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How much do people like the idea of item "components" (for construction)?

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Hi everyone - I've been thinking about a new feature for a few days, and I realised I'd been assuming that the community would be very excited to have it in the game even though I'd never really asking anyone what they thought. So this thread is here to gauge opinion about whether people might actually want this sort of stuff implemented in the game!

Item "Components" & Rare Drops:
The idea here is simple - most manufactured items would require one or more "component" items as well as (reduced) Alloy / Alenium requirements. These components would be recoverable from the aliens but can also be manufactured using Alloys / Alenium. 

To give an example, a Laser Rifle or Laser Shotgun might require 3 Alloys and a Beam Accelerator. The Beam Accelerator could be built in the workshop for 10 Alloys and 5 Alenium, or it can be recovered from the battlefield - each alien plasma weapon recovered might have a 10% chance of awarding the player a functional Beam Accelerator. So you won't get many of them each mission.

The player therefore gets a few "free" items of each tech level, but has to commit Alloys or Alenium if they want to fully equip their units with those items (Alloys and Alenium become the basic manufacturing resources that can be used to build anything). We would probably also add support for dismantling items, which would instantly destroy them and return the component (i.e. the Beam Accelerator) but not the basic resources. The component cannot be broken back down into the Alloys / Alenium.

Why would this be interesting?
To me it seems like this would make the Geoscape more interesting and allow us to add a bit more variety to the tech tree. For instance, if we assume the basic starting armour is the current Tactical Suit / Kevlar combo, we could add in the Warden Armour as a seperate item that is lighter than the Kevlar while offering more protection.

This Warden Armour would require an alien resource called Nanothread, and you can use 1 Nanothread to build one Warden Armour - or you can use 4 Nanothread to upgrade your all your Warden Armour to be Warden Armour V2 that offers even more protection. You'll probably get a couple of Nanothread on most missions you go on, so you probably won't have passively accumulated enough Nanothread to equip everyone with Warden Armour V2 before you unlock the next tier of armour and can build the superior Wolf Armour instead ... but if you commit Alloys to building Nanothread in the workshop, those are Alloys you can't spend elsewhere.

This makes your squad equipment a bit more varied, and you've got a few interesting decisions to make - do you give everyone the new armour, or just issue it to half the squad and then use the remaining Nanothread to make their armour even stronger? You've already got upgraded Warden Armour, so is it worth going all in on that and skipping the Wolf Armour entirely? etc

You can also have some items that are powerful but don't really justify their construction cost in the tech tree, but can be built easily from rare drops - maybe a certain UFO has an extremely powerful laser cannon on it that does 25% more damage than a standard aircraft laser cannon, but would normally cost a ridiculous amount of Alenium to build. If you are lucky enough to recover that component from the UFO, it would only cost a few Alloys to build the special cannon and then you've got one aircraft with a practically unique weapon that can hit way harder than normal.

Problems:
The downside of this is the complexity. We'll have to upgrade the engineering project system so it can accept either / or costs (e.g. either a Beam Accelerator, or 10 Alloys and 5 Alenium) as otherwise I suspect having to manually manufacture every component before you build the "proper" item will be a real pain. Similarly, we'll need to implement the "dismantle" UI and functionality.

It'll make the research tree more complex too. It's already hurting my brain to think about how complex the item trees are going to be when there's a V2 version of every item (particularly when you combine it with the light / heavy versions of each armour). The additional art requirements are also going to be tricky. But I guess that's for me to worry about.

Anyway, what do you guys think? I think this is something that could make a huge difference to the overall gameplay given so much of the strategy layer is just a question of what you research next and what you assign your resources to, but it'd also be rather a lot of effort to go to if the idea doesn't appeal to the players much!

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Posted (edited)

I like it! Anything thad adds complexity is a good thing.

Edited by ooey

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I like the idea, I can see it tying into your suggestion for resource generation buildings in the base mechanics thread. E.g. the "Alloy Forge" alluded to as an example in that thread could be a place where components could be constructed. Erm, just a suggestion, but as you're possibly implementing disassembly then could you extend that further than human manufactured items? Possibly extend it to all the alien gear you pick up and tie that into generating item components. So then the player has one of two options, either keep items for resale and cash generation or dissassemble items in the hopes of getting an item drop. 

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Nice idea, could also see it leading to other battlefield tactics and research projects/buildings. Imagine the aliens learning of what the humans are doing in salvage and that leads to booby trapped equipment.......which leads to a new EOD trooper.

