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This is by far not a post being negative about this game. I love it. And I know it's still in Alpha.

I've intentionally, by some miracle of patience, been able to keep myself from playing several builds of this game until it was in a more playable state, so I could enjoy it without a lot of the beginning issues it had and also to really get a good look at the structure of it in order to give feedback.

This build looked like the one to hop back in on and give it another go. While it's vastly in a better state than it was a few months ago and I'm really loving the changes/additions/updates the team has got in so far, I'm still finding it incredibly difficult.

I've played the original X-Com quite a bit and although I was never amazing at it, I get it and what I'm supposed to be building/prioritizing/managing in Xenonauts. I'm not having issues with Ground combat (The little bit I played of it) but it's the Air combat that seems broken. I could be completely wrong, of course, but here's what's happening. Also, I'm playing on Normal.

Everything can shoot down 1 starting Jet. I find it a bit odd that a Jet can't take down a light scout but if that's a design choice, then I'm fine with it. It seemed like the second I bought a MIG, which was the first month, they started showing up in groups of three. Three MIGS could maybe down 1 enemy fighter before they all were destroyed.

This put me in a spot, in the first month, where I couldn't do anything. I had MIGS, which I figured would give me an advantage, but instead ended my game because I couldn't down anything at that point. I can only think the solution would be to buy more Hangers/MIGs but that seems like bad design if I have to invest in so much in the first month, especially when you start with an already seemingly generous 3 Hangers. Again, I'm well aware this is in Alpha, I just thought I would post and hear if I'm doing something wrong, or if this is useful feedback.

Just a few points to how this went down in my two month long campaign.

1)Built MIGS, which I assume triggered UFO squads of 3, making it impossible to down anything.

2)This resulted in me not once getting to send the Chinook out.

3)Every Terror mission that popped up was well beyond the fuel and speed range of a Chinook, not to mention there was no way to escort it even if I wanted too.

4)In summary, before the end of month two, I ended up just watching UFO's fly over helplessly because I could literally do nothing but watch. On Normal difficulty.

5)Not as relevant but is there a way, or a way going to be implemented, to increase the speed of the air battles? It gets tedious waiting for my Jets to retreat 3-4 times in a row when Fighters are chasing them.

*On a positive side note, I'm loving the Ground combat. It's coming along awesome and the Class/Role system is fantastic. It also seems like there is a cover system but honestly, it's hard to tell if that's what the icon's are that highlight when you want to move someone next to a chest-high wall.

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Okay, could you explain a little further "I find it a bit odd that a Jet can't take down a light scout", please?

You see, serendipitously, I had just finished downloading 17.5 and started up a game after reading this. I sent an F-17 after a light scout, and without doing anything (without pressing any controls at all), the F-17 shot down the light scout and suffered 5% damage. I repeated the experiment, and 5 times in a row, exactly the same thing happened. The light scout would get shot down each time without any intervention from me, and the F-17 would suffer 5% damage. So, I'm a little confused as to what's happening with you.

Edited by Max_Caine
replaced "later" with "in a row"

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Just a few points to how this went down in my two month long campaign.

1)Built MIGS, which I assume triggered UFO squads of 3, making it impossible to down anything.

2)This resulted in me not once getting to send the Chinook out.

3)Every Terror mission that popped up was well beyond the fuel and speed range of a Chinook, not to mention there was no way to escort it even if I wanted too.

4)In summary, before the end of month two, I ended up just watching UFO's fly over helplessly because I could literally do nothing but watch. On Normal difficulty.

5)Not as relevant but is there a way, or a way going to be implemented, to increase the speed of the air battles? It gets tedious waiting for my Jets to retreat 3-4 times in a row when Fighters are chasing them.

Not really had the same issue, spreading my craft out and attacking single enemies where possible usually makes them easy kills when you outnumber them.

You may take some damage at times but you will be able to win.

Just thought that you didn't mention multiple interceptors.

Were you sending out squadrons of three or individuals?

You can escort your Chinook by selecting fighter craft along with the Chinook.

You will only have two against whatever they send out though.

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I'll try and address all three posts in one reply.

Raziel1981

1)I wasn't able to click the Dodge/Evade button with the MIGS, it was just greyed out and nothing happened, not sure about the first Jets as I pretty much went straight to MIGS.

2)Not sure what you mean by vectors? If you mean seperating the Jets to hit from different angles, no I didn't try that.

Max_Caine

1)I must have been extremely unlucky then because I remember having a light scout pop up and saying to myself, surely a Jet can take this thing on and sent one in. He lost. Admittedly, I don't think I pressed anything to assist the Jet but as you said, neither did you and yours was fine.

Gauddlike

1)I haven't been spreading my Jets out, it didn't occur to me that would help, so that would definitely be my fault.

