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Thread: Instead of Motion Tracking Device - Alien Sniffing Dogs.

  1. #1

    Instead of Motion Tracking Device - Alien Sniffing Dogs.

    I suggest dogs that can sniff out aliens instead of developing a motion tracking device.

    Reasons:

    1. Doable immediately (i.e. no new tech has to be developed by XCom) provided there are live aliens to train the dogs. Dog can be put into training cycle just like new soldiers.
    2. Fits better into the time frame of the game from a technological perspective (late 70's).
    3. Can detect stationary as well as moving aliens.
    4. Can track aliens in addition to detecting stationary or moving aliens.
    5. Have substantial melee capability.
    6. Can be used for live capture instead of stun rod.
    7. Come on, everyone wants to see a couple XCom dogs tear up those alien bastards.
    Last edited by StellarRat; 08-11-2012 at 05:12.

  2. #2
    Forum Moderator Max_Caine's Avatar
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    Eh, sorry if I'm going all Sgt. Friday, but I think this is a neat idea, and I have some questions about the mechanics of it. Would a dog be assigned as equipment to a solider, but behave and be controlled like a solider? I.e. it would take up a slot on the dropship? What would you suggest for the actual "sniffing out" of aliens? Would that be a specific action that the dog could do? Or would it be something that would be reported at the start of the turn? And how would you suggest it be represented on the map - some kind of icon? Should dogs be 100% precise, or would it be better that the dog identify an area where the alien is?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Caine View Post
    Eh, sorry if I'm going all Sgt. Friday, but I think this is a neat idea, and I have some questions about the mechanics of it. Would a dog be assigned as equipment to a solider, but behave and be controlled like a solider? I.e. it would take up a slot on the dropship? What would you suggest for the actual "sniffing out" of aliens? Would that be a specific action that the dog could do? Or would it be something that would be reported at the start of the turn? And how would you suggest it be represented on the map - some kind of icon? Should dogs be 100% precise, or would it be better that the dog identify an area where the alien is?
    Well, Max, I actually put some thought into this ...I was thinking that the dog would take up a slot AND it would be assigned to a specific dog handling soldier. If the handler was killed the dog would become "inactive" and just sit in it's last location. The dog would have it's own sprite just like a soldier and it would always be directly in front of the handler (next hex.) There would be no action points expended for to work per se, just having the dog would be enough to show the general location (maybe + or - one hex) of any stationary alien within a certain radius (maybe three hexes?) even through walls at the start of each turn. My reasoning here is that a dog has about 3x the hearing of a human and a zillion time the smell ability. Additionally, the closest (human, machine, or alien) that was moving this would be indicated at a range of six or nine hexes by bearing only i.e. the dog is nervous and alerted and the handler can see where it's looking. Also, it would not make any difference if it was night or day as dogs have good night vision and, of course, hearing and smell are not affected.

    The dog could be killed or wounded by alien fire or explosions. I think the dog could also use non-active combat armor (like Jackel) and possibly carry a small amount of supplies (med kit, spare ammo, grenades, etc...)

    That is my plan for the "first level" of programming. Basically, a motion detector with feet (except that it can detect stationary targets.)

    For the second level of implementation the dog could actually detect where the alien had been and indicate a direction of travel i.e. tracking (maybe just by sprite facing or with a map arrow.)

    Finally, the third level would allow the dog to have a separate AI routine that would allow it to pursue and attack an alien if the handler let it go off leash.

    Personally, I'd be quite happy with just the first level of programming. I could also see short cutting the dog and just making it a piece of equipment, however, I think that is not too realistic.
    Last edited by StellarRat; 08-11-2012 at 05:16.

  4. #4
    It's probably too late to put something like this into the game, but it's not a bad idea. In real life, detection dogs have been trained to find pest species, not just bombs/drugs.

    If they were put in, I would prefer that they were separate units that take up dropship space. Maybe you can direct where they go, but they can't move more than X spaces away from your human units. If they detect an alien, it would be an area thing - you wouldn't know exactly where the creature is, but the dog could face in the right general direction and bark or something. It shouldn't be 100% accurate - occasionally, it might lead you to a bystander or get distracted by the UFO (and all the alien corpses around it).

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Vivisector 9999 View Post
    It's probably too late to put something like this into the game, but it's not a bad idea. In real life, detection dogs have been trained to find pest species, not just bombs/drugs.

    If they were put in, I would prefer that they were separate units that take up dropship space. Maybe you can direct control where they go, but they can't move more than X spaces away from your human units. If they detect an alien, it would be an area thing - you wouldn't know exactly where the creature is, but the dog could face in the right general direction and bark or something. It shouldn't be 100% accurate - occasionally, it might lead you to a bystander or get distracted by the UFO (and all the alien corpses around it).
    That's pretty much what I was thinking. It might not be too late. As far as I know the motion detector hasn't been programmed yet, why not do this instead??
    Last edited by StellarRat; 08-11-2012 at 05:20.

  6. #6
    Commander thothkins's Avatar
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    this is pretty much what I was hoping drones would be. Take up space/ used as a scout or detector/linked to a handler etc. but I thought the drones could be pinched form the existing sprites - particularly the scuttler alien. Getting a realistic doggie in there sounds a little tougher, and it's pretty far down the track. But not knocking the idea at all. It's a good take on the technology available at the time. It's also an interesting switch on the Aliens type scanners.

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  7. #7
    WishfullThinker Gorlom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StellarRat View Post
    That's pretty much what I was thinking. It might not be too late. As far as I know the motion detector hasn't been programmed yet, why not do this instead??
    To start with because they probably aren't doing the motion trackers at all. (as that goal wasn't reached)
    Secondly because doggies would be a lot of extra sprites, most likely a lot more work to implement then the motion tracker.

    PS. If they got into the game I would be shooting the dogs all the time myself.

  8. #8
    Commander Jean-Luc's Avatar
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    Aye, a fine idea. Let's get us some Scottish Shepherds in 'ere.

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  9. #9
    Commander thothkins's Avatar
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    Moderator Gauddlike's Avatar
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