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Greensmokie

"Terror" mission

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How about something as simple as adding lots of destroyed buildings, corpses, smoke and fire, stun gas clouds, ominous music and lighting, more gruesome civilian death animations, timed explosive devices scattered around the maps maybe planted on corpses?

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If the goal of an alien terror attack was just to kill civilians and make them scared, they'd be dropping rocks from orbit.

The aliens on a 'terror' mission have some other goal that we don't understand- maybe they want to study the stuff that's there, and the way they study a building involves taking it apart, or maybe they have motives that are too foreign for a human to understand.

Either way, they aren't going to act like a human optimizing for terror tactics would, even if they have the effect of making people panic.

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In term of killings, we have ground attacks (dozen to hundreds of casualties) and bombing runs (hundreds of casualties) as well. Bombing runs can be seen as virtually throwing little rocks at the surface. Not to speak about interception missions that can take away hundreds of people (shooting down civilian planes), and aerial terror missions.

Hence, I agree that there should be a more specific goal than killing urban dwellers when they perform terror missions, but not a research purpose (they are not reported to "work" on their victims). Moreover, we know that local authorities don't hesitate to incinerate the whole urban district in order to avoid "biological contamination". Perhaps one of the goal could be to "sow a seed", to turn a number of human in reapers before leaving (with or without (most of) the reapers?). Or it could just be to collect bio-material on a larger scale as when during research missions (i.e. using reapers).

As for the message they send us (if any), in order to lower the confidence in Xenonauts or to make locals thinking twice about fighting the aliens, it could be that a terror mission would left no body to recover (all civilians are either turns into reapers or overkilled), or would left a few reaper that would spread the contamination in the neighbourhood.

That means that we would need reapers on every terror mission, or other likewise terror units (or just overkilling weapons). Let's not forget that reapers have a limited lifetime on Earth, just like any alien. Perhaps they could evolve into an adapted species, in which case, this could be one of the goal of the terror missions: to multiply the number of human-born reapers until one of them comes out fully adapted. 

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4 hours ago, Rodmar18 said:

Moreover, we know that local authorities don't hesitate to incinerate the whole urban district in order to avoid "biological contamination". Perhaps one of the goal could be to "sow a seed", to turn a number of human in reapers before leaving (with or without (most of) the reapers?). Or it could just be to collect bio-material on a larger scale as when during research missions (i.e. using reapers).

As for the message they send us (if any), in order to lower the confidence in Xenonauts or to make locals thinking twice about fighting the aliens, it could be that a terror mission would left no body to recover (all civilians are either turns into reapers or overkilled), or would left a few reaper that would spread the contamination in the neighbourhood.

That means that we would need reapers on every terror mission, or other likewise terror units (or just overkilling weapons). Let's not forget that reapers have a limited lifetime on Earth, just like any alien. Perhaps they could evolve into an adapted species, in which case, this could be one of the goal of the terror missions: to multiply the number of human-born reapers until one of them comes out fully adapted. 

This is a great idea. Maybe in addition to the aliens there should be a bunch of husks everywhere in terror missions that you have to burn, with the idea that if you don’t burn them they become a alien/human hybrid capable of infecting other humans or infiltrating human society or just badass alien grunts.  Could be Reapers or it could be reprogrammed humans.

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I always just imagined that a UFO landed, dropped off aliens, and left again. Also, I'm with Chris here, we don't need more UFO assaults in Xenonauts.

As a compromise, maybe you could have a UFO fly to a city to initiate the terror mission for then to fly away, and you have a chance to intercept it before it goes back into space :p .

 

Edit: I liked the idea somewhere in this thread to have a large building to clear, SWAT-style, but I think that'd work better as a separate type of terror mission. As long as the devs can implement it in a good way, of course. The ship missions in Terror from the Deep were certainly not popular.

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On 3.4.2018 at 7:15 PM, Safe-Keeper said:

Edit: I liked the idea somewhere in this thread to have a large building to clear, SWAT-style, but I think that'd work better as a separate type of terror mission. As long as the devs can implement it in a good way, of course. The ship missions in Terror from the Deep were certainly not popular.

The only bad thing about those TFTD  ship missions was the hunting down the last Tasoth hiding in a closet. I loved the suspenseful setting of the cramped indoor space combined with multi floor shootouts in vast cargo spaces and the great atmosphere though!

I agree with previous posters, terror should feel like terror and not aliens wasting time on hunting ~10 cilvilians if they could have bombed them conveniently. There needs to be some nasty threat other than reapers. However the current terror missions in Xenonauts are my favorites, the urban warfare thing really comes across nicely.

Just another idea, one maybe secondary mission goal could be to assist the local forces to repell the assault and prevent the local defendes from being wiped out. This kind of worked like a timer, but shouldn´t be too tense. I´d love to patch up wounded local forces and help them pin down aliens in shattered houses.

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If terror missions are anywhere near as good as the terror missions in the original UFO_EU then that will do me.  Don't over think it.  ;)

The AI in that game was spooky.  I think it was programmed to close the distance while staying out of your LOS.  That's would be how the sneaky b******d would apear behind you and scare the living s**t out of you.

