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Ninothree

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Ninothree last won the day on July 14

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About Ninothree

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  1. Personally, my inclination would be for the game to have parity in the importance of the strategic and tactical layers of the game. That said, the point you raise is interesting. When the player is losing interest in the tactical missions, that is a pretty bad sign. I think part of the problem is in the interaction between the two. In the strategy layer you spawn the missions and gear up your soldiers. In the tactical layer you complete the mission and bring back artefacts for research. But that is about it. Most of the consequential actions stay in their respective layers e.g. soldier survival, aircraft weapons tech. If there were more scope to play a ground mission in such a way that it would positively impact the strategic game, I think that would solve both problems. e.g. if you hit a certain secondary objective on the ground, then it would affect the spawning of the next wave of UFOs. That way, you have some flexibility as to which layer of the game you want to put more effort into.
  2. Ninothree

    UOO-1 Fan Report

    MORE TESTING. I like the above. They are not really explanations in the traditional sense, in that they seemingly leave you with more unknowns. Which is better than [science jargon] + [hand waving] = [simple outcome]
  3. Ninothree

    UOO-1 Fan Report

    Yeah that is definitely true. Scifi authors spend their days imagining what lies next in technological advancement, so they are almost always going to beat the scientists and engineers who strive to bring those ideas into reality. I think my complaint is that there are weak applications of future technologies. Like the way that the first Xenonauts game uses fusion in grenades. Maybe I'm wrong, but to me that sounds like that is not only impractical in terms of technology, but also implausible in terms of the science. So, whilst I am happy to have imaginary fusion technology, it doesn't feel right when that fusion technology is applied to handheld grenades. The problem is that you are asked to believe in miniaturised fusion technology ... ok, not too hard ... but all you get out of it is a slightly bigger boom ... not very satisfying, especially given that grenades tend to work using chemical explosives. On the other hand, I'm not a physicist, so I don't even know for sure if fusion grenades are silly. And I don't think all scifi has to obey some rules of realism. It can just be for fun. As @ApolloZani said, the original xcom had pink mutons in green suits, thumping thrones in a pretty cheesy 80's fashion. A lot of the best scifi (think Ursula K Le Guin) doesn't even try and dig in to the rules of what is possible and plausible. But I think that when these games include research reports that give a science explainer, well, is it too much to ask for that explainer not to revolve around mumbo jumbo?
  4. Ninothree

    UOO-1 Fan Report

    Well you dealt with that more diplomatically that I did. Although you misspelled maths - for some reason you left the s off the end ;) Honestly, I'm not such a fan of the science fantasy side of things, or at least, I prefer the fantasy to be used sparingly. In my opinion, making up something like elerium is all well and good, but when elerium can be used to do everything and anything, well, I just start to lose interest. The problem with the sci fi/fantasy in games is that the lore is often made to do gymnastics to justify the rules of gameplay. One the one hand, sure, gameplay comes first. But on the other hand, is it really so hard to write more consistent lore that doesn't sound spurious? A little bit of hand waving is fine, so long as it supports something that compensates. Like the bioelectronics idea. It may seem a bit far fetched at first, but it brings in to question the nature of computers and how they differ from a brain. That is really interesting and it has been a staple of sci-fi for decades. Conveniently, it can also be used to justify some of the aircombat mechanics without much of a stretch.
  5. Ninothree

    UOO-1 Fan Report

    Trashman, I'm sorry for acting inappropriately. I'm just pointing out that you jump to the words 'hate' and 'stupid' quite often. You've got a lot of clever things to say, but you can be quite aggressive when you're being dismissive.
  6. Ninothree

    UOO-1 Fan Report

    In fairness, I think I've also heard @TrashMan say they hate the some lines from Arthur C Clarke and called him stupid too. Trashman, you might want to be more specific, because you're currently coming across like someone who needs a timeout.
  7. Forum Moderator, Art Lover and Heart of Stone
  8. Ninothree

    UOO-1 Fan Report

    Yeah I can imagine a caste system being a solid structure for a multi-species alien collective. The fierceness with which each new species resists assimilation would give it its place in the hierarchy. And the stability of the hierarchy would be maintained by rules that prevented different species from mixing. Easier to squash a rebellion if it only consists on one caste - even if that caste is soldier, they can't survive independently. Brings that issue of genetics to the fore. If you control the gene bank, you control the species diversity, and you can make them into a specialised caste - you wouldn't want them multi-tasking because then they'd be breaking caste boundaries. Looking forward to hearing the report of the officer interrogation. This is one of the things I liked about XCOM: the fairly subtle hints that Vahlen was absolutely ruthless when it came to tearing apart alien captures.
  9. Ninothree

