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Xenonauts-2: Design Update (Realtime Geoscape)

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I can see what you're trying to do, like in WotC. However, I can see an issue with it. If X2 has the same kind of start that X1 does, at the start of the game my soldiers will be at best sgt. rank. I can't do any high-level agent operations at the start of the game and the game would have to reflect that. As the game progresses I would imagine that field operations relevant to the rank required would become available, but as the game progresses so does the roster. In WotC, sending a trooper to do a high-level Field Op wasn't as significant as it might have been as by the time you could do high level Field Ops your roster was padded out enough that loosing a major for a 4-5 days wasn't a significant loss. Unless solider recruitment is drastically cut back in X2 (and if the combat demo is anything to go by, I hope it isn't because I'll need a ready source of replacement!), given you have a larger squad size both ranking up is going to be quicker in parallel, and the loss of significantly skilled soldiers is more diluted than in the smaller XCOM 2 squad. There is also the danger of "good enough". If I start off with low-rank Field Ops, I might continue to use low-rank Field Ops for the rest of the game as they may be good enough to do what I need to do while freeing up high-rank soliders for combat duty. 

 

There are ways to mitigate this. You might start the game with a Major-rank soldier, but have him out of action in the infirmary (narratively s/he got hurt in the flight from CENTRAL) for the first mission. The player gets a taste of what it's like to face aliens, and the major heals just in time for a high-ranking Field Op to become available. You could run high-rank Field Ops from the start as there would only be one solider to run them, and the player would have a genuine crisis of choice - at least until more high rank soldiers become available! Another way might be to lead more by a carrot rather than a stick. It's been previously discuused about giving soldiers/Field Agents tags a-la Battletech, such as charismatic, devious, smuggler, etc. A soldier acquires tags as they rank up,  A Field Op might have several tags associated with it, and the more tags you fill the easier/quicker/more rewarding a Field Op is. Tags might be ordered by rarity, to get the more rewarding tags you have to have higher-ranked soldiers. That might be another way of doing it. 

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On 6/30/2018 at 6:29 AM, Chris said:

For it to work those super-scientists and special characters of various kinds can't do the same job as normal scientists can, because a lot of the UI interaction is based on the idea of scientists and engineers being interchangeable.

There are ways to streamline this nicely, but I can see how that wouldn't fit into the current system. The idea I've been putting together over the years proposes a UI based partially on Endgame: Singularity. Where Each project you do needs to be headed by one of your super-scientists / engineers / physicists / xenobiologists, they could get a bonus to that research if they affinity for it (eg. Just a background in the relevant field.) Then you just allocate a percentage of resources to that project based on what buildings you have in the base and how well they're kitted out. How often does a given player not realistically fill out their workshops and labs in a given game? In the original and Xenonauts, the only times they aren't full for me is when I don't have enough living space or enough money. While I've always felt a little weird that the survival of the human race depends on your lab tech salaries, it can be used to balance the game in a worst case scenario.

Perhaps something better than what I've been mulling over (which is clunky and not immediately intuitive) is having each lab/workshop/foundry/whathaveyou only be able to do one project at once (unless they're adjacent), this would force the player to make use of ability to run multiple science projects at once which is something I only ever found myself doing for the novelty in any of these games. Balancing that would be tricky, however, since you want a steady progression of new equipment coming along in this genre. And if you went with a single awesome scientist bonus for projects, it might end up feeling like the research token system of the remakes which may or may not be desirable. However, I can easily see a simple system where you just select a new project, see its affinities, then get a list of compatible Xenonauts in order of effectiveness to choose as the project lead.

9 hours ago, Chris said:

Gating missions based on soldier rank seems a bit crude

Soldier ranking has never made much sense in these games. Initial promotions are acceptable, after all, a private with actual combat experience probably deserves a promotion over someone else but ranking someone up entirely through field promotions is a bit.. Odd, to say the least. Rank, in real life, is primarily to denote who's in charge and what they're in charge of, giving an explicit hierarchy that everyone understands in the chaos of battle and the in the way of macro level tactics. In XCOM-em-ups, they're more of a.. "This guy has been in dozens of these situations before. If they're not panicking, it can't be all that bad," sorta thing. There's usually some stat upgrades to go alongside them, but you'd never run a squad of colonels into battle unless this was a war game (pun not intended.)

