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Xenonauts-2 Soldier Inventory System Discussion

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2 hours ago, Marvel said:

How many items (without TU penalties) can you put in the backpack of a weak soldier in X1? Nothing? One stun baton? Don't you think that a belt is a better place for such kind of items? Ah, right! This situation is pretty similar to my case when weak soldiers don't have backpack at all. You don't need space in soldier's inventory if you cannot put any items in there. You might say: "I can! There are TU penalties in X1, but I can!". However it doesn't have any practical application. You can only abuse the system by taking a lot of items and dropping them at the start of combat.

You can rename Pockets/Belt/Backpack to Belt/Light backpack/Extended backpack if it makes you happy. Belt has 2 slots, light backpack has 4 slots, extended backpack has 4 base slots and extra compartment for 6 additional slots.

I know that my inventory system isn't the best system in the World, but it has interesting advantages and can be discussed. Why not?

  The point is that if you believe the game's overview and this is an elite organization which draws it member fro the world's elite forces. Why would you have  weak soldier in the first place?

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2 hours ago, Wiz33 said:

  The point is that if you believe the game's overview and this is an elite organization which draws it member fro the world's elite forces. Why would you have  weak soldier in the first place?

Because it's a game with soldier improvement. You can't just have the best of the best because then you can't have soldier development. Then there is no point at soldier stats at all.. this is standart for every xcom game.. because it's a xcom game.. It's like asking a end game lvled character for diablo at start.. 

If you got perfect soldiers, then the aliens should have the perfect soldiers too.. so your soldiers can hit anything with very high chances so aliens do that too.. then your commandos hits aliens with guns and aliens hit your commandos with plasma rifles.. I think, the aliens will be the winning ones here.. so the balance creates a huge difficulty..

Another fact is, even commandos can't point hit anything they shoot at a battlefield.. xcoms are turnbased but they simulate the real time fire fight.. so even it looks like time is stopped and a chess, it's not.. so you got commandos from start but they are getting better and used to fight against an unbeatable looking alien armada.. 

If you still want commandos from start against same aliens, it could be happen with a mod just with some simple edits for sure. 

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On 7/23/2018 at 8:44 PM, Wiz33 said:

Another thing that bugs me on the earlier games are the initial recruits stats. Those new recruits could not hit the side of a barn and panic on the first sight of blood! We're not talking about raw recruits in this game. We're talking about the elite of the elites who draw their member from the best special force from around the world.  

I have no military training but a fair amount of shooting and  live paintball war games experience and  I can consistently hit a stationary target at over 150 yards with a semi-auto assault rifle and in a tactical pistol range with obstacle and popup targets and I can hit pretty well within 10 yards (not always on the X but at least on target). I would expect better from the world's elite.

As drages mentions, certain artificial limitations are imposed on the player so their soldiers can grow and improve with experience - if every new recruit is a crack shot and strong enough can carry effectively unlimited ammo, more than one weapon, several grenades and medical gear (as realism would indeed dictate), then there's really no point even bothering with soldier stats or at all. A soldier who is already in the world's elite is not going to meaningfully improve over the course of a few months of fighting aliens. But that would be a much less interesting game to play.

It's also not a good idea to read *too* much into the realism of the combat, because it's an abstraction designed to make missions more tense and exciting. In real life people are capable of seeing more than 25m and don't suffer from crippling tunnel vision, but that's another thing that makes the game more interesting to play so all units have been given those limitations.

 

11 hours ago, Marvel said:

Hello!

There is an inventory system I found very interesting. Let me explain it in details.

Left & right hands management is as in X1. It doesn't matter what soldiers carry in hands.
Each soldier can be weak, athletic or strong. Soldier's strength isn't changed through play-through (I'm not sure about this), but can be affected by carried armor, weapon or injures (it means that hit soldiers can be forced to drop items). Heavy armors and weapons reduce strength by 1 level. Weak soldiers cannot wear heavy armor or weapon. Powered armor increases strength by 1.
There are three inventory slot-holders:
 * Pockets (2 slots) are available for all soldiers
 * Belt (4 additional slots) are available for athletic and strong soldiers
 * Backpack (6 additional slots) are available only for strong soldiers

Items take various number of slots:
1 slot - ammo, grenades, etc
3 slots - pistols, medikits, etc
5 slots - rifles, grenade launchers, spare shields, etc

Slot-holders are independent from each other. You cannot put a rifle into both pockets and a belt (6 slots in total). It means that secondary weapons can be carried only by strong soldiers.
When a gamer save soldier's inventory template, only active slot-holders are actually saved. For example left & right hands, pockets, and the belt are saved for athletic soldiers. All templated slot-holders are saved for strong soldier's inventory. When a gamer restores soldier's inventory template, only related slot-holders are restored.

