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dskzz

E-3 AWACS mod v0.9 released!

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Here, fellow Xenonauts, is my humble submission to the greatness that is the true XCom successor. It's a mod for a pure recon plane, the E-3 AWACs (That's the plane with the huge radar disc on it's back) This explains the concept:

FOR THE TLDR CROWD:

Unarmed, slow, long range radar plane that is great for covering areas getting hit by a wave or continents underserved by your bases. Unarmed means it needs an escort & more radar means more targets, forcing you to reevaluate your fighter assignments to cover the new area. IMHO this plane adds more action and more strategy to the game.

DL:

http://db.orangedox.com/UmJ1U0gGo3xg79ahgA/xenonauts-airplane-awacs.zip

/TLDR

Here are links to full screen resolution images

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/28665072/mods/2014-06-19_00001.jpg - AWACS Xenopedia (Thanks again Sandyxx!)

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/28665072/mods/2014-06-19_00002.jpg - AWACS Equip Screen (Pretty but useless). Maybe future expansion will allow for equipping radar units. That would be neat! Lol I guess I'm "a sucker for surveillance"

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/28665072/mods/2014-06-19_00003.jpg - Base w/ AWACS in hangar

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/28665072/mods/2014-06-19_00004.jpg - AWACS patrolling on the other side of the globe. This shows the radar range. It can stick around there for a good 6 hours or so, if I calculated correctly!

My thought for the AWACS is for it to be used as a mobile radar post. Since bases are ridiculously expensive, and even a solid base network probably won't cover all regions, this provides a cost effective alternative that also happens to add an additional layer of complexity & strategy in the air superiority game.

Say when you get all those messages about trains being strafed and people being abducted, etc, but its outside of your base's radar range; or say you have a good base network across the rich Northern Hemisphere and don't want to commit to building a base in Africa or S America. Well - AWACS to the rescue!

You can station the slow, but long ranged AWACS over there to find out what the heck is going on.

As I mentioned, the AWACS is slow - about half speed of the F17 - unarmed, and delicate. But has a ton of fuel and excellent radar coverage.

So you find a spot that needs some radar coverage. Send out the bird. But it's a sitting duck, especially since you are sending it into a hot zone. So you need an escort. But you also need to have fighters ready to intercept the craft the AWACS finds. Plus this will be some distance from your base - should you send out the AWACS + escort and an additional fighting squadron? Just the AWACS + escort? Maybe you can send the AWACS in, followed up with fighters then pull out the bird after handing off the contacts to the fighters' radar systems.

Plus it's a great alien base hunter. Of course, alien bases always have increased traffic levels. So should you send your spotter out there and hope you don't come across a supply ship, or send it with an escort pulling needed fighters away from your bases where you know you will find UFOs?

Like I said, a whole new aspect of air-to-air strategy.

Note, I doubled all the aircraft ranges in the game, under the assumption that each bird would get at least 1 midflight refueling. The extra range plays very well with the strategic options presented by the AWACS.

Note - One thing I can't seem to get working is to list it in the xenopedia! It should show up on start, like the Condor and the Chinook, but it just wont seem to do it! Would love some help there!

You can download it from my dropbox:

http://db.orangedox.com/UmJ1U0gGo3xg79ahgA/xenonauts-airplane-awacs.zip

NOTE - I also included a file _readme_what_to_add.xlsx which has the lines and which files they were added to, so you can manually add the stuff in yourself. Which is helpful if you have like the Lore Mod, you can go in and add all the acas stuff easily. I hope that this becomes the norm for mods, because installing one mod that overwrites all your changes sucks! This lets you see what to add and where.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments! This is still in beta, so please would love feedback! My email is in the readme file.

Edited by dskzz

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I havent played with it, but i think the idea is great.

Are you able to play the game with only base if deploy these or are you still forced into multiple bases for radar coverage ?

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IIRC to open up xenopedia article on startup, you'll need to add string into \assets\scvripts\_basebuilt.lua

p.s. this will work only in new game (script is started on building of first base)

Edited by Sandyxx

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I havent played with it, but i think the idea is great.

Are you able to play the game with only base if deploy these or are you still forced into multiple bases for radar coverage ?

