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Chris

Indestructible interceptors?

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And I'm gonna beat the crap out of it anyway.

There are several threads extensively discussing it and people have come up with over a dozen alternate ideas and spent hours debating one thing or another.

For being such a heated topic though, I'm surprised that no one ever created a forum Poll Thread.

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Im very strongly against the idea of plane recovery. If a Ufo shots down a plane and it crashes down, there is nothing to salvage. If my premium preorder from way back has any influence, i want destroyed planes to be just that, DESTROYED.

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Person - the problem with what you're suggesting is that if planes aren't cheap (even on Easy), then if a player does not lose one of their aircraft and the game is balanced that they are expected to lose 4-5, then they have an enormous amount of excess money (which can be spent on new bases, or buying loads of new guns / vehicles etc, which are much cheaper).

This is the fundamental issue touched on at the very start of the thread - because planes are expensive, the amount of money you'd save by playing your air combats perfectly is far more than you'd save by playing your ground combat missions really well, or playing the strategic game really well. It's even more important late game, because late-game planes also need large amounts of Alenium / Alloys / workshop time to build, so you'd have lots of them spare too.

This leads to a situation where the biggest factor in whether a player will succeed in winning the game is how well they play the air combat, even though the air combat is only supposed to be a small part of the game.

The alternative solution is just to give the planes a really low construction costs (again, posted in the OP). I don't see this as being more realistic than the Xenonauts recovering downed planes and repairing them, though.

The issue isn't necessarily how tough they are or how easy it is to escape with them, because if that was the main issue then you'd have to set the game up so that the planes were pretty difficult to lose and balance the game to expect the player to lose 0 planes. Which is exactly the same as the interceptor recovery feature we've put in, except there's no extra time penalty for having lost your interceptors.

Ragnarok - Noted, but then why are UFOs allowed to crash and survive being shot down while interceptors (mostly made from alien materials) aren't allowed to also survive being shot down? Surely it's pretty similar in effect?

ThunderGR - I'm sure plenty of other pre-orderers on this forum have posted ideas that you wouldn't like put into the game, right? We can't make a game that completely pleases everyone that has put money down for it, so it wouldn't work if we had to convince everyone on the forums that the decisions we've made are correct before we proceed with them. People have wildly different expectations of how the perfect X-Com remake should look, as this forum demonstrates.

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i might be abit off the mark here but has anyone apart from Chris actually said they like this idea?

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i might be abit off the mark here but has anyone apart from Chris actually said they like this idea?

Yes, there have been people in favor if it. They're generally less vocal than those of us that oppose it.

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seems the less vocal of us hold more sway in game content? should we all just do a silent protest? or just shout about how much we like it?

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ThunderGR - I'm sure plenty of other pre-orderers on this forum have posted ideas that you wouldn't like put into the game, right? We can't make a game that completely pleases everyone that has put money down for it, so it wouldn't work if we had to convince everyone on the forums that the decisions we've made are correct before we proceed with them. People have wildly different expectations of how the perfect X-Com remake should look, as this forum demonstrates.

Of course this is understandable, however, the way you respond to people stating extreme frustration about the removal or the inclusion of things in the development that were/were not advertised in the game's features at the time they bought the game, matters to them and the rest of us.

In my point of view, you are not just deviating from your planned development path but you, also, state, in a very rude way "this is how I am going to do it, I do not give a shit if you are frustrated or not".

I am certain that showing more understanding and having more...diplomatic types of responses...to those people will help the company much more in the long-run.

Besides, apologizing for not being able to bring advertised features into the implementation, makes more sense than just making statements showing indifference about what is, in most people's minds, tricking people into buying a game by advertizing features that are not, and will not be on release, there.

All of the above, IMHO, of course.

@Simmo

There are some people that have accepted the idea as an acceptable solution to the interceptor value problem. It has to be noted that the majority of the people(not me) have been recognizing the problem and the need for a solution but most of them did not accept the indestructible interceptors as an acceptable solution and have provided plenty of alternatives.

Edited by ThunderGr

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As far as I can see, nobody as said anything that changes there being three options at this stage (as mentioned in the OP):

1) A game where the most important skill for the player is not to lose interceptors.

