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Much as I like the game returning to dropships, the current layout of the actual dropship is a mess - in combat, it's just a deathtrap.

If you hit a mission where there are 3 Sebillians near the landing spot, you'll notice that. I enjoy the fact that, just like X1, some missions can start in a difficult position, and your landing zone could come under attack. But the X2 Blackhawk is like it was designed by an alien infiltrator to ensure that Xenonauts would not leave it easily. Specific problems:

* It's totally exposed. The nose and tail provide a little protection from the front and back, but any aliens on the side can fire at the entire crew. This also means that firing out of the dropship is extra dangerous because overwatch will probably hit someone.

* The drop from the helicopter to the ground means you need 8 TUs to get out. Also soldiers start facing the wrong way, as in they face the nose and not the sides, so also rotation is needed. This makes the first turn more difficult, when you want to properly leave the chopper.

* The row of seats in the middle means that troops have to leave by the side they're standing next to, or else suffer an extra TU penalty for vaulting inside the chopper. Another detail making it harder to leave.

I think something like the X1 Chinook layout was great. A big ramp to leave from, with side exits to provide tactical options, and decent protection from most angles. The original Skyranger had the same ramp layout but no side exits.

Frankly I don't think a Blackhawk is a reasonable choice for X2 given how the helicopter is really used. This video shows drops with Chinooks and Blackhawks, and highlights what I mean.

The Chinook's rear ramp lets the infantry get out and move quickly. With the Blackhawk, they get out and immediately go prone, clearly relying on the Blackhawk's door guns to provide fire if needed. In X2, troops cannot go prone, and dropships don't have guns making sure the immediate area is safe, so the BH ends up just being awkward.

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While the initial starting positions definitely suck in terms of getting out, the new ship is dang stylish, for what it's worth. Maybe they just need a better pilot to stop LANDING IN THE SEBILLIAN HOLES.

Also, the Charlie may have been ok sometimes, but it had quite a few tiles where you would definitely die, but had no LoS to fire back from, or even see the potential assistant to your units' afterlife. (Especially those 3 tiles by the pilot's door. Jeesh)

I don't suppose there could be an effect of the landing that the parcel in question auto-suppressed all nearby units? It would be neat to have more entry options, like a gunship that suppressed the area, a ship that had cover, or even just parachuting in at the cost of having no evac tiles. 

I'm not sure the TFTD Sub that spawns on the desert map is much better in terms of anything, to be honest. I can't see a scenario where I'd ever want to use that thing, just because of the inconvenience of the doors. Sure, they might get close (cue TFTD waiting 3 turns and hoping not to die rules), but can you imagine opening a door and getting a cannon reaction in there? Instant spaghetti can. 

Maybe pull an XCOM Files and deploy in a car? No victory lap like letting the Fury take care of the sky and showing up to a raid in a convertible.

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In X1, aliens started with 50% TU, on their initial turn. Not sure if this is the case in X2 now, but I still don't think it addresses the greater issue of the layout, which becomes relevant on those "dropship defense" missions where you're initially swarmed, and spend the first several turns getting some breathing space.

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Perhaps the dropship could be equipped with door gunners as in “real” life? An MG either side that could suppress the landing zone?  

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Turrets would be nice, but they'd probably have to be actual units. 

Certainly feels like they have full TUs now, lost rookies from the ship more than once. 

Wonder if something similar to WOTC Sitreps might happen, where you could land in a guaranteed clear zone, or just have different spawn conditions.  

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If the issue with the current dropship is the LZ is hot, then wouldn't the solution be to adjust the maps so the LZ isn't hot? Or perhaps a hot LZ but with adjustments to the start tile so there's initial protection (such as smoke) during the drop?

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1 hour ago, Max_Caine said:

If the issue with the current dropship is the LZ is hot, then wouldn't the solution be to adjust the maps so the LZ isn't hot? Or perhaps a hot LZ but with adjustments to the start tile so there's initial protection (such as smoke) during the drop?

Realistically if you were going into that hot an LZ wouldn't you pop smoke from the transport before getting out anyway?

Add Smoke launchers to the transports that auto deploy on landing :)

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14 hours ago, Coffee Potato said:

I don't suppose there could be an effect of the landing that the parcel in question auto-suppressed all nearby units? It would be neat to have more entry options, like a gunship that suppressed the area, a ship that had cover, or even just parachuting in at the cost of having no evac tiles. 

+1

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4 hours ago, Max_Caine said:

If the issue with the current dropship is the LZ is hot, then wouldn't the solution be to adjust the maps so the LZ isn't hot? Or perhaps a hot LZ but with adjustments to the start tile so there's initial protection (such as smoke) during the drop?

Just to clarify my position, I don't want changes that make a hot LZ impossible, like limiting alien spawns or suppressing them. From my perspective, it's fun to have occasional missions where the LZ is not safe and you come under assault right away. I'd even say it's part of the all-important "you're never safe" feeling that an Xcom-like game should have. It's just that the dropship itself should be reasonably defensible, not totally exposed and hampering movement.

