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kabill last won the day on February 14

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About kabill

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  1. kabill

    Rebalanced Economy

    ShotDownBonus is the relations increase you get with the country the UFO is flying over for shooting it down. OnWinAgainst is where you can specify a reward for shooting down the aircraft (it is e.g. how you get stuff from fighters and other UFOs that don't spawn crash missions). But to the best of my knowledge, there's no way you could add in non-cash rewards for airstrikes specifically.
  2. kabill

    Rebalanced Economy

    IIRC they are in the aircrafts.xml file, in the entries for different kinds of UFO.
  3. Can I suggest you open a new thread in one of the modding forums? Better to do it there than clutter this thread with something not linked to XCE. (I can't promise to be useful mind. It's a long time since I did any serious modding of Xenonauts and I only vaguely remember the details of how you might do this).
  4. Was going to post this in the air combat thread but actually here might be a better place in view of the quotes above. I think the best solution to this problem is simply to steal from the original X-Com and have UFOs sometimes fly at a slower speed. E.g. they fly at maximum speed - too fast for your interceptors to catch - when they are approaching and leaving a mission area but they slow down considerably while actually conducting their mission. So a UFO on an old-style ground attack mission (for example) would spawn in, fly at high speed directly to wherever it is going to conduct its attacks, spend some time flying around at slow speed shooting things, and then flying away at high speed again. There's a number of reasons why this would be a good idea: - It solves the problem of randomness in interception chance, since all UFOs have a period during which they are vulnerable to interception (although see the next point). - It also solves the problem in the quote from Skitso above, as missions with single direct targets (i.e. terror, base construction and base assault missions) can be approached by the UFO at high speed, too fast for the player's interceptors to catch and therefore guaranteeing the ground mission will be spawned. This might seem heavy handed - it's forcing certain missions on the player - but I think from a gameplay perspective that's a good thing (one of the single major issues of X1 is the ability to make the game less varied and interesting by playing too well!) and also does so in a plausible and consistent manner (i.e. you're not just dropping missions out of no-where like terror missions in Firaxis's XCOM; and there's a clear reason why you can't stop them with aircraft which is perfectly plausible). - As well as these points, it also ties in with the proposed air combat system well, specifically the idea of having UFOs be able to escape interception. Basically, this represents the UFO activating its high-speed engines after a period of charging, and on the geoscape UFOs which escape combat could either fly away and despawn, or relocate to another part of the world and continue with whatever mission they were conducting. - It creates scope for technology which allows the player to intercept UFOs in their high-speed mode. The example I have in mind here is an aircraft/aircraft loadout like X1's Fury interceptor, which can intercept at high speed and obliterate the UFO entirely. This would provide a mid- or late-game option for dealing with "special" missions (i.e. terror missions, base construction, etc.) without having to fight ground combat. - Finally, I also think it adds to verisimilitude. It never really made sense to me that UFOs would hurtle around at 2000+ kph when they are supposed to be scanning, abducting, conducting strafing runs and so on; having UFOs slow down while they're "in-mission" makes a lot more sense. Further, from a feedback perspective, having UFOs move in different ways will create a sense that they are actually doing something, rather than just flying around randomly, even if the mechanics are otherwise no different to X1.
  5. Not really the tread for this but, in short, it can't without a large amount of work as you would need to make maps for GC missions to support them. If you didn't want them to be able to spawn GC missions (a la fighters and bombers) then that's a lot easier. But you'd need to rework the UFO missions to include the new UFOs you've added, as well as adding in the stats for the UFO in aircraft.xml. Maybe some other things too? Has been a long time.
  6. Oops! For what it's worth, I've been playing with the setting activated this afternoon and it makes a noticeable difference for the better.
  7. Is the new psionics system supposed to be active in vanilla XCE? I can find the variable in gameconfig.xml in the main XCE folder, which is set to use the old system according to the documentation on it. But I can't find an alternative setting in either the balance or settings XCE folders. I might be missing it somewhere though?
  8. kabill

    Air Combat System Example

    Yes, definitely. I probably should have been clearer about this: my point here wasn't to suggest that this is the exact system you want. It's instead only to illustrate some of the points I've made elsewhere to highlight why I think they're important. If there's some interesting and/or useful thoughts in there, then that's all I was looking to do. I just figured it would be better to demonstrate through example rather than in abstract, to make those points more tangible. Air combat was more or less the only bit of Xenonauts I was never able to satisfactorily mod. The conclusion I came to seems to be the same as you with X2 (i.e. that it needs to be turn-based). So it's like picking up an old project. I'll add that your initial outline is a much better framework than anything I'd managed to think up at the time, so if I'm enthusiastic it's because I can see a lot of potential in it!
  9. Alas, I'd been thinking of revisiting the random map project for X2 but there might not be a map editor available. Guess you'll have to work double hard on map making as Official Game Mapper instead then! :P
  10. kabill

