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Chris

Supression Feedback

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OK, so for the purposes of this thread, we won't be discussing changing the suppression to a "by bullet" system as I want to give this one a run first (and it gives us more leeway to tweak burst fire and how that works).

How do people like suppression at the moment? Is it useful? The other thread suggests some people find it too easy to suppress units - is this generally the case?

Also, peculiar behaviour - firing at close range can lead to you suppressing your own troops, including those behind the shooter. I can imagine that's a bit weird - are there other odd behaviours I should know about?

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Gazz had this to fix friendlies getting suppressed if they were close the shooter.

In JA2 (v1.13), friendlies are immune to suppression if they are in a certain radius around the shooter.

Having APs reduced to 50% seems a bit too much. Need the AI to get better to make a proper judgement tho.

Edited by Gorzahg

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Chris, I think that with some fine tuning suppression will be a really nice addition to the game.

At present it's allowing me to send shotgun equipped troopers closer to an enemy safely under the cover of suppressing fire, so the alien is unable to reaction fire as my guys cross the open ground towards him. This, I would imagine, is one of the intended uses of suppression, and if that's the case then it's functioning as intended.

Could it be improved/fine tuned? Sure, there are already detailed suggestions on alternate systems in the other thread. But if you're really keen to use the current system then I'd personally be okay with that. Having played a few missions, I'd actually be happy enough if suppression was purely a tool to use in order to cancel out reaction fire, as I think those two aspects of the game have a nice relationship and would open up the tactics involved in setting up ambushes (your troops on reaction fire) and escaping enemy ambushes (using suppression to cancel enemy reaction fire).

A quick question, before I suggest some feedback: in the initial suppression proposal you posted, it mentions that the shots don't have to hit the enemy to have an effect. But do they have to land near the target, or can the fly off absolutely anywhere? I note in the weapons file that each weapon has a suppression radius, but I didn't know if this was just to calculate suppression in a radius around the initial target, or whether it calculated suppression from where the shot landed. If it's the former, any chance it could be the latter? An alien being suppressed because my rookie shot out the window frame next to him seems a little immersion breaking.

Cheers

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The machinegun very easily supresses anything in it's path. I found that after tweaking the damage value of the machingun so it was lower (trying to lock down the reason beind S.A.D.S.) I preferred it as a suppressor to a killer. Gauddlike was right. I was able to take two rookie corporals with machineguns, edge them into range then under the quite wild base of fire they supplied I could advance right up and take out aliens.

EDIT: This did involve a LOT of shuffling about to make sure I could start with suppressing fire first.

Edited by Max_Caine

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Can civvies get suppressed? One would imagine these units would rather keep running than hunker down behind cover.

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Yes, civvies can get suppressed, right alongside the aliens, actually.

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OK. The friendlies being immune to suppression within a certain range of the shooter (I guess the weapon's suppression radius) seems a sensible fix.

The 50% AP reduction is more meant for there to be a use for the aliens suppressing your units, as units like the Light Drone will pretty much only do that in their final incarnation. It's something we can tweak though, of course.

It's possible that the machinegun could be tweaked to do less suppression, but I think it being great at doing that makes it a fairly unique weapon. I guess I should update the .50cal Ferret to be less lethal but far more suppressing too. That might make it more fun to play with. And a little less devestating against the aliens...which then would allow me to make it more resilient to enemy fire.

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Two more points on suppression. With suppression enabled, I found that it was worth shooting early, even if you stood no chance of hitting. Good example, one guy with a precision rifle was shooting from long range at a Caesian who was behind some cover. Now, my guy had at a 7% chance of hitting the Caesian - he either hit the cover or the shot went flying elsewhere. But the Caesian got suppressed after the first shot, and that let my shotgun-equipped guys move up.

Also, some weird activity. In another situation, one of my machinegun armed guys missed his target (a sebillian) badly amd the shots ended up near some guys trying to flank the same suppressed sebillian (the flanking sqaud was no-where near the sebillian at the time). Those guys got suppressed. But shouldn't only the sebillian have been suppressed?

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A quick question, before I suggest some feedback: in the initial suppression proposal you posted, it mentions that the shots don't have to hit the enemy to have an effect. But do they have to land near the target, or can the fly off absolutely anywhere?

The bullets are not considered, it is purely from the target point and used the weapon value.

When you are testing the suppression you can freely ignore where the shots land.