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Posted (edited)

The Idea is very good, but I see many disagrees, because I have seen such Ideas in many Games which haven´t worked. The Idea from Chris is an opponent to a similar System from the new XCOM-Series / Phoenix Point.

The orignal X-Com Series had exactly the same Idea. That´s the best Example to show the positive and negative Sites, when you play it. It´s to long to explain what I mean. Chris wanna use the same Idea with much better Computercodetechnology / Programming.

The Original X-Com-Series as well as the new XCOM 1 / XCOM: Scimera Squad and UFO Extraterestials have that system like Chris wanna bring in. In every Game it was very hard to win, because you had to build everything 1 by 1 with enough materials. Every Material (expect the Armor-Hull from the Original-Seriexs) you have to loot from Aliens, enemy Groups, all sort of UFO´s (landed or damaged) and Alien-Bases.

Phoenix Point and XCOM: Chimera Squad have a similar System, but much more easyer to manage, because you have only 3 Ressources. You have to loot everything too, but here you have the posibility to work for the Habitats (3 Main-Groups) and many seperatet Groups / take over the Town-Parts and upgrade the Squads here which brings you 3 different Ressources. Upgrade your Troops is hard too, because you need on every base a Security-Group. The only thing you can produce is Food.

The best Upgrade-Management atm has XCOM 2 and the Betas here. You can upgrade your Weapons, Armor etc. with some Ressources to a new Level.

My Opinion is, that we use the existing Xenonauts 2-Upgrade-System with the special Things Chris announced for a Main-Upgrade and bring in for Level 2 / 3 Upgrades Chris 1: 1 Idea.

Otherwise if the fully announced Idea from Chris would come in the Game like it is now, you must have automaticly loot Missions (similar to that testest Missions) for not used Soldiers to make the 1 by 1 Upgrade-System operable, with the normal Loot have to give 90 to 100 % of the dismantle. Then that Idea would work together with the resource generation Buildungs. Special Loot Missions are implemented in XCOM: Chimera Squad for not used Soldiers in the Strike Team, R & D and Training.

But that´s only my meaning after playing the full orignal X-Com-Series, UFO Extraterestials as well as new XCOM 1 / XCOM 2 / XCOM: Chimera Squad and Phoenix Point to come up with that Statement.

Edited by Alienkiller

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I'm fine with it as long as we could get the components in differnt ways (such as crafting you mentioned) rather than crash site only, it would be horrible if you need to do tons of ground missions to get one random drop, not to mention that the generation of ground missions is random and depends on other factors (like air combat), and more horrible if one random drop can only craft one equipment so the player need to find more.

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Guess it's something that could be tested with only a few hours of settings things up at my end, too - although I'd have to set the dismantle projects up as workshop projects at first. I'll have a think about it.

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One thing I would like to see is earlier generation components become more available in relation to the current generation of technology. For example, if nanothread was only useful for basic armour then when wolf armour becomes available I'd like to see nanothread more accessible. The reason for upping the drop rate would be to create greater tension between filling out last generation technology and focussing on current generation technology.

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Posted (edited)

If last-gen components will be more readily available, like Max Caine suggested, like if their cost decrease with tech, or drop rate increase with tech, I'd support it for the spice.
Otherwise, I am biased towards Against, as it complicate things and has the potential to hangs the econ or even the campaing on some more random rolls.

For reference, There is a 35% chance that recovering 10 plasma weapons yields no beam accelerator (90%^10), 12% chance after 20 (90%^20).
Not a very nice chance.  One in ten players won't even see plasma drop beam after, let's say three combats.

Worse, if a plasma may drop three components, the chance of not recovering one of them increase to 72% @ 10 drops and 32% @ 20 drops.
Too few components, and the system is not fun enough.  Too many, some players are bound to need to spend extra resource to make up, and some players are bound to get too many!
The hard part is, the line depends on player luck!  Are there not enough variety with the addon system to keep inventory and production interesting?

I think the trend (non-rogue-likes, non-micro-transactions), is to make common resources stable and reliable, while "consumables" are rare and powerful, like xcom 2's core or civ's hero.
And not too heavily luck based - players feel better when skills play a factor.  Whether 10% or 40%, drop chance is a term that better fit lootbox now.

