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About Me





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  1. I apologize to you, the reader, in advance. In lieu of breaking this into separate threads, I've made a single long one, which I'll do my best to roadmap and signpost for your sake. I've also bolded tangential suggestions and off-handed things that might be missed, but are suggestions nonetheless. Here goes. --Recruitment Expansion and Impacts-- The one thing that has bothered me in both XCOM and Xenonauts is the sheer...pointlessness of the soldiers' backstories. Whether the fresh meat is Spetsnaz Alfa Group or a New York taxi driver, they both suck equally badly in their first operation. I know that's because the soldiers' backstories are (at the moment, anyway) just flavor text, something to make the soldier management screen more interesting. My question: why is that so? Why don't combat experience and current occupation have an actual effect on the quality of the troops we're bringing in? The first and most obvious answer is balancing: given the choice between a regular old infantryman and a Navy SEAL, what would make me ever want a grunt over a professional badass like a SEAL? My response: their current bosses are saying the same thing, ya know. At the moment, everyone on your roster is ex-special forces. We're in the middle of the First Inter-World War here, who in the human resources department of the Pentagon is letting all these commandos seek better employment opportunities elsewhere right now? Given how many black-ops types were recalled into active service following 9/11, you can better believe everyone who doesn't have great-grandkids will be brought back into service when the alien armada shows up. Therefore, every distinguished recruit should be a fight to get. The national reputation thing, at the moment, only goes for funding and membership...but obviously a nation that thinks you don't care about it will be less enthusiastic with its employee roster than a nation whose capital you just saved from a terror attack. The better you treat a country, the more likely it is to offer up its best and brightest, plain and simple. Plus, it should go without saying that hiring better troops would cost more than hiring mediocre ones. You wanna save money? Go for the dishonorable discharges and the conscripts. You wanna save lives? Go for the Delta Force and the SAS. At the moment, because I roleplay this game, hiring is actually more dependent on the person's name than any other factor...I try as hard as I can to only let Warsaw Pact troops into my USSR facility (damn West Germans, having the same-sounding names as their Commie brethren on the other side of the Wall). Plus, the biggest thing of all...combat experience. I haven't noticed it having any effect on troops' behavior, maybe there's a slight correlational/causational thing in terms of their stats, but I feel like any combat experience would make a world of difference. Even if aliens are fundamentally different fighters than humans, the US Army is a fundamentally different enemy than rival warlords, but that type of prior experience gave our guerilla rivals the basic skills to fight against us. No amount of training or prestigious postings can completely substitute for the feelings of being in combat. It's all psychological; you can't train a person to function at 100% when the bullets...lasers...plasma...deadly things are flying. It comes with exposure to all those elements. If you've faced death like that before, you know how better to do it again, regardless of whether you're up against the Viet Cong again or lizard people. (Plus, I always have my Soviet troops who served in Afghanistan mow down the mujahideen in the Middle East as a matter of principle. Negative PR be damned.) (Also, I think it would be an interesting little touch to have some of these super-secretive organizations, like Delta Force, SEALs, and Alfa Group, list combat experience as [REDACTED]. Just a small suggestion.) --The Cold War-- Speaking of which, let's discuss the Cold War. Right now its only implications are in the Iceland write-up (good work on that, by the way, XCOM sure doesn't have much backstory other than a bunch of world leaders sitting around saying 'hey what if there are are aliens guys!' and then spending billions on the off chance Battle: Los Angeles just so happens to come true...that's probably why they never show their faces, so you don't find out who's enough of a crackpotvisionary to have set this up beforehand). Anyway, it's the Cold War. If one looks back at UFO sightings from 1960 to 1990, the go-to rationalization for what was seen is "experimental enemy aircraft". Now there ARE aliens, to be fair, but the element of blame towards the other side seems to vanish remarkably fast. Even if it becomes clear rather fast that the lizard people in the flying saucers aren't just KGB operatives in funny costumes (never thought I'd say that sentence until now), the lingering suspicion that the other side