2)Yes, I was sending out 3, resulting in 3 on 3 battles.

3)For the Chinook, I just meant I could have had a Terror mission in the next country over and still not been able to send it because my MIGS were failing so badly in the air.

I'll give it another go today, as it sounds like my fatal error is not separating my Jets during Air combat. This brings up another point though, is there any plans to add a basic tutorial or an information screen? I know the original X-Com just dropped you in and said good luck, but Xenonauts has a lot more well done mechanics that aren't as simple as the original and the best example is obviously the Air combat. Again, judging from the replies here, it sounds like the errors are on my side, which personally makes me happy but people new to the style of gameplay or Xenonauts in general are going to get turned off really fast due to the difficulty of just not knowing the tools you have.

I'll stress again, I know it's an Alpha build and things like a tutorial aren't important but even some basic info on some of the mechanics would be nice.

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There is a little bit of information on the wiki that might be of interest, no one has updated it for a while though.

If you come across anything that you feel would fit there account registration should still be open (I believe) to make additions.

There are also some basics in the Xenonauts manual, which I don't think is actually complete yet.

The manual template file is also available.

Between them (all located with google searches) they have most of the actual information available, all they are missing are a few tips and tricks for beginners.

Of course those tips and tricks may become less valid as the game progresses as the enemy targeting and AI may continue to be developed.

Another point to remember is that when the spawning of aircraft is properly implemented there should be less craft in the air at a time, especially fighter craft, to make the beginning of the game a little more forgiving as players learn to deal with them.

You are not struggling against the final balance of the game, it is a little over the top which is preventing you getting a proper initiation to it!

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Raziel1981

1)I wasn't able to click the Dodge/Evade button with the MIGS, it was just greyed out and nothing happened, not sure about the first Jets as I pretty much went straight to MIGS.

Max_Caine

1)I must have been extremely unlucky then because I remember having a light scout pop up and saying to myself, surely a Jet can take this thing on and sent one in. He lost. Admittedly, I don't think I pressed anything to assist the Jet but as you said, neither did you and yours was fine.

The first planes are more durable and can dodge. The MiGs have greater speed and more missile slots, but less hitpoints than the F-16/F-17 ... whatever number they are. Oh and the MiGs can't roll out of the way.

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The two have different purposes - one isn't a replacement for another. MiGs are better with large craft as they can launch more missiles, but they are more fragile and can't dodge. The starting fighters are better for smaller UFOs - be sure you do the missile juggle where you launch one and then wait a bit before launching the second (otherwise UFOs will dodge both) - one sidewinder + a few cannon shots will take down a fighter with minimal damage.

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The two have different purposes - one isn't a replacement for another. MiGs are better with large craft as they can launch more missiles, but they are more fragile and can't dodge. The starting fighters are better for smaller UFOs - be sure you do the missile juggle where you launch one and then wait a bit before launching the second (otherwise UFOs will dodge both) - one sidewinder + a few cannon shots will take down a fighter with minimal damage.

Excellent tips from you and everyone else. It seems like my errors are simply from lack of knowing what I have at my disposal, which I'm sure will be a lot better for me after reading these posts. I'm glad the info is "out there," whether in a Manual or on a Wiki but I do hope the team is looking into some kind of in-game database to help newer players out. I had a lot of problems with the Firaxis game but one of the things they did well was familiarize you with your tools and the mechanics immediately.

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yeah, the staggered missile launch makes a huge difference.

In 17.5 I took down a corvette with the laser Gatling :)

game crashed, as always, before I could play the corvette mission, but yay!

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It's alpha so tutorials/learning curve hasn't really been addressed, but I don't see it being as guided as Firaxis. Part of XCOM is that element of surprise/failure... building something and then realizing it doesn't quite work the way you think it would in the field (enemy unknown!). I do feel that the air combat UI could use more explaining... I think most of the info is on the forum at this point!

I do think the MiG has in game text stating that it is more of a 'bomber' than 'interceptor' - you used to be able to build it from the beginning but was changed to be researchable so it'd differentiate a bit more. I generally just go all interceptors on my first two bases and then add in MiGs as I free up hangar space transfer interceptors to third base / fill in additional hangars in second.

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1)Built MIGS, which I assume triggered UFO squads of 3, making it impossible to down anything.

You should still keep your air superiority fighters to take on the groups of 3 fighters. The Migs aren't very good in those engagements. If oyou split up your fighters and goad the aliens into chasing two of them, your third fighter can sneak around and take out the entire enemy wing.

