Oktober

Budget Too Tight?

31 posts in this topic

Caveat: I realize we're in alpha, and this is a balance issue, so I don't expect things to be perfect, yet. That said, I just want to see what your thoughts are on the subject.

So. Taking some other players' advice from another thread, I started a new game (prev build...10.2?) and immediately started creating my 2nd base right off the bat. It worked great! By the end of the first month I have two operational bases. Only one Chinook team, but 2 F17s and 1 MiG in one base, and an F17 and a MiG in the other. Not too shabby!

I have Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East pretty well covered in the east, and much of North America and South America protected, as well.

So! Fancy shmancy, at the end of the first month, I get a slight budget increase! Lots of happy countries! (Oddly, North America went down, but several countries in Asia boosted their contributions.)

So things keep going pretty smoothly. I get a Chinook team in my 2nd base, build a couple of more hangars, and I'm pretty comfortable. Through personnel hiring and construction I burn through my non-maintenance budget pretty quickly, but so far I've managed to keep a small buffer in case of emergencies.

(I did just lose a couple of jets, so we'll see if I manage to find a way to replace them.)

However, now I've researched everything through Heavy Laser weapons, and have managed to work up a few alien grenades and a couple of sets of wolf armor. I can't really afford to do much more. On my next play-through I think I'll cut back on hiring scientists, since clearly my research outstripping my ability to pay to build equipment is a sign that I'm getting ahead of myself.

Obviously the budget itself is designed to be a sort of soft guideline as to how much stuff the player should be trying to accomplish. But it's tricky, because if you don't spend a lot of money fast to build a new base, you find yourself in a downward spiral that it's hard to get out of; and the game is so effective of generating a stressful environment that the player always feels the need to be pushing forward and getting new stuff to try and combat the escalating alien threat.

I guess my biggest worry is that any kind of relatively minor setback (losing a chinook full of troops; losing half of your jets, being unable to respond to a significant portion of UFO sightings due to a lack of resources) may just force the player into an endless series of re-loads of previous saves.

As the game has an iron-man mode, that's clearly not how the game is intended to be played. We're supposed to cut our losses and keep trucking. So far I've been able to do that in this play-through, but if I lost even a one more jet than I currently have, I think I'd have to just re-load and try again.

Should the player have access to more money? I see pros and cons there. Should the player's ability to rush into research be limited? I could see this working. (For instance, don't let the player have more than X scientists initially, therefore the fastest the player could get to certain technologies would by Y-time, and by Y-time player should have enough of a budget surplus that he'll be able to afford to build equipment without breaking his bank.)

See what I mean? I don't know the best way to go about this. I do expect that veterans have simply played the game enough to know what works and what doesn't. Maybe limiting the option to shoot yourself in the foot as much might ease entry into the game for newer players?

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I prefer difficulty and depth vs. an easy mode spoon-fed baby steps approach.

I don't see the problem - You said yourself that you've been successful, that the environment is stressful (aka fun) and that you've got a fancyshmancy set-up and that you're one step away from financial ruin. Sounds pretty great.

I endorse a player’s option, either through stupidity or inexperience, to shoot themselves in the foot.

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Yeah I kind of lost track of my point in that wall of text up there. My primary issue is that the game's level of punishment may be prohibitive. Forcing the player to re-load old saves due to minor mistakes is frustrating. Perpetually dangling a carrot in front of his nose is enticing.

I'm just wondering if it would be worthwhile to introduce a "light at the end of the tunnel" mechanic which would encourage players to keep going despite losing important assets. Unexpected monetary bonuses, or just having a bit more money to play with from the start. Or bonus planes, vehicles, or soldiers -- perhaps recruitable soldiers in some missions? Planes/vehicles donated by nations who are particularly impressed with Xenonaut performance?

Frustrating/rewarding vs frustrating/enraging is a delicate balance to strike. I wonder if it wouldn't be worth thinking about how to make it a little broader for Xenonauts.

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I think Chris mentioned some mission based mechanic to help the player turn a funding blocks downward spiral back to a bit more positive one. I could have dreamed that though.

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I think Chris mentioned some mission based mechanic to help the player turn a funding blocks downward spiral back to a bit more positive one. I could have dreamed that though.

He did.

He also pointed out that Goldhawk have basically done NO balancing on the funding/budget/prices barring the odd tweak here and there, so do not expect a balanced game.

Hell, for most of the Alpha you could just hit 'M' on the geoscape to get a million in cash, which was only removed in time for the KS demo build.

