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Community Discussion - Air Combat

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36 minutes ago, Solver said:

Unusually, I have to agree with Charon on the subject. If there is any airgame except autoresolve, it should be playable with actual player interaction. Even if I would prefer a turn-based system, the current X2 system that's being removed isn't really like gameplay, it's more like watching a cutscene.

HA. And with that fuel let me make a suggestion. This might cut deep, so bite your teeth.

 

First, here are the basics. The X1 model, and the envisioned upgraded X2 model are called topdown shooters. They are a legitimate game genre, which can stand all on its own. There have been thousands of games like this ever since Space Invaders was released in 1978. From Space Invaders over Star Fox 64 to Nova Drift they are all topdown shooters. What they all have in common is that they reward dexterity based skills and fast decision making. The sum is hundreds of mini twitch decisions each of them are executed in a tiny time window.

Strategic thinking on the other hand rewards time consuming decisions with great impact. The characteristic traits of those are unlimited amount of time to think, less strategic decisions, and greater impact for each individual decision. Its not hard to imagine that players who enjoy one of these genres dont enjoy the other. They are fundamental opposites in the smallest amount of measureable player interaction. There is only a tiny fraction of players who like both ( weirdos ), because those 2 fundamental skills talk to 2 very fundamental different destinations in the brain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everybody here is discussing how to make the perfect medium burger, which doesnt piss of most people, while i see no reason why we cant have 2 perfect rare and well done burgers, instead of 2 medium ones.

I find it much more important to discuss the Geoscape-Airgame effects. Like

  • Do we want damageable parts of UFOs ? Do we want to have them have effects in Ground Combat ?
  • What should the effects of escaping UFOs be ?
  • What should the effects of shot down UFOs be ?
  • Random interactions when <incident> happens ?

Unbenannt2.png.65457924ef889bd2ac76107e6f39d6fc.png

Edited by Charon
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45 minutes ago, Charon said:

I think that would be the worst of both worlds. I loathe systems that take away control of the player. If i want to watch a movie i go and watch a movie. If i play a game i want it to be playable. This proposal is the exemplary case of what people who secretly hate the airgame would come up with. Removes all elements they dont like and makes it enjoyable for them.

 This is why i advocated for a 2 way system from the beginning. Let the people who dont like it have a proper autoresolve system, and make the airgame for people who really like it. Instead of having to force a compromise which is to nobodys taste in the end.

 Asking people who dont like the airgame is like asking a person who doesnt like cheese to go on a cheese-eating-spree. Guess what they will tell you about it, "It tastes really good, except for the cheese."

I can't speak for others but I don't "hate" the airgame.  I just find X1's air game too static and micro-heavy to be enthusiastic about seeing it return; and I struggle to see how that system can be improved on in a manner which will significantly address these problems.

In that context, what I'd be seeking in a compromise is one which affords the player some control - and therefore capacity to affect the outcome - but which doesn't rely on significant micro-management and split-second timing.  My experience of X1 is that - where it needs to be done at all - the requirement to micro-control dodges, speed and targeting of aircraft all steals attention from strategic level thought.

So it's not that I don't want an air game.  It's that I've had enough of arcade-like RT action air combat from X1 and would like something less fiddly and more tactically interesting instead.

Quote

Unusually, I have to agree with Charon on the subject. If there is any airgame except autoresolve, it should be playable with actual player interaction. Even if I would prefer a turn-based system, the current X2 system that's being removed isn't really like gameplay, it's more like watching a cutscene.

I'm not in the beta so I've not played it and only seen a few short videos.  But the impression I get is that it's not really been developed very much rather than being fundamentally flawed.  I don't resent Chris from shifting to something more safe and familiar but if I'm right it's a shame it hasn't had more of a chance to show what it might have been.

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5 minutes ago, kabill said:

I can't speak for others but I don't "hate" the airgame.  I just find X1's air game too static and micro-heavy to be enthusiastic about seeing it return; and I struggle to see how that system can be improved on in a manner which will significantly address these problems.

In that context, what I'd be seeking in a compromise is one which affords the player some control - and therefore capacity to affect the outcome - but which doesn't rely on significant micro-management and split-second timing.  My experience of X1 is that - where it needs to be done at all - the requirement to micro-control dodges, speed and targeting of aircraft all steals attention from strategic level thought.

So it's not that I don't want an air game.  It's that I've had enough of arcade-like RT action air combat from X1 and would like something less fiddly and more tactically interesting instead.

Read the point in the post above about twitch based dexterity skills being fundamentally different to slow strategic decision making. Your paragraphs prove my point better than i could have.

Edited by Charon

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1 minute ago, Charon said:

Read the point in the post above of twitch based dexterity skills being fundamentally different to slow strategic decision making. Your paragraphs prove my point better than i could have.

