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Edmon

Some ideas for experience retension...

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I had some ideas for systems to "bring up" rookie soldiers, such that they would be useful as the game progresses and you can realisitically replace losses without throwing green meat into endgame combat...

Idea #1
Organizational Experience
Your men bring back their experience from the front line, they talk to others who have not yet been in combat, they provide training for the newer recruits. You could have a system where any experience that is earned in battle, is calculated and then a fraction of that (say 10%) is brought back and applied to new recruits. When fresh soldiers are recruited, this experience is damaged or reset, so you'd basically hire recruits in batches or waves. This makes sense, the next set of men are awaiting combat "around the corner" and are just waiting their final hiring into the main combat team. Once hired, the next set will need to learn and train. This gives you a reserve of decent soldiers (based on how much actual combat you've seen) awaiting recruitment.

Idea #2
The Jagged Alliance Method
As the game goes on, better soldiers are available for hire from more prestigous training schools for more money. Maybe your hiring "Militia" at first cheaply, but later gain the option to hire professional and even special forces soldiers. These will naturally cost more money, but come with better training and stats from the offset. This is much like how Jagged Alliance did it, as you could hire better soldiers for increased pay as the game progressed. The best soldiers would simply refuse to work for you until you've proven your worth.

Idea #3
The Mentor System
A buddy system where a recruit is paired with a more experienced soldier (must be 2 ranks lower) and gains experience at 75% of that of the soldier they are paired to. Effectively, your A-Team is bringing home their valuable experience for the B-Team to learn from, on a 1 to 1 basis. Fiddly to set up, but would be very strategic. Naturally, rank ups would occur only in combat, but stats could be gained which is the key thing.

I know that at the moment there is a weapon training system, but I am not sure this would matter in the case of an A-Team wipe, since your stats will still be awful. So here are some ideas I had for methods to provide that experience without the super-training of XCOM:APOC.

 

Edited by Edmon
SPAG
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In one of the dev threads, they've already covered this -- it's going to be a cross-breed of typical X-Com style and Silent Storm: Sentinels training system.  Some skill can only be gained by seeing combat, but you can train significantly while chilling out at home base.

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My understanding is that you can only train weapons accuracy skill at the home base, you can't actually get any experience outside of combat at all.

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I figured that the weapon familiarity skills were just used as examples, and there would be other skills available to train at the base.  I mean, IRL, soldiers do all sorts of stuff to train to improve endurance, strength, agility, etc; I'd like to think that with all of their fancy alien tech, the Xenonauts are smart enough to build a running track and an obstacle course somewhere.

 

(EDIT: Also, as someone who's running a squad full of mostly privates through a bunch of lategame missions [I had a couple of alien base missions go really bad, and I play Ironman], the problem currently isn't soldier experience; it makes less difference than you think, it's more of a minor edge.  The real problem is weapons, and how much Alien Alloy they cost, and the fact that the only way to get Alien Alloy is to win ground missions... which takes weapons... the Jeep is a savior, a powerful plasma weapon that doesn't require Alien Alloy to build is a huge deal when you're trying to recover from a bad spot.)

 

(DOUBLE EDIT: ...and that's exactly how I just lost attempt #5.  Can't build anything because I don't have any alloy, can't get alloy because I can't build anything.  Ugh, 25 hours down the drain...)

Edited by Cynical

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Despite the plans suggested in the other threads, the final experience system is very much not set in stone yet - we've had to update a few parts of the strategy layer due to finding some of our new mechanics weren't quite as fun as we'd hoped, and that often has a domino effect on other mechanics. There's quite a few ways we could approach soldiers leveling up and also making new recruits a bit less helpless by the end of the game.

I think there's three main methods of making late-game recruits less useless. The first is the 1) method outlined in the OP, which is that throughout the game your organisation earns some kind of institutional experience which increases the base stats of the recruits. The second is even simpler; you weight the progression more towards the equipment than the soldier stats. This is sort of how X-Com did it back in the day, where experienced troops were a bonus but a rookie with a heavy plasma and power armour had significantly more battlefield utility than a veteran in his overalls with a basic rifle.

The third method is what we already have in the build (at least in theory), which is that soldiers slowly gain attributes back at base if you have sufficient training space for them (with diminishing returns). This means you can train up a "B" squad as backup if you buy them early enough. Potentially you could combine this with the system in 1), where training becomes more effective the more institutional knowledge you have. So in the late game newly-recruited rookies can level up pretty quickly through the first few ranks.

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I wonder if you could also make rotational play more interesting. Maybe you get X% EXP in combat and then you get a similar X% bonus when training back at base. I guess the idea here being that you learn lessons in battle and then when you return to training, you train the things which you think will best improve your ability to win fights against aliens.

This would make battle - rest - battle more powerful / optimal without the stick that is the stress system...

Just some more thoughts :).

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As a slightly different approach to #1, perhaps a percentage of the XP brought back from combat could be added directly to the base's pool of experience, which is gradually trickled out (depleting) to any soldier not on a mission.

Or for some interactivity, XP loot drops that can be brought back and applied to a solider of your choice :)

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If you wanted to incentivize a rota, you could have a system where 'training XP' were gained at a faster rate (or outright capped) when total 'training XP' was less than some multiple of 'combat XP'. That also helps represent that the two are very much not the same thing- the right place to learn muscle memory for shooting is not when people aliens are shooting at you, but it's also very hard to fully master the fear reflex in safe, controlled conditions.

If being actively involved in 20% or so of expected missions was enough to train at the full rate, two or three full squads would be possible to manage training for (including alternates that need to be available for wounded soldiers and the likelihood that at least some soldiers will end up on the flank that doesn't see any action on a given mission).

