Drakon

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About Drakon

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  1. I personally think that the development cost of getting a hit location based damage system in place is not worth the gain. I'd rather see the resources used elsewhere.
  2. I do not consider myself to be particularily well versed in this game genre, so my question to you (and any other forum posters who feel like replying) would be: which games have solved the problem of cumulative success advantages elegantly? Because i myself know none, and i would be interested in looking at how other people approached the issue. Just a theoretical suggestion: if you do like the idea of having individual characters, you could make it so that adding new hireable individuals to the roster costs resources. I personally do not really have an issue with not all Xenonauts runs being equal in difficulty - to some degree you get that anyways with just one random roll whether your soldiers manage the reflex check before the alien throws a grenade or not, and the results are probably more drastic than which starting stats your characters have (unless you plan on having them differ vastly). So you could make it that you have 20 individuals for hire from the start, and adding a random new person to the list of hireable individuals costs a little bit of money. This way the player himself chooses how large the list of character dossiers he wants to read through should be, and if he keeps adding more characters, he'll eventually just have to leaf through several pages of dossiers (adding a new button for "next page" only if necessary). If you can reasonably assume that amongst 20 characters the suiteable replacement for someone who died can be found, then the slightly awkward task of having to compare stats from two different pages is left up to those who want it. I'm afraid i do not quite understand the math behind what exactly you are trying to do enough to give a more specific or useful suggestion, but that's at least a thought one could play around with. Examples: jam enemy radio to delay reinforcements (anyone can jam a radio, but an engineer might be able to do it in a way so that it looks more like a technical malfunction and people aren't immediately alerted that something is amiss), blow up walls to create new avenues of approach (typical combat engineer job, because you don't really want some grunt choosing a wall that is still necessary for the structural integrity of the building), quickly build new bridges from prefabricated parts for new avenues of approach, assembling a large and somewhat complex weapon (think stationary plasma cannon or similar, parts already built in engineering lab but transported in individual pieces to the field, since no soldier could carry the entire gun), ... Main issue with that is that each of these needs to be coded and tested, which drains resources from other things that could be implemented in Xenonauts 2. You could start a poll in the forums whether people would prefer a better system for grenade evasion as suggested by Shaman or rather several different interesting in game tasks that engineers or scientists can do in the field ... i personally am very wary of just asking users what they want, because usually they do not actually know what will benefit them, and only figure out that what they claimed would be spectacularily welcome in a new program is actually useless and ineffective after it's been implemented. Either way, i can easily understand why the people at Goldhawk would be hesitant to divert as many resources as would be necessary to implementing the interesting combat tasks for non-soldiers that you would like to see.
  3. I fail to see what point you are trying to make. Enlighten me. Just to sate my personal curiosity: assuming that transport is for practical purposes invisible to radar, doesn't have a scramjet style fiery exhaust trail, and is flying at night, at an altitude of 26000 m ( ~ 85000 feet) or higher, what exactly would be the likely scenario and methods how this craft would be spotted with 1980s technology and standard behaviour? If you actually read what i wrote, i pointed out it compounds a balance issue. Essentially you get rewarded not for handling your units well, but just for having them in your employment for longer. Not a big deal, but you need to take it into account balance wise, because it will lead to exactly the scenario you mentioned: newly hired troops being just left at home training for a while, because they are of barely any use in the field and mostly just likely to die. The gap in efficiency between a newly hired unit and a veteran will continue to widen as the game progresses and the toughness of the opponents increases. Ultimately this tends to drive the game in a direction where the end game is either trivial or impossible. I've written a longer post in the Xenonauts-2 General Discussion subforum on one possible solution to the balancing issue, but suffice to say, the problem is actually not trivial, and adding mechanics that aggravate it doesn't really help. Can still be a good choice if the mechanic adds so much to the gameplay to be worth the drawback, but it is worth a lot more thought than you seem to be willing to give it. Well, read my previous post then.
