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Everything posted by Rodmar18

  1. Either something like this, or another game mode.
  2. Hello, In Xenonauts I, cities were chosen so as to balance city-related mission over all the land and between founders. They could appear at different level of zoom on the geoscape, depending on their relative importance. They could all be struck by terror or aerial terror missions, and their population stat was the same for all (I don't know if it was ever used). It appears that cities fell into several categories: - political capitals (although not all were listed); - economical capitals and metropolis (although not all populated centers were listed, even by 1980 standards (China, ...)); - strategic bases (Churchill, Punta Arenas (?)) (although not all, if any, strategic military or survey assets were listed) The above takes in to account the mod Geographic Addition that added more locations and used more zoom level to not clog the geoscape. Some ideas for Xenonauts 2: Balance city distribution as required, but use more levels of zoom so that the geoscape appears a bit like the Earth at night at the first any zoom levels. Use different icons, one for each (three) category of locations (notwithstanding icons for alien activity). This would allow to sort each category (capitals, metropolis, bases) by importance, and use zoom levels more efficiently. Take actual population into account to assess the number of casualties in case of bombardment, terror mission, or destruction. Use different mission lists for each category; at least, differentiate terror_megalopolis and terror_miltarybase. Also, have different consequences both on success and on failure in each category: loosing the entire population in Churchill would be negligible for Canada USA and barely affect the population's morale, but loosing their missile base (in the 1980s) at Churchill would anger and enfeeble their military. Use a better map: better projection system (not overgrown polar areas, we don't need to conserve angles but distances (radar and patrol ranges), even if vectors and trajectories are kept linear for simplicity of use), more resolution to benefit from another zoom level. Eventually, consider the 3D (geoid) system used by UFO: Alien Invasion.
  3. Hello, I haven't tried Xenonauts 2 yet and I wonder if some mechanics and effects that were absent in Xenonauts 1 have made or could make their way with the new engine: Laser weapons: Will smoke and very hot sources alter laser fire to some extend? Like laser beams being scattered by dense smoke (or special grenade), and refracted by hot air (and incendiaries)? There could be damage reduction and/or loss of accuracy or penetration for each square passed through. The point is not to depict in details what would happen with real weapons (I'm not a specialist) but wouldn't it be interesting if weapon tiers are not just... tiers (i.e. more damage, more penetration), and have there own assets and flaws. Also, about special effects, would it be possible to not have just red "bullets" or red "lines", but also an animation that renders a beginning of ionization and/or visual persistence after the shot?. Again, I'm not a specialist and I don't know how a hand held weapon would be like; at least the most powerful lasers mounted on vehicles could have such effects (I read that even invisible lasers could left a bright trail by night). Plasma weapons: In Xenonauts 1, alien plasma projectile were displayed like very thin elongated "bullets", because the aliens used gravitons to keep plasma balls in shape. In the end, we had like explosive bullets. Yet, the pictures in Xenopedia featured some big balls of doom, and not to speak about the alien plasma thrower that ended as a mere carbine. In contrast, I'd like visual splashes and audio hisses, at least for some weapons that are deemed to cast true plasma balls. What's the decision or the limitation here? Also, I wonder if some large projectiles shouldn't generate a small EMP damage (Androns)? Gore: In Xenonauts 1, descriptions referred to carbonized or even vaporized body parts or even whole people. We effectively had goo effect for overkilled units (and all civilians), but what about maimed, bloody or half-striped corpses, especially with the new localization system? I figure that corpses are now visible where they fell (and not just when looking at the inventory), but some diversity would be welcome. It would add a touch of anguish, I feel. Hazards: Can unprotected soldiers choke if they stay in a smoke cloud long enough? Do crashed UFOs have leaking radiative sources (alenium's potential was based on molecular bonds)? I figure that this could be rendered by a kind of smoke, but perhaps surviving aliens would be too vulnerable to this? Terrain: Could there be special squares of terrain that trigger a trap-like effect? I'm thinking about shifting sands, muskegs, snow holes, plain holes, mines, even spider mines. Perhaps at least a framework for modders to use. In Xenonaut 1, the jungle tile set had "slow motion" water squares; imagine if there was "very, very slow motion" 1-radius, invisible squares as well (of course, with a pertinent visual effect to illustrate what happened to the "trapped" unit). Non-Xenonauts: In Xenonauts 1, we had the pleasure to find our research spied on, and then local forces armed with lasers. Could this be extended to lesser armour as well? And why not a T1 vehicle sometimes (if there is any army base map). Also, why not some rare tries from major powers to fight down small UFOs, escorts, or air superiority missions, with makeshift T1 planes. Perhaps no spying would be involved, only a well understood interest in common. That is, the player would have the sense that the planet makes it better and better through the invasion (should it stay on the first stages). Also, having surviving local forces fighting together with the deployed Xeno team would be nice. Sometimes, in Xenonauts 1, we had a glimpse of this feeling when an Alien spawned in the same room of a local force, and we heard its demise and then saw its corpse. UFO Crews: I read in the Features subforum that crew will be clearly separated like in Xenonauts 1, and I can understand why. Nonetheless, I can only regret the atmosphere in the Crimson Dagger novel left by a composite crew (five species, counting the Androns, each one their role). Drones have well explained roles (scouting, defense, ...), and we find them only with a certain other species. Harridans have well defined roles (master pilots, void maintenance), and we don't find them aboard any large ship (as if Sebillian ship don't need maintenance). Caesians are feeble, and they can build their own base without the muscles of some Sebillians, Andron guards could be last-ditch onboard defenders, and we never see them defending anyone but themselves, etc. At least, the largest ships could feature such a diversity (as in the novel).
  4. Thank you! I appreciate the effort to not spoil the content too much. I'll have to see by myself then. After all, a special effect is only worth as part as a whole, and the whole can very well be enticing enough no to demand too many aesthetic/immersive effects or features. (I'm still playing Xenonauts 1 with 2D sprites for example, without the slightest feeling of repulsion). A few last questions if you don't mind: 8. Audio volume: are there 3 settings for music, special (technological) effects, and ambient effects? We had only 2 of them in Xenonauts I. 9. Stunning and suppression: I think that the two mechanics should be linked, at least in one direction. Do stunning weapons suppress? Do suppressive weapons have more effect on partly stunned/dazed/dazzled targets? There was a link through moral and AP loss, but I'm not sure it was thorough. Perhaps now, wounds could alter the suppression regeneration, depending on their location ("Am I really going to be evacuated?")? Also about stun grenades, I guess that standard ones may be resisted by alien physiologies. Do we have research to adapt them to each new alien species? Is there one stunning/choking device per species? Like flares at night (or special oxidation grenades, even by day?) to stun/suppress thermal vision species, concussion devices (or sonic weapons) to stun/suppress vulnerable species, micro-fragmentation grenades to threaten Harridans in their sealed suits? No need for actual weapons, but it would be nice, perhaps if existing weapons had different effects to different species (instead of species/armour-dependent resistances to the same mechanics); to be clear some hidden settings that Sebillian Soldier type resists Mk3 grenade and not Mk2 grenades' stunning effect, and that's the reverse for Caesans (no need for visible numbers). 10.Wound regeneration: Except perhaps when they were stunned, I don't remember that a Sebillian could passively regenerate when left for dead, or worst, when mimicking the dead. Referring to the novel one time more, I wonder if we should not overkill some of them, or have a dedicated scout run at each corpse to check their status and perform a termination protocol (once a proper research has been conducted). 11. EMP damage: Back to Xenonauts 1 we had EMP "explosives". Are plasma projectiles deemed powerful enough to generate an electromagnetic field disturbance, at least when they penetrate armour? I mean that they are not only searing hot.That is, couldn't be EMP damage be associated to projectiles/hits, the same as there is a suppression damage? 12. Ammunition magazines: Are their mechanics basically unchanged? Or do we have special ammo and partially depleted magazines that can return in the inventory (like rockets)? I'm thinking about explosive/hide piercing/EMP bullets for instance. Mods can't do anything if the proper mechanics isn't implemented. Also, you mention two tiers of laser technology: 13. Weapon Tiers: I'm just curious how technological breakthroughs confront with tactical considerations (RP-wise). Do all assault rifle share the same stats throughout the game or do we use basically the same weapon with other visuals and more damage, as in Xenonauts I? I know that at some point, game balance and handiness shall prevail, but why design a brand new weapon with just one consideration in mind, that to not disturb those poor rednecks that can't use anything different from their usual toys, for sure. Perhaps playing on damage reduction with distance will be enough to have feeling of novelty, as it seems the case for lasers?