    UOO-1 Fan Report

    Nice update. I think the 'xenoethnology' term is a little off - ethno relating to a nation. Might make more sense if the aliens had a set of communities, rather than just the one monolithic force. Looking around, xenology already seems to be an established term. For the purposes above, that could probably be modified as 'cultural xenology', to distinguish it from the other aspects of studying alien biology or their technology. In fact, thinking about it, studying the alien technology would fall into two further categories: the reverse engineering of their tech, and probably some translating/tracing of their path through the natural sciences. It might be interesting to take a poll of the community, see if anyone is actually involved in the sciences around genetics. I know this is beating an old drum, but I'd like to have science reports that are edited by writers who can vouch for the science. There is a place for the [insert mumbo jumbo science terms] style of writing, but I think that xenonauts takes itself a little more seriously than that. Similarly for the other sciences. Unfortunately, I suspect my speciality in social sciences probably won't find much application. Doesn't help me with computer games, nor in finding a job
  10. Ninothree

    It's all gone quiet....

    It is like Monopoly, but the board is different, and so are the pieces, and most of the rules are different too. I mean okay the similarities are actually few and far between, but you get the gist of it.
  11. Yeah Afterlight had a a proper bio for each of the characters and all those bios tied in together. It didn't just feel like a little touch the devs put in there for fun, rather, it was a full part of the game that you were steering a community of survivors.
  12. My understanding is that the stat limits will be unique to each soldier. I think this will make them easier to get attached to. In X1, the global limit was 100 for each stat and that applied to everyone, IIRC. With that, there was little to get attached to; if all your dudes are 80+ accuracy then they are all sharp shooters. So whoever starts off as the sniper later becomes less distinguishable from anyone else in the squad. In XCOM it is easier to get attached because the randomised perk system can make for some interesting permutations. In every playthrough you sift through to find the solider who can make multiple kills per turn, so you end up relying on them in particular and they become your favourite. Without perks, the only characteristics of your soldiers are their stats. Stats are generic. You might lean toward giving the high accuracy trooper a sniper, but then high accuracy with any gun is beneficial. So whilst you might favour your dead eye, they don't really get to fulfill a role in the same way, so there is less room for attachment. On the other hand, if there are soldier-specific caps on stats, then the capabilities of each soldier are less generic. Your hulk soldier who can carry the heavy weapons will be differentiated from your regular strength soldiers who can't run around with a spare primary weapon in their backpack. With that uniqueness, you'll be sorry when your hulk buys the farm.
  13. Ninothree

    Air Game Musings

    This is what I've been saying for a while. The air combat either needs to be scaled up or scaled down. A halfway job is not interesting enough to be worth playing over and over - which is annoying when the autoresolve function has a lower win rate. The lane-based system has now been replaced with the old style 2D air-scape. It is indeed pretty dull in terms of gameplay, only slightly better than XCOM:EU. But the main point your making above, about variety of equipment on human and alien craft, that can be applied to the turn-based lane-based air combat. Just to be clear: I do enjoy X1 system, finding a way to navigate avoiding enemy firing cones and timing missiles/barrel rolls. But as @ApolloZani stated at the outset, the pause-play-pause nature of that combat has its flaws. If X2 moves to a system with 5-10 slots per craft, then aerial combat would be incredibly confusing if you were navigating three of your own fighters, possibly against three UFOs, and everyone was teleporting, launching EMPs, activating thrusters, lighting up barbecues etc... just looking at that would be murder on your eyes, let alone the design of the UI and balancing all those modules too. I've not played XDivision so I don't know how they managed it. In any case, I'd say prioritise keeping the modules (slots for weapons, defences, armour, sensors, propulsion) because that is the interesting bit and it links up nicely with R&D / recovery of assets from ground combat. But slim down the rest of the air combat mechanics so that the player can focus on a strategy that uses those modules. Turn based is simpler than real time (especially real time with a pause button, FTL was excessive at times). A lane-based system is a simplification of the 2D field used in X1. Maybe it is an oversimplification ... you do lose out on the attack cones and angles of approach. Perhaps if the lane system also included elevation? So you could move your interceptors forward, back, side to side, and up and down. That'd give you plenty of attack angles (e.g. attacking from above would give access to the UFO's cockpit). Ah, I digress. The original point I was making a few posts back, and what I'm reaffirming here, is that the air combat shouldn't be too fiddly. Bluntly - it is a fucking strategy game. The only versions of xcom that have ever valued dexterity are The Bureau, Enforcer and Interceptor, all of which were pants. So whilst the lane system on its base appearance is not that inspiring, maybe it is a better platform for a more interesting air game?
  14. Ninothree