  4. In Xenonauts 1 500 HP would make a unit survive at most two combat-rounds of dedicated attention from a squad ... probably less (exception being Androns who besides high HP also had huge damage reduction against projectile weapons). I am only guessing here, but i think the primary idea is for the boss aliens to not die in the same round that they are discovered by the player - for me in X1 that was the case pretty much every time i wanted it. The game-mechanic problem here is, that if your boss unit has special abilities but dies as soon as the player discovers it if the player chooses to invest his resources this way, then these abilities either end up being irrelevant or you need to allow the boss unit to use its abilities from off screen - generating the not really overly liked off screen mind control from Xenonauts 1. I will concur that making units bullet-spongy isn't necessarily the most beautiful approach to solve this issue, but it is a simple one. It does create an issue balance wise, though, since if the damage the player can deliver veers noticeably from what the game designer expected at that point, you either end up with the boss being one shot again, or with uninteresting long combat sequences where you need to slowly chip off the HP (or not overly interesting combat sequences where you get murderated by a boss you just don't have the damage to kill before he wipes out your team). I would beg to differ here. The Xenonauts transport craft is necessarily going to need to have some sort of anit-radar mechanic, or it's not going to survive flying around with the military generally not being informed of it's existence. If the Xenonauts transport is effectively invisible to radar, during daytime flights there is still a high risk of it being discovered by a random airfield employee who happens to look up to the sky, and wonder which craft is zooming by here. This is especially true for aircraft carrier personnel. There is of course heat detection as well, something that in my opinion is noticeably harder to solve than radar invisibility, and the fact that a craft that can reach any point on earth an return within 18 hours needs to fly at roughly mach 2 or greater, creating a sonic boom, but both of those are vastly mitigated by simply flying at very high altitude. The real issue is landing, and now this needs to be done at night, and you can slow down to subsonic speeds before reducing your altitude. If i understood correctly, one of the key reasons for the very limited personnel roster you get to choose from is trust. You get 40 people that the game assures you are not under alien influence or will hand your organisation over to their government at the earliest opportunity, and are also in one way or another capable individuals. I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that the cost for "hiring" this personnel might actually not be as much giving them the money so they work for you, but actually resources necessary to do a full background check to make sure the assumption they won't sell you out is still true (else why don't you have all 40 work for you from the start?). Interesting idea, but that would mean that any individual you hire will progressively become better the longer he stays employed. This compounds the balance issue that if you loose someone, the stats of your newly hired replacement will be significantly worse compared to the stats of those you have had in your service for a while (unless the difference training makes itself is not really significant). One way to mitigate that is for all units to level up their stats over time, regardless of whether they are employed by you or not ... but i must admit that just sounds weird to me. Reverse Tolkien-time-principle? Realistically, if you actually hire a Speznaz or SAS operative that has seen combat their stats will only get worse after their first few missions rather than better, because they are probably already at the peak of their capabilities anyways, and there will be injuries they survive but reduce their combat effectiveness over time, and battle traumata that will reduce their "bravery stat". I'd wager most people on this forum wouldn't want that level of realism, even though it might make for an interesting game where you get people at the peak of their capabilites and just gradually use them up over the course of the game. Not exactly X-Com like, though. What i find interesting is that from what Chris wrote i can deduce that the timespan Xenonauts 2 will cover will be significantly less than Xenonauts 1. A normal Xenonauts 1 campaign encompassed several months - half a year would be no surprise. If that was the case in Xenonauts 2, you really wouldn't care about loosing one day of work from a scientist as you sent him on a mission - with 4 months playtime that's about 1/120th or 0.833% of the total science generated by this one individual (and i am assuming that we can have more than one scientist researching at a time). This is even further mitigated by that i can have a grunt in the lab while my scientist is resting (someone who is healed up enough to be able to work, but still doesn't quite have enough hp that i like the idea of sending him into combat), reducing the