Is this just an artifact or would you be open to a system which gives them titles by experience? Rookie, squaddie, veteran, elite, master (probably something more thematic.) Then give them more unique titles based on what their best skills are and perhaps even their nationality: beret, lancer, valkyrie, brigadier, dragoon, judan, marksmen, vindicator, ect. That could leave a profession system open to military rankings as a separate thing, perhaps giving better starting stats in the case of sergeants and corporals (non-officers), and better field results in the case of lieutenants and colonels (officers in real life don't need and sometimes don't have actual combat experience.)

"Your rank doesn't matter in this effort, were effectively nationless and all working towards the same goal. These aliens do not fight like us. They do not think like us. We need to adapt and those with the most experience, listen to them. Survival is what matters out there and for the human race as a whole."

 

On 6/26/2018 at 6:29 PM, Chris said:

These can be removed by sending Field Agents to that location and having them spend a certain amount of time dealing with the infiltrators.

This seems very similar to.. Something I remember from one of the XCOM remakes. I can't recall which, where you'd send one of your own soldiers in to infiltrate and they'd only get a pistol and single item for the mission when the time finally came. What kind of costs do you have in mind for this system? Just geoscape time and an agent gone? Money? Live aliens and other cool stuff for brokering and presentations? How many agents do you think a player will get in a typical playthrough? How many missions could be done at once? Should these things be equal or limited in some capacity? (I see a room similar to command in the antfarm, do you need to have that staffed as intel for running field ops?) There's a worry with any new system in a game like this that it won't gel well with the rest of interlocking madness and I'm not certain how it fits into the rest of the game. 

Either way, it's super awesome that you're taking the time to respond. I love hearing what's going through a developer's mind and how they think certain ideas and implementations will end up working.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/18/2018 at 3:33 PM, Chris said:

Ramifications For Other Mechanics:
Right now the plans for ATLAS Base being an off-map HQ and the airbases being where you station your interceptors on the Geoscape is unchanged, but that particular mechanic comes under more pressure under a realtime setup. The dropship is now something you'll see flying around on the map ... but if ATLAS is off-map, where does it come from? Narratively ATLAS is placed in Iceland, but in a realtime setup the flight time of the dropship actually matters in some situations (even if the dropship has global range). So having a main base that you cannot place where you want may be limiting for the player.

Changing back to the X1 interception mechanics means that we could set the Field Agents up in a more interesting way. Rather than assigning staff to an abstracted region slot, we could allow the player to send ground teams out on the geoscape in the same way that you can send out interceptors (except they are much slower and don't run out of fuel). They would actually be travelling the world map to do their various activities - improving relations, recovering crashed UFO sections, removing alien infiltrators, recruiting staff, etc - having to physically travel between each of the different points of interest.

If we went with that, this too would further suggest we should switch back to the X1 base style - your secondary bases might be more than just interceptor bases if you want to use them as a staging post for ground team operations in that area. Anyway, I'll keep you updated with how that all goes.

(( Sensing some "Deja Vu'ish Simultanious Discovery"-here...
Or rather, there are some references of my previous related posts that are still hidden
(hopefully until the beta-testing-phase).

EDIT: Darn-tooting indeed these "multiple-discovery"-phenomenons; I pretty much copy-pasted another post from here:
https://www.goldhawkinteractive.com/forums/index.php?/topic/19451-xenonauts-2-atlas-base/&page=3&tab=comments#comment-169791
))

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Lore-wise rather than actually building new bases, maybe interceptors used could be simply "jets for hire" thus making the initial interception runs "commissioned":
"Hey umm, we have an unknown-flying-object that is not answering to out hails; could you guys go shoot down, pretty please?"

 

As for field-agends / solider, perhaps they could simply reside in already active military-bases;
lore-wise the more advanced equipment they'd be using wouldn't be so stand-out'ish so most of the times "normal"-people wouldn't question them;
art-wise this was already achieved quite well in "Xenonauts 1" and new game being set to "modern days" (I'd assume 2010-era), the newer equipment would blend perfectly among the "civilians".


In a semi-"eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate / 4X-game" the player could unlock more of these "safe-houses" for the personnel alongside more interceptor-airfields, and of course also lose them if not being careful enough.
Sometimes maybe the a single "dot" could house both the field-agents and the interceptors.
"Spawning" these points probably could simply be randomised location-wise. But otherwise you could have an infinite amount of these in the world if you're doing well enough, thus allowing the world-wise coverage if player would choose to do so.


