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Drakon

Alien Rescue Missions

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Imagine this: one of your craft has been shot down, and you have been able to confirm via radio that several of the crew members, including a mid-level officer, a good scientist and some valuable engineers, are now stranded behind enemy lines. You can assume from previous engagements that the force that shot down your craft is assembling a strike team to take these soldiers prisoner or kill them, and obtain as much of your tech from the damaged craft as they can.

Would you not send a strike team in to rescue them, and place a bomb at the crashed transport craft to render it worthless to the enemy?

Why aren't the aliens doing this?

 

I think that would be actually be an interesting (and reasonably easy to produce) addition to the game: if a UFO is shot down, a "Rescue UFO" is spawned not long after, which will fly to the crash site and render it unusable. That "Rescue UFO" would need to be accompanied by a strong fighter cover to avoid cheesing (shoot down one UFO, then intercept the rescuers for additional resources), and it might also be an idea that once a rescue party has been wiped out, the aliens will not send them any more. While this is stretching realism to a notable degree, it would even be an idea to have the alien rescue party show up after a certain number of turns at a crash site (optimally that number of turns is determined by the distance of the Rescue UFO to the crash site), introducing a believable game timer for wanting to clear the crashsite quickly enough.

Edited by Drakon
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Er, aliens are aliens. They don't think like humans.

Remember, most of these aliens are grown in a lab, and they're mindless slaves. They worth nothing. What remained from the UFO is most probably not salvageable any more - it will never fly again. It is easier to manufacture another. Remember, the bastards have virtually infinite resources, and a fleet consisting of a thousand warships just orbiting Earth. Humanity is just another race to enslave, best of their DNA goes to the ruler race. The fate of humanity under the aliens is determined by their usefulness - if they produce any resources the aliens need...

Or not. Remember, they're aliens, we just don't know. Maybe they will just annihilate Earth like the Necromongers. Maybe they'll shoot every other human in the head with a plasma pistol, like Thanos. Maybe they just want to make friends, but don't realize that humans have individuals not a mind-hive. Maybe they're peaceful, but there was a misunderstanding interpreting Humanity's intents sent in space, and now they think we're planning to destroy them, so they are shooting first... oh, I love "The Forever War"! :)

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@Drakon, having read other posts by Chris, I believe the current narrative intent is that the alien crew will hang around the crash site until alien translocators get a good fix and transport as much away as possible, so the player has to race to lock the site down before it literally vanishes. 

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I despise teleportation in 99% of sci-fi. Silly technology with tons and tons of loopholes. A can of worms best never opened.

A far simpler explanation is that the aliens are rigging the thing to explode. Sabotaging/scuttling/destroying equipment and things that would be of use. No need for magical teleporters. Get there before they destroy everything worth salvaging.

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Teleportation isn't that crazy a concept. At least when it is envisioned as space folding (Dune) and not beaming matter (Star Trek). Although it does require a bunch of hand waving for why you can't just teleport-bomb the enemy. Or just teleport the enemy into the sun, etc.

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As I said, a can of worms. Once practical applications of said technology become evident, any sci-fi race using them seems like morons. There is no need for it when simple explanations work just fine.

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If the exact limitations of the magic sufficiently advanced technology are never made clear to the audience, the broad strokes at least have to be made to the writers. That way you don't have one writer saying that sensor interference is preventing the transporter from working when another decides that it works faster than light and has unlimited range.

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I HATE that phrase. Sufficiently advanced technolgoy is NOT indistinguishable from magic, whoever said that is a moron.

OK, it might be to a caveman who has no understanding of the most basic of physics, but once you do grasp the fundamentals then pass that treshold it does not apply anymore.

 

But the point is that teleportation is so abuseable and can be so insanely OP with a bit of creative application, that it's best for writers to avoid it, unless they plan to spend a HUGE amount of time over it.

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18 minutes ago, TrashMan said:

I HATE that phrase. Sufficiently advanced technolgoy is NOT indistinguishable from magic, whoever said that is a moron.

