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SuperJpMega

Pilots have identities too you know.

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This is honestly the first time I've ever written a topic on this forum so forgive me for any inconvenience I might do.

Idea: In the first Xenonauts game your interaction with your squadrons was merely maintenace and logistical services (such as re-arming or exchanging armament, decommissioning aircraft and obviously purchasing and researching new types of aircraft). What if you were able to interact with the pilots of the interceptors themselves, just like a regular soldier, each pilot belonging to the Xenonauts project would have their own feed and info such as names, nationalities, past military services and so on, but pilots could have their own set of skills and capabilities for the commander to take in consideration, some of these could be awareness, vitality (or endurance), survival and cunning. So, would pilots come as more of a challenge or benefit to the player? Well it would be a mix of both, having unique pilots with different pasts and personalities would challenge your capability of management and taking advantage of those same personalities during interceptions, a commander that is capable of selecting the correct individual for the specific task has an advantage over any other aircraft in the air, but it is this same individuality and instability that might pose as an obstacle for less "seasoned" commanders who were used to similar aircraft with exactly the same statistics. What would be the assessments and dangers of having fully interactive, individual pilots? Well to start off, there can be as many skilled pilots as there can be incapable individuals, it is up to the commander to see which skills are more important for his/hers fighting style, pilots would also occupy space in the barracks just as any other regular soldier; there would also be the "unfortunate" instance of brilliant pilots dying due to a streak of bad luck or just a mission that wasn't well planned, but sometimes pilots could survive a crash landing and this could bring a good opportunity for a new type of ground mission, search and rescue. To finish this off, I'd just like to thank all who took their precious time to read my suggestion and I'm sorry if I committed any mistakes regarding the template of the topic or the fact that I might've accidentally mentioned something that someone else already said.

 

Addenum 1: Skills?

Awareness: Situational awareness is actually a skill that should be practiced by the player him/herself, but again... Pilots would be required to be extremely perceptive of the environment surronding them and dictate the future of the decisions and options they might take while conducting a mission, pilots with high awareness would be able to dodge and take evasive maneuvers faster than other pilots.

Vitality (or endurance): Pilots should take intensive training regularly, individuals unfit to the task wouldn't be able to resist as much shock and G force as trained pilots would. This skill dictates the pilot's chance of survival in case his aircraft is shot down.

Survival: Survival training will guarantee the pilot's capability of self management and tending to personal needs in an hostile environment, not to mention that the pilot will most likely be hunted down by search parties conducted by the enemy, thus revealing a catastrophic scenario of capture or even death. A pilot's survival skill would determine the time he would be able to survive alone in an hostile environment until he is rescued.

Cunning (optional): At last, a pilot should be an example of ingenuity and wisdom, either from tunning with his own aircraft to meet his needs and extend the efficiency of it's systems to the capability of saving fuel during flight.

 

Addenum 2: Downed pilots?

Yes, there would be a chance of survival of your pilot if his/her interceptor was shot down by alien craft, this would be determined by the vitality skill or just a random chance. After the pilot was downed, the player would have the option of risking his men to conduct a rescue operation on the pilot's known crash site, just like a regular mission the player's squad would spawn in a corner of the map and scout the crash site looking for the downed pilot, depending on how fast the player managed to conduct this operation would determine how many enemies are present on the map, the player's objective would be looking for the remainders of the downed aircraft expecting the pilot to be nearby, if the player managed to find the pilot there could be two situations: situation 1, the pilot would be in a good health condition and able to return back to the helicopter by himself or controlled by the player, the pilot would have a pistol for self defense and his/her skills in combat would be randomly generated (so pray for good AP). situation 2, the pilot would be in a critical state requiring the player to carry him/her back to the helicopter.

 

 

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Welcome to the forums. We regularly get requests about making pilots into chracters in their own right, and there's lots of ways they could be implemented - from a detailed system like you're talking about to something simpler that just gives a plane a bonus if it shoots down enough UFOs.

I guess for me the biggest potential problem with any pilot system is that I don't want to add any extra clicks when a player launches their aircraft, so any pilot system would need to consider this. At the moment you click on a UFO and then pick the planes you want to try and intercept it, and they launch from the base and start chasing it. If you were forced to choose the pilot for each of your planes every time you launched them then I think the player would quickly find the pilot system a chore, because you launch your planes a LOT.