Edited by Sheepy
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I really like the idea of introducing more complexity and substance into the economy. It feels like all x-com games have a strategic economic management game somewhere, trying to get out but buried under other issues. In the original game, the economy is entirely meaningless because you can set up manufacturing for profit, and also because missions give way too much loot after the first few. In X1, the economy is not broken, but it's simple and self-reinforcing. If you're doing well, you get more money so that you continue to do well. If you're doing poorly, you have a limited time window to turn things around or else everything comes crashing down. Having alloys and alenium for production was good but ultimately irrelevant. If you were doing well enough to have access to the advanced items, you had enough materials.

Manufacture components could add a lot, as long as they're scarce enough, and there's variability in how you get them. You could make it worthwhile to assault landed UFOs (which carry a higher risk) by making sure they carry some valuable components that are fragile and usually get destroyed in a crash. You could reward air combat success by having rare, difficult spawns of UFO fighter wings that carry valuables. And so on. At the same time it needs not to be too random, it absolutely ruins the feeling if you're just there waiting for some rare component to drop from a UFO.

This is a good idea, but I think the main thing is to make sure resources, whether it's the usual alloys or components, actually introduce some choices into the game - which means different ways of getting the resources with varied risk/reward ratio, and having the numbers such that you usually don't have the resources for everything.

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Thanks for the comments. There's another problem here that's worth mentioning, too - that this brings back an incentive to grind the same UFOs over and over again, which is something I don't really want to incentivise because people rapidly get bored when they feel forced to do that. I'm not sure I see a way around that, though?

The connected point made above about not wanting to "camp" UFOs for specific rare drops is a similar problem. I think most people would do a couple of crash sites and take their chances, but other people might grind every crash site until they get what they need for the optimal items and I'm not sure what you can do to prevent it. In an ideal world, you could tell the player in advance how many of each specific item is present at the crash site and can make the decision about which missions to fight based on that info... but I don't think there's any logical way that information could be known in advance.

A few specific points:

@Max_Caine hmm, what's the logic behind increasing the drop rate for items once you get beyond a certain tier? I'm happy to give it a try, but I'd have thought it'd trivialise the decision to invest alloys / alenium into a particular tech tier because you know you can always wait a bit longer and you'll get everything free. You might also just end up continually feeding the player a load of items that are useless to them, and even though you can sell them it might get a bit annoying to have Nanothread coming out of your ears a couple of months after you stopped being interested in it.

I suppose one possibility to balance it might be to allow you to (inefficiently) convert a resource into the next tier up. Or maybe (inefficiently) break it down into the source Alloys / Alenium. As you mentioned before, this functionality could be tied to something like the Alloy Forge building, I guess. It does sound like there's a danger it could be too complex though.

@Sheepy so the larger and more advanced UFOs contain more alloys and alenium, which means as the game goes on it becomes relatively cheaper to buy the items you are missing from an older item tier, so I think that would happen automatically. And, yes, there is always a chance that a player gets unlucky with their rolls but given they'll probably kill several hundred aliens across each campaign the randomness is likely to come out in the wash - the same logic could be applied to say that ground missions might be impossible because a player might get unlucky and miss five 80% shots in a row. It's certainly possible but but you've got to assume luck evens out over time.

@Solver I'm not really sure how this system would solve the issue you mentioned with X1 about a good player snowballing, though. It's the same as the X1 system with a little more choice about how you approach things, so a player who is doing well is still going to be snowballing just as hard as they were before.

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I'm halfway through my thesis on why increasing drop rates on old tech would be beneficial (I wish I was kidding), but what I will say about grinding is if you want to stop grinding from being the primary strategy for play, then I would suggest imposing economic penalities. You could actually use Strategic Operations or Agents for this. Fighter UFOs have in v12 a Strategic Operation where you can recover an item. Fine. Make that the norm for item drops. You don't get any item drops on a mission complete. Instead, the UFO remains on the map for X amount of time, like fighter UFOs do. You can click on the UFO and spend X amount of money for a chance to get a drop. The more money you spend, the higher the chance of a drop. Perhaps you could spend an agent for 100% chance of a drop, but then you've no longer got that agent.