"ATLAS"-base this way also be an actual physical player-controlled-space, which would house the initial pool of the personnel.
At the start of a game majority of the "readiness" would be used for the field-agent-movement and other mandatory-tasks; later the usage would be primarily to ferry over the alien-artefacts.

Considering however how the player chooses to play through the campaign, maybe the Geospace will look a lot more "abandoned".
But that's more a reference to "player-choices"-musing we (at least) had a dedicated thread for
( E.G. Xenonauts -> Ilumnati / shadow-overlord-ending, which itself was somewhat "grey"-ending of "Xenonauts 1" ).

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Edited by Pave

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Posted (edited)

Field agents doing something on the geoscape, related to the spatial nature of the map, that is something to do observe in between UFO waves, and that gives your soldiers an extra role --  this all sounds interesting. I wonder if the cities in the world could be brought into play here. They were already plugged into the map in X1 from what I recall. In regards to what @Max_Caine is saying about the choice (or lack of) that the player has as to which soldiers go into the field: allowing soldiers with minor injuries to go out would encourage a steady turnover. Maybe have it such that their healing or field-success rate is reduced so there is a trade off vs healthy field agents. Also, in terms of rank, surely have the soldier's level permit greater rewards rather than act entirely as a key to arbitrary gating. So a Squaddie goes out on a field mission for 70 resources, but a Major can retrieve 140 for the same job.

In that this discussion is taking place in the 'realtime' thread, I think it is worth putting forward ideas about how the field agents would actually operate in a way that takes advantage of the real time system on and around the globe. It might be fun to watch an icon denoting Samantha Carter do some travelling around South America, but unless you need to direct her in response to an evolving situation, the whole thing is basically queuing up tasks. That is a logistical game, not a fully strategic one.

Whilst I've not really got the energy to make any though-out suggestions, what I'm imagining is that the geoscape would function a bit more like a board in some table top game: friendly/enemy pieces, territory and resources, decisions about what to put on the table and how to position characters with a mind for forward planning. This doesn't have to be 4X, but it should be a mile more complex than the either the XCOM or X1 geoscapes, which were both a little vacant.

Edited by Ninothree

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On 7/2/2018 at 6:37 AM, ApolloZani said:

Soldier ranking has never made much sense in these games. Initial promotions are acceptable, after all, a private with actual combat experience probably deserves a promotion over someone else but ranking someone up entirely through field promotions is a bit.. Odd, to say the least. Rank, in real life, is primarily to denote who's in charge and what they're in charge of, giving an explicit hierarchy that everyone understands in the chaos of battle and the in the way of macro level tactics. In XCOM-em-ups, they're more of a.. "This guy has been in dozens of these situations before. If they're not panicking, it can't be all that bad," sorta thing. There's usually some stat upgrades to go alongside them, but you'd never run a squad of colonels into battle unless this was a war game (pun not intended.)

Is this just an artifact or would you be open to a system which gives them titles by experience? Rookie, squaddie, veteran, elite, master (probably something more thematic.) Then give them more unique titles based on what their best skills are and perhaps even their nationality: beret, lancer, valkyrie, brigadier, dragoon, judan, marksmen, vindicator, ect. That could leave a profession system open to military rankings as a separate thing, perhaps giving better starting stats in the case of sergeants and corporals (non-officers), and better field results in the case of lieutenants and colonels (officers in real life don't need and sometimes don't have actual combat experience.)

This is a brilliant idea actualy!

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Soldier ranking was a bone of contention during X1. A number of military types didn't like how soldiers wen from private to major in  the space of 4 months. It didn't feel authentic. We had a large thread stuffed with alternate suggestions for ranks. Nothing was accepted, as the ranking system had been embedded throughout the game. I suspect it's too late in this case as well. 

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1 hour ago, Max_Caine said:

Soldier ranking was a bone of contention during X1. A number of military types didn't like how soldiers wen from private to major in  the space of 4 months. It didn't feel authentic. We had a large thread stuffed with alternate suggestions for ranks. Nothing was accepted, as the ranking system had been embedded throughout the game. I suspect it's too late in this case as well. 

It's not too late to change the ranking system - I just never saw a reason to change it. The argument against it was that it was an unrealistic depiction of military ranks, but the gameplay purpose of rank has always been to give the player a way to quickly assess the combat experience of any given soldier.