I don't think I (or anyone else) was denying or questioning that?

(I suspect my apparent objectionable post above made the mistake of using the world "compromise" without elaborating on the "weird sort-of" prefix I attached to it.  The point wasn't a compromise between "twitch" and "strategy" so much as "speed of play" and "strategy".  One of Chris's objections to the TB system was it being too slow; while one of my/others's object to RT is that it's too fiddly.  Something that sits between those two points is what I would personally like to see; I'm not particularly interested in twitch-based gameplay for X2 and don't see "twitch" as synonymous with "control".  The suggestion I made may not be a good way of doing that, but that's the main issue for me in any case.)

(In that vein, a better idea would actually probably be just the original Xcom's air combat system, with some augmentations for a bit more player input and more emphasis on squad-based interceptions.  Although I guess that's just a RT version of what the TB game was.)

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Everybody here is discussing how to make the perfect medium burger, which doesnt piss of most people, while i see no reason why we cant have 2 perfect rare and well done burgers, instead of 2 medium ones.

I'm assuming by "good autoresolve" in your proposal you mean something which is more than just pressing a button to generate an outcome (i.e. X1's autoresolve function).

If so, I think you may be underestimating how difficult it would be to have two games which respect the same inputs and generates the same kinds of outputs, while also not being exploitable.  If Chris is already making the decision to pull back to the familiar X1 system because he doesn't have the resource to risk developing the new system, I doubt there's scope for developing two parallel air game modes either.  That's not to say that it's impossible or unobtainable.  But I don't think the work involved is as trivial as you seem to imply and settling on one single good game (whatever that game ends up being) is far from unreasonable in that context.

And if instead that's not what you meant, and you do just mean a button-press auto-resolve, then I think you're advocating the same thing as everyone else (as there's only one core air game then; and an option to skip it).

(Honestly, I'm just sad that we're losing TB and am looking for any ideas that might help retain something of that!  But it's probably a lost cause.)

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Double-post as this is more on topic in some ways:

I suspect some UI/interface improvements would make a big difference to the air system if X1's is used as a base.  The ability to place waypoints/draw flight paths for aircraft would make a lot of the fine manoeuvring a lot easier to manage, for example, as would things that (e.g.) automate dodges or which automatically set an aircraft to match the speed of its target (i.e. when you're behind it to avoid overshooting).  Actually, on the subject of speed, do we really need fine control over aircraft speed or would a few modes (match target, full and afterburner) be sufficient?  I'm trying to think of an occasion where less than full speed is useful except where you're trying not to overshoot the target (and hairpin turns, but they're a major source of micro-management that I would not be sad to see go, or which could be automated).

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1 hour ago, kabill said:

I'm assuming by "good autoresolve" in your proposal you mean something which is more than just pressing a button to generate an outcome (i.e. X1's autoresolve function).

Nope i mean 1 button and lots and lots of interesting results. Maybe add a nice video. Thats exactly your suggestion, just that im not forced to watch a 1 minute unskippable cutscene.

1 hour ago, kabill said:

If so, I think you may be underestimating how difficult it would be to have two games which respect the same inputs and generates the same kinds of outputs, while also not being exploitable.  If Chris is already making the decision to pull back to the familiar X1 system because he doesn't have the resource to risk developing the new system, I doubt there's scope for developing two parallel air game modes either.  That's not to say that it's impossible or unobtainable.  But I don't think the work involved is as trivial as you seem to imply and settling on one single good game (whatever that game ends up being) is far from unreasonable in that context.

There is already a autoresolve system in X1. How much work is it to recreate the same function and apply it to a button ? Not saying thats a good solution, i am saying Chris should improve on that system. The work of that system would consist in simulating correctly, in which case we need to know WHAT the possible results are. Which is why i am advocating for an improved system which goes beyond Victory-Defeat.

--- Im making the statement that a genre which is fundamentally dexterity based is impossible to make attractive for people who dont like fast mini decisions with time and timing pressure ---

The only thing we get if we ask people who dont like topdown shooters is a system without all features that people who enjoy topdown shooters enjoy.

You are trying to feed carrots to wolfs.

Also, does nobody of you have any fantasy what you could do with an autoresolve system ? I mean look. I have been thinking about this topic for 5 minutes, and you could come up with procedural generated text events and decisions for the player to make. Like "Roll left (45% chance of success 110% total damage) Roll right (80% success), etc ... . Risk - Reward decisions in text form. The freed up resources would come from the fact that Chris doesnt have to make the airgame attractive to people who fundamentally dont like the genre of topdown shooters.

People who make suggestions like

54 minutes ago, kabill said:

Actually, on the subject of speed, do we really need fine control over aircraft speed or would a few modes (match target, full and afterburner) be sufficient? 