That means I've naturally got a preference for the less complex pilot systems, one where you could for example glance at a plane and see that your pilot was Rank 3 and decide to launch that plane instead of the plane that has a Rank 1 pilot. Having to look up the stats of your individual pilots to see which is better each time you think about launching a plane seems like it would be a lot of hassle, so I think I'd prefer something that clearly marks which pilots are "better".

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Each pilot would be assigned to a specific aircraft of your choice depending on his skills and capabilities, if you wished for, you could have more pilots in reserve or such in case the aircraft was shot down and the pilot was killed, the system would be of some similarity to the squad selection and editing in Xenonauts 1, naturally people will hire the best individuals for the task and make them progress in their careers until they are promoted enough to be grinded or naturally other more "honest" options.

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On a related topic, necessarily the personalised pilots wouldn't need to as in-depth like in say "Star Ixiom" in which all the allied-pilots also had specialities alien-race-wise
( primarily they were better flying against the alien-race they they had the biggest beef with ).

But ti certainly could be nice if more experienced pilot could be able to "squeeze" a little more performance out of the planes they're piloting a lot.

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As an old UFO fan (the brit TV Series from the 60ies) I miss(ed) this feature in Xenonauts 1 also, even more lore-wise than gameplay wise. Pilots gaining Xp increasing weapon efficiency and such would do for me. Same for vehicle drivers in X1 by the way (I know the vehicle in X2 is an automatic drone).

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Pilot's experience can be implanted as an auto-resolve modifier. If successfully shot down the alien aircraft in a manual fight could improve the result from auto-resolve, then the middle/late game would be smoother. It can be something like this:

In manual:

- Bind the pilot to the hanger to represent the pilot team and other crews who are responsible to a aircraft, so no more click is required. 

 

- Survived Pilots in a successful mission may gain exp.

- The more disadvantage a pilot's aircraft has comparing to its foe, the more likely he/she would gain exp.

- Disadvantage = (tier X foe's strength * number + tier X+1 foe's strength * number + ...) - (tier x friendly's str * number + tier x+1 friendly's str * number + ...)

- Set thresholds for Disadvantage in order to define the exp gained ==> low=only healthy survivor from low rank(see below) will gain 1 exp; medium= every healthy survivor will gain 1 exp; high=everyone get 1 exp

As the result, in Auto:

- the exp a pilot has become a modifier in auto.

- set ranks for exp level and then allow pilots gain bonus modifier accordingly in auto:

                                         rank\disadvantage             low                          medium                      high

                                                   low                         +                              n/a                           n/a

                                               medium                      ++                            +                              n/a

                                                  high                         ++                            +                              +

- high rank will lose 1 exp if survived with yellow condition and will lose 2 exp if red

- medium rank will lose 1 exp only if survived in red

- destroyed friendly aircraft will have a 80% chance to have its pilot killed(lose all its exp), if the pilot survive from crash, he/she will still lose 3 exp.

 

 

Conclusion: I believe by introducing pilots like this will make auto-resolve become more dynamic and help out those players who love the ground mission more, meanwhile it's not complicating the development too much and still able to add some flavor to the game. 

If the development allows, generating random traits for the pilots when they rank up will add even more immersive experience: 

Lucky=the pilot has 50% chance instead of 20% to survive if the plane was destoryed.

Resilient=if has 0hp after match, instead of been destoryed, the plane has a 10% chance to return to the base with only 1 point of health.

Dogfighter=receive additional modifier in auto when fighing against the Fighter type of foe.

Tactician=receive additional modifier in auto when on a mission with other pilots who has lower rank.

Wingman=receive additional modifier in auto when on a mission with other pilot/s.

Engineer=the repairing rate for his/her plane get improved.

Trainer=20% chance to add 1 exp for a standby lower rank pilot after gaining exp from a mission.

trumaed=after match, if the plane has only red health condition, the plane will still be destoryed. But if the pilot survive the crash, he/she only lose 1 exp, and will never lose more than this value from a mission.

Death squad=receive additional modifier in auto if has medium Disadvantage in a mission, but has 60% chance to have its plane destoryed after winning the battle (imagine the kamikaze style) and 100% chance to be destroyed if the battle was lost

Nothing=the pilots usually don't get any special traits when they rank up so that the special traits can stay special.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Oh, yeah, and one more thing. Pilots are really inexpensive compared to aircraft. Aircraft can fly with a small downtime, but pilots become tired. Why can't I have multiple pilots for the same planes?