Sure, you could use a more abstract ranking system if you liked ... but the advantage of using real ranks is that pretty much everyone knows that seniority order of ranks, so they're much more readable for the average player.

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8 hours ago, Max_Caine said:

It didn't feel authentic. We had a large thread stuffed with alternate suggestions for ranks. Nothing was accepted, as the ranking system had been embedded throughout the game.

That's.. Unfortunate. I am curious what all these suggestions where, however, so I'm going to dig up the thread and add it to my backlog of ideas for a game I'll probably never make.

7 hours ago, Chris said:

Sure, you could use a more abstract ranking system if you liked ... but the advantage of using real ranks is that pretty much everyone knows that seniority order of ranks, so they're much more readable for the average player.

But.. But I don't know if a captain is better than a major or where lieutenant fits into the schema!

Commander and colonel make sense, but that's more because I see them so rarely that they're easy to place. Generally in these games, I'm completely lost since military rankings don't have a role in my life beyond XCOM. When it comes to video games as a whole, while it may be boring, rookie, squaddie, veteran, elite, and master is more likely to be recognized when it comes to relative seniority. Having a single special rank above that, while not immediately clear at a glance, would work rather nicely since it would be the only rank which stands out. However, I do get what you mean, even if personally I can only ever tell who's above who by looking at their rank's insignia for the ranks past the first one and last two, and even then, it usually requires some sleuthing comparisons against other insignias.

Edit: Talked to about a dozen people, including two in the military (and one graduate from West Point!) and it seems that this system is never going to not be confusing. Less than half the people I talked to could tell you if major or captain was higher and all but one was confused by lieutenant; no points for guessing who. Most of the people I talked to were from the US, those who weren't pointed out that the system is very US-centric.

Discussions with them mostly boil down to a preference for NATO's Officer/Enlisted system. Where things like O5 is immediately clear as being an officer of high ranking and E1 is very much just starting out. I do like the flavour these game offer so perhaps a compromise: X1-whatever. Where you display rankings as X1-Private, X2-whatever rank 2 is in these games, and so on up to Xmax-Commander (or whatever is at the top. It might be colonel, I'd have to check.) That way in the battlescape people like me are no longer horribly confused, Xenonauts 2 gets to keep X-Com's really weird rankings flavor, and X- gets to be a nice flavouring for why they're called Xenonauts. (In maths, X0 could be read as, "X-naut.")

Edited by ApolloZani

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Posted (edited)

I concur that the officer rank and logo are mostly indecipherable to me in all xcom games that use them, especially the middle ones.  (And not because of language. Have translated ranks before and I still don't know who is who.)  A simple level number is much simpler in my eyes.  May be with roman numerals to spice them up.

But I don't feel the need to oppose it; I've survived all the aliens so far without memorising the ranks, so I think I'll just keep ignoring them.

Edit: BattleMech ranks does make sense to me, because it is so simple - Recruit, Regular, Veteran, Master, Elite.  That's all.  Maybe Elite should be lower than Master in my mind, but my little sheep brain can handle one exception.

Edited by Sheepy

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I'd lean away from rank names that imply chain-of-command. All ranks do in xcom is denote discrete levels of experience. In XCOM that is tied into perks, but in xenonauts it is largely irrelevant as far as I recall. If the game were one where you had hundreds of soldiers, chain-of-command ranks would make sense because in those numbers a hierarchy makes sense. With just a dozen or so soldiers, they're all likely to be specialists (progressing non-linearly) so maybe it would make more sense to given them ranks that tie into their specific roles e.g. rifle > sniper > sharpshooter > deadeye, or, rifle > grenadier > demolitions > apocalypse.

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On 7/5/2018 at 12:40 AM, Sheepy said:

I concur that the officer rank and logo are mostly indecipherable to me in all xcom games that use them, especially the middle ones. 

It takes all of about 5 seconds to google it.  A game shouldn't be held accountable for something it assumes you should know, playing military style games, or that can be found from a simple search.

I'm ex-Navy, we have different ranks than the Army, and the ones with similar names are actually different ranks, it's confusing.  But I at least know, by simple reasoning and deduction based on watching my soldiers progress in-game, which rank is higher than which.

That said, I agree with Ninothree's idea, naming them based on their roles.  I guess the problem is, X2 is more or less doing away with such things.  It doesn't work to just change the name when you change weapons, as someone proficient with a sniper rifle is not suddenly going to be proficient with a grenade or rocket launcher simply because they spent hours and hours using a sniper rifle first.

