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dasufo last won the day on September 18

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About dasufo

  1. Then why do the aliens not use pulse lasers or something similar to shoot down your air to air missiles? If the cold war era nations with their computing power can shoot down an ICBM, let alone handle tracking, isolating and eliminating a hundred of them launched in a salvo, even if you postulate they are using alien computers, then the aliens with mature implementations of this same technology could easily knock a small aircraft missile out of the sky. Lets take a wikipedia impact speed for an ICBM to make a simple comparison. They are meant to strike the ground in the order of 7 kilometers a second. Lets take a missile from the 1980s that is exceptionally fast, hypersonic (Mach 6). It is doing 2 kilometers per second. An AIM-9 side-winder from 1956 and onwards is Mach 2.5. That is 0.85 kilometers a second. Even if my data for the ICBM is modern, they most certainly are going to be coming in a lot faster than an air-to-air missile. The size of say a Peacekeeper is meant to be about 22 metres by 2 metres. A sidewinder is about 3 meters by 0.127 meters. But the change in speed per second is in the order of 7000 meters or in the order of 850 meters. Consequently, the speed of the missile dominates the calculation for adjusting targeting coordinates much more than its size. Ofcourse, angle comes into it but then, in certain cases, it could make things even more difficult. So, if these ICBMs could be shot out of the air by some prototype anti-ballistic missile lasers based on alien technological principles, then, the Aliens themselves who grasp this technology at a much more intimate level could easily implement point-defence on their UFOs and be immune to Xenonaut's air to air missiles. In fact, they probably could shoot the autocannon shells out of the air. It creates a fairly huge logical inconsistency. As the Aliens don't shoot your anti-air-missiles out of the air, how do the nations of the world with their limited grasp of the technology, come up with a far more powerful weapon system?
  2. Another question then, What part of mutually assured destruction is invalidated, specifically, how is the destructive power of each nuclear arsenals neutralised and why do alien weapons of similar or greater power not recreate a state of mutually assured destruction? Also, if you are pushing the Cold War ideological split angle, then most certainly Xenonauts would be forced into multiple factions and its members would return to their respective power blocks, once the alien threat was over. If you are pushing the religious-scientific moral superiority angle then you would have to establish why a Soviet soldier or scientist would discard his ideology and his people for the sake of this new faith that binds him to his enemies. Alternatively, if you are pushing an humans-vs-aliens has united the world angle (a.l.a Star Trek's backstory) then you would have to establish why the alien threat is enough to hold men who can't stand each other in some kind of permanent alliance. While I see how you are trying to depict a nuanced post-invasion setting, stories have a very logical character to them and logic is decidedly black and white. It is very difficult to specify the consequences of a nuanced situation and therefore very difficult to translate into a game or to communicate to an audience through a narrative, which are inherently logical constructs, without relying significantly on pre-existing frameworks that they already accept or are familiar with. If only some of the Xenonauts return to their power blocks or the Xenonauts become maintained by only some of the world's nations, as often is tried when trying to introduce nuance cheaply to a situation, then you run into an issue where the Xenonauts might continue as an independent group for a short time but its inherent nature as a multi-power block international organisation will be compromised and it won't really be the "Xenonauts" anymore but something different, something closer to what NATO actually is. Therefore you just have NATO augmented via Xenonauts, Warsaw Pact and the third world as factions, which isn't really what you seem to want. Above I have pointed out how just a handful of your propositions crash into each other without a great deal of explanation, the kind of explanation many players either won't think is necessary (they will just reject what you intended as silly) or can't actually engage with (lack of time, energy or ability). In short, it's got to be simpler and clearer. The nuance and detail comes after you've built the foundations because, in the end, the setting is there for someone, who isn't you, to sit, follow along and agree with. If they can't agree with it then they will reject it.