total loss even more. This indicates to me that a complete campaign in Xenonauts 2 will only encompass weeks, rather than months. As an not entirely unrelated thought, there'd be the theoretical option of also narrowing down the geographical scope of Xenonauts 2 to only Europe (including the western part of Russia), North Africa and the western part of the Middle East. Every biome from Xenonauts 1 can be found there, and the only one i can think of not available is djungle. If the aliens wanted to create tension between the NATO and WP, it would make sense for them to operate there rather than anywhere else. It would make reaching and returning from a mission in a day very plausible, and the longer strategic side quests that take people away for days would then likely often take place on other continents. Not really something i think you should necessarily do, but maybe a concept worth considering. Regards Drakon
  5. I see, and i agree with the point you are making (in my example i did assume only 6 operatives on the mission, as well). Also i am well aware that a lot of the statements are still rough estimations at best - no point in getting too attached to a concept or calculation and have it later create bigger design issues if that can be avoided. I merely wanted to draw your attention to that this particular set of assumptions since they did not seem to make sense to me. The earlier in the development process one can get things right, the less total work in the long run after all. You also have not explicitely answered my question in regards of whether you intend to make exhaustion a more important resource than health, even though your post implies that it probably will - and again, i completely understand if you cannot (or simply do not want to) give a definitive answer to that yet. How long are you planning to have normal operations (not the side-quests that take your operatives away for a while) take? In Xenonauts 1 a normal mission (landed/crashed UFO or alien base) was completed pretty much instantaneously (in maybe an hour or two). You mentioned that scientists / engineers could do missions "on top of their normal day job". Does this mean a normal mission will be flight there, mission, and then immediate flight back in less than 18 hours total? Else the "on top" does not really make sense to me ... or do all soldiers require extensive periods of rest after each mission until they can be sent to combat again? If the missions take longer than 18 hours - how can a scientist / engineer do his day job while also doing missions? He is away from the base after all.
  6. One more, quite minor request - i figure the earlier i post this, the easier it would be to implement. In Xenonauts 1 you had to click through 2 sub-menus to get to your casualty list. Most military institutions rather tend to have their memorials rather up in the front of their areas and very visible - part of this is psychological strategy: it is well known that reminders of death actually increase dutifulness, and pointing out to soldiers that their actions will be remembered after their death makes them more likely to be willing to participate in high risk operations. As such, i think it would be really nice if the memorial for the fallen would be visible on the base overview screen and probably also on the base organisation screen. If it's easy you could have the names on the memorial in those screens be actually visible, or else just have several pictures where you see the memorial have more and more names on it, depending on how long the list of actually fallen soldiers already are. I know that's a miniscule thing, but i do think it would really help to set the tone for the game.
  7. Greetings; In regards to that - how do you plan to handle injuries? In Xenonauts 1 i figured that Morale was a resource you basically used up during the mission, but replenished between missions, while health was a resource you would have to manage over a longer period of time, with soldiers - while surviving their wounds - being out of commission for a while. With a hospital and Sebillian analysis however, soldiers oftentimes were back to almost full hp by the time the next UFO-wave spawned. Since you plan on having more light injuries due to 5.56 projectile hits (which after all were designed to injure rather than kill) and less instant-deaths, it would make sense to make the soldiers health a resource that needs to be managed - or do you plan that stress and exhaustion need more over time management than injuries from bullet wounds? Considering that 10 staff lategame sounds a little low ... assuming you can take 6 people on a combat mission, one person is on a side quest and unavailable, that leaves a total of 3 people. If one of them is working in the lab and one in the workshop you are down to 1 who can be injured before there's jobs you just cannot do any more for lack of manpower, and on harder difficulties i would expect that there is always at least one person who is injured to some degree. Maybe i'm not getting it ... the numbers just don't seem to add up to me. To make things interesting if you stick with primarily human allies to a small number of alien boss units, i'd suggest changing the human allies