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Maxim 56. Infantry exists to paint targets for people with real guns.

 

I've played many games like Xenonaughts (X-com, UFO:After-whatever, Phoenix Point) and one thing that has always annoyed me is that there is no off-map support. Like, we're fighting off an invasion by a technologically superior enemy, and we are LOSING, and the powers-that-be can't be bothered to give us fire support? We got aircraft, why can't one of them strafe the enemy lines? Or have our transport stop a kilometer from the fight, and drop off two guys with a mortar? Calling out for people to rain hell down on the enemy positions have been a staple of human combat since WW1! Why aren't we doing that now?

(salt)

Now I know that this would shift the balance in the player's favor, but if the xenos are beating the regular armies of earth, they should be showing it. Give the xenos a CIWS, either deployed or mounted to a robot or something. Have the ufo's weapon systems be operational, and shoot back at the air support. If we want to be able to call in artillery from a nearby base, it would take time for them to get set up, which the xenos could use to fortify their position or destroy valuable artifacts. 

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You should play Phantom Doctrine then, and see what it's like to give and receive off-map support in a squad-based tactical shooter. It gets very boring, very quickly. The only saving grace is off-map support can't destroy buildings, no matter how ridiculous that would seem (e.g. you can hide in a straw hut and a fully tooled up Hind D can't wreck it).

 

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In this case I believe it's justifiedbenough in that using artillery might set off an incident. I was saying earlier that this could be worked into the mechanics in a cool way by being able to use something like this at the steep cost of regional support. IE you might save the team, but lose the territory. 

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If the maps were bigger, you would have the room to deploy crewed weapons, to give fire support, and then your troops could advance under their protection.

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On ‎1‎/‎1‎/‎2020 at 7:50 AM, Max_Caine said:

You should play Phantom Doctrine then, and see what it's like to give and receive off-map support in a squad-based tactical shooter. It gets very boring, very quickly. The only saving grace is off-map support can't destroy buildings, no matter how ridiculous that would seem (e.g. you can hide in a straw hut and a fully tooled up Hind D can't wreck it). 

 

Game X implementation not being good is not a good argument against a mechanic.

There should be a cost associated with it, limited uses and reasons why you would not want to use it (risky, need alien craft in tact, etc..).

Also, alien AI would need to take it into account. You bring in mortars? They scramble inside houses, hide in bushes or fall back into the alien craft.

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People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

 

You clearly haven't played PP. The enemy AI can run and hide from my Scarab (the starting vehicle you get that's equipped with a long-range indirect-fire weapon) but it's so easy to crack a building with it. In fact, PP is another example of just how unfair artillery is, and that's artillery that's on the map instead of off it.  

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Artillery is a way to avoid having to go in and fight close-quarters combat. In real life, that's great, because when you're the soldier, you don't want to risk your life unnecessarily. It's not great for a game where the whole point is to fight close-quarters combat.

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Posted (edited)

Isn't that what we've got airstrikes for? The downsides of using artillery and using airstrikes is that explosives also destroy the alien gear with the aliens. Gear that you need unharmed, either so you can sell or study it. Also, why would you use artillery in the same area as your soldiers? Fights tend to happen in a small radius around the UFO, a radius that both the aliens and your men will be in. I'm fine with fire support coming from MGs, tanks, and rocket launchers. I think infantry rocket launchers are a lot more effective then artillery would be, because they're more manueverable/selective, less destructive to alien technology, and a lot faster to call in despite their low ammo capacity. I guess you could bombard the area around the UFO before sending your men in, but why wouldn't the aliens just hide in their UFO? Also there's the matter of property destruction and civilian casualties.

Edited by Birdman
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Posted (edited)

It'd also take a few turns for the artillery to come in, turns that the aliens could use to either move away or shoot at you, when you could just fire a rocket at them from a tank or handheld launcher. Ammo capacity is a problem, but artillery in XCOM seems like it'd be too slow to come in during a very fast-paced firefight, run the risk of friendly fire, and destroy alien tech. 

Edited by Birdman
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On ‎1‎/‎2‎/‎2020 at 2:40 PM, Max_Caine said:

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

 

You clearly haven't played PP. The enemy AI can run and hide from my Scarab (the starting vehicle you get that's equipped with a long-range indirect-fire weapon) but it's so easy to crack a building with it. In fact, PP is another example of just how unfair artillery is, and that's artillery that's on the map instead of off it.  

Again, game X implementation not being good is not a good argument against a mechanic.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, TrashMan said:

Again, game X implementation not being good is not a good argument against a mechanic.

Two bad implementations is a better argument against it (three if you count Syndicate: American Revolt), than supporting it without a good implementation to show.

And I hope people can understand that Xenonauts 2 have tried and reverted enough mechanics and late enough in the development cycle that most new mechanics are out of question.

Edited by Sheepy

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Here's a good one, Sheepy: 

 

Two scary tanks in Jagged alliance being taken down by a mortar from a safe distance 

Multi mortar kill in Jagged Alliance - I wish I had invested in mortars when I played JA2! 

 

There are no bad examples. PP, JA2, Phantom Doctrine, these are all reasonable examples of what on-map and off-map artillery support actually looks like. Trashman, the theory does not stand up in practice. Artillery is unfair, off-map artillery would be especially unfair.  

