designed to hinder pursuers. It drains energy from the target.
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Other Equipment & ChangesEdit

The stealth ship has a whole series of unique equipment. For the stealth ship, we’ve broken up the buffs a bit, and changed them. First, buffs on the stealth ship only effect the stealth ship. They don’t have an area of effect. We’ve also tried to make it so they aren’t all encompassing.

For example, the damage buff for the stealth ship only effects missile damage and not cannon damage. Additionally, there are some new kinds of items. We’ve introduced a range debuff for the stealth ship. It’s really effective for when you’re trying to run away after making an attack run. We’ve also introduced some new equipment that makes the ship resistant to drain effects.

We’ve also moved all power generation to the hull slots for the stealth ship. The power generation items do a wide variety of stuff including simply boosting your power recovery or increasing your base power, but you can also sacrifice one of those two attributes to get a bigger bonus to the other. So for example, the Ancillary Power Capacitor gives a +30% to power, but incurs a -10% to power recovery.

We’ve also taken some items that were previously kind of useless and tried to make them much more powerful. So as an example, the engine item that boosts your FTL range can dramatically increase your FTL Range, but you’re only able to mount one of them. There’s also a really cool item that can cut your jump time by 50%, and it’s designed to allow you to jump from combat as quickly as possible.

Stealth MechanicsEdit

Now I’ve been babbling about a lot of stuff, but I’m sure you’d like to know how the stealth mechanics work. The stealth mechanics are pretty simple. The stealth ship has a role ability called “stealth mode”. When you engage stealth mode, your ship plays this cool animation where your wings and weapons retract. When stealth mode is active, the following happens:

  • Player’s brackets do not appear
  • Any player targeting the stealth ship loses its target.
  • Player does not show up on DRADIS
  • Missiles Lose Lock

Now the thing to keep in mind is the stealth ship doesn’t actually disappear. If you can find it and select it in space, then you can reacquire it. Additionally, there are some conditions that can disable stealth mode:

  • Damage disables stealth mode
  • Turning on or firing weapons disables stealth mode
  • Activating Boost Disables Stealth Mode
  • Entering Threat via missiles fired, damage received, or being effected by a debuff.

Finally, there’s a new stat on every ship called “Visual Radius”. This represents your pilot looking for targets and trying to identify them. If a stealth ship enters the visual detection radius of a ship, then that ship can see the brackets for the stealth ship.

Existing Item ChangesEdit

As we were play testing the stealth ship, some things become clear really quickly. It was obvious that we needed a ship that could chase down the stealth ship. We decided to give that honor to the Viper Mk II and Raider. Those two ships had always been intended as interceptors, but they never really had the speed to perform that task. So, the Viper Mk II /Raider have gotten the following changes:

Flank Speed Increased

  • Level 1: 70
  • Level 2: 85

Boost Speed Increase:

  • Level 1: 90
  • Level 2: 110

Along with those changes, we really wanted to command ships to have a role in finding and detecting the stealth ship. We achieved this through two things. First, we created a new item called a “Synthetic Aperture DRADIS (SAD)”. The SAD increase the DRADIS ranges and visual ranges of the ship it’s equipped on. These items are toggle abilities, so you can just turn them on whenever you want. That means a command ship can boost its DRADIS range continually as long as it has the power. Also, we’ve improved the upgrade curve for the DRADIS enhancer items so they are more effective at lower levels.

Finally, the Ares/Hydra modules have had the DRADIS component removed. This makes command ships really great at locating and revealing stealth ships to allied players. Anyone who has an Ares/Hydra module will get a free SAD module of the same class at an equal level.

New SkillsEdit

With the stealth ship, we’re also introducing 15 new skills for you to level up. All of these are skills related to new weapons. Each weapon type has three skills that allow you to improve things ranging from power costs to cooldowns. It basically allows you to specialize in a weapon type you enjoy and gives experienced players something to spend their excess experience points on.

In ConclusionEdit

So there’s a lot here and you’re going to have a lot of questions, but this blog really only scratches the surface of the stealth ship. We had a blast playing with it, and it really requires some solid skills to use properly. It’s fast and agile, but gets torn to pieces under any amount of sustained fire. It also provides a new style of game play that hasn’t been seen in the game before.

Best regards,

The Battlestar Galactica Online Team

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