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Thread: How experience is awarded

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    Elected Chryssalid Hugger anotherdevil's Avatar
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    How experience is awarded

    Another topic I am invested in at the moment. Page 1, part 1:
    Quote Originally Posted by anotherdevil
    Hello all,

    I was just thinking about EXP. and how it gets allocated in X-Com, and I thought of how it will be implemented in Xenonauts. I realise that this may have come up before, though I can't for the life of me remember that, so I thought I'd make a new topic.

    1. Basically X-Com gave your soldiers exp. and they ranked up, and at the same time their stats increased. Simple, it just happens, so requires no real input from the player. But I also found that I rarely tracked the stats of my soldiers, I rarely knew how much better they were etc. I just knew they were getting better, but for all I knew they may not have been...

    2. On the other hand you have RPGs where when you 'level' up you get to distribute ALL of the stat points yourself, into whatever category you like. This is a bit extreme for me, requires too much micromanagement, and why would your soldier get better at throwing when all they did was shoot a gun (or vice versa).

    Plus remember in X-Com your troops get a psi stat ONLY AFTER you've researched it, so your troops would be really weak in this regard late game!

    3. So there is the third option. As your soldiers perform tasks they get better in them (or in a general, across the board sort of way), BUT you also get to distribute a few select stat points to further refine that soldiers 'role' on the battlefield. Want them to be a sniper, boost that accuracy etc.

    Now there are a number of other things to consider:
    - You could always have option 3, but also have a box which allows the game to automatically distribute the exp. if you can't be bothered doing it yourself (so option 1).
    -* How often would your soldiers get these exp. boosts? Everytime they ranked up? That might get a bit annoying if your squad begins to fill up the higher ranks, eliminating the chance of others ranking up unless you want to hire a lot more cannon fodder to sit around in base... So should they also get them at other milestones (100 kills etc.). But they can't be too powerful...

    So let me know if you think option 3 sounds good or not, and what you might suggest to tackle any problems, and sorry if this has already been covered (I did look for it...)

    Happy posting!
    Quote Originally Posted by Sathra
    Rank wasn't actually connected to experience.

    How X-com worked was you got stat xp during a mission (its wiped at the end of a mission). So hurt something, get firing xp. Use psi attacks, get psi skill xp. Strength, HP, energy and TU's didn't have any xp associated with them, since they were 'secondary stats'.
    At the end of a mission, you rolled a dice to increase a primary stat (accuracy, bravery, psi skill, throwing) with the dice 'size' based on how many XP you'd gained.
    Secondary stats got a single roll for each (at it was always the same sized dice, except near the caps), as long as you gained at least 1 primary stat xp.
    Some of the stats are wierd, like throwing not being connected to anything, and bravery only going up in multiples of 10.

    Rank was, I think, based on how many stat increases a trooper had gained. Or something, its strange. You need to have gained at least some kind of stat increase to be eligible, and priority seems to be based on who had collected the most stat gains or stat xp last mission (basically, who gets the sergeant promotion). Then everyone else gets bumped up. Can't skip any rank besides squaddie. But sometimes it just doesn't make sense.

    I'm pretty sure this came up before, namely incorporating ET's RPG-style stat increases.
    http://www.xenonauts.com/forum/topic?id ;p=1#p1709 (about promotions)
    And that utterly enormous thread about in-base training. Mostly due to Gazz's wall-o-text-ness. http://www.xenonauts.com/forum/topic?id=637#p8676
    http://www.xenonauts.com/forum/topic?id ;p=2#p1817 Stat-increase system.
    Aha! Found the one with UFO:ET style stat increases mentioned: http://www.xenonauts.com/forum/topic?id ;p=1#p3000

    Summing them up (ignoring the training thread, cause I'm not going to read that thing again):
    Manual increases are unrealistic. Its also exploitable. (ET had this, and it was, you could have master snipers after 3 missions. It had ranks-as-levels for gaining stat points)
    Manual increases are tedious. You've got alot of soldiers (anywhere between 8 and 16 in most missions) and add in the waves...that's alot of clicking.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sathra
    And...now I realise I forgot to answer the question.

    Option 3 doesn't sound too bad, I just don't like particularly like it. Having to allocate stuff is boring, and it lets you avoid taking challenges (depending on how the stats are gained. If AP increases are based on movement, running around everywhere lets you increase accuracy without risking death).

    There's no psi stat either (I assume you mean psi-skill, not psi-strength), and its doubtful there'll be something like that in Xenonauts. It only took 3-6 missions to get to a useable level anyways, because of its spammability.