is involved would remain, especially for the conspiracy theorists who were already speculating that one or both sides were colluding with extraterrestrials. It wouldn't take much to make one side of the Iron Curtain suspect you of being overly partial to the other. I always make my first base the real-world Soviet testing site (and the Russkie Roswell) Kapustin Yar. Responding to breaches of Soviet airspace exclusively from a state airbase using mostly WarPac troops (again, I recruit in-universe) would piss off NATO to no end, and this is somewhat reflected in the funding. But it could go further. Check the "Fickle World Leaders" box, and get ready to deal with politics while you try to save the world and unite humanity. Save Moscow and neglect the UFO over NORAD? Commie. Down the UFO and let Moscow burn? Pig-dog imperialist swine. You'd have to appease both sides if you wanted to keep them working together, and there would still be the crazies on both sides who claimed this alien invasion was all part of some diabolical plan. If you can't quite grasp it, here's a thought exercise...you're watching Glenn Beck on FOX News, and the headline is "Foreign Troops With Alien Technology Spotted on US Soil...Hours After Alien Attack. Combatants or Collaborators?" Not to mention just how awkward it would be in the barracks if all but three of your guys are East German, Soviet, Czech, or Polish. Especially if that barracks happens to be in the heart of the Russian steppes. How to implement this well is rather beyond me at the moment; the one game I've seen try to do something in this vein is Zafehouse: Diaries, and in my opinion the prejudice system went a bit too far and became a gimmick rather than a mechanic. But the fact remains that even if the enemy of my enemy is my friend, it takes more than the Greys showing up to break down the barriers of ideology, race, class, gender, and languages and make all the soldiers of the world suspiciously homogenous and interchangeable on the battlefield. --National Militaries and Expanded Roles for Them-- Another point is that if one cooperates with the national governments, they might be willing to chip in more than just a quarter million dollars every month. The BIGGEST thing that I HATE about the XCOM setting is that we are the ONLY people competent enough to do ANYTHING. It seems like, even though at the beginning of the game we have essentially the same stuff as anyone else, nobody can even touch the aliens but us. Other than the "local forces have shot down a UFO and are requesting Xenonaut assistance in securing it" event (speaking of which, I thought they said "assist", not "go take over that UFO while we wait off-map". I've seen ONE soldier in-game, and he ran away faster than a redneck with a shotgun did. We are the unified command against the alien menace. Why can't we propose joint operations with the host nation? The F-17 is, after all, the F-16 with some modifications. Why can't we call up the USAF and ask for two F-16s to support our three fighters against the huge alien space ship, when it's obvious that those two could make a world of difference? Sure, it could break the game if it isn't balanced right. Doubling your squadron size for free is a dangerous line for this game to toe, but it's breaking the realism to expect me to believe my planes are the only ones on the continent. Maybe in addition the the "autoresolve" feature, one could be made to pass on the radar contact to the nation's air force, who would have a lower chance of success than either manual or automatic combat resolution by your specialized jets. And if too many are lost, the air force would be understandably hesitant to cover for you. Not to mention the fact that if their airbases are attacked and destroyed those jets would be off the table, so you'd have to fight an uphill battle in order to defend those assets from a concentrated and high-powered enemy air and ground offensive. Plus, I think the Army Special Forces model of warfare could come into play here as well. We can send our new recruits to train for ten days to get better at fighting aliens, why can't we send our seasoned veterans to train the local military in what they've learned? You'd lose those troops/pilots for an extended period of time, even longer than the crash-course rookie training, but at the end of those two or three weeks you'd have more competent locals who could down enemy UFOs more often, appear more often and fight more effectively on the ground, improve your reputation with their nation's government, and overall make your life easier. Again, this all ties back to the exceptionalism issue endemic to XCOM-style games; your combat troops and interceptor jets number in the double-digits, but somehow YOUR soldiers alone are all that stands between the world and its invaders. You know, not those huge militaries sitting on both sides of the Wall ready to steamroll each other. They're magically incompetent. --Expanded Equipment Options-- --Weaponry-- Before I begin, I know, the suggestion