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About Ninothree

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  1. I was thinking that maybe that map isn't very forgiving of shotgunners - it has a lot of open space and not much in the way of corridors. I'm not sure on the details of the shotgun's damage-distance profile but it does feel that they don't have much of an edge on a rifle unless you start your turn at very nearly point blank range.
  2. Bugs: I had one unit, Ling Zhou (shotgun) consistently not appear as a green hash when obscured by a roof or other object - other units seemed fine The shotgun pellets emit from the foot of the soldier Possible bugs: The smoke left after grenade fire doesn't engender the green hash so units actually do become harder to see (is this intentional?) Cover doesn't seem to be blowing up, despite repeated grenade attacks (grr!) A unit was suppressed by fire on the other side of a wall (I can rationalise that by thinking of bullets hitting the wall but it feels that physical dividers should have an effect) Comments: Units standing on a roof appear the same as those standing underneath, not huge but it does give the wrong impression. Also, I couldn't find how to manually toggle the visibility of each level (can't remember if I tried the mousewheel) I really liked the overwatch option to fire or not, but it seems you only get that choice at first spot - I was hoping to be able to wait till the alien stepped out of cover or something but I can't think how you'd build in the interrupt in that case (tapping space during their move might work but is a reaction kinda thing) Immediate tiles of cover are ignored but other tiles of the same object get in the way - seems odd that you can fire unimpeded across a 2x1 bush but not along it Couldn't jump down from a level up to the ground, ladders aren't as fun for ambushes I couldn't distinguish the death noises in the alien turn - just having a black screen feels a little lacking although maybe the in-the-dark feel is better Overall, shotgunners didn't seem that effective. It could be because they aren't veterans with TU high enough to get right up close. Nevertheless, it felt quite hard to get them somewhere useful and even then they had low percentages - obviously misses got them zapped. Could just be that I'm used to Firaxis XCOM though! Also, being used to Firaxis XCOM, the cover mechanic here feels very different and in a way, less intuitive. I'm not raising issue with it but it made my first play of the demo frustrating. All I'm saying is that it could put off players who are new to Xenonauts - maybe the tutorial could explain that you can't lean around corners - that is a very natural thing to do in XCOM (having the fog of war enabled made this much more obvious so maybe default that to be on) Is good though, it looks very pleasing. Unlike XCOM it doesn't have animations that make objects or the camera go through other objects. The downside of that is that it is not quite as satisfying to kill enemies but I do like the aesthetic and the less arcade style.
  3. You'd have to turn a lot of the game mechanics on their head. You'd start with the advanced tech so research would be a much smaller part of the game. Instead, it would be more about developing your potential to send more and stronger waves of attackers to Earth. So base building and research would swap in terms of their importance. Also, you wouldn't be training your soldiers up to higher ranks but sending them to their deaths with the intention of doing as much damage as possible on the way. Combat would be less about xp and research artifacts, and more about grinding down humanity one farmer at a time.
  4. To the second point on refuelling: it did seem a little silly that you could fight half a wave but would have to nip home before going back to finish them off. It wasn't exciting and it broke immersion somewhat. I remember needing to take trips back for something as little as a tiny handful of autocannon rounds. Obviously there needs to be some challenge in the air war to make it a game but I'd say that if you're only managing a half dozen craft, the challenge shouldn't be logistics: the refuelling/rearming wait time isn't an interesting aspect of play. As for your point on lore related research: in another thread on weapons, Chris stated something to the effect that the player shouldn't be facing a decision between researching lasers or filling their xenopedia with lore about the invaders. On a second play through, you wouldn't feel as compelled to study the lore, so you'd get all the combat tech first (in a recent play of XCOM, I did just this and played most of the game with top tier weapons - it became a drag). I guess the issue here is that the single research tree is the helm for too much development. It is the only way to get at the story line, progress through stages of the game and upgrade your gear. These are qualitatively different so probably shouldn't fall under the same umbrella. Xcom Apocalypse had two research divisions, so you could be studying the alien life cycle whilst also designing a new fleet of interceptors. One side of research would seem more important than the other for a while but their significance would alternate as the game progressed.
  5. I think the above nicely echoes what has been said: there are a lot more variables in play than just damage and rate of fire. I'd say that a good contender to differentiate the weapon tiers would be to focus on which classes of gun are available - so lasers wouldn't have their own variants of pistol, shotgun, SMG, rifle, LMG, sniper and rocket launcher, instead they might have just two or three models which have entirely different effective ranges than conventional ballistics. That way there is never an out-and-out upgrade but rather another type of weapon, which fills a particular niche, that you can add to your arsenal. Then, building on those distinct classes, the uniqueness of the weapon tier can come into effect. So the short range laser (which is neither a pistol nor a shotgun) could have an added suppression effect because it is blinding. The short range weapons in the plasma and MAG tiers may end up being much more powerful, but you'd still keep that little blinding laser around for those situations or play styles that call for it. To promote the player to invest in further research tiers, the late game could introduce enemies which aren't susceptible to the blinding laser, so you can't rely on that tactic alone. Possibly, it would be better to think of the unique tech effects then create weapon classes to fit. In either case, what I'm getting at is that the motivation to progress needn't just be about pure damage output (you kind of already get that as your soldiers' firepower increases with accuracy).
