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Community Discussion - Skyhawk Dropship

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The Skyhawk is the new starting dropship that appears in Closed Beta V7 (currently on the Experimental branches). It is currently using placeholder assets as we'd like to discuss the layout and design with the community before we make the final assets; once we start getting the final 3d model done and get the 2D art painted up it's going to be hard to make any further changes to the layout!

skyhawk.png

Key Points:

  • The dropship troop capacity has been increased from 8 to 10 soldiers
  • The dropship has solid walls rather than open sides
  • It has a rear ramp and two side doors
  • The tail section is now raised above the playable area
  • The dropship internal space is still raised 1m off the ground, but it doesn't cost extra TU to run down the rear ramp (whereas jumping off the sides of the previous dropship did cost extra TU)

In visual terms, we've smashed together the previous dropship (based off the V-280 Valor) with the design of the larger V-22 Osprey to create a hybrid that suits the intended gameplay a bit better. Your troops are better protected and the starting vision is more constricted than it was previously, and there's no tail section getting in the way of the gameplay either. The rear ramp means 2x2 vehicles might also be a possibility at some point in the future.

The question is whether all of those things are improvements in the eyes of the community, and whether there are further things you'd like to see improved. Is there anything that the X1 Charlie did better you'd like to see incorporated into the Skyhawk?

One of the things I'm debating is turning it from a tilt-rotor into a conventional helicopter, because the wings mean the dropship has a bigger footprint and it can make it harder to place into interesting places when designing maps. However, tiltrotors have an inherent cool factor and it'd be a shame to lose that!

(BTW, note that we wouldn't be able to perfectly recreate the Charlie from X1 in X2 even if we wanted to, though - the dimensions of a tile have changed in X2 and are now 1.5 x 1.5 x 3m, whereas in X1 they were 1.2 x 1.2 x 2m. But don't let that stop you from making suggestions!)

 

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The Charlie had the nifty side doors where you could park a shield, sniper, or HMG soldier to pop out for some extra firepower, and I enjoyed carrying a tank very much.

I'm guessing the ARES is only gonna be a one-tile unit? Or does the new dropship mean it'll probably be 2x2?

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I love the VTOL, but would assume a heli would be more durable, personally. In X1, I didn't trust the Charlie whatsoever, but adored the detail that it was built to get shot while landing as to it's limits. 

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5 hours ago, Chris said:

The dropship troop capacity has been increased from 8 to 10 soldiers

Bad.

5 hours ago, Chris said:

The dropship has solid walls rather than open sides

Good.

But windows are not solid walls. If they are windows they should be smashable. Maybe make them extra hard military glass ones ?

5 hours ago, Chris said:

It has a rear ramp and two side doors

Good.

5 hours ago, Chris said:

The tail section is now raised above the playable area

Good.

5 hours ago, Chris said:

The dropship internal space is still raised 1m off the ground, but it doesn't cost extra TU to run down the rear ramp (whereas jumping off the sides of the previous dropship did cost extra TU)

Good.

 

Extra suggestions:

  • Not having at least one empty row to move soldiers around is bad (inside).
  • I think you can make the visual design a lot cooler than that. The placement of the tires and its mechanical design is far removed from realistic military reality. Remember, players will be staring at that model for a looooooooooooooooooooong time.
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8 hours ago, Eviscerator said:

The Charlie had the nifty side doors where you could park a shield, sniper, or HMG soldier to pop out for some extra firepower, and I enjoyed carrying a tank very much.

I'm guessing the ARES is only gonna be a one-tile unit? Or does the new dropship mean it'll probably be 2x2?

Yeah, the MARS is going to be a single tile unit. We're basically just leaving the door open for adding in a 2x2 support vehicle if we want to do so later in development or in an expansion pack.

The Skyhawk does still have the same side doors as the Charlie though, unless I'm misunderstanding what you mean?

 

8 hours ago, Coffee Potato said:

I love the VTOL, but would assume a heli would be more durable, personally. In X1, I didn't trust the Charlie whatsoever, but adored the detail that it was built to get shot while landing as to it's limits. 