 

Edit: The basic premise - spend X resource to get Y% chance of a item drop is infinitely mutable. E.G. you could perhaps assign scientists and/or engineers as a "salvage team" to a UFO which takes game-time to salvage a UFO. The more scientists and/or engineers you assign as a salvage team, the better the chance of a drop. Heck, you be even more radical. Instead of getting any instant rewards like you do right now, all rewards cost a reource to get. Going back to the salvage team idea, you can only get rewards from a ufo once a salvage team has finished salvaging a UFO - that would impose economic penalities on grinding that could be felt through the lifespan of the game (scientists for the drop, engineers for basic resources?). 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/5/2020 at 3:32 PM, Solver said:

 You could make it worthwhile to assault landed UFOs (which carry a higher risk) by making sure they carry some valuable components that are fragile and usually get destroyed in a crash. 

This is the kind of thing that makes perfect sense! I remember a while back we were talking about doing so well that base defence missions would become unnecessary (thus their maps are not seen much, resulting in reduced gameplay variety). I would always avoid attacking a landed UFO if I could, because I knew it would have its full complement of Aliens. The risk of gaining more intact items just wasn't worth it.

In solvers comment you have the solution to this.

To ensure that you want to play Base defence missions for instance, perhaps the aliens bring along something rare and valuable with them that you can't get any other way. If you win, you get it (perhaps a powerful tank that shuts down if all the aliens are killed, or a "ticking" megabomb tank that is designed to blow up the whole base if the aliens win, that you can use on a mission to blow up a landed ufo if you need to abort the mission so it can't carry out its mission).

Sometimes talking about one thing brings possible solutions to others!

 

 

Edited by ooey

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Chris said:

I think most people would do a couple of crash sites and take their chances, but other people might grind every crash site until they get what they need for the optimal items and I'm not sure what you can do to prevent it.

Wouldn't a fatigue system, coupled with UFOs appearing in a wave, naturally puts an upper cap on how many UFOs can be recovered per team?

 

16 hours ago, Chris said:

I suppose one possibility to balance it might be to allow you to (inefficiently) convert a resource into the next tier up. Or maybe (inefficiently) break it down into the source Alloys / Alenium. As you mentioned before, this functionality could be tied to something like the Alloy Forge building, I guess. It does sound like there's a danger it could be too complex though.

So the larger and more advanced UFOs contain more alloys and alenium, which means as the game goes on it becomes relatively cheaper to buy the items you are missing from an older item tier, so I think that would happen automatically.

Resource conversion between tier?  Now that really sounds like a mobile game that force you to grind and grind. :(

Yeah, you get more resources with bigger UFO, but the difference is typically not as big as the difference between tiers.  What I mean is maybe old tier can become a safety net for players who made a major stumble, like losing the main base along with the A-team, they can still quickly field newbies with second-tier items and recover quicker.  To do that they don't need to be free, but they need to become half as cheap or more.  Civ kind of do it the other way - it boosts your resources with tech, but the result is the same: lower-tier units are cheap enough to become the new basic.

 

16 hours ago, Chris said:

There is always a chance that a player gets unlucky with their rolls but given they'll probably kill several hundred aliens across each campaign the randomness is likely to come out in the wash - the same logic could be applied to say that ground missions might be impossible because a player might get unlucky and miss five 80% shots in a row. It's certainly possible but but you've got to assume luck evens out over time.

If a random can be mitigated by player skills, it is a challenge.  That gives players satisfaction.  If a random can be mitigated by grinding, well, it's grinding.

Generally speaking, randomness works against players, and xcom already has lots of randoms.  Also, many players won't remember when their luck evened out, and most players do not judge "evenness" as statistics.  Player have a skewed perception of random's evenness.  Lastly, numerically equal chances are not equal in game terms; bad rolls can destroy more than the gain from lucky rolls. (In this case, bad luck on loot hurts the campaign more than the boost from good loots, which means each campaign's difficulty curve is partly random. Can actually be good if there is a safety net to prevent it from ruining the game.)

Lots of rolls can even out the chances, yes, but if something should even out then leaving it by chance may not be the best chocie.
There are other ways of course.  New XCOM and Battletech both implements a "miss chain breaker" to guarantee some hits.  Not a complex system, but still adds to the complexity.

 

16 hours ago, Chris said:

@Solver I'm not really sure how this system would solve the issue you mentioned with X1 about a good player snowballing, though. It's the same as the X1 system with a little more choice about how you approach things, so a player who is doing well is still going to be snowballing just as hard as they were before.

A dynamic difficulty system that buff / nerf the opponents as you do well is a pretty common solution to the problem.  The original xcom tried to do that, Apoc did that, phoenix point is doing that.

