The Complete Guide to Spob-based Weapons

I've seen several suggestions lately that involve spobs having weapons (such as interplanetary warfare, one of the ideas in the thread about imbuing a system with a gravitational bias, etc. Well, maybe there isn't an "etc", but I've been doing a lot of work with spob-based weapons...).

Anyway...
I've decided to write up a complete guide on the subject, covering just about everything you can do with a spob's weapon.
If this gets a favorable response, I might do a few more (such as Submunitions).

And now, without further ado, I give you:

The Complete Guide to Spob-based Weaponry.

This is a guide to just about every aspect of what happens when you give a spob a weapon. It is divided into three parts:
1: When They Fire.
This, surprisingly, is a description of the conditions under which a spob will fire its weapon.
2: What They Fire.
This section describes what type of weapon the spob fires for each guidance type.
3: Other Information.
This section contains several useful facts that I couldn't find anyplace else to put.

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When They Fire.

A spob will fire its weapon at the closest target ship (see below) that is within range (see What They Fire), no matter what type (ship/planet) of weapon the spob has.

If the "Fire When Provoked" flag is not set,
A spob will fire at the player if either of the following conditions are true:

  1. The player is disliked by the system's govt ( not the spob's!), or
  2. The player's ship has an inherent combat government that is an enemy of the spob (not the system- isn't this fun , class? 😄 ).

A spob will only fire at an AI ship if the ship's dude's govt is an enemy of the spob (the attitude of the system has no effect).

A spob will never fire its weapon at another spob, even if the weapon is planet-type.

Demanding tribute from a planet will not cause it to open fire, unless the "Fire When Provoked" flag is set.

If the "Fire When Provoked" flag is set, the spob will only fire when the player demands tribute. The spob will only fire at the player or their escorts, whichever is closer and in range. It will stop firing once its defence fleet is destroyed.

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What They Fire.

The behaviour of the weapon a spob fires is based entirely on the weapon's guidance type:

Unguided/Unguided Turret/Front Turret/Rear Turret:
These will be my baseline for how spobs' weapons work. They all act exactly like the spob has an unguided turret-type weapon, except that turret blind spots have no effect. The spob will fire whenever you are within range of the weapon and all its submunitions.
Turret-type weapons do have a tracking glitch, however, such that when the turret's target is moving rapidly towards the turret, the turret's shots fire away from the target, rather than towards it.

Beam/Beam Turret:
The Bible is out-of-date on this one. It states "don't put the ID of a beam or PD weapon here or bad things will happen." Actually, as of 1.0.8, beams have a very useful behaviour:
When a spob has a beam-type weapon, the shots that the spob fires are normal projectiles, not beams. They behave exactly like the normal, unguided weapon types do for spobs, with one major difference. The spob will only fire when the player is within BeamLength of the spob, even if that is different from the range of the projectile that it is firing (which is governed by Speed and LifeCount).
NOTE: When a spob fires the weapon, the BeamLength and Falloff fields have no fading effect on the sprite (see this thread, unlike with normal weapons. Also note that for a spob, beams can have submunitions (however, they have no effect on what range the spob fires its weapons at).

Homing:
This acts like the spob has a turret that fires homing weapons, complete with the tracking glitch from a turret-type weapon when the player is moving quickly towards it. The spob will fire whenever the player is within range of the weapon and all of its submunitions.

Freefall Bomb/Carried Fighter:
Either of these weapon types, when given to a spob, will produce standard unguided projectiles (not fighters or bombs), which act like the basic "Unguided" weapon type, except that the spob will only fire them when you are directly on top of the spob (i.e. you have just taken off).
The bomb guidance is used in the game for the 400mm Turreted Railgun and the Enormous Blaster Turret (found on central Auroran stations and Federation military locations, respectively). (Note: This changed in version 1.0.9, and they now use the Turreted Unguided weapon type.)

PD Turret/PD Beam:
Once again, the Bible is out-of-date (thank you, Matt Burch, for modifying these to not cause problems!). I am treating these apart from the others simply because of the warning in the Bible.
As of EVN 1.0.8, PD Turrets and PD Beams act exactly like regular turrets and regular beams, respectively. They cannot shoot down homing weapons.

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Additional information.
Any type of spob can use a weapon, whether it is inhabited or uninhabited, station or planet, even if it is a hypergate or wormhole.

The AmmoType of a spobs weapon has no effect on how the spob behaves. Even an AmmoType of -999 (destroy ship) has no effect.

Spobs ignore the "One Shot at a Time" flag (they do not, however, ignore reload or burst reload times, although they might have a longer BurstCount than the player).

Spobs also ignore the "Don't fire at fast ships" flag.

A spob, if it has a planet-type weapon, will shoot itself if it can be destroyed, unless the weapon has a ProxSafety long enough for the shot to get clear of the planet.

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Any questions? Comments? If you have something you want added to this, post it, I'll test it, and if it works, I'll add it. Additional credits will be placed at the bottom of the guide.

Edwards

(Final Note)
A couple of interesting things I ran into while working on this guide that not everyone may be aware of:

Homing weapons cannot home in on planets.