  3. Solver, I think I appreciate the technical issues. It also seems implied that at some point everyone wanted to move on from Xenonauts 1 and focus on the next iteration of the project. It isn't the first game that has its core logic rewritten to make it robust, or the first product that needed to market itself as a sequel to achieve that. It seems to be a common trend in software engineering these past few decades. While modding the game, I did encounter some strange performance issues when I moved values towards their edge cases. If I recall correctly, I could get the world map rendering to start 'chugging' when panning if I tried to render the names of the cities at too high a zoom. This was on a highly performant gaming computer. Ofcourse, if it isn't actually using the graphics card, I suppose the Big-Oh of most algorithms that lack parallel execution would be quite large and if those cities were being looped over multiple times to create the complete overlay, it is possible. But, that is as far as half a degree in software engineering gets me. I'm studying electrical engineering now and I think it will be a while before I get reverse-engineer-level familiar with graphing algorithms. ^_^
  4. My question is this: why would keeping the alien technology out of other government's hands be a good thing? You might present a conceit that the player and his organisation is morally or spiritually superior to everyone else, but that really is suggesting that the Xenonauts are a kind of scientific religious order, rather than a bunch of killers and workaholics brought together for the express purpose of murdering extra terrestrials. This isn't a trick question, your story hinges upon being able to explain in two or three sentences why the proliferation of alien technology would be bad. Why would the power to feed entire nations, found new metallurgical industries, unlock the secrets of limitless power for the entire world be in of itself a bad thing? With the nuclear bomb came the nuclear power plant. With new ways of generating heat you can fashion entirely new types of steel. With advances in genetics you could toughen and enhance foodstuffs to grow in new climates and resist pests. How could the Xenonauts claim they have the right to hold onto this technology? Are they the United Federation of Planets? Are they even the Brotherhood of Steel? I'm asking this to help you generate your setting and get it off the ground. It is often useful to have someone work as a foil against your line of thought, it is like having someone hold onto the fabric while you to weave the parts together that don't yet connect.
  5. You know, the aliens would rapidly triangulate the location of your hangars and obliterate them, if they were engaging in that sort of orbital bombardment.
  6. I agree with that basic idea. A stronger tie between the two parts would help with that issue, but, there are many ham-fisted ways of doing it (I tried them) which aren't suitable for a polished product. Here are some of my thoughts. Xenonauts 1 clearly presents a two part game: strategic and tactical. The tactical part has far more content but is less significant, as long as you aren't getting everyone killed. I'd expect a sequel to address the imbalance (more akin to differing weights on a scale than the game meaning of the word). However, that isn't always feasible. The constraints of the intellectual conceit (the narrative you accept to bind the game's constituent elements together) can make it difficult to shoehorn in a game element that doesn't fit the narrative. For example, if your story is all about the actions of individuals changing the fate of nations, then you shoehorn in an extensive game element about large scale battles or the slow and gradual effect of macro-economic processes, there is a good chance that the game will snap. Likewise, if you are a macro scale story about the grand forces of history but spend a lot of game time on the drama of your small group of friends from when your character was at school, I think your audience will polarise over which part of the game they want to play. I have a specific game in mind but I'll leave its name out. The narrative is what helps to connect the parts of a game together, to help govern and emphasise the interaction between the two parts. As a test I opened Xenonauts 1 up last night and left it running at the world map in the slowest speed. I watched it over the course of the night inbetween the activities I was doing (I have computers side by side, yes two sets of mice and keyboard, the works). What struck me was how rigid the world actually was. There are actually very few interactions you can have with it. Now, part of this is because of the narrative. Realistically, any organisation set up to counter a world wide invasion would have unlimited funding and more manpower than you could fit in a military base. You wouldn't have to build bases, you'd be given charge of entire locations pre-established with extensive resources at hand for you to command. Aliens would be fought with tanks and artillery, entire buildings would be demolished to stop some of the more deadly creatures that get sent. Hundreds if not thousands of men would descend upon a group of 8 to 10 aliens and pile on top of them, literally, if required to stop them. In short, you'd never bother with the absurdity of an international counter-terrorist-alien special forces unit. However, the game's narrative constrains the game elements in