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ApolloZani

Sometimes, I think I'd like multiple bases better if they had different archetypes.

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Even in the original X-Com, building more bases always felt like it was just another place to store radars, hangers, and whatever you ran out of room for back home. I've been thinking back to other games let you build multiple bases around the world and fill them how you like and the one that I enjoyed the most came from Endgame: Singularity. While in that game you're an AI that goes from renting server time, to building warehouses, to labs, to camouflaged bases. Each with their own set of bonuses and debuffs, prereqs and research enablers.

Translating that mechanic would look something like your typical starting military base. Perhaps even having it on the surface to start. Researching the alien engine from your first UFO would unlock a catapult for your airships. "We can't activate the reactionless fields outside of laboratory conditions, but we can convert our hangers to support those conditions. While the range is only line of sight outwards, it will give our fighters and dropships a boost on launch. Incidentally this also enables to launch any vessel we want without a runway, finally enabling us to run an entire war from underground. At the very least, a few feet of rock will completely protect us from the aerial attack runs we've been seeing."

With the hyperwave decoder, you'd be able to shield a new, smaller base from detection and get a chance to evacuate a base before it comes under attack. "Until now, we were unable to determine what the aliens use for sensors. Certainly they don't use radar or range finders, I imagine we're at least smart enough to hear their pings if they're done in a more conventional medium. With the discovery of hyperwaves, however, we finally have a way to listen and they have much to say. All of it encrypted beyond belief. Thankfully, our own experiments have given us some insights into hyperwave pings and it should be easy enough to disguise a complex military base as nothing more than stone, assuming the base is small enough and built from the ground down in the required acoustic shape."

By figuring out the shields of the later ships, you'd be able to build a larger base which can't be destroyed by the orbital laser and, importantly, gives you a ten day respite from city destruction the first time they try. "Right now, we're a hard target surrounded by easy prey. Though the aliens certainly won't give up their efforts to stop us, at the least, we've bought ourselves some time."

Alien alloy reforging would let you build a base underwater, making it completely safe from outside attack. "Perhaps the most remarkable feature is that it self-seals under even the lightest pressures. The days of leaks and wall maintenance are over, so long as you don't mind the colour. Alien paint has yet to be discovered and I don't have the time to invent it, perhaps after the invasion I'll find a way to keep my lab white without worrying about repairs every time something explodes. Speculation aside, the applications of alloy reforge are uncountable and of special note to some of my MarineLab colleges, we'll be able to construct underwater labs (and bases) which not even UOO-1 can breech."

Singularity fields (like the naked singularities from Xenonauts 1) would enable tiny labs with massively increased research speeds. "The equipment maintaining it would be too sensitive to allow anyone untrained inside, but with a space to work without fear of detection or oversight, we can perform the high energy research that we've been missing since the targeted destruction of all our particle accelerators."

Plasma weapons research would unlock magma bases for cheaper, faster, and less resource intensive manufacturing and otherwise be a base with unlimited energy. "More an equation than a device, the aliens have been using the energy of the plasma itself to keep their rounds contained. Indeed, this equation applies to anything hot enough that with even the tiniest paramagnetic imprint and like all equations, it can be reversed. With just the right starting conditions, we can turn the mantel of the earth itself into a nearly endless battery. The heat of the magma would power the internal cooling and anything else we can bring along. Those engineers have been asking me to find a way to run an arc furnace full time and I can honestly say I've outdone their request."

And finally, an end game base when you research the drives powering the largest UFOs. "They have their base in the skies. It's time to make ours."

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I like the idea that the game would encourage you to build multiple bases for specific purposes, and that most of those bases wouldn't simply be clones of one another. So imagine that you'd need a base with a massive hangar to build advanced aircraft, but there would be no real need to have more than one of those because you don't need a high production rate. Also, making them location dependent would be cool, so you'd need a base in, say, the Ethiopian geothermal fissure, because that would be critical for some high-energy research.

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That´s exactly what I mean. Therfore I made a Suggestion to limit the other Bases in Buildup. Like 1 for Research on UFO´s with Demontatio, 2 mixed ones with normal Research & Production , 2 small Bases for UFO-Hunting and 1 Main-Base. Or such.

The best Concept of all Copys from orignal X-COM did atm UFO ET 1. There were 1 Main-Base and the Secondary Bases were Limited in Buildup.