  5. I'm in touch with Steam's support team. For now, I got a type answer (I translate:) I'm sorry but we don't offer any support for mods that are created by users, and a difference in the installation path may result from choices made by devs. When you decide to use them, we suggest that you visit their web site [etc]. A good start then (^^). I fear that X:CE is doomed to be considered as a mod for this purpose... Well, isn't it considered as a beta branch as well? Would you have any request (information, feature) I could transmit to them before I answer them? Perhaps if the way X:CE is launched will prevent it from finding and managing Steam mods for ever, I could still request that Steam provides the bare minimum technical assistance so that X:CE/the launcher informs them of its existence, and they can detect it and create a proper deposit mod folder, where users can find them and manually install them? (as does any apprentice modder/translator with other games (AoW3, Stellaris in my case), well when mods aren't packaged in some arcane way (e.g. The Talos Principle)).
  6. I'm sure we had this discussion before (like 2 years ago). Actually, the game runs through Wine 32 bits. I don't know what Steam OS is for, except that the game was installed by Steam in their /.local/share/steam/steamapps/common/xenonauts folder, on behalf of other games that are ran through Steam OS, and that the usual Steam UI is proposed for the game (discussions, workshop, etc). Then I had to install Wine32 on my distribution (I only had Wine64). Steam OS doesn't manage this. Whatever, I just found where my 10 subscribed mods were downloaded (a progress as compared to 2 years ago): /.local/share/steam/userdata/300392794/ugc/referenced/ ... instead of the usual: /.local/share/steam/steamapps/workshop/content/223830/ well, this folder doesn't exist but '223830' seems to be the app Id for Xenonauts. So, in this 'referenced' folder, there are 10 mod folders, each one with a zip archive and a data.vdf file. I guess that I just have to extract and install them manually in assets/mods. However, I'm still asking Steam about this odd behaviour.
  7. Thanks for trying. I have another problem, also with Steam OS, and their resolution tool seems to redirect me to the "game designers", or GoldHawk Interactive. I am unable to download and install mods that I subscribed on Steam Workshop. All the mods that I run have been downloaded from this forum and installed manually in the /assets/mods directory. Do you know if this could be caused by a bad port of the game launcher from Steam for Windows to Steam OS (and Steam is not responsible for this)? Steam OS seems to download (or try and download) the subscribed mods, but I can't find them anywhere, neither in assets/folder nor in steam/steamapps/workshop, nor in some Wine directory. At least, I couldn't so far. No Xenonaut workshop folder is created, etc. I just ask in case you have heard of this problem before. Saying that, I realize that Steam should still be responsible for granting access to the mods it proposes in its workshop, regardless of whether GoldHawk Inc.'s launcher works correctly on Steam OS or not. I'll take my chances and try to contact them.