Come to think of it, when the suppression code is fixed so it also works with misses, an alien shooting into the dropship at the start will probably be able to suppress 2-4 soldiers as well.

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Yeah, the dropship is going to get replaced (although it's not a Blackhawk nor an Osprey, it's a V-280 Valor). I realised the things outlined in the original post were mistakes a few months back so we've got a dropship more akin to the X1 dropship in the works.

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20 minutes ago, Chris said:

Yeah, the dropship is going to get replaced (although it's not a Blackhawk nor an Osprey, it's a V-280 Valor).

Are you dead set on the V-280 Valor? I mean, it's not that big of a deal, it just feels a bit too futuristic. Plus Chinooks are the most awesome helicopter ever made. 

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Just now, Clythoris said:

Are you dead set on the V-280 Valor? I mean, it's not that big of a deal, it just feels a bit too futuristic. Plus Chinooks are the most awesome helicopter ever made. 

Chris means the current model is a V-280 Valor and that is being replaced :)

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Just now, Clythoris said:

Are you dead set on the V-280 Valor? I mean, it's not that big of a deal, it just feels a bit too futuristic. Plus Chinooks are the most awesome helicopter ever made. 

I think you misunderstand me - the dropship currently in the game that's we're planning to replace is the Valor. What we're replacing it with is probably going to mostly be based on the AW101, which is a bit smaller than the Chinook but has a similar layout in gameplay terms.

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Just now, Kaiphus_Kain said:

Chris means the current model is a V-280 Valor and that is being replaced :)

Dang. You are right. Still hoping it's gonna be a Chinook though!

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Just now, Chris said:

I think you misunderstand me - the dropship currently in the game that's we're planning to replace is the Valor. What we're replacing it with is probably going to mostly be based on the AW101, which is a bit smaller than the Chinook but has a similar layout in gameplay terms.

Oh, ok. That one looks cool too! Thank you for the good work!

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16 minutes ago, Chris said:

I think you misunderstand me - the dropship currently in the game that's we're planning to replace is the Valor. What we're replacing it with is probably going to mostly be based on the AW101, which is a bit smaller than the Chinook but has a similar layout in gameplay terms.

Please don't make LoS on that thing one way, though. I know I mention it a lot, but I've seen a good few people complaining that they died to those safe-feeling tiles that don't feel like they should have sight from outside. 

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1 hour ago, stewpidbear said:

Just to say even Chinooks have door and ramp gunners............

Reality doesn't need to make special rules to code them in, though. The problem sounds mechanical.

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I'm not really interested in putting turrets on the dropships; it's probably pretty easy to do (I imagine the X:CE guys could unlock the functionality for modders fairly easily) but I don't think it's a good idea from a gameplay perspective in vanilla Xenonauts 2. X-Com is about fighting with your soldiers, rather than machinegunning your enemies with your helicopter.

That said I can see it fitting better into one of the longer and more hardcore mods like X-Division.

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Yeah, the intended gameplay change of having turrets on the dropship would be to prevent having the entire craft one-shot by good enemy positioning.

But enemy positioning can be controlled directly, and if the turrets are effective at their primary role then they will create the degenerate behavior of baiting enemies into their killzone for free kills; if the turrets aren't effective they will not accomplish their primary goal.

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2 hours ago, Decius said:

But enemy positioning can be controlled directly, and if the turrets are effective at their primary role then they will create the degenerate behavior of baiting enemies into their killzone for free kills; if the turrets aren't effective they will not accomplish their primary goal.

“Degenerate behavior”? I really don’t think that a legitimate real world tactic can be described that way. Another suggestion would be to change the Aliens behaviour by not approaching/retreating from the landing zone.

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It isn't the behavior of something in the real world which is degenerate. It is the supremacy of using effective, invincible rapid-fire weapons to cut down opponents that have no chance of defending themselves that is degenerate. The moment you have to start introducing special cases to prevent games devolving into giant kiting sessions something has gone wrong. 

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Posted (edited)

The problem is getting out of the ship before being cut down by the enemy? There are various game changes that can be made to fix this there’s no doubt. Remember gunners can only fire at what they can see. My biggest bug bear is the port/industrial area where I’m often stuffed by being swamped within two turns. Having “turrets” would allow a safe dispersal but not effect the rest of the map/mission. Lmg gunners/turrets on the ship would be there primarily for suppression, after all the dropship in not a gunship.

Edit.....is an Lmg in game terms invincible?

Edited by stewpidbear

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If gunners can only shoot what they see then that's fine, I can kite enemies back to the dropship. It's not hard because enemies are predisposed to behave aggressively - they will seek my troops out. This is especially true in raids and terror sites. If the issue is the LZ is hot, then the solution isn't to make special cases which are open to abuse beyond their intended value, but to re-jig the map so the LZ isn't hot. 

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