In particular, in Phoenix Point the system works too well that save-scumming players soon find themselves facing bullet-sponge enemies that can one-shot half the team with one grenade.
I think the top lesson from it is that, when a player scum saves, just let him/her be.  It's obvious (s)he is not playing for a "fair" challenge. ("fair" as in most xcom game assumes you'll take at least light losses.)
Second lesson, a modder will cap or disable the system for those who want the "raw time-based xcom experience".
(Which is ironic since the very first xcom tried to implement dynamic difficulty but bugged, ended up forcing every campaign to have same difficulty.)

Another system I've seen are events to help the underdogs, like when a player lost most soldiers, the veterans of a private military company come join xenonauts after their head is killed or controlled by the alien, and bring some alien loots with them.  It's more common in games with fixed roasters, such as Sequence Palladium and UFO:Afterlight.

Edited by Sheepy
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20 hours ago, Chris said:

 

@Max_Caine hmm, what's the logic behind increasing the drop rate for items once you get beyond a certain tier? I'm happy to give it a try, but I'd have thought it'd trivialise the decision to invest alloys / alenium into a particular tech tier because you know you can always wait a bit longer and you'll get everything free. You might also just end up continually feeding the player a load of items that are useless to them, and even though you can sell them it might get a bit annoying to have Nanothread coming out of your ears a couple of months after you stopped being interested in it.

I suppose one possibility to balance it might be to allow you to (inefficiently) convert a resource into the next tier up. Or maybe (inefficiently) break it down into the source Alloys / Alenium. As you mentioned before, this functionality could be tied to something like the Alloy Forge building, I guess. It does sound like there's a danger it could be too complex though.

Quirks and flaws of equipment families notwithstanding, Xenonauts 2 follows a linear research progression path. That is to say, the further down the tech tree you advance the objectively better equipment families become. Furthermore, the game follows a linear difficulty progression path. UFOs become larger and more difficult to fight, aliens become harder to kill, and better equipped to kill squaddies equipped with current-gen technology (e.g. aliens have three generations of weapon technology in X2). The X-Division mod for X1 formally recognised this and subdivided the game into specific Phases. 

As equipment families progress and alien equipment also progresses the pressure is on the player to be ahead of the technology curve. As aliens improve of the course of the game it is generally better to research and manufacture current-gen to match the threat presented by aliens at that point in the game rather than stick last-gen, which matched the threat presented by aliens at the point where last-gen was current gen. This is most prominent with the armour equipment families – it is noticeably better to have wolf armour than it is to stay with basic armour and have the heavy armour upgrade. 

However, in X1 it is a valid strategy to not invest in current-gen and rely on last-gen technology (the “rush plasma strategy”). The aim of this strategy is to wait for a future generation of equipment family which is significantly better than current-gen, is achievable in a timescale that does not create undue pressure for the player and can be manufactured in large numbers reasonably quickly. While waiting, resources are either horded or spent on current-gen technology in another part of the game, e.g. forgoing Ground Combat lasers to purchase more armour, a key plank of the rush plasma strategy. 

So, into this, we introduce components. Components as presented in the OP create economic scarcity for current-gen equipment families. If you don’t have the component, you have to pay a stiff penalty to replace the component required, so balancing resources between various current-gen equipment families becomes more pronounced and the desire to obtain components becomes sharp. Penalties for last-gen technology are apparently less than the penalties for current-gen technology. As a consequence there is a strong economic incentive to focus more on last-gen technology than current-gen as resources can be used more effciently. If a player comfortably feels that s/he can survive on upgraded last-gen as opposed to current-gen then we are already in the scenario identified by Chris without any further incentivisation required. Items drops don’t need to be made more common, because economically you can make up for the penalties more efficiently than current-gen.  

In this proposed scenario, making last-gen drops more common encourages investment in current-gen by the expedient of flooding the market. If components for last-gen become more common this frees up resources to invest in current-gen that would otherwise have been invested in the technologically inferior but economically superior last-gen.  It would, however, from a gameplay perspective be better to make the player feel pressured that they need to invest in current-gen technology over last-gen. A considerable percentage of the playerbase for X-Division enjoy the mod because of that pressure to keep up with current alien opponents. 
 

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I feel this mechanic would do nothing but add unnecessary item bloat. X1's streamlined economy was one of the main reasons I played it instead of OG XCOM.

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On 6/6/2020 at 7:29 PM, Comrade said:

I feel this mechanic would do nothing but add unnecessary item bloat. X1's streamlined economy was one of the main reasons I played it instead of OG XCOM.