has been made before. But I believe there is further merit to the idea than our friend Cold brought up, which I'll discuss here. I understand the purpose of the unified human arsenal, since the Xenonaut organization (I get the soldiers are called xenonauts, but is the agency called "Xenonauts"? I don't know what the proper term is...just putting it out there, if someone could help me out here) is supposed to be a multinational group that brings together all the soldiers of the world (minus representatives of Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Australia, I might point out), but since all the soldiers we hire are trained with different weapons, there would and should be impacts in combat based on what they are using at the moment. I can't quite go with the idea that a former VDV air landing trooper based in the USSR is using an M16A1 as his first choice of weapon, and I also can't imagine any reason he shouldn't get his first choice. Sure, it's practical reasons and nothing in-universe, but I think it would add more to the game than it would take in terms of work. First off, it wouldn't take too much; as noted before, the only serious changes that would need to happen would be reskinning. At present, you have six human weapons; M16A1 assault rifle, Beretta M9 pistol, Mossberg 500 shotgun, G3SG1 precision rifle, M240 machine gun, and SMAW/B300 rocket launcher (which hadn't been produced in 1979, but I'm not going to explode on y'all about it, just make that bad pun about it and move on). You also have all the files necessary for the AKM (except the weapon panel pic, by the way, which I assume you guys know about and are fixing, but I mention it on the off-chance it hasn't been caught yet) carried by the mujahideen in Middle East operations, and not magically transmogrified into an M16 when picked up by Xenonauts like I expected. This can go as far as you wish. You have seven and need only four at the moment...you have: M16A1 AKM M9 Mossberg 500 M240 SMAW G3SG1 Now, all you would need is: Makarov PM PKM RPG-7 SVD Notably missing from that is a shotgun; the USSR did not field shotguns with its military forces, and the only issued Russian military shotgun today, the Saiga-12, was not developed until 1995. Therefore, the Mossberg 500 would be acceptable instead of going out of one's way to find an obscure Soviet counterpart that would in reality be more inaccurate than just giving them common Western shotguns. The reason this is so important, in my opinion, comes down to your troops in the field. They are elite soldiers who have field stripped their issued weapon more times than you've opened your microwave. They've been trained day in and day out on the weapons their lives will depend on more times than they're officially authorized to say. Why, in the moment of crisis where every advantage humanity can get counts, would you make them switch out? There would obviously be a penalty for a Czech paratrooper used to the PKM using an M240 for the first time in his life. Likewise, an American paratrooper used to an M16A1 would take a while to adapt to an AK. Issuing your troops what they're best with is an obvious bit of management of the type this game seeks to encourage; we read over accuracy and strength stats to determine whether or not this soldier should have a precision rifle or a machine gun; it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to give the RIGHT KIND of weapon too. Base location would determine avaliabilty, as well. My base at Kapustin Yar would have endless AKs, but to have M16s they'd have to be sent for from my base over at Cheyenne Mountain, and vice versa. Bonuses are derived from familiar guns, detriments from foreign ones, and those detriments stay until proper battle experience or training is obtained (needless to say alien guns are foreign). --Uniforms-- One final thing that bothers me; uniforms. The Xenopedia provides a pretty reasonable justification, to be fair; stuff like "we didn't use camouflage because we don't know if the aliens see like us" and "we left out bulletproof vests because aliens don't use bullets." Two things: 1) Aliens don't use bullets, but we certainly do. At the beginning of the campaign, easily 30% of my casualties came from friendly fire (bolded for contrast: On a tangentially related note, can we please have more detailed reaction-fire tools? Like, I don't know, "Don't endanger our own troops" like Fallout 2's follower settings? I've lost civilians, teammates, and subdued alien POWs each at least once because some dumbass with an MG got twitchy with it, and I only accept 80% or so of the blame for that, devs. Also, to go on a tangent from that tangent, currently the armed locals fire on stunned aliens like they're still threats. I've had to beat down a farmer with a riot baton so he would stop shooting at a specimen, if he hadn't been such a useless fighter I would have lost it. I doubt that's intentional on your part, so could we fix that, please? ) Anyway, to come back from that tangent and its sub-tangent, I