    Air Combat System Example

    I think that's an important question (and probably worth putting on the Features thread rather than here as Chris is more likely to see it there). As I see it, there are two options: - A fast, largely automated system which gets on with the business of producing ground missions with minimal friction; - A strategic minigame which can stand on its own as an interesting and engaging set of systems. The latter is not inherently better than the former, but I have inferred from what Chris did in X1, and the suggestion of having a turn-based system in X2, that he is more inclined towards the latter and I've made suggestions which - in my opinion anyway! - would make that concept work better. If I'm wrong in my assumption, then actually I think X2 would be much better with a system similar to the original 1994 X-Com. A turn-based system is only worthwhile if there's some interesting/difficult decisions to be made and so the system needs to have sufficient complexity (and dynamism) to produce those. Without those, a turn based system is just making things slower and more cumbersome, without adding anything in return. That's kinda my concern about the idea that Chris outlined in the first instance: a turn based system that doesn't actually have much more to do in in than 1994 X-Com's and which is therefore slower and more cumbersome for no benefit. If it wants to stay turn-based, I think it needs refinement (maybe using some of the suggestions I've made). Otherwise, I think it actually just wants to clone the original X-Com's system, with improved functionality for multiple-aircraft interceptions, because that was a sleek, frictionless system which just got on with the business of generating crash missions without intruding on the game at all. It's great, if that's what you want (balance issues notwithstanding), and it owes most of that to not being turn-based.
  11. in a bout of over-enthusiasm, I did some prototyping earlier to check out how some of my suggestions above work in comparison with the original outline. I was going to write up some comparisons as AARs but there's quite a lot and I don't want to spam this thread more than I have done. So I'm going to write up the final one, which implements the conclusions I will outline below, and post it elsewhere as an illustration of what I think would make an effective system (all prototypes were using the same setup as outlined in that AAR, rules changes notwithstanding). But I'll just offer a description and overview of the conclusions to be learned here. Prototype 1: Original Rules (with chance to hit) The first prototype I tested was using the rules outlines in Chris's original post, but using chance to hit with fixed damage rather than automatic hits with random damage (mostly because it's easier when using dice but I think that works better for reasons I'll outline below). This played out as I thought: the UFO was moving away, so all I was doing each turn was moving my aircraft as far as they could, hoping they wouldn't get shot, until they were at close range when they unloaded their payload and brought the UFO down. As there's nothing to react to, I can't see how I would play this out any different, aircraft loadouts and maybe some unlucky rolls notwithstanding. Prototype 2: Telegraphing attacks and random movement The second prototype had the UFO generate its actions at the beginning of the turn, before I took mine, so I know what it's going to do. Both it's move (away from to towards my aircraft) and it's attack profile were randomly generated. I tested this several times and it worked ok but there were also some problems. On the one hand, knowing what the UFO was going to do varied how I was playing. E.g. early on, if the UFO was targeting one of my aircraft with it's more powerful cannon, I would typically hold it back rather than advance it, which would sometimes lead to a bit of a standoff. On the other hand, I noticed two issues which were making the combat too simple: 1) Being able to see the UFO's move in advance allowed me to exploit that too much when positioning. E.g. Knowing that the UFO was going to move away from me on its move, I was able to move into close range, make my attacks which are very likely to hit, and then on the UFO's turn I would move back to medium range before it makes its own attacks. The UFO moving away from me was therefore always a penalty for it, as I could exploit it for better hit odds compared with its own attacks. 2) Being able to fire all my weapons in the same turn made things far too easy. Basically, all I needed to do was get into optimal range once, unload all my weapons, and that was the combat over. Because the player attacks first on a turn, it's really easy to alpha-strike the UFO and destroy it without there being any meaningful risk. Both of these issues were addressed in the final prototype through making the following changes: - The UFO still telegraphs its actions, but the move action takes place *before* rather than after the player's action. I.e. the turn order is: UFO move; player move; player shoot; UFO shoot. This stops the player from exploiting the UFO's move like I described above and means that the player must be willing to receive fire in whatever attack zone they commit to moving to. It also makes things a bit more unpredictable, as the player does not know what move action will be taken by the UFO next turn, so any move the player makes is made without that knowledge (and as much as I advocate telegraphing above, I think having run through this that with move actions actually having some uncertainty is good). - The player can only attack with one cannon and one