Shield systems in Starmade are a core element of defending your ship against incoming damage,. consuming power to protect the ship or station. While shields are one of the more intuitive systems for players, they can still take some getting used to.
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When building a shield system, the player will use two blocks. The first block, are the Shield-Rechargers, which act like the shield generators. The second block needed are Shield Capacitors, which determine max shield HP. The more rechargers a shield has, the faster it will charge, and the more capacitors it has, the larger the pool of shield HP.
Shields, as of 0.200.311, are a local generated bubble by each Independent group of rechargers. Placing a Shield-Recharger in build mode generates a GUI pop-up that shows the radius of the shield bubble, a perfect sphere. Shields have three major characteristics; size, capacity, and recharge rate. Shield-Rechargers affect the radius of the bubble, power consumption, and maximum recharge rate of the shield. Shield Capacitors affect the capacity and effective recharge rate.
Shine published an infographic with the release notes of 0.200.311.
Shield-Recharger groups make up the center of of shield systems. Each group maintains local specific radius, capacity and recharge rates. Groups of capacitors then are added within the radius of the shield bubble to add shield HP. Capacitors that are outside the radius of the shields generated by the rechargers are not used, and are effectively useless. The bubbles generated by the groups of rechargers are allowed to over-lap. However, if a group of rechargers is inside the bubble of another recharger group, the smaller recharger group is disabled completely. Capacitors may also be placed within the overlap of shield groups, but only affect and belong to the closest parent group of rechargers, and do not share capacity between multiple groups of shields.
The radius (r) of the sphere generated a group of Shield-Rechargers is controlled by an power function:
r = round(b · (S)a + r0)
Where, the variables as of 0.201.200g are as follows:
The smallest shield radius generated by 1 recharger block is therefore 25m radius. With 10 blocks, nearly 40m radius is generated. In order to generate a 100m radius shield, 216 rechargers is required in one group.
You may compute the minimum number of blocks required to produce a shield of some specific radius using the inverse of the above function:
S = ceil(((r - 10.5) / b)1/a)
After creating a group of rechargers, add capacitors to create a pool of shield HP. The rechargers have no inherent capacity on their own. Capacitors are a simple, linear, non-grouping block. Add groups of capacitors to add 250 shield HP per-block (<ShieldLocalCapacityPerBlock> = 250 and <ShieldLocalDefaultCapacity> = 0).
While in the build mode, players will note that as capacity blocks are added, the GUI will display the amount of current and total available capacity for the local shield, as well as in the Structure Information tab. Each recharge group may only associated 20 groups of capacitors.
Power Consumption and Recharge
The power drain on the reactor is determined by a total rate of shield HP regen. However, shield regeneration is determined by a smaller value, effective shield HP regen. While the number of rechargers determined maximum regen, the higher number of capacitors leads to decreasing rates of effective regen, to the point where too many capacitors will actually over power the rechargers and drain the shields to zero.
Each Shield-Recharger adds 25 s/sec to the local group. When resting, 1 s/sec requries 0.4 e/sec of power consumption. More simply, each recharger takes 10 e/sec to maintain.
When Capacitors are added, an upkeep charge is determined and subtracted from the total available regen by the Rechargers. For every 100 shield HP, 2 s/sec is required for upkeep. Since each capacitor has 250 sheild HP, each capacitor therefore requires 5 s/sec of upkeep. When combined, the amount of shield regen applied to the local shields are simply the difference between the amount from the rechargers and the upkeep from the capacitors.
A rule of thumb to go by, is that 1 recharger can support up to 5 capacitors, before the upkeep overcomes the supply rate. Power consumption, however is not affected by the upkeep, and simply uses the number of rechargers as they draw power requirements.
An example: a local shield group has 20 rechargers and 40 capacitors. The shield will have 40 * 250 = 10,000 shield HP from the capacitors. The shield will draw 20 * 10 = 200 e/sec from the reactors. The effective regen rate is 20*25 - 40*5 = 300 s/sec. If the number of capacitors were instead only 15 capacitors: the HP is 15*250 = 3750hp, the regen rate is 20*25 - 15*5 = 425 s/sec but the power is still 20*10 = 200 e/sec.
There are many modifiers to the shield regen rates and effectiveness based on combat, multiple over-lapping shields, and the Defense Reactor Chamber bonuses.
Shields in combat have reduced effectiveness and increased power requirements. There are three states a shield can be in: 1)Charging Normal, 2)Charging Under Fire and 3)Zero Shields.
When the shields are charging, when the ship or station first pulls out from dock, or finishes a teleportation of a player, there is an increased power requirement. The regen rates are unaffected, but the power requirements are doubled (20 e/sec per recharger) As soon as 100% shields are generated by the local shield, it returns to normal for the resting charge requirement, as listed above (10 e/sec per recharger)
Charging Under Fire
When any shield takes damage from any source, it enters into an 'Under Fire' state for 30 seconds from the last source of damage. First, the power requirements of Charging Normal apply, doubling the power drawn from the reactor. As of 0.201.200g, there are two parts that change the effective regen rate of shields.
- When a shield takes a hit and is left at below 20% HP, the shield regens at 50% its effective rate.
- When a shield takes a hit and is left above 20% HP, the shield regens at a linearly correlated rate. At 0% when the shield are exactly 20% up to 100% regen rate when the shields are at full.
The regen rate does not change as it is recharging. Whatever regen rate is determined from the last hit remains until the effect is over, and returns to 100% regen rate and Charging Normal.
When a shield is depleted, it enters a state of zero recharging for 10 seconds. The power requirements still double, like normal Charging. However, the shields will not begin to recharge until there has been 10 seconds since the last source of damage to the area protected by the shields. Once 10 seconds has passed, the shields regen at 50% regen rate for 20 seconds, completing the Under Fire time, at which point the shields return to full charging rate.