  6. Well I think terror missions have a little more to them than just kill everything, there is that secondary objective of keeping the civilians alive. Although it is a very secondary objective; you are quite at liberty to ignore it, so returning to the kill everything scenario. Nevertheless, they do prompt you to explore the map rapidly before the aliens kill everyone. I seem to recall that the aliens are usually a little more well-armed too, but sadly they don't carry terror-specific weapons like flamethrowers or Imperial AT-ATs. Firaxis XCOM has a bunch of mission types, they do mix it up a little, but I guess there is a fundamental limit to what ground combat can let you do. The XCOM2 missions essentially involve you getting to a certain location on the map and pressing the 'interact' button, hardly inspiring variety. OK, that is a gross oversimplification, there are fun variables like stealth, misdirection and squad composition. But I fear that the Infrastructure and Bomb missions would fall to the same blurring effect - that they could be devolved to 'go here' then 'kill everything'. This is why I was pressing for your other idea about the mood and feel of a mission. At the end of the day, no player is going to think for a long time about the specifics of the mission objectives when they can all be reduced to 'kill everything'. Unfortunately, when the player stops engaging with whatever differences have been implemented, then the underlying game starts to feel repetitive. The Bomb mission would need to have something like a timer to make the player approach it in a different way. The fact that a lot of players don't like timers is, in some ways, a good thing - those are the missions you dread because they challenge the way you play. I mean, there are alternatives but they all have to force something on the player. Some artificial intervention that means you just can't use your regular tactics. The added challenge of the Bomb mission could be that the whole facility you fight in is full of volatile materials, so you can't bring explosive weapons; or that the Psi-Bomb gives all combatants a penalty to a specific stat, say aim, so you have to make it a close quarters battle. Getting back to terror missions, I think that tactical impairment could be that your soldiers are more likely to panic, maybe having their morale/bravery linked to the number of civilians that get splashed or saved.
  7. There are quite a few ideas here bundled under the heading 'Terror Mission'. Infrastructure attacks or bomb emplacements are fairly far removed from the pure terror element - they give the impression of timed objectives, which have the right urgency and would cause damage to human settlements, but I think the idea of terror is something different. Or at least, I think that it has potential to be something quite different and that should be much to do with the feel of the mission. Differences could be as Roxxed suggests, simple graphical alterations to change the mood or unique terror enemies (e.g. Reapers/Cryssalids). Terror missions are the perfect candidates for nighttime events. The added tactical difficulty of visibility along with the spooky atmosphere that effects you as a player. Though my point is to reserve that feel for terror missions only, else they'd lose their edge. Reapers are probably too much of a staple alien combatant to use only on terror missions but I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to make an alternate skin for them along with changes like added movement or an AI that is favours sneaking up behind your troops (or avoiding light sources). Along with what Rodmar18 says, maybe the aliens in terror missions should be suicidal, packed with explosives to really give the impression that you are fighting an enemy hell-bent on achieving maximum damage. In that vein, the aliens wouldn't need a ship to transport them, theirs would be a one way trip, so they could arrive via drop pods. This would negate your ability to shoot them down and could provide the visual clue as to where the aliens are located on the map: "I think they're in that building, the one with the huge hole in it and the alien drop pod sticking out the side... You go in first"
  8. Could this relate to rank, so you can only send multiple soldiers if one of them is an officer? I've been thinking that the rank system could be made more significant if it actually related to a soldiers ability to command other soldiers. Alternatively, the case could be that sending a higher-ranked soldier as an agent would permit them to conduct advanced operations - such as leading local forces - whereas dispatching a squaddie as an agent wouldn't effect so much authority. I'm sure that there is a lot of room for using agents as delegates in regions around the globe: less like an x-number-of-days-covert-action and more like a continuous interaction using soldiers as a resource.
  9. I'd say there is a fair bit of potential for making the map more interesting. It could add to the atmosphere of the Cold War, if the USSR or the US had their influence in various countries/regions around the globe, and those allegiances fluctuated with geopolitical events (as far as I'm aware, this is pretty much what was happening in the Cold War). Redrawing some familiar boarders would be a neat way to emphasise an alternative-fiction universe. As for your second point in particular, I can see that increasing the number of areas by using sub regions could make for a better geoscape, one that feels more like a world, but I think that it might stretch some of the gameplay mechanics. If you have 10 regions, each split into 2 or 3 of sub-regions, then it is not inconceivable that one or two of them might never see a splashed UFO or otherwise spawn a mission. It depends on how you want the regions to function I suppose. On that note, I am all for making the geoscape game a bit deeper too, as well as just the map itself.