The refueling and rearming time was really annoying in X1 - took hours instead of minutes IRL:

https://www.quora.com/How-long-would-it-take-to-fuel-and-load-a-fighter-in-an-emergency-situation

Today you can refuel jets in the air - yeah, to change pilot you will need to land. But the availability of the plane will be way higher than in X1.

Range... now that is realistic. During the Falkland war, a UK bomber made it there and back without landing, but it took like 6 aerial refueling passes with 10+ support aircraft. True, that Victor was an old cold-war heavy bomber jet which drank fuel like a sailor on shore leave...

Edited by Blade

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On 4/12/2019 at 2:07 AM, Blade said:

Oh, yeah, and one more thing. Pilots are really inexpensive compared to aircraft. Aircraft can fly with a small downtime, but pilots become tired. Why can't I have multiple pilots for the same planes?

The refueling and rearming time was really annoying in X1 - took hours instead of minutes IRL:

https://www.quora.com/How-long-would-it-take-to-fuel-and-load-a-fighter-in-an-emergency-situation

Today you can refuel jets in the air - yeah, to change pilot you will need to land. But the availability of the plane will be way higher than in X1.

Range... now that is realistic. During the Falkland war, a UK bomber made it there and back without landing, but it took like 6 aerial refueling passes with 10+ support aircraft. True, that Victor was an old cold-war heavy bomber jet which drank fuel like a sailor on shore leave...

Military pilots are really expensive compared to military aircraft. That's why military aircraft have ejection seats; the pilot is worth much more than the plane.

 

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To be the devil's advocate, the pilot is not inherently worth more, it is just that you can more easily store spare aircraft in the event that your pilots need more than you can store spare pilots in case your plane comes back in one piece without a pilot...

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Well, complex question. A F-22 costs USD 150M. A more common F-35 costs USD 100M.

On the other hand, they are produced relatively quickly - if there is  war, and you place an order for 100, you get all 100 in a few months.

Now to train a rookie fighter pilot for a common aircraft (like F16) costs around 10M USD and 2 years. To get someone regular will cost you like 15M and 3 years. You will need to add some for rare/unique planes like the Xenonauts frankenplanes. That is 20-30M we're talking about. You can get pilots as donation from countries who have more than planes, or if no one likes you, you won't be able to recruit at all, as fighter pilots are not exactly available on the open market. Well, not the young and good ones anyways... you will find some 40+ retired ones, and some gone AWOL for the real money...

Now on the question of ejection seats - don't compare apples with cherry seeds. Compare the price of the ejection equipment with the cost of the pilot, and you get a better picture! :D

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The Starship Troopers book gives the cost-per-soldier a good treatment. Bootcamp is not a quick experience.

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10 hours ago, Dagar said:

To be the devil's advocate, the pilot is not inherently worth more, it is just that you can more easily store spare aircraft in the event that your pilots need more than you can store spare pilots in case your plane comes back in one piece without a pilot...

Pilots are easier to store than planes; several pilots can use the same trainer to maintain proficiency, and that trainer aircraft was going to need maintenance anyway. Pilots just have a short shelf life compared to planes.

7 hours ago, Blade said:

Well, complex question. A F-22 costs USD 150M. A more common F-35 costs USD 100M.

On the other hand, they are produced relatively quickly - if there is  war, and you place an order for 100, you get all 100 in a few months.

Now to train a rookie fighter pilot for a common aircraft (like F16) costs around 10M USD and 2 years. To get someone regular will cost you like 15M and 3 years. You will need to add some for rare/unique planes like the Xenonauts frankenplanes. That is 20-30M we're talking about. You can get pilots as donation from countries who have more than planes, or if no one likes you, you won't be able to recruit at all, as fighter pilots are not exactly available on the open market. Well, not the young and good ones anyways... you will find some 40+ retired ones, and some gone AWOL for the real money...

Now on the question of ejection seats - don't compare apples with cherry seeds. Compare the price of the ejection equipment with the cost of the pilot, and you get a better picture! :D

2 years? That's from time of commissioning, which is at least 2 years into the pipeline.

A pilot costs an O-1 officer and two years and some money.

There's some complex math involved that acknowledges that sometimes a pilot has a chance of landing a plane intact enough to repair it.

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