I'm not an expert on the topic but I'm not sure a tiltrotor like an Osprey is inherently any more vulnerable than an equivalent conventional helicopter like a Blackhawk. My understanding is that helicopters are generally fairly fragile relative to other types of aircraft because they tend to fall out of the sky and explode whenever anything important breaks, whereas planes are at least somewhat aerodynamically stable. But I'm not sure the discussion is massively relevant either way :)

 

6 hours ago, Charon said:

Extra suggestions:

  • Not having at least one empty row to move soldiers around is bad (inside).
  • I think you can make the visual design a lot cooler than that. The placement of the tires and its mechanical design is far removed from realistic military reality. Remember, players will be staring at that model for a looooooooooooooooooooong time.

Unfortunately there's very little chance of the starting dropship having three rows whatever helicopter we choose to use (although the advanced dropship does have a three row troop compartment). The larger tiles in X2 means that a three tile internal space would need to be 4.5m wide and the internal space of even a large helicopter like a Chinook is only 2.4m wide in reality.

Unsure what you mean about the design being far removed from realistic military reality though; the Valor and Osprey are both real helicopters this is just a Valor with the tail section of an Osprey. You may not like the design but it's not unrealistic imo.

Can you give a bit more information about why you think having 10 starting soldiers isn't a good change?

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I haven't played V7 yet, but from the description and the visuals, a few points.

The overall layout seems much improved. It should mostly address the previous dropship's main problem of being very exposed. It might be nice to have a bit of empty space also to allow for more movement initially. The frontmost two soldiers should perhaps be a tile away from the ramp and not directly in front of it.

Or consider making the side doors be a 1-tile corridor, so a soldiers steps through one tile on the way out.

The sides should in my opinion be either completely solid (like X1 Charlie), or if they have windows like now, then the windows should be breakable (though probably not too easily). Indestructible windows are not immersive, and are inconsistent with the rest of the game.

I really don't like the idea of increasing it to 10 soldiers. Let that be an upgrade, the starting dropship being 8 soldiers is more than fine. Increasing it to 10 means a 25% increase in your firepower, which doesn't feel remotely necessary based on V6, and I don't think the game calls for an increased number of enemies to compensate either. 8 soldiers has always felt like a sweet spot for early missions in terms of unit management as well - I remember that some pre-release X1 builds tried 6 and 10, and both of those options definitely felt worse than 8.

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The windows on the side walls only exist because this is a placeholder asset made from what were the decorative doors of the previous dropship, I wouldn't read too much into their existence (although I'm pretty sure the X1 Charlie did still visually have windows in its walls that you couldn't actually see through).

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1 hour ago, Chris said:

Yeah, the MARS is going to be a single tile unit. We're basically just leaving the door open for adding in a 2x2 support vehicle if we want to do so later in development or in an expansion pack.

The Skyhawk does still have the same side doors as the Charlie though, unless I'm misunderstanding what you mean?

 

I'm not an expert on the topic but I'm not sure a tiltrotor like an Osprey is inherently any more vulnerable than an equivalent conventional helicopter like a Blackhawk. My understanding is that helicopters are generally fairly fragile relative to other types of aircraft because they tend to fall out of the sky and explode whenever anything important breaks, whereas planes are at least somewhat aerodynamically stable. But I'm not sure the discussion is massively relevant either way :)

 

Unfortunately there's very little chance of the starting dropship having three rows whatever helicopter we choose to use (although the advanced dropship does have a three row troop compartment). The larger tiles in X2 means that a three tile internal space would need to be 4.5m wide and the internal space of even a large helicopter like a Chinook is only 2.4m wide in reality.

Unsure what you mean about the design being far removed from realistic military reality though; the Valor and Osprey are both real helicopters this is just a Valor with the tail section of an Osprey. You may not like the design but it's not unrealistic imo.

Can you give a bit more information about why you think having 10 starting soldiers isn't a good change?

This may be kind of out there, but have you considered an option for those times when something crashes right by your base? Like when I saw a UFO land the next county over one time, I kept thinking "Why can't we just send a couple trucks or something?" XCOM Files experimented with cars and trucks as dropships, and I've generally heard only positive stuff about that (They seemingly just moved super slow, with it being assumed they took barges across water).

