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ApolloZani last won the day on July 12 2018

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About ApolloZani

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  1. ApolloZani

    New Combat UI Discussion & Feedback

    After trying out one mission, it seems like the combat UI is fully useable. I rather like how TUs and their use are right below the gun, but it took me a bit to figure out where my soldier's health was. It wasn't initially clear how to use medpacks, but that's more because I tried to use them like in X1 rather than noticing the abilities next to the grenades. The only 'major' issue I had was when I went to end my turn: the number one thing I care about checking there is how many TUs people have left and the squad information for that is so far away from the End Turn button in the screen space that my eyes tended to wander all over the screen before I was satisfied.
  2. Ugh. Guys, it's totally okay. You've got two options here, either copy the X-Wings Miniature game: https://www.shutupandsitdown.com/videos/review-x-wing/ or just accept the fact that it doesn't need to be a deep or all that fun minigame. See, if you go the copy route, you've got this nifty twist on the turn based game that keeps it nicely separate from the battlescape with enormous room to improve your ships, the enemies, add abilities, fighters, and create engagements from single ship to ship combat to full on sky wars. Each with no real down time for the player and, if balanced right and with a good and ultimately still predictable AI, potential to be super fun on its own. Or you can do what every other xcom-em-up has done for two decades now and just forget about it. None of the individual parts of these games are ever good enough to stand on their own; few would want to play a game that's all the battlescape (look at how popular the XCOM 2 daily challenges are for that), or all the geoscape (see the XCOM board game for that), or all the airgame. It's fine, it doesn't have to be great, it just has to have interplay with the rest of the game because that's the real meat of why we play XCOM. It's not the individual parts, but how they link up as a whole. So long as we've got the core loop of do thing, get stuff, research stuff, build better stuff so we can do thing better, we're golden. S'all just balance and refinement after that, which is where 90% of the effort tends to go into when making something like this anyways. The best part of these things has always been seeing how the shiny new toy performs and the only major issue would be if this iteration couldn't give you something new and awesome to do with each new ship/weapon upgrade.
  3. ApolloZani

    Soundtrack in Xenonauts 2

    The soundtrack to X1 felt like an extremely good redux of the original X-Com. Especially the air combat, still listen to that one on its own some times.
  4. ApolloZani

    Tough Love

    Third paragraph in: "The action takes place in the modern day - but in an alternative timeline where decades of alien interference has prevented the end of the Cold War, leaving NATO and the Soviet Union teetering on the brink of a catastrophic nuclear war." There a lots of reasons why this could be the case. Original X-Com had it that way. Crouching at the end of everyturn and before every shot is tedious. The 5% bonus is too difficult to balance around, floating between absolutely necessary (and not a real decision at all) and useless (meaning there's no reason for the feature.) Don't forget that the main difference between a normal game and a veteran game is a 10% aim boost for the aliens and that creates such a huge difference that you get practically a whole new game out of it. So a 3% bonus might make more sense balance wise but such a tiny bonus makes it so that players who want 'optimal play' over all else will get a more tedious game while everyone else ceases to care. Honestly, it makes you sound like a bad reviewer if you can't even think of a single reason why this would be the case. And missing out a piece of information that's literally on the kickstarter page gives a feeling that you're just here to rag on the game, not provide well considered opinions. Also, you're reviewing a tiny Not-even-a-vertical-slice version of the game. A pre-alpha that hasn't been balanced, optimized, or even had all of the features put in. This is the engine foundation and some art assets to ensure that the game is possible. It's like reviewing a house based on the hole in the ground that's going to be the basement. That's not to say it's above criticism, but that your criticism should not be aimed at, "this house doesn't have walls," but, "the concrete is cracked over here." In otherwords, you should be talking about how not knowing your soldier's exact cone of vision affects the game. How moving objects in the scene (such as the helicopter blades) changes the verisimilitude of the battlescape. Or how there doesn't seem to be a good system in place for figuring out if a soldier would be able to see an alien from a given tile.
  5. But I do agree, it is kinda lame. I don't think now is the time to change it considering people who liked the first will be relating it to the second. Not all sales come from the kickstarter afterall.
  6. Well.. Yes. The ceasans are not supposed to be warriors. They're not made for that. They're rarely equipped for that.
  7. I don't understand. The 3D one looks less comical to me simply because it's actually more alien looking. The other is a five fingered human with grey skin, big eyes, and a weird head. It also looks like they're wearing cotton-spandex to a certain extent and even have a belt. 3D alien has this insectoid look to it that, even though weirdly has fingernails, clearly has non-human hips, mouth(s), and cartilage armor beneath their skin.
  8. ApolloZani