Yes, take away more control of the player. ;)

 

No hate, just making a case. Love you kabill.

Edited by Charon

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I think all of this gets past the point. People like Xenonauts/X-Com because of the Ground Combat. People like Xenonauts/X-Com because of the stratgical decisions on the Geopscape. People dont like Xenonauts because it has a good airgame. If people want a good topdown shooter they buy Nova Drift or Space Pirates and Zombies 1/2 or other games, which make a lot more out of that concept. So why try to bake a medium solution for the part of the game which just acts as an interlink to the content people really want to get to. 2 systems so a maximum amount of people can get to the gaming content for which they are really there. Which is why i am advocating to not put too much emphasis on either the autoresolve system, or the aircombat one, but on the effects these can have on the Geoscape.

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11 minutes ago, Charon said:

There is already a autoresolve system in X1. How much work is it to recreate the same function and apply it to a button ? Not saying thats a good solution, i am saying Chris should improve on that system. The work of that system would consist in simulating correctly, in which case we need to know WHAT the possible results are. Which is why i am advocating for an improved system which goes beyond Victory-Defeat. 

It's a lot of work if you want that auto-resolve function to meaningfully reflect the same inputs and outcomes of the game it is substituting for.  The more moving parts you have in the "proper" game the harder it is to simulate in the auto-resolve.  X1 demonstrates this: there are things you can and cannot achieve with auto-resolve which are perfectly possible/impossible when playing out the combat properly.  Considering the proposal for X2 is to expand equipment options for the player and UFOs, it is only likely to get harder for an auto-resolve to produce reasonably good results.

The other issue with an auto-resolve feature as an alternative to a "proper" game is that by necessity it needs to be conservative in its outcomes.  If the player can generally produce better results by auto-calculating than by playing the game in full, then there's no point playing the game in full!  It's why I tend to shy away from using auto-calculators in most games that offer them, because even if the game it's attached to isn't very interesting, I can generally get better results playing manually.  So suggesting an auto-resolve function for people who don't like the specific version of the air game that is selected isn't really good for both sides: I do not personally want an inferior substitute to the air combat game; I want an air combat game I want to play!

Quote

Also, does nobody of you have any fantasy what you could do with an autoresolve system ? I mean look. I have been thinking about this topic for 5 minutes, and you could come up with procedural generated text events and decisions for the player to make. Like "Roll left (45% chance of success 110% total damage) Roll right (80% success), etc ... . Risk - Reward decisions in text form. The freed up resources would come from the fact that Chris doesnt have to make the airgame attractive to people who fundamentally dont like the genre of topdown shooters.

I think this highlights what I thought was the case, which is that you're advocating an X1 style system and an auto-resolver for everyone who doesn't like it.  But, as I've outlined above, I don't see that as a solution that pleases everyone as you imply above, since there's only actually one real game there (this is why I was trying to clarify what your suggestion was exactly).  As an analogy, it's equivalent to suggesting that X2 could have a real-time ground combat game with an auto-resolve for people who didn't want to play that; as opposed to having two version of the ground combat game, one which is real time and one which is turned based.  I thought you might have meant something like the latter; but it looks like you mean the former.  Which I think undermines the validity of your argument somewhat, since you're ultimately giving those who don't want an RT system an inferior alternative rather than an equivalent one (see what I've just said above).

 

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Yes, take away more control of the player. ;)

I do not see control as inherently good.  It might be, if it is meaningful, but if it is redundant then not so much.  And that was my point: being able to select the exact speed of your aircraft is far too much control in most instances and I wonder whether the UI cost of being able to so that is worthwhile (i.e. I feel buttons or a more discrete slider might be better, and having pursuit distance handled automatically would be a godsend since that's just meaningless busywork to do it manually).  It might actually be I'm wrong and I'd miss it more than I think.  But worth considering, I think.

Quote

No hate, just making a case. Love you kabill.

Ditto <3

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41 minutes ago, kabill said:

I do not personally want an inferior substitute to the air combat game; I want an air combat game I want to play!

Even if it means to alienate all players who are on the opposite site of your liking, and like topdown shooters for what they are ? There is no solution which everybody likes, you are just advocating to morph a genre into something which it is not. The way better solution for you would have been a round based one, no ? But that chance has come and is gone. Maybe it comes again, but for now we are stuck with a topdown shooter, and removing elements which makes them fun isnt the solution. Skim through your own suggestions and you will see thats all they are doing.

47 minutes ago, kabill said:

So suggesting an auto-resolve function for people who don't like the specific version of the air game that is selected isn't really good for both sides: I do not personally want an inferior substitute to the air combat game; I want an air combat game I want to play!

