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Questions about smoke grenades and vision.


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1. Does smoke do anything yet? I was playing on the latest build today and my soldier was able to spot an alien at the edge of his sight range after TWO of his squad mates threw smoke grenades in front of him to conceal his advance. Perhaps it was lowering my hit percentage (I think it was), although I didn't see any little percentage indicators along the line of fire to indicate that this was the case. Regardless, I should not have been able to see an alien at that distance through that much smoke, at least by XCOM physics.

2. Can smoke clouds persist longer? Maybe the cloud could persist at maximum diameter for an extra turn before dispersal.

3. Can we have smoke rockets?

4. Are aliens ever going to use smoke grenades to conceal their positions? I get the feeling that the development team really doesn't appreciate the importance of smoke grenades. The very best players of UFO2000 (the one-on-one online XCOM remake that was faithful to the original game) would chuck 2 or 3, even 4 smoke grenades EACH TURN at the opening of the game so that their scouts could get flanking positions and spot for the snipers in the backfield. After two turns, half of the battlefield would be encompassed by smoke. The excessive use of smoke grenades in UFO2000 was partially based on the "scout and snipe" method that worked well in XCom, which may not be so effective in Xenonauts, but in both games it is useful to provide instant concealment in the open field.

For example, aliens should automatically throw smoke grenades through the ship doors before they bust out. If they decide they need to retreat (which they seem to do a lot in this game), they should throw a smoke grenade in between their retreat path and the incoming fire paths.

5. A common rebuttal against increased sight ranges is that it would ruin the "tactical nature" of the game if soldiers could shoot all the way across the map, but I disagree. Rather, the use of smoke grenades, especially on the flat arctic maps, adds an extra degree of strategy, for players are required to generate their own concealment to advance through open fields, tundra, and deserts.

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From my testing smoke doesn't actually reduce sight range, though it should.

It does reduce hit chance slightly though. How long a smoke cloud persists is random (its a 50% chance to dissipate each turn).

Alien command considers nearly all its soldiers completely expendable, with terror strikes the most extreme example, since they're not expected to survive at all.

Frag rockets produce alot of smoke (different to smoke grenade smoke), though the later ones don't since they're mostly energy based.

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from the gas_gc xml file, SmokeGrenadeGas is a range reducer (3) and precision penalty (20).

The duration seems to be randomize base on a dissipation factor, here it's 35 (supposed 35% to dissipate each turn, i'm guessing each tile affected is tested separately at beginning of each turn, from what i've seen ingame).

The frag grenade does some smoke, from "GrenadeFragSmoke", but it's a weaker effect (LoS -2, 15% penality, 65% Dissipation)

The Frag Rocket does too with more effect than frag grenades (LoS -3, -20%, 65%)

Edited by Cwell
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from the gas_gc xml file, SmokeGrenadeGas is a range reducer (3) and precision penalty (20).

The duration seems to be randomize base on a dissipation factor, here it's 35 (supposed 35% to dissipate each turn, i'm guessing each tile affected is tested separately at beginning of each turn, from what i've seen ingame).

The frag grenade does some smoke, from "GrenadeFragSmoke", but it's a weaker effect (LoS -2, 15% penality, 65% Dissipation)

The Frag Rocket does too with more effect than frag grenades (LoS -3, -20%, 65%)

Ah, this is good to know. I take it that the precision penalty affects weapon accuracy but not vision. What exactly is "range" reduction? Does that reduce the range of soldier vision, or the range of the gun? Does (3) and (20) refer to a range reduction of 3 tiles and a precision penalty of 20%?

Remember that they can shoot at target not seen if someone else sees you. A blind unit could shoot at a soldier behind smoke if a second one sees him from a different angle

I haven't tested precisely though

Yeah, this is sort of what was used in UFO2000 (not to mention vanilla XCOM) all of the time. The scouts (which were really cheap, throwaway units) would run through the smoke as spotters, and then snipers in the backfield would pick off any targets that they spotted.

With that being said, I think smoke grenades should penalize precision to a higher degree than they penalize vision (which is more or less the case right now, although I think that the precision penalty could still be higher). I say this because it's incredibly difficult to take out an alien who is camping in the corner of an open map. They have superior vision, there's no way to flank them, and the programmers made them smart enough to reserve TUs so that they usually get the first shot off if you run at them (compared to the stupid aliens in XCOM who would waste their TUs). Anyway, if the penalty for precision is high and that for vision is low to moderate, you can have your spotter run through the cloud of smoke so that your sniper can pick off the alien from a different angle. This is illustrated below:

Spotter can see the alien, but neither he can shoot the alien nor can the alien shoot one another with good accuracy.

2ZqGk.jpg

Alien can't see the sniper, who has a good shot. If the alien persists in camping, he is doomed.

