TrashMan

The "secret war" idea

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Also remember that the translocator does not need to be a fundamental part of the secret war idea (although the discussion in this thread assumes it is). Irrespective of the details, I really like the basic concept of the Xenonauts being much more of a shadowy clandestine organisation this time around.

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I have to chime in to the alien mind control discussion even if it's a bit redundant. Even if the telepathic mind control is LOS and short duration in tactical combat doesn't mean it doesn't necessarily mean that's all it can do. If the aliens abduct someone and have all night to work on him, they may condition his brain however they wish. I think that's fairly plausible for the setting. Then there's also the bit more crude but classic mind control implant from Invaders from Mars.

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I think the whole secret war idea could be very interesting, very X-files. Sorry if this information is available elsewhere, but where does the funding for the xenonauts come from at first? This thread got me thinking that it would be cool if they didn't get any income at first, and the xenonauts are started by a high ranking US or soviet official who realizes the threat and takes matters into his own hands. Income could come as the xenonauts convince more and more officials to funnel money towards stopping the aliens. So maybe the countries would all start neutral (or possibly under slight alien control) and as the game goes on their allegiances would shift depending on who's been mind controlled/influenced and who's been convinced of the alien threat. So whole countries could pledge their support to the xenonauts or the aliens if the influence level reaches high enough. That may be a bit complicated, though. 

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I like the secret war idea, however, I suggest using a military perspective to develop this segment of the  story.  Historically, its often desirable for a military to learn about their adversary prior to committing any forces. Often times a military will send a recon team to  investigate, infiltrate, and sabotage the potential adversary. Using this logic, it would be reasonable to assume that the aliens would want to learn more about humanity before committing to an invasion and send a recon team. So, the goal of the alien recon team would be to identify humanities strengths and exploit its weaknesses. They would accomplish this by sabotaging defense manufacturing centers, steal military intelligence, and turn the various countries against one another. So, the game would begin with the secret war stage where the xenonauts must counter the alien recon team. After a certain amount of time, the alien recon team will request reinforcements, which triggers the full alien invasion and the secret war segment of the game would end.

Regardless, it looks like XN2's story is definitely  to be an interesting one.

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Hopefully I can give a bit more details on the way the story is developing in a few weeks; I've had to rewrite parts of it as I'm keen to make the universe "mechanics agnostic" as I mentioned above. Basically I want to have an interesting story that will work whether or not I bring in specific mechanics that I want to try, such as the translocator - which is not likely to be in the Kickstarter version of the game, but may well be tested later on in development.

This forum has been quiet for a while and the strategy layer has been slowly changing as we continue to develop it, but the "secret war" idea is still working well and I think it's a much more interesting setting than we had in X1.

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Definitely support the idea plot holes and all. It'd be a real shame not to make use of the Cold War setting in some way in a second game. 

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Yes, not making more use of the setting was a common criticism of the first game. It'd be great to see more of it the second time around. I know many creators hate it when the fans chime up with even more ideas when they are in the middle of writing it, but I can't help theorising.

Maybe the invasion comes in 3 waves. The first one was scouts in the 40's and 50's. Roswell, Crimson Dagger and such. They made the humanity aware enough of the threat to start the Xenonauts. Based on this initial scouting the aliens found it likely that if they just show up with an invasion fleet, the humans are likely to unite and turn their considerate Cold War arsenal against the common enemy. The nukes would especially be a concern. Maybe not strong enough to stop the invaders completely, but they might hurt them and the aliens would prefer not to have areas of the planet they are conquering blasted into radioactive wastelands. They also desire to conquer efficiently if possible. Maybe due to the slowness of interstellar travel or inefficiency of the bureaucracy of their empire, it would take many years to get reinforcements from back home so the invasion force is all they have right now.

So they send a second wave of scouts and infiltrators to futher pinpoint and sabotage the sites of most resistance and soften as many areas on the Earth as possible to the idea of allying with them or at least staying neutral when the invasion comes. The nuclear arsenal would be a big objective. Ideally the aliens would prefer to gain control of the nukes, probably by controlling the nations that have them. Failing that, they would try to neutralise them site by site. Plan C is to have them all at least scouted out so that the invasion fleet can deal with them. Don't know if there needs to be a game mechanic representing this other than having some of the tactical missions happen around missile silos, airbases and nuclear submarines. Likewise the influencing nations or power blocs could be presented by aliens running abduction missions and infiltrators sometimes being discovered. They'd also try to sabotage various military targets and manufacturing centers.

The third wave is the actual invasion. It triggers when the aliens gain enough of their objectives, turning enough countries to their side or neutrality, or are thwarted enough that they figure out they are discovered and can make no futher gains this way. Them becoming aware of the Xenonauts could be a factor, or if they were always aware, discovering where the Xenonauts are based. The organisation represents Earth's united front after all.

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I think I'm *relatively* set on the story now, so I'm unlikely to make big changes based on community suggestions. However in the suggestion posted above you've got the additional problem of the dead time between the alien waves; if you're talking multiple years between each stage of the invasion then there's plenty of time for the player to finish all the research and recruit the personnel they need into the Xenonauts etc. Really the time period of the game needs to be one continuous stretch of time for the game mechanics to work properly / logically.

That said, the idea of a game that was divided into different "sections" that were a decade or two apart could actually be really cool - e.g. your soldiers would get old and have to be replaced or reassigned etc, but it's just not really a Xenonauts game.

