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 19:38.
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