missile hardpoint per turn. This gets rids of the alpha-strike problem outlined above, as they are unlikely to score a kill in a single turn under these circumstances and so are more likely to receive fire, meaning more risk/reward in terms of firing position. In turn, this opens up strategies like attacking from longer range first to soften up the UFO before moving in; and may encourage the player to attack from sub-optimal positions because they don't think they will have time to make all of their attacks at optimal range before the UFO escapes. Prototype 3: UFO moves first, telegraphs attacks and the player can only make limited attacks with an aircraft per turn I'll leave this to the AAR but the changes outlined above have solved the problems they were intended to solve, and I think it works quite well now and after running it a few times I'm not finding any problems with the mechanics (balance is another matter, but that was never the point of this exercise). --- One last thing, to expand on what I wrote above about fixed-hits/variable damage vs. random-hits/fixed damage: for me, the latter makes for a superior system not only because it adds some more unpredictability to the combat, but also allows for variety in weapon/aircraft/utility types. E.g. in the prototype I ran, I was using two different missile types, one which did more damage but the other which had a bonus to hit. The former was therefore better at close range (where hit chance is already high), while the latter is overall less strong but has an advantage at longer ranges (which may be important if you have to fire at those ranges). Equally, it allowed there to be airframes with different advantages (Condor is smaller and more mobile, so -1 to be hit). This is particularly important with UFOs: if you wanted to represent smaller UFOs being more agile (e.g. like light scouts in X1), you can't really do that if hits are automatic since it just translates directly into more hitpoints. But if you have hit chances, you have have hard-to-hit UFOs which (e.g.) need high-accuracy weapons to reliably hit them. For reasons like this, I think therefore that having hit chances would make for a more interesting and versatile system compared with having damage ranges.
  12. As a continuation of what I have been writing on the Air Combat features thread, I'm presenting here an example of how air combat might work, using Chris's original suggestion as a base and making some adjustments to address things which - in my opinion anyway - are problematic with it. I'll start by outlining some of the rules and then and example of it in action. Rules The basic rules are drawn from Chris's outline in the other thread but with some adjustments. Note that all die rolls are assuming six-sided (d6) dice, because that's what I have to hand. - There are 3 combat ranges (long, medium, close) each divided into three bands for the purposes of movement. - Weapon attacks have a chance to hit based on range: Long = 6+ / Medium = 4+ / Close = 2+ - Weapons have fixed damage. Some weapons have a maximum range. Some weapons apply a modifier to the to-hit roll. Regardless of modifiers, a roll of a '1' always misses and a '6' always hits. - UFOs and aircraft have a number of hitpoints. When all hitpoints are depleted, the UFO/aircraft is disabled. - Each turn is processed as follows: the UFO randomly generates its move (towards or away from the player aircraft) which is applied immediately; the UFO randomly generates its attacks for the turn but does not resolve them; the player moves and attacks with their aircraft in any order; the UFO resolves the attacks it generated at the start of the turn. - If an aircraft is already at maximum distance from the UFO, and the UFO moves away from the aircraft, then the distance moved by the UFO is subtracted from the aircraft's movement for the turn (representing it using some move to stay within the combat zone). Similarly, if an aircraft is already at maximum close range and the UFO moves towards it, then the distance moved by the UFO is subtracted from the aircraft's move (reopresenting the fact that the aircraft cannot easily escape from the UFO because of it's aggressive move). - At the end of each turn, the UFO charges 1 or more jump points. If the number of jump points reaches 5, the UFO jumps to high speed and escapes. Setup The player has intercepted a hypothetical corvette with two planes: a light condor equipped for close assault; and a heavier foxtrot equipped for long-range engagement. Their stats are: Condor: 5+2 HP (5 base + 2 for alloy armour module); Speed 4; Evasive (-1 to be hit); 1 autocannon (2x1 damage, ammo 3, close range only); 2 avalanche torpedo racks (5 damage each); afterburner utility module (on one turn only, move up to two additional bands; can be used before or after attacking) Foxtrot: 6 HP; Speed 3; 1 autocannon (2x1 damage, ammo 3, close range only); 4 stingray missile racks (3 damage each, +1 to hit); flares and chaff (on one turn only, reroll all successful attacks against the aircraft once). Corvette: 20 HP, Speed 2; 4 plasma beams (1 damage each); 1 plasma cannon (5 damage); ion burst (hits all aircraft within targeted zone automatically, 1 damage, targets cannot move or attack next turn); drive overcharger (charges an additional jump point if used) The corvette is not limited by ammunition but can only use its 4 plasma beams plus one of its other three weapons/utilities each turn. As such, there's a number of things to randomise each turn: - Does the corvette move away from (1-3) or towards (4-6) the attacking aircraft - Does it overcharge its drive (1), attack with its ion burst (2-3) or attack with its plasma cannon (4-6) - Does it spread its attacks (1-4) or focus fire on a single aircraft (5-6) Example (please excuse the quality of the diagrams!) On the first turn, the Corvette rolls to keep its distance from the attacking aircraft and overcharge its drive, meaning it will gain 2 rather than 1 jump point this turn. Because it is using its drive overcharger, it only gets to attack with its plasma beams, which it rolls to focus fire on my Condor (right hand aircraft). This doesn't leave me with many options - I can only move forwards with my Foxtrot 1 band this turn, and 2 with my Condor, which I'm happy to keep back anyway this turn as it's under heavy fire. So I move the aircraft forwards, and hold my fire as I'm at long range and likely to miss (in retrospect, I should have fired a stingray volley with my Foxtrot as with the overcharge it won't have enough turns to fire all its missiles now, but I forgot at the time). The UFO fires its plasma beams and, needing 6s to hit, misses with all of them. Starting the second turn, the Corvette now has 2 jump points, meaning I only have three turns (including this one!) to shoot it down. The Corvette this turn rolls for an aggressive move towards my aircraft, rolls to fire its powerful plasma cannon at my Foxtrot, and splits is plasma beams between my two aircraft. For maximum damage, I could advance my both my aircraft forwards but that is especially risky for the Foxtrot which would be facing up to 7 damage (enough to disable it) from 2+ to hit attacks (note that if I could fire all of my weapons in the same turn, the obvious move would be to advance both aircraft to close range and fire everything which would almost certainly disable the UFO. But because I can only fire 1 missile rack from each aircraft, I'm limited to 12 damage maximum which is not enough to defeat the Corvette and I would have to suffer close-range fire. This is why I think limiting player attacks per turn is really important). Instead, then, I opt to drop my Foxtrot back to long range, but it will still fire a stingray missile because I have fewer turns than I have ammunition to attack with now anyway. I need a 5+ and sadly miss. With the Condor, I take more of a gamble, charging it into close range and relying on its alloy armour, evasiveness and luck to keep it safe (it can only take 2 damage max this turn anyway). I attack with one avalanche torpedo rack and a cannon burst (which gets two shots), hitting on 2+. All my attacks hit and I get 7 damage on the UFO. The UFO then fires in return. Needing 6s against the Foxtrot, again I get lucky and everything misses. Needing 3s against the Condor (usually 2+ but with a -1 penalty for it being evasive), it hits with one plasma beam, causing one damage. On to turn three. The Corvette now has 3 jump points, so there are maximum two turns left. It rolls the same actions as last turn: advance, plasma cannon targeted against the Foxtrot, and plasma beams split between the two aircraft. This isn't great. I only have two turns to bring the UFO down and my Condor by itself doesn't have enough firepower, so I need something from the Foxtrot too. But the Foxtrot is once again under heavy fire and a few unlucky rolls could kill it. I decide to take the gamble, moving the Foxtrot forwards so it's just outside of close range, but I also deploy its flares and chaff, which means hits against it this turn will get rerolled. At medium range, I can then attack with a rack of stingray missiles with 3+ to hit, and they just do, causing 3 damage (total now 10). The Condor is in less danger, but I would still like to minimise its risk. Here my afterburners come into play. I move the Condor to the edge of close range, fire my second and final avalanche torpedo volley (which hits for 5 damage) and another shower of cannon spray (1 hit and 1 miss, total 16 damage now). Then I use my afterburners (which can be played after an attack) to move back another band, into medium range, to reduce the chance of being hit by the Corvette. Now the Corvette's turn, it attacks my Foxtrot needing 4s, hitting with one plasma beam and the plasma cannon. This would be enough to kill the Foxtrot, but it's flares and chaff force rerolls. I get lucky: the plasma beam still rolls a hit but the plasma cannon misses, so the aircraft is safe. Against the Condor, needing 5s, one plasma beam hits (total 2 damage) and the other misses. We're on to the final turn - if I don't kill the Corvette this turn it will escape. Fortunately, my gamble last turn paid off, netting me some extra damage without cost, and leaving both aircraft in a position to move into close range to attack even if the Corvette moves away. Need only 4 damage in total, with another stingray and 4 autocannon shots at 2+ to hit is more than sufficient. Victory! Reflection This probably all looks very complicated, but consider that all the player would be doing is moving their aircraft and issuing attacks, so in play the basic system would be quite simple. In any case, I think this prototype shows how it can produce some dynamic combat situations and create situations where there are some difficult/interesting choices to be made. It also affords scope for some "special move" utility items and provides roles for different weapons and aircraft. I reckon something like this could work very well, then.
  13. kabill

    [v1.5/XCE] Instant Grenades

    Sorry, was adding comments for my benefit as much as anything else to make sure I didn't miss anything.
  14. The random map packs have been re-uploaded to the forum and can be accessed through the Downloads tab.
  15. Version 1.0.0


    This mod adds random maps for the arctic biome. Link to full thread