    Endgame theory crafting

    Well yeah, but like. Worst ending. You kill the Preator, the invasion technically halts. The Earth gets overrun by the barbarian alien masses, nuclear war breaks out in the ensuing battle even if it's not a MAD situation, and humanity is so devastated that little hope exists for the future if the aliens decided to come around again. You technically fended off the invasion, but at immense cost.
  9. Near the end of every XCOM-em-up, there's a phase where you can take on the final mission but there's still stuff to do. Research, filling out your soldier's skills, building equipment. Typically there's no real pressure to take on the final mission early. In X-COM: UFO, you can handle the invasion pretty readily by the time you can take it on. In XCOM:EU, same thing. XCOM2, there's an achievement but no real reason beyond that. In Xenonauts, so long as you're blowing up the battleships instead of clearing them, you're golden for just filling out the list of things to do. The alien invasion can wait, even in OpenXCOM and X1: Community Edition. My question is, is this a good thing? You want to balance the game around the final mission being available before you've run out of stuff to research and things to build. Players reaching the end of your content before the end of your game is rarely a good thing, but.. Should we have an incentive for finishing the game early? Different endings depending on how well you were able to complete the final mission? A granularity to the fate of humanity and a golden ending for doing everything right, quick, and saving as many as you can? What if the aliens achieved milestones as they researched you? At some point they could develop a virus that would likely wipe out 90% of humanity if it were released and so stopping them before that happens or coming out with a tech later on to counter the virus is an easy example. Perhaps psionics against humans is something that gets better over time as more and more mindstates are learned such that some human leaders or others in power are 'permanently' under the alien's will even without active measures, so ensuring that counter-psionics is put into place as early as possible and setting up key people to assassinate/replace control key humans in missile silos around the world are something that has to be done over time if you want a better ending. Perhaps never capturing a singularity generator means humanity will have to go to the stars the hard way instead of immediately being able to flee across the void. But I don't really know if that's a good thing. For the challenge, it's great. In Breath of the Wild, you were always able to go straight to Ganon and end the game; you'd get the worst ending for it but boy was it fun to be able to just take on that challenge. Perhaps Operation: Endgame can run on a similar system. Where you're allowed to take the final step almost as soon as the game begins but with no knowledge of what you'll find, no means to do anything but kill and destroy whatever you see, and see what ending you get as a result. But if you wait, if you study and research, you learn that you have to destroy certain key generators, dispersal systems, and communications arrays; capture the Preator in a specific room that will get locked away and hidden by a psionic shield (where killing them results in less ability to prepare for the future and never understanding the true purpose of the invasion); and learning of a way to get your soldiers out alive rather than sending them into a literal suicide mission. Do people want that kind of granularity? Saving the Earth quickly would be an achievement in itself, but you'd essentially be incentivised to either go as fast as possible or hold off until there's nothing left to do. How you appease the middleground people who don't want to capture every memory and do every shrine, yet still want to try for the 'true' ending? Obviously this method provides the much needed consistantancy of challenge for the final mission, where it slowly becomes easier the further along you are but never becomes a cake walk unless you're only doing the bare minimum objectives. Inverted difficulty is always an issue when balancing these games. Edit: For theming, this can be something you do after capturing your first UFO. Just take it to zip off into space and land on their mothership/moonbase/whatever with six guys who will 'save the world.' They'll be ready for you. So one easy to see step of Operation: Endgame techs would be to disguise your arrival. Another would be to just have a bigger UFO with more people to send. Another would be to have your own ship so you have a way to leave once you're discovered. High grade missiles to take out certain components that you'd otherwise need to clear internally. EMPs to take out some of the robotic units nearer the outsides. Ect. Learning new objectives is where difficulty goes up. Learning new techs is where difficulty goes down.
  10. Yes, but you require aliens that you likely won't be able to kill in two or three turns for that to be effective, otherwise you'll just be going for the kill instead of the maim. I don't think Xenonauts has aliens like that in mind, unless reapers suddenly get a lot more evil and sebillians start acting like necromorphs.
