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Posts posted by Solver

  1. Ah right, that recoil is a penalty that should get applied to heavy weapons like LMGs. If the soldier isn't wearing a strength-enhancing armour suit, then the soldier's effective accuracy stat will be further modified by Max(0, (recoil / 100) - strength). Since recoil / 100 < strength for all vanilla weapons anyway, that's yet another bugged formula and wouldn't actually modify anything.

    17 hours ago, Mask said:

    Since the code was given over to the community for the Community Edition, I'm kind of surprised if more isn't known about the formulas and variables for modding.

    New X:CE variables are documented, as for the old stuff, it's of course known, or can be looked up in any case, but it's not documented. There are probably a few hundred variables just in gameconfig/weapons/weapons_gc/aiprops files, and documenting them all accurately would be a lot of work.

    • Thanks 1

  2. 1 hour ago, Mask said:

    I was trying to look up what the hpLimit variable is used for exactly, in weapon_gc.xml.

    Do you mean something else perhaps? There's no hpLimit (or hp_limit or anything similar) in that file.

    1 hour ago, Mask said:

    I also wanted to know how recoil was calculated in the combat formulas.

    What do you mean by recoil? Accuracy? Scatter? There's no variable that the game calls recoil.

    1 hour ago, Mask said:

    Is there a resource that explains all the variables, and shows what formulas Xenonauts uses for calculations?

    Not even close, unfortunately. What you see on this subforum is all there is, as far as I'm aware. Frankly it's not always easy to figure out how something is calculated, many things in the game can have a ton of different modifiers. The best bet, if you want anything specific, is to just ask here.

    • Like 1

  3. On 12/4/2019 at 1:09 PM, Chris said:

    Soldier names are now effectively limited to 17 characters, as I have removed any first and last names with more than 8 characters and put an input limit on the rename soldier box of 16 characters.

    I understand it's annoying to work with long strings in the UI, but this excludes too many soldiers with common, realistic names from certain countries. Which will probably be an issue once you start adding the Kickstarter ones. And would be an issue for mods that add more soldiers from other geographical regions.

  4. Since the discussion has turned to secondary weapons balance again, it bears repeating that melee weapons are broken balance-wise, primarily due to their low accuracy. I've encountered situations where I send a soldier up to an alien with a stun baton, miss 3 times, which then leaves the soldier dead. The combat knife is even worse of course.

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  5. Smoke might need some thought, yes. While I am not a fan of artificial limits on items you carry, such as limiting smoke to 1 per soldier, smoke grenades are too powerful currently. They pretty much act like a wall, offering perfect cover for your exposed soldiers, protecting a flank, etc. I see a few possibilities for improving smoke balance.

    1. Make it reduce accuracy significantly instead of just setting it to 0. Units in smoke should still be theoretically possible to hit, although rarely. In X1, accuracy would be reduced for each smoke tile in the firing path. Importantly, this change means units in smoke can get suppressed.

    2. Let the smoke build up over one turn. Currently, the smoke grenade pops and you get the thick cloud, which then partially dissipates the next turn. Smoke buildup should perhaps be the same - the grenade pops and only covers some tiles in smoke. Say, the grenade tile itself, and then a 50% chance for each tile within 2. Then on the next turn let the smoke screen reach its full size.

    3. Changes to alien AI. Let the aliens exploit your smoke by running into it and hiding. Make them throw grenades into smoke.

    I suspect that slowing down the buildup of smoke in particular would improve the game. It would make smoke much harder to use as an "oh shit" button to give perfect protection to a soldier caught in a bad position, while encouraging planned use of smoke such as crossing a dangerous open area after throwing a couple of smokes and waiting for them to build a thick cloud.

  6. On the subject of secondary weapons. My general view of them has been that they (should) have two roles. One is a cheap, TU-wise, backup weapon. Especially the pistol. The other role is for close-quarters combat, such as in the UFO, for soldiers whose main weapon isn't a good fit for that.

    For the pistol to work as such a backup weapon, the changes by Max seem very much the right path to take.

    But for the other case, I think the game needs to penalize certain weapons at close distances. The sniper rifle shouldn't be useful in UFOs or a building's corridors. A sniper soldier that has to fight in close quarters should rely on the secondary.