    Air Game Musings

    For what it is worth, I enjoy the real time of the mini game. I'd even be happy with real time in ground combat - that is how I used to play Apocalypse. And you're right about the vocal subsets of the community who hate on seemingly any option for air combat. You can't please everyone. My reasoning is that you please the most people when the style of air combat fits in with the rest of the game. In my [inevitably biased] opinion, the best fit is something that tests similar skills to the rest of the game. So, for instance, putting in a first person perspective flight simulator would be jarring (not that I'd mind). However, I can see your point: converse to my reasoning, there is a rationale for making the mini game something that tests an entirely different skill set so as to break up the pace of the regular game. But I feel fairly confident that my logic stands, you don't want to break up the monotony with something too incongruous. On balance, I guess I just sympathise with the vocal minority who don't like to test their reactions by spamming the pause button. I hadn't thought of the thematic relationship in this way. Sure, mapping the flurry of aerial combat onto a more chill turn-based system does have a thematic mismatch. But I think the priority of good gameplay trumps all. Look Firaxis XCOM, that had a good thematic fit for the air game, remember that? Felt exactly like you were a commander in the base watching the interception on a scanner. Great thematic immersion, but it was dreadful gameplay. Overall, I think I just don't buy into your argument that the mini game has to be 'fast, short and easy to autoresolve'. Sure, even @Chris has said that the air combat shouldn't detract from ground combat. Still, I'm not sold on that (well, logically I'm not sold; financially, I have already bought the game). Air combat only needs to have an autoresolve if the mini game is not interesting enough justify making the player go through each and every battle. My reaction there is to make it less tedious or occur less frequently. X1 had the issue that you were swamped by air combat. Lots of instances of the mini game. That undermines it being a short and fast distraction from 'monotony'. As OP says, air combat in this genre of games has been a mess. XCOM2 was smart/timid enough to sidestep it entirely. Looking beyond issues of mechanics and design, I can think of three points that that part of the game addresses (apart from adding diversity): To spawn ground combat missions To test your R&D To force you to expand (maybe: to demonstrate the invasion and its increasing intensity??) The first and second points don't require air combat. There are other ways to spawn missions and the gear you can give your troopers is test enough of your R&D. XCOM2 had its own mechanic for territory expansion which is why it could make its sidestep. Indeed, for Xenonauts, it really is that third point that matters most. The bulk of the challenge of the air war is getting your interceptors there in the first place (and to a lesser extent, making sure they're well armed). As such, most of the air war is determined before the air battles even begin. So where does that leave the air combat mini game? Well, I think the design should be tailored so that air combat is better at addressing the first two points. So, the decisions you can choose in air combat are a reflection of your R&D pathway, and the goal you're working towards is the type of ground combat mission you want to spawn. With that in mind, your suggestions about diverse equipment for interceptors and locational damage for UFOs are solid. Real time or turn based; I couldn't care less. Thematic matching; meh, would be nice but is not essential. But I reckon the core of air combat should be on an ability basis, and that for me the real immersion breaker is that your fleet of a dozen condors can rule the skies.
  15. Ninothree

    Air Game Musings

    That is a really interesting argument for removing the pause button. My gut reaction is that I enjoy the perfect-or-die split-second timing of air combat - but then I'm the type of gamer who will reload until I nail it. There are a couple of points I think worth pulling apart. Fit. Opposition to real time is usually pretty vocal. The slow-intellectual strategy style of play doesn't chime too well with a mini-game that calls for quick reactions and button bashing. Any air combat system has to fit in well with the game as a whole. The pause button doesn't fit. But then a real time strategy, even without a pause button, doesn't fit either. Using Subset Games as exemplar, the goal should be Enter the Breach rather than FTL. A turn-based mini-game, even with a very simple rock paper scissors basis would make a good fit, even if it lacked excitement. Punishment. I think you're dead on here. Personally, I prefer the game to pit me against difficult challenges rather than severe punishments. A hard battle is great, even sustaining losses. But any losses that take an hour (in the real world) to recuperate are just not worth the effort. I don't want to invest that much into the game. So, on reflection, I think the air war should basically be unwinnable through the majority of the game. Instead of dominating the skies, the player merely manages to fight for a small corner of them. Losing a bunch of planes is fine, so long as you down a couple of UFOs in the process, or fend off the worst of the bombing runs.
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