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Having no money is just not fun for some people, probably could do with more detailed descriptions of the difficulty settings so perhaps:

very easy - easier combat and more funding.

easy - normal combat except with more funding.

normal - balanced mechanics.

hard - normal combat, less funding (for people who want to be more frustrated)

very hard - harder combat and less funding.

Or perhaps custom settings for all mechanics, suppose that falls under modding but having it in the game menu would be nice.

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You should have tried it on one of the older builds where Alenium and Alien Alloys only sold for $1k a piece.

That was impossible.

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You're getting to the very heart of the game with this issue, Oktober, and I think there are more way than one to skin this particular cat. Consider, for example, that in V12 you see a lot more light scouts to start with than you did in 10.2. That means you don't need to rush out with MiGs straight away. F17s will do, which cost less and are more readily available if you loose one. Light scouts have less aliens of a lower quality, which means they are easier on your troops, so you're not spending more moolah on troops to replace the ones you lost last mission. Another example having UFOs in general spawn closer to the starting base to begin with. This means you're not pushed straight away into building another base, which cost lots of moolah, and eats into the budget every month during upkeep.

Budget is certainly an important indicator in limiting the headlong rush for a player to "have it all", but I think there are other geoscape factors that should be also considered in this issue you raise. I feel this issue is an interlinked whole and the facet you bring up is affected by other factors which if altered, might balance things in a way that makes you smile.

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Having no money is just not fun for some people.
I personally like the added challenge of having to come up with a budget strategy as well as a military strategy. Sure, it's not fun when you don't succeed, but that's what challenges are all about, having to cope with losing a couple times.

This isn't Modern Warfare, where you're handheld across every tiniest little bump in the road. This is a game where you have to think for yourself, and will have to face failure if you don't.

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You're getting to the very heart of the game with this issue, Oktober, and I think there are more way than one to skin this particular cat.

I feel this issue is an interlinked whole and the facet you bring up is affected by other factors which if altered, might balance things in a way that makes you smile.

Yeah I think you're absolutely right, here. I guess my primary concern is that it might be a good idea to communicate to the player that spending all of your money right off the bat is a bad idea. Sure'll they'll figure it out eventually, but even keeping a constant eye on my budget, I still manage to spend all of my extra funds as soon as I get paid each month, and then hopefully I get enough crash-sites/terror sites to finance my emergency needs throughout the month.

I think having some more built-in bonus money-generators would probably make me happy. Things are just so tight right now! And I only have like 20% of the airpower I think I need. (I want to have 4 F17s and 2 MiGs and 2 Chinooks at each base. Is that excessive?)

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Yeah I think you're absolutely right, here. I guess my primary concern is that it might be a good idea to communicate to the player that spending all of your money right off the bat is a bad idea. Sure'll they'll figure it out eventually, but even keeping a constant eye on my budget, I still manage to spend all of my extra funds as soon as I get paid each month, and then hopefully I get enough crash-sites/terror sites to finance my emergency needs throughout the month.

Nah. Not pointing that budget management is important is imperative to making a good learning experience.

Too many games currently on the marke don't let the player fail, or only let the player fail if they purposely go out of their way to fail. It's a crutch and one that needs to go, as recently proven by games like Dwarf Fortress, failing is fun!

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Dwarf Fortress

Once I built my underground irrigation system I stopped playing. I tried to pick it up again a year or so later, but the graphics made it so counter-intuitive that it was like having to re-learn the game all over again. I've browsed the graphics mods but can't seem to find one that I like and that works.

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Too many games currently on the marke don't let the player fail, or only let the player fail if they purposely go out of their way to fail. It's a crutch and one that needs to go, as recently proven by games like Dwarf Fortress, failing is fun!
Yup, absolutely. As I said earlier, I'm tired of the hand-holding, challenge-free games these days. Give me a game that challenges me and makes me have to think for once.
Once I built my underground irrigation system I stopped playing. I tried to pick it up again a year or so later, but the graphics made it so counter-intuitive that it was like having to re-learn the game all over again. I've browsed the graphics mods but can't seem to find one that I like and that works.
...what on earth does this have to do with his point :confused: ?

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...what on earth does this have to do with his point :confused: ?

I think every true gamer has had an experience with DF they like to share. It's a bit special (in a good way) after all.

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I cant play dwarf fortress anymore.. Once upon a time I got somewhere in it and actually built something nice. Then I stopped playing for a bit. Tried to pick it up and I couldn't remember how to even change my view so I can see what is below ground let alone do anything beyond digging. That game is to confusing.