The new button on combat UI automatically detects all activatable items. You can switch activatable items by pressing on icon ">". Pressing the button does an interesting work:
If it's a 3-slot item (medikit, pistol), then it becomes temporarily activated. Nothing is changed in soldier's inventory.
If it's a 5-slot item (weapons), then the soldier drops a shield if he holds one in his hand, and weapons are swapped.

The main advantage of this idea is that you still have strength as an attribute. However inventory manipulations are greatly simplified.

The advanced idea is to make strength like other attributes (from 1 to 100). Soldiers with 0-54 strength are weak soldiers, 55-64 are athletic soldiers and 65+ are strong soldiers. In this case soldier's strength increases with experience, and new slots are automatically filled.

I'm not sure I like the idea of messing around with opening new slots up etc, but one of the things I was considering was having "bands" of strength that grant different weight limits like you suggest. I'm not going to put that in the initial implementation because I want to start with the simplest system and work up from there ... but having some kind of carrying progression in the game isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just needs to be a LOT less granular than in X1.

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Posted (edited)

You need the Backback for First Aid Kits and other bigger things like the big Bang Bang and then you have a second entry like in Ufo Extraterestials, the old X-Com Series, the UFO-Afterseries etc. which are showing what we can do up to 2080 and what not.

We are not in the future like the new XComSeries that you can produce all thing in miniatur like a very useful first Aid Kit. The first Aid-Kits we have in our Car is max. good enough to hold up blood for some Minutes or to stabilise someting minimal like a broken bone. Soldiers have more to help. So a Backback is needed. And you can´t bring in a normal Dynamite upstaris in a Pocket or a Belt. Therfore you need a Backback too.

A Backback is in the Game and that is not discusable. Point. We aren´t in the year 2250 like Captain Kirk in Star Trek where Dr. Mc Coy is using a small Dedector an say: "He is Dead, Jim!"

We can talk about it in 2080 again if mankind is already there and have proven it to miniaturise the first needable things for a soldier, a Sani etcpp. that he / she can hold in in a Pocket or his / her Belt.

 

Edited by Alienkiller

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Load outs should be commensurate with the type of battle harness, that the soldier is wearing, and this could be incorporated into the Armour that he has on.

If this is in relation to the screen page for each soldier, i.e.( as on the bottom of the screen) then maybe it could change with the suit that is being warn!! 

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Chris said:

As drages mentions, certain artificial limitations are imposed on the player so their soldiers can grow and improve with experience - if every new recruit is a crack shot and strong enough can carry effectively unlimited ammo, more than one weapon, several grenades and medical gear (as realism would indeed dictate), then there's really no point even bothering with soldier stats or at all. A soldier who is already in the world's elite is not going to meaningfully improve over the course of a few months of fighting aliens. But that would be a much less interesting game to play.

It's also not a good idea to read *too* much into the realism of the combat, because it's an abstraction designed to make missions more tense and exciting. In real life people are capable of seeing more than 25m and don't suffer from crippling tunnel vision, but that's another thing that makes the game more interesting to play so all units have been given those limitations.

 

 That can be handled by increasing the requirement of newly developed equipment by increasing the strength, accuracy and other requirement so they may not be able to be used by everyone initially. All I'm saying is that initial recruits should have a minimum stat that would allow them to handle a decent loadout and be proficient with the equipments you start the game with. 

Edited by Wiz33

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19 hours ago, drages said:

Because it's a game with soldier improvement. You can't just have the best of the best because then you can't have soldier development. Then there is no point at soldier stats at all.. this is standart for every xcom game.. because it's a xcom game.. It's like asking a end game lvled character for diablo at start.. 

If you got perfect soldiers, then the aliens should have the perfect soldiers too.. so your soldiers can hit anything with very high chances so aliens do that too.. then your commandos hits aliens with guns and aliens hit your commandos with plasma rifles.. I think, the aliens will be the winning ones here.. so the balance creates a huge difficulty..

Another fact is, even commandos can't point hit anything they shoot at a battlefield.. xcoms are turnbased but they simulate the real time fire fight.. so even it looks like time is stopped and a chess, it's not.. so you got commandos from start but they are getting better and used to fight against an unbeatable looking alien armada.. 

If you still want commandos from start against same aliens, it could be happen with a mod just with some simple edits for sure. 

Did you miss the point about initial equipments? Everything you said can be handle by increasing the strength, accuracy and other requirements on equipments that you develop during the game so they won't be usable by everyone initially or until their stats increases.

Simple examples would be that ammo for new weapon would weight more and have a accuracy penalty due to weight and bulk, an improved medkit may provide more healing but at increased weight. 

Your example of Diablo doesn't even make sense as the you would have no problem hitting and  taking out enemy at you own lvl or slightly higher and the enemy would scale as your lvl increases just like in XCOM as you encounter new stronger threat as the game progress.