Planet-type weapons with the "Explode at end of life" flag set do not actually have any effect when they explode, other than showing an explosion (no damage, no impact, no ionization).
The same weapon using regular damage worked fine- and yes, I was firing it at destroyable stellars and planet-ships, and getting the range and blast radius right. This is probably a bug.

This post has been edited by Edwards : 20 October 2006 - 10:55 PM

I don't develop plugs, but I'm still curious.

So a spob cannot destroy another spob? It seems like it should be possible. If you wouldn't mind musing my thought, wrong or right, that'd be cool. I like reading this stuff, even if I don't use it. I understand it for the most part.

Nice work. Ill give some useful critique.

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If the "Fire When Provoked" flag is set, the spob will still fire at the player or their escorts, whichever is closer and in range. It will stop firing when its defence fleet is destroyed.

minor point: This sentance is missing a "once the player has demanded tribute." You could treat it as implicit, but it reads funny.

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complete with tracking glitch

Could you elaborate? Im not familiar with this.

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NOTE: When used this way, the BeamLength and Falloff fields have no fading effect, unlike with normal weapons. Also note that for a spob, beams can have submunitions

Can you describe this behavior better? Im assuming you mean Falloff and Decay, but were you also trying to say that beams have no corona (thus rendering beamwidth useless aswell)?

And is a full compliment of submunitions fired off every frame, or only at the end of Count, or only at the begining?

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...except that the spob will only fire them when you are directly on top of them ... The bomb guidance is used in the game for the 400mm Turreted Railgun and the Enormous Blaster Turret

This seems inconsistent.

Also, do 'fighter' type weapons get treated as bombs?

Otherwise, very informative. I didnt know most of these oddities. Will come to good use in my pet plug.

This post has been edited by NebuchadnezzaR : 14 March 2005 - 08:31 PM

Edwards, on Mar 13 2005, 02:07 AM, said:

Freefall Bomb/Carried Fighter:
These weapons, when given to a spob, will act like normal unguided weapons, except that the spob will only fire them when you are directly on top of them (i.e. you have just taken off).
The bomb guidance is used in the game for the 400mm Turreted Railgun and the Enormous Blaster Turret (found on central Auroran stations and Federation military locations, respectively).
View Post

So these Auroran and Fed stations are actually pretty much defenseless, despite having big weapons? Sounds like a scenario bug to me.

NebuchadnezzaR, on Mar 15 2005, 01:30 AM, said:

Can you describe this behavior better? Im assuming you mean Falloff and Decay, but were you also trying to say that beams have no corona (thus rendering beamwidth useless aswell)?

And is a full compliment of submunitions fired off every frame, or only at the end of Count, or only at the begining?
View Post

I think what he's saying is that if you give it a beam guidance it will actually fire projectiles. The difference being that you can use beamlength to give the planet a false perception of the weapon's range.

Guy, on Mar 15 2005, 04:55 AM, said:

I think what he's saying is that if you give it a beam guidance it will actually fire projectiles. The difference being that you can use beamlength to give the planet a false perception of the weapon's range.
View Post

Yeah, that was one of the interpretations I arrived at.

So then beams can't really have submunitions? You can just call a weapon a beam and make it have submunitions... when really all the beam designation means is that it fires only within the beams range.

Thanks for the input!
I've edited the guide to clarify the points you brought up, and I'm also answering them right here:

NebuchadnezzaR said:

(about the homing weapon "tracking glitch") Could you elaborate? Im not familiar with this.

The glitch is that if you fly fast enough straight at a turret, it will start firing in the direction the your ship is moving , rather than straight at it. A simple matter of overloading the tracking algorithm. I think that this is why the Fusion Pulse Battery is a turret with blind spots rather than a Front-quadrant turret, as a front-quadrant turret has perfect aim at all times (plus Inaccuracy, of course).

Guy said:

So these Auroran and Fed stations are actually pretty much defenseless, despite having big weapons? Sounds like a scenario bug to me.

Maybe. But on the other hand, it may have been done specifically so that they would only fire when you were trying to leave. Those are fairly powerful weapons.

And yes, Guy, you're right about the beams. I've clarified it greatly now.

NebuchadnezzaR said:

So then beams can't really have submunitions? You can just call a weapon a beam and make it have submunitions... when really all the beam designation means is that it fires only within the beams range.

A beam, when treated as a normal, ship-fired beam, cannot have sub-munitions.
However, when it is fired as a planet-defense weapon, each of the projectiles will create sub-munitions, as defined by the weapon resource.
Note that the same weapon can be used in both of these applications at the same time.

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And finally, will you two stop posting while I'm trying to reply to you?!?! 😄 (Just kidding. It's great to finally have some discussion in this thread. I was considering renaming it "OMG WTF LOL!!!" just to get some attention. Really!)

This post has been edited by Edwards : 15 March 2005 - 12:21 AM

Excellent. Very official now.

The only unadressed nitpick: Setting guided type to fighters does what? Makes it behave like a freefall bomb?

