posted June 04, 2001 03:08 PM
I'll make a few comments about tank design to help clarify a few points in the discussions about tanks.
Except for the Mite <novelty tank> the tank stats were kept the same to help keep racing fair. Of course this doesn't apply much now that TM is becoming more focussed on deathmatch.
Mass determines how much the environment effects the tank...splash push....and is the key difference between liquid and steel tanks.
Top speed is not a fixed limit....It can be exceeded going down hill.
Add acceleration if your tank is too slow on hills or you are setting gravity higher... <larger negative number> to try for that WWII tank combat effect.
Armor is simply armor/hit points but with a damage gradient from front <strongest> to rear <weakest>.
Now that's pretty sketchy, so I'll comment on what creates the subtle differences that you observe.
All other stats being the same, it's the tank shape that counts.
On the bottom of each tank is a series of contact points. A contact points has to be touching the ground to drive the tank forward or turn....etc.
As for damage, the front can take the most damage and rear the least. There is a gradient around the tank. Given there more nebulous shape, a liquid tank might be taking a side hit when it appears to be taking a frontal hit.
When a tank takes splash/push it is temporarily disabled <out of control>, having lost most of its contact with the ground. And as you experienced players know, the key to the dirtball attack is bouncing the opponent in the air <out of control> That's why the dirtball was designed to just be reloading as the opponent is landing and regaining control...<tension and skill>
Control is the key <You can't drive, turn of fire with much effect if your tank is flopping around like a fish on a dock.> As soon as contact points touch down you can start regaining control, and that's where shape plays a major part.
The other major influence which is always changing and has a huge effect on tank performance is the terrain itself. As the terrain shape and roughness effects the ability of those contact points to be on the ground < to accelerate and turn the tank>, (and as no game has changeable terrain like Tread Marks) <gratuitous plug> ....the terain creates a constantly changing set of parameters for the player to factor into decisions.