two major ways. Firstly, it is contrived that victory comes by capturing aliens. Therefore a crack unit of commandos is required to get these aliens alive -- which is precisely incompatible with the tactics a military would use such as dropping large bombs on top of buildings and crushing them in the rubble. Secondly, it is contrived that the aliens are implicitly using their magic (psionics, but without any real cause and effect, so magic) to demoralise and divide humanity. The notion of getting driven mad (panic) by the magic powers of the aliens runs throughout the game. Therefore your organisation and its members are implicitly meant to have some special courage or faith that overcomes the magical power of the aliens. Consequently, these constraints make any connection between the strategic and tactical layers much harder to logically implement because the story itself is doing backflips to stop the chopper and its soldiers from becoming a side-show. To make it clear, I am all for the soldiers and their chopper, going room to room, clearing alien baddies. It's what I think the game is about, or at least, what I emotionally respond to. However, it isn't lost on me that the game is forcing those soldiers to be important. I think Xenonauts makes a stronger effort than most XCOM/UFO-Defense simulators to tackle this issue (you can airstrike a crash site for instance) but, I just want to put this out there, if Aliens invaded the world would go into a total war footing and people would work for free. There would be no "buying planes" or "money". The governments and groups that fight the threat would take whatever was around and conscript everyone who wasn't apart of their group to engage the threat, at gunpoint. You'd have thousands of engineers and tens of thousands of soldiers thrown at you, just as a beginning package before the real resourcing came later, irrespective of whether you were succeeding or not. To properly connect the two layers the narrative needs to be clever. Really clever. There has to be a clear reason why you want to send in small groups on choppers without it being just part of the initial game assumptions about obtaining victory. Otherwise, you get some players really enjoying whatever reason you give and others spitting the reason the out and thinking you've jumped the shark. For example, if you were going to work within the current premise of the game scenario and the air of mystery the aliens have, then you could start with having a segment of the world population that is relatively immune to the effects of the alien magic. This segment of the population is too small to form numerous large armies, so instead, they are quickly drawn together into a single coherent organisation intent on interventions against high impact Alien activities, such as terror missions and what not. It then fits that these humans have the potential for using magic too (human psionics). For example, if you were going to go outside the premise, then you could start with adjusting the nature of the alien invasion. Instead of it being a handful of UFOs that only are stopped by your intervention, you would establish all the nations as independent entities which are being attacked by the aliens. They would have militaries and you'd see on the global map UFOs coming into their airspace and then being engaged, often with success. However, there would be a simple dynamic that would give cause for a Xenonauts organisation to step in and solve the problem. Firstly, some nations would get overwhelmed by focused alien attention and it would be after the nation's military has been exhausted that your aircraft, your soldiers, your assets (potentially tanks, artillery, naval ships, etc that are stationed in rapid reaction forces around the globe via your various bases) would transport across the world to provide reinforcement. This would be the point of the strategic layer. During this battle, you would then have opportunities for your special forces (the guys in the choppers) to attack or engage with targets of opportunity. It wouldn't be there is a single UFO and a single crash site, there would be dozens of UFOs and battles but one or two would lend themselves to a good looting, an alien capture or some other small unit action. This would be the point of the tactical battle. Here the tactical combat you play is contextualised as part of a large scale battle happening over a large area where a highly mobile group of soldiers could get to where they are needed and do something small but important, like obtain Alien technology intact or an Alien soldier alive. The number of logical connections between the strategic layer and the tactical layer, inclusive of how you use your strategic forces to create opportunities for tactical combats and how the tactical combats might then alter the outcome of the larger battle, increases dramatically. I.e an alien jamming craft appears during a nation-invasion, it makes your radars useless and tracking the UFOs has to be done by masses of aircraft and ground observers with eyeballs, however, you find the alien jamming craft and take risks to knock it out of the air, with a specially equipped group of aircraft and then capture the jammer intact with your chopper troops, to later learn its secrets and develop a way to permanently defeat their jamming technologies in future strategic battles. This is the sort of thing I would expect the current game scenario and game elements could be extended to with success.