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20 hours ago, Chris said:

A soldier who is already in the world's elite is not going to meaningfully improve over the course of a few months of fighting aliens.

Exoskeletons.

Alien alloys could be just very heavy and that would make exoskeletons research necessary.

Besides, I like the idea of removing backpack and replacing it with additional slots. It's just that the initial concept was too simple now. I think the best would be a merging of two systems. Just like with the Atlas base concept. The best of both worlds.

Obviously X2 is better suited for new XCOM audience. At the same time it's gonna be much deeper. That means a part of its target audience are players who liked XCOM games and now they are ready and looking for a deeper, more complex experience. I would definitely stay on that course and make it deliberately chosen one. Otherwise another Goldhawk game will be lacking funds as well. And this where everyone loses something.

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I find 2 things very important when talking about loadouts,

1. I should be flexible in what I can carry, and not be limited to a single primary weapon. single primairy setup would put the game dangerously close to firaxis X-com...since it limits load-out combo's akin to their class system.

2. belt slots/secondairy slots (slots dedicated to ammo, grenades or small weapons/items like batons, medkits and pistols) should allow for lower TU cost drawing relative to "backpack" level slots, with the latter being able to carry large gear like an additional primairy. this is mostly to distinguish between the cluncky backpack and the quick access of on uniform pockets.

this game still has ammo management as a factor, that is a positive in my book..having infinite ammo just feels off.

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13 hours ago, Wiz33 said:

 That can be handled by increasing the requirement of newly developed equipment by increasing the strength, accuracy and other requirement so they may not be able to be used by everyone initially. All I'm saying is that initial recruits should have a minimum stat that would allow them to handle a decent loadout and be proficient with the equipments you start the game with. 

That's a terrible way to gate recruits. The later the game, the more necessary it becomes to use higher tech equipment. If recruits are forbidden to use higher tech equipment then it's either impossible to replace losses later in the game through new recruitment, or you deliberately have to gimp your team by having a very vulnerable recruit join it. Neither should be acceptable. 

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I actually liked the tetris style inventory system.  I enjoyed setting up the loadouts for my soldiers and positioning items to make the most of the limited space while reducing the TU's required to switch between different weapons or equipment depending on their role.

Here are some example loadouts:

Assault:

LZElIpr.png

With this loadout I can quickly switch between a rifle and stun batton, although the medikit will require switching to the stun batton first.  The only difference with this loadout vs my sniper is that I used a Sniper rifle instead of a standard rifle.  I've found it handy to use the longer range of rifles on my assault troops, especially when outside the UFO and while using flying armour as pictured.

Heavy:

0MnTJi7.png

Very heavily armed of course, but can switch between the pistol, rocket launcher or machine gun relatively fast.  It is necessary of course to avoid placing any ammunition/grenades to the right of the pistol to enable rapid switching between it and the machine gun.  This whole process of tweaking loadouts is part of the gameplay to me so I quite enjoy adjusting them regularly.

In saying that, if we simply added the additional back pack below the context sensitive slots as in the video demo, I could get close to that same level of customizability, although I would miss out on putting the medikit on the belt.

Another thought is the lack of soldier specialization if you can carry multiple weapons.  Without going the way of Firaxis's XCOM, "Silent Storm" had a system where the continued usage of a weapon conferred a "Familiarity" bonus with it, ie if you kept using a particular Sniper rifle, you ended up getting a small bonus over time by repeatly using that same weapon without switching it out.  When switching to a weapon you were unfamiliar with, you then would have to unlearn the "Familiarity" you acquired with the old weapon first before learning to be proficient with the new weapon.

To be honest I feel this was a little harsh in "Silent Storm" since it also applied to backup arms like pistols.  But something similar could be done if you are trying to avoid doing something like Firaxis and have specialist skill trees, maybe have soldiers that can become familiar with at least 2 weapons (can still use 3 weapons like the heavy soldier I pictured above, but would miss out on the additional familiarity bonus they would recieve with the two weapons of their choice). 

 

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Max_Caine said:

That's a terrible way to gate recruits. The later the game, the more necessary it becomes to use higher tech equipment. If recruits are forbidden to use higher tech equipment then it's either impossible to replace losses later in the game through new recruitment, or you deliberately have to gimp your team by having a very vulnerable recruit join it. Neither should be acceptable. 

 

Once again you missed the point. Did you read this part  "they may not be able to be used by everyone initially". All that means is that when new stuff comes out, not everyone will be able to use it right away. Some might have to run a few more missions with old equipment till their stat improve. I'm not saying that there should not be stat improvement or random stats. All I'm saying is that there should be a minimum stat cap on the randomizer for initial recruits so they can handle a initial set of loadout with decent accuracy. Other than that, Stat improvement can continue just like in the old game.

I guess the point is mute as long as the stat files are user editable like XCOM since those were the first edit that I made.