  11. Hurray! Ideas! This is what I was hoping for!
  12. The most fun thing about mind control is getting to use it yourself. I'm not certain it should enter the game until you at least have a counter, but if you're gonna put it in, the player should be allowed to steal allegiance themselves. I don't really like how mindshields make you completely immune to everything psi (and even things like panic) in the new XCOMs. Risk is the name of the game, and that means both for failure and success on all sides. That said, I didn't mind the Neural Dampening MELD mod you could put on in XCOM:EW, perhaps that's just because of how late game it was and the fact that it precluded ALL psionics on that soldier. I'm still trying to figure out why psi is so fun to use. Why it's so great to just.. Get an entirely new set of abilities in the last act of the game.
  13. I don't expect anything to happen with psionics in X2, as cool as they are, even the alien's side of it is being downplayed. This is just me throwing out ideas and seeing what other people think of them. In X-Com, psionics is extremely overpowered. Similarly, in XCOM and XCOM2, it can get really out of hand. The only time it plays well is when you only have one or two psionically capable soldiers throughout the whole base because a mind controlled alien is just a stupid swing in power and being able steal half an alien group is worth so much more than just killing half an alien group. So you have to limit it. This is something XCOM2 did extremely well by making it so that only one soldier (or two with an upgrade) can be psionically trained at a time. I still dislike it, however, since you don't have to put those soldiers out into the field even once for them to be viable and you don't get the joy of turning one of your best soldiers into someone who can use psionics. Only nameless, faceless rookies who sit in a box for a month and emerge as a god. Panic and mind control being your only two options kinda forces you make your soldiers overpowered. XCOM2 also does better here because there's a wealth of abilities to gain from psionics that are so much more supporty than dominating an alien unit. While this is great for gameplay, I dislike that no one on the alien team can use soulfire for guaranteed damage. I'd hate it even more if the aliens were able to just get free damage on me, though. So you'd need to give your soldiers abilities that would still be fun if the aliens had them yet are only powerful enough that a psi soldier is really only there as support instead of god. With that in mind, these are my ideas: Psionic Awareness: Basically, being able to see where nearby enemies are provided they aren't robots or are psionic themselves. This actually leads to some nice granularity since the more skill you get in this regard, the more you can see without having a line of sight. Where the aliens might even employ mind shields to hide some units so you don't rely on it and you get a nice way of hiding your own soldiers from the lesser psi capable enemies. It also helps explain why aliens can cast panic on you without you being able to see them. This would be the most basic ability granted from just holding the gift, making it better is a matter of doing missions. Psi Attack (chance to cause damage, panic, freeze, or charm): Nothing to change for panic. I miss psi strength from the original game. It was fun to weed out rookies by taking guesses on how easily they panic when going up against ethereals and then later on learning who can naturally resist them with the psi-lab. I never liked how a human's strength can range from all powerful god to frail little insect here. I'd rather a system where humans only vary a little bit; some might be stronger than the Greys but no one comes close to the prators. If you want to panic, mind control, or even see them psionically, you're going to need all the strength, tech, and skill you can muster. Freeze: Slightly better than panic because it doesn't risk them shooting your soldiers or throwing grenades at you. That said, it's always felt weird that the aliens can throw grenades. Humans are unique on the entire planet because our shoulders can make accurate and strong throws of small rocks. Even the other sentients who evolved alongside us lacked the ability to throw a spear anything close to as good as we can. It'd be cooler if alien grenades had to be launched rather than thrown. Gives a nice tech to research, too. Should probably be undone if the person running the attack gets shot or killed. Charm: A less overpowered variant of mind control and the only one likely to be successful without group effort. All you do is swap their allegiance so they shoot at your enemy instead of you, or don't shoot at you if no one else is around. A lot of cRPGs have something like this and it seems to work well there, plus when it hits you, you don't have to worry too much about being hit by them since you can just say a charmed unit has bad stats. Could be evil if there's guy with a rocket launcher or heavy machine gun, though. Since the aliens basically don't get rocket launchers, I'm not against making it so that a charmed soldier always misses with them. Psi Storm: Basically like psi attack but with