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Fire support from landed craft

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Hi,
i had an idea that it might be interesting to allow landing crafts to be armed and actually participate in battle. 
How that would work?
a) every craft would have its weapon slots for specialized heavy weapons
b) you would be able to select weapon slot when landed, just like regular unit, and fire with it in firing arc determined by type of craft. 

More advanced landing crafts might be armed with more weapons and be less restricted in firing arcs.
 

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This could be good addition but then it would be easy to just camp at landing craft and kill aliens easily. 

And landed ufos should have their weapons too because of balance. 

Dunno.. 

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It seems like adding static guns to the transporter means to make the landing site easier for the troops, but it provides this weird situational advantage and encourages turtling. I think instead interceptors should be allowed to do a strafing run on the area to cripple the aliens; this could add some interesting decision trees. Strafing would generally leave less tech behind, but it would allow a player who desperately needs materials rather than money another option over airstrikes. Strafing could also cause civilian deaths, so it's unwise to use in a city biome (come to think of it, airstrikes don't...). 

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The original Syndicate has air support where bombers will drop bombs, after a certain delay, to the designated area that kill absolutely everyone in the zone.

The main limiting factor?  It's really expensive.  Guaranteed to break your bank.  So it's not a pure tactical choice.

In Xenonauts terms, you mission will not break even if you call a precise strike, so you better have some worthy objective to call the air support.

Fire support from the dropship is easy to explain.  Why can't it lift off and prove fire support anywhere and anytime on the field, though, will be harder to explain.
(And in case of translocator, it'll be why we can't bring a tripod mounted heavy machine gun or a light mortar.)

Edited by Sheepy

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Fire support sounds good. The dropship could lift off once the troops disembark and dissapear, loitering in the air above. You can call it back to land AT THE SAME SPOT at any time.

You can also go with the new X-Com way of grappling up/down via rope/crane, without having the actual dropship land on the ground. This also mean you can call it in to "land" (hover above) on different locations.

There are many possibilities:

- equipping it with a gun allows you to call in fire support (there has to be an associated cost, a limit or a cooldown. Possibly all 3.)

- equipping it with sensor equipment allows better view of the battlefield and alien detection

- equipping it with a medivac module increases the chance for troops to be criticialy wounded rather than die.

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On 2/18/2017 at 8:04 AM, TrashMan said:

Fire support sounds good. The dropship could lift off once the troops disembark and dissapear, loitering in the air above. You can call it back to land AT THE SAME SPOT at any time.

I think being able to do this would allow the player to survive encounters that should be beyond their abilities. Balance wise, using the dropship gun should be a gamble: could I survive this mission and get more loot, or should I gun them down? It's sort of like the decision between attacking a landed UFO, or shooting it out of the sky and then attacking it.

On 2/18/2017 at 8:04 AM, TrashMan said:

There are many possibilities:

- equipping it with a gun allows you to call in fire support (there has to be an associated cost, a limit or a cooldown. Possibly all 3.)

- equipping it with sensor equipment allows better view of the battlefield and alien detection

- equipping it with a medivac module increases the chance for troops to be criticialy wounded rather than die.

I really like the idea of the dropship having a "slot" that can be customized. More ideas would be to equip the dropship with a munitions pod, allowing the player to take more weapons in order to better adapt to the ground combat. Maybe a troop pod that allows one extra soldier to go on the mission.

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At first in X1 I also thought this would be a good idea, but it is hard to justify going out with your troops if you could just be turtling around the transport.

Some possibilities:

  • time limit on missions like XCOM 2. Will change the feel of the game and will upset many players.
  • corpses and equipment get destroyed when shot at by these large calibres. Perhaps additional environmental damage resulting in less funding bonus from the respective nation.
  • transport might take damage and need repairs back in base.
  • transport evacuates after the first (or first two) turns, meaning it is of temporary use.

If you can redeploy the transport, the aliens could have landed AA guns that pose a risk at bringing the transport at a new location unless the surrounding area is already cleared. But then, why would you even bother doing that?