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The other thing that's kinda frustrating is that the soldier stats are a weird mix of trainable stuff, and clearly not trainable stuff. For example, Strength is something that you can very easily train in a controlled manner back at base but would struggle to gain on the battlefield. Bravery is likely to be the exact opposite, stuff like Accuracy and Reflexes sit somewhere between ... and things like HP realistically probably couldn't ever be trained.

That's frustrated me quite a bit when thinking about the soldier level-up system. The Xenonauts 1 system isn't ideal but does at least treat all stats the same way; I need to put some posts up at some point and discuss with the community what the best options for level ups might be. Doesn't seem like there's any perfectly logically consistent mechanic that achieves all the gameplay objectives we want, but maybe people will have some suggestions that will help out.

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Well, that's easy: If you have to decide between realism (or real-life consistency) and fun and balanced gameplay, always choose the latter. So if you want to go the training route, I'd say go for training all the stats.

I mean, you can also pretty easily envision what player will do if some stats are trainable and others are not. That is concentrate on recruits with the non-trainable stats and cheese the stat gain while combat system to also gain the maximum of these. That's not really an interesting decision waiting to be made there.

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What I've seen in other games is there's usually a bit of handwavium involved when trying to explain away stats that couldn't be believably be trained even though the underlying game system is perfectly suitable. Take HP - genetic enhancement or cybernetic/bionic replacements are the usual throwaway reasons - the solider is rebuilt, faster, stronger. I mean, it might be better to consider training conceptually as blocks of time spent doing something?

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Bravery is pretty simple to train- it's the thing that keeps people from panicking, so you practice literally everything in increasingly harsh circumstances.

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On 1/27/2019 at 1:35 AM, Decius said:

so you practice literally everything in increasingly harsh circumstances

aaaaaaand everyone gets PTSD ;)

For realism: HP can be trained, if you think of it like toughness: the capacity to work through pain and loss of limbs. But bravery, maybe you can condition a soldier, though that might just make them a high-functioning lunatic. And strength, well, it doesn't matter what I bench, I'll always be scrawny. You can only change your build so much. 

I'm with @Dagar, that gameplay is the priority - but especially, that the player will cheese a stat gain where possible. The trigger for stat gains does need to have a logic behind it, but it should also flow into regular gameplay. Take reflexes: in X1 it was earned by reaction shots, logical, but hard to train. In Apocalypse (here we go again), it came from using quickfire weapon. Maybe it is a good thing to have esoteric stat gains. But given how much soldier progression accounts for enjoyment of the game, the route to training those soldiers shouldn't fall down to something in combat that is essentially just bizarre.

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On 2/2/2019 at 7:54 AM, Ninothree said:

aaaaaaand everyone gets PTSD ;)

For realism: HP can be trained, if you think of it like toughness: the capacity to work through pain and loss of limbs. But bravery, maybe you can condition a soldier, though that might just make them a high-functioning lunatic. And strength, well, it doesn't matter what I bench, I'll always be scrawny. You can only change your build so much. 

I'm with @Dagar, that gameplay is the priority - but especially, that the player will cheese a stat gain where possible. The trigger for stat gains does need to have a logic behind it, but it should also flow into regular gameplay. Take reflexes: in X1 it was earned by reaction shots, logical, but hard to train. In Apocalypse (here we go again), it came from using quickfire weapon. Maybe it is a good thing to have esoteric stat gains. But given how much soldier progression accounts for enjoyment of the game, the route to training those soldiers shouldn't fall down to something in combat that is essentially just bizarre.

We will worry about having the Xenonauts readjust to civilian life after the invasion after we ensure that there will be civilian life after the duration. In the meantime, the firing range is going to be retrofitted to allow tear gas to be deployed there, so that they can practice shooting under pressure.

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On 2/3/2019 at 3:31 PM, Decius said:

retrofitted to allow tear gas to be deployed

Also fireworks and angry crocodiles. Closest thing to a plasma fight with a Sebillian. 

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The main idea here is which stats do we need to use in this game at all? I think we should not use strength, dexterity, constitution like stats.. we need special soldier stats lie accuracy, throwing, bravery, speed..

And you can train yourself for all those things at a military base. You don't learn to fight at battle ground, you already get trained and use it battle. You can add something creative related to bravery or battle experience. So a soldier with more bravery and battle experience can use their soldier stats much better. I mean you can be a sharp shooter at shooting range but can panic and even cannot pull the trigger at battlefield. Reaction could be trained at battlefield too but there is many training for reaction too because its more important then most things to survive. 

HP training is useless because HP is useless.. A plasma pistol can melt you anyway even you are Arnold.. so i like the solid HP with solid HP armor and solid HP shields.. so after everything is done, you will probably die or badly wounded against an alien weapon. So having 60 HP and 70 HP should not bother you at planning the game..

As a result:

If you ask me, just get battle experience from battle and let it give you some ranks. Rookie, veteran, elite, super, mega vs... and this ranks will give you bravery and let you use % of your other stats..

Example: You got 100 perception, 80 agility, 60 reaction, 30 bravery and you are a rookie, so you will able to use %50 of it, so it will be like 50 perception, 40 agi, 30 reaction and 30 bravery. If you become veteran, you will able to use %80 of your skills and will have +10 bravery.

For strength.. just don't use it.. every soldier can carry many things as at least 2 weapons same time.. for big weapons like miniguns, just add some creative limitations rather then muscle stat..

 

 

Edited by drages

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