Example for Xenonauts 2:

The first Base is your Main-Base as it is now. There you can build what you want, but Space is limited. After that you can choose for the 3 Variations of Bases:

Research-Base: It is your Demontation & Main-Research-Base with a small Defece Force (Defence Buildings).

Workshop-Base: It is your your Main-Production Base with small Defence Force (Defense Buildings).

Recon- and Fast-Respond-Bases: That Bases are small Troop-Bases with some Fighters, max. Radar-Coverage and a small Troop of Soldiers with Transport.

All 3 Variations are more Limited to hold Costs low (max. the Half of Main-Base).

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I think you should be able to choose the what a base after the main one specializes in through choosing the central hub of it to be either a mechanic center, a big research lab or a hangar control tower. A recon base should just be a borrowed aircraft carrier after gaining enough favor with a faction. Less build slots, but is much more mobile.

An undersea base should be a cool DLC if Goldhawk wanted to support the game further down the line.

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Posted (edited)

Nice Idea, but much work. That´s why UFO 2 ET is in Development since about 12 Years. Before we think about other mobile Bases etc. we should first take a lock on UFO 2 ET in September after Release and Playing.

Therfore I would say, we concentrate on the Main-Part with the 3 new Basetypes after the Main Base is set. And yes, that I have forgotten to Mention with the Choose of next Base. Thanks for the expenansion. 

Edited by Alienkiller

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The biggest stumbling block that I can see to archetypal bases is something that Alienkiller has brought up indirectly - cost. It's hella expensive to produce the assets for base assault missions but if you want to provide at least an X1 experience in X2 (which would be the baseline for X2), there's no choice in the matter - every building type in a base needs its own set of unique assets. The only way to minimise costs is to make base assets uniform, so what you see in one base you will see in every base, so as nice as it might be, unless some kind benefactor throws Goldhawk several million, I think costs will make it unfeasble. 

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I was actually thinking that the only unique assets needed for a base is the main hub, the specialized tier-2 rooms that is the main role of the base only for the air launch, production center and research hub. When the main hub is chosen, the base will have a set numbers of rooms in a exact configuration (like the rooms in different ships in FTL).

For instance the main base will always be the versatile 5x5 square.

The research hub would be much smaller and in an L-shape.

The production center would be in a 3x5 rectangle to look like an actual production line of a factory.

The Air launcher would be set up with the hub being a large 2x2 hangar with other rooms connected to it in a cross configuration. 

The underwater base have 2 levels of 3x3 connected by a main elevator hub.

While the aircraft carriers only have 4 build slots combined with the already set runway but can move anywhere.

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I prefer to custom-design each base according to my playstyle and needs.

Travel time alone should be a big factor in why multiple bases are needed. You're defending the entire planet. Having ONE team in one base is beyond retarded, even conceptually.

If anything, I think you should START with 2-3 bases, tough minimally equipped (as in, mostly unbuilt).

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Posted (edited)

TrashMan, that´s an cool Idea too. The Main-Base (Atlas-Base) could be as it is now. And 2 others with minimal Workout (like an Access-Lift, Generator and 1 or 2 abonded Buildings). The 2 you have to fix first, before you can use them. Yep, that Idea i like a lot.

If Chris and the Team could bring that in, the Game will be on an cool next Level and like Phoenix Point with the existing and similar abonded Organisation. Xenonauts had (if I read the first Storytext correctly) several Bases on the Planet, which get reduced and then abonded about Financing- / Money-Trouble. Only Atlas-Base get in operating Order but with reduced Buildings, Personal and Equipment (like it is at the Gamestart).

Edited by Alienkiller

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In X1, the base rush was similar to the the satellite rush in XCOM. Expand as fast as possible to prevent the damage the UFOs would do and increase income. No other strategy was as appealing. Nonetheless, I'm not sure where I stand on having 2 or 3 bases at the start. It makes sense intuitively (i.e. being given global support), but it removes the expansion phase of the game, which I'm not sure is a good thing. 

Okay, it is infuriating to have to rush your expansion early on just so that you can effectively patrol all continents. But that push has a similar function to a timer - you have to move quick if you want to cover the globe. Personally, I like that kind of stress in a strategy game. Otherwise it is a bit of a sandbox. The problem is that it isn't a strategy so much as a logistical challenge of affording expansion as early as possible.