This ties into something I brought up quite a while back for X2.  It would be awesome to see soldiers getting proficient with specific weapons just based on an experience system of using said weapon.  Different perks can be chosen at specific weapon type levels to give them an advantage in combat.  Basically every weapon would have like 5 levels, and each level would have a couple of perks attached that you can choose from.  I had a much more detailed write-up in one of the other threads on here.

Anyway, I think the ranks need to stay.  They can either continue to be used as they have been, or they can be a separate thing alongside Ninothree's idea.  The ranking system is an X-COM staple, even most of the clones like UFO: AfterX do it.

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12 hours ago, endersblade said:

It takes all of about 5 seconds to google it.

I think that if you have to leave the game and google it, you've slightly failed as a designer. Requiring the player to keep a wiki open or start writing things down on a notepad does work for some games, but having to refer to a chart for just this one simple thing isn't that great.

 

12 hours ago, endersblade said:

This ties into something I brought up quite a while back for X2.  It would be awesome to see soldiers getting proficient with specific weapons just based on an experience system of using said weapon. 

I think this is Chris' plan for X2, though without a final perk as far as I'm aware. It's a system that lets you train rookies in certain weapons so they won't be useless when you bring them out for the first time while also making it so your A-team becomes a squad of snowflakes rather than having them be pretty much interchangeable in their roles. Truth be told, I dislike perks on level up for this style of XCOM. It works for the remakes but that's because you're playing a different tactical game than X1 and X-Com. We like realism here. :P

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On 6/21/2018 at 10:58 PM, Skitso said:

One of the main weaknesses of the X1's geoscape was that with strong air force, the player could pretty much shoot everything out of the sky before UFO's could fulfill their missions. This quickly led in to a situation, where the only mission types available were crash sites. The aliens simply weren't able to create terror sites, bases or anything else which led to pretty boring game play experience.

If you are going back to real time geoscape, for X-2 you really need to find solutions to make UFO's carry out their missions with much higher determination.

The other issue is the drop ship. If you try to keep it's range and speed within any believable limits, it's not gonna work that well. Have you scrapped the teleportation idea you had earlier? I thought that was a great idea both lore and gameplay wise.

Quote

 

The second issue is the interception chance. In X1 the chance of an interceptor successfully catching a UFO had a large random element, because the UFOs would frequently change course and fly in a random direction. If they decided to fly directly towards your interceptor then even a slow interceptor could catch a fast UFO. If the UFO turned around and flew out of radar range, even a fast interceptor wasn't going to catch it in time.

I think here the solution is just to make UFOs fly straighter for longer towards their targets, and limit the course changes to more shallow turns. This means the interceptions will have less random chance involved in them and the speed of the interceptor will be a bigger factor. Importantly, though, it also means UFOs will necessarily spawn further from their targets and have to cover more ground / sea to get there. This means the Geoscape Events spawned by UFOs will actually be useful in areas without radar coverage, as they'll show a rough trajectory of the UFO so you can make an educated guess about where it is heading and when it might reach your territory.

 

Was going to post this in the air combat thread but actually here might be a better place in view of the quotes above.

I think the best solution to this problem is simply to steal from the original X-Com and have UFOs sometimes fly at a slower speed.  E.g. they fly at maximum speed - too fast for your interceptors to catch - when they are approaching and leaving a mission area but they slow down considerably while actually conducting their mission.  So a UFO on an old-style ground attack mission (for example) would spawn in, fly at high speed directly to wherever it is going to conduct its attacks, spend some time flying around at slow speed shooting things, and then flying away at high speed again.

There's a number of reasons why this would be a good idea:

- It solves the problem of randomness in interception chance, since all UFOs have a period during which they are vulnerable to interception (although see the next point).

- It also solves the problem in the quote from Skitso above, as missions with single direct targets (i.e. terror, base construction and base assault missions) can be approached by the UFO at high speed, too fast for the player's interceptors to catch and therefore guaranteeing the ground mission will be spawned.  This might seem heavy handed - it's forcing certain missions on the player - but I think from a gameplay perspective that's a good thing (one of the single major issues of X1 is the ability to make the game less varied and interesting by playing too well!) and also does so in a plausible and consistent manner (i.e. you're not just dropping missions out of no-where like terror missions in Firaxis's XCOM; and there's a clear reason why you can't stop them with aircraft which is perfectly plausible).