worse chances of success and area of effect. Like a grenade for panic and for throwing into the final room of an alien ship when you don't know where everyone is. Mind Control: Exactly what it says on the tin. As fun as it is, it's a big issue to code in all the ways the enemy should be using mind control against you. IE, suicide grenades, dropping weapons and running into the open, making you a nice complacent target to hit. I'd imagine this is an ability that requires all of a soldier's TUs to maintain so it's only ever something you use to make the aliens feel wildly out of position and have tons of fun with. Grey commanders get essentially frozen while using it while Prators can still act. Like mind controlling an ethereal in XCOM:EU, I imagine this to be an ability that only works if your target has already be weakened. Either through stress, stun, or being the at the front of psi attacks. Mind Control sometimes runs into the huge problem of not knowing which alien you need to kill to get your guy back, at least when done the X-Com way. This is the greatest asset of the purple glowy thread of XCOM2. You can fight it because you know exactly who you need to disrupt or kill to save your friend. It's not very pretty and it's a bit weird that you can see them without even knowing how psionics works, but this would be a great opportunity to limit mind control to prators since by then, you'd hopefully have some psionically aware soldiers who could just follow the thread back or better yet.. Solace: Basically a way to get people back under your control. This is what's missing for psionics to be fun to fight against. Pitting you in a battle of skill and strength over your friend's life and getting those beautiful TUs back. Can also undo freezing, charm, and if you're friend is psionic, it can act as a group mind for doing more tricksy things. Actually, now that I've written this much out. It feels really lame. Imagining how it would fit into the UI isn't very fun and I'm uncertain about the method of tying into elerium cores with limited charges for each mission. I don't know. Let's see if I ctrl-a, backspace all of this before I press submit. Eh.. Screw it. I really like psionic awareness as a mechanic.
  14. I've been thinking about the injuries system a lot over the past few weeks. Having played X-Com, Xenonauts, XCOM: EW, XCOM 2:WotC after it went on sale and beating them all this month, I've come to a few ideas that might all be beyond scope. Injuries aren't interesting unless you can purposefully inflict them (ie, aiming for the legs to stop someone from running away) which is very Fallout and I kinda have my doubts that any such system would really be used. Save for the times when you'd want to capture an alien, you'd always just be aiming to kill rather than to maim. On the other side, for the players, an injury system is only as good as your ability to interact with it. A simple way to do this is to have individually armored locations such as helmets and leg pads. Each of these would provide some kind of trade off such as reducing aim, vision, or mobility. There is a much more interesting and difficult to do variant that I've thought of though: having injuries be effectively permanent. A soldier who got blasted in their dominant hand with superheated plasma could get nerve damage which lowers the aim of anything that uses that hand for seemingly the rest of the game. Someone could have their off hand melted by a plasma grenade meaning they could only ever use it to hold a shield effectively but take large penalties for two handed weapons. Eyes can be lost and vision can be fried. Cuts and bruises and concussions can be fixed at the beginning. Only later on, when you've stolen some sibilian stem glands that you can repair the simple things like nerve damage. Even better, and this is the real crux of this idea, is that soldiers who are downed are only rarely dead. Someone could lose both their arms because of a stray rocket or need to have one of their legs amputated because the plasma just melted too much of the limb. Not dead, but might as well be dead to you since they're no longer useful as soldiers. Enter Alien Electronics: In Xenonauts 1, there was the officer in charge of the barracks who was missing an arm. With the first range of base upgrades he got a rather basic replacement, with the second he was sporting a functional cybernetic arm. While I wouldn't want X2 to go full MELD, being able to revive 'dead' soldiers the further the along you are in the campaign would feel absolutely stellar. You may have lost your 90 Aim sniper half-way through due to an accident that stole their sight, but they're still with you. Psionics can let someone see through cameras, or better yet, be able to only see aliens while the rest of the non-blind squad gets the scouting information that lets them know where to go. Even if they can't attack robots anymore, they can be used again when the technology is there. It's just expensive is all. ... This can lead to a very silly situation where most of your squad is a ragtag bunch of raggedy anne soldiers with the worst scaring anyone has ever seen. No idea if anyone wants that.
  15. "I killed five aliens without dying. I actually feel pretty good about this war."