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So basically so far we have:

Keep both types of fighter available as they have different roles

Migs for larger enemies, F-17s for smaller ones, like fighters

Migs are faster and have longer range missiles

F-17s can roll to avoid incoming enemy missiles and can take more damage

Send multiple fighters out in a squadron

Pause the fight to give orders to give yourself some breathing space

Split your aircraft to find out who is being targeted then use the targeted aircraft to lead an enemy away from their squadron so you can hit them from outside of their weapon arc with the remaining craft

When firing missiles stagger the launch so only the first can be dodged and the following missiles will hit

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Mostly echoing what the others have said: there's two types of aircraft available to you, a dogfighter and a longer range interceptor; at the start it's the the F17 and the MIG respectively.

Dogfighters only carry light missiles (Sidewinders, Alenium Missiles...), but they also have a cannon and can dodge during aircombat.

Interceptors while faster, cannot dodge, have no cannon, but have a greater missile load out plus they can carry heavy missiles (Avalanches, Alenium Torpedos...).

As an important tip:

With Migs, you can change them to carry 4x Sidewinders (or 4x anything else), instead of the default 2/2 split. If you really need to use a MIG to dogfight, then 4x light missiles are the way to go. Do a staggered launch, fire one which'll force the UFO to roll, fire three more quickly to take advantage of the cooldown period so they can't evade them.

Migs can also outrun alien missiles with a bit of careful piloting. F17's can only dodge.

Edited by Buzzles

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It's worth noting that this split between a heavy interceptor and a more agile dogfighter is likely to be carried across in later aircraft, as there are at least 5 classes of alien fighter-craft, and around 7-8 classes of large UFO.

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It's more than possible we'll add an auto-resolve feature for the air combat. I just don't think it has quite become what I wanted it to be (it's too repetitive), so I'm not sure we should be forcing people to play it if they don't want to.

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I struggled for a while trying to come up with a suggestion to make the air combat more interesting without adding any more emphasis on to it.

The more features you add the longer the fights will take.

If you need to do twenty per wave then having them take as long as a ground combat mission is just not good.

Too late to make it turn based in a battlefleet gothic style? :P

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Yeah it is kinda repetitive. Probably easier to just use the classic intercept menu, with selectable attack options like Cautious, Standard, Aggressive, Trail Enemy, Disengage.

Or keep it the way it is now, except allow the pilot AI to control rolling and afterburner, and you simply choose when to fire missles or disengage or give 1 aircraft the order to flank, and the pilot takes care of the flanking by himself. I assume it would be more complicated having to make a new AI for the fighter pilots.

Edited by HoboRed

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Well we are just facing the same ships in the alpha? Wont different types of UFOs solve the problem of repetitive game play? I find fighting corvettes quite epic.

Well don't stop evolving it pls Chris! I enjoy quite a lot, and i think many do.

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Different ships (and weapon firing arcs) should vary it up a bit.

If some of the ships have rear facing weapons or use broadside batteries then you have to approach the whole fight differently.

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If it was a standalone flash game or something, some combination of more abilities and changing up what you get to use more often would help I think. I haven't had a chance to play much with all the crashes, so take this for what it's worth, but I think the ships and weapons both you and the AI use are too static to be entertaining for long.

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If it was a standalone flash game or something, some combination of more abilities and changing up what you get to use more often would help I think. I haven't had a chance to play much with all the crashes, so take this for what it's worth, but I think the ships and weapons both you and the AI use are too static to be entertaining for long.

It'd be cool if the random damage roll was included back in. Nothing like getting hit by a heavy plasma in the old game and then realizing your unarmored rookie won the lottery.

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There is a certain amount of random variation in damage (think it is around 20% up or down) in ground combat.

I don't know if that is the case in air combat though.

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Considering that the focus was on the ground combat, the interception has been a very nice surprise.

Some slight variations in how the UFOs react in some circumstances. Just adding in a little unpredictability would probably make all the difference. It's no more repetitive, and it's much more interesting than, the other X-games out there, this side of Apocalypse.

The battles do change depending on number of craft, starting positions etc, so, putting aside some jadedness at playing through the alphas, there are a number of possibilities already.

The interceptions aren't overly long. There is balancing to be done, to adjust frequency and some of the annoyances (ships always seeming to get taken down around the base I don't have Chinook access? is that just me?, lurch from ground missions to endlessly chasing UFOs to no avail. But these aren't issues with the intercept itself.)

Having to do more than press a button or two took a little adjustment at first, but the intercept is certainly worth the effort. I trust that any auto resolve will result in a fair chance of you losing some craft. Something that you could avoid if you chose not to autoresolve but manage yourself?

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I trust that any auto resolve will result in a fair chance of you losing some craft. Something that you could avoid if you chose not to autoresolve but manage yourself?

I've seen that done before, and it tends to result in few using the auto-resolve if it's more than a token penalty. A somewhat repetitive mini-game vs time spent at reduced strength and the cost of replacements tend to make auto-resolve unattractive to anyone beyond the lowest difficulty.

That's not to say auto-resolve should never result in losses, just that there shouldn't be a heavy penalty to it.

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