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Thread: How Difficulty Levels Could Work

  1. #1

    How Difficulty Levels Could Work

    On another forum I saw a very good set of proposals for how difficulty levels could work in a very innovative way. The best comparison is to the current implementation of how alien invasion escalates based on difficulty. Instead of buffing and debuffing stats, key features change in severity. I think some of this may already be in the works, but I'm not sure.

    Soldier Death
    - Easy: Soldiers only get knocked out.
    - Normal: Soldiers get knocked down when "dead" and slowly bleed out, only being insta-killed by high-damage critical shots. (This adds another gameplay element where players can risk their men to recover and heal their wounded.)
    - Hard: Soldiers die.

    Alien Infiltration
    - Easy: Aliens rarely infiltrate. If you kick their asses, the country will renege on their pact and rejoin the UN.
    - Normal: If you kick their asses, the country will renege on their pact and rejoin the UN. (This makes infiltration a reversible event, allowing players who want to dig their heels in to set the pace of their own campaign.)
    - Hard: Alien infiltration as normal.

    Alien Missions
    - Easy: You will be notified of alien missions, even if they are outside of radar range.
    - Normal: You will be notified of important / long alien missions, even if they are outside of radar range.
    - Hard: You will only be notified of alien missions after they happen unless they are within range of a friendly base (forces you to patrol aggressively).

    Alien Reactivity
    - Easy: Aliens will continue with missions as in the original.
    - Normal: Aliens will prefer to pick areas of operation where you have had the relatively least amount of successful interceptions/missions. Aliens will search for your bases in areas where you have had over [threshold] successful missions.
    - Hard: Aliens will aggressively search for your bases. Aliens will attempt to stage simultaneous operations attacking places where you are entrenched while performing other important missions (infiltration, terror, etc.) in areas where you have little presence. Aliens will not be slowed down for a time by shooting down their ships.

    Base size
    - Easy: Large starting base with everything you need, ready for expansion.
    - Normal: Starting base has all the essentials, maybe not everything you need for a running start.
    - Hard: You begin with only the bare essentials: living space for your troops, just enough storage to hold a little gear and a hangar.

  2. #2
    Captain Straker's Avatar
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    I think difficulty should also control the frequency of UFOs appearing on the Geoscape and the number of aliens present in ground combat.
    "It's just lucky for her that an alien came through that door instead of her husband." - Cmdr. Ed Straker on UFO

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    Elected Chryssalid Hugger anotherdevil's Avatar
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    yeah and how quickly new alien races arrive, and how how quickly higher ranking aliens arrive...
    "What are you gonna do, talk the alien to death?"
    - James Cameron, on Sigourney Weaver's concern about the use of guns in Aliens

  4. #4
    I heard that, as of now, cargo space will be unlimited in the base. It would probably be best if it was added back in by difficulty level, as you have written here. Chris said something about micromanagement and how the base-storage space is too small to worry about, but I, personally, love the micromanagement that came along with X-Com.

  5. #5
    Beloved Leader Chris's Avatar
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    Some of these are good ideas actually. I'm not convinced by the soldier death and alien reactivity ones, as I think they're important to the game even in easy mode. I rather like the starting base / starting resources one and the alien infiltration mission ideas though, I'll add them to the 'possible things to implement in beta' list.
    Chris England - Xenonauts Project Lead
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    I'd say that as far as difficulty goes, for most players just changing in statistics such as soldier vs alien health and accuracy, prices of items and gains from succesful missions and problems caused by failed ones, maybe time required for research would be pretty much enough. No need to change AI, scripts etc.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    Some of these are good ideas actually. I'm not convinced by the soldier death and alien reactivity ones, as I think they're important to the game even in easy mode. I rather like the starting base / starting resources one and the alien infiltration mission ideas though, I'll add them to the 'possible things to implement in beta' list.
    The way the soldiers die I think is the best one. In the old forum I think I even suggested something similar.

    It might be best to have an over all difficulty slider, as well as individual sliders for customization. That way everything could be hard, but death could be easy, or everything is easy with a hard base to start.
    Quote Originally Posted by Justaround View Post
    I'd say that as far as difficulty goes, for most players just changing in statistics such as soldier vs alien health and accuracy, prices of items and gains from succesful missions and problems caused by failed ones, maybe time required for research would be pretty much enough. No need to change AI, scripts etc.
    The problem with stat changes are they are simplistic, can act like cheats, and can be boring. Normally, I like a certain pacing in games, and when the hit points of of opponents goes up, I don't find it harder, I find it slower. If they were purely better at dodging and blocking, and still die in the same number of hits, then that's great.

  8. #8
    Elected Chryssalid Hugger anotherdevil's Avatar
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    yeah there'd be no real challenge if you played the game on hard, but had actually gone into the files and changed the stats to make it easier...

    Things that change the pace of the game, the flow and feel make much more convincing difficulty modifiers, IMO
    "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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    Alien Hospitality Liaison iamkyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bibidibop View Post
    Normally, I like a certain pacing in games, and when the hit points of of opponents goes up, I don't find it harder, I find it slower.
    This is precisely why the final act of BioShock felt like a chore.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bibidibop View Post
    I find it slower. If they were purely better at dodging and blocking, and still die in the same number of hits, then that's great.
    No problem with me, health etc were an example. Just general messing with stats I had in mind.

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