  8. Hello, a bite late, but I don't see any bug with 0.35.1 (and I doubt the concerned file has changed since 0.35). Those ranks are correctly displayed both in long and short version, on my installation. Or would you have more details? @Solver Could there be any chance that some of the xml FR files I provided are plagued with a bad encoding/EoL thing, that I can't detect on my installation? Would you please mind starting a new game in French on Windows to confirm or infirm OP's observations? Apparently, the soldiers roster at day 1 would be the place to check. According to files, you should read "1°CL"/"1°Cl" instead of "PRV.", and "CPL"/"Cpl" instead of "CPL.". We only use a period after a true truncation in French, not after a mere abbreviation.
  9. Hello, although it's possible to download the files from the forum, would it be possible to have an update for Steam OS on linux as well? I made sure the only XCE option was still selected in the betas, after a leave, just made a file integrity check, and the launcher displays "Xenonauts Community Edition 0.34.1 UNOFFICIAL". All files are dated of 2018.01.20. The same as two years ago. What am I doing wrong here? Else, who would have to be contacted at Steam by the lambda player to beg them to please synchronize with their Windows version?
  10. I loved how Sebilians could regenerate from a near-death state in the Crimson Dagger novel. Should we head-shot any unconscious Sebilian in Xenonauts-2 to be sure they won't awake 3 turns later? You could say that it's not fun nor of interest to have to shoot at laying down corpses, but I figure some cases were tactics could be quite impacted. For instance, you shot a Sebilian down from a fairly large distance in a densely wooded area. Should you send a scout to finish the business? You hardly won against three Sebilian with heavy and valuable gear, but went under fire and have to leave. Should you set a C4 charge before leaving, to quickly ensure your kills, destroying any spoil in the process? After some initial (traumatizing) experience, the soldiers could get a mean to detect if a corpse is still leaving or not.
  11. I admit that I had already read this before. That's the third way. It's better than in Xenonauts-1 where regeneration was full scale (but not instant). "they regenerate to full HP at the start of their turn if not killed": this is what I call instant regen. In Xenonauts, lower ranks were regenerating more slowly than higher ranks. What would be best: instant (one-turn) regen + reduced max HP, or step regen + reduced max HP (Xenonauts-1 was step regen + unchanged max HP)? About the last standing Sebillian, we'd have considered that the team do a hidden last sweep before leaving (the same as when they retrieve corpses, items, and materials). The other Sebillians should have been finished manually or else overkilled, though.
  12. In the novel, the revived Sebilian was still one-eyed after 10 min, and not armed anymore (it just tears a throat up with bare claws before being shot once for all). We can infer that "revived" aliens would drop their weapons and act bare hands, like sub-reapers, or as you suggest, they could suffer important penalties. A third way to limit the nuisance would be to lower their max HP each time they revive.
  13. Indeed, one way to manage the situation would be to develop some injectable drug that disable or kill any unconscious alien in the same time as it takes to break open their skulls (only more silently), but that wouldn't settle the matter when the corpse is far away, or there are plenty around and you are urged by the situation.
  14. Hello, Were evolving units fully satisfactory in Xenonauts-1? Can they be made even better in Xenonauts-2? By evolving units, I mean actors that can be replaced by another ones on the fly: sprites/models, stats, properties. I believe that human/zombie/reaper was archetypal, but I'm thinking about some more possibilities: a heavy team installing a static HMG on a tripod and laying down, a vehicule reconfiguring its turret armament (if vehicules are to be added later in some mod), MARS/spider mine deploying/entrenching, effects on units (animations on props and actors like flameburst on early jump suits, switching on an active camouflage suit, tagging an alien with "paint" ).