playstyle based on the alien that is influencing them. If for instance the Sebillians use fear to intimidate humans into cooperation, those humans might be very prone to just hiding in a corner and only attacking from ambushes. Androns might equip the humans with superiour armour and weaponry, making the humans tougher and better armed, but due to inherent human limitations also slower and more sluggish to react. If Cesans actually use full mind-control on their human allies, they might actually have them arm a bomb in their inventory and go for suicide bombing tactics - probably a rather nasty surprise the first time it happens. This way you can reuse the same art assets and the idea of primarily fighting humans over and over without the experience getting stale too quickly. You mentioned the idea of stealing resources wearing the uniform of another country. Now that is of course a viable possibility, but wouldn't that necessarily also increase tension between the factions? To some extent, using non-lethal weapons might be an option to reduce the increase in tension between the factions - for one thing, if during the cold war CIA operatives raided a Soviet-aligned outpost, you wouldn't necessarily expect too many survivors (i don't really know of any incidents of Speznaz or KGB operatives attacking NATO-aligned outposts, with the partial exception of the Afghanistan intervention, which was a bit bigger than an outpost raid). The fact that few if any of the people stationed there were killed might be part of what would tip the faction off to that this maybe wasn't NATO or PACT. Since you were looking for a way to increase the importance of the "Communication" stat - a pretty simple way would be to have it increase the number of tiles until your unit becomes identified as friend or foe. As long as the defenders (aliens or human guards) are not alerted, it would make sense that you can move one of your operatives up to for instance 25 - 2 x Communication tiles to a hostile unit before that unit realizes you're actually not an ally and opens fire / sounds an alert (this assumes your initial statement that stats go from 1 - 5). This means that someone with a low Communication stat must make sure to at utmost get into furthest sight range of a defender, while someone with a high Communication stat can scout around much easier. Very simplified infiltration mechanics to be sure, but it would suit the playstyle. I get why you would like to include separate quest missions which will temporarily make soldiers unavailable, and that makes sense ... it just always felt to me like these missions were really random events that i as a player have pretty much no control over except choosing to do them or not to do them (and in the Firaxis X-Com there wasn't much of a choice anyways), and the outcome was just up to chance. I personally would appreciate it if you could insert some sort of mechanic or minigame that gives the player some level of control over the outcome of the mission, but of course i am well aware that your resources are limited and that other areas might need them more dearly. Either way, yay for moddability. Regards
  8. Actually ... no. Applying the approach you suggested in your reply the way you wrote it - making the aliens stronger where the player is dominant and weaker where he is not - will lead to players wondering why they are trying their best at all, since in the end no matter how good they do, the strength of the aliens they face is always relative to their own strength. In essence, the player is punished for doing well ... quite frustrating if you are not offering the players something in return to keep them engaged. Where the inital suggestion i made would give players agency, have their decisions and in game behaviour impact the further development of the game, just adapting the strength of the aliens to whether the player is dominant or falling behind actually removes agency: player behaviour has less longterm consequences. What I want is for the game to be engaging and challenging throughout the entire duration of play. As mentioned in my original post, keeping a game of this type challenging is difficult for systemic reasons. A solution i suggested was using incomparables throughout the duration of the game to keep switching the difficulty: alien escort probability ≠ quality of alien ground troops ≠ strategic alien behaviour (passive versus aggressive) ≠ doomclock (In the original Xenonauts all of these things were tied to the "ticker", and basically progressed simultaneously and at the same speed.). This makes the game more engaging over longer periods of time, since the player needs to start focusing on areas he has previously neglected, and has agency in choosing which style of play he wants to pursue - but those are actually just beneficial side effects from trying to find a balance approach that a.) doesn't use static balancing so the end game is no longer either trivial or impossible, and b.) doesn't use direct dynamic equivalent balancing (e.g. alien tech is determined by how far the player has progressed in researching), since that is frustrating for the player. If you want to simplify the concept down, i guess you could say that the player is "punished" for being successfull in exterminating aliens by the aliens sending more elite troops and starting to act more aggressively, but "rewarded" by getting more resources to buy shiny things with and by the fact that his fighting pushes the autoloose-condition further away. Conversely, a player who is not exterminating aliens effectively (whether due to player choice or his inability to do so) is "punished" by getting less income and an eventual autoloose coming faster, but is "rewarded" in that the aliens will not send their more advanced units and will act passively (researching and scouting) rather than aggressively (actively trying to destroy player property or reduce his income / reputation). (Additionally, but this is more fluff than strictly game mechanics, doing poorly will increase civillian casualties and result in a worse in game reputation for the player. For the pure gamers who only care about winning and not at all about the fluff, this will not matter, but for players immersed in the game world this can be a significant motivator to risk their in game valuables in order to save fictional lives.) Since continually increasing the aliens capability should eventually make them nigh impossible to defeat (else you end in a scenario where the aliens "cap out", and the rest of the game is trivial, since the player can now exterminate everything the aliens send), the next logical step is to disassociate as many sub-aspects of difficulty as possible: in Xenonauts 1 that would be alien escort probability, alien ground troop quality and alien aggressiveness. This means that each of these aspects is in itself sort of a game ending criterium: once every ship has two heavy fighter escorts, the player won't be shooting down many UFOs any more. Once the alien crews consist predominantly of their most elite troops, any fight on the ground will result in casualties for the player. Once the aliens start doing one terror mission after another, the player will rapidly loose income and reputation, and eventually the game. However each of the individual game ending criteria in themselves are not enough to literally end the game immediately, only a single aspect of it: if the player can no longer shoot down UFOs, he'll have to go in against landed UFOs. If the player can not sustain the losses of ground assaults, he can still bomb UFOs which he shot down and obtain resources and reputation this way. While the aliens only send low quality troops or don't protect their transports with fighter cover, terror missions are still manageable, and though his income will be dwindling, the player will still have resources for a little while. If several of these start compounding, however, the game is pretty much lost. If instead of UFOs being shot down Xenonauts 2 has a minigame where you need to find and identify the alien collaborator, then you can basically just swap out these sub-aspects - that would change nothing from the basic concept. I am sorry if i am being unclear in my phrasing. I actually put the pseudo code in because i figured that is the clearest way to communicate the concept.
  9. Greetings to Everyone; firstoff, grats to Chris and the rest of the Xenonauts 1 team for making a great game. Also thanks for making mods in the game easy - Chris mentioned in his retrospect on making Xenonauts 1 that it was essentially impossible to make the successor to X-Com people were hoping for, since the interpretations of what that should look like were so vastly divergent. Mods are the perfect solution for that. Following are a few thoughts from someone who looks forward to Xenonauts 2. 1.) Minimap Please Someone else probably already posted this, but it would be really nice if you could switch to a minimap view of the area, or just zoom out to see the entire map. 2.) Alien Strategic AI Reading through some of the posts here Chris already seems to have a similar idea in mind anyways. What i originally wrote was more intended for a similar strategic approach as Xenonauts 1 had, but now there's talk of a different approach, so this may no longer be applicable to the new game that the Goldhawk crew have in mind. There have been some comments about that Xenonauts ends up being really easy endgame if you had good successes early game. That is kind of in the nature of the game - consecutive successes give consecutive advantages, meaning that if the game has a static balancing this result is unavoidable. One could of course adapt the alien strength to the forces available to the human player, but then it kind of feels like you've been cheated out of your achievement: it doesn't really matter how well you do, the difficulty of the battles you face will always be the same. So i suggest the following solution: give the aliens a very basic strategic AI, making informed decisions based on last months happenings. Ultimately, the goal of the aliens is to invade and colonize Earth. To do so they (in Xenonauts 1) need to adapt their ships to Earths conditions - once they have done so with their heaviest ships, defense becomes untenable. The aliens have a specific amount of resources available to them every month, and what they spend it on depends on how last month went for them. If all UFOs they sent