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  1. This post is mainly directed at Chris, in that it is his decision ultimately. Introduction The current system where aircraft are recovered after some time fixes a lot of very difficult balance problems quite nicely and simply. Often the best answer to a problem is the most simple answer available, and this one does it quite elegantly, as far as the alien alloy aircraft are concerned. As far as the Condors and Foxtrots are concerned, the realism begins to fade and flicker. No "human" aircraft can be recovered after a crash in a state able to be repaired. These two aircraft have no alien alloys in the construction, and thus don't have that "get out of jail free card" that explains why they're recoverable. Hopefully this solution adequately fixes this. Description My solution is to make Condors, like Foxtrots, require a manufacturing project. (bear with me, it'll make sense in a moment.) So, we first start by adding two items, available for free from the funding nations: an F-16 Airframe and a MiG-31 Airframe. These are "purchased", or obtained, through the "Buy Aircraft" menu (where the Condor currently is purchased) and the airframes are stored in the hanger itself. The airframe takes X days to arrive (balancing will decide). Also, the airframes can only be ordered if there is an available hanger. When an airframe arrives in a hanger, you can begin a short manufacturing project that costs money to outfit the airframe for Xenonaut use. This would be time spent adding the special armor plating, changing the avionics out, etc. Part of the money cost for these manufacturing projects should be noted as being making tons of spare parts for the aircraft, allowing repairs to be much more rapid than they normally would be. After the manufacturing project is finished, you have a shiny new Foxtrot or Condor, ready to fly. Once this plane is shot down, the game follows the current aircraft recovery mechanic: there's a "recovery time" where the plane is at 0% HP, afterwards it repairs from 0% HP up normally. What the game tells you what is happening is that upon the plane destruction a new airframe is ordered. The "recovery time", waiting to begin repairs, is actually the "shipping time" for a new airframe. Once the plane enters "repair time", that's the flight crew outfitting the craft for Xenonaut use, using the spare parts from the previous aircraft. The reason it doesn't cost money this time is because they already have the parts ready, and just need to bolt them on, as it were. Reasoning This attempts to keep the current balance (planes cost significant money and time to get) and also explains the aircraft recovery system for Condors and Foxtrots. It also (this was initially unintentional, but I like it) removes the Condor being magically fully outfitted for Xenonaut use. I mean, they would ship an F-16, not an F-17. We, the Xenonauts, make it from an F-16 to a Condor; it's a specially built plane for UFO hunting. They wouldn't manufacture these and have them waiting to be purchased. It also gives the Foxtrot a shipping time, which is lacking in it's current form. Currently, we just magically, instantly receive a MiG-31 airframe from the Soviets. Really, both the Condor and the Foxtrot's acquisition methods, how we get them, are kinda messed up right now, in that both don't make much sense. Condors are already outfitted, but take three days to ship here. Foxtrots arrive instantly, but have to be outfitted. Why not make both of them require a shipping time and an outfitting time, like it really would be? Conclusion So, there's my idea. If you would, Chris, just say a few words on what you think of it. I think it'd keep the balance quite nicely, since you could still make the planes cost $XX,000 through the manufacturing project, eliminating the issue of making a game where aircraft are unrealistically inexpensive. It also standardizes the way aircraft are obtained: the first two aircraft are mostly finished (since they're based on real planes), we just need a short manufacturing project to finish them up. The next aircraft require a much longer manufacturing project because we can't simply order an airframe for an aircraft that doesn't exist yet. It all makes sense, and it keeps the balance. So, what do you think?
