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Apr 21

Dishonorable tactics for fun and profit

GH1_Vadel

If you’re looking for a bit of an edge in GH1, here’s a nice degenerate tactic you can try. I like this one because it gives some insight into how the game works.

The first thing you need to know is that GearHead is a clock-based system. Actions take a certain amount of time. After a character performs an action, a certain amount of time has to pass before they can perform their next action. Generally this period is the character’s Reaction Time, which is calculated based on Speed and the Initiative skill. There is one big exception to this: movement. Since it wouldn’t make sense to return control to the PC in the middle of a movement action, movement ignores Reaction Time and instead returns control to the PC when the move is completed.

To exploit this, first you need a very fast mecha, preferably loaded with overchargers. The Vadel is a good choice. Next, load it up with high-speed weapons. The more and the faster the better. In combat, start moving at full speed straight towards the enemies. Because of the movement exception described above, you will be able to attack every time the mecha moves into a new tile, regardless of your character’s Speed. If you can boost your mecha’s top speed to 300dpr or so this means an attack every two seconds.

This tactic doesn’t work in GH2, where the movement exception only occurs if movement is slower than Reaction Time.

11 comments

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  1. Cornuthaum

    For purposes of Mecha Engineering, what do Overchargers actually do? I usually tend to bolt as many Arc Thrusters onto my Savins as I can, both in GH2 and in GH1

    1. Joseph Hewitt

      Overchargers increase the full/run speed of all your movement modes, while leaving the cruise/walk speed (mostly) the same. Their impact on full speed is much greater than installing other thrust systems instead.

      1. Veryinky

        It’s a shame that the in depth guide to mecha building has been lost, it used to explain how it the mecha parts affected the mech’s stats. Been trying to write up a new wiki and it’s slow going.

  2. Esterior

    Oh, wow, I did notice that before, but I didn’t put much thought into the mechanic into it… I should try that now

  3. kripto

    Ain’t every day you’ll find an exploit guide on a game’s own devblog.

  4. Tung

    Charging with full speed toward your opponents has two disadvantages, one is your aim seems to suffer, if you can make up for that by firing more shots, it’s fine, but some of those shots would be from lighter weapons since your main guns won’t be ready; and if you can’t cripple enough of them, you’d be in trouble when trying to turn. Unless you are in flight mode without arcjet, when you try to turn, your mecha will pull to full stop to turn, making it a sitting duck amidst the throng of enemies.

    In a 1 vs 6, 2 vs 12 fight against mechas way more expensive than yours, against opponents dedicated to learn their mecha skills and mecha skills only, who are also not worried about the financial aspect of firing all those light nukes, it’s not reasonable to expect that you would survive if you play by the same rule; they already aren’t.

    So I am not so sure why this is dishonorable. When you are moving, you are not firing. Since there are not ingame information about reaction speed, I don’t know if you lose opportunity to fire between tiles; I think you do, when you are driving something slow even with high initiative and speed the enemies will get to fire many many shots when you move. And even if you get extra opportunity to fire because you are going fast, your guns won’t be ready. If you play a mecha fps, you’d have no trouble piloting and firing at the same time.

    TLDR I think the movement/reaction system in GH1 is fine as it is, GH2 is better, but if you have plans for GH3 being able to issue move and fire command separately would be nice.

    1. Decimus

      You can move and shoot simultaneously. Once you start moving (either on foot or in a mecha) you remain moving in the same straight line until you turn, wait/stop, reverse, change gears (walk/jetpack or walk/hover/fly), or hit an object/creature/obstacle/some other entity. Shooting doesn’t stop your movement, unless you shoot at something outside your weapon’s firing arc (in which case your character/mecha will turn automatically, killing your speed).

      if your character or mecha is stationary, you will have to wait out your reaction time (determined by your character’s speed and initiatve) before you can take another shot (or perform some other action, even if the action doesn’t take up any time such as accessing your inventory and transferring items to lancemates). When you’re moving, however, you get to act each time your character or mecha travels to a new tile (or ‘hex’ as Mr. Hewitt calls it, but I personally think hexes should be hexagonal) , which can be far quicker than your reaction time, especially for a tricked-out mecha with multiple overchargers.

      My current character has speed 18 and initiative 9. His reaction time is 11 seconds, that is, I need to wait 11 seconds after taking a shot (or some equivalent action) before I can act again. When he’s moving and takes a shot in front of him (or within his arc of fire), he needs to wait 12 seconds (longer than his usual reaction time) before he can act again. If he’s running, however, he waits 8 seconds.