When working with multiple shields that overlap the same location of the hull of an entity, shields do not share the damage, but rather a prioritized shield takes 100% of the damage. After the prioritized shield is depleted, the second shield then will take damage.
As to which shield takes damage first is determined by spatial relation according to the entities' coordinate system. In the Starmade build mode, the positive Z axis is forward or bow. The positive X axis is left, or port. The positive Y axis is up, or dorsal.
Between two shield systems, the following lists how they get priority to take damage first:
- Farther in negative X (Right / Starboard)
- Farther in negative Z (Rear / Aft)
- Farther in positive Y (Top / Dorsal)
When three or more shield systems cover the same damage area, the rules only loosely apply, but generally provide guidelines. The priority of the shields can be seen in the HUD while piloting. The shields are listed top to bottom in order of which shield takes damage first should there be a conflict. Additionally, only the charging shield increases power cost. If only one of three shields is currently being hit, then only that one shield is in Charging Under Fire.
Finally, if one of the shields is depleted, the remaining damage from the impact will be transferred to the other shields equally; e.g. if a cannon with 300 damage hits the priority shield with only 100 hp left, then 200 damage is applied to each of the other shields underneath. The next cannon shot then is applied to the next shield in priority order, like normal.
The Defense Reactor Chamber Shield tree augments and changes the way shields interact with the incoming damage.
A list of all the stat modifying effects that the Shield tree for the Defense Reactor can modify is listed:
- ±% of Shield Capacity: A direct change to the amount of shield HP per shield group. This also therefore changes the amount of required upkeep
- Base Enhancement: +10%
- Shield Capacity 1: +15% (25% total)
- Shield Capacity 2: +25% (50% total)
- ±% of Shield Recharge: A direct change to the amount of shield regen per second is output. However, there is not a change to the amount of power required to meet the new recharge amount
- Base Enhancement: +10%
- ±% of Shield Upkeep: Altering the Upkeep costs for capacitors without changing the capacity. Only positive effects.
- Base Enhancement: -10.1%
- Shield Capacity 1: -11% (79.9% of original)
- Shield Capacity 2: -13.3% (66.6% of original)
- ±% of Under-Fire Timeout: Alters the amount of time that a shield recharges at a reduced rate from Charging Under Fire.
- Shield Outage Redux 1: -40% (i.e. 18 seconds)
- Shield Outage Redux 2: -40% (20% of original, i.e. 6 seconds)
Damage Type Resistances
The Shield Defense Reactors also have two types of damage resistances: High (Alpha) and Low (DPS). Each version has two steps in the reactor tree. The first applies the damage resistance, the second simple augments it. When choosing a reactor tree that uses this type of defense reactor, note that lots of damage can be mitigated by this de-buff, however, if it is used against the wrong type of incoming damage, can actually increase the incoming damage amount.
Both styles of chambers do three things:
- Enable the Shield Hotspot, either Alpha or DPS
- Set a Hotspot transition (both at 50%)
- Set a Hotspot Range,
- 25% for Level 1
- 50% for Level 2
Simply, the damage type resistance is a linear modifier or incoming damage. The amount the damage is modified by is dependent on the relationship between the max shield HP and the incoming instance of damage. And instance may either refer to an impact by either a single cannon round or missile, or by each tick of a beam (usually 10/sec). The Hotspot transition point, set to 50%, determines at what percentage of the shield HP the resistance is useful versus not useful. In either case, 50% of the HP is a transition point. The HotSpot range (either 25 or 50 percent) determines the amount the damage is modified by.
- For Low Type (DPS) resistance
- The damage is reduced by up to the range (25 or 50) when incoming damage is 0% of the Shield HP
- The damage is increased by up to the range when incoming damage is 100% of the shield HP.
- The crossover, at 50%, makes no change to the incoming damage.
- For High Type (Alpha) resistance, the opposite is applied
- The damage is increased by up to the range (25 or 50) when incoming damage is 0% of the Shield HP
- The damage is reduced by up to the range when incoming damage is 100% of the shield HP.
- The crossover, at 50%, makes no change to the incoming damage.
To put the words into an equation, the new damage for a Low Type is:
Dnew/LOW = Dorig * ( 1 - Rrange *((Smax*.5 - Dorig) / Smax*.5) )
For the High Type:
Dnew/HIGH = Dorig * ( 1 + Rrange *((Smax*.5 - Dorig) / Smax*.5) )
The Damage Types can only modify the incoming damage by 25% (level 1) or 50% (level 2), so damage values larger than the shield's HP max are capped. Examples to facilitate understanding are thus:
- A shield with a max of 100 HP and Low Type 1 is hit by a cannon that deals 40 damage.
- 40 is less than 50% of the max HP, so it is reduced by a little.
- The new amount of damage applied to the shields is only 38 damage.
- A shield with a max of 500 HP and High Type 2 is hit by a missile that deals 800 damage.
- The incoming damage should destroy the shield.
- 800 damage is well over the 50% mark of the shield HP.
- The equation shows incoming damage should be 360, however damage reduction is capped at 50%.
- The new damage is now only 400 damage.
- A shield with 10,000 HP and High Type 1 is hit by a damage beam, that deals 90 damage per tick, and has a 10 second fire time.
- While the total damage of the beam would normally come out to 90dmg * 10 tick/sec * 10 sec = 9000 damage, it is the per tick value modified, not the final.
- 90 damage is well below 50% of the shield max HP using High Type, and so its damage is actually increased!
- The new damage per tick is now 112.1
- The original 9000 dmg beam, instead of dealing 7200 total in one go, actually deals 11209.5 damage, destroying the shield and blocks underneath.