  15. Perhaps one aspect of ground combat's gameplay could benefit from a little discussion. In Xenonauts-1, when you order a move that can't be terminated on this turn (path indicator ending in red), your soldier ends his/her turn facing the last direction headed before movement's end. Even if this is not really your choice because the soldier was about to change direction (if more TUs left). Having ran out of TUs, the soldier can't of course be used for reaction fire, but he/she could have been useful to watch enemy movement in the direction of next move (simply because the enemy is coming from this direction. The player has to realize that the scheduled move won't end on this turn, then stop the soldier before last hex to get enough TUs to reoriente and crouch. There is a TU reserve to crouch, and not to reoriente. Some micromanagement could perhaps be avoided if, each time that a scheduled move is truncated just before a turn (as per the original path indicator), the movement engine anticipates, stops movement and let TUs enough to (manually) reoriente the character in the scheduled new direction (that is expected to be headed on the next turn). On the little sketch below, a soldier is ordered to turn around a corner (X). Possible movement is (o) and postponed movement (red path indicator) is (.). On the first two situations, if order is confirmed, the soldier either stops before turning (has a last move before turning), or just after turning, facing to the direction of interest. On the last situation, movement is stopped with the soldier facing a direction that can be of no interest and there's no TU left to reoriente. The player has to manually order situation 1 after having noticed situation 3. Believe me, I found this situation quite often during my play. . . . . . . o o . . . o XXX o XXX o XXX o XXX o XXX o XXX o XXX o XXX o XXX o XXX o XXX o XXX o
  16. I should have taken an in-game screenshot but I have not currently the game at hand. You figured the case anyways: how orienting a soldier when a move is interrupted because of not having TUs enough. And I was not clear enough, as I unfortunately mixed two ideas. Let me try again. Xenonauts-1: The soldier steps forward a last time then freezes. He has got possibly 1 or more TUs left (plus 3 if reservation for crouching is active). Shall the ordered move be a straight trajectory, this is not a concern as he already faces next heading. However, if next scheduled move implies an immediate direction change, I found several times that it was convenient to manually reoriente the soldier towards this future direction (to enlarge my vision domain) instead of letting him as the game let him. Proposal 1: Whenever an actor is stopped just one step before turning, and there is TUs enough to turn (and not to both turn and move), at least partially (in case it's 1 TU per 45° turn), then prepare the turn and oriente the actor as much as possible towards next heading. Spare the player this micromanagement. This feature could be a setting option. Proposal 2: Whenever an actor is about to step forward a last time before turning and running out of TUs, then stop him. Let the player decide what to do. That would stop a soldier before a corner, one step before proposal 1 (in which case he stops at the corner and turns on the spot). I'm not sure about the usefulness of this second proposal and I list it only because it's what I happened to suggest in my previous post.
  17. No, you only train your guys with fast action weapons. When they get trained enough or when you recruit already fast guys, then reflex shots may occur with sniper rifles and LMGs, as you would expect. This should be close to reality enough. Reflex shots are not like overwatch stance in other games, even with 100% TUs. Just don't recruit too much slow troops, or they will serve as heavy weapon platforms and mules forever.
  18. Why should you access to UFO's stats you encounter for the first time? You know the enemy so much only after a proper study. However, there could be a two-levels Xenopedia entry: tactical report analysis (after one to four aerial encounters or ground missions), and post-research reports, when a proper reseach is funded about a wrecked or intact item/UFO/alien.
  19. Another hint (not really helpful with the initial rush on terror missions, though): - exploit the fact that you can hear when somebody get killed by a reaper and when a new reaper hatches. Let's say that there are 3 reapers at the beginning of the mission (if they didn't die in the crash). Count all the dead and look at stains of gore on the ground (another evidence to zombification (red blood) and mutation (corpse)).
  20. But let's just stop calling it "X2". It's a space simulator.
  21. I've always thought that the organization's name was X.E.N.O. or Xeno, and that its members were the Xenonauts, although I have to agree that they are not meant to travel with/through "xeno" (as the construct would suggest; see astro/cosmo/spacenauts, and argonauts). Perhaps this explanation was introduced by the Crimson Dagger novel?