One of the other suppression posts has a lot of info about that though and Chris wants to avoid that discussion here.

I was wondering if suppression was being blocked by solid walls.

I have had a few fights with mixed results so I can't tell if the enemies inside the UFO were being weakened when I shot the one standing outside.

I also have found that it is incredibly easy to suppress enemies unless they are standing quite far apart.

This feels wrong that they are so easily affected but I am also concerned about morale.

Having officers near to your lower ranks is supposed to be a good thing when they start to lose morale.

My worry is that the best tactic will be to have your troops widely spread out rather than supporting each other closely, otherwise they could all be suppressed a lot of the time.

I am not yet sure if this makes for a good choice or not.

By that I mean stay close for support but risk suppression or stay further apart but risk your units panicking due to low morale.

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I find suppression to be a bit too reliable - for instance, right now I can stand in the door of a small UFO, fire one burst into it, and all aliens inside get suppressed for sure. That lets me safely walk in with someone else and finish off the enemies with no reaction fire possible. Also, I noticed that suppression markers are visible even when the alien isn't, so as-is you can use it for scouting too.

I think that once I fire a burst or two into a UFO it should *help* me, but not make it a walk in the park. If I don't know if an alien is suppressed or not, then I'll be more cautious with my assault. I think I'd rather see it work under a chance system - so when I fire an MG burst at something, there's perhaps a straight 30% chance it gets suppressed, rather than an automatic suppression effect.

Also, I don't know if MGs are currently suffering from the accuracy penalty while moving or not (I think they are), but regardless they're still such good all-round weapons that they're all my squad needs to take, and the suppression just makes them better. The low accuracy doesn't hurt them all that much when you're in real close quarters. I think MG's may need a serious TU increase or something, as you can burst fire twice with them (but not with an assault rifle), and each burst is deadlier than anything else the soldiers have.

The main reason its so powerful is because of the aggregate effect of many bullets firing. Even at very low accuracy values, being able to squeeze off five shots in a burst means your overall chance to hit at least one (and each shot hurts like hell) is very high.

Here's something to consider - double the cost for a burst (to 50! No more assaulting with these things!), double the shots fired (to 10), and possibly drop the accuracy a bit. I think I'll play around with the values and see what makes me still want to take MGs, but not take nothing but MGs.

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In my last ground battle the supressing mechanics didn't seem to work. There was a Caesan near a downed UFO, in the line of sight of my soldiers... I commanded everyone to shoot at it, but even so, the supression mark didn't show up above it's head.

It was interesting cause it was the firt night time battle, during day time the supression mechanics worked fine. Did anyone experienced this? OF course I can't say it's a bug cause I just played it once, I haven't had another night fight to confirm it.

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The config.xml file in the assets folder has a flag for testing night missions.

<Testing>

<NightMission>0</NightMission>

</Testing>

I don't know if flipping that to 1 would allow you to test the night missions with your suppression testing.

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I agree with Comassion about suppression being too reliable. I think problem right now is you know that the aliens will definitely not reaction fire if suppressed, which means you can just run up with a shotgun and shoot them point-blank with impunity . Xenonauts is all about taking calculated risks, the current system removes that element of the unknown.

My proposal for suppression is:

- Lose 50% of AP reserved for reaction (values are just an example)

- Greatly reduce chance of reaction fire

Rest of the current system is ok (crouch, lose 50% of AP next turn, etc.)

The suppressed unit (alien or human) would still have a chance to (rarely) return (inaccurate) fire, both adding realism and keeping the "X-com"-esque feeling of luck. Suppression would still be effective, but it wouldn't render the unit completely harmless, the player should not know what will definately happen next.

Just my thoughts.

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I agree with Comassion about suppression being too reliable. I think problem right now is you know that the aliens will definitely not reaction fire if suppressed, which means you can just run up with a shotgun and shoot them point-blank with impunity . Xenonauts is all about taking calculated risks

That was the reason why in the other (TLDR =) thread I suggested that the effect of suppression should be an accuracy reduction.

Aliens could return fire normally while suppressed. What they would not do is stick their head out long enough to do any careful aiming.

Now if you grab a shotgun and run right up to an alien, you might still get nailed because even with reduced accuracy, such a point blank shot could hit you.

Suppression or not - advancing on hostiles should never be completely safe.

There would be no point in having all these fancy armour types, smoke grenades, and whatnot...