have been shot down, they will invest resources into fighter escorts for their UFOs, if their ground forces have been defeated, they will commit more elite troops, if the Xenonauts have been a nuisance, they will start a search and destroy mission against one of their bases, or if that fails execute a terror mission against civillian targets in retaliation. All remaining resources go into increasing the size of UFOs that will be sent down / a doom counter that ends the game when it reaches a certain value. Basically they want to study Earth and humans, and take the place as intact as possible: doing a terror mission would be retarded if so far all enemies have folded before them anyways. The result of this is that the player constantly faces a changing strategic situation. The player gets to choose in what area he wants to have superiority for a little while. Researched better missiles for your interceptors? Awesome, you'll have a month where you can down UFOs easily, then they'll start sending fighter cover with all following UFOs (forever, until the end of the game), so you either need to invest even more into retaining air superiority, which the aliens will one month later answer with more and stronger alien fighter craft, or you can choose to not escalate the air war, and instead attack UFOs after they have landed. Wasted all aliens without loosing a man? You'll have better troops and no recruitment costs, but on the next ship there will be less alien civillian technicians and scientists, and more shock troops to protect them. (For this all to work, it would be neccessary that EVERY UFO except fighter patrols lands eventually and stays landed for about 24 hours, so that if the air war escalated to a point where the player simply cannot shoot down UFOs anymore, he still gets a chance to fight. I would even go further and suggest that landed UFOs always show up on the global map regardless of radar ranges, representing ground forces informing you of the location. During this time the alien fighter escorts would retreat to space for refuel and rearm, giving you a chance to land ground forces in a helo ... of course they will be facing an intact landed UFO with full crew.) Of course you can play dead fish in the water and do as little as possible to only fullfill your current objectives and advance towards the final mission - i'd even suggest that to be the easiest route to win the game. However while you do nothing, civillian casualties skyrocket, nations will cut their funding because they received no aid from you, and you will be cutting it REALLY close with the doom clock. Here is a bit of pseudo-code on how this could be implemented. AlienStrategicAI { monthlyresources = monthlyresources + 1500 + 100*monthcounter + 10*numberSuccessfulGroundmissions; escorteffectiveness = ((numberFailedUFOmissions / numberUFOmissions) + (numberShotdownUFOs / numberShotdownInterceptors))/2; if (escorteffectiveness < 0.5 + random()*0.2) escortprobability = escortprobability + 0.2 + random(); /*Our UFOs are shot down before they can do anything. Increase the probability of "purchasing" fighter escorts for further missions by this value. Values > 1 mean that there will be at least 1 escort, and there is a chance of additional escorts. This will of course increase the price of any further UFOs "purchased" to do missions. (It would also make sense to increase the probability of air superiourity missions based on this value, but that is not factored in here.)*/ //budgetPs will be percentages of available resources. All numbers refer to last month only, not total since the start of the game. infantrybudgetP = ((numberSuccessfulGroundmissions / numberGroundmissions) + (3*numberDeadAliens / (numberIncapacitatedXenonauts + 4*numberDisabledXenonautvehicles)))/2; /*This assumes the aliens think of a Xenonaut who fell unconcious but survived the mission as a casualty.*/ baseattackbudgetP = ((numberFailedUFOmissions / numberUFOmissions) + (numberSuccessfulGroundmissions / numberGroundmissions))/2; terrorbudgetP = numberFailedBaseAttacks/10; /*This assumes no more than 10 base-attack-missions per month. The expectation is that by the time you would reach 10 base-attack-missions per month, the doom clock should have finished the game, but this should be ensured in the actual code.*/ terrorbudgetadd = monthlyresources * terrorbudgetP; monthlyresources = monthlyresources - terrorbudgetadd; terrorbudget = terrorbudget + terrorbudgetadd; /*terrorbudget is used to "purchase" terror missions. Given the units involved, these are extremely expensive, so it might take an additional month (and another failed base attack) to accrue the resources. They should on the other hand be designed to be borderline impossible to succeed on, and the player should be rewarded for merely *trying* to help (and loosing his units in the process). Personally i'd like the idea of spawning player controlled civilians on the other end of the map, and you get bonus points for every civilian that is with you when you evacuate from the mission (or who is still alive when you kill the last alien, which should be VERY unlikely). You can just sit on your spawn and move the civilians, but then the aliens on the map will almost certainly find the civilians and butcher them, costing you dearly in reputation in that region for every civilian killed. Or you go out and fight, but there's roughly 20 alien elite soldiers out there. Add in just a few reapers and let the fun commence.