  22. @Rifle Infantry Although I'm not a lore master, I can't help but think that several points of your first post conflict somewhat with Xenonauts-1 lore, or the one I had understood, at least. Lore/background in Xenonauts-2 could be different of course, and your ideas could represent some first misconceptions before the humans fully understand the alien organization, and given that the engineered alien brains deeply alter the original species' behaviour. I think that it's difficult to speak about various aliens' psychologies until the kind of domination that the superior species claims on the subdued species is not certain, and you know what level of freedom is granted to them, depending on the rank/class. Several paragraphs in Xenonauts-1 hinted that some cultural memory were still used by high-ranking individuals (e.g. customized uniforms). Then, as Sebilians were speculated to belong to a former hierarchic, warlike society with a kind of "honour/war" code. I expected that high-ranking individuals would have memories of this, to a certain extend. Harridans were not mindless thrall and were depicted as skilled pilots, and space-born technicians as well as sharp shooters, owing to the fact they might consider their weapons as another tool, and their deadly task as another technical job. They were only described as utterly autistic and focused. Cracking the master code on Androns was seen as a possibility to free the former Andron personality if possible. Do the clones return in Xenonauts-2? Back to Xenonauts-1, every alien belonging to a subdued species, in a given class, was a clone (e.g. any Caesan non-combattant was biologically the same as another Caesan non-combattant). Moreover, every such clone had only a shared class-personality and a short-term self-preservation instinct. A clone could face interrogation and destruction with calm because he believed in a kind of intra-class immortality (this perception being more elaborated the higher rank/class the clone was). As I understood things in Xenonauts-1, and as I'd see them in Xenonauts-2, Each superior species individual (a "master") benefits from total freedom, and controls a number of partially lobotomized/locked/engineered subdued species clones, depending on its power and influence in the "Empire". However, we are informed at the end of the game that the captive low-power master is knocked out (or confused) when its superior is killed. Perhaps, the hierarchy in the masters' society (the Empire) is build through/is doubled by psychic subordination and dependency (and mental link). Each clone is programmed to believe that he's immortal and that his current corporeal form is just as useful as the mission needs it. In other words, none of them fear torture nor foreseen destruction because they somehow know that a copy of themselves is waiting for being activated (this is what they believe in, not the reality). A high-ranking clone could explain that "he" is actually many and one at the same time. Though the lore bits in Xenonauts-1 dismissed any kind of hive mind (in a given class/rank), it was not clear how two same-class/rank individuals would refer to each other: Are we one? Are we different? Are we mentally linked? Am I ever aware of the other one? As high-ranking aliens seemed to have reminiscent cultural traits, the brain programming in the cloning process could be akin to a hard disk copy, with original data keep being transmitted from the original clone on. Each superior species individual (a master) controls exactly two overseers (leaders), one Caesan and one Sebilian. These species were allowed to be integrated in the Empire because they can work together in a complementary way. Those clones have a high degree of self-awareness and freedom of action, are highly skilled and trained, but still believe in their immortality. They are aware of each other, have a limited insight of the Empire's organization (including the belief that their own species was conquered by a master race, and allowed to serve), know the existence of other "masters" and their own overseers, and of the mass of "thralls". They just believe that they serve their master because it's the natural order and are perfectly loyal to him. They are mentally linked to him, they are his eyes and ears, and even his advisors (in their respective field of proficiency). Two same-species overseers (e.g. two Caesan leaders) can't be active at the same location at any given time, but perhaps, powerful masters could control several same-species overseers sent on different missions (and locations). The two overseers control the lower ranks, either directly, or most often by means of mentally linked controllers (officers). The mental link is the only psychic power allowed for Sebilian overseers and controllers. Controllers perceive the different species which they have to work with, so that they can use their assets efficiently (i.e. a Caesan officer may control a Sebilian soldier). They don't know anything about the Empire and the masters, and only knows about "the one that sees all" (their overseer). They are highly autonomous at a mission's level, and don't need to be constantly fed with new orders. All the lower ranks but the Elite have low self-awareness and the lowest of them barely understand the goal of their mission. They need to be fed by orders from a controller, except for basic fighting tactics (returning fire, scouting, ...). They can be asked to kill themselves. Any species can be produced at a special rank/class code-named "Elite". These individuals are the best engineered of their species. They are awesome combatants and seem to be only dedicated to kill. In that sense, one can ask if they are not even more powerful than the original species ever used to be. Hints suggest that they are as able as controllers, and the fact that they wear the best equipment, armour included, should mean that they are the most valued troops, worth to be spared, even for clones (or else to be reserved for heavy duty). Their value on the battlefield put them on top of the controllers. However, as interrogation doesn't give additional information (and is not included in the game), it's not sure whether they could partly share the high degree of awareness and freedom of overseers, and form indeed a cast of semi-autonomous clones (no need for controllers to be efficient), or else be like a more durable, beefed-up version of the same "mindless" warriors, produced only when the opposition becomes very harsh. Only after this clone question is answered to, the different personality of each species (both perceived and real) can be sketched, to lead to every class/species combination.
