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Has the community dragged this back to being X1 with a new coat of paint?

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On 3/16/2020 at 1:23 AM, Chris said:

Sorry, yeah. I guess I'll finally comment on that thread given you've asked me about four times now!

No worries, I know you're busy!

 

On 3/16/2020 at 1:23 AM, Chris said:

To give an example of what I mean, the ideas "capture alien leader", "assassinate alien leader", "clear command post of all aliens" are basically all descriptions of an alien base assault mission, right? Whether you're choosing to capture or kill the alien leadership is something that is down to the player's strategic situation - something that I'd consider a strength of the game in that you get to choose how to handle a mission rather than having to jump through specific hoops.

I take your point, but I think that the different mission objectives (or hoops to jump through, if you'd rather ;)) give variety. How you go about those objectives is still down to the player's strategy, which I agree is a big strength of the game. So I don't think you're losing that strength. I just read in the "Geoscape Strategic War" thread that you're considering VIP Assassination missions -- thumbs up from me -- but you seem to be debating against that idea with your logic here. Unless of course I'm missing something!

 

On 3/16/2020 at 1:23 AM, Chris said:

But if you take a mission like "destroy alien transmission beacon", you've got to ask yourself how it would be meaningfully different from any other kind of mission. In practice, isn't it going to involve the player just marching through a map and killing all the aliens like they would a standard terror site? It only really becomes something new and interesting if, for example, the aliens have unlimited reinforcements and the player is actively encouraged to focus on the objectives rather than just wiping out the aliens. But then where do those unlimited alien reinforcements come from, and why don't they appear in other missions, etc? It'd be difficult to explain within the context of the game lore.

That's a very good point, and well made. I think you're right. So, why not run with the idea and do make them new and interesting by introducing new criteria -- tied into the lore.

* [Defend something] -- defending a landmark in a friendly country that the aliens are trying to take over. Defend it for x turns while the aliens attack. Maybe you can even position your troops to begin with, rather than them starting in the chopper.

* [Destroy / reach something] -- A terror site mission where a high-ranking Ceasan is mind-controlling humans to attack you -- killing the Ceasan releases the humans so you win the mission.

* [Destroy / reach something] -- A mission that occurs in a country that the aliens have taken over, so they have unlimited reinforcements that come in waves. You need to destroy an objective (data store, research lab, whatever) and then escape.

* [Protect VIP] -- Rescuing a scientist from an alien-controlled territory. Locate the scientist and escort them back the the helicopter.

Just four ideas off the top of my head. The player isn't focussing on killing all the aliens, but the missions fit into the overarching narrative. (I hope, maybe the storyline has changed!) If the lore is an obstacle for making cool player experiences, maybe tweak the lore? I think these kinds of missions would help the feeling that the war is developing, rather than every mission basically being the same.

 

On 3/14/2020 at 9:39 PM, Ogilvy the Astronomer said:

My main idea is to have a new mission type where you’re exclusively controlling local forces. The situation could be something like an allied military bunker is under attack by aliens. There’s not enough time for the Xenonauts to get there, but there’s a radio link set up so you (the player) can command the local forces. Imagine controlling a large team troops armed with basic weapons (rifles, shotguns etc.) against a horde of Reapers. It could lead to great Aliens-esque missions. The odds of your team all getting wiped out are high, but in contrast to regular missions, it’s not a game over / rage quit situation if that happens.

There are a lot of ways in which you could use this kind of a premise. Maybe if your troops hold the base’s hanger for x turns, then your main Xenonaut troops turn up as reinforcements and take the fight to the enemy. Or if the aliens take the radio room then you lose contact and it’s mission over.

Basically, I think this could be a way of mixing up the gameplay as a sequel arguably should, and adding more variety in a way that hopefully isn’t a huge burden from the development side of things (i.e. it would use existing assets such as character models). 

This is the main thing that I think would be really neat though. As an aside, it could even lead to a skirmish-mode of the game, where you can play one-off missions. Choose a map; select an alien "army"; choose a pre-made human force, or you customise the force; choose different criteria (e.g. "humans have ballistic weapons only"). I think that'd be awesome. Personally I could see me playing that kind of thing more than the main game! Especially if modders make custom maps with interesting scenarios.

I get that some of these ideas -- especially the mission type where you're controlling local forces instead of your own troops -- are quite a radical departure from tradition with these games. But if they're used well, I think they could really spice things up.   

