Targeting systems and homing weapons

Omnires

Forerunner
Aug 14, 2016
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#1
After thinking about some of the different mecha games I've played before it made me think about how Em-8er do homing weapons, if at all? And how much control would to have over the behavior of the weapons? I bring this topic up again because a friend of mine and I was talking about our personal favorite builds in games with highly customizable mechs and/or systems (Think of games like the Armored Core series). And of the thinks we ended up talking about a lot is how we both used missiles in different ways and how we designed our mechs around those ideas. But before I give you an example of one my build favorite builds. We have to talk about different systems and parts that are used to balance out homing weapons.

Built onto or into the mech itself:
Radar - There are meany different types of radar going from how the radar senses things, to the range of the radar, to the shape of the radar's scanning area, to the speed of the scan intervals, and what kind of shadows can appear on the radar. (Yes, in real life there are things some of us call shadows. There basically places where an object can hide from the radar scans. Like a smaller aircraft lining itself up in such a way that to always have a larger aircraft be in between it self and the radar. Because the larger aircraft is blocking the radar from seeing the smaller one it is said to be hiding within it's shadow. The size and shape of the shadow goes by what type of radar it is and if there is any interference to worry about. And yes, some video games do add in radar shadows make the game more realistic as smart enemies know how to hide from it.)​
Targeting Computer - This computer is a subsystem that only effects the HUD by adding in targeting and tracking data, as well as effecting ability of weapons with lock-on capabilities. There are meany different types of targeting computers each designed for different tasks. Picking the right type of targeting computer to add your mecha with the right type of weapons can have a great impact on your playing style and how effective you are at a given range or area. The different factors that each targeting computer has are the range as which it can tract things, the shape of the area that it can track things in, how fast it can track something, and how many things it can track at once. A targeting computer with a long narrow field is better for long range combat with high precision, while a targeting computer with wide and shallow field is better for close range combat and blanking an area.​
Innate Stealth - This is the based on the size and shape of the mecha, as well as the material it is made out of. It is passive ability the mech has to counter different types of detection without using energy. For example, a mecha what has armor with natural sound absorbing properties would be more or less invisible to sound based radar (namely sonar and echolocation).​
Active Stealth - These are things like decoys, counter waves, flares, chaff, radar jammers, and cloaks. Things that take energy to use and need to be done actively or reflexively in order to work.​
The weapon itself:
Each weapon that has the ability to track a target has a number of factors to them. The effective ranges that is can lock-on to a target, the time it takes to lock-on to a target (this can also be effected by the arming and dearming time of weapon for safety reasons), how many targets it can lock-on to at once, and the weapon's turning radius combined with it's flight speed.​
The question is how much control do we have over the different systems and weapons in the game? And what do you think about the idea of having homing weapons in the game? What do you think is the right balance between depth and complexity to be fun for the type of game the devs want to make? And what is your favorite playing style using homing weapons in games? As for myself, I say the more options the batter as long as it is fun.

As for one of my favorite builds using homing weapons. It is a close range AOE build designed to fight multiple enemies at once while also moving at high speeds using hit-and-run tactics. Going by the game if the option is there I use radar with the fastest scan times that covers whole 360 degree bubble around my mech. I use a targeting computer with wide and shallow scanning area able to track multiple targets at once designed for close to med-range combat. I use a mix of things fast multi locking hellfire missiles that I can fire on mass blindly (like fighting 10 - 20 missiles within 3 seconds), and few high yield with large AOEs missiles that have a small turning radius to do things like go around corners and on home in on fast moving agile targets. I also use mines and EMPs to try and hold the enemy place or at least annoy the hell out of them. I use guerrilla warfare tactics and speed pop in and out of combat to blow up everything around me while not staying in place long enough for anyone to track me. The basic idea is to do things like strafing runs and area denial to keep enemies off balance and control their movements. Even if they have a lot of armor and shields to not be killed in the first attack they can still be taken down by the cumulative effects of such attacks or by staying in place long enough for my teammate(s) to use higher powered weapons on them.
 