  7. What you would have to get straight is this: is the post-invasion setting about the aliens or about the humans. It isn't that they are mutually exclusive choices, you could each do both topics just with chronological separation i.e. after the invasion finishes you do something on the human conflict and when that is done you do something on a second alien invasion, coloured by the events of the human conflict. However, if you want to get into the meat of either idea you'd need to focus on one at a time. Taking your GDI idea, if you set up a premise that alien technology had disrupted the balance between state and non-state actors and given small groups of motivated and technically savvy individuals the power to threaten whole governments, whether through terrorism, hyper-advanced flying vehicles or weapons of mass destruction, then you could have your brotherhood of Nod style group causing mayhem on the world map which you would counter with teams of GDI counter-terrorists from your various bases around the world. If you included an element of secrecy about the operations, drawing from something out of Tom Clancy's works, a desire to get the job done without anyone realising who was doing it or why, then that could give a solid new dynamic to play with that leads on from the cold war era quite directly. Your soldiers might wear different uniforms and use different equipment depending on where and who they were fighting. Think Rainbow Six meets Xenonauts meets C&C and I think it could be very fun. Ofcourse, taking the Praetorian idea, you would move the map into space and turn the tactical ground combat into tactical space boarding combat. Xenonauts would be drawn from marines instead of the infantry, the goal would be to disable or cripple enemy space ships and then, like in Space Breach, get in and complete an objective. Aircraft would be replaced by spaceships, squardrons by fleets. It would all be rather analogous to the alien invasion style game but with a real facelift. The aim would probably be to knock out the alien bases on Mars, Venus and orbiting Jupiter (where else could Aliens be? ). However, you'd have to fend off many invasion fleets first to get the alien hulks and technology necessary to build your own battleships with the range, speed and firepower to reach the other planets and strike. To keep the tactical combat at the heart of the affair, many fleet battles would be decided by or end up in boarding actions to complete where you get technology, capture new aliens, cripple valuable hulks for later retrofitting or perhaps knock out dangerous targets like enemy battleships that realistically wouldn't be capture-able by any kind of human mounted effort at this tech base. To keep the base missions about tactical combat, you would devise some kind of alien shield tech which, like the battle for Endor in Star Wars Return of the Jedi, requires a small team to go to the surface of the far moon and blow things up that then would allow your battleships to finish the job. I don't know about you, but I would enjoy playing a scenario like that. I even think both scenarios could lead on one from another easily enough. The necessary changes in the Earth's military-industrial base could be achieved over the course of the human conflict that paves the way for the attempt to repel the aliens from our solar system once and for all.
  8. Actually, my recent playtime has been spent on Absolute Rally, Poly Bridge 2, War Thunder, Beyond a Steel Sky, Shortest Trip to Earth and Into the Breach and a number of other games on my linux box. Some of this is through Proton (Steam) and some of it has been through the release of native support by both big and small developers. I think you'd be surprised how many titles by small teams have been able to patch their games to support Linux and have them run flawlessly. I'll admit, when your game is developed using the NET framework and XNA studio (Underrail), I appreciate why its a bit more difficult. Into the Breach apparently made use of a lot of more modern open source libraries, for instance, which I would imagine made porting it much easier. If I have read this correctly, Xenonauts 2 is on Unity and the Unity company officially released their editor on Linux this year. I'm not sure what that actually means for extending support for Xenonauts 2 to Linux, in principle if Unity releases a package for building on Linux but a game that is already under production hasn't been built from the ground up with the package's specifications in mind, that may still entail a lot of work. Once again I reiterate my point. My trouble isn't strictly a technical issue. I can't claim that the Linux community has produced a clearly superior product. I think it is objective to say that the various brands of Linux have a number of serious and glaring issues, especially when considered from the standpoint of mass market desktop usage or large scale commercial adoption. After all, I have used Windows and consoles for most of my computing life. However, both functionally and legally, the major tech companies are implicitly claiming ownership over your hardware and over your data and are incapable of preventing governments and other entities from forcibly accessing, altering or removing what is yours without your permission or even your knowledge. If this wasn't an issue happening to consul-generals of major governments in the world, reported even by the mainstream news outlets, I wouldn't be quite so motivated. However, there are people out there who want to do each other harm and as computers are becoming so important, especially under this covid influenced economy, the stakes have become much higher. As a result, I can't in good conscience leave myself wide open for the sake of entertainment. If I have to do the legwork myself to get a piece of software to operate on Linux, then I'll do it. If I have to spend more money to make it work, then so be it. We live in an economic world. Software isn't actually free to make. But how can the developer know there is a customer willing to pay on a different platform if that customer never speaks up and says "Hey! I'm here! I'll buy!"