Thanks again for your reply, would be keen to hear any more thoughts you have on the matter.

 

 

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I'd like to see more mission variety as well, but missions have to be more than play differently - they also have to tie into the strategic map. Shooting down UFOs grants on the strategic level tech for research, materials for building and panic reduction. Completing Terror Sites/Raids prevents big jumps in panic. Destroying alien bases prevents a slow buildup of panic, grants tech for research and materials for building. What would these suggested mission types do on the strategic level, and why are they any different to the current mission types? 

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45 minutes ago, Max_Caine said:

I'd like to see more mission variety as well, but missions have to be more than play differently - they also have to tie into the strategic map. Shooting down UFOs grants on the strategic level tech for research, materials for building and panic reduction. Completing Terror Sites/Raids prevents big jumps in panic. Destroying alien bases prevents a slow buildup of panic, grants tech for research and materials for building. What would these suggested mission types do on the strategic level, and why are they any different to the current mission types? 

Panic is a horrible nonsensical mechanic. In a time of crisis like an alien invasion, the panic of the public wouldn't mean jack. Your soldiers, scientists and engineers aren't going to just stop working because some people are panicking.

This is like the AngryJoe review of Xcom:

Noah: "I regret to inform you that Naru, Palau, Belize and Papa New Guinea cut their funding and withdrawn from the Xcom project."

AngryJoe: "God I really should have paid attention more in history class. Where the hell are these countries? Uh that's unfortunate sir. But it's hard to defend the entire planet. I'm losing men left and right. I have what like 30 guys left. but at least the major countries that everybody knows is still with us and frankly sir we're the best hope that you have."

Noah: "That may be so Commander but we have decided that you failed to combat the alien threat."

AngryJoe: "But you don't understand, there will be nothing left."

Noah: "We've heard enough Commander Joe."

AngryJoe: "No, no. That doesn't make any sense. Who will protect you?"

Noah: "We're taking away your toys and then we're letting the aliens have their way with us."

AngryJoe: "But. But."

Noah: "Oh yes, in the butt. The Counsel has spoken."

 

Panic should be replaced by a type of beleaguered status tracking the state of the war against the aliens. The less you do the more that the militaries of the war get attacked by aliens and have to fight back themselves. By shooting down UFOs, launching attacks against UFOs in orbit, launching strikes on strategic defensive or production or logistical points in territory controlled by the aliens you would reduce the ability of the aliens to engage in warfare on Earth's surface. This would also mean that the aliens are launching fewer or even no missions on Earth. Maybe there are even other planets facing the same predicament or a secret rebel alien faction that disagrees with the leadership constantly invading and destroying other species. The better you do at combating the alien menace the higher the chance that these rebelling groups will try to contact you.

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On 3/8/2020 at 12:28 PM, Citizen844 said:

Is this seriously going to have that?? Buy an aircraft ONCE and then every time it gets shot down you get a free aircraft and a free pilot without cost...

This is exactly why I stopped playing the first X1. It was chutes and ladders meets candy land. Please elaborate on air combat - Maybe I should disappear again until X3 comes along.

 

Oh stop your minging about how the game doesn't constantly punch the player in the face. Most people who play this game are not masochists.

The cost of replacing lost aircraft is reflecting in the high monthly upkeep cost.

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1 hour ago, Max_Caine said:

I'd like to see more mission variety as well, but missions have to be more than play differently - they also have to tie into the strategic map. Shooting down UFOs grants on the strategic level tech for research, materials for building and panic reduction. Completing Terror Sites/Raids prevents big jumps in panic. Destroying alien bases prevents a slow buildup of panic, grants tech for research and materials for building. What would these suggested mission types do on the strategic level, and why are they any different to the current mission types? 

Depends on the mission of course, and balancing, but some initial ideas include:

  • Improving relations with a particular country.
  • Cash bonus.
  • Stash of equipment (e.g. 10 packs of C4 or equivalent).
  • New Xenonaut recruit (could be a high rank).
  • Unique weapon (maybe just an existing one but with improved stats to avoid new artwork).
  • Armour.
  • Revealing location of alien base.
  • Research boost.
  • Instant research on a particular alien species.
  • Temporary manufacturing time reduction.
  • Preventing a country from defecting for x days (buying you time to reduce panic).
  • Temporarily stopping UFOs flying over a particular region.
  • Gaining more AI allies in ground / air combat in a particular region.
  • New scientist.
  • New engineer.

etc.