- As well as these points, it also ties in with the proposed air combat system well, specifically the idea of having UFOs be able to escape interception.  Basically, this represents the UFO activating its high-speed engines after a period of charging, and on the geoscape UFOs which escape combat could either fly away and despawn, or relocate to another part of the world and continue with whatever mission they were conducting.

- It creates scope for technology which allows the player to intercept UFOs in their high-speed mode.  The example I have in mind here is an aircraft/aircraft loadout like X1's Fury interceptor, which can intercept at high speed and obliterate the UFO entirely.  This would provide a mid- or late-game option for dealing with "special" missions (i.e. terror missions, base construction, etc.) without having to fight ground combat.

- Finally, I also think it adds to verisimilitude.  It never really made sense to me that UFOs would hurtle around at 2000+ kph when they are supposed to be scanning, abducting, conducting strafing runs and so on;  having UFOs slow down while they're "in-mission" makes a lot more sense.  Further, from a feedback perspective, having UFOs move in different ways will create a sense that they are actually doing something, rather than just flying around randomly, even if the mechanics are otherwise no different to X1.

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On 7/4/2018 at 8:01 PM, Max_Caine said:

Soldier ranking was a bone of contention during X1. A number of military types didn't like how soldiers wen from private to major in  the space of 4 months. It didn't feel authentic.

A few thoughts about ranking in Xenonauts-1.

I modded the settings so that the promotions take twice as long (simply doubling the requirements). It was quite satisfacting for lower ranks, and CMD and COL was still not so common 10 month after day 1 (running 3 teams). A non linear setting could have worked better, though (for those who want colonels sooner).

Having a squad of colonels may sound odd but consider this: what would be the rank profile of a squad made of a handful of jet pilots in any air army? Every rank from Rookie to Colonel, really? Correct me if I'm wrong, but being specialists/engineers, pilots rather start at lieutenant or captain in time of peace. Moreover, a rank is also meant to place a military in the hierarchy. It _was_ used to separate pilots or administratives from base guards, and women from men of lower ranks.

Some games (UFO:AI) condition the ranking according to the number of enlisted soldiers and/or the number of highest rank. It's like you have to enlist 20 soldiers to promote your first captain, or have 4 lieutenants (and the related number of lesser ranks) before being able to promote your first captain. Something like this.

Not opposing the specialization level concept, why should it replace the ranks? Ranks would add a feeling of reality in my opinion, and I don't know if saying that Xenonauts override the classic system just because times have changed can make for an explanation.

 

Perhaps then, a big mix of all of this could be satisfacting: ranking through missions and deeds (a feel of veterancy versus rookiness), getting promoted when the organization growths or higher rank die and make room (retaining historical ranks), getting specialization levels with access to some little extra skills (hence gaining tactical leadership).

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Each base should have a unit of soldiers, to defend the base, and project it's operating power over a territory. That unit will need a leader, and NCO's , only if through injury would you make up a soldier on a temporary bases. If a soldier was to under go training for higher level rank, then only those, should be considered for that promotion, others could be given awards and or skill enhancements. 

This would see that you didn't has a unit of colonels. 

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20 hours ago, kabill said:

... verisimilitude ...

+1 to the post for the proposed solution, and +1 for satisfying word use. 

Although I'd argue that the UFOs don't need to slow down for strafing runs or scanning - surely their weapons would have some clever targeting system and for scanning, well they could just take all the data they need from orbit. I can believe that UFOs would slow down for abducting or embarking/disembarking.

But yeah, I like the idea that UFOs can simply outpace Terran craft when they want.

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Not sure if I have just missed it so if i have I apologise but with the premise being a more hidden war would the prospect of not just having Aliens to deal with but Humans on the side of or under the influence of be a possibility? By this i mean instead of just intercepting Alien UFO's you may have an opportunity to intercept a human transport with intel/alien artifacts being transported to try and hide the fact its cargo is alien in origin etc? Gives the Ground game an interesting twist if you are raiding a crashed Transport plane or human base/safehouse :)

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I actually like this idea, the only thing I don't like is decoupling of events from UFOs, downing UFOS meant something in first ufo, as they were cause, and each had its own purpose (which wasn't necessary the case in x1). This gave sorta Aliens playing their own agenda, giving illusion of them actually doing something and having logic: Light scout first scouts area to build map, then heavier scouts swoop in to find good spots for bombing or terror sites, and heavier start searching for your bases or strategic points, and there are supply ships flying to supply bases, which you could down resulting in weaker next wave but far angrier enemy in general, and seeking to destroy you or sending stronger UFOs. Things like cruisers and battlcruisers come and say high if you start thwarting operations either by base raiding or by shooting down transport ships.