 

But I think @ApolloZani's original suggestion was that you progress by acquiring a series of bases that each have their own specialty and unique feel. This would be more than empire building - you wouldn't just be getting bigger. You would be becoming more powerful with each capability a new base would provide. In my eyes, the interesting thing about this is to disconnect geographic expansion from other geoscape activities. So, whilst there is an early push to expand your radar coverage to gain income, there would then be a late-game push to specialise your bases. In particular, a system of rewards/penalties for specialised bases would create something like the exploitation phase from a 4X strategy, which is currently lacking in xenonauts.

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We all have interesting Ideas therefore. Let the Devs think about the 3 or 4 Ideas we give them. The interessting thing in Phoenix Point is, that you have to find the abonden Phoenix Point Bases and get them Working again.

That´s an Option and would fit at best in the new Xenonauts 2 Storyline.

The next Option is the original Suggestion form ApolloZani.

The other Option is to to took the other Suggestions Trashman / Xeroxth and I suggest.

The Reason is following: The original Plan for Xenonauts 2 which we Betas could test out was a 1 Base-System with seperate Fighter Bases (like in the new XCOM-Series) until the Base Management changed to the old X1-Stile with better Graphics. As an interim solution it´s ok to get the Beta-Tests and other Main-Things in the Game going forward, but has to be changed in an other system with more and better decision posibilitys. The old X1-Stile is to costly, which it was in the original X-Com-Titels (X-Com Enemy Unknown / X-Com Terror from the Deep)

Chris an his Team from Goldhawk tried a better system, and here helped the 2007 Surprisehit UFO Extraterestials. The Difference to the other 2 Stiles (new XCOM / old X-Com) is follwing: The Main Base in UFO Extraterestials is for R & D, Interrogation, Radar- and Scaning etc. as well as your Soldiers reserved, while the Secundary Bases were Fighter-Craft-Bases with Defenses. That system was the original Planing for Xenonatus 2, but much better thought-out.

If we get a similar system for the reworked Xenonatus 2 the Base costs will be reduced by about 70%, then it will be with the old X1-System. After you got 3 Bases in X1 your costs were higher then the Founding from the Earth Gouvernments in the Monthly Report. That has to be avoid in X2, if the Aliens shouldn´t get the control of Earth.

So my petition is that we try to get a Base-System with reduced costs and founding Win from the Monthly Reports. If you are thinking you can sell Artifacts to get the Cost in Balance, forget it. It isn´t working anymore like in X1.

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On ‎6‎/‎26‎/‎2020 at 5:33 PM, Ninothree said:

In X1, the base rush was similar to the the satellite rush in XCOM. Expand as fast as possible to prevent the damage the UFOs would do and increase income. No other strategy was as appealing. Nonetheless, I'm not sure where I stand on having 2 or 3 bases at the start. It makes sense intuitively (i.e. being given global support), but it removes the expansion phase of the game, which I'm not sure is a good thing. 

Okay, it is infuriating to have to rush your expansion early on just so that you can effectively patrol all continents. But that push has a similar function to a timer - you have to move quick if you want to cover the globe. Personally, I like that kind of stress in a strategy game. Otherwise it is a bit of a sandbox. The problem is that it isn't a strategy so much as a logistical challenge of affording expansion as early as possible.

This is one argument that I never undestood. That a common sense strategy is bad.

It's like saying that puling a trigger on a gun to shoot people is boring because it's such an obvious thing, so everyone does it. There is an old saying, amateurs talk about Tactics, Experts about Strategy and true Master about logistics. War IS logistics. There's a reason Roman armies were so good - they had excellent logistic chains.

How would you even define expansion? Globe coverage? Advancement? Discovery? Now I'm just rambling here, but I'm not really sure what IS the problem or if it IS a problem at all.

There could certainly be ways around it.

Start with a base on each continent?

Have reduced/no penalites from continents without a base in the early stage, with some expected expansion goals you are expected to meet (you have a goal of 1 new base by the end of month 2, for example), or else you face penalties. Kinda works like a timer as well.

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As Beta-Tester we test the existing Base-System. I tested several buildups:

1. Standard-Buildup like in X1: You lost!

2. Main-Base (Atlas-Base) and Science / Workshop Base (works well, if you Reglement it!) 

buildup Workshop-Base: 1 or 2 Generators 3 Radars, 3 better 4 Hangars for Fighters = Priority! Then 1 or 2 Quarters for Personal and 2 or 3 Workshops

buildup Science-Base: 1 or 2 Generators, 3 better 4 Hangars for Fighters = Priority! Then 1 or 2 Quarters for Personal and 2 or 3 Labs!