  10. There are a couple of issues which I think can be solved with one solution. Part of the complaint is that imagined technology requires some suspension of disbelief (although flying saucers are fine right?) and the difficulty is in making the implementations of that technology fit into enjoyable and rewarding gameplay. A solution, I think, is to separate out the theoretical research and the technical design (possibly both being distinct from the nuts-and-bolts building job). The progression of the science goes something like bullet-laser-plasma-MAG, tier 1-2-3-4 (which is fine, the necessity of that being linear is another argument). But I'd say that the progression of weapons, physically, doesn't need to look like that. Instead, the weapon-groups could be defined as 1) kinetic projectiles and 2) energy beams. These aren't linear tiers and the energy beam doesn't have to behave like lasers or plasma would. It is not a wave, it is not a particle, it is a brightly coloured, subluminal flashy thing to which you can't apply your conventions (it is science fiction my friends). These two groups, kinetic and energy weapons, are the domain of the engineers. The groups both get to feel like different weapons, not just another like-for-like iteration of what went before. Functionally, the scientists enable the engineers by passing across technologies, then, the engineers use those theoretical principles in their design. The player needs to invest science resource to gain access to the different technologies but they invest design resource into the weapons of their choice. Don't like the way long range beam weapons work, fine, don't build them, but you have to research the corresponding technology to get reach a full powered kinetic sniper rifle. This has the secondary benefit of giving your engineers something to do at all times, and also, allowing you to develop your weapons at the same time as devoting your science to the narrative-progressing technologies.
  11. The weapon tier paradigm has been discussed before (though perhaps not with that name). To sum up what I remember, there are the camp of realists who argue against long-range plasma projectiles etc and the other side who propose that the weapon tiers are about a linear progression, so that when you research the corresponding tech it functions as an all-out upgrade. I'm guessing that the new alenium mechanic will be used to encourage the player to use a mix of weapon tiers throughout the game.
  12. Wow, that is a really nice idea. It seems simple and obvious but I've not seen anyone mention it. I mean, I guess it could be annoying if you accidentally fill up a soldier's inventory with grenades then you have to do some extra shuffling mid-mission, but any idea which overall amounts to fewer unnecessary clicks is, I think, a bit of a winner. (Also hello)
  13. Wow, it is almost like all the stuff that has been talked about on the forum was fed into some kind of development plan. Magic I'll be interested to see these new implementations and find how much of what changes is actually missed. The removal of air-combat in Firaxis xcom was no biggie, but then I think that that is because their first game had really dull interceptions (it was more a case of remembering to do the right R&D in time). So, Goldhawk, good luck with that one! As I've said before, I'd vote for bold changes, certainly with the little things. Alenium sounds pretty big, like it will determine a lot about the game, so obviously that mechanic has to be considered and carefully implemented (then abused in mods!). But what I really liked about the first xenonauts were the little things: airstrikes on downed UFOs, the ventilation system in alien fortresses or the way the artwork changed in your base over time. Those features were hardly something you would use in an exhibition promoting the game but they're nice little things waiting for the player to discover. So, yes, it is good to hear that Goldhawk are rethinking not just rebuilding but whilst that is important, also (please), be bold with the little bits.
  14. One of the Halo games used a Focus Rifle (which was pretty much a laser) that fired in a stream rather than a brief, intense burst. Damage was a function of how long you could keep the beam trained on your opponent. Naturally, the beam hit dead-centre of your reticule: you didn't need to lead your target but it was nonetheless fairly hard to track your enemy accurately. I guess that the transfer to a turn based system would be - as mentioned above - that the gunner is still fallible but that the damage done would depend on time units remaining. It'd be much like the basic TU to firepower conversion of snap vs auto fire. Except in this case the calculation would be a continuous function, feasibly inputting distance and the opacity of the air too. I don't know how much difference that would actually make in terms of gameplay but if we're considering realism, I'm fairly sure that a laser's cutting power is related to the duration for which it is focused as much particles which would dissipate the energy en route. Note: Halo also sports a Spartan Laser which behaves very differently and is badass in its own right. It is a heavy weapon more akin to the class of LMG or rocket launcher. That gun was especially fun for arcing the beam across several targets or drilling directly into one. That mechanic is also an application I'd vouch for if we're discussing how a laser weaponry could be implemented.
  15. Also you could use the teleporter to dodge missiles, plant grenades, then teleport again in less than a second of real-time combat. Fun but maybe not particularly balanced. Getting back to the original point of the thread - Apocalypse hardly branched out from the 'kill everything' approach in missions (though you could stun/loot human factions, save non-combatants and destroy map structures). Like most games in the genre, missions were mostly sweep and clear. I feel that its reprieve was the immersive strategy layer: a city of individual buildings that gradually became infested with aliens. Since that half of the game felt like a living ecosystem, it wasn't simply a means to generate ground combat missions. There is an interplay between the two, if they're both quite static the overall gameplay gets stagnant. The MO of kill everything is a lot less dull if it exists in an interesting framework.