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25 minutes ago, Shahadem said:

Panic is a horrible nonsensical mechanic. In a time of crisis like an alien invasion, the panic of the public wouldn't mean jack. Your soldiers, scientists and engineers aren't going to just stop working because some people are panicking.

This is like the AngryJoe review of Xcom:

Noah: "I regret to inform you that Naru, Palau, Belize and Papa New Guinea cut their funding and withdrawn from the Xcom project."

AngryJoe: "God I really should have paid attention more in history class. Where the hell are these countries? Uh that's unfortunate sir. But it's hard to defend the entire planet. I'm losing men left and right. I have what like 30 guys left. but at least the major countries that everybody knows is still with us and frankly sir we're the best hope that you have."

Noah: "That may be so Commander but we have decided that you failed to combat the alien threat."

AngryJoe: "But you don't understand, there will be nothing left."

Noah: "We've heard enough Commander Joe."

AngryJoe: "No, no. That doesn't make any sense. Who will protect you?"

Noah: "We're taking away your toys and then we're letting the aliens have their way with us."

AngryJoe: "But. But."

Noah: "Oh yes, in the butt. The Counsel has spoken."

 

Panic should be replaced by a type of beleaguered status tracking the state of the war against the aliens. The less you do the more that the militaries of the war get attacked by aliens and have to fight back themselves. By shooting down UFOs, launching attacks against UFOs in orbit, launching strikes on strategic defensive or production or logistical points in territory controlled by the aliens you would reduce the ability of the aliens to engage in warfare on Earth's surface. This would also mean that the aliens are launching fewer or even no missions on Earth. Maybe there are even other planets facing the same predicament or a secret rebel alien faction that disagrees with the leadership constantly invading and destroying other species. The better you do at combating the alien menace the higher the chance that these rebelling groups will try to contact you.

This is probably better directed at Chris rather than me, and I'd love to see your opinions on other things Chris wants to introduce over on the Geoscape Strategic War thread. The only thing I'll say is that we're in a time of crisis right now, and the opinions of the hoi polloi have definitely shaped the thinking of our illustrious leaders. 

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The setup of the game is that the aliens are demanding the unconditional surrender of the nations of the world, and the humans have chosen to fight instead - but there's no point fighting a war that you're certain to lose, and if enough of their population is so panicked that they are demanding they surrender then they'll do so. Honestly, I think it's less realistic to expect a country to march every last citizen to their death before admitting defeat.

I'm not even sure we need to set the game to have an auto-loss condition once you lose X regions like XCOM does because with the orbital bombardment mechanic your game will end rather quickly once most of the world has already surrendered.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Shahadem said:

Maybe there are even other planets facing the same predicament or a secret rebel alien faction that disagrees with the leadership constantly invading and destroying other species. The better you do at combating the alien menace the higher the chance that these rebelling groups will try to contact you.

Have you ever watched that 80's sci fi series called "V"? That has Lizards and a rebel element to it. And it's about aliens invading the earth too. Actually it was very good! Those were the days when they still made great TV rather than wall-to-wall propaganda, mind.

 

Max touched on this a bit though. Look at the absolute panic that's going around at the minute (which mainly seems to be about acquiring toilet rolls for some reason). And this is only due to a virus, not an extraterrestrial invasion! If Douglas Adams were still alive I think he'd have a right laugh as it does seem to fit into the world of HHGTTG humour in some aspects.

Edited by ooey

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I must admit I always look at these type of games with the UFO S.H.A.D.O tv series in mind. Earth defence in a secret base, shoot down a UFO and send out the special teams to deal with it. If only we could have a Skydiver sub!

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So do I! Space 1999 was really the unofficial sequel to UFO. They don't make 'em like those anymore do they? 70s and 80s was a golden age for tv. They can still be found on forces TV here in the UK. What have the recent years given us? The destruction of Star Wars, Star Trek and many other franchises.