  7. I like the system overall. While armour in X1 didn't seem to be a big problem to me, the modular system as proposed is a clear improvement.

    One minor point from a UI and modding perspective. Already in V9, the old armour dropdown is back. I think it's significantly worse UX, and also the icons for modules would potentially be difficult if (when) modders add many modules. How to display the icons then?

    Proposal: make armour its own equipment tab (again), where each of the three armour types is an item, and the modules are displayed next to each in a grid, similar to how ammo is displayed next to weapons.

    • Like 1

  8. Yeah but you can build two hangars + radar, or three hangars right away in X2 as well. It makes your base look less pretty perhaps, but that's what you get when rushing construction.

    Otherwise you end up having scenarios where you can cancel the production of a building that connects your lift to another under-construction building. You have to either disallow that or handle it... what does the extra complexity get you really?

  9. 1 hour ago, Chris said:

    Oh, random straw poll - do people feel like they should be able to build new base buildings next to buildings that are under contruction? Classic X-Com handled it that way but my instinct is that you should be able to do so, as having to wait for the Access Lift to finish building and then gradually build out from that feels a bit limiting.

    I'd not allow it, but decrease the Access Lift construction time a bit. I think it's reasonable to have a "start-up time" for bases, and it also makes more sense that you need to finish something before expanding farthre out.

  10. 12 hours ago, Chris said:

    This actually isn't true in many respects - our 50x50 maps are the same size as the ones in X-Com, and I think the numbers of aliens is similar to the earliest X-Com missions. There's definitely more cover in our maps but I seem to remember the X-Com terror maps were way denser than our maps are; lots of small buildings to explore etc.

    Hmm, they definitely feel smaller in X1/X2  then in X-Com (which I do not mean as a bad thing). Perhaps it's because of the AI, which in the 90s was quite prone to moving towards the edges and corners, whereas the aliens in Xenonauts rarely end up stuck there.

    I'd like to comment more on maps with buildings, because that really ties into issues with secondary weapons, but I've seen too few terror missions in X2, I'll comment after a couple more.

  11. Thanks Chris, it's very useful to see the thinking behind some decisions. With that, I can make some more specific comments.

    1 hour ago, Chris said:

    Converted Alien Weapons: Secondly, I'm not quite sure what we're going to do with the converted alien weapons. The concept for them was that they gave you an easy path into energy weapons so you could tackle kinetic-resistant Androns more easily if you didn't go for early Laser Weapons ... but I don't really think they have an interesting niche.

    Very interesting, because I never got the impression that the intention was to give you energy weapons. My feeling was that converted weapons exist as a cheaply manufactured suboptimal solution, as in, you'd rather have lasers, but can use converted weapons to save money and workshop hours, at the expense of having less suitable weapons. Hence the high TU costs. So it might work to make that the niche - cheap, limited by alien ammo, rather powerful, a bit unwieldy.


    1 hour ago, Chris said:

    Alloys: I think instead the early game could be made more interesting by drip-feeding items in the early game, so when you research new weapons or upgrades you don't simply go to your workshop and build 12 of them over three days so your team is fully kitted with them for the next battle but instead you gain the resources needed to do so over the course of two or three battles. This means you'd have to choose which soldiers get the best gear and you feel like there's progression after every battle rather than every few battles like in X1. I guess early on this probably means only getting a few Alloys each mission and giving the player lots of things that require Alloys - I don't really feel X1 did that particularly well.

    If there's time, a solid pass on the economy would be on my wishlist. I often played X1 with a small personal mod that basically decreased Alloys and Alenium from missions, and increased the amounts required for production. It would be great to have a real resource economy. And a great opportunity to make landed UFOs more attractive by increasing


    Alloy rewards from them. I would say in general, a good starting point is to assume X1 provided twice as many alloys as it should have.


    1 hour ago, Chris said:

    Lethality / 10 Soldiers: The logic behind having more soldiers and the higher damage on the ballistic weapons is that I wanted to recapture a bit more of the spirit of X-Com, where battles are often a total bloodbath in the early stages of the game, but the enemies often go down in just a few shots, but you get a LOT more soldiers on those missions.