Yes, better suggestions all the way. But you are sharing the bed with other people who have something in common. They like Xenonauts Ground Combat and Geoscape. Only in how the they want the airgame to be they differ. Now you are saying "Get all the people who dont have the same taste off the bed."

52 minutes ago, kabill said:

I think this highlights what I thought was the case, which is that you're advocating an X1 style system and an auto-resolver for everyone who doesn't like it.  But, as I've outlined above, I don't see that as a solution that pleases everyone as you imply above, since there's only actually one real game there (this is why I was trying to clarify what your suggestion was exactly).

Yes ... if we could just find a solution which pleases everyone ... do you realise it might not exist ? Because no matter how you turn it, people have likes and dislikes. Somebody who doesnt like sports doesnt like most sports. There is no "sports for people who dont like sports". Every genre comes with its basic requirements. And topdown shooter have them too. You cant make a topdown shooter for people who dont like topdown shooter, and still preserve the features for the people who like topdown shooters. Phrase: "This is the best cheese, it contains 0% cheese."

1 hour ago, kabill said:

I do not see control as inherently good.

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Yes, other people have different tastes. They might actually like it. Consider it.

 

Your mindset is that of the strategic one, consider that other people have different tastes. Like 100% of Starcraft 2 players. They appreciate more control over less control.

1 hour ago, kabill said:

And that was my point: being able to select the exact speed of your aircraft is far too much control in most instances and I wonder whether the UI cost of being able to so that is worthwhile

You are judging this based on the X1 meta. But all you are doing is limiting the meta down to rock-paper-scissor and closing the competence level down to your own. Consider that some people actually might do something with it. Something you might have never thought of.

The fundamental part of topdownshooters is that you have controll over your plane. Thats where the fun factor comes in. Its the same fun factor a child has when it drive a mini automobil over the carpet. Seeing somebody else doing it isnt quite the same.

 

If this would be a turn based game i wouldnt say something. In fact, i wouldnt even be here. I would leave it up to the people who like turn based aircraft games. But our current direction is that of a topdown shooter, and i dont see the solution in cutting away the things which make a topdown shooter fun and call it a solution. I rather say, ok, a topdown shooter is the current plan, but lets also get the people who dont like it onboard. And the common ground are the effects of aircombat onto the Geoscape. Does anybody notice i want a big discussion about the different kind of results of aircombat ?

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7 minutes ago, Charon said:

If this would be a turn based game i wouldnt say something. In fact, i wouldnt even be here. I would leave it up to the people who like turn based aircraft games. But our current direction is that of a topdown shooter, and i dont see the solution in cutting away the things which make a topdown shooter fun and call it a solution.

This also happens to be why I'm highly skeptical of any X1-style approach. The Xcom genre is turn-based combat, with a smaller grand strategy part. Top-down arcade shooters are incompatible with the genre due to rewarding a very different set of skills and providing an experience that feels very different.

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1 hour ago, Solver said:

This also happens to be why I'm highly skeptical of any X1-style approach. The Xcom genre is turn-based combat, with a smaller grand strategy part. Top-down arcade shooters are incompatible with the genre due to rewarding a very different set of skills and providing an experience that feels very different.

Indeed. Its like making the intersection between people who like spaghetti and aborigines. Not saying they dont exist, but it wouldnt be the biggest group of people.

 

Edt: Here is another guy who cant play the airgame

Doesnt somebody think he would appreciate a thought out autoresolve system ? Or literally anything else ? Maybe something that is depending on equipment and luck ? Or i mean replace it with your generic Final Fantasy system, that has been a guaranteed success for fun for decades.

aef2408d529ba84c99aad6365d425d64-d3d6wyx

 

Replace the characters with interceptors, and the whatever-it-is with up to 3 UFOs. BAM. Problem solved. Golden Sun is also a good example.

 

44178-Golden_Sun_2_-_The_Lost_Age_UMegar

Edited by Charon

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  • Do we want damageable parts of UFOs ?
  • *Yes, but I would want an Ogre Battle situation here. Namely where you could give general commands, but would have no direct input, with the fight lasting a few rounds before the two lost contact (unless other things were in play). So commands like "Destroy", "Incapacitate", or "Scare Away" 
  • Do we want to have them have effects in Ground Combat ?
  • *It would be cool to see an aggressive approach destroy more parts, bit result in less recovery. 
  • What should the effects of escaping UFOs be ?
  • *I'd love to have a relationship-scaled set of options to either warn the country where the UFO is (so they could roll a chance to fight with Condors, which you could watch), lead them (if you don't have the numbers, but can send one jet), or be punished for doing nothing. 
  • What should the effects of shot down UFOs be ?
  • *The usual effect is nice. That being said, some issues like bringing down a UFO into a major city would be interesting. 
  • Random interactions when <incident> happens ?
  • *Weapon Jam if a plane isn't fully repaired, UFO support fire from space (for the bigger ones), ground support fire if near a city? FTL should be studied for this 
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21 hours ago, Charon said:

Yes, other people have different tastes. They might actually like it. Consider it.