2) A game where aircraft are unrealistically cheap, to the point where losing them doesn't have much of an effect on the game.

3) A game where aircraft that are shot down are repaired and returned to action a few weeks later.

People have suggested alternatives, but none that:

  • address all the problems that invulnerable interceptors do;
  • without causing even more fundamental issues;
  • or breaking immersion to an equal or greater degree.

You're also wildly exaggerating the whole "advertised features" thing. Air combat is still there, and you can still play it if you want to, it's now just not compulsory (and other forum users have told you that they don't want it to be compulsory). You've got no evidence that losing your interceptors for a couple of weeks and them having a higher upfront cost is going to make the game easier. So I genuinely don't see what there is to be so angry about?

Feel free to point out the viable alternatives if you want and I'll read through them, but just be warned in advance I'm not going to type out a long justification for each one being viable or not as I've almost certainly already covered it in this thread or one of the others.

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@Chris

I'm sorry this whole thing is being bothersome; your logic is sound. The idea makes perfect sense from a gameplay, balancing standpoint.

My only issue with it is that, realistically, Condors and Foxtrots wouldn't be able to be recovered after a crash. As you said above (and as people have been saying for quite some time now) planes constructed with alien alloys would be able to survive the crashes, just like the UFOs do.

If Condors and Foxtrots being recovered can be satisfactorily explained, than I'm alright with the decision.

I don't know if you read my suggestion (not the emergency disengage one, the slight alteration to the aircraft recovery one), but I'm going to repost something similar, more clear, and more simple, and post the link right here.

A simple "No thanks, this would unbalance X" or "Yeah, this could work, I might like it" or something similarly short and concise is all the response I would ask for.

Thanks!

Edited by GizmoGomez

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still prefer this, cross posted with suitable grovelling about netiquette:-

Issues

Loss of aircraft is prohibitive in current game.

Reliable recovery of indestructible aircraft from remote/extreme/oceanic environments breaks immersion.

Xenonaut aircraft (possibly damaged) always escaping to make emergency landings against superior foes breaks immersion.

Perception of indestructible aircraft is one of pandering and hand holding.

Solution

Condors are free. They take 72 hours to be sent from funding nations and to be upgraded.

More advanced craft are also free, but with varying delivery times.

Either :-

1) Gatling lasers et al, also become free as per alenium torpedoes following their research.

Or

2) All weapon systems must be manufactured. This includes an alenium torpedo/ alenium missile launcher for each craft. To keep some actual cost in losing air combat.

Both provide consistent solutions across all aircraft weaponry, rather than the mixed approach currently in place.

Reasoning

A large number of assets in Xenonauts are already free. Ballistic Weapons & ammo, grenades & their enhancements, Stun weapons, base facility updates such as defences, medical equipment, advanced weapon tier ammunition and, importantly here, aircraft ammunition and missiles.

With infinite amounts of the technology available in 1979 provided free to the player, it is odd that the Condor, containing no alien technology, cannot be provided free by the huge aerospace producing nations of the world.

Later in the game, it is expected that local forces begin to shoot down smaller UFOS. This means they have the air capability and aerospace infrastructure in place to do so. So having them be capable of supplying craft to Xenonauts in far smaller numbers ties in nicely to that.

Another tie in is with the crashed UFOs that produce no ground combat missions. Fighters for example. As the wrecks must crash somewhere, there's no reason why they can't be collected by the funding nations they land in. Those alloys and that alenium, from those wrecks, support their advanced aerospace.

The know how to build the craft comes directly form the completion of the Xenonauts research programmes being distributed to the funding nations.

There are no individual pilots, so there's no experience or training to be lost. Pilots are supplied by the funding nations along with their craft.

Pros

- No crippling costs for players as they deal with air combat.

- Reduces importance of air combat to overall success of game itself. 1 lost mission with 3 destroyed craft will not be game ending.

- Tension is fully retained in air combat

- Sense of permadeath maintained in game

- No perception of hand-holding, molly coddling or whatever other criticism.

- A solution for both camps