Dec 15, 2016
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#2
Raiden’s toothpaste laser comes to mind.


Or why settlle on one lock on when you can have multiple independently targeting sensors? Just make sure your computer can handle the additional processes.
 

Omnires

Forerunner
Aug 14, 2016
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#3
Thanks for reminding me, that is also another way some games balance out homing weapons. By having energy limits on the generator/reactor, a limit on how much processing power you can have, and how many internal slots for space you can have in the cockpit for extra systems.

For example, lets say I wanted a targeting computer that can switch back and forth between a wide-and-shallow targeting area and a narrow-and-deep targeting area. To balance out such a thing some games would make it have higher energy usage than normal, higher processing needs, and would take up two internal slots worth of space rather than one. To force players to choose between different systems based on the limitations of their mech's power source and main CPU or A.I. Just like they have to balance out what weapons they want to use based on things like size, mass, energy needs, and processing needs from the main computer (it is not just targeting data the mech gives to some weapons. As the there also safely systems in place to make sure things like plasma weapons don't overheat and blow up in your face or making sure things like explosives are not armed when not in use, and make sure some types of ammo stored safely like chemical reactions).

I still want to be able to make a missile boat mecha that can fire all it's missiles at once in less than 10 seconds while being lock-on to like 50 different enemies and tracking them. This might be odd for some people who are not use to playing games where you have to track a lot of things on screen at once (namely bullet hells and sim games) but that is also why in most games each lock-on makes a sound. So you don't have to be looking at something to know you are locked onto it or know it is locked onto you. If you can keep track of all the pinging sounds in your head you'll be alright. It is just like how fighter pilots and submarine operators are trained to avoid things they can't see just by hearing the warning sounds and blinking lights.
 
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Pandagnome

Kaiju Slayer
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Jul 27, 2016
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#4
If you can keep track of all the pinging sounds in your head you'll be alright. It is just like how fighter pilots and submarine operators are trained to avoid things they can't see just by hearing the warning sounds and blinking lights.
I like sounds that change the closer a target is but when it is further the sound is different.
Though the sounds are clear but not overly annoying because the constant sound can be annoying for some.

Maybe there is a volume slider for the radar sounds or to deactivate it for those that do not want this.

One of my fave homing missile is the nikita missile from mgs i like where you can guide it

Also this looks fun on a vehicle to be a pest

I like the idea of a drone that can assist like this and could be upgraded with better e.g. accuracy or damage etc

A missile bike really is cool to have !!!!!!!!!!!!!

I like this too not a missile but its fun :D a concussion projectile to knock them out temporarily


This is also most fun weapons that blind the opponent or impale etc I like the over the top effects
too but could blind you too hmm
https://youtu.be/zpWJiy9IppI?t=657


I also like projectiles that go around corners and could block corridor with some exploding gel
this could be nice for defense until the gel breaks up hmm
 
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Pandagnome

Kaiju Slayer
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#5
Also wonder if we have homing weapons will the enemies have them too and if so can our stealthy build meks be built for avoidance of such weapons?

Can our meks be controlled remotely as a way for the homing projectile to target while as a mek pilot in a g-suit make way inside a base or some cover?

As a mek pilot would there be ways to survive using distraction tactics by sending an orb launched from your bracer which homes to the enemy in strange patterns

I guess varies homing projectiles are not just for destroying and have various ways to be used for and how you like to play
 
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Omnires

Forerunner
Aug 14, 2016
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#6
Yes, there would need to be a way to turn off the radar pings if you wanted you and replace them with U.I. markers so you are not totally blindsided by a megaton missile coming in at 5 o'clock. That is if you have radar that can see behind you to begin with.

Being also to get outside of your Omniframe and control it remotely would be a why to keep it from being destroyed while you walking around inside of an enemy base looking for stuff. After all, they only go into beast mode when they are in combat, otherwise they about the same size as humans so they would most of their non-combat focused buildings human sizes too. So you would have get out of your mech to go inside those places.