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You already have a form of short range artillery in the H.E.V.Y. that is if you are not killed in it's very inaccurate fire mode, If that could be fixed you would kill to birds with one stone!

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In Ja2 1.13 at least AI has the same option as you when it comes to off screen artillery, it makes it a bit more fair but you need to take into account that battle on single map can have reinforcements on both sides and lead to immediate counter attack and etc. In a scale of things involved, both mortar and off screen support are much more situational than it might look like.

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18 hours ago, Max_Caine said:

 Trashman, the theory does not stand up in practice. Artillery is unfair, off-map artillery would be especially unfair.  

It's not supposed to be fair.

You're not inviting people to a honor duel, you're fighting for survival of your species, being "sporty" is for losers.

 

And as I said, there are ways to balance it. By making it only available sometimes (artillery has to be brought into position, you need friendly assets nearby), depending on conditions, with costs involved. Again, if aliens bunker up in the UFO, how can you use artillery? You'd destroy all the equipment.

And unnecessary destruction of civilian buildings would not be looked upon favorably (use of artillery could have a negative impact on mission performacne and country disposition)

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The obvious answer is that artillery already exists in Xeno 1. 

The only way to balance it for actual on-map use would be for it to require your own planes to do it (picturing two explosions as a foxtrot respawns at base with no ammo or fuel), or to require reputation as a currency.

Even then, the vehicles and launchers from 1 already served that role. On Insane, I would regularly just keep a Hunter off in the distance, pasting things from miles away. Also kept a launcher on everyone's back as an Oh Crap button, since they are one of the few things you could pull out of your pack and fire. 

Edited by Coffee Potato

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So Trashman, in no particular order.

1) If you're going to have the AI run away into the UFO, then you may as well start the game at the UFO, sans artillery. What's the point in walking across an empty battlefield, People get bored when nothing is happening.

2) If I don't always have the option of having artillery because reasons, I'm going to prepare as if I never have it. If I prepare as if I never have it, then why do I need it in the first place? So that the AI can run to the UFO? Anyway, people are going to point to the aircraft that Xenonauts have, and ask why they can't use those instead of unreliable artillery.

 

In any case, you acknoweldge that artillery is unfair. Unfair when I have it, unfair when the enemy has it. It's an I win button when you apply it to a skirmish-level tactical game. It's why PP at least put the artillery on-map so the other side has half a chance of stopping it. 

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The main problem with artillery is that the main cost to using it or to simply hiding from it is time. There are no downsides to wasting time in classic XCOM-likes. If there were the game would need an all-around rework.

I mean it could work if it was extremely expensive or required LoS. But expensive support would be better as flashy stuff like on-map attack helicopters from the OpenX 40k mod. And requiring LoS just makes it a rocket with an irrelevant fire delay.

Obviously if the only viable tactic to countering it would be to run into the UFO it would be a bad mechanic, but if properly balanced (and not just based on "realism") with inaccuracy, high cost, and simply allowing the player to ambush aliens stupid enough to always run to UFO, it has potential. Trashman's totally right.

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It is easy to say balance is easy.

We've had similar discussions when vehicles were removed from X2.  Some arguments can be reused.  i.e. Anything that is powerful enough to flies over the map (and then some) in a turn will be way more powerful than any handheld weapons, so the damage they do are either impossible to balance or impossible to believe.

Inaccuracy is not a very useful cost, because they quickly lost their practical meaning.  If an instant death weapon has 25% chance to hit where you want it to, that does not average its damage to one-quarter health.  Players will either rarely use this unreliable weapon (which begs the question of why put it in game), or save scum to make it 100% accurate.

High cost is also pretty abstract.  We have costs like production cost, weight cost, space cost, hand cost, action cost.  Except for production cost, all the rest are tactical costs.  Then there are risks which is an indirect cost:

  • Getting close to enemies is a cost - it cost movements and is risky.
  • Pin-pointing enemy location down to a single tile has a cost, too.  It either means detection equipment or that the enemy can see and reaction shot at you.

Any weapon that does not have these two limitations are already inherently low-cost.  Think a long-range grenade launcher.  Placing it outside the map - thus removing the chance to lost it - basically removes all tactical risk from it, and also removes the risk of losing the production cost, however high.

There are a few more ways to balance it, like requiring heavy two hands radio with a full turn setup or more.  Which, while adding back a little tactical costs (how much does dedicating a soldier cost? Not much at all in Xenonauts), it encourages the players to turtle.  Which is not desirable on a higher game design level.  You want tactical combat to be fluid, to be dynamic and engaging.  A turn delay, like xcom 2 Archon, do exactly this when used against the players.  (When used on aliens, well, if the AI moves them it always wastes your shots, so it's just a glorified flush.)

You can also go the other way, granting easy access to artillery with limited shots, whether a soft cap because of cooldown or high per-use cost, or a hard cap, and field enough aliens to expend the shots to balance it out.  Why, you are so clever!  Actually many games do that!  Action games.  Strategy games, too, the old school ones with linear progression on fixed maps.  Wait, does Xenonauts fit the description?

There are good things for off-map artilleries.  They are cool.  They bridge strategy with tactical.  They give more options.  But these don't help balance them.  Which makes them perfect for a mod, so you may want to learn Unity modding now.

If you want to talk game balance, talk game balance.  Empty words belongs to politicians.

Edited by Sheepy

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