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About terror missions rationale, take a look at the X-COM UFO Defense TVTropes entry, "headscratcher" session of  http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Headscratchers/XComUFODefense

One troper suggested the following:

I got the impression that the Terror Missions were deliberate traps by the aliens for X-COM. They land and start shooting up civilians, forcing an X-COM response. X-COM arrives and runs headlong into the best the aliens have in the form of their terror units, in tight urban terrain, with civilians all around them that limits X-COM's ability to employ heavy weapons. The aliens are forcing X-COM to send in troops and potentially wipe them out or send them scurrying away in defeat. Either way ends with X-COM suffering casualties and bad PR if the aliens are able to force a victory.

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What is the fundamental objective of a Terror mission? In X-Com or X1, the objective was to kill aliens and try to not kill civilians. Mission success was when you killed all the aliens, but mission failure was not triggered if all the civilians died. You got a massive relation hit for failing a Terror mission - far more than other mission types. So while you could ignore shot down ufos or alien bases, you could not ignore terror missions. In XCOM, Terror missions were directly tied to civilians. You had a quota of civilians that you had to save (by standing next to them). If you couldn't meet the quota because too many civilians were killed, you lost. the problem with that was that you took a map, randomly scattered civilians in it, then randomly scattered aliens in it while the soldiers always started at a specific location. The consequence of that that aliens would always get a chance to kill humans the player could not save. This was partially addressed in War of the Chosen. There were terror missions which had civvies holed up in fortified locations which in turn were protected by several NPC soldiers. Once you killed the ADVENT attacking a specific location, you moved onto the next and the soldiers from one location would reinforce the next, so the player would stand a chance of getting all the civvies safe. 

So in X2, what is the fundamental objective of a Terror mission? We know from the April post that Terror missions are styled as "very similar" to X1. At the moment, the objective is to kill all the aliens, and maybe not kill civilians (but that doesn't matter). If the Xenonauts are not there to save the civilians, then perhaps it might be beneficial to set the aliens an objective on the map, theme it to concept of Terror, and use the civilians as resources for the aliens to achieve their objective. The Terror mission then sets the Xenonauts in opposition to the alien's objective, to deny the aliens the resources they want to complete their objective. Let me give some examples.

The simplest example is a Reaper infestation outbreak.The civilians on the Terror site are being converted into Reapers. If too many civilians are converted into Reapers, then the entire site is destroyed by airstrike. Perhaps set a quota for the number of civilians that must be converted for the aliens.Once the aliens convert X civilians, mission over. It would be an interesting balance in such a game, because the most obvious way to deny the Reapers their resources would be to kill any civilians that you see. but if stiff relationship penalties were imposed for dead civilians, you have to make a chice as to whether it's better to kill them on sight, or try and keep them alive for the public. 

A more complex example would be a Psyon domination assault. Psyons are taking over the minds of civilians enmasse. For each civilian dominated, they will then be used as an agent provocateur, working to undermine the detente between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, the the aim of the Terror mission would be to keep the number of converted human agents as low as possible. If you can kill the Psyons dominating the civilians then they will be free of control, but the Psyons won't hesitate to use freshly mental-controlled civilians to attack the opposing Xenonauts, and dominated civilians might also be trying to escape the battle  zone, so it again,might be beneficial just to kill civilians but of course, it doesn't look good when you've got Xenonauts killing (seemingly) unarmed civvies . (they were mind controlled, honest!)

In both examples we hold true to the underlying X1 concept of a Terror site - kill the aliens, save the civilians if you can. But rather than it having just be that, the civilians become a resource to be fought over. The aliens want the civvies to carry out their plans, the Xenonauts want to either kill or save the civvies, to prevent alien plans from moving forward. 

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In Xenonauts-1, there is a possibility to mod a parameter so that saved civilians earn you some money, at least.

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I think the idea of terror missions, and other types of ground skirmishes which required the aliens to have a craft, should all be 2-parters.  You are trying to establish the idea of a secret war, with limited aliens that are trying to engineer conflict among the humans instead of directly getting involved.  Since they're not attacking from space, there's no need to introduce smaller craft and escalate them towards the end of the war.  The aliens can start off with large powerful craft as in XCOM 2.  You can have ground skirmishes minus UFOs to start with (aliens beaming into / away from site), then have impenetrable UFOs that the aliens retreat to - you're trying to kill / stun as many of them as possible to sieze corpses / live aliens to interrogate, as well as their weapons and other tech to research before they board, and possibly any civilians / VIPs they're trying to abduct / take hostage.  Later when either Xenonauts or local military forces manage to breach a landed UFO, they can enter the outer chamber of the UFO, but still don't know how to operate the inner doors (perhaps they're hidden as well?), so you can't get into the inner chambers.  Thus it becomes a rush to smash and grab what you can before those aliens fortified in the inner room/s get the ship up and running again, seal the breach and suck out the oxygen, or something else along those lines.  Again, once Xenonauts / airforce manage to shoot down a UFO, Xenonauts have more time to test the knowledge of alien computers the scientists have been able to glean and finally hack through the doors and sieze the ship before the aliens activate the self-destruct mechanism.  Perhaps this takes multiple attempts before it is finally achieved - adding to the tension of, "Will it finally be this time?"

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