Your mindset is that of the strategic one, consider that other people have different tastes. Like 100% of Starcraft 2 players. They appreciate more control over less control.

Gonna pick this quote specifically as representing most of your response.

I absolutely understand that people have different tastes.  I'd hope that's implied in all the times I write things like "from my perspective" or "I can't speak for others but" - I write those things very deliberately to signal the inherently perspectival nature of my arguments!  So all I have been trying to do is articulate what my tastes are, and how it might (*might*) be possible to design systems and mechanics that cater for them.  Yes, those suggestions may run against the preferences of others.  But your own are no different in that regard - I could quite easily respond to all your comments by saying that there are plausibly plenty of people out there who would in fact like something which works as a compromise between the systems suggested and that, by failing to acknowledge or accept that, you're demonstrating the same lack of self-awareness that you're accusing me of.  I'm not interested in a tit-for-tat discussion like that - it's not very productive! - but I hope that makes clear that there's nothing inherently "right" in your perspective any more than mine.

Onto the specific point of degree of control: this has nothing to do with a dichotomy between "strategic" vs. whatever else mindsets.  Regardless of your preferences, having control over something in a game when it doesn't make any difference is pointless; and if having that control makes the game more difficult or more cumbersome to play then it's a negative feature which should be removed.  If you think continuing to have fine-grained control over aircraft speed is a good thing, then you should explain why it makes a meaningful positive difference to the game rather than simply asserting that more control is good or preferred by some players.

To restate my point a bit more clearly, then: In my experience playing X1, the speed slider is annoying to deal with and I would find the game more comfortable to play if it was replaced with a smaller number of discrete speed settings and an option for aircraft to automatically match the speed of the UFO they are targeting.  Notwithstanding the fact that it would make selecting speed settings easier, it would also facilitate keyboard shortcuts for speed controls (being able to control speed, dodges and weapon armaments from the QWEASD keys rather than having to click on everything would be a godsend so far as I am concerned).  You might plausibly get the same result by having keyboard controls move speed in stages on a sliding scale (e.g. each key press is +/-20%) but the mouse-work would still be a faff under that solution (but now I think about it, good keyboard shortcuts would be sufficient for me, actually).

Quote

This also happens to be why I'm highly skeptical of any X1-style approach. The Xcom genre is turn-based combat, with a smaller grand strategy part. Top-down arcade shooters are incompatible with the genre due to rewarding a very different set of skills and providing an experience that feels very different.

A lot of this discussion demonstrates why Firaxis's solution to air combat was not in fact as bad as it comes across.  Turns out it's really hard to make it good and a meaningful part of the game; in that context, simply not bothering has some sense to it!

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  • Do we want damageable parts of UFOs ? Do we want to have them have effects in Ground Combat ?
  • What should the effects of escaping UFOs be ?
  • What should the effects of shot down UFOs be ?
  • Random interactions when <incident> happens ?

Ok, some thoughts on a couple of these:

1) I'd argue the most meaningful way to implement a locational damage system would be to tie it to power-sources.  I.e. have power sources represented as hit-boxes on the hull which can be destroyed separate to the UFOs main hull.  Good positioning would therefore allow you to take out a UFO more easily, but would also destroy the power source (less GC loot) and maybe have a (bigger) chance of destroying the UFO entirely without leaving a wreck.  This would add something on both a tactical and strategic level: it needs to be considered at a tactical level (i.e. you may want to avoid this happening if you really want the wreck or you might decide to go for it if the UFO is otherwise too strong or you want to conserve weaponry) but also at a strategic level (i.e. it gives you options to take on stronger UFOs than you may be comfortable with, and can be used e.g. if being blitzed by a lot of UFOs at the same time to conserve ammo and therefore get planes out to more engagements in a shorter space of time).

2) I still like the idea I suggested ages ago, about UFOs which are meaningfully damaged escaping straight to orbit rather than just leaving the combat zone.  This means you can't easily bushwack UFOs with repeated long-range strikes (i.e. across multiple combat missions) and expect to take them down, as they'll withdraw when too damaged.  It also means the player can deliberately aim to just damage rather than destroy UFOs to drive them off (conserving ammo) and means they could at least get something from taking on a powerful UFO without managing to down it entirely.