If you place the Bases well, you need only a fourth Base with 3 Radars, 6 Hangars, 2 Generators and 2 or 3 Communication-Stations for your Recruitment- / Money Increase and Panic-Reductions outposts!

And the Fighters in the announced Bases to secure your outposts. If not Game Over!

3. Main Base (Atlas-Base) with buildup in Research & Development as well as Training / Healthy Station etc. with 4 or 5 Fighter-Bases like announced.

You have only the 3 Options about following Reasons:

1. Your Staff you can recruit is limited, esp. Workers / Scientists.

2. To recruit them you need announced Outpost, which will be attacked by the Aliens. Your reaction-time is limited to 6 or 7 Hours. If you don’t react 250k Money and the Bonus are gone (+ 1 or 2 Scientists/ Workers; 10 Panic Reduction; extra Monthly Cash)

3. You need the Bonuses from the Outposts to win the Game. Only get an outpost there when you have already secure fighters there.

4. Don’t build to big Secondary Bases, you can’t pay them if you play like X1. You have to save money now, because there will come in more from the Alien-Tech / Alien-Body’s you need for Production, Upgrades etc. like in the new XCOM-Series. 

5. The sellable special Things (like the upgraded Armor / Vehicle-Rockets) get limited per Month. It’s atm unlimited for testing.

6. you have to decide more often in upgrade your equipment to safe life of your soldiers / pilots and damage reduce of your vehicles (Fighters / MARs / ARES) [Primary] or secondary build up more expensive Bases. Every Ground-Costs for a new Base is 1 Millions.

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5 hours ago, TrashMan said:

This is one argument that I never understood. That a common sense strategy is bad.

My issue with this, particularly in the case of XCOM, was that every playthrough would start the same. Rush satellites. And yeah, there was something interesting about figuring out how to get a few more $$$ additional funding to squeeze out another array a month early, but it doesn't feel like a novel problem you're solving. In X1, the issue was that there was a obvious strategy to get sufficient radar coverage with three bases - that was the optimal choice. And if there is an obvious optimal choice, you don't ever pick the other choices, so the whole thing stops loses all strategy around trade-offs. 

I'm not saying a strategy game with an expansion phase is bad. Just that I'd appreciate it if there were multiple routes to expansion. Eg, instead of building a whole new base with radar and hangars, you hire those facilities from the local territory. This is cheaper, helps to keep the panic down in the region, but the spoils go to the host so you don't earn a profit. There is a meaningful choice there because both options are viable.

Similarly, your idea about starting with a base on each continent could work. As that is the optimal choice, it may as well be the default setup. The problem is that that would remove the expansion phase of the game, so you'd need something in its place, e.g. you expand effective air coverage either by building loads of hangars, or by rushing the R&D for better aircraft (or a combination of the two). That would give some element of trade-off.

But, this is getting off topic. The original question was about specialised bases. With that, there could be a lot of meaningful choice around base building. Even if you were going with the optimal three-base configuration, you'd still have freedom to choose what those bases would specialise in. However, crucially, those specialisations would need to be critically different to effects of just constructing lots buildings in a regular non-specialised base.

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That why I gave you all an insight what we have and Testing since the playable Betas are there. Maximum 6 Bases you can have. And if the last 5 are smaller then the Atlas-Base you have a small profit for the Main-Things. The Hangars with Fighters you need definetively in the Bases for the Defense of your small outposts in the founding countrys.

The Outposts give you more influence in the founding States (6 big ones with the smaller Countrys like in it). The best example is EU (France, Great Britian [they will come back, an seperate fighter will crash], Germany, Poland etc.) as a founding state in Xenonauts 2. There are some Outposts shared in it. It´s not like in XCOM, they will only build up if Panic is to high after an Orbital Bombardement etc.

But yeah, i hope we have to find the other 5 smaller Xenonaut Bases on the Globe. That would be an other cool integration on the Geoscape.

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Any game that requires resource X will always have a preference for getting as much resource X as possible. It is common sense. And you cannot really get rid of resources. It is not money, it will be something else. You CANNOT get rid of the "optimal ways to play" thing. At beast you can muddy the waters. There will awalys be a best play to do in any single scenario.