    Could always have option 3 involved with training in some way. Ugh, that thread...mentioned something about this. Somewhere. Probably in 3 different ways. You'd need some kind of limitation (time or stat growth or mission counter) to stop you base-grinding stats for rookies.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jean-Luc
    Technically this manual player input for raising skill levels should be covered by training courses but we still don't know if this feature will make it or not (not as far as I know at least).
    Quote Originally Posted by Gauddlike
    I think there were a few suggestions for training course that replace the automatic levelling.
    For example using the exp gained from ground missions to unlock training courses.
    After a mission or three you would be able to train, the type of course would focus the stat gains where you wanted them.
    For example marksman training may give a couple of points to accuracy and a few more AP.
    A breaching course might give bonus reactions and strength.
    Think of it as proving yourself in the field to be given access to better training.

    To take the edge of the micromanagement (for Gazz) you would choose the type of training and the trooper would jump onto the course whenever he had enough exp.
    Quote Originally Posted by anotherdevil
    Hmm interesting guys. Yeah I didn't read any of the training topics as I didn't think it would be relevant, but who knows with the way these things develop.

    If we can keep off training, that'd be good, I think that's been covered already to death.

    How about an option 4. It's like option 3, except you tell the game 1 primary and 3 secondary stats (or whatever) that you would like that soldier to allocate his extra exp into. This only has to be done once, and the game will keep doing it for you, and if you want to change it once you think they are good enough at something you can (so as much micromanagement as you like). AND you still have the option of the 'computer you decide for me, I can't be bothered' button (as little micromanagement as you want).

    Thoughts?
    "What are you gonna do, talk the alien to death?"
    - James Cameron, on Sigourney Weaver's concern about the use of guns in Aliens

  2. #2
    Elected Chryssalid Hugger anotherdevil's Avatar
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    Page 1 part 2:
    Quote Originally Posted by Leyendecker
    Posting in the early hours of the morning, please forgive any clumsiness of expression:

    For me personally, the fewer numbers I see in a game the better. I know Enemy Unknown-style games use purely stats for their soldier advancement but the more the game takes care of this for me, the more pleasant I find the experience.
    * * *Looking up stats to determine which soldier should play which role in my squad was a necessary evil that I came to terms with, but having to personally determine the stat increase allocations for each of my soldiers would be something that I would actively dislike, I think.

    Gauddlike wrote:
    I think there were a few suggestions for training course that replace the automatic levelling.
    For example using the exp gained from ground missions to unlock training courses.
    After a mission or three you would be able to train, the type of course would focus the stat gains where you wanted them.
    For example marksman training may give a couple of points to accuracy and a few more AP.
    A breaching course might give bonus reactions and strength.
    I think this is a great idea, it allows you to manage your soldiers' advancement without foisting too many of the mechanical details on you, and it adds an element of military realism in that your specialists would earn qualifications that allow them to perform their specific jobs.

    If the maximum number of training unlocks per soldier was equal to the number of possible training courses, then you could send a soldier through the first level of each course and produce a good all-rounder, or max out a specific stat of his by taking the same course multiple times.
    * * *If courses of the same kind stacked, and perhaps higher levels gave a larger stat boost, then specializing your soldiers would become more and more attractive.

    There would still have to be another, secondary, method of stat increases though e.g. if the average soldier's weapon is increasing in weight with every technological advancement, then strength will have to increase appropriately by some mechanism.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gazz
    Stat advancement and training (courses) could work in a completely different relationship, too.

    Every soldier can* be* in one training course but the course never ends.

    You can assign him to a different course anytime.

    The benefit of a training course is a very slow advance outside of missions and more inside of missions.

    A training course serves as a* multiplier* for the stat gains from missions.
    Different courses favour different stats.
    Marksmanship training might be 130% accuracy, 130% endurance.
    Sniper school 145% accuracy, 110% endurance.
    Demolition... etc.



    This system would avoid the issue of a soldier "having all courses" and effectively being done with training.
    I the "monster thread" I had put together the "job complexity" feature which did the same thing from a different angle.
    The above would be a simpler implementation but won't allow for the more flexible mechanics of one-time courses.
    Closer to the old X-Com "training" but more varied.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sathra
    Of course, the question to be asked is: Should there be a reason to not put troopers in training (besides monetary of course).

    I'd say no. One advantage of the multiplier courses, besides the role-focussing effects, is that there isn't as much of a feel of having 'wasted' the course if the soldier dies. They still would have advanced the same without it, just a bit slower.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gazz
    Another thing would be that there is a minimum of micromanagement.
    Once set on a certain "career path", you don't have to pay any more attention to this particular soldier's training.
    No "regular maintainance" necessary, like assigning 3 soldier to follow-up courses, for instance.

    The only time you need to change anything about it is if you decide to* change* the soldier's direction of long-term advancement.

    Which course newly recruited soldiers are assigned to* automatically* should be a setting on the hiring screen.
    "What are you gonna do, talk the alien to death?"
    - James Cameron, on Sigourney Weaver's concern about the use of guns in Aliens

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    Elected Chryssalid Hugger anotherdevil's Avatar
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    Page 2:

    Quote Originally Posted by Gauddlike
    You could even have a recommended training path set by default depending on his pre generated stats.
    High accuracy may get him enrolled to the marksman training route while high reactions may send him down the breaching route unless you choose to change it.
    Zero management if you want to run with the defaults but you can micro manage the troopers stats as much as you want to if it takes your fancy.

    Troops would always be in a training course then (if the building and space was available), the only option would be WHICH course.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sathra
    Gazz wrote:
    Which course newly recruited soldiers are assigned to* automatically* should be a setting on the hiring screen.
    Or at the very least, have course assigning part of the hiring/personnel screen. Either one really, though having a 'default' course would be excellent, I agree.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gazz
    Gauddlike wrote:
    Troops would always be in a training course then (if the building and space was available)
    I don't think a "training space" restriction is desirable at all.

    What* would* work, is a system like that:

    A soldier can always be assigned to all "career paths" at all times so the need to take 1 solder out and put another in never arises.

    Later on the player can research [psychogizmotechnobabble] and build a neuronal stimulation training center.
    This would either open up different course types or simply give a bonus to the effectivity of regular training courses.
    Up to say 25 soldiers, one building would work at full effectivity.
    At 28 it works at* 25 / 28 = 0,89* effectivity.

    Different course types would requires a little micro. (once)

    Either would attach a maintainance cost to "better" training.
    The purely efficiency-based system would be more of a strategic decision and require no micromanagement beyond building the structure once and balancing cost / space.



    Sathra wrote:
    Or at the very least, have course assigning part of the hiring/personnel screen. Either one really, though having a 'default' course would be excellent, I agree.
    Having a default course would allow both.
    Set it to "sniper" and hire 10 soldiers,
    set it to "heavy weapons" and hire 5 soldiers... batch processing!
    Quote Originally Posted by anotherdevil
    Ok guys, so back on topic a bit (we already did training courses! =P), that's all well and good wanting to better your soldiers during their down time, in between missions. I was more referring to the actual exp you get during the mission, how should this get allocated to their stats?

    Obviously this does not exclude the idea of training (which may factor in, IF it gets implemented, on the ways soldiers develop), but that is essentially (IMO) a slow way to get better. Doing awesome things in combat should have a really pronounced effect on a soldier, and their stats.

    Also should exp just get allocated to the attributes that were used (accuracy etc.) or should there be a general increase for all stats on occasion (ie every rank each stat goes up 10 points (all examples random))?
    Quote Originally Posted by Sathra
    Allocated to the attributes used I think for most of them. HP would probably be an exception though. That could be periodic, or increase every (10, 15?) points of increase of other stats.

    Would like to see AP increase from running around, rather than increasing in general.
    Quote Originally Posted by anotherdevil
    But AP is required for everything, so doing anything should theoretically increase that...
    Quote Originally Posted by Sathra
    Oh right, whoops. I meant "increasing from running around as well as in general". From all those times I've had soldiers who never get a shot because they can't get into position and have enough TU to shoot, resulting in not gaining TU, so can't get into position, and nauseum.
    Quote Originally Posted by anotherdevil
    Ha ha yeah, sucks! I'm sure Chris'll comment on this thread one day and then will allay your worst fears
    Quote Originally Posted by Leyendecker
    One thing I would like to see implemented is guaranteed stat boosts for injured soldiers. Not as significant an increase as if they were fit and going on missions for the duration of their recovery times, but just a little advancement to keep them competitive. It would give you more of an incentive to save your injured soldiers, knowing that they wouldn't automatically lag behind massively in terms of experience after losing out on missions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sathra
    That comes under training more. Specifically, should injured soldiers be allowed to train. Otherwise you get this wierd situation where if you don't have large enough missions, (or missions at all), an effective to skill up reserve troops is to shoot them in the back with a pistol or something every so often.

    @AD: I forgot to ask, why don't you change the thread title if the name is currently wrong?
    "What are you gonna do, talk the alien to death?"
    - James Cameron, on Sigourney Weaver's concern about the use of guns in Aliens

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    Page 3:

    Quote Originally Posted by anotherdevil
    @ Sathra (Due to this thread previously being titled "How experience is rewarded), can't really be bothered, and then I'd have to change that post about writing the wrong title, and then you'd have to change your post otherwise anyone else who reads these will wonder what you're talking about, etc... =P Too much hassel, and either way it still works (kinda)
    Quote Originally Posted by Sathra
    Its spelt "hassle". Or alternatively, "The Hoff".

    I say do it, it'll help prepare new forumites for archive trawls. There's far more confusing stuff as a result of the tangent-itis. I think that how grenades work is in a thread about injuries, as part of a discussion on cover.
    Quote Originally Posted by anotherdevil
    Damn typos! Oh well, I'm supposed to be doing my readings anyway, but I really can't be bothered... Only about 15 to go...

    And changed it all up, now not as many will be confused! (hopefully...)

    Anyway back on topic, you don't think that every now and then there should be a general boost to all skills? Perhaps when you reach a landmark like a new rank etc? While I realise it's not really realistic (why should people magically get better at grenade throwing if all they do is shoot, run and duck), I do like the idea of my commander being awesome at everything, really kicking some arse no matter what job he has to do! Kinda fits with the moral boost they're supposed to give off, I can't imagine anyone getting moral off someone who can't throw a grenade more than 2 tiles and almost blowing up half the squad...
    Quote Originally Posted by Sathra
    Maybe instead of a general boost, why not have some of the various skills stats 'linked' to eachother. Something like...every 5-8 points of increase to [stat X] causes a 1-2 point increase in [stat Y].

    So Strength links to Throwing, Accuracy to Reflexes and...dunno, Action Points to Resilience? (Bravery is already all linked up to/with Rank).
    And it'd work both ways of course, so throwing alot would increase your strength. If the 'link-boost' of one stat means that the other stat causes a link-boost, just let it. Its not that much.

    How's that sound?
    Quote Originally Posted by anotherdevil
    Sounds good to me. What about multiple links though? Strength might link with throwing, and AP, and health, but something else may have only 1 feasable link and so might level up much slower...
    Quote Originally Posted by Gazz
    I think that would be too opaque.
    If lower skills rise faster than already-high skills, you get pretty much the same thing without any deliberate linking at all.

    I'd rather give the player overall control of the "direction" of advancement with the training courses that contain different skill sets.

    If you feel the need to increase a soldier's strength, set his training to "heavy weapons", "PT", or something else that contains decent strength boosts.


    As for one-time boosts from achieving "milestones", I don't see the reason.
    A promotion seldom results in increased strength or rifle accuracy...
    The ranks have a completely different role.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sathra
    Hell, have both!
    The linking is more so troopers have slightly more even stat growth.
    The way I linked that was partly so that difficult-to-improve stats can grow more effectively (especially reflexes). Well, not so much throwing, but how much stuff are you going to throw per mission? I'm still a bit iffy about the AP-HP link, but having more HP doesn't give that much of a benefit really.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gauddlike
    AP and reactions would seem to be linked to me.
    That would give you the chance for your reactions to increase in line with how many actions you can perform a turn.
    The more often you use 90% (for example) of your AP the more you get used to working more efficiently and the faster you react.

    HP are still the tougher option for increases.
    Only increasing if you get shot is kind of pointless, and a little late at that point.
    As you get better armour later in the game you would hopefully rely less on surviving the damage you take from a shot and more on the armour to absorb the damage.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sathra
    Yeah, that would make sense, I agree.

    It was more body / shooting / items for the link allocations. Body (AP/HP), Shooting (Accuracy/Reflexes) and Items (Strength/Throwing).
    Could link it so its Accuracy-Throwing (Control), AP-Reflexes (Efficiency) and HP-Strength (Constitution?) though.

    Or to make it even more vague and random-seeming if you don't know what's happening, could have it so all the stats are connected in non-exclusive trios with a priority hierarchy.
    e.g. Accuracy is linked to Reflexes and AP. Every two AP 'bumps' results in a 'bump' to Reflexes. AP is linked to Reflexes and HP, with Reflexes having the higher 'bump rank'.
    Strength = HP->Throwing.
    Throwing = Accuracy->Strength.
    Reflexes = Bravery->AP
    Etc, etc.
    If anyone had anything else to say I'd be glad to hear it!
    "What are you gonna do, talk the alien to death?"
    - James Cameron, on Sigourney Weaver's concern about the use of guns in Aliens

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