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5 hours ago, kabill said:

Yes, those suggestions may run against the preferences of others.  But your own are no different in that regard - I could quite easily respond to all your comments by saying that there are plausibly plenty of people out there who would in fact like something which works as a compromise between the systems suggested and that, by failing to acknowledge or accept that, you're demonstrating the same lack of self-awareness that you're accusing me of.

I didnt decide that X2s airgame would be a topdown shooter. Chris did.

All i am pointing out is that its ridicoulus to discuss solutions which fundamentally go against the inherent strenghts of topdown shooter, as X2 airgame is a topdown shooter in development.

5 hours ago, kabill said:

Onto the specific point of degree of control: this has nothing to do with a dichotomy between "strategic" vs. whatever else mindsets.  Regardless of your preferences, having control over something in a game when it doesn't make any difference is pointless; and if having that control makes the game more difficult or more cumbersome to play then it's a negative feature which should be removed.  If you think continuing to have fine-grained control over aircraft speed is a good thing, then you should explain why it makes a meaningful positive difference to the game rather than simply asserting that more control is good or preferred by some players.

Yes, i agree that X1s aircraft speed added little to the overall vanilla experience. But all you are arguing for is to decrease the options for the player. Why ? Because somebody else might get a better result. It is "confusing" for less competent players and "empowering" for better players. Solver once stated that he disliked that other people could get better results in the airgame because they were better at it. Thats exactly what i am writing ;). I dont see an "improvement" in removing an option to please less competent players, except for the pleasure they get when other players dont have the option to make more out of a situation.

I am not arguing for a slider. But since its already there and its usefull we should keep it. If it wouldnt be there, and nobody made the suggestion people wouldnt miss it. But if you remove it up front from the development than that closes down the paths to make a deeper system.

I made a 9gb mod in order to demonstrate am interesting airgame. It uses the slider featuer extensively. Thousand of airgame hours have been played.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9d3piT0zxhg&t=366s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCSPkjvAOoE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0fSkEA6A8o

5 hours ago, kabill said:

To restate my point a bit more clearly, then: In my experience playing X1, the speed slider is annoying to deal with and I would find the game more comfortable to play if it was replaced with a smaller number of discrete speed settings and an option for aircraft to automatically match the speed of the UFO they are targeting.  Notwithstanding the fact that it would make selecting speed settings easier, it would also facilitate keyboard shortcuts for speed controls (being able to control speed, dodges and weapon armaments from the QWEASD keys rather than having to click on everything would be a godsend so far as I am concerned).  You might plausibly get the same result by having keyboard controls move speed in stages on a sliding scale (e.g. each key press is +/-20%) but the mouse-work would still be a faff under that solution (but now I think about it, good keyboard shortcuts would be sufficient for me, actually).

A button to match the speed of the locked on UFO. Now thats a good thing. Now we are getting somewhere.

You might not know this, but if you select a UFO in X1, and the aircraft gets sufficiently close, it automatically decreases its speed so it doesnt overtake it. This ofcourse has its downfalls because the deceleration is depending on the aircraft, but the distance is not.

You might also not know this, but you can already use hotkeys for the airgame. "Q" for a left role , "E" for a right role, "A" for afterburner ( the latest CE implemented that, thx @Solver), "1" "2" "3" "4" for weapon avtivation, "5" for firing all deactivated missiles, "F1" "F2" "F3" for individual aicraft selection, "F4" for selection of all aircraft. The only action that still requires clicking is LMB for target. No hotkey can replace that. And RMB for lock on. Propably the easiest solution to click on something you can visually see, as a hotkey solution would only cycle through all available targets. The only thing i feel is missing is to be able to add aircraft to an exisiting selection with "Shift". So "F1" "Shift" "F2".
There is no command without a hotkey in X1.

Not saying we cant improve on the slider. A visual increment of 10% with a - would be nice. Maybe a % sign of how much of the top speed is getting used. Also nice. None of those include removing the slider.

5 hours ago, kabill said:

A lot of this discussion demonstrates why Firaxis's solution to air combat was not in fact as bad as it comes across.  Turns out it's really hard to make it good and a meaningful part of the game; in that context, simply not bothering has some sense to it!

A lot of people didnt like it and i dont know why. Maybe because there was no pause button. I think a possible improvement would have been to make it semi-turn based. Do you know what semi-turn based is ?