2ZqEi.jpg

If I recall correctly, the smoke in XCOM didn't penalize precision, it just reduced vision, which means that this tactic would not work with XCOM smoke grenades, because the spotter would have no concealment from the reaction fire that is inevitably drawn.

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that is what rockets and machine-guns (area / Suppression weapons / .30cal Hunter Scout) are for :P

If you can't approach on foot, hellfire !

Suppression works pretty well : it reduces saved TUs then "next turn" TUs of the target, all weapon have a suppression value but certain types are very efficient at it, like burst fire / machine-guns. At least from what i read in the old thread when they added Suppression.

For the gaz-type impact, i don't know exactly how the data in xml files is used, but i'm fairly certain we can guess from the names ;)

dissipationChance="65"accuracyReduction="15"LOSReduction="2"

LOS is a common reference to "Line of Sight"

Edited by Cwell
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It takes an A LOT of smoke munitions to actually totally block the line of sight. Usually, this type of screen can only be achieved by a barrage of medium or larger artillery smoke shells. The Xenonauts couldn't possible carrying enough to completely obscure vision outdoors (particularly if there is any wind.) Inside a building or on a closed in street, yeah, sure they could do it with a few smoke grenades. So, to me it seems a bit unrealistic to add a game feature for this. The only way I could see this happening in Xenonauts is a vehicle mounted smoke dispenser.

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It is also possible, I modded it in a while back as all vehicles have an optional secondary weapon that isn't used (at least on most).

I added a smoke grenade with limited ammunition as the secondary which worked quite well.

I also added a flare launcher that could be switched out with it.

Makes your vehicles even more useful but also means you are less willing to sacrifice them as scouts, as long as you bring the proper secondary.

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In my mod the smoke or flare launcher would be a secondary weapon.

Your primary would still be the MG, rockets, laser or whatever.

I don't know if that mod still works, the layout of weapon data may have changed.

Easy fix though, just copy the current smoke grenade stats over.

Edited by Gauddlike
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It takes an A LOT of smoke munitions to actually totally block the line of sight. Usually, this type of screen can only be achieved by a barrage of medium or larger artillery smoke shells. The Xenonauts couldn't possible carrying enough to completely obscure vision outdoors (particularly if there is any wind.) Inside a building or on a closed in street, yeah, sure they could do it with a few smoke grenades. So, to me it seems a bit unrealistic to add a game feature for this. The only way I could see this happening in Xenonauts is a vehicle mounted smoke dispenser.

In a setting happily throwing faster than light travel, psychic powers and plasma weaponry at you that does seem to be a rather minor issue to unsuspend disbelief over. Give the Aliens a thingy. Have the player research it. Problem solved.

Also for what it's worth, giving soldiers unrestricted LOS and implementing opaque smoke is a lovely idea and I think the developers should strive to make it implementable by modding.

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In a setting happily throwing faster than light travel, psychic powers and plasma weaponry at you that does seem to be a rather minor issue to unsuspend disbelief over. Give the Aliens a thingy. Have the player research it. Problem solved.

Also for what it's worth, giving soldiers unrestricted LOS and implementing opaque smoke is a lovely idea and I think the developers should strive to make it implementable by modding.

Yeah, yeah, but they give us fairly realistic ballistic weapons, so you have to stay in the "system" you create, right? Anyway, it's not really that important to me. My biggest beef with the game right now is grenades and how the accuracy for direct fire is calculated. If those two things were fixed I probably can live with all the other things I don't like. We can ask for perfection and fall a little short and still have an awesome game. Truth be told, played about 16 hours last weekend and enjoyed it a great deal. I'm particularly pleased with the AI in this last release. I can fix a lot of the little things with mods. Edited by StellarRat
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Smoke grenades carried by infantry can obscure vision quite effectively IRL given the right conditions. Just look at the thickness of smoke an M18 gives off. Of course, the way smoke behaves in the game is nothing like how it does IRL...

And vehicle mounted smoke dispensers would be pretty awesome.

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Smoke grenades carried by infantry can obscure vision quite effectively IRL given the right conditions. Just look at the thickness of smoke an M18 gives off. Of course, the way smoke behaves in the game is nothing like how it does IRL...

And vehicle mounted smoke dispensers would be pretty awesome.

Well, actually, if you want to get technical...;)...the way smoke grenades work in this game reminds me of white phorporous (WP) grenades. Go look at a video. Instant smoke! In fact I plan to put those into my ballistic weapons mod at some point.
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Oooo!!!! That would be an interesting thing to have... smoke grenade vs. white phosphorus. Smoke grenade takes a few turns to develop, but lasts longer. White phosphorus happens the same turn but lasts shorter??? The videos I've seen of WP used for smoke show it lasting for not too terribly long. Also... perhaps the use of WP as a weapons would be in order, too...

Keep workin' on dem mods! They are neat! :D

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