      (Values are rounded up above. Gearhead 1 actually tracks time to smaller numbers, possibly milliseconds. Also, your initial move from zero takes longer since you need to accelerate).

      Obviously taking advantage of this isn’t too practical in personal-scale combat, as it is harder to raise your character’s traveling speed, and running drains stamina. Personal-scale combat also has more obstacles with fewer clear lines of fire.

      Mechas are another matter entirely, because you can mount an obscene number of overchargers (plus hoverjets and arc thrusters) on your mecha, even with an abysmal Mecha Engineering skill (hint: abuse mounting points). Getting speeds exceeding 200 (200 decihexes per round, or 20 hexes per 60 seconds, or 1 hex every 3 seconds) while ‘running’ is trivial, in which case you can take a shot every 3 seconds or less, so long as your weapons aren’t on cool-down and your enemies are within their firing arcs.

      Making a shot every 3 seconds makes a significant difference compared to shooting once every 11 seconds. Of course, if you have a high init and speed and are driving something slow, you might want to stop moving before shooting, just so you can take shots more frequently (but bear in mind that it also makes it easier for your enemies to hit you).

      When you’re moving normally, you have no penalties or bonuses to your attack. When you’re stationary, you gain a +3 bonus to your attack roll, but enemies also gain a +3 bonus against you. When you’re moving at full speed (‘running’), you take a -3 penalty on your attack roll.

      Also, when you’re trying to hit a moving target, you take a -1 penalty for every 20 dpr of speed they are moving ( I think this caps at -10). So moving a full speed also makes it much harder for enemies to hit you.

      So, eh, just take the -3 penalty and move at full speed when you’re shelling enemies from afar (my preferred weapons are the Harpy variant of the Pulse Laser, with high Spot Weakness and the Sniper talent). Also, if you’re lucky (and have high stealth), they probably can’t see you from that distance, giving you another +5 bonus to your attack roll (or +10 if you have Ninjutsu.

  5. Decimus

    Side note on dirty tricks; how many factions can a player theoretically join a single run? It is possible to get fired from any of the corps by taking missions against them. Kettel is the easiest as you can just purposely fail the Iria Ruby quest (or not so purposely, after you have a change in heart while performing the quest) . I’m not sure if it’s possible to get fired from the Guardians/Solar Navy/Federation Defense or any of the other factions (maybe taking missions against the guardians would work as well?).

    Also you can join the monks or the thieves guild even if you belong to another faction. So, in theory, you can join a Corp, get fired, get into the Guardians/Solar Navy/Federation Defense, join the thieves, then join the monks (4 factions in total), getting a decent chunk of faction promotion rewards along the way. You could in theory join all three corps, but that seems pointless since their skill training and promotion rewards mostly overlap anyway.

    Going Kettel -> Guardians -> Thieves -> Monks gives you the greatest coverage of skill trainers. You probably want to end with the Monks, if you’re munchkining (which you probably are, if you’re going through THAT many factions), since they give +1 Martial Arts every promotion reward (needs high Spiritual, or you just get a tiny amount of cash instead).

    Getting fired does cost a hefty chunk of renown though. I got dinged more than 80 points after quitting Kettel (possibly a bug, TS_PLOT_Fired runs each time for every single e-mail you receive from your former faction quest-givers, instead of just once. If you haven’t spoken to any of the quest givers other than the president, you just get dinged once, plus the mission failure renown loss).

  6. xpace

    We really, -really- could use a GearHead forum – not only to discuss hints and tactics like this, but also to share our own code changes, custom mecha designs, and custom graphics.

    If the old forum can’t be resurrected, perhaps it could be made available for -reading-, as an archive copy? The Wayback Machine is known for how a great many of its archived web pages get lost or corrupted as the years pass. You can’t rely on that forever as there’s no telling how much longer they will keep GearHead forum pages available.

    If Mr. Hewitt doesn’t want to create a new forum, perhaps an English-speaking fan should? (Apparently, there is still a Japanese forum.)

    I did notice that someone started a new wiki over on Wikia.com: Gearhead RPG Wikia Though, it needs a lot more content as it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the old wiki. (BTW: I have a mostly-complete zipped copy of the old wiki, if anyone is interested.)

  7. Voiddweller

    Does this version have a rudimentary 3d support like GH2?

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