One of the semi-turn based games i really like is Child of Light. Semi-turn based basically means that every unit has an individual speed value. Once the speed cooldown reaches zero, the game pauses and you have all the time in the world to make a tactical decision. Unit A could have 100 speed cd, Unit B 50, and Unit C 33. Unit B can attack twice as fast as Unit A, and Unit C can attack three times in the time Unit A makes one attack.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbAylGrN-MM

Different actions can have different time cooldown values. A normal attack could have 25 RT, a heavy one 50. Special abilities could make your turn faster or slower. Unit A with 100 RT and a normal attack would have a total of 125 RT  for the cd. Unit C with a heavy swing would have 33 + 50 = 88 RT, and would still be quicker than Unit A. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Clink Together makes a very good strategic turn based system with that, as do a lot of other JRPGs.

https://youtu.be/0B_XpO7bFZU?t=1933

 

The more i think about it, the more i think that Chris should scrap the airgame and make a semi-turn based minigame alá Child of Light, where units and actions have different speed cooldowns, with lots and lot of interesting options like "use main cannon" ( low damage, low cd) "use missiles" ( medium damage, medium cd, chance to miss) and "Denfesive", "Evasive" and "Aggressive" stances. Additionally aircraft would be able to use special abilities depending on their equipment, like a strong shield, that only lasts 200 RT, or an overclocked afterburner with a bonus to evasion.

Child of Light is already a 3 vs 3, just replace the combatants with aircraft and UFOs and you have the perfect solution. I think this is what most people would be satisfied with.

 

5 hours ago, kabill said:

1) I'd argue the most meaningful way to implement a locational damage system would be to tie it to power-sources.  I.e. have power sources represented as hit-boxes on the hull which can be destroyed separate to the UFOs main hull.  Good positioning would therefore allow you to take out a UFO more easily, but would also destroy the power source (less GC loot) and maybe have a (bigger) chance of destroying the UFO entirely without leaving a wreck.  This would add something on both a tactical and strategic level: it needs to be considered at a tactical level (i.e. you may want to avoid this happening if you really want the wreck or you might decide to go for it if the UFO is otherwise too strong or you want to conserve weaponry) but also at a strategic level (i.e. it gives you options to take on stronger UFOs than you may be comfortable with, and can be used e.g. if being blitzed by a lot of UFOs at the same time to conserve ammo and therefore get planes out to more engagements in a shorter space of time).

2) I still like the idea I suggested ages ago, about UFOs which are meaningfully damaged escaping straight to orbit rather than just leaving the combat zone.  This means you can't easily bushwack UFOs with repeated long-range strikes (i.e. across multiple combat missions) and expect to take them down, as they'll withdraw when too damaged.  It also means the player can deliberately aim to just damage rather than destroy UFOs to drive them off (conserving ammo) and means they could at least get something from taking on a powerful UFO without managing to down it entirely.

Finally some good suggestions. Now we are getting somewhere.

Edited by Charon

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On ‎10‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 5:40 PM, Charon said:

 There is only a tiny fraction of players who like both ( weirdos ), because those 2 fundamental skills talk to 2 very fundamental different destinations in the brain.

 

Are you calling me a weirdo?

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On ‎10‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 9:49 PM, Charon said:

Even if it means to alienate all players who are on the opposite site of your liking, and like topdown shooters for what they are ? There is no solution which everybody likes, you are just advocating to morph a genre into something which it is not.

How is it something it is not if X1 had it?

Xenonauts always had and will have air combat. the only difference is in it's implementation. That does not change the genre, regardless of HOW it is implemented. Yes, it could be a 1st person in-cockpit simulation, a turn-based clicker, a top-town twich shooter - it would still fundamentally be xenonauts

 

Quote

Your mindset is that of the strategic one, consider that other people have different tastes. Like 100% of Starcraft 2 players. They appreciate more control over less control.

As someone that played Starcraft I can tell you you are wrong.

Control is only desireable if it's meningful and not a boring chore.

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I think I would enjoy the air combat more if you made a perspective switch. Instead of top down twitchy shooter flip it to a side scroller with lanes. It could be either a real time with pause or a turn based game.

The UFO is on the right, the interceptors are on the left (the other way round if it is your transport being chased, maybe enemy interceptors could even be behind your fighters if they are protecting the UFO target). The field is split into 5+ "altitude" rows/lanes. Different UFOs might have defensive turrets/shield arcs that mean you have to choose a less optimal lane for protection from turrets or shots into weak points. i.e. bombers are well protected from above but no shields below, bigger UFOs take up multiple lanes so you can choose to hit the bridge level or engine level etc. Maybe the number of lanes can even scale depending on the enemy size? TrashMan suggested varying altitude could give you a bonus, this could tie in here.

How about the enemy can have different objectives and tactics so bombers try to fly low to drop bombs so if you take too long to kill them your relations might suffer more, supply ships try to charge their engines then escape off the top of the screen, battleships try to camp in the middle of the screen to maximise firepower and cover their weak points so you have to trick them into moving etc.

Chaff, flares, mines, battleship super hyper laser beams etc can all be fired along these lanes meaning you have to manoeuvre between lanes to avoid them even if that is a less optimal position. Your craft can have meaningful upgrades, weapons can have different effects (like cannons that spray across multiple lanes, missiles that can evade countermeasures across lanes, big heavy dumbfire torpedoes that just fly straight).