don't think the game should tell me I can't give my soldiers regular body armor if it DOESN'T tell me I CAN'T equip them with exclusively riot batons and C4 like they're some kind of hobo-camp-demolition task force. Sure, it won't stop alien projectiles, but it might cut down on the deaths from friendly fire. Yeah, cue the comments on "you have friendly fire issues, you noob? Play the game better!" But if you ask me, I'd much rather have the opportunity to give my soldiers body armor to better protect them from one another than lose so much as a single lieutenant to an improbably inaccurate sniper shot. Also, on the camouflage issue, this is the bottom of my wish list for a reason...it's a lot of work for mostly just cosmetic and AI behavior purposes, and I understand prioritizing will likely cut it from the list. But even IF the aliens don't see color and shapes like we do, we still see them the same. And social psychology means that soldiers dressed to look the part will boost the morale of local forces better than guys dressed like half-cop half-construction-workers (I don't mean any offense, but at present the artwork for the basic steel helmet looks more like a hard hat than anything else. Could you touch it up to look more along the lines of the American M1 steel helmet, the Soviet SSH68, or something else that looks more military?) The blue implies police. Camo, or even just olive drab, implies military. Another slight pet peeve of mine, which you will likely not have thought of until I mention it (because I'm a detail asshole), is that Xenonauts fight in the same uniforms regardless of whether they're in the desert or the Arctic. Somebody's going to die of hypothermia or sunstroke in that situation. I'm not saying we have to go and pick "SUMMER UNIFORM" or "COLD WEATHER UNIFORM" or our troops get -5 to TU from slowly freezing to death, but it would be a nice touch in a game that is all about the little things if our troops wore heavy clothes like the Arctic civvies and light ones like the farmland civvies when appropriate. We could have national military uniforms for greater immersion, pick Soviet ones to have Soviet local troops follow you and US ones for NATO ones to follow you, and using the wrong one could precipitate WWIII out of paranoia or greater cooperation out of appreciation, but that might be a bit too hard, and I'll acknowledge it. But, like all suggestions, it falls down to an issue of cool new features versus workload. So, if any of these appeal to you the reader, do me a favor and say so. If you disagree, say why. I wrote an ass-load of stuff, and TL;DR is pretty much excusable, but I think some of the stuff I said are valid ideas. EDIT: Just noticed the Solidarnosc poster in the personnel management screen. Gee, that must be awkward for my Soviet base commander. Nice touch, though.
  2. A few features/ items that are in the game, but I'm just not using. Does everyone else use this stuff and it's just me, is it balancing that prevents it from being as useful as it should, or is it just not very useful? Shotguns - I used to use these in industrial maps. But those have been replaced. I occasionally used them for UFO breaching. The grenades mean I don't have to any more. They used to be handy for taking out Sebillians, but the Sebillians aren't as tough any more. Pistols are far more useful for suppression. High Explosive - I've never used this, so it's not just this build. Hardly any aliens use buildings in my games and UFO hulls can't be breached. Stun Batons - I have never used these. Why would I get anywhere near an alien to stun it, when I have nifty stun grenades and stun rockets. Even in 19.4, where the stun damage looks to have been reduced, it's worth the wait, rather than get a Xenonaut shot sneaking up. Aircraft cannons - The upgrades are more useful, in that it's either use them or go back to base and rearm. But the initial cannon doesn't get used at all. Flash Bangs - I find that between normal grenades, smoke grenades (that I've used less in the last 2 builds) and definitely stun, that I never have to go near these. Vehicles - I've not used these for several builds now. In 19.4 I'm focusing on base building at first. The first few months are much more successful. Vehicles and garages are expenses that I don't have if I want to get 3 bases up and running. That's personal choice, but I've not felt the absence of extra scouting or protection in several builds. Stores - I've not looked at this tab in the first three game months (or the vehicles one as per above). I'll only start looking when I'm upgrading the cannons on the Condors for the other bases. Manufacturing - It is used, but only barely. Since early armour and laser weapons can be pretty much skipped, I've built 2 Foxtrots. I built 4 Gatling lasers (but I'll possibly skip even those next time round). Not mush for 3 months. Infinite weapons, ammo and auto upgrading missiles don;t help. But the lack of necessity to have extra weapons and armour in early combat is probably the real reason.