 

x2 could even have specialized bomber or interceptor missions to hunt down aircraft or get rid of AA site.

Don't get me wrong I am not against certain fixed or random events where it is sensible, it is just feels bad if they are not cause of enemy actions but just popping out of nothing. This always bothered me in FirXcom. I would liked to be able to send multiple missions at the same time, and glad it seems x2 makes possible I always thought that satellite game to be too gamy and uninteresting.

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It´s a little bit sad that the Round-Timed-Geoscape was not working. If it had, it were a surprise to such Games. But the Realtime Geoscape have many advatages in such a Gerne. All others (the old X-Com Series, the new XCom Series, UFO Extraterestials and other branch Variants of that Gerne) worked with the same Geoscape [Realtime] and round based Ground-Tactic-Fights. The only Series which had realtime Geoscape and realtime Ground-Tactic-Fights had the Ufo Afterline-Series [Aftermath and Aftershock on Earth; Afterlight on Mars].

But I´m happy that we get the Real-Time-Geoscape back. Let´s see what have changed up to the predecussor.

 

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Posted (edited)

Just a wild idea - I don't know how the "secret war" part will be handled and if it's still used but one thing that is connected with this is that if not everyone is convinced there is an alien invasion so not every region will help Xenonauts - this is logical - but also not every region/nation will be happy with things flying around especially near their borders or through their regions. So it's nice to launch an interceptor to shoot down an UFO over your home territory, but when it get's close the border we are talking about an incident and if the nation hasn't bought the idea of Aliens they won't really like three fully loaded interceptors flying over their terrain no matter how loudly you will yell "but we are chasing an UFO goddamit!"

So an human based enemy interceptor might be launched to intercept xenonaut interceptors and or dropship(s).

This gives another interesting mechanics - placing Field Agent in regions to allow safe air passage and depending on the agent you will be allowed to enter the airspace with limited amount of crafts. This might be interesting spin on the interceptor reach - not spawning air bases but getting open border permissions. There is a lot of air bases already in the world :D so plenty place to park your planes, but actually someone allowing you to have those planes above their territory is totally different problem

Making Xenonaut organization the only ones that are able to detect UFOs makes those things more complicated. Also sending a squad and risk border violation (loss in relationship) and possibly facing human interceptors. This is a lose-lose scenario where if you fight them you get negative relationship if you don't engage they might shoot down your planes, and if you don't intercept the UFO it might get some stuff done like landing.

Or having the ground team ready but unable to reach the site in time because they can't get into a region without passage.

By extension launching more interceptors even within your region might be frowned upon simply because "why the hell are you launching those birds?! Are you planning on bombing us? Do you think we are that stupid?!".

Other thing about cold secret wars is keeping them secret. Sometimes some good guys are about to find out what's going on and going public with this. An event with an influential figure being able to convince a lot of people that aliens are true and there is a secret organization fighting them might rise the threat meter (if it gets implemented) even if it would sound great but is more harmful in the long run. So sending field agents to silence those people could give something to do from time to time if someone wants to maintain a low profile. Kind of a sacrifice for the greater good. I think this was shown in one of the episodes in "Person of interest" where someone did figured out the whole secret war in the series and his life was hanging on it because either the good guys did tell him it's the truth but that would make more damage in the long run, or convince him he is wrong and thus destroying the man because he gets depressed because of it - "I thought... I thought I was right..."

Similarly even more dark stuff is actually keeping things covered - like actually attacking some human structures in order to rise suspicion of the aliens (a very dirty tactic) or having optional objectives that if you allow them to fail there is some tragedy but also there is no rise in the threat - for example that terror mission - you aren't supposed to kill all the aliens... or save all the civilians. Or missions where there are two tings going on "secure the X target" and also "aliens will kidnap Y people" and if you stop them from the kidnap this will rise the threat a lot but if you only steal for example the X target they won't notice you that much but you just allowed Y civilians to be experimented on.

Edited by DaceKonn

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