As for assets all you need is a bunch of background layers like mountains, distant cities, or forests to scroll past and side on images of the aircraft instead of top down. 

 

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On 10/20/2019 at 2:11 AM, Coffee Potato said:
  • Do we want damageable parts of UFOs ?
  • *Yes, but I would want an Ogre Battle situation here. Namely where you could give general commands, but would have no direct input, with the fight lasting a few rounds

Ogre By Origin Systems? Damn it Jim, you're as old as I am if you remember Ogre!

Edited by ooey

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2 hours ago, ooey said:

Ogre By Origin Systems? Damn it Jim, you're as old as I am if you remember Ogre!

Funnily enough I've ready about Ogre, but no, Ogre Battle from the SNES/PS1/N64. General idea was that you'd make squads of rpg characters, and send them out to take cities, fight battles, etc. Most of it happened in real time, with a pause function, and the battles involved the two squads each doing their respective actions against each other, with the only input being "Best", "Weakest", "Strongest", and "Leader". Taking out a commander caused the squad to retreat back to their base, being easily picked off by flying teams, or just ignores. You could also collect cards from each city saved, which could use an ability during a fight. Stuff like Shields for the team, calling down lightning, causing the enemy team to fight each other, etc. It's an incredible series that's changed a lot from game to game, but has some awesome implementations of experimental ideas. Also notable for Matsuno being a nutjob who demands bizarre programming for each of these. Also lots of randomness. Like when he confirmed a character dropped boots because he was responsible for killing the Puss in Boots in a duel in the background. Never explained why exactly, but I guess he hated Antonio Benderas or something?

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On ‎10‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 10:01 PM, Solver said:

This also happens to be why I'm highly skeptical of any X1-style approach. The Xcom genre is turn-based combat, with a smaller grand strategy part. Top-down arcade shooters are incompatible with the genre due to rewarding a very different set of skills and providing an experience that feels very different.

I don't actually see a problem with that. What is wrong with mix and matching and rewarding different skillsets?

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So I've been very busy with a lot of things (not least the AC implementation) over the past month so I've not had a chance to read much beyond the first page of this thread until now.

I should probably make clear that at this point we're not looking for ideas on alternative air combat implementations - mostly because of the project management implications of changing it again. I spent a long time experimenting with what I thought would be a better air combat model but I couldn't get something that worked better than the X1 model, and the resulting question marks over what the final air combat would look like were really slowing the project down and were a big contributor to X2 feeling more like a tech demo than a game. For the good of the project, I ended my experimentation and we've reverted to the X1 model instead.

This isn't to say that someone doesn't have a better idea for an air combat implementation than I do - indeed, there might be one somewhere in this thread. But the type of air combat model we use can have surprisingly large implications for the base mechanics, the actual Geoscape invasion mechanics, and the tech / engineering tree ... which basically amounts to the whole strategy layer, really. Remember even the best idea in the world would have to go through multiple months of iterations before it turned into something interesting and playable (which would delay Early Access even more), and it's not always easy to know in advance which of the ideas are the good ones and which are the bad ones. And the project can't really afford another dud.

So right now I think the most important thing is having a working air combat model that supports the structure of the rest of the game (which we now do), even if it's not necessarily the best air combat model that could potentially be there. I appreciate the ideas everyone has put forward but a DLC pack is realistically the first point we'd look at ripping out the air combat and replacing it with something new.

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Sad to hear, but at least the project can move forward faster now.

That said, there were some interesting ideas in this thread, so you should probably read it and take a few notes for later. Ignore the last page though.

 

My suggestion would be to copy Birth of the Federation combat model.

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I remember 2 games that could inspire air combat for Xenonauts-2.

The first is an asteroid shooter called "Astro Avenger 2" - it has an interesting layout, where the ship is in the lower bottom of the screen, on the left side you have energy level of the ship, on the right side you have health bar of the ship, you can equip your ship with different weapons but the best of all were 4 drones - one that repairs the ship during flight, one that could protect from lasers, one that could protect from missiles and one that also shoots the enemy. The best was the repair droid that repaired ship damages while you were flying and fighting.

And then there was XForce, an open XCOM variant developed from 2003-2011.

http://xforce-online.de/

Your ships had slots for weapons, one slot to change thrusters and the best were the expansion slots where you could build and equip 1 energy shield, and an antigravitational field (a device that made your ship harder to hit) and if I remember right there was also a cloaking device

 

The ships were moved by the pc mouse movements which was really fun.

droids.jpg

astro-avenger.jpg

astro-avenger2.jpg

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