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The transport really shouldn't be a controllable unit during ground combat, I see it more as a special power that can be invoked.

But, as you say, if it can take damage... then you could make an invisible object that represents the transport flying high above. Aliens might take pot-shots, "damaging" it. If it takes enough damage, it will fly higher, removing the possibility of ground support AND costing time and money to repair after battle.

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Doing something, ANYTHING, with the transport would be phenomenal.  It's always been one of those things where all it does is get you from point A to B and that's it.  Give it some sort of use on the battlefield:  An ability with a cooldown that scans the field and shows you a one-time location fix of all the aliens; a cooldown to fire a weapon of some sort at any location on the map; maybe even the ability to return to the ship to pick up more gear like ammo or medkits and such, or even something like swapping loadouts.  In X1 I used to have units that ran around with a shield, and the dart gun that I made a mod for.  After a while they very quickly became useless except for one or two particular missions, but since I didn't want to miss my chance of stunning that one particular alien, they came with me anyway.  It would be nice to realize, hey, this mission doesn't have what I'm looking for, let me swap to a shotty or sniper rifle instead.

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The idea of a versatile dropship is very nice! I like the idea of a slot for functional equipment: that would mean the equipment would get better with more research, but you still have to produce it (costs in resources and money) ! And with better dropships you could have more slots available. I'd strongly advise against the dropship as moveable unit. If you really want something like that you go with a hover tank / drone instead of a couple of soldiers...

dropship one - one slot, dropship two - two slots ...

slot options: stationary heavy machine gun (default): firing from the doors / energy cell locator: giving the location of energy cells=energy weapons at the beginning of the mission only, as buildings block detection, so the reading is taken while touching down in a perimeter of xx tiles/ emp burst - stunning mechanical units for one round, suppressing biological (half movement points) in perimeter of xx tiles at first round only/ ecc

range and effects could get better with advances in research but resulting in new constructible equipment available (choices:  do I really want to spend money to have a more secure Landing Zone?)

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Some of these ideas are pretty cool ... I'll add my 2 cents ...

Your drop ship reaches mission destination and deploys troops, a more thorough scan of the area than previous satellite imagery provided while deploying your soldiers reveals some useful information, such as ...

1) Whether any of the alien ships weapons are still functional.  If so, disabling those weapons might be considered a crucial Primary Objective of the landing craft.  Otherwise, your ground troops might have to deal with them.  That, in turn, might lead to having at least one tank or other APC being worthwhile on some missions (I usually never bother even building a garage on my bases, if that tells you anything about how often I bothered using tank units on Xenonauts 1 ...).  Lack of an ability to disable the alien ship's weapons could also significantly change up just how much time a player spends 'getting ducks in a row' before assaulting entry points on an alien craft, if they're getting shot at my heavy weapons each turn.  Choosing to have your drop ship engage in this activity would likely limit its ability to go with other options, as it would spend a deal of time dodging enemy ship fire while taking out the weaponry.  Hearing that battle going on in-between your turns along with pilot chatter while the aliens are in Hidden Movement phase could be really cool !  Also, if enemy ground troops took potshots at your landing craft, at the beginning of your next turn, the game could place, say, an exclamation point in the general vicinity of points on the map where fire was perceived to come from ...

2)  Let's say the alien ship had a real doozy of a time landing, and all it's guns are out, or the drop ship managed to take out the few remaining ones fairly quickly.  Another thing you could have it doing would be punching holes in the alien ship, to save your troops the need to C4, rocket launch or ask for hand activated 'volunteers' to go up and open the doors.  This might require an armament choice separate than what you'd usually use for taking out weapons.  It might come down to a juggling act pre-launch of 'do I arm the drop ship with more missiles for punching holes in armor or better anti weapon ordinance?  You might be able to divvy up between the 2 choices, but that might make it harder to successfully pull off one or the other.