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The system feels to binary.

I have played about with the suppression damage value on a couple of weapons and I just can't seem to hit a centre point.

If the value is too low you do nothing but if it is one point higher you seem to suppress anyone you fire on with ease.

A couple of shots from anyone and you can walk about in complete safety.

Throw in the 50% reduction for the next turn and they really can't escape once you get into range.

It makes the combat feel like a bit of a formality in some situations.

Get a couple of people in range then one suppresses while the other walks up and hits them in the head with very little risk.

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I've always assumed that you'd need 2-3 people shooting to fully suppress an alien. or one person shooting at it over several turns. I'm surprised to hear that it's so easy to advance on a suppressed target.

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Suppression in it's current form makes things far to easy. You spray some mg fire at an alien at whatever range with next to no chance to hit and run the rest of the squad forward. Spray run, spray run, bang, dead alien. Rinse repeat.

Clearing a ufo: force fire a mg spray through the door at the back wall and suppress all the aliens inside, run in guys and kill them. etc.

Some of the values need tweaking (ie make it harder to suppress in one burst, so you have to lay down fire) but thats a balance issue, not mechanics.

I also think the current system doesn't give a very good reaction. This is somewhat dependent on the AI side of things, but even a suppressed trooper is going to react to someone charging at them at short range. Even a suppressed trooper is going to run to cover. etc.

Instead of removing the reaction fire completely, I'd rather see a mechanic to reduce the "trigger range" of the reaction fire. The more suppression fire, the shorter the reaction fire trigger range. So you can cover the initial advance, but you have to flank (ie avoid their front arc) to get a reaction fire free shot at short range.

Being behind cover should provide a counter to suppression, ie reduce the effect.

Being suppressed should change the AI priorities to "get into cover".

edit: oh and the accuracy of the burst should make a difference, mg fire with 2% accuracy should hardly do anything. Having one bullet zip past isn't being suppressed, even if it's from a suppression weapon. Suppression comes from lots of bullets hitting near you so you don't want to stick anything out from behind cover.

edit edit: how much work is it to make suppression work based on a "cone" rather than a "circle"? as i understand it, suppression only works on a radius around the intended target? so suppression is applied to everything in the radius of effect, and also to anything in the cone.

also, maybe something that links the accuracy of the fire with the radius. So an inaccurate burst has a reduced suppression score, but over a larger effect area. More accurate bursts have a smaller radius (down to the minimum given for the weapon/shot type) but much greater effect. Would elegantly deal with "spray" I think.

Edited by LeftyRighty

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oh, and question: do the aliens use the same shot type choice as the troopers? ie they have a choice of snap, aimed, burst etc.? if so as long as an aimed shot is >50% TU you're achieving the "reduce accuracy" by denying them more accurate fire modes. Doesn't have to be an actual % reduction i don't think.

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The system does feel too binary at the moment. Something like Guaddlike's suggestion in the other thread would be better, where the % of suppression is taken into account.

- for every 1% of suppression done reduce 1% of AP reserved (at 50% start taking it from next turn instead)

- for every 4% of suppression reduce accuracy by 1%

- for every 1% of suppression reduce reactions by 0.8%

- at 50% of suppression, crouch

So at full suppression the unit will have

- 50% less AP this turn and next

- A 25% accuracy penalty

- A 80% reaction penalty

- be crouched

Or something like that

With this system there shouldn't be an indicator apart from crouching. You can't see the enemy health, you can't see how much AP they have, so you shouldn't see how suppressed they are.

Edit:

OR

Each unit doesn't get effected by suppression until it's suppression score goes below 50, at which point

- every point below 50 reduces AP by 2% (at 50% start taking it from next turn instead)

- every 2 points below 50 reduces accuracy by 1%

- every 2 point below 50 reduces reactions by 3%

- at 25 points, crouch

This will give a similar result to the above, while combining the binary and % systems. This allows units to take some fire before beginning to feel the effects of suppression. It also shares some elements with the morale system so it should it relatively easy to implement (compared to other, more complex systems)

Also reduce the amount of suppression each gun does (especially the MG, that thing is ridiculous) so it will actually take numerous shots or 2 MG bursts to fully suppress.

Edited by Khall

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If you were going to affect accuracy and reactions (as per suggestions made on the original suppression thread) then you don't really need the AP reduction as well.