Sorry. Forgot to add that to my reply. I did add it to the main post, however:
Freefall Bomb/Carried Fighter:
Either of these weapon types, when given to a spob, will act like normal unguided weapons, except that the spob will only fire them when you are directly on top of the spob (i.e. you have just taken off).

This post has been edited by Edwards : 15 March 2005 - 12:41 AM

In older versions, Federation and Auroran stations used to fire their weapons.

Freefall bomb was selected as the guidance because an unguided shot will hit any non-allied ship between the station and the target.

Now, it seems that the guidance that best simulates the older behavior is a homing weapon with 0ş turning.

@eugene-chin, on Mar 16 2005, 12:03 AM, said in The Complete Guide to Spob-based Weapons:

Freefall bomb was selected as the guidance because an unguided shot will hit any non-allied ship between the station and the target.

Sorry to bring this up but I'd like more info on this. It sounds like you're saying that freefall bombs won't hit any ship except the target, but that isn't true. Did early Nova have different bomb behaviour?

(edit) In current Nova with unguided-turret-type spob weapons, it seems they won't hit any ship except the target anyway.

This post has been edited by Guy : 05 September 2006 - 08:27 PM

@guy, on Sep 6 2006, 12:35 AM, said in The Complete Guide to Spob-based Weapons:

Sorry to bring this up but I'd like more info on this. It sounds like you're saying that freefall bombs won't hit any ship except the target, but that isn't true. Did early Nova have different bomb behaviour?

(edit) In current Nova with unguided-turret-type spob weapons, it seems they won't hit any ship except the target anyway.

As said, it was in earlier versions. Later versions simply had the spöbs not firing Freefall Bombs at all (Edit) Unless you've just taken off (/Edit). I'm no longer certain off hand when the change occured, as I haven't been dealing with it recently.

However, your mention of the Turreted-Unguided spöb weapons sparks my interest for two reasons:

  1. This is the behavior that (on my machine, under the earlier versions) Freefall Bomb spöb weapons used.

  2. It was my experience that Turreted-Unguided spöb weapons, like the Enormous Ion Pulse Cannon (As used by Pirate Stations in Nova), would hit any ship they crossed paths with, barring ships of the same gövt. What you have observed may be a new change in behavior, if it was under 1.0.10.

(Edit) If this thread is going to continue, can I suggest that instead of typing out "Turreted-Unguided Spöb" "Freefall Bomb Spöb," we use acronyms? TU / TU(S) and FB / FB(S) would do for our purposes.

This post has been edited by Eugene Chin : 06 September 2006 - 09:22 PM

Okay, are you saying that in earlier versions FB-S weapons did not hit any ship except the target while FB weapons did? That makes more sense now. But FBs have no pre-defined speed and therefore no calculable range, so how did it work in earlier versions?

Presumably, for the same reason they only hit the target. It handled them differently for spobs. It sounds like it was a special weapon designed for spob use, and FB weapons (that acronym has two meanings) were chosen, presumably because the game had no support for their normal behaviors.

does a spob based fighter bay have infinite ammo? will it actually fire fighters?

Well, yes the spob will deploy the fighters. But what would happen is that you'd end up with a system with as many as 63 fighters which will be painful processing wise for some people.

Nice to see you're using the search to find topics like this but what is the point if you don't even read them? Your question is reasonably clearly answered in the first post.
(edit) Jaca, I suggest you also read the topic before posting 😉

This post has been edited by Guy : 20 October 2006 - 05:04 PM

I have read this topic. 5 times now. I just happened to keep reading over the two words that say "Carried Fighter."

@jacabyte, on Oct 20 2006, 03:57 PM, said in The Complete Guide to Spob-based Weapons:

I have read this topic. 5 times now. I just happened to keep reading over the two words that say "Carried Fighter."

That is because the official title of that weapon class, as given by the Nova Bible, is "Carried Fighter". I admit that my first post is not quite clear, so I will now clear this up once and for all, and edit the first post to reflect it:
The weapon type titled "Carried Fighter", when fired by a spob, does not create ships. It creates standard unguided projectiles. Repeat: It creates bullets , not ships. The only difference between a weapon of this type and an Unguided weapon is that a spob will only fire a "Carried Fighter" type weapon when the player has just taken off from that spob, regardless of the range of the weapon.

For absolute clarity:
The weapon types titled "Beam", "Turreted Beam", and "Carried Fighter", when fired by spobs, produce standard projectiles , not whatever they produce when fired by ships.

Is this now clear?

Edwards

This post has been edited by Edwards : 20 October 2006 - 10:56 PM

I apologize for the gravedig, but this being the Complete Guide to Spob-based Weapons, I figured it was only natural to ask this question in this thread.

I've noticed that inertialess ships are not affected by gravity wells put in place by spobs. I was hoping it would be as simple as giving a spob a tractor beam weapon as well as a gravity well so that all ships would be affected, not just the ones with inertia. After reading this, I realize that won't work.

My question is this: can one make a projectile weapon with a negative impact that, when given to a spob, will pull ships toward the spob?

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