3) Medivac.  If not busy between turns doing either of the previously mentioned things, your drop ship could come medivac out critically injured soldiers, sparing your other soldiers the AP of stabilizing them, switching out weapon for medkit, etc.  

I like the idea that the drop ship could be damaged as mentioned by others, as well.  I'd like to think that the pilot came with enough of a brain to keep from having your drop ship 'completely destroyed' much like how Xenonauts 1 allowed for salvage of shot down fighters, but in this instance, yeah, the pilot would simply say something like "IT'S TOO HOT OUT HERE !" and bail on you, either for X number of turns and then be available again, or only be available to limp back in at the very end, when your soldiers have done all the rest of the dirty work.  

At any rate, seems like there would be a lot of interesting possibilities opened up with this idea !

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Fire support for your team - help you to begin the mission without an instadeath.

Fire support for the aliens - make the UFO breach a tad more interesting as you have to put some firepower towards those murder holes or rush their blindspot.

 

For obvious reasons you don't want to have your own support capable of taking out all the enemies on the map without risking your soldiers. It could be fun for a while but it isn't xcom. Maybe it'd work in some tutorial phase of the game until you get the translocator, after which point you can't use death from above to win ground combat.

Equally, you don't want the alien support weapon to be a high power, long range, source of frustration. Having said that, breaching the alien craft is usually the toughest part of crash sites, so spreading that difficulty over two sections (getting up to the front doors, and then opening the door of the control room) could at least mix it up a little. Accordingly, I'd recommend that the static support weapon on the ship be intentionally nerfed in a particular way, e.g. short range, limited arc of fire, but in such a way that it would encourage tactics which are dissimilar from the main breach of the control room inside the UFO.

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I do like the idea of some close range, static heavy weapons on the transport ship (maybe make them automated, reaction fire only? And probably just HMG's/miniguns... or grenade launchers with HE or Smoke grenades... but MG's seem more likely.

Intact alien ships might have point defence too... but they'd have to be destructible (which might cause collateral damage to capturing systems... or taking the alien craft with them in tact adds research options for better ones for the player). 

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An automated heavy weapon constantly on overwatch could work if many missions were time sensitive, e.g. you have to test your newfound knowledge of xenolinguistics / alien computers and try and hack into the UFO door before they get their engines back online and take off.  Having to make a choice between using the onboard rockets to breach the hull, or keeping them on standby in case you need them to cover your soldiers retreat would be another option. Again, if the aliens are about to self-destruct their craft, that's another reason to hurry up. You definitely can't camp at your craft during terror missions – and the civilians, instead of miraculously disappearing because a soldier stood next to them, could actually need to be escorted to the dropship by one of your soldiers, who in most cases can then leave them there under the protection of the automated gun (or not, if you chose to mount a scanner, extra troop carrying capacity, or drone control centre instead).

Camping really only works with the traditional UFO model of every alien will fight to the last in every mission, but in a “secret war” environment with few aliens, they will most likely be retreating after taking some casualties, or automatically on the run as soon as Xenonauts show up once the conflicts are more even. The Xenonauts themselves will most likely want to leave as soon as possible if they don't want locals to know they were there either, the earlier the research / strike team is extracted, the more time the clean up crew has to properly remove all evidence, wipe security footage, fabricate a cover up, and use neuralysers on potential witnesses.

I would certainly prefer that if automated weapons were put on dropships, that these be the only way heavy weapons make it into the game – Xenonauts are an organisation made up of former intelligence agents, scientists, other randoms that needed to be recruited, and very few actual highly paid military experts. A secretive operation that need to travel light and adapt to any situation does not support the idea of massive miniguns, rocket launchers, etc  You never saw the Stargate teams carrying heavy weapons with them to other worlds, because the nature of their missions (and mode of transport) didn't require it.  Only later did it become full blown war.