The AP will still be there but with reduced effect.

I think Chris wants to try and balance this iteration of suppression before thinking about an alternative.

Try knocking all weapons suppression value down by about 30% ish.

That feels better but still not right.

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I like the clear differentiation between suppressed and not suppressed, but the suppression is currently too easy and too powerful. More variability in the amount of suppression would also be nice. Maybe using the same multiplier as is used for normal damage calculations would work. Additionally the current AI needs updated to know how to handle suppression and deal with it appropriately. As an example, a nice reaction to suppression would be that the suppressed alien would fall back from the enemy and his buddies would set an ambush up for the pursuing Xenonauts. Using grenades to create smoke / fire would also be good to do before falling back or to make his current position more easily defended.

Although I agree that we need to test the current system more fully before trying something else, what follows is a suggestion for a slightly different approach that maintains the current approaches benefits while making it less boolean. A happy middle ground between the two systems (the current binary and a % based approach) would be to introduce tiers of suppression that have different effects and colors. The tiers could be cumulative so that as you go from one to the next the penalties stack. Here is an example (in brackets are the rough sketch of about how much suppression should occur before it becomes applicable):

Tier 1 (Blue - "Faltering") [2 burst shots from the M16 against a Non-Com]:

- Accuracy reduced by 25%

- Points left for reaction fire is reduced by 25% of what is leftover from the last turn.

Tier 2 (Yellow - "Cowering") [burst shots from the M16 and the machine gun against a Non-Com]:

- Unit is forced to crouch

- APs for next turn reduced by 25%

- Points left for reaction fire is reduced by another 25% of what was leftover from the last turn

Tier 3 (Red - "Pinned") [Three to four volleys of machine gun fire against a Non-Com]:

- Points left for reaction fire is reduced to 0%

- APs for next turn reduced by another 25%

- Accuracy reduced by a further 25%

- AI will seek to retreat from the current position

At tier 3 (and after a lot of fire from the Xenonauts) the alien has no chance of reaction firing, half AP for the next turn, half it's regular accuracy, and will have been forced to crouch.

Edited by Quartermaster
Summary paragraph of the cumulative effects.

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The accuracy reduction is mainly to negate the accuracy bonus from crouching and the AP reduction would not allow more expensive firemodes and reduce mobility.

Reducing the suppression values by 30% did make it feel less overpowered :)

Reducing the effect of suppression and at least giving a chance of reaction fire is the way to balance it from my point of view

Edit: Ninja'd

I like that system a lot

The only thing I would change is

Yellow->Orange->Red

But that's just me being annoying

Edited by Khall

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At the moment the hand held MG is way better than the 50. cal on the ferret (the tank thing)

First of all the 50. cal ran out of bullets half way into the match which is ridiculous if a person can carry enough ammo on foot and a tank can't.

The 50. cal never hit anyone, I like the spread but it really needs to be more deadly, either make it more accurate or give it a longer burst.

Also I'm not sure it causes any suppression when it should be the most terrifying thing on the human side.

I'd like to see a vehicle mounted flame thrower that ignores cover as the ultimate terror weapon.

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It sounds like we need to reduce the suppression values of the weapons then, as it seems too easy to suppress enemies at present.

I do think you guys are being a bit unrealistic as with the amount of fire required to reduce an enemy to 0 reaction APs though. It's fine now in early game but in some of the later missions you'll be facing a LOT of aliens. Making people use up all the APs of three different soldiers just to make sure one soldiers can run up to him and shoot him with a shotgun (and presumably really hope he dies, otherwise that soldier will be dead next turn) when he might already not have any APs saved doesn't seem a very efficient way of doing things.

Can people specify if they're playing Quick Battles (against alien soldiers) or just normal UFO battles (presumably against alien non-coms and weak soldiers)? It may be that the main issue is that the weaker aliens need a buff to their Bravery more than anything else.

Essentially I'm reluctant to change the system until the AI is working better and we know how it'll work in the final game, but in the meantime I'm happy to balance the numbers or obvious exploits better.

For the next build I'll significantly increase the burst fire cost for machineguns and reduce the suppression levels across the board by 20%. I'll also buff the non-combatants so they have the same amount of Bravery as the Guards, as they're already quite a lot weaker in terms of attributes and weapons. Should stop them being such pushovers...

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Yes, I'll also add suppression to the Ferret for the next build.

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