Loved it yet hated it. If I could get past the user unfriendliness I would have done a lot more.

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I personally like the added challenge of having to come up with a budget strategy as well as a military strategy. Sure, it's not fun when you don't succeed, but that's what challenges are all about, having to cope with losing a couple times.

This isn't Modern Warfare, where you're handheld across every tiniest little bump in the road. This is a game where you have to think for yourself, and will have to face failure if you don't.

That's not the impression I got from the reaction in these forums. In a quite similar thread we discussed monetary issues with producing stuff with the intent to sell them for profit in mind and most people got foam mouthed and called it an evil exploit because it wasn't a documented way of making money.

In fact it went so far that the mere possibility of making this an option was shouted down because it would ruin this game for everyone.

And their dogs.

It would probably cause global warming, too.

Incindentally the man in charge seemed to agree with this sentiment so we are looking at having our hands held quite a lot.

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I find the aircraft kinda useless in early-later game which costs large amounts of money, for example you need alien based weapons or lasers on them to be effective however there are not further aircraft hall plating upgrades or engine upgrades so it limits their use considerably. Additionally they have VERY limited fuel supply yet we have alien power supplies which I think need to be adapted to ALL aircraft to extend their range considerably, vast majority of missions are outside my chinooks reach.

Additional fighter planes need speed upgrades, maybe even the chinook as often its easily intercepted by alien aircraft due to its speed. The ability to have more then 3 aircraft in a group would be nice for larger engagements, perhaps the alien craft can counter this by grouping up in such situations if possible.

The main cost in game is that your reach is very limited, thus you will be progressively loosing income as time goes on, unless you have 3-5 bases which simply isn't realistic cost wise.

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I' hold off on commenting on the aircrafts balancing issues until the beta when we get to try out the ones that incorporate reverese engineered alien technology. Personally I think the early aircrafts should be inferior in range, and I'm fairly certain that the new ones will have greater range.

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Well at the very least there is a) sell your stockpile of alloy/alenium b) not replace stuff you lost in battle. If the game is geared more around that than just pumping out a bunch of medikits to sell for a profit it might work.

Econ hasn't been tweaked at all, imho we should be able to gain money a bit faster but start with a lot less, I assume that we won't start the actual game with our first base being totally prebuilt/populated + ~3mil to burn on extra bases.

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If the game is geared more around that than just pumping out a bunch of medikits to sell for a profit it might work.

Don't you mean assembly-line produced Laser Cannons?

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Ah, I miss the days when I produced enough laser cannons to arm every man, woman and child on any continent except Antartica (the penguins didn't want to know).

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Well at the very least there is a) sell your stockpile of alloy/alenium b) not replace stuff you lost in battle. If the game is geared more around that than just pumping out a bunch of medikits to sell for a profit it might work.

Econ hasn't been tweaked at all, imho we should be able to gain money a bit faster but start with a lot less, I assume that we won't start the actual game with our first base being totally prebuilt/populated + ~3mil to burn on extra bases.

Considering how much you need replacement gear (planes, troops, etc.), not to mention the end-of-month overheads, I'd be quite happy to see that starting warchest retained. YMMV.

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well atm i am missing ability to supplement budget by production: Original ufo had some stuff that you could sell with nice profit ( laser pistols!) which saved me many times ( i built few bases that were basically radar stations with factory lines pumping me munnies)

also right now i found that geting second base dont work for me. Cant get enough money to fit real fighting strength there ( especially after first two weeks squadrons of ufo fighter apear, and you need to launch f17 in trios to have chance of them returning safely, not to mention you need to kill those squadrons, as they love to pick on chinooks)

Edited by lamhirh

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well atm i am missing ability to supplement budget by production: Original ufo had some stuff that you could sell with nice profit ( laser pistols!) which saved me many times ( i built few bases that were basically radar stations with factory lines pumping me munnies)

Yeah, that would be nice. Alas this has already been discussed here and was basically denied.

also right now i found that geting second base dont work for me. Cant get enough money to fit real fighting strength there ( especially after first two weeks squadrons of ufo fighter apear, and you need to launch f17 in trios to have chance of them returning safely, not to mention you need to kill those squadrons, as they love to pick on chinooks)

I usually build the second base not that far away from the first so I get some support and the Chinook would sometimes be able to reach UFO wrecks that were crashed by the other base. That way the second base can contribute before it reaches full strength.

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