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5 hours ago, Chris said:

However in the suggestion posted above you've got the additional problem of the dead time between the alien waves; if you're talking multiple years between each stage of the invasion then there's plenty of time for the player to finish all the research and recruit the personnel they need into the Xenonauts etc. Really the time period of the game needs to be one continuous stretch of time for the game mechanics to work properly / logically.

I think you misunderstand. I wasn't saying there should be transit time for the aliens between covert and overt phases of their invasion. I was just thinking of story reasons for aliens not having overwhelming force so that they'll bother with subterfuge instead of just filling the skies with battleships and bombarding everything into rubble. The invasion fleet is probably already in the system when the secret war happens, hiding behind the Moon or whanot. That or already in transit and very near. The secret war is waged by forward elements of that fleet. I was just thinking that futher reinforcements for the fleet would not be coming in the while. Purely a story thing.

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Ah, yes - I did indeed misunderstand.

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Sorry for the thread necromancy, but I was really struck by the secret war concept.  I love it.

Also, I would recommend reading a little about the history of Hernan Cortes' conquest of the Aztec empire.  There, a tiny group of Spanish soldiers with a massive technological advantage were able to conquer the Aztecs.  They manipulated rivals, encouraged/exploited superstitions about the Spanish being gods, etc. in order to accomplish a task that would have been impossible by brute force alone.  I think you could easily adapt some of this history to give the alien invaders a rational plan for global conquest.

Edited by Krebmart

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Makes sense that aliens would do something like that. An occupation would be fairly daft - another species wouldn't be adapted to our environment so why would they want out and out colonisation. Their motives could well be to do with control but it seems more feasible that this would be through manipulation rather than domination. It is interesting stuff, but of the strategies the Spanish employed against the Aztecs, I'm not sure how many could be translated into game elements, at least not in this game. There probably is something interesting there; it could make the geoscape side of the game a bit more complex.

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Yup, I can confirm we're very much sticking with this idea and you'll see more of it once we do our big strategy reveal. It's turned out to be quite useful to have the Xenonauts need to be a secret organisation (for fear of the aliens finding and killing them) because it means we can justify the Xenonauts not always having access to unlimited resources and the very best of everything.

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On 9/28/2017 at 2:06 PM, Chris said:

Yup, I can confirm we're very much sticking with this idea and you'll see more of it once we do our big strategy reveal. It's turned out to be quite useful to have the Xenonauts need to be a secret organisation (for fear of the aliens finding and killing them) because it means we can justify the Xenonauts not always having access to unlimited resources and the very best of everything.

For one thing - Please pretty please don't have an influence bar for the East/West/Unafiliated goverments.

Everyone from UFO Aftermath to  XCOM2 had these unpersonal, exactly quantified bars that reduce politics and social interaction down to an integer (or Double, perhaps even Real if your naughty).

They feel about as satisfying as chewing stale bread.

Instead of dealing with "THE US" or "CHINA" - which would most certainly would be an open secret 10min after sending the first letter - The Xenonauts would propably employ Agents to approach resources like power companies, Cable companies or universities directly. Just like the spies of east and west.

If you want to focus on the cold war aspect, then the interaction between agents would be paramount. An incriminating report to the Kremlin and suddenly it'll be pretty hard to access any resources from their land - and perhaps get shot at more frequently from local guards.  On the other hand, if the xenonauts further the agenda of Agents, they will pass on information pointing out possible alien infiltrators or valuable ressources.

Instead of a number or a %Bar for the "Relation" ,the actions of the faction should tell you clearly enough how you stand with them.

"Show don't tell"

Several Trucks with Marines on your Lawn demanding your surrender for example would indicate that someone is lobbying against that "dangerous communist terror cell"...

Less severe indications would be propaganda, suspicious intel leaks or harassment of your backers.

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well if you are really going to go shadow war i at least hope you add a muliple phase war where phase 1 both sides fight little and try to influence whereafter when the aliens do attack the base and stuff the whole thing turns hot, goverments and people are told the truth, budget skyrockets but so does the aliens attacks and amount of money flowing into weaponry and additional recruits.

 

also. i would like to point out one giant plothole

aliens littarly cant even talk! they commune with radio waves remember? how are they going to appear remotely human? wear a wire 24/7?

honestly it makes me think of octodad where xenonauts are the cheff.

MAKE IT FANART!

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To be honest, this "secret war" idea is growing on me, but only if it's a prelude to the actual Alien Invasion- Hear me out.

First, I like the idea of phases, not with the concerning time but the Aliens changing objectives.

I say we shelve Crimson Dagger- it's too conspicuous. The Xenonauts should start up when the powers notice alien influences (not that they know it's aliens mind controlling yet) infiltrating the world. From the Alien's point of view it would be good if they simply controlled the world powers from the shadows and didn't have to do the whole invasion thing.

Obviously, the Xenonauts stop that and at this point it's relatively simple stuff, humans vs humans, the player is generally in an advantageous position to get people used to the mechanics, something I think the original Xenonauts lacked.

Then comes the second phase where the Aliens know open conflict is impossible and starts going original Xenonauts scouting missions to try and weaken the defense of Earth. At this point the Xenonauts organization is the most experienced and knows that it's just the tip of the ice berg. But the world powers do not and are reluctant to invest in the Xenonauts instead of their own (barely holding) conventional forces. Boom- that's the funding mechanic.

In the end the Xenonauts are what ultimately saves the Earth because they've spent most of their budget researching the aliens instead of simply slugging it out with F16s.

 

That's my 2 cents. Start of human vs human then ramp it up to Xenonauts vs Aliens.

Edited by GoodGuy
Typos

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