Dev Blog: Balancing Special Parts

Last post I talked about balancing Mobility parts.  With those feeling solid, balancing Special Parts was the next thing we looked at.
One thing I’ve learned to do is to plug their data into a spreadsheet and start looking at some averages.
Average cost is 4.4 Gold.  This means most special parts cost around 4 gold, some more.  And that just seems to be too much.  Now that we have a baseline of costs based on the other parts, we can look at what you can get for a certain amount of gold–for 4-5, an average white weapon, an average gold shield, an average gold engine, or an average gold mobility.  I definitely think that average needs to go down–I just don’t think most special parts are worth that much.  The crystal irradiator is quite possibly worth 4$, but most of the other costs are very iffy.    At 6$ and a high equip cost, the Ultrahyper Drill, for example, seems way overpriced:  you might as well just buy a PPG, Scatter Missiles, or the Vulcan.  It would be cheaper, aside from the vulcan, and be easier to equip, and would actually kill things.
Average weight is 1.8.  And maybe that’s actually fine, though I suspect it should go down to 1 since we should probably have a spread of 0-2 weight special parts.  I think that with the new balance, weight higher than 2 is too much to ask of a special part unless it’s reasonably likely to win you the game by itself.
Average Power Consumption is 4.8.  And I’m not sure how I feel about that.  I kind of like the thematic flaver of having most special parts demand energy more than anything.  Right now, Weapons cost both, though after normalizing for the higher value of weight, they cost a bit more weight than energy.  Mobility obviously only costs energy and Engines only weight, though Armor definitely demands more weight, especially after normalizing.  It’s a nice, flavorful model if Special Parts start rounding out the demand for Energy.
So, I’m not at the point of suggestions for individual special parts yet, but it’s useful data.
Math:  a game designer’s friend.

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