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Chris........if you are reading this...........a sub launched fighter and large tracked box like vehicles pleade;)

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Heh heh. Not sure if Chris is old enough to remember UFO and Space 1999, but he may have caught the re-runs. I, like you probably are, am a child of the 70's & 80's. Maybe Xen3 could be set in the Terror From the Deep world. I never really got a chance to play that when it first came out because I was an Amiga nut and didn't have a PC. It probably did come out on the Amiga, but I may have been too busy studying or something. Still, there are some interesting concepts explored in those series. Remember the UFO with the very expensive telescope... which was useless because it got damaged and they couldn't tell the scale of the UFO homeworld because of it?

Science-fiction has, as we know, given us plenty of science-fact.

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On 3/19/2020 at 2:36 AM, Shahadem said:

Panic should be replaced by a type of beleaguered status tracking the state of the war against the aliens. The less you do the more that the militaries of the war get attacked by aliens and have to fight back themselves. By shooting down UFOs, launching attacks against UFOs in orbit, launching strikes on strategic defensive or production or logistical points in territory controlled by the aliens you would reduce the ability of the aliens to engage in warfare on Earth's surface. This would also mean that the aliens are launching fewer or even no missions on Earth.

This could cause a big problem. Your biggest worry in the game is not being attacked, it's when no one attacks! lol. If the aliens don't attack, you don't get tech, money or material and this can jam your campaign even more than being invaded.

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47 minutes ago, Nightowl said:

This could cause a big problem. Your biggest worry in the game is not being attacked, it's when no one attacks! lol. If the aliens don't attack, you don't get tech, money or material and this can jam your campaign even more than being invaded.

This is very true. But it's as much a part of the gameplay as anything else I suppose. There will be times when the Aliens are re-organising themselves and you don't hear from them for a while. It means projects may come to a halt through lack of finance, and is when you may need to decide if you sell that extra lab or lay off staff etc.

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4 hours ago, Nightowl said:

This could cause a big problem. Your biggest worry in the game is not being attacked, it's when no one attacks! lol. If the aliens don't attack, you don't get tech, money or material and this can jam your campaign even more than being invaded.

Yup, this was one of the major problems when people got really good at the original Xenonauts - they could shoot down every UFO before it could carry out its mission. This meant there were never any Terror Sites, Base Attack missions or Alien Bases spawned onto the map. Made the game very boring and also blocked off some of the tech upgrades!

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I don't know. It made me feel like I was doing very well if I managed to prevent these from happening. I do recall, though, that xen agents would occasionally find an Alien base for you to raid that you hadn't detected. 

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I'd still like it to be a feature where if you shot down UFOs fast enough they can't do certain missions. I for one needed that because I liked to have a lot of fighter bases scattered throughout the world and 1 single large base for storing soldiers. Those other bases NEEDED to be able to shoot down attacking UFOs or else they would be destroyed by base raids.

 

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Made the game very boring and also blocked off some of the tech upgrades!

Im very OK with simply making those other two missions you mentioned not require a UFO to start. As long as base assault always needs a UFO and its always somewhat obvious that a UFO is approaching, I'll be fine.

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3 hours ago, Comrade said:

I liked to have a lot of fighter bases scattered throughout the world and 1 single large base for storing soldiers. Those other bases NEEDED to be able to shoot down attacking UFOs or else they would be destroyed by base raids.

Haha that’s essentially my strategy when playing these kinds of games as well. As I usually want to store all equipment in one base for easy management. Keeping the features of mission restriction can integrate with the added mission types that @Ogilvy the Astronomer suggested. Maybe because you keep shooting down their ships. They instead try to change tactics to better fight your own strategy. Instead of building bases, they started doing vip assassinations using shapeshifters (vip protection), preventing tech sharing (convoy protection), throwing caesan psychics down on Earth using drop pods to mind control civilians in large cities or military bases (killing alien VIP), setting up teleportation stations to directly beam down aliens (destroy their teleportation device to stop their infinite spawning), and directly working with factions or regions that have bad relations to starve Xenonauts of funds (alien meeting assault),...

In that case how well you play will directly influence the missions that you can partake in. In addition, I can suggest adding to the game a tech tree of non-lethal weapons to take out human enemies and crazy civilians (who keeps running into reapers and get themselves killed;)). Maybe an expansion of the shock baton/shock grenade/gas grenade research to give you things like stun guns, psychic powers for your troops, to MIB like Neuralyzers that can suppress the aliens and control the civilians,...

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Of course, you could gas or stun the civies in xen1 and UFO: EU, but if I remember rightly it actually killed them ... lol

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