But I do agree, offering multiple solutions to a problem might be a good idea to spice it up.

Personally, I think that maybe having aircraft and aribases as a separate thing (built on the geospace as a standard template, NOT like a regular base, you don't build specific facilites), so interceptors would not be housed in your regular bases at all. Just troop transports.

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That´s what I like from Phoenix Point. You don´t know what Art of abonded Bases you get. If we get the System like it´s now with the Main-Base (Atlas Base) then it will be so. But then with Buildings which have to be repaired etc. first like in Phoenix Point. Sadly we don´t have an comparition from the newest UFO Game UFO 2 Extratrerstials (similar to Xenonauts) right now, because it will come in September 2020 first.

So we couldn´t watch what´s good and bad, so we and the Devs / Freelancers have to fuge out a Base-Storyline from our Fingers and have only Phoenix Point and XCOM 1 from Firaxis as an Template if we wanna Xenonauts 2 in that Part 1.000 % better then in the Predecessor.

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On 7/3/2020 at 3:30 AM, Alienkiller said:

EU (France, Great Britian [they will come back, an seperate fighter will crash], Germany, Poland etc.) as a founding state in Xenonauts 2.

Wait a minute. So how did Germany and Poland got into the EU? If I remember correctly that in the new setting as planned by Chris, the Warsaw Pact still exist to this day. So I’m assuming that Germany is still divided between the GDR and FDR while Poland is still in the socialist camp.

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In that this is an alternative timeline, there is quite a lot of freedom as to what bloc each country exists in. Probably best to go with what is easiest. I suspect that the territory lines and country names used for the geoscape will have been pulled out of some standard map pack. Personally, I'd love to see some engagement with the Iron Curtain, but I think that space aliens are the theme of the day.

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There are 6 Founders in the Game (North America, South America, Russia, Africa, Europe and the big one with Australia, New Zealand and some other smaler Countrys). More you don´t need. 

That´s what I mean. The EU is only called Europe. I have seen many Games with such an compression of smaller Countrys. If you have over 1.000 small countrys you have no oversight anymore for a complete World Save Game. If so I would say "Nuke them All" and finish.

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10 hours ago, Ninothree said:

Personally, I'd love to see some engagement with the Iron Curtain, but I think that space aliens are the theme of the day.

I mean it is the best way to have actual human enemies in the game. Both sides of the Cold War certainly have different goals in mind for Xenonauts even during the dire situation of an alien invasion. These interest might coalesce into open engagement based on the decision the player make regarding the direction of Xenonauts (siding with communism or capitalism or just going independent, acting like an Illuminati-like organization that hoards alien technology for humanity’s own good). NATO and Warsaw troops should be fought and recruited with their unique traits and faction unique weapons/equipments. Because to me having mind controlled humans acting as the only non-alien threat would be really boring.

5 hours ago, Alienkiller said:

There are 6 Founders in the Game (North America, South America, Russia, Africa, Europe and the big one with Australia, New Zealand and some other smaler Countrys). More you don´t need

I think the founders shouldn’t be only countries but 4 main “factions”: NATO (made up of most of the American continent except for Cuba, Western Europe, Japan and Australia), Warsaw Pact (made up of Russia, India, Korea, Central Asia and Eastern Europe), Non-Aligned (China, Africa and Southeast Asia), and Xenonauts council. All of the founders wants to dominate the non-aligned countries and Xenonauts is the one  part that will tip the balance.

You can certainly take part in geopolitics if you wanted to with a reward being free cheaper bases, free personnel and unique weapons but you can just rule over everything eliminating panic altogether in exchange for a low but extremely stable monthly income. I would suggest that can come about if you decide to takeover the alien orbital bombardment platform to eliminate your former founders.

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7 hours ago, Xeroxth said:

You can certainly take part in geopolitics if you wanted to with a reward being free cheaper bases, free personnel and unique weapons but you can just rule over everything eliminating panic altogether in exchange for a low but extremely stable monthly income. I would suggest that can come about if you decide to takeover the alien orbital bombardment platform to eliminate your former founders.

This would open up different strategies for territory expansion. So you could go in hard and dominate, or go in soft and make alliances. I like that. Maybe in terms of the original idea of the thread: have the option to make missile bases. These would be part of the 'dominate' strategy as they would give a range of coverage over ground targets, providing influence over those territories (see Cuban missile crisis). Or alternatively, you have the choice to make those bases radar+airfield facilities. These would boost your alliance scores.