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@Chris

  • Just throwing it out there that 3-tile-wide helicopters would be an improvement. Gameplay wise. But alas .. .
2 hours ago, Chris said:

Unfortunately there's very little chance of the starting dropship having three rows whatever helicopter we choose to use (although the advanced dropship does have a three row troop compartment). The larger tiles in X2 means that a three tile internal space would need to be 4.5m wide and the internal space of even a large helicopter like a Chinook is only 2.4m wide in reality.

Generally i think the chopper is overloaded. Currently the pic shows 10 empty tiles, filled with 10 soldiers. My comment was about the fact that if you would have 8 soldiers, you would gain 2 tiles to shuffle around your soldiers, not to make the heli 3 tiles wide.

In X1, without a a vehicle, your Chinook had 10 empty tiles inside it, where you could shuffle around your soldier, or retreat them to safety. The current picture has none. Not an improvement.

2 hours ago, Chris said:

Unsure what you mean about the design being far removed from realistic military reality though; the Valor and Osprey are both real helicopters this is just a Valor with the tail section of an Osprey. You may not like the design but it's not unrealistic imo.

I was specifically talking about the angle of the .. "thing the heli stands on", eg. tires and the support structures, its legs so to speak. Its construction would hint to somebody immediatelly getting fired if such a vtol would actually be produced in reality. I dont want to go into the physical details of why that is, and i doubt anybody who isnt a military engineer or physicist would notice, i just want to bring this to your attention:

1473009_756479717701898_217128374_n.jpg?format=1500w

Google "280 valor" and check the images for the legs.

Unbenannt2.png.e967c59bc95c51f95b794eec1bd1eadf.png

Anyway, minor detail.

 

2 hours ago, Chris said:

Can you give a bit more information about why you think having 10 starting soldiers isn't a good change?

IF the gameplay stays around the X1 model, than more soldiers means more aliens. More soldiers + more aliens = longer Battles. If we get an upgrade system of 10-12-14 soldiers than that will turn into uneccesary longer battles. And if we get less than 3 upgrades i would feel like the upgrade incentive is missing.

That depends entirely of the direction of the development though. If your soldiers become more throwaways than in X1, 10 it is. Im judging changes based on as if the final product is very close to X1.

Just saying a little bit of space to reorganise soldiers in your dropship would be nice.

Also, when can we expect our 1 tile R2D2 ?

r2d2_sw17hr-0005_817961020257.jpg

Edited by Charon

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@ChrisI basically said what @Solver said with more pictures ;).

And the final chinook didnt have windows, just small sunshine holes above.

right_back.png.df52c0dd2b428b68a168c990cbf39f2b.pngOutside

left_back.png.d078c6bee9ee299c95a1385dca5651f8.pngInside

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Also, might be an outlier here, but I hope the thing gets those edged tail bits. something about clunky, boxy planes trying to be agile just always did it for me. Hell, I should ask Charon how I can remodel the X-Div Marauders with this sexy thing:

Image result for warhawk ps1

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Ah, thanks for the explanations. Yes, the MARS is still planned, probably for the major build after the next one.

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If the dropship has blind spots, enemies should be unable to start in those blind spots.

 

There's design room for craft with a higher capacity but not more interior space, if a soldier in very heavy armor takes up more than one soldier's worth of weight but still fits in one tile. That could also be used as a balancing factor and allow heavy armor, robots, or vehicles to be better, if they take more weight.

Few aircraft are limited in passenger capacity by how many seats they have; aircraft limit how many seats and cargo space they have so that they reach their full load when the seats and cargo bays are full.

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When I was called to a Alien Raid Mission, the drop ship was the older eight seater, and the two in the back were stuck fast and unable to move.

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I've played a few games now with the new Skyhawk. I won't comment on the aesthetics, others have already done that - I'll keep it entirely to my experiences. 