*/ baseattackadd = monthlyresources * baseattackbudgetP / 4; monthlyresources = monthlyresources - baseattackadd; baseattackbudget = baseattackbudget + baseattackadd; /*baseattackbudget accumulates over turns until it reaches the necessary minimum value to "purchase" troops for a base attack mission. That minimum value rises by 25% with each failed base attack, but base attacks that did *some* damage through killing some personnel and destroying some facilities count as partial success, raising the minimum value only by 10%).*/ infantrybudgetadd = monthlyresources * infantrybudgetP / 4; monthlyresources = monthlyresources - infantrybudgetadd; infantrybudget = infantrybudget + infantrybudgetadd; /*infantrybudget just continually grows, gradually reducing the percentage of non-combatant aliens and replacing them with ever better combat troops. Every ship (except those on terror missions and base attack missions) has a minimum required number of non-combatants which can never be replaced (for example 2 for a corvette) then there need to be at least 2 warriors for every officer, 2 officers for every elite and so on.*/ missionbudget = monthlyresources * 3/4; /*Three fourths (or some other percentage) of the remaining resources go into "purchasing" missions / ships that will do missions. These are randomly selected from the available missions of scout missions, research missions, ground attack missions, air patrol missions, and base construction missions. Every ship has an "attack value" associated with it, which will, when multiplied with a factor dependent on the mission-type, determine how much money you loose if the mission is successful.*/ doomclock = doomclock + monthlyresources * 1/4; /*This is the equivalent of the ticker in Xenonauts 1. The doomclock determines the size of the ships available, and will eventually just end the game. Not drawing resources by combatting alien forces will make the doom clock advance faster, and successful ground missions will increase next months budget for the aliens. Shooting down alien craft and killing them on the ground will lead to you facing tougher forces, and eventually make the aliens angry enough to look for you and kill you, or just murder random civilians if that fails. Note that if the doom clock advances far enough, the aliens will start sending down heavy assault craft or dreadnought bombers, basically resulting in the difficult but still doable terror missions from Xenonauts 1 - but these are still basically ground attack missions, just that the craft executing them have horrifyingly high attack values.*/ }//end of AlienStrategicAI Of course i just came up with random guesstimations for the numbers here, and those would need to be refined for balancing, but i think it gives a solid impression of the concept i am trying to pitch. 3.) Improved Alien Tactical AI Now this is maybe an unreasonable request, because writing a good tactical AI is a significant amount of work (and hence costs a significant amount of money). A reasonably simple suggestion i could offer, however, would be to give the aliens states of mind that determine their basic course of action for their next turn, enabling simple squad tactics. A possibility would be that an alien is either "hunting", "hiding" or "retreating". The mental state of each alien would be determined at the start of the AI turn for all aliens (else some will move away before the state is determined and the squad will break apart, retreating in different directions). If there are 2 other aliens within 10 squares of this alien, or it has a clear shot at a target within 15 squares, it will advance in the direction of the closest threat to hunt it down. If there is only one threat within 30 squares (40 are the range of a sniper rifle), and there is cover against the direction of the closest threat within 5 squares, the alien will move to that cover and hide. If several threats are within 30 squares, or there is no cover within 10 squares, the alien will retreat, moving away from the closest threats and in the general direction of the UFO if possible. This will generally make the scattered aliens group up, and then start acting in teams of 3. My personal experience in Xenonauts is that going alone is suicide, teams of 2 often just have bad luck and don't manage to kill a target in a single turn, and teams of 3 to 4 are usually enough to be effective but there's still enough cover to be found (if the odds are bad - say you are fighting androns with only base ballistic weapons and not very high accuracy, you'll need teams bigger than 3, but that is rather the exception). Of course this wouldn't apply to the aliens guarding the UFO which default to "hiding" unless there is a target nearby. (And just as a post note - yes, i am well aware they are no longer unidentified flying objects once we have a categorization of alien vehicles, but it's just way shorter than writing "alien craft" every single time.) I hope any of this has been useful. Best regards ~Drakon