  9. Another thing I hope for is better native Linux support. I went and bought another copy of Xenonauts 1 from GoG to try and get the community edition working on my linux box. After a lot of messing around (and getting the firm belief that I need to do more online linux courses) I thoughtfully considered the fact that Xenonauts 2 Early Access will be Windows-only, that Xenonauts 1 doesn't run very well on linux (as the forum posts suggest there are often graphical inconsistencies and save game corruption) and that the Community Edition is apparently aimed at Windows-only, and as a result have got together a windows box to run Xenonauts-XYZ on. I don't know how long I can justify such a set up, but for the near future I think it will work. I appreciate that the majority of players, at least at the moment, are on Windows and that the development has to aim at the platform its core market is running the game on. Unfortunately, the administration that runs Microsoft (I did a bit of research before I changed to linux) has profoundly changed since the Windows 7 days and I cannot agree with what they want for their company anymore. I say this incase anyone misunderstands this post, it's not because I'm "that type of person" who wants to inflict a cost on everyone else because of their preference, but instead it is because I don't feel comfortable about where the Microsoft Corporation is going and what using their products will entail in the future.
  10. Having done a little modding of Xenonauts 1, as much because of some of the critiques raised prior to this post, I can agree that simply releasing the same game again would be unwise. However, having done a little modding, I can also appreciate just how difficult it is to nail down the exact contributions of each change made to each part of the game. While riding out the uncertainty works when you are playing by yourself, it doesn't work when you are being paid to deliver a polished product. It would be a lot worse if they released a broken game, full of new features that don't work and don't gel together. Half-baked ideas and half-baked implementations can really hurt your player base. There are a lot of players who aren't going to post their concerns on these forums or wait a year to see if the game fixes up. They will move on. What I would like to see is a handful of new, high impact, features that are well implemented. To a lesser extent, I would like to see a few of the hard gameplay limits to do with terrain destruction, number of soldiers and aliens in a mission and the handling of reaction fire to be eased or removed. However, as I discovered easing hard limits creates a world of uncertainty which might be exactly what has driven the developers to return to a previous game model. For example, UFOs are central to the gameplay dynamic of each ground combat in Xenonauts 1. Their indestructible property heavily defined, at least for me, the structure of the gameplay giving a clear beginning, middle and end to each combat. Yes, it got a bit repetitive clearing the UFO again and again, but it gave my decisions about equipment and tactics a clear problem for my choices to solve. It also gave each ground combat a distinct flavour from other tactical combat games I had played. I think the issue that has arisen, at least from what I can gather reading people's various comments, is that some players can handle and even thrive on the repetition in the Xenonauts 1 game model more than others. I'll admit, I don't yearn to play more Xenonauts 1. I am looking forward to a more developed and varied experience. I have breached and cleared a lot of UFOs and played tricks with the rule system more than enough to get victories. The biggest challenge I had with Xenonauts 1 was that the tactical battles attracted me to the game but the strategic layers was far more important in order to get victory. As my playthrough progressed, the tactical battles became more about not making mistakes than about really enjoying all the possibilities the system offered. However, the strategic layer had not been given the same detail and attention the tactical layer had. It really felt awful having to spend all my attention on the less detailed, less loved part because frequently I would lose if I didn't. The killing blow for me was when I started to want to autoresolve the tactical fights because they just felt far too much work for far too little reward. It led to me modding the game (quite significantly) to swing the balance towards the tactical combats and away from stressing upon the economic gameplay. That being said, I understand that there is some element of personal preference involved in my analysis. It has as much to do with my state of life and the time (or lack of aforementioned) I have to spend just grinding a puzzle contained within what is ostensibly a game, in order to then with that solution obtained replay the game and enjoy it. What I really hoped was that Xenonauts 2 would bring the strategic layer into balance with the tactical layer and give a good transition between the turn-based small scale battles and economics-driven large-scale battles, whatever the time-system used might be. I hoped that I would feel rewarded for both parts of the game in equal measure and that both parts gave a good account of themselves in terms of detail, progression, challenge and problem-solving. I also hoped that the game would be a little less prescriptive in how you have to play it (i.e. less of a puzzle) and a bit more of a game (a somewhat skill-based activity infused with risks and rewards). However, I can't blame any non-AAA gaming company for going back to the basics when they need to. I would rather an incremental improvement over a revolution that fails.