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Is there a way to prevent my soldiers from promoting en masse? I found a way past the starting squad (which starts with an all corporal squad, which drives me insane. I modded the game to give me an extra 100k so I could dismiss everybody except one Sarge, and then hire 10 rookies. First mission, gameplay is fine, I actually enjoy it. I defeat the aliens and the debrief comes on my screen. EVERYBODY gets a promotion. Literally every rookie gets promoted to corporal. WTF! I know the original had a requirement for promotions. IIRC it had something to do with the total amount of soldiers f.e. if you had 20 soldiers, someone could be promoted to Captain. This is a good way to prevent an all corporal squad imo. I know this sounds a bit like a rant, but I can assure you, it's not. I love XCOM games, and XCOM remakes. I highly appreciate the time and effort put into Xenonauts. It's just positive criticism.
In my opinion, and in the opinions of many others, the ranks used by the game are simply too high. You can reach Colonel for crying out loud; that's pretty unrealistic and immersion breaking for many players. A simple fix is to change the ranks that the soldiers can receive. There are eight rank slots. Currently, they are: Private, Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Commander, Colonel. I propose changing them to: Private, Lance Corporal, Corporal, Sergeant, Sergeant Major, 2nd Lieutenant, Lieutenant, Captain. Please vote: Yea (Change the ranks to the proposed above), Nay (Leave the ranks as they are in the game), or Yea, Other (Explain in comment below).
Fair warning: I'm ex-military, so the abysmally inaccurate promotion system in X-Com is probably more of a peeve of mine than it needs to be. Additional caveat: I have no idea how promotion is going to work in Xenonauts. I've never gotten anybody past SGT in the game. That said, I have been running a crew of like 9 SGTs and 3 CPLs. In X-Com, promotion runs as follows: Rookie, Squaddie, Sergeant, Captain, Colonel. You can find yourself with a team of 10 Captains running around. I think this is an unnecessary and easily remedied mechanic. As a general rule, enlisted men don't spontaneously become officers, and whether you're upper enlisted or low-ranking commissioned officer, you're generally going to be in a command role, directing your men, and such, not just humping along a shotgun right next to Pvt. Humptyscrunch, with no difference between the two of you but some TUs and a better Aim statistic. In the real-life military, your grunts are going to be relatively lower-enlisted, immediately supervised by sergeants (occasionally corporals), who are in turn supervised by higher-ranked sergeants (Staff SGT or SGT 1st Class) and by lower commissioned officers (usually finding Captains or maybe the occasional 2nd LT in these kinds of roles. The highest enlisted and mid-range officer levels are really going to be administrators, responsible for a command, and anywhere from a few score to hundreds of people. Now, for many years, until some time in the mid-80s (making this perfect for Xenonauts) -- the US Army had a couple of different career paths available to enlisted soldiers. They could go through the --> Non-commissioned officer path: corporal, sergeant, staff sergeant, etc.; or (I believe if they were less promising, and didn't play as well with others) they could become --> Specialists, instead: specialist 4 was an E4, just like a corporal, spec 5 was the same grade as a sergeant, spec 6 as staff sergeants, and so on. Specialists weren't necessarily expected to take leadership roles, they just needed to focus on being good at their MOS. My suggestion is to differentiate your soldiers in this manner. Keep your grunts as grunts. Just promote them through the grunt ranks, so they become ever-more-awesome grunts. Allow the player to designate some soldiers as leaders. One officer initially (the number perhaps varying as the total Xenonaut numbers increase) and a few billets for non-commissioned officers. These leadership positions I think would probably be pretty easily implemented as a morale-boosting presence to help try and combat the panic which can occur in tense situations in the game. (And of course the possibility for an officer to be able to call in air-strikes or something quickly leaps to mind, but while the coding for that sort of thing may be prohibitive, implementing a leadership positions primarily as a morale-impacting mechanic certainly shouldn't be too difficult.) The trade-off for having these types of characters of course could be that the leveling mechanic for these leadership folks would probably take significantly longer. I do think that dividing promotion tracks like this would also allow for a more regular rate of promotion (if you go Private, Spec 4, Spec 5 all the way through Spec 9, that's 7 ranks...and by the time you get some guys to Spec 9, you'll possibly have some slots open to make a few battlefield commissions. You could end the game with some truly terrifying officers leading squads around the world.) People like seeing their mans level up. I think my suggestion would lead to some much-needed carrot in a game that's full of stick, (just in terms of providing promotions more frequently) and also doing away with a silly promotion mechanic which, while fine for X-Com, seems like it would be a bit out of place in a more serious endeavor such as Xenonauts. What do you think?