    Okay, I think that's a solid goal. I don't think it works well though. The early X-Com battles also took place on bigger maps, versus more aliens. The maps in Xenonauts are smaller, more concentrated, with more functional cover, and alien crews are smaller. With 10 soldiers, I don't find it to be more of a bloodbath, on the contrary, I am taking fewer losses because it's easier to fire a lot of bullets at each alien, or use other tactical options. This being another key difference versus the original X-Com, that game didn't have much weapon variety. Due to the weapon variety in Xenonauts, the two extra soldiers remove some tough planning choices (do I take a grenade launcher or another rifle? now I can have both!), which leads to less bloodbath.

    Instead, I would say you can recapture the same idea by making losses likely across more early battles. You shouldn't be in highly upgraded gear on your third mission. This ties somewhat into the previous point with alloys, but also it's about tech requirements in general. Give players more missions with just the basic equipment, ensure slower introduction of lasers and other gear, and you'll recreate that desperate X-Com feeling differently.

    • Like 1

  12. Have spent minimal time with V9 so far, but I'm inclined to support the points Max makes.

    Sebillian Brutes were too strong a few versions ago, but are a bit too weak now. I think it's just their reluctance to fire. Brutes are still quite tough, but between general AI algorithms and suppression, they rarely shoot. Addressing that (higher bravery? higher accuracy to make them likelier to shoot?) would likely be sufficient.

    Lots of good discussion around converted weapons in the V8 thread, so I won't repeat that, but the key takeaway remains that their TU costs are punishingly high, putting both cmags and cplasmas into an awkward tier where their niche is not clear.

    Geoscape has obviously not been balanced at all, it's mostly a mess, but I would in particular point to the early research projects. You can start researching better armour right away and, with a bit of luck, have a couple of suits ready before you shoot down the first UFO. I think it should be like X1, where you have to use the basic equipment for at least a couple of missions.

    Also I still dislike the 10 soldiers change, it's the most unnecessary change the game has had.

  13. 7 minutes ago, Charon said:

    If this would be a turn based game i wouldnt say something. In fact, i wouldnt even be here. I would leave it up to the people who like turn based aircraft games. But our current direction is that of a topdown shooter, and i dont see the solution in cutting away the things which make a topdown shooter fun and call it a solution.

    This also happens to be why I'm highly skeptical of any X1-style approach. The Xcom genre is turn-based combat, with a smaller grand strategy part. Top-down arcade shooters are incompatible with the genre due to rewarding a very different set of skills and providing an experience that feels very different.

    • Like 2

  14. Now that X1-style air combat is coming back, I'm going to give it a try with an open mind, but I'm in the minority (I guess?) that thinks the X1 minigame was bad, I'd even call it the weakest part of the game.

    The tactical part of the minigame was negligible. Several types of engagements only had one way to play them at all. For squadron engagements, the only ones with any tactics involved, there were also few different things you could do. Bait with a fast plane, use one plane to get behind the UFO - options, yes, but very few. The replay value was low because you'd figure the tactics out after only a few engagements. Instead, your success would be determined by mechanical, twitch-based skill. The pause button wasn't tactical, you didn't really use it to think - it was a twitch button, as you should pause at the right moment to correctly time your rolls or missiles. In a few scenarios, you wanted to make quick, tight turns, which meant many fast and reasonably precise clicks.

    At the same time, you could master engagements so you would always succeed in a particular scenario. My favourite example, albeit not the only one, is two Condors vs a Corvette. The four missiles from the Condors will kill the UFO, but the Corvette will have time to fire its cannon once. So the engagement has the following success formula - just let your Condors fly towards the Corvette, pause when it fires, roll the targeted Condor (or both), unpause. Corvette down, Condors unharmed 100% of the time. Simple, formulaic, gets boring the 3rd time you have this engagement.

    And none of this was really related to the game's strategy layer. Airplane ammo was free and unlimited, so if you could use superior tactics to spend one missile less, that had no effect on anything anyway (I hope in general X2 has the time to do something more interesting with the economy). 

    Then there's the problem that making the X1 minigame more difficult would mainly be on the account of additional reflex/speed requirements more than tactical thinking.

    Like I said, I'll approach the X2 real-time combat with an open mind, but I would have preferred to see the turn-based approach evolve.

    • Like 1