Interesting. Is there anything specific you found irritating about the economy in classic X-Com?

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Posted (edited)
On 6/5/2020 at 10:11 AM, Chris said:

Thanks for the comments. There's another problem here that's worth mentioning, too - that this brings back an incentive to grind the same UFOs over and over again, which is something I don't really want to incentivise because people rapidly get bored when they feel forced to do that. I'm not sure I see a way around that, though?

Maybe the solution to that would be to have UFOs spawn that emit a special signal or whatever. The UFOs are rare themselves but are guaranteed to have the drop if you manage to shoot them down and do the mission. That way players don't feel they have to grind 500 missions while also still limiting drop rates.

 

edit---------

The mission for those UFOs could be just to collect the item too. Just a thought.

 

edit2--------

I just read about your logical way thing. I mean you could possibly explain it with a radar dish upgrade which allows you do to spectroscopy analysis of UFOs.

Edited by odizzido

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14 hours ago, odizzido said:

Maybe the solution to that would be to have UFOs spawn that emit a special signal or whatever. The UFOs are rare themselves but are guaranteed to have the drop if you manage to shoot them down and do the mission. That way players don't feel they have to grind 500 missions while also still limiting drop rates.

Yeah, I certainly see how that could work for rare UFO spawn items - but I was more thinking of the basic items when I said it might not work very well. It's plausible you'd know if a UFO has a special shield generator on it or something but it's rather less plausible for you to know in advance than 3 of the 10 plasma weapons aboard would have functional Beam Emitters when recovered.

I guess I could take a leaf from the XCOM playbook and have it so that stunned aliens have a 100% chance of dropping recoverable items, whereas aliens you kill only drop it 30% of the time or something? Might make stunning aliens a bit more rewarding given it's much more dangerous than simply killing them.

I quite like that idea, actually - gives the player a way to mitigate randomness through good play, but as you'd probably only ever need a max of say 20 Beam Emitters (or whatever) there'd be minimal advantages to farming the same type of UFO over and over with stun weapons.

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I know what is meant with the Reward-People. That’s not new, it already exists in UFO:AI.

In that Game you need a building where you can R & D the UFO. Maybe we can integrate such a similar System in X2. 

You will loose some Scientists and Worker’s for that time in normal Work, after the R & D they are Back at their normal work. 

I would integrate the Idea on the Geoscape as a Mission or combined with the Ground Combat-Win-End.

Alternative is the UFO / UFOS get into Hangers and get R&D here.

What the Generation-Parts belongs I agree that we need between Steps like we have now with more Upgrades as Chris mentioned.

 

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5 hours ago, Chris said:

I guess I could take a leaf from the XCOM playbook and have it so that stunned aliens have a 100% chance of dropping recoverable items, whereas aliens you kill only drop it 30% of the time or something? Might make stunning aliens a bit more rewarding given it's much more dangerous than simply killing them.

I quite like that idea, actually - gives the player a way to mitigate randomness through good play, but as you'd probably only ever need a max of say 20 Beam Emitters (or whatever) there'd be minimal advantages to farming the same type of UFO over and over with stun weapons.

That sounds like a pretty good way of doing it. If that was also applied to landed as opposed to crashed UFOs, it would defintely encourage riskier play. 

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Posted (edited)

30% is a bit low, but yeah it's always more fun to encourage restraint and loot.

The main solution to grind-to-win is always to put a timer on the game through base assaults and losing countries. Players should be expected to participate in every mission they can get a net reward from imo. Including missions they don't plan on totally finishing unless they get really lucky.

You can try to prevent players from doing all missions through fatigue, but players can simply get more soldiers, and it can make casualties too decisive. You can limit it through difficult airgame and alien fighters which attack dropships, but you don't want the air war to decide the game (unless the ground war decides the air war, meaning more expensive fighters almost always win, eww).

Basically every "indirect lose condition" should be equally viable. Losing by extreme casualties, air war, relations, lack of ground tech, base assault. Just fatigue or just airwar limiting players from doing all missions will cause one lose condition to be too prevalent.

Edited by Bobit

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I like the idea of using resources to directly upgrade your current equipment. Sounds like it would be faster and cheaper than fully researching new tech, and then manufacturing new gear.

I also like the idea of dismantling equipment scavenged from missions to produce other resources. Say you dismantle those 5 plasma rifles to get Alenium and Alloys. Then you can use those to upgrade your current armour or weapons.