I think there is a way to avoid "calisthenics". And they should be avoided. Shooting at walls or doing ridiculous things like "spend 600 AP when loaded to 80%+ weight" should not generate XP/training. No more Bethesda-style Master of Running! I had posted something like that before but it was only a tweak to another system. This here is a complete concept so I put it in a new thread. Any and all XP gains are tied to "hurting an alien". You can't cheese the system and train indefinitely because you run out of aliens. The XP that an alien "contains" is limited and independent from the alien's hit points! This XP pool can be used up before the alien is dead. You can suppress an alien all day long but that's not going to result in training all day long. XP is absolutely limited to the amount of aliens in the area. No alien? Go home. You're done here. More dangerous aliens have a larger XP pool. = another useful balancing tool because you have a way to balance total XP gain! The total amount of "training" that a soldier receives from an action is directly proportional to the percentage of the target's max hit points that the attack subtracts. Hitting an alien tank for 20% of it's damage would be worth 20% of the alien's XP pool. With a very dangerous alien you get more XP for the same action because it has a bigger XP pool. Suppression or stun damage could also generate XP. This XP is all taken from the same pool. If a "heavy" does nothing but suppress lots of aliens without ever damaging one, he has still contributed. He gets XP for that. If you shoot a rocket at a wall, that's the same thing as doing it on a shooting range. No alien hurt. No mission XP. You can also de-couple the XP reward from success at an action. This way a raw recruit shooting at an alien 3 times can get the same result as the veteran hitting the alien 3 times. Instead of the above "XP generation" method, the base chance to hit is calculated. (not dependent on soldier skill!) A low probability shot is worth low XP percentage. The weapon's average damage (minus target's mitigation) multiplies that. The soldier gets rewarded with XP equivalent to the damage that he will probably do. Since these "average XP" can mean that the alien is killed before all it's XP have been "used up", the killing / stunning shot always awards any remaining XP that the alien may have. As described above, lower ranks get an XP bonus so they advance faster. On average you get the exact same result as with 4. The difference is that it is only required to perform the action - not to actually be successful at it. Weapons have an XP modifier. A weapon with a higher modifier "generates" more XP per damage done. With a sniper rifle you are going to cause damage directly. Modifier = 1. With a machine gun you are more likely to lay down suppressive fire, hitting less often. Modifier = 2 If a lucky 21% hit from a MG eats up 42% of the alien's XP pool, the sniper can only "gain" XP equivalent to the remaining 58% XP, even if the alien has 79% of it's hit points left. This models the fact that a 100% suppressed alien is not very dangerous. Your sniper has an easy and safe job - more like on the firing range. This (5.) is just an option. It could be dropped completely if suppression/stun damage also count as XP-worthy events. [*] What kind of stats are being trained depends on the weapon used. Some examples... Grenade XP Modifier = 1 (but can hurt multiple targets...) 35% Strength 20% hidden stat for extra throwing range / accuracy 20% HP 25% AP [*] Sniper Rifle XP Modifier = 1 50% Accuracy 20% Reflexes 30% AP [*] Shotgun XP Modifier = 1.5 30% AP 25% Reflexes 25% Accuracy 20% HP [*] Machine Gun XP Modifier = 1.8 40% Strength 20% Accuracy 20% AP 20% Reflexes Every weapon would train all stats to differing degrees. I only listed some key points to illustrate the concept. Stat training is job specific and scales with how much a soldier contributes. Getting shot in the head does not make you tougher! One spin-off of this would be to assign a different training distribution to different fire modes of a weapon. An assault rifle using aimed shots would shift the points a bit from strength towards accuracy. [*] New recruits. The FNG could not contribute a lot - especially in an advanced game with much more dangerous aliens. Since he can't hurt them a lot, he would not gain a lot of XP. Ranks would have XP modifiers. A recruit gains a "training effect bonus" after the XP has been deducted from the alien's XP pool. In the early game this is balanced by "easy aliens" having a small XP pool. Progression is normal. In the later game, a recruit doing some damage to a high-XP target will get a disproportionally large training effect and so be able to somewhat catch up to the rest of the team. [*] Calculation of post-mission stat increases. Every soldier has now received 6 (more in case of hidden stats?) different kinds of "training points", relating to the different character stats. For each stat there are two successive random rolls against this stat's training points to determine how many actual stat points you get out of this. After the first roll, 100 are deducted from this stat's training points. A weapon's "minor stats" have basically no chance to gain 2 points - no matter how much you reload. You can still weigh these rolls with the stat number if you want. That's just math. The rank-based XP bonus / reduction (7.) would already take care of most of that. [*] Promotions Promotions are based entirely on the total stat points of a soldier. Stat increases are contribution-based so promotions are in turn contribution-based. The distribution of initial stat points is random. If you can hire "experienced" recruits later in the game, these will have the rank that corresponds to their stat point total. (basically like it works now) Promotions have a negative effect on "skill training" (no bonus, see 7.)... but a positive effect on morale. The aliens will make sure you're going to fight more dangerous aliens so the malus to skill training will be taken care of. You want promotions for the morale increase. [*] The actual calculations are all simple and occur at exactly one point in the code - when damage of any kind is done. Well, and obviously with the mission debriefing.