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Decius last won the day on September 12

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About Decius

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  1. Decius

    Xenonauts-2: ATLAS Base

    Right. You can't have an ICBM and just never use it at all. It's a rocket capable of low orbit and a nuke, and both of those are Plotlike things.
  2. The issue with incenting the multiple base as launch positions for soldiers is that, in order to involve interesting options, you would have to assign soldiers to bases in advance of the missions being known (otherwise just teleport the soldiers that you want to the base they launch from, do the mission, and then teleport/assign them back, and it's just adding steps to the same squad being everywhere). In order for the choice of which soldiers to station in which base to be a decision, rather than a random allocation, the player needs some amount of information relevant to the question of where they want their soldiers deployed. For that decision to be meaningful, the player needs to be able to know, at the time of the choice, what the benefits and downsides of each option are. And that requires a game design that can tell them that. Long War 2 makes players do meaningful decisions about squad makeup for each mission, but LWS did that without having multiple barracks, just by having lots of missions, not all of which are known and not all of which should be initiated. Doing that in a manner appropriate for a primary game mode is going to take more design than Firaxis was willing to do. Just saying.
  3. The logic of a good dynamic soundtrack requires integration between the person designing the soundtrack, the person programming the logic, and the people designing the gameplay. Figuring out which music to play when a mission is complete should depend on much more than whether the primary mission objective counts as "complete"; one soldier limping back saying "I'm all that's left on either side" deserves bittersweet, unless only one soldier set out... and that's just the mission end, not figuring out when the action started.
  4. Decius

    More vertical map design

    Apocalypse had a similar corner problem, but there was no reason to walk around the corner rather than open the wall. And their falling terrain system allowed a single sheet of drywall to hold up a building.
  5. Even in the modern world, it's common for soldiers to receive wounds that cause them to be permanently unfit for duty without being fatal. A moderate advancement in cybernetics would have them back to near 100% in only a few years. With Alien Magic Sufficiently Advanced Technology, that time can be reduced to the amount appropriate for gameplay, and costs set at whatever is balanced. Something like a broken ankle, that currently has a recovery time of a few months, can instantly incapacitate someone as a soldier for the duration of a mission. (Maybe some of them can still shoot while immobile, but even trained soldiers won't be very accurate when dealing with that amount of pain). Fallout's level of abstraction assumed that almost all bullet "hits" were grazes or deflected by armor. Based on the ease of recovery, a 'crippled' leg was barely a flesh wound.
  6. An interesting mechanic would be instant regeneration of half of damage dealt whenever an attack failed to kill it. If we assume that the enemy starts with 100hp and regenerates half of non-fatal damage, then attacks that did 30 damage each would bring it down in six shots- compared to four shots for the non-regenerating version (50% more). But shots that did 10 damage would take 19 hits, instead of 10 hits for the non-regenerating one. (90% more), and the heavy hitting attacks that are 67-99 damage would still only need two shots, while the obliterating attacks that did 100+ would still be OHKO. Per-turn regeneration combined with a permanent max HP reduction is roughly equivalent, but doesn't generate the behavior of needing to soften them up before hitting them with a big hit, if you can do it all on one turn; it allows for the powerful shot to come first, followed by the weaker attacks to finish it off. Another possible scenario is limiting the total amount of regeneration per mission; either focus it enough on one turn to bring it down, or it comes back at (nearly?) full HP next turn, but it can only regenerate a total of twice its health over the entire mission... or maybe it regenerates to full health every turn, but only the first three turns it has any damage and isn't dead yet? (Yes, that can create a scenario where you want to 'tag' it once per turn for three turns before unloading on it.)
  7. For gameplay reasons, it should be harder to get a full squad kitted out with the best equipment than to complete the final mission with that squad.
  8. Decius