 

Regarding 10 soldiers

2 extra soldiers does not feel the force multiplier as has been suggested on this thread. I believe it's because of the shift to %-based shooting. Each solider fires far fewer shots than they did previously. Soldiers in fact feel pretty weak to begin with (god bless smoke). 

 

Regarding side walls

I honestly kind of miss the freedom to get everyone out of the choppa. It's now much more important where I place my troops during mission planning, because if I muck that up the first soldiers out of the Skyhawk aren't the ones I want. I think it might be helpful on the dropship screen to make it clearer where the doors are (perhaps with arrows? I don't know) so I can plan where I want my soldiers to be. 

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So does anyone else who has played the build have feedback on the new dropship design? It's only Max who has given his gameplay feedback so far.

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I think it would be nice if the drop ship was 3 titles wide,as this would allow better movement of troops in the craft.

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One thing you can do for the dropship design to make it more capable of fitting into a smaller footprint - which I agree is a good idea - is to have the wings rotate similar to the Osprey's wings when landed on a carrier. Just make it so the wings rotate prior to landing while the engine pods are in helicopter mode. The real Osprey can't do it, but it'd be a nice modification for the game.

 

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I do have more opinions, but I'd prefer to hold them back until the disappearing soldiers bug is completely worked out as that is a massive crimp on playing the game beyond the first few missions.

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Double post I know, but...more opinions based on experience of Skyhawk

The walls are both a boon and a bane

I've used the Skyhawk as a bunker several times now. It's been pretty necessary in raids during the inital melee before I can expand outwards. At the same time, there's no room to manoevure inside the Skyhawk. I've said it several times now but it bears repeating - the way I choose the positioning of troops during setup seems to have an effect on the inital first few turns, because I can't make up easily for bad placement inside the Skyhawk. 

 

10 soldiers seems enough.. then a little too much.. then enough again

When starting the game, soldiers are horribly vulnerable. The first few games against Psyons had me loosing 3-4 soldiers per game. All a Psyon had to do is get a lucky hit in and that was it for the soldier, so 10 soldiers seemed enough to make up for losses. I got combat armour and started facing Sebillians, whose weapons are less effective against soldiers in combat armour than Psyons ad 10 soliders seemed to be a bit excessive. Then I faced Androns while I still had ballistic weapons and holy crap 10 soldiers weren't enough for 1 Andron, let alone the 12 in the raid. Bear in mind I've only got as far as probes and scouts - I've yet to face an observer or destroyer so I can't comment yet on wether 10 is enough/not enough for the larger class of ships. 

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So.... anyone else who's had experience of the Skyhawk got anything to say about it? Emily_F? chiroho? Ruggerman? I can't be the only one with a voice?!

 

Or can I?

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3 hours ago, Max_Caine said:

So.... anyone else who's had experience of the Skyhawk got anything to say about it? Emily_F? chiroho? Ruggerman? I can't be the only one with a voice?!

 

Or can I?

I'd love to have some feedback, but I got Xsolla'd into waiting for a Steam code

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I haven't yet been able to play the new builds due to increased work commitments but just looking a the pictures is there any reason the Skyhawk couldn't have more doors? If each side of the aircraft was basically a pair of double doors that the soldiers could choose to open when they needed to disembark then many of the problems people have suggested might well go away. I can't think of any real world aircraft with double sliding side doors but as this is a fictional one how about doors that split horizontally to give an access ramp/steps when open? 

You could choose who to disembark first, where to disembark from, and you wouldn't really need to shuffle troops inside the dropship in a lot of situations anymore. Think kind of like the old dropship but you could open and close the sides as you needed. You could even make those doors tough but destructible if you wanted to encourage people to move out rather than bunker down.

Aircraft033-1097x731 (2).jpg

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On 9/21/2019 at 9:22 PM, Coffee Potato said:

I'd love to have some feedback, but I got Xsolla'd into waiting for a Steam code

You should have your Steam code by now, but in case you weren't aware the Xsolla backers have had access the to V7 builds from V7.1 onwards!

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I'd be interested to hear what people other than Max think too; I suspect getting a 3-tile wide dropship is probably going to entail designing some fictional starting dropship with a cargo hold arranged a bit like the shrike from X1.

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