I'm less enthusiastic about rare items and drops tho; especially if it involves overly complicating the research and manufacturing process. It sounds like it could be a time consuming and expensive task to implement, and resulting in unrewarding and grindy gameplay.

I'm also concerned about item bloat, like Comrade mentioned above. X1 has a nice feature where all those weapons, bodies, etc. are sold immediately when the mission ends. Adding components for crafting could add a layer of micromanaging that I don't really care for. Can we sell these components? Do I have to divert resources from Engineering to break them down? Do I have to break them down myself? Do I have to memorize a another crafting recipe tree?

Maybe if rare drops were fully functional gear, and ready to use (research required) then I think it could work. For example:

Alien leaders in large ufo's and bases could carry rare guns or ammo. The drop would be guaranteed but difficult to get. The leader has an extra powerful plasma rifle, but you still need to research plasma weapons to use it.

Maybe there could be special missions that randomly appear where the player is given a chance to raid a hidden supply depot or something. Success gives the player some rare equipment like a new gun for the aircraft. "Local forces in New Mexico report increased alien activity at this location. We request Xenonaut ground forces to investigate."

I'd also like to see rare drops (especially drops carried by ground troops) to have bonuses other than stat buffs. Maybe that plasma rifle carried by the alien leader can also behave like a grenade launcher, or it carries a pistol that can fire a couple of light rockets, etc.

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Complexity in crafting and an economy of resources sound great - but what would it do to the speed of the game? I don't think a bit of grinding is a bad thing, it gives a little reward cycle. However, if you are forced to do that grinding to survive then we've departed from the familiar game we know. Maybe this would be a good mechanic for a player to recover from a loss: if half your dudes get wasted, grind a little to tool up the survivors. The problem is for players who are already doing well. Holding them back with the requirement to do some grinding isn't going to sit well. 

Beyond that, I'd also caution against a crafting mechanic that produces a finite armory. If the player only has two latest-gen rifles then every time you are in the loadout screen you'll be moving them around and spending a lot of your time clicking on this or that. Menus suck. On every game. PC games less so (praise the mouse), but it is still a faff. It is nice to be able to fully customise your soldiers, but it is a pain to have them share weapons and need to pass them back and forth. Maybe the resolution to this is that the crafting mechanic needs to be exciting enough to overcome the faff. Or, use the components to build machinery in the workshop, and that machinery can then churn out the desired gear. E.g. Warden Armour costs 10 alloy but a Warden Armour Fabricator costs 1 alien propulsion + 20 alloys. This way, you engage in a little crafting micromanagement, gain a fuller armory and it saves you the faff of reallocating equipment.

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Posted (edited)

I've no doubt that Chris's vision on the component drop is focused on the... fun aspect from the random mechanic, for lack of a better term.
It's just that the suggested mechanics, and some of the suggested solutions, may have unintended side effects.

A variation I can think of is make the total rare drop rate to be 100%, but the drop remains random.
The ufo commander may drop a Nanothread that makes one lighter armour, an Organic Weave that makes one regenerative armour, a Particle Accelerator that makes one longer range weapon, or a set of Metamaterial Lens that makes an addon for bonus sight range.
When drop rate is 100%, the power curve is stable and non-random, but players can and should slightly adjust loadout or tactic with the item acquired.
It is lots of effort, of course.  To keep it interesting, most players should not get most items on the first run, or even second run.  That means many items with many skins.

The 100% drop when stunned is another approach, that give a strong reason to take the risk to subdue the aliens.
Some players will use this to their advantage, perhaps getting double or triple rare loot than designed, which limits the advantage (and some of the fun) they can give.
(When 100% stunned = 1 loot, 10% stunned = 0.37 loot, 50% stunned = 0.65 loot at 30% baseline.)

Finite armoury have been a part of every game that let players to manufacture or upgrade individual items.
I see no way around it, but XCOM 2 lighten this burden by upgrading all baseline weapons, so that inventory management is focused on the variable (random) part.
X1 also lightened it somewhat by automatically upgrading all explosives, which I appreciated.

 

Regardless of the details, a 100% good thing that can be done is make it optional, like the various start options in xcom 2, if X2 doesn't already have them.
Building an option screen and remembering the options takes some dev time, but they can be reused for other options, and can potentially be expanded by mods.
It is relatively cheap to do during development, but near/after release the cost will escalate, and the chance of it ever happening diminish quickly.

Edited by Sheepy
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