Thanks,

Well, you'd quickly run out of hangers! You need about 16, I think, to cover the entire world's landmass, minus maybe 2 for your base's radar range. I see it as llike you could have a North America base and use the AWACS to cover South America when trouble acts up - like when you clearly have a wave because of all the notifications. That's an extra amount of cool - esp if you add the fuel increase to all craft - because then you get to go after aliens you never would have in vanilla, just based on the expanded radar coverage. It's frustrating as heck to me to see those messages popping up everywhere except where my base is located!

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IIRC to open up xenopedia article on startup, you'll need to add string into \assets\scvripts\_basebuilt.lua

p.s. this will work only in new game (script is started on building of first base)

Nice! That's really helpful thanks a lot! Gonna update my files today and get that in there. I just did it and you are right on the money, UnlockKnowledge( "airplane.human.awacs" );

Thanks!

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The mod sounds great, mate!

Perhaps you could provide some screenshots in the OP to add a little sexappeal ;)

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The mod sounds great, mate!

Perhaps you could provide some screenshots in the OP to add a little sexappeal ;)

As you ask so shall ye receive!

Here are links to full screen resolution images

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/28665072/mods/2014-06-19_00001.jpg - AWACS Xenopedia (Thanks again Sandyxx!)

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/28665072/mods/2014-06-19_00002.jpg - AWACS Equip Screen (Pretty but useless). Maybe future expansion will allow for equipping radar units. That would be neat! Lol I guess I'm "a sucker for surveillance"

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/28665072/mods/2014-06-19_00003.jpg - Base w/ AWACS in hangar

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/28665072/mods/2014-06-19_00004.jpg - AWACS patrolling on the other side of the globe. This shows the radar range. It can stick around there for a good 6 hours or so, if I calculated correctly!

PS Thanks everyone for your enthusiasm! This is my first mod ever - for any game - and it's great to get positive feedback

Edited by dskzz

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That's a great idea! Guess it's also a JStar.

Basically a JStar, but the Boeing JStar doesn't have the big ol' radar dish that makes the E-3 immediatly recognizable. A JStar in XN might as well be a 737. It's that dome that makes it look super cool in the pics, imho.

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I'm thinking about possibly adding a new aircraft to offer strategic options combined with the AWACS considering how slow it is and how hard it might be to protect it if it gets intercepted a long way away from base. Perhaps a new fighter could be researched which would share similar specs in terms of speed/fuel that would make it a perfect escort while pretty much useless as a conventional airforce. Ideally two of those would be able to shoot down everything up to say Corvette? What do you think?

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Basically a JStar, but the Boeing JStar doesn't have the big ol' radar dish that makes the E-3 immediatly recognizable. A JStar in XN might as well be a 737. It's that dome that makes it look super cool in the pics, imho.
I was pointing out that it has ground radar capabilities too (because it can find bases and landed UFOs.) So, it's a combo of an AWACS and a JStar.

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I'm thinking about possibly adding a new aircraft to offer strategic options combined with the AWACS considering how slow it is and how hard it might be to protect it if it gets intercepted a long way away from base. Perhaps a new fighter could be researched which would share similar specs in terms of speed/fuel that would make it a perfect escort while pretty much useless as a conventional airforce. Ideally two of those would be able to shoot down everything up to say Corvette? What do you think?

Here's the thing with that - I also modded up all my aircrafts' ranges under the assumption that each could hit a mid-flight refuel tanker once on a sortie. This gives all your interceptors the range to keep up with the AWACS (well for the most part, I didn't fully playtest that part yet, I've been too busy to play more than a few hours w/ AWACS + extended fuel range).

If you want me to post that xml mod file I'd be happy to!

The craft w/ extended range still won't be able to stay on station for as long as the AWACS - although if you say have your AWACS based in Europe, and an interceptor base in North America, you can send the AWACS to S. America and an escort launched from N America would be able to stay on station just about as long.

I also think that the increased range generally makes the air-game more strategically interesting.

And as soon as I figure out how, I'm going to give the Mig 2 sidewinders or a cannon, letting it stay in the fight longer. I remember in Top Gun those Migs had cannons!

ALSO in the near future I am considering making an SR-71 Blackbird, which you can research, to provide you with a FAST recon ship - thus you would avoid some of the downsides of the AWACS. It's not exactly accurate - the SR71 was designed for quick flyover recon photos, really an entirely different operation.