Although one thing I would use is an anti-missile system too. The targeting computer can lock-on to enemy projectiles too if you set up for it. Allowing you to shoot down enemy missiles before they get to you. Personally, I like to use low powered energy-based weapons (lasers and charged particles beams) mounted on my mech's head and/or chest to take out bullets and missiles heading my way. But there is only so many of them that they can handle at once because the shots get to you. (Fans of games like Armored Core knows have some of the main body types you can picked from looked like tank turrets with a cannon sticking out of the chest while giving up other innate abilities like Over Boost for a passive anti-missile defense.). I still remember in PVP how some people would get mad because I would shoot down all their missiles and rockets long before they get to me while my shots still got through to them. It is was because I allocated a lot of resources into tracking targets and making sure my both my radar and targeting computer has the shortest scan intervals possible. But that back when most players was using missile boat builds and acted as a hard counter to them. I mean I even had like a uzi sidearm on my mech just shoot down rapid fire rockets and missiles. lol

Although, I would love to see super missiles in the game too. But to balance them out you basically have to turn your mech into a walking missile launch platform otherwise the heat and force of the missile firing can and will damage your own mech, if not out right kill you too in after launch. Things like MOABs, hyper rockets, and giga missiles would be nice to play around with in Em-8er and watch players who don't know about things like heat and mass destroy themselves trying to use weapons they clearly didn't read on the warning labels on. lol
 
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Pandagnome

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#7
Em-8er and watch players who don't know about things like heat and mass destroy themselves trying to use weapons they clearly didn't read on the warning labels on. lol
Just like looking in a frying pan and it is very hot and you like the look of your food but you pick it up with your hand and realise its ok until you drop it on the floor and have to redo it all over again thinking to yourself that was very hot hmm
 

Sy

Active Member
Nov 16, 2018
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#8
After thinking about some of the different mecha games I've played before it made me think about how Em-8er do homing weapons, if at all?
Swarm missiles was talked about very early on and is on the drawing board for pre-Kickstarter.

Your best bet for understanding the official perspective on what that might look like is to see what's out there for Gundams and similar anime. I've seen them be roughly-seeking, and I got the impression (can't remember where I heard this) that there is a lock-on time to improve accuracy before the player lets them all go.

A "wind up, let go" would be nice. Just let it all go to be a cone target, or stay locked on, hovering over targets to select them for more individual accuracy. As I recall Battle Engine Aquila (link) did that.
 
Aug 14, 2016
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#10
Because enemies can have homing weapons too. And not everyone is going to know how to use or be running with things like decoys, jammers, flares, counter tracking targeting computer, or ani-missile missiles (missiles designed to track and hit other missiles before they can reach their target). I think it is also good idea to remind people that you can still avoid being hit by homing weapons if you have enough speed and agility. So, we might also need to add in tips to tutorial about dodging.

This tactic works for me because I like to play as fast moving characters. So unless I'm building a turtle tank all my mechs are designed with speed and agility in mind. This way I can dodge things like missiles without having to use up ammo to shooting them down.
Things to keep in mind.
  1. Don't run away from the missiles unless you know you are faster than they are.
  2. Be aware of that some missiles have proximity fuses. So they will go off if you get to close to you.
  3. Be aware that no matter how powerful or fast a missile is, it still has to make turns to track a target. Their turning radius is both their strength and weakness.
One of many tactics you can use to dodge missiles.
  1. Run or fly towards the missiles.
  2. Quickly change direction before you get into any possible proximity fuse trigger range, but within the turning radius of the missile. This will break the missile's lock on you as it'll lose sight of you.
  3. This step changes based on the type of missile you are dodging.
    1. If the missile has a small turning radius boost away and keep changing direction to make it harder for the missile to get a new lock on you.
    2. If the missile has a large turning radius you can just stand in place when you get to a point at or near the center of their turning radius. This will stop them from getting a clear lock on you again and will just circle around until they die out.
    3. If it is something like a wire-guided or laser-guided missile you have to make movements that would confuse the person controlling the missile.
And that is just one way you can dodge homing weapons. Mind you, this tactic might not work for everyone. As I do often like to play as an aggressive melee player. So I'm use to charging in at enemies while also dodging ranged attacks.