  3. I haven't played in quite a few months so maybe I'm just being stupid, but I can't work out how to buy things in the beta (weapons, planes etc). Can someone point out the stupid mistake I'm making? :-)
  4. I've seen screenshots of riot shields (combat shields) in the game and noticed they exist too in the equipment files of the game too. How do I get access to these? I cant seem to find what I need to research. I've managed to get up to wolf armor and laser weapons so far, but not sure what I need to research the riot / combat shield things.
  5. Two related things. When your soldiers get transferred to the medical bay, their equipment reverts to the default and they will not have armor. So you need to re-equip them when they go back into the dropship. This also means that for base defense missions, any wounded soldiers will start with basic ballistic weaponry. I would suggest fixes to both. Let my soldiers remember their last equipment even if transferred to sickbay, and before an alien attack on a base commences, give me access to the equipment screen so I may kit out my soldiers instead of just defending with whatever they happen to have equipped at the moment.
  6. If I alter or add to the stringfiles (Data only) will the game still recognize the appropriate item? I'm not trying to change what things DO, I'm trying to fill placeholders & alter what I consider inaccurate descriptions of items & equipment. Items like 'precision rifles', errors in well-known technical specifications from items in the era. Consistent colloquialisms; such as references to neanderthalic techs & their inability to understand the reports. 'Weak-words' that indicate generalities where specifics would be known, & mistakes in spelling & grammatical errors to name a few. I believe such things would & should be 'post scripts' at best to the reports, & otherwise would not be placed in print.
  7. Allows to make annoncements during missions: "Please do not panic. It's anti-alien operation. Civilians are invited to evaquate thru [choose direction] part of the area"
  8. Just made one - research result only said "The MIG-32 is" What does it do?
  9. Equipping soldiers for their various roles in my army used to be quite the chore in XCOM-Apocalypse. That was the most boring and time-consuming single task. Like in Xeno, soldiers would (kind of) remember the equipment between missions but they did not automatically replace the consumeables like grenades. Luckily this is done automatically in Xeno because the FAQ says that we "won't have to re-equip them every mission". That implies that there is already a system to save the soldier's equipment as a template. Otherwise the game wouldn't know with which items the soldier went into the last mission. There oviously is also a system to equip a soldier based on that template. So... this could be improved with a tiny bit of interface. On the soldier inventory screen there would be a button for "Save Equipment Profile". When pressed, it prompts for an icon to attach to this loadout and possibly a name. It stores all currently equipped items into this profile. All assigned loadouts would be displayed as icons on the equipment screen. Pressing one icon instantly equips the soldier to match the new assignment. If this cannot be completed (items missing) some error beep is played. Right-Clicking the icon pops up a menu to delete / update this profile. Equipping 5 soldiers for a mission would go like... cursor left / right to switch through the soldiers, one click each to equip for the desired role. No clicking / scrolling through equipment lists. Just you... grenadier, you... sniper. As a useful feature for tac battles, the loadout icon could be displayed in a corner of the unit portrait, designating the currently assigned role of that soldier. If that icon were also visible on the sortable soldier list I saw in the video, the player would have an overview over every soldier's role / equipment without having to check them all personally. And if the icon is listed there, a right click on it would pop up a list of available loadouts so one could equip soldiers directly from the soldier list without even having to enter the inventory screen. A similiar system could be used for interceptors but since I don't know what flyer equipment there will be, I can hardly guess how useful it would be to re-equip them for specific missions.
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