Edited by Wiz33

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Just going to throw this out there again.

 

If you want to have it where the player can get extra storage at some kind of trade off I would suggest adding in a backpack or something similar to armor mods. It could be an interesting system allowing you to choose between extra armor or more storage. Could also work out well if whatever flying thing is also an attachment. Also, stupid idea, but for an upgrade to the backpack could be a special pocket storage dimension. Make it be based off the alien tech where they come from somewhere else / teleport.

 

Also, since this is a bit more of a hush hush operation and you will sometimes just be recruiting people you find while walking around the world map, I myself kind of imagine these people as not exactly the best of the best. I kind of see these people as people you could convince to come join you or somebody that has witnessed it first hand and are just happy to join up with people that believe them. I don't believe that has been said anywhere before, but that is just how I see it in my headcannon. I can elaborate more on it if anybody cares. 

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Posted (edited)

 

19 hours ago, Betuor said:

If you want to have it where the player can get extra storage at some kind of trade off I would suggest adding in a backpack or something similar to armor mods. It could be an interesting system allowing you to choose between extra armor or more storage. Could also work out well if whatever flying thing is also an attachment. Also, stupid idea, but for an upgrade to the backpack could be a special pocket storage dimension. Make it be based off the alien tech where they come from somewhere else / teleport.

I like the sound of this idea as well, perhaps it could be a better point for balancing the additional flexibility gained by that additional storage.

I've just been reading the Development Overview...there is an incredible amount of content to digest, but I've found that there is a weapon familiarization system in place.  Oh well, nevermind my original suggestion. :)

Overall I guess I don't like the idea of losing the flexibility of the original Xenonauts storage, without gaining an equal amount of customization in exchange.  It seems ridiculous (and probably is) having 3 different weapon types to choose from on my heavy weapons characters (and technically 3 on both my sniper and assault soldiers when counting the stun batton), and realistically I primarily use the MAG Machine gun, occasionally use the Rocket Launcher and very rarely use the pistol, but regardless I enjoy being able to customize such a loadout.

I think that weapon familiarization system proposed from the soldier section should help balance this, though how many weapons can a soldier become familiar with? 

What if each soldier could learn a maximum of 5 weapon Familiarity levels for example.  With each weapon maxing out at 3 levels, this gives each soldier the opportunity to max their favourite weapon, but also become reasonably proficient in a second (3 levels in Shotgun, 2 levels in Rifle), or become competent in 2 other weapons (3 levels in Shotgun, 1 level in rifle, 1 level in pistol).

Perhaps 5 levels is a bit generous, but this could be a way to help balance carrying multiple weapons, by restricting the maximum amount of total weapon familiarity levels a soldier could learn.

Edited by Baqar79
I can't count to 5, so removing that bit :D

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I'm actually going to close and lock this thread now, because I feel like the intended discussion has run its course - I've made a decision on the updated mechanics and written them into the development plan and updated the master Soldier design post accordingly. Thanks to everyone that contributed to the discussion, as hearing all the different viewpoints allowed me to see all the different sides of the argument and weigh them up against each other.

This is what I've decided to do:

  • Secondary slot will be implemented as in my original post
  • Six Belt slots will be shown, replacing the grenade / ammo quickslots. These will only arrive when we do the UI update for the ground combat.
  • Squad view will be implemented as in my original post
  • The backpack will return, except it'll be 3x6 instead of 4x5
  • The Armory panel on the right will now always be present like in Xenonauts 1 - but we'll also add some contextual filtering that makes it easier to navigate, so if you click on the Secondary slot it only shows the items that can go in the Secondary slot, etc.
  • Soldiers will all start with the same Strength, and will not gain Strength in combat. This means that the carrying capacity for all soldiers is the same.

In summary, many of my ideas were outright improvements over what we had in Xenonauts 1 and were not at all controversial - e.g. the Secondary slots and the Squad view. However on reflection I think I went too far when I decided to remove the soldier backpack, as the advantages it brought were not enough to cancel out the loss of freedom for the player. The weight system isn't perfect, but it does already punish over-equipped soldiers fairly effectively. We will therefore be returning to the X1 mechanics for the backpack and the Armory panel.

The main change to X1 is that soldiers will now all have the same carry capacity. This makes life much easier when equipping soldiers as you don't have to tweak the equipment of a soldier after every mission (because they've gained Strength) and every time you equip a new loadout. It also means you don't get to escape difficult decisions about how to equip your soldiers just because your veterans have carried a heavy backpack around on a few missions and now have the Strength to carry whatever they like.

It's possible this is something we'll change and improve as development continues (e.g. perhaps you could train a soldier in Strength to improve their carry capacity) but for now we'll implement the simple system where all soldiers have the same Strength and see what the feedback is on that during the closed beta. 

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