 

Arthur C Clarke, who among other things either initially or independently developed the concept of the communications satellite and space elevator.
No human technology is ever sufficiently advanced any, because humans must understand it well enough to make it. All of the things like Prince Rupert's Drops that can be discovered by accident have already been explained.

image.png.91f36d2c082b1fe38598c4dfdd440c7d.png

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Doesn't matter if it's human or not. All technologly must fallow the basic laws. But let's not go further, this is de-railing the thread.

 

To make any such mission more interesting, you can have variations, depending on type of craft that was downed, time that has passed and some other factors.

The more time passes, the less rewards you get.

There is a chance an alien craft will arrive at the crash site (you should be able to see it on geospace and intercept if necessary). If it lands it would speed up crashsite deterioration. Depending on size and type of the craft, when a Xenonauts force is arriving it may drop additional hostiles and leave, or try to intercept (escorts matter), or try to bomb the site (greatly reduces loot from site, but also reduces hostile count)

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Realistically the crafts would self-destruct instantly upon crashlanding. Or the aliens might nuke the site. In many games the lategame tech is like 5x as powerful. The aliens would do everything they can to prevent humans from getting it. Meanwhile their soldiers are completely expendable. Unless you take a weird interpretation like FiraxisCOM's "they wanted us to win, it was a test". So thematically none of the UFO missions really make any sense.

Mechanically, yes it would be interesting to see a few more timers, especially ones that play into the airgame and/or result in increasing enemy forces as in LW2 rather than instant loss as in XCOM2. But this definitely seems like a more complex way to do it.

Edited by Bobit

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2 hours ago, Bobit said:

they wanted us to win, it was a test

That premise was an utter let down. Fortunately, the story line up until that reveal was hardly gripping. (Can you be let down if you aren't holding on to anything?)

I like the idea of reinforcements coming. Or any kind of timer-based difficulty really. But then, I have played a lot more XCOM recently, where aggressive play is sensible. Xenonauts is a bit more geared towards slower, more defensive tactics. 

In terms of the original point, having some kind of rescue/retaliation mission after an initial engagement would be good. Say you down a battleship, then because that is such a big prize, the aliens send out a squadron of fighters to ambush your skyranger. It would be good to see the geoscape utilised more fully: for the flight paths and positioning of your aircraft to do something interesting. Like drawing out some aggressive UFOs or patrolling an area to block them. As far as I'm aware, most aerial engagements are little more than a direct interception, possibly with some choice as to which UFO you pursue.

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Problem with advanced geoscape air tactics is that then you have to micromanage that. They already have instant skyranger because getting downed by fighters was not very interesting, you basically just retreat the skyranger until the airspace is secure. I say leave the tactics to the tactical level.

In Xenonauts the only drives toward aggressive play are:

  1. The chance you'll get ambushed
  2. Limited smoke (as Charon points out)
  3. (X-division only) civilian casualties
  4. The fact that aliens smell you through walls in a radius so the only way to ambush them first is to move fast
     

Would be nice to see a little more for sure. I hear original XCOM has unconscious enemies revive if you take too long, which sounds pretty crazy.

Edited by Bobit

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On ‎4‎/‎26‎/‎2019 at 6:00 PM, Bobit said:

Realistically the crafts would self-destruct instantly upon crashlanding. 

How many planes you know that have a self-destruct button? OR tanks? Or ships? It's common in movies, but it really isn't there.

Even in WW2, they way to avoid capture was scuttling - usually by opening all comparments and letting the ship flood (that still make it recoverable with gear, and it's useless for alien spaceships) or blowing up the ammo maganizes (for that the vehicle must use high-explosive weapons to begin with. And it also leaves enough pieces to study). Self-destrust enver was a standard, and properly making sure nothing of value remains is time-consuming.

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On ‎4‎/‎27‎/‎2019 at 4:27 PM, Bobit said:

Problem with advanced geoscape air tactics is that then you have to micromanage that. They already have instant skyranger because getting downed by fighters was not very interesting, you basically just retreat the skyranger until the airspace is secure. I say leave the tactics to the tactical level.

