Damage system in WC1&2


Veteran Spaceman
I was wondering how the damage system works in the first two Wing Commander games. So far, I assume the following:

Shields are represented as covering only the front and back of the ship. However, they actually cover the ship completely, I guess that the front shield covers the whole front half and the rear shield the rear half. So, even if the ship is hit from the sides, one of the shields will be hit first.
Once armor is breached, the "damage overflow" from the projectile (projectile damage minus any armor that was remaining before the hit) indicates what happens next; if the internal damage amount is small, one of the system's internal systems will be hit depending on location (I guess the engine sits in the back and the targeting computer to the front). If the internal damage is high enough, a system might be outright destroyed, or multiple systems damaged, or the whole ship is destroyed.

Does anyone have some hard facts or wants to share his or her own opinions on the damage model?


Unknown Enemy
Hey now, that's an avatar that looks rather familiar ;).

You are correct - shields cover their respective halves of the ship.

After armour is breached, there is also a ship core which has a set amount of health (IIRC, it's the equivalent of 5 cm of armour, but it might be more than that for the player - also, I don't recall where I'm getting that 5 cm from, so it might not be factual). The ship blows up once the core has ran out of hit points, regardless of the state of the internal systems.

Internal systems are... well, probably completely unknown, really. I don't think anyone ever analysed how that works. You are almost certainly correct that different systems must be assigned to different parts of the ship. How the game distributes damage among systems is unknown, but I'd imagine the game probably chooses a system from the given area at random each time.
From what I have been able to determine:

The damage system differentiates between capital ships and fighter ships. Capital ships employ a simple system, once the shields and armor are gone, the ship starts taking generic ship damage. Once this damage reaches an upper limit, the ship is destroyed; the upper limit varies by ship type (see list below). Interestingly, Kilrathi capital ships take damage more quickly; less engineering proficiency I guess :).

Fighter ships employ a more complex system, once the shields and armor are gone, the ship starts taking generic ship damage as well as damage to specific ship components. Perhaps not surprisingly, the damage system differentiates between the PC ship and NPC ships (player character vs non-player character).

For NPC ships, the damage is determined at random and by the quadrant hit. For example, a hit on the front quadrant can result in destroying to the ship computer, losing communication, losing a weapon; a hit on the rear quadrant can result in damage to the fuel tank, the engine; the shield generator can be destroyed from any quadrant; etc. The ship also accumulates generic damage and will be destroyed when the upper limit is reached; the upper limit also varies by ship type (see list below).

For the PC ship, the damage is determined at random, by the quadrant hit, and the source of the hit: guns, missiles, or from impact (asteroid or ship). The ship also has a few more components and keeps track of damage severity allowing for repairs. The ship also accumulates generic damage and will be destroyed when the upper limit is reached.

Damage limits by ship type:

Ship  0: Hornet      ; Damage:   5
Ship  1: Rapier      ; Damage:   6
Ship  2: Scimitar    ; Damage:   7
Ship  3: Raptor      ; Damage:   8
Ship  4: Venture     ; Damage:  70
Ship  5: Dilligent   ; Damage:  60
Ship  6: Drayman     ; Damage:  60
Ship  7: Exeter      ; Damage: 200
Ship  8: Tiger's Claw; Damage: 560
Ship  9: Salthi      ; Damage:   5
Ship 10: Dralthi     ; Damage:   7
Ship 11: Krant       ; Damage:   6
Ship 12: Gratha      ; Damage:   7
Ship 13: Jalthi      ; Damage:   7
Ship 14: Spikeri     ; Damage:  45
Ship 15: Dorkir      ; Damage:  35
Ship 16: Lumbari     ; Damage:  35
Ship 17: Ralari      ; Damage:  90
Ship 18: Fralthi     ; Damage: 110
Ship 19: Snakeir     ; Damage: 320
Ship 20: Sivar       ; Damage: 200
Ship 21: Star post   ; Damage: 120


Unknown Enemy
Great stuff! First time in years I've learned something new about how much damage a ship can take in WC2 :).


Veteran Spaceman
Thank you for the detailed explaination. I would assume that internal damage is 1 for cannon projectile hits and two or three for missile and asteroid hits.
The amount of internal damage is computed from the gun projectile damage, the missile explosive force, or the mass and velocity of a ship. A higher computed damage value will result in a greater number of ship components being damaged, increased severity of damage to a component, and additional generic ship damage.

Object 24: Laser cannon; Damage:  25; Explosive:     0
Object 25: Neutron gun ; Damage:  40; Explosive:     0
Object 26: Mass driver ; Damage:  30; Explosive:     0
Object 27: [Flak]      ; Damage:  50; Explosive:  1000
Object 28: Dart DF     ; Damage:   4; Explosive: 14500
Object 29: Javelin HS  ; Damage:   4; Explosive: 13500
Object 30: Pilum FF    ; Damage:   4; Explosive: 10500
Object 31: Spiculum IR ; Damage:   4; Explosive: 11500
Object 32: [Unused]    ; Damage:   4; Explosive: 30000
Object 33: Porcupine   ; Damage:   4; Explosive: 10000


Vice Admiral
So how does explosive damage fit into that, it can't just be added to damage? If you only count "damage" then missiles are puny, but if you count "explosive" then the dumbfire should kill the tigers claw! Unless explosive is damaging only to shields, do we know the values for the shields (with that damage figure above being just the un-shielded ship)?

In both cases, this is really interesting stuff!
The explosive force is not directly used as damage, but used to calculate the amount of damage based on the distance between the explosion and the ship. Once the damage value is calculated, it operates the same, through the shields, then the armor, then internal components.