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Ninothree

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Ninothree last won the day on November 10 2019

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About Ninothree

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  1. Lol, don't get me wrong, there is definitely something sexist about wanting to erase women, even in a fantasy setting. But it doesn't really matter in the sense that it is a game built around military structures, colonial alien aggressors and generally shooting stuff up. Most games like this are well inside the patriarchal oppressive violence-based system, so if someone is going to nit pick about not having enough female soldiers, then they are probably missing the bigger picture. Having said that, I think the default settings being inclusive of female soldiers is a good thing. And having that setting be alterable suits all tastes on the realism spectrum.
  2. Am always surprised by how many people seek these details of realism. For me, games are definitely about escapism (yup, escaping to a world where you'd be just as likely to find women shooting aliens with lasers)
  3. Ninothree

    Geoscape Strategic War

    Big thanks for this. Is what I've been hoping for, well, for many years now. I've got a question as to how the first point is realised. From what I gather, the idea is that you have the aliens 'decisively winning' at the outset of the game, and that as the player progresses they expand by collecting uplink sites. So at the beginning, most of the territory is neutral in that it is not a protectorate of the Xenonauts, nor has it descended into chaotic panic as per the aliens' plan. My gut feeling is that the feel of a war is only going to come about if it looks like the aliens are expanding too. But if all you see of them is the regular instalments of UFO and some war-event popups, it might feel a lot like you're playing a ticker-driven simulation rather than interacting with opposing force. The question is: apart from the nations that fall into panic, is there any way to see the alien expansion across the world? I'm thinking maybe have them create their own bases or even satellites (not necessarily geostationary) as an answer to your uplinks. With semi-permanent enemy pieces on the board, the geoscape looks a bit more like the table you'd see in a war room, as opposed to a choropleth. Sure, enemy bases were a thing in X1 but I recall that they didn't occur frequently if you were smashing it on the air game, and besides which, those bases caused hefty-enough penalties that there was little-to-no reason not to take them out asap (and when there is no choice there is no strategy). My suggestion would be that the aliens have some markers on the board that you can't remove in the short term. You've got to watch as they creep across the globe. Kind of like in chess, you can't take out every enemy piece as soon as it marches across the board. The fundamental point of your strategy is to wait for a particular enemy move, then outmanoeuvre them in turn. I guess my point here is that xcom generally has a very flat feel to the strategy layer: you're only ever reacting to alien incursion and the only reaction you ever have is a seek-and-destroy mission. In the scheme I'm putting forward, you might choose not to destroy an enemy site if the region already has a very low panic level. Instead, you let the aliens overstretch, diverting resources from another site that is near the cusp for reducing funding. In that example, inaction becomes a choice.
  4. @Pave on your point about orbital bombardment, loss of agency and insta-damage: You're right about the loss of agency being annoying, but I don't think insta-damage has to be a problem, especially if relations (or R-HP) can be healed in the longer term. You know the tutorial in the Firaxis XCOM? You lose 3 soldiers out of a squad of 4. It is brutal and because the tutorial is scripted there is nothing you can do about it. But it is an excellent introduction to the game. I think it is good to cultivate a feeling where you can't 100% the strategy layer. Thematically, the game is about scrambling and struggling to fight off an invasion - but it often plays out as whooping the crap out of some aliens despite their superior numbers with superior tech. It is good to lose a little bit. In XCOM, the first phase of the game is about managing rising panic levels across the globe - essentially you're putting out fires rather than fighting back. It is frustrating and unsustainable, but that is exactly what you want because it drives you to progress the story line. Coasting is not an option. If anything, I'd say set up the orbital bombardments to be devastating from the start. Have the aliens turn up guns blazing and frying major military sites in the USA, Russia and China. Make the player spend their first month getting their ass kicked. Instigate that as normal. The point is that if the insta-damage is normalised, it shouldn't cause as much stress. The player knows they're going to take a hit periodically, so they don't feel cheated. It just the nature of the game. Imagine it like permadeath. There are loads of games that would be ruined with a quicksave feature, and whilst you crave the opportunity to undo that death, you know the play experience is better for it, and you don't resent the mechanics for being built that way. Also, not to be that person banging on about realism, but orbital bombardment and other 'local equivalents of X-Com' are precisely what the game needs to drive some internal logic.
  5. Ninothree

    Your Xenonauts 2 wishlist?

    Making the research tree more complex and interesting seems like low hanging fruit. Easy implementation (compared to something like redoing air combat mini-game) but really powerful in terms of shaping up the campaign into something less linear and repetitive. For a wish list though? I'd be more ambitious than just adding new techs. I'd want to entirely overhaul the concept of 'research projects'. Currently they are checkpoints that require a certain amount of science points to pass. I'd want the research to be about pushing in certain theoretical directions, with testing rigs and equipment that you need to build in a lab. That theory, however well-formed you let it become, then gets passed to the engineers who try to build according to the specs you give them. Research trials and the capability of your engineers to churn out working prototypes wouldn't be a simple process of 'earn enough science points'. I think this would make the science/engineering dichotomy much more sensible (because at the moment it is a bit sucky). And there would be many more branches of science to pursue. Currently, you have a conventional physics which is boosted by alien physics with a bit of xenobiology nudging at the side. But there are loads of channels you could split research into so it would be a real tree with branches for: materials, energy, nanotechnology, cosmology, electronics/computers, AI, encryption, aerospace, genetics, alien physiology/psychology/sociology. A lot of these are already there, but the research projects are oriented around understanding individual objects you find in the UFOs. Once you study an engine, you know everything about propulsion forever. There is more scope than that!
  6. I didn't know that about TftD. I got through a mission or two after playing the original and gave up because I thought it was just going to be a clone. Still, sounds like it was essentially the same game. Maybe this is something akin to Moore's law. A five-year gap between a game and its sequel back in the 90s would have seen far less of a step improvement than you'd get today. I am bit concerned that X2 will not make a big enough stride. I'm sure it'll be a great improvement, but personally, I'm a bit tired of the gameplay. I first played UFO defence 25 years ago, and I spent a little too much time on the Firaxis remakes. For me at least, another round in this genre needs to do something really interesting. A lot of the community's complaints have been to veto streamlining, but the changes I'm hoping for are more ambitious. e.g. XCOM2 having a stealth mechanic, or Apoc refocusing the strategy layer. Overall, I think X2 will service fans who are looking for something authentic or faithful.
  7. Yup, a new coat of paint is precisely what they did when they released Terror from the Deep back in '95. An hey, people loved that game. Although you know what was the best thing about TftD? It brought the xcom franchise one step closer to Apocalypse.
  8. Ninothree