But what if you can't? The Skyranger might not be fast enough. You might have been late in noticing the aliens.

Why would more tactics and involvement in geospace be bad?

As for micromanaging, it can be handled as easily as assigning permanent escort or groups/wings. Basicaly, in the base set up two fighters to escort your transport, and as long as those fighters are able they will launch with the transport automatically and escort it. Hell, it can work for any craft.

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1) Self-destruct doesn't exist irl because explosives are worth less than the enemy capturing it. This is clearly not the case here.

2) Direct escorts aren't the proper way to deal with a large number of fighters. You can't get a large enough fleet. Better to kill all the fighters in the wave then send out the ranger. It's definitely possible to balance it in an interesting way but it would require a rework.

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3 hours ago, Bobit said:

1) Self-destruct doesn't exist irl because explosives are worth less than the enemy capturing it. This is clearly not the case here. 

2) Direct escorts aren't the proper way to deal with a large number of fighters. You can't get a large enough fleet. Better to kill all the fighters in the wave then send out the ranger. It's definitely possible to balance it in an interesting way but it would require a rework. 

1) nope. You have state-of-the art hardware that doesn't have self-destruct. B2 bomber? F35? Newest aircraft carrier? All may have newest tech that you wouldn't want your enemy to get. None of them have self-destructs. True, the tech difference is not that big, but the point stands.

 

2. Who sez you can't get a large enough fleet?

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It caps at 2 fighters. You often can't beat 3 alien fighters with that, or don't have them available. Also the predictable wave spawns means the chance you'll be killed by fighters you can't see is really low, and if you can see them you probably should just send a 3-fighter fleet. Though yeah escorting still happens occasionally.

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The total number of aircraft you will be able to hold at one of your bases is not only not final, but also depend on how many hangars you build.

Although, if you ask me, airfield/hanger should be a separate geoscape building. Your base should only hold hangers for the transport, and fighters would be stantioned in fighter bases that you build.

Those would be simple pre-fabs. an airfiled with hangers, supplies, pilot barracks and simple radar. You can upgrade the airfield to hold more planes and pilots, and upgrade the radar.

This is simple, frees up slots on your base for important things, and neatly separates fighters and pilot managment away from your base. Also, it makes sense for an airbase to be a separate site.

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On 5/1/2019 at 1:19 PM, TrashMan said:

1) nope. You have state-of-the art hardware that doesn't have self-destruct. B2 bomber? F35? Newest aircraft carrier? All may have newest tech that you wouldn't want your enemy to get. None of them have self-destructs. True, the tech difference is not that big, but the point stands.

 

2. Who sez you can't get a large enough fleet?

1) All three of those have abandon procedures that destroy the sensitive tech. If you eject from an F35, the software deletes itself securely; the parts of an aircraft carrier that have TS information also have hatches and bulkheads that can resist penetration long enough to shred or melt all of the information inside.

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Which is exactly why you want to get to it quickly.

It still relies mostly on people to destroy sensitive stuff, of which there is usually only a few really interesting bits, and it takes time.

Now, consider that for an alien ship, literally every single bit could be useful means that destroying al of it takes quite a bit more time and effort.

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The cap for aircraft allowed in a single combat is what really makes escorts a risky strategy. Dropships shouldn't count towards that cap imo. Unless I guess that cap is infinite. Then dropships shouldn't count towards hangar fighter cap, maybe? Or, just leave it be because escorts are already occasionally viable which is good enough.

Edited by Bobit

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13 hours ago, TrashMan said:

Which is exactly why you want to get to it quickly.

It still relies mostly on people to destroy sensitive stuff, of which there is usually only a few really interesting bits, and it takes time.

Now, consider that for an alien ship, literally every single bit could be useful means that destroying al of it takes quite a bit more time and effort.

Of course it relies on intentional actions to destroy valuable things. Any kind of automated destruction system for the edge case of intact capture would be capable of being activated either accidentally or as a result of sabotage.

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