    reversible mind control

    Psi powers that grant full control are essentially one-hit kills, especially if other enemies attack the control victim. More interesting options for psi control might be more fun; what if a psi power caused a unit to fail to see a particular enemy (that isn't attacking it?) forget about the presence of a hazard, or to hallucinate a target where there was none? Or to be convinced that their magazine/charge cell was empty/depleted, and replace it? If the aliens have goals in a mission, could making one of them think that their goals had changed be effective? What about gaining the situational awareness of the target, such as where their allies are and what enemies of theirs they are aware of? Psi abilities that don't do direct damage can even be balanced with the attacker being safe from the defender, since the actual attacker needs to be there.
  9. Why, why in any possible world, would you want the program fine-tuned for a situation that isn't the actual final game? An algorithm that is good with units that aren't the ones it will be controlling, or good against units that aren't the ones it will be fighting, is unlikely to be good at its actual job. A fun system will end up accentuating the intended strengths of its units and not negate the intended weaknesses except in a way that is appropriate to the units being simulated. A reaper aware of an enemy far across an open field will run towards it, because that's what reapers do, even though a better tactic would be to hide in a blind corner until within or behind enemy lines and attack suppressed troops from behind. Six weeks straight of programming might not be the most efficient use of time/money. A few iterations of candidates sent to beta testers with the instruction "Find the cheap strategies that are way too effective", followed by algorithm or combat balance adjustments that make those strategies not excessively effective is probably the way to go.
  10. Decius

    Making C4 more unique.

    Next on the list: Claymores?
  11. Would it be possible to have "Movement" points and "Action" points, where every healthy soldier has 100 AP (that can be used for actions or movement), and rookies have a handful of MP (which can be used to move and turn, but not attack or open doors or juggle inventory), while experienced soldiers have more MP but the same amount of AP? The idea would be that with experience, soldiers can move around faster using less of their active attention, keeping their weapon ready to fire, while a less experienced soldier would have trouble firing on the move; and everyone can move further if they just carry their weapon rather than wield it. It is often frustrating that we can't walk towards someone while firing a shotgun (think Sean Connery in The Untouchables) without getting fewer shots.
  12. Decius

    X2 performance

    If you're doing hardcore optimization, tracking GPU and CPU core usage is insufficent. Properly profiling how much of each frame is spent waiting on memory, waiting on PCI bus, or waiting on things higher in the abstraction is complex. For example, if memory access latency is limiting, having a smaller memory space can help (since memory access time scales at least with the log of the size of the memory accessed.)
  13. Is there any reason the minitabs have to fit across in one horizontal row, or can they start another row above the first if there are too many soldiers for the horizontal space? Support for mods that allowed absurd/realistic numbers of soldiers on certain types of mission would be great.
  14. My less-than-professional understanding is that through homogeneous air of constant temperature the dispersion is the same as in vacuum, since the entire beam is refracted equally, and actual air is pretty close to that. But finding a place where you can draw a line hundreds of kM long through air and ending on something interesting is nontrivial anyway. Reflected energy wouldn't add any heat to the reflectors, and it takes very little energy to ionize air. A smoke, dust or aerosol designed to impede a particular type of laser could plausibly be exactly as effective as gameplay needs it to be. Likewise, an armor piece that was designed to protect against thermal lasers would be some combination of reflective, ablative, and dissapative, in proportions that depend on the details of the weapons they were designed to counter and properties of the sci-fi materials used- maybe a gallium-unobtanium alloy exists that has a huge specific heat capacity and latent heat of fusion, and melts well above normal human body temperature but below the point where burns are a huge danger. Hit an armor plate of that with sustained laser fire, and it becomes uncomfortably warm, then melts. Hit it with a piece of lead containing a similar amount of energy, and it might turn a trivial amount of that energy into plastic deformation.
  15. Decius

    Typical Xenonaut Mission

    It's really hard to have a believable implementation of close air support in a balanced squad tactics game, because close air support properly delivered trumps basically all the squad level tactical considerations. A plane two miles up and five miles away simply doesn't fit in the ontology that can care about how much time someone spends aiming a shotgun.