Let's also go the other direction, rather that putting more stuff on the dropship, why not have them use conventional vehicles to "hide in plain sight" while en route to the strike zone if it's during the day in an urban environment where even stealth helicopters are not entirely viable. Xenonauts driving cars like MiB, or even riding trains / buses to get to a site would look very different from traditional XCOM games (except for X-COM: Apocalypse, but it wasn't done for secrecy reasons, more economical), but I reckon it could still work.

Edited by RustyNayle

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What would this actually do, though? If you could just gun down anyone in the drop zone with helicopter door guns or whatever, all it means is some free kills in the opening of the mission if aliens even spawn near the drop ship, which they don't in Xenonauts 1. I also see it encouraging turtling and AI-luring, as other postsers pointed out. I suppose you could get chances to use it in a wide open map, or if the helicopter happens to be angled right as to give you a lucky sight line down a street or something, but all I see this doing would be taking challenge out of gameplay.

A better implementation would be to allow soldiers to shoot out of the view ports of the helicopter. The soldiers in the helicopter would have heavy cover, but would be able to hit aliens outside just fine.

However, come to think of it, I have been playing with an idea of a special type of mission for when your troop transport gets shot down. If this happens, instead of just losing everyone on board, you start a mission where the helicopter has crashed and is damaged and some of your soldiers will be dead, and most or all of the survivors will be wounded. Aliens then assault you, rather than the other way around, and if you lose all your men, or perhaps if the helicopter is destroyed, you lose the mission. In a defensive mission like this, where you had to spread out your troops to guard the helicopter, I suppose it would be fun to have a kind of "last stand" situation where you have been driven all the way back to the drop ship and you have a heavy gun or two to provide some fire support if manned by Xenonauts.

I'm more concerned with how you can't look out of the windows of the drop ship in many X-Com games, I seem to recall this being the case in Xenonauts, too.

Edit: have to say I dislike the idea of auto-firing weapons. Sounds like a good way to get my own squaddies killed.

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The only way I see this working is if you have an "inbound mode", where you can see the whole map and you then decide a landing site. For balance's sake, I suppose some/most of the aliens could start out in buildings or concealed so that you didn't learn the location of every threat instantly. Then once you picked a spot, your helicopter would be able to take a shot or two at them as it came in to land, and then once it landed it was up to your troops to fend them off.

Overall, though, I don't like the idea of drop ship-mounted weapons for the same reason I understand why they left HWPs out of this game. It'd be really hard to balance.

Then again, it is fun to have some overpowered weapons to wreak havoc with once in a while. The Blaster Launcher was hilariously overpowered in X-Com, but boy, was it ever fun. So I wouldn't be against being able to play with some heavy weapons like helicopter door guns, HWPs, or infantry mortars at certain points in the game, I suppose.

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I think immobile armed vehicle on the site would be cool, but the aforementioned turtling might be a problem. A vehicle doing CAS has been discussed elsewhere. I have a basic idea for armed transport. You might have a choice between an unarmed transport or an armed one. Former could carry more and the latter wouldn't be completely defenseless if attacked by UFOs. It might also be able to clear the landing site better. In-game this would only mean that there is far less likely to be any enemies within a certain radius of the LZ. Also some buildings might be blasted to rubble :D

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On 5/12/2018 at 5:44 PM, Safe-Keeper said:

Overall, though, I don't like the idea of drop ship-mounted weapons for the same reason I understand why they left HWPs out of this game. It'd be really hard to balance.

It wouldn't if this mounted weapon is played like a static, #0 soldier, with same limitations as a vehicle in Xenonauts-1: only direct fire of, say, 8 shots, no reaction fire, and even a limited arc of fire. In most missions, the level of unbalancing would be akin to that associated with automatic deployment of smoke grenades all around the landing craft (basically saving a full turn for most rookies). This would be useful for the few first turns, would need a dedicated "soldier" button on the UI, but any kill would deprive the soldiers from experience, and missions when the Aliens rush at the transport could be cheated (terror missions). Perhaps, the weapon could have HPs and be targetable?