    Humans vs Humans missions

    There was actually some backlash at XCOM2 for having too many human enemies. Can't please everyone.
  9. I like any idea that makes the geoscape more interesting. Currently, the only spatial element of the geoscape is radar coverage and interceptor range. In terms of something that can make X2 stand out, from X1 and from XCOM, the geoscape has a lot of potential. At the moment the geoscape is a very un-stimulating environment. For a game that falls into the strategy genre, this feels like a bit of a waste.
  10. Ninothree

    V8 Balance thread

    Does there have to be another reason? Well, in FPS games the melee is the finisher if you ever get up close. But I think it is a bit easier to spam it when playing turn based. It might work as a viable finisher if it were put to some skill check - like you can only successfully knife an enemy who has lower strength than you. So it can be cheesed early on (if you have enough TU to make it to point blank range), but you can't hack a sebillian until you get power armour.
  11. My point is that orders such as 'win at all costs' / 'protect the territory' are more meaningful that 'assault' / 'strike'. In your example you say "Good for fighters with a lot of missiles. Less useful for fighters who focus on short-range guns". So, why have that order if it is pretty much only in there to give to fighters with lots of missiles. Once you've armed your aircraft, there is automatically a good and bad choice between 'assault' / 'strike'. My suggestion was to have orders affect the outcome of the fight. So if you always pick 'win at all costs', you're very quickly going to run out of aircraft, pilots and money. So, you need to find the right balance between splashing enough UFOs and letting your pilots live long enough to become veterans. I'd agree with the orders you were suggesting if they weren't just determined by the conditions of the fight itself. i.e. you need something else in there to influence your choice (my examples were resources and other things in the strategy layer). The altitude and terrain stuff is good. Maybe clouds as a variable would work too. But my issue is still the same. If all the variables are based within the aircombat system (munitions, altitude, terrain, UFO-type), then there is a predetermined best-choice for what orders to give. Once you figure out the best choice, aircombat is a solved system and you will always use the same attack pattern (essentially just a grind, even if it is a bit rock-paper-scissors). For aircombat to stay interesting through the whole campaign, it needs to be really closely interrelated with other elements of the strategy layer.
  12. Ninothree

    Turn-based all the time - why?

    Yeah there can be slow moments. Like if you want the soldiers right at the front to have full time units on the turn you breach, but then you realised you need to move some items round in their bag or something, then you have to cycle through the turns again. I think a continuous player-turn would work in XCOM or something, that is based around activating pods of dormant enemies. Technically, this applies to enemies camped in the UFO, but the point is that often you don't know if all the enemies are in the craft, or if one is lurking elsewhere. The turn based system builds up tension around needing to tread carefully at every step, just in case you leave yourself open. The broader issue is that the build-up of tension doesn't really work all the time, like when you are 99.99% sure that you're safe. At those times, some streamlining would be appreciates. Or, some sneak attacks by the aliens...
  13. The crucial thing is to calibrate everything such that those orders are each useful in their own right. In my head, I can see myself always plumbing for 'assault' over 'evade' because the whole point is to win a fight, not dance around. Instead of having orders relating to how to win the fight, construct them to influence the outcome: Win at all costs: incur damage but splash the UFO (good for intervening in the alien's plans) Protect the territory: maybe lose the UFO but maintain relations (boosts income, no need for ground combat) Capture: down the UFO carefully, keeping alien artifacts intact but permitting loses elsewhere (good for your scientists, bad for your engineers and pilots)
  14. I think the last mission is hard the first time you play it. You are warned there is a time limit, and even if you bring some heavy weapons you don't know how much ammo to conserve. And the big boss is pretty bossy. Still, as far as final missions go, I wouldn't say it was too different than most.
  15. There seems to be agreement on the original idea of trimming down player input (down to zero for some). Fine grained micromanagement can be left to the tactical layer without upsetting anyone. So instead of clicking repeatedly where to move to avoid an attack, just have an 'evade' button. Thus, in place of a skill game (ala X1), the air combat becomes more tied in with the overall strategy layer (almost closer to XCOM). As a player, you don't take the role of the pilot, but the commander back at base making a choice about how the interception should go. That choice is driven by priority of your strategic needs (relations, loot, spawning tactical missions etc). But the options you have to chose from are determined by your politics/science/economy. e.g. you can't tail the UFO or fight at high altitudes unless you've researched alien propulsion; and you can't just torpedo every scout because eventually you'll run out of munitions. I have to say, I'm not sure about clouds. My feelings aren't strong either way, but I'm just saying in case anyone else thinks military radar can probably see through water vapour. In terms of aesthetics, I very much have in mind something like the X1/XCOM radar view. Maybe with some wire mesh ground topography flowing beneath what is still a 2D battlescape (which I assume is simplicity itself to code ).
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