Missile bases would have the added benefit of deterring any alien ground bases, but they wouldn't be so good for shooting down UFOs. As far as I'm aware, ICBMs aren't often aimed at aircraft.

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I love the idea of a missile base. There should be terror missions where the aliens choose to attack a NATO or Soviet nuclear silos but after you beat them back, some warheads got mysteriously “lost” during the intense firefight. Procuring nukes could have you dominate entire regions by providing them a nuclear deterrent, having the panic level completely under control no matter how many cities the aliens bombard. But doing this also leading to worsening relations with both major factions, meaning they give you less favor missions, less funding and their troops on the ground battle can become hostile to your Xenonauts. If you continue with the “dominate” path, more missions will pop up where you have to eliminate the two factions entirely, this also have the intended effect of their soldiers not getting tech sharing and still using ballistic weapons against you.

You can also try juggling diplomacy between the NATO and Warsaw Pact helping them with favors, sharing more tech with them, and protecting their VIPs while refusing any missions that directly harm one faction. This will later have the effect where your soldiers can gain assistance from NATO or Red Army troops with powered armor and plasma weapons. Of course you can also just help one side win the Cold War by antagonizing their opponent and even giving the alien orbital station to them. With the diplomatic or hybrid path you can build relation centers to recruit factional soldiers, unique research and more funding. Who wouldn’t want a special force Israeli commando specialized on SMGs?

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On 7/4/2020 at 11:44 AM, Xeroxth said:

Wait a minute. So how did Germany and Poland got into the EU? If I remember correctly that in the new setting as planned by Chris, the Warsaw Pact still exist to this day. So I’m assuming that Germany is still divided between the GDR and FDR while Poland is still in the socialist camp.

From the beta video i watched recently, only “Berlin, Germany” appears on the map. There's no East or West Berlin, nor “Bonn, West Germany/Leizpig, East Germany”, this may rather be a oversight or the Berlin Wall still collapses in this settings. Also, we should notice that apart from a single “Soviet Russia” region, their were no Cold War faction on Geoscape in the first place, European countries are Europe, Asian-Pacific countries are Asian-Pacific, Middle Eastern countries are Middle East.

Personally I did hope the Continous Cold War settings could be demonstrated in game, but Geoscape-wise it would make the regions extremely complicated if based on Cold War factions, considering Europe taken apart as NATO, Pact and Yugoslavia, Middle East as Isarel, Gulf cooperations, Iran and Iraq, Asian-Pacific as China, ROC, Japan&ROK, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Thai, Indonesia, Australia..... the map would be an awful mess.

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6 hours ago, EurekaSeven said:

From the beta video i watched recently, only “Berlin, Germany” appears on the map. There's no East or West Berlin, nor “Bonn, West Germany/Leizpig, East Germany”, this may rather be a oversight or the Berlin Wall still collapses in this settings.

I think it’s just an early build where the map was still tailored to a “30 minutes into the future modern world” rather than the alternate history scenario Chris presented in the recent thread made regarding revisions in the lore. I suspect the geoscape will change a lot in the upcoming builds.

On the difficulty in making the geoscape less complicated, we can fully utilize the alternate history to our advantage. Let’s just say that after the Icelandic Incident, both sides of the Cold War made multiple gains in technology that is crucial for continuing the conflict into modern times. The Soviets implementing a version of cybernetic planning with OGAS, preventing them from stagnation like in OTL. Without the stagnation, India got closer to the Warsaw Pact and officially joined in the 90s, never actually privatized their economy. Yugoslavia and Greece also fell right after Tito died. They won the Afghan War. While on the same page, all of mainland South East Asian countries also falling into the Soviet Camp.

On the opposite end, the US now have an even bigger control on Latin America than in our world, to the point of making Puerto Rico their 51th state. All of Central and South America except for Cuba became NATO aligned (there will be an event to change Cuba if the player choose to do it). All of the Middle East also got friendly with the US, Theocratic Iran got overthrown. Australia and Indonesia formed a western ally block in the Pacific.

Both sides also continued the space race. The moon having multiple mining operations for Helium-3 to fuel huge fusion reactors on Earth. Mars also having a small base built with cooperation of the US and the Soviet Union. The invasion starts when suddenly all of these bases stopped their communication and the International Space Station disappeared out of the sky (presumably abducted by the aliens).

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