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On 5/13/2018 at 11:29 PM, Rodmar18 said:

It wouldn't if this mounted weapon is played like a static, #0 soldier, with same limitations as a vehicle in Xenonauts-1: only direct fire of, say, 8 shots, no reaction fire, and even a limited arc of fire. In most missions, the level of unbalancing would be akin to that associated with automatic deployment of smoke grenades all around the landing craft (basically saving a full turn for most rookies). This would be useful for the few first turns, would need a dedicated "soldier" button on the UI, but any kill would deprive the soldiers from experience, and missions when the Aliens rush at the transport could be cheated (terror missions). Perhaps, the weapon could have HPs and be targetable?

Even this could be ridiculously unbalanced. Those eight shots could kill just as many aliens, without even risking one of your actual flesh-and-bone soldiers.

 

I'm intrigued by the idea of your transport ship being able to pop smoke (or perhaps illuminate its area with a flare?) on call, though.

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It was discussed before: to have smoke grenades detonate near the transport's exit(s) (or all around), as if the transport had grenade launchers and prepared the landing zone, or if the team threw free grenades just when the doors open. Currently, each grenade costs a rookie's turn. If this would be implemented, then why not choosing the type of ground preparation?

Figure gas grenades or even a limited bombardment to clear a few paces of landscape all around the transport (the same way the crash sites are quite cleared), but this would be more unbalancing and against the Xenonauts' policy (if the map generator doesn't know this and both foes and allies are next to the LZ).

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X1 had dropships with minor bonuses: more doors to exit, then a manual selection of drop points. Maybe a bonus could be something like smoke cover - but whatever it is, the bonus has to be modest and not really do too much. 

Whilst it would make a lot of sense, practically, to put a turret on the dropship, that would defeat the point of ground combat. If you are given an easily defensible spot of cover, with ordnance, then an easy tactic would be to sit and wait. Where is the fun/challenge in that. The point is to get your soldiers to do the fighting. Fighting from an entrenched position might make an interesting scenario but not for the bread and butter missions.

It can be annoying to be pinned down from your first turn, but the dropship in the development build of X2 has wide doors so you can make every soldier engage immediately. There is no bottleneck. Essentially, this means that if you do get a alien or two in a very close welcoming party, you can near enough unleash the full firepower of your squad. So, there isn't much need for fire support from the landed craft. 8 troopers should be able to manage 2 aliens (if they can't, bring more rockets). I guess a good compromise would be that the dropship has doors which can be closed (somewhat mirroring the alien craft) so that you can really turtle the first couple of turns if you are stuck, but then have those doors susceptible to damage, so you can't hide behind them all day.

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Hmm, I like this idea as an upgraded dropship. I think weapons might be too powerful however. But cameras to survey the nearby areas from inside the craft and perhaps turreted smoke and stun launchers could be a neat upgrade for the final landing craft. You could even make the launchers only have one smoke and one stun each, with maybe two launchers max on one craft. After the initial turn or two, the turrets could be deactivated.

 

It certainly would make a lot of sense. It's an interesting idea. It would also save you some inventory space when it comes to smoke grenades. As someone said above, having lights on the landing craft in all directions or a flare launcher would be very useful and not too powerful.

Edited by DaReaperZ
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On 5/19/2018 at 5:03 PM, DaReaperZ said:

It certainly would make a lot of sense. It's an interesting idea. It would also save you some inventory space when it comes to smoke grenades. As someone said above, having lights on the landing craft in all directions or a flare launcher would be very useful and not too powerful.

This could even be an interesting gameplay consideration. You could choose to illuminate your immediate drop zone, giving you an initial advantage but also broadcasting your position to the aliens, who might just converge on your drop zone and take cover around it, so possibly not a good idea if you're landing with a small squad.

Then again, I suppose the aliens would hear a Chinook landing anyway, but hey, sometimes you gotta sacrifice believability to make a game mechanic. Let's just say it glided the last stretch to the battlefield :P .

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