  23. Hello Solver, perhaps IKruglov wants to save disk space? I ask in case X:CE comes with many languages in the future.
  24. Rodmar18

    [Tool] Xenonauts geographic tool

    I had to guess the formulae myself to help with the Geographic Addition Mod, although I can't be certain yet that they are 100% accurate. I need time to test, and I've chose to do something else. Being just on my way to leave now, I can only assure you that original (not modded) Geoscape coordinates and geographical coordinates are linearly related, and that doesn't prevent some odd locations to appear, however. I expect that some additional offset has to be added. More when I come back. You can also click on the Geoscape at a wanted location to read its Geoscape coordinates, in the meantime.
  25. Rodmar18

    More RPG Elements

    Scientists would be designed the same as engineers for that purpose. Those non-combattants would have the same stats as soldiers, except they would be lower. Basically, they could use a side weapon, medipacks, etc. These stats would rise through the same system (levelling up), except much more slowly, though I'd expect a seasoned physicist who have specialized in artifact retrieving for month to be at least as battle-ready as most rookies. Each non-combattant would come with one proficiency and could "learn" another one during the game. These proficiencies would rise by conducting research and/or prototype production. Any non-combattant could/would be assigned to a ground mission, a strategic mission (infiltrating a hostile laboratory, visiting an allied fabric), or a base defence mission. They could be mandatory to help securing artifacts, and evaluating assets before their destruction or before having to flee, but if you engage them on too many missions, and take too much risk, blame yourself if you loose them (and other lives). Proficiencies could be: xenobiology, human biology and augmentation, astrophysics and space-born vessels, engines and life-support systems, ciphering & xenolinguistics, chemistry and physics of materials, mechanics and manufacture, weaponry and armoury, deception and psychology, tacops (tactical evaluation), computer science and security systems, communications, ... Some proficiency could be shared with soldiers, like stealth and spying, diplomacy, ... Each research project (fundamental, applied) would have several tags that match those proficiencies. Each non-combattant assigned to a project would contribute depending on the number of proficiencies he can use, and their level of proficiency. Each project would be defined by an average rating (or a man-level-hour number), and computing of the time needed before research completion, given the actual crew assigned to it, shouldn't be that hard to design. As there would be a limited number of scientists (as/if there are a limited number of soldiers), manually affecting them to a specific project, or letting the game automatically choose the most useful ones, shouldn't be much of a pain. If a non-combattant model is ever made, then pilots would be built the same, with same stats (higher values) and air fighting related proficiencies. Of course, they would be present during a base defence mission. By the way, any hospitalized personnel would be present during a base defence mission. Except if you consider the alien having a sense of honour and despising easy kills, or being so loud, that a whole base personnel has time enough to rush for an impervious bunker, and still be helpless when the only surviving alien has managed to kill the last defending soldier.