Hmm, thinking that wouldn't really work and the game already has a Fury ... maybe I'll mod in a reusable satellite; along the lines of XCOM:EU has. Some sort of Orbital Recon & Re-entry Vehicle.

That would be cool! Launching a high altitude satellite from your base. Or maybe do up that nifty new drone-space-shuttle that the military has been flying on the qt. Set it at an insanely high altitude, give it high radar value, and make it fast.

I was pointing out that it has ground radar capabilities too (because it can find bases and landed UFOs.) So, it's a combo of an AWACS and a JStar.

Ah yes right on. To be honest I didn't really put too much effort in figuring out exactly what the AWACS radar picks up. But since it can do C&C for a battlefield I assumed it could look down as well as using it for air tracking. Regardless, getting down to the nitty gritty details isn't really XN's forte. But yah 100% it's a combined capabilities craft!

Edited by dskzz

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I'm thinking about possibly adding a new aircraft to offer strategic options combined with the AWACS considering how slow it is and how hard it might be to protect it if it gets intercepted a long way away from base. Perhaps a new fighter could be researched which would share similar specs in terms of speed/fuel that would make it a perfect escort while pretty much useless as a conventional airforce. Ideally two of those would be able to shoot down everything up to say Corvette? What do you think?

Two other thoughts - it's sort of a pain in the ass to make the damage images for new aircraft. And also Unless we're talking about WWII era technology, it's almost impossible to make a jet fighter - the size of a jet fighter! - as slow as the AWAC which is essentially a jumbo jet. Maybe a C-130, but the realty is that the AWACS is, IRL escorted by regular fighters who get extra flight time from tankers. And until and unless the XN team implements tankers, we have to just abstract the logistics layer here and mod the fighter ranges.

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I'd bend reality on this a little bit to add more strategic options for the sake of the gameplay, mate. It's alien technology available to push the boundaries of the known realm. Who's to say the Xenonauts can't research a new jet fighter specifically for AWAC escort?

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I'd bend reality on this a little bit to add more strategic options for the sake of the gameplay, mate. It's alien technology available to push the boundaries of the known realm. Who's to say the Xenonauts can't research a new jet fighter specifically for AWAC escort?

I do get what you are saying. And frankly you are right, in a way, the advances in alien tech actually do wind u giving you a ship capable of sticking with the AWACS and protecting it almost throughout its flight. And technically you could just put in some weaker engines into an existing ship to make it fly slower -that's really what would need to be done. That's an easy mod; basically just take the existing F-17, copy the lines in aircrafts, items, and give it a new name - F17a EMW Escort maybe - keeping the pics the same. I could do that, if you want.

However, I think beyond the physical issue of designing a strictly AWACs escort is the doctrinaire question. Perhaps some air powers would, indeed, find their AWACS - or other planes - to be valuable enough to design a specific plane to guard it.

I think though that - at least in my air force- we are always facing the problem of too little hanger space as it is. With the new AWACS, we have even less space yet have doubled the targets we can intercept! We need every fighter we can get to fill an offensive role, and that means fast fighters who can chase down enemy and that can swarm the aliens! In a perfect world it would be nice to have a passive defender ship. However, we have to consider: the limitations on the number of available hangers, the fact that a downed AWACS will eventually be replaced for free, the cost sunk into a new craft, the increasing difficulty of enemy swarms, and our doctrine has evolved thusly - we need to pack every single available hanger with interceptors or air-superiority fighters.

Don't think i'm party poopin your idea! Like I said if you want I'd be happy to mod up a F17 copy to spec. Or to give you a copy of my actual aircrafts file which features the extended range for all craft that works best with the AWACS.

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I really like this mod and I think it deserves more attention. It allows the player to do more and protect more areas in a way that is balanced with the main game. It helps the player by creating more work for them by detecting more UFOs and able to monitor regions they otherwise cannot afford to. Yet all at a serious price of a defenseless plane.

The only serious negative I'd add is that the AWAC xenopedia entry should be custom-written rather than a copy-paste from wikipedia, or at least give some flavor text as to why the Xenonauts decided to use it.

I congratulate the mod author and urge him to update the mod.

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