  2. BASIC IDEA Slightly alter Condors and Foxtrots to make the aircraft recovery system make sense (but still keep the aircraft recovery system, in essence.) Also, make it known that the reason corsairs and later aircraft can be recovered is due to the alien alloy construction. BACKGROUND After reading the reasons given by the developers for implementing the aircraft recovery system, I've come to agree with them; air combat will benefit from this system. However, there has to be a good in-game explanation to explain why this happens, otherwise the player won't like it. The easy part of that involves the aircraft built using alien technology. Since UFOs (made form alien alloys) can crash land and be more or less intact, why not human aircraft built from those same alien alloys? That's why we can recover corsair-and-onward aircraft. The issue with that explanation is that it doesn't extend to Condors and Foxtrots. These aren't made with alloys, so they should just disintegrate upon impact like normal aircraft do (since they are, basically, normal aircraft). I propose a few changes to the system that would keep the current system (3 days after air combat you get the planes back with no extra $$) but make the in-game explanation/"pseudo-realism" intact. DETAILS Condors First off, make Condors free. They are human technology, and as such they are free for the Earth's protectors, along with all other human technology (guns, mags, missiles, etc). Keep the 72 hour shipping time. When a Condor is destroyed, decommission the dead Condor (freeing the hanger for another plane) and order a new Condor. This would keep the 72 hour "recovery time", and eliminate the X hour "repair time" after the aircraft is "recovered", giving the Condors a slight advantage over other planes in that they can be made ready for battle more quickly after a loss. Reasons for the change: a) Replaced Condors after a loss now makes sense b) Keeps the current system of replacing Condors after a loss c) Makes Condors a more effective swarm plane, since they can be obtained for free within 3 days of the ordering d) Helps a player start up an air force more easily e) Allows the player to recover more quickly after losing his starting planes in the beginning (due to the lack of a repair time) Foxtrots Make new item, Foxtrot Airframe, that is free and takes 72 hours to ship, and is stored in a hanger (just like a Condor). Make the Foxtrot Manufacture cost $0, require/consume one Foxtrot Airframe, produce a Foxtrot in the hanger the airframe was, and greatly reduce the manufacture time (because it takes 3 days to get the airframe). Keep the current recovery mechanic in place, so a foxtrot shot down will be back in the hanger in 3 days, and fully repaired in X hours. Explain it to the player like this: When a Foxtrot is ordered, after 3 days the airframe arrives ready to have the Xenonaut equipment bolted on. The manufacturing project is the stuff being bolted on. When a Foxtrot is shot down, a new airframe is ordered and arrives in 3 days (recovery time). The Xenonaut equipment is bolted on by the aircrew (repair time). Reasons for the change: a) Replaced Foxtrots after a loss now make sense b) Keeps the current system exactly of replacing a Foxtrot after a loss c) Helps a player start up an effective (that is, not just a bunch of Condors) more easily [EDIT] Cannons Cannons on non-Condor aircraft would be recovered normally, along with the aircraft itself. The question arose, what about improved cannons on a Condor? What happen to those when it crashes? Solution: Upon the cannon research, the new cannons are made available for free. (I wouldn't replace the previous cannons, though, just shove them to the bottom of the list, so the best is at the top, then the second best, and so forth.) -It allows Condors to be replaced after a crash without losing your improved cannon -It removes the manufacturing time and cost from cannons, making them equal to missiles and torpedoes in that they are all available free of charge (and this makes sense; if the missiles are free, why not the guns?) [/EDIT] Anyway, that's my idea. I hope the developers like it. It keeps the air combat less important (just like they want) and keeps their original aircraft recovery system basically intact; the only difference is that Condors have no "repair" time since they're ordered new. It also allows players to have a fully fleshed out air force with both dog-fighters (Condors) and missile launchers (Foxtrots) without dishing out a ton of money, in essence making the air combat even less important, especially early game before you have later aircraft. The later aircraft would still function the same way as they currently do. They'd just have an entry in their research descriptions saying that these planes can be recovered from crash sites, much like UFOs, due to the incredibly strong alien alloys used in the construction. Piece of cake. Here's my original post, on the v19.3 Geoscape Balance thread. It's basically the same thing, but less well thought-out. Anyway, it's there if you wish to read it; it's not necessary.
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