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Thread: Musings on the aesthetics of base design

  1. #1
    Forum Moderator Max_Caine's Avatar
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    Musings on the aesthetics of base design

    I'd like to talk for a bit about the aesthetics of building a base. By that, I mean the factors that go into designing a base which maximises benefits and minimises drawbacks. In the original X-Com series, there were two major base design factors. 1, the need to produce choke points to guide aliens down the proxy grenade trap of DOOM. 2) The need to specialise bases into large scale research or manufacturing facilities (especially the latter).


    The pilots hated the walk to debrief.

    In UFO: The Two Sides, base layout was once again dictated by base invasion. While choke points had been removed, the "base" was considerably easier to defend if you placed modules on as few parallel lines as possible to produce the maximum number of zero-cover corridors as possible. The UFO AfterX series took an original slant: in Aftermath you had a fixed number of sites for buildings per territory, research was dependant on having x number of sites for new topics, and all territories had to be connected. In Aftermath, the base was so generic the only guidng factor was determining which building to construct first, and base attack missions always took place away from the guts of the base. In UFO:ET they did away with base construction for the most part, and base design wasn't influenced by anything - large scale manufacturing didn't even pay for itself let alone make a profit and aliens had spawn points liberally scattered through the base.

    So what influences base design in Xenonauts? Several factors.

    First of all, geoscape factors:

    1) I need interceptors. Lots of them. The current alpha dictates that I will need at least one MiG (to launch avalanches at corvettes) and two F-17s (to escort the MiG and deal with fighters) per base. Hangars are small, so I can cram 7 of them in on one "line". The high number of alien craft present early on, especially the high number of fightercraft on ait superiority missions requires more than this "basic" quantity. It's easy to have six interceptors on the go all the time, especially when I'm transporting goods from base-to-base or have sent a chinook out and need to provide fighter cover.

    2) Inital range of dropship is continental, rather than intercontinental. By giving the chinook a limited range, this requires the first few bases built to have a chinook of their own (to respond to shot down craft and terror missions), a large pool of soliders (to man the chinook, provide replacments to killed/injured soliders and act as second-line defence in case of base defence), and limited manufacturing facilities (teams that go out on missions require ammo and other consumables. My main manufacturing plant should not be turning out batches of ammo. It should be turning out the Next Big Thing).

    3) Hand-in-hand with 1) MiGs (which I need) must be manufactured. MiGs are very vulnerable after they have shot their load. MiGs get shot down.

    Secondly, battlescape factors.

    1) Chris has previously written that if base modules get damaged, this affects the effectiveness of the module in the geoscape. This means mining the crap out of a choke point might be an effective tactical strategy, but it's strategic no-no.

    2) Chris has also written on how every base will have a command center, and if I loose the command center, I loose the base. This would suggest "wrapping" the command center in other modules would be a smart plan. However, what do I wrap it in? Would a layer of storerooms make sense? After all, they aren't as critical if they are damaged - but then I don't get as much room to build other base modules.

    3) It is unknown at this point how spawn points will be handled. I've looked back through older posts and from what Chris has written, it seemed that inital spawn points were going to be in hangars, but he seemed to have changed his ideas on this point.

    Finally, logistical factors

    1) Chris has stated that manufacturing will not be for-profit. It is therefore uncessary to have dedicated base-factories, as the outlay will not match the profits from sales.

    2) Transferring goods between bases costs money and is vulnerable to alien fightercraft. Transport costs are less than the cost of setting up a workshop in another base, but alien piracy is (currently) a menace and can set back the development of a base considerably. This suggests a distributed manufacturing model will be less costly in terms of alien piracy - unless Chris tweaks the air superiority missions so they attack less transports, or we can dedicate interceptors to running escort for transport.

    3) Workshop production rates are currently a little on the low end. Producing large batches of goods takes considerable time even with a strong workforce, then more time is involved in transporting those goods to outlying bases. This strengthens the distributed manufacuturing model, as it is more efficent to have local workshops producing local goods instead of waiting for a central base

    Well, that's a lot! I'm sure I've missed things, but effective base design in Xenonauts, when you look at it, is quite the complex beast. Has anyone come up with a good design for a base yet?
    Last edited by Max_Caine; 05-28-2012 at 20:38. Reason: mixed personal pronoun

  2. #2
    Commander Jean-Luc's Avatar
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    When it comes to base defense you probably just want your Command Center to be as far away as possible from any "entrance". Now whether these will be elevators, hangars, garages or if there are some surprises planned here is not yet known afaik.

    The thing is, in the early-ish game one of the first things you'll want to build in a new base is a hangar which means you get an entrance very close to your CC. Neglecting air coverage temporarily in favor of waiting for the initial buildings to finish so you could place a hangar further away could represent a bit of a dilemma.

    I agree about the workshops, better to spread them out than risk air transport unless, of course, some of the later game stuff takes a very long time to make in which case you have another dilemma but that's a good thing, eh? In any case I think alien fighter spam will be toned down before release.

    It's a bit early to pass final judgement on these things.

    As for,
    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Caine View Post
    ...alien piracy...
    ,"Yarrr, give up yer spices and plasma pistols Earth lubber, or walk the planktoid".
    Last edited by Jean-Luc; 05-29-2012 at 01:46.
    "This is a primitive culture. I am here to facilitate its incorporation"

  3. #3
    WishfullThinker Gorlom's Avatar
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    "planktoid" eh? Is that what spacepirates call their airlock when it's not connected to anything but the hard vaccume of space? Man that's cruel I wonder if they lend you a spacesuit to asphyxiate in of if it's explosive decompression that kills you. The borrowing a spacesuit kind of fits marooning someone on a desereted island thing pirates had going... but that might just be for mutineers?

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    Moderator Gauddlike's Avatar
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    Until you know how the aliens will enter your base you can't really plan a defensive layout.
    Chris mentioned something about being able to position your own troops before the defence mission as well.
    If those strong points can be arranged nicely then it adds another layer to your defences.
    Devil's Advocate and forum moderator

  5. #5
    Beloved Leader Chris's Avatar
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    Yeah, the command centre is a 4-tile building, with the inner command centre and a defensive ring (which will have sandbags etc) around it. Your troops will start in this ring and can be deployed as you wish before the battle starts. So the idea is that the command centre can be defensible even if the aliens spawn next to it has it has a built-in buffer zone around it.
    Chris England - Xenonauts Project Lead
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  6. #6
    Sergeant Shima's Avatar
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    Sandbags etc? That's pretty cool!
    I'm a little perplexed about aliens spawning though.. Do they spawn randomly around the base (breaching through the roof of a room or something) or do they use certain entrances like in EU?
    "1 UFO down, 2999 to go."

  7. #7
    Moderator Gauddlike's Avatar
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    If the enemy UFO can attack with its weapons on the way in and damage some structures then they could conceivably be used as entrances as well as the hangars/garages.
    Although they are underground a powerful weapon could penetrate far enough to breach them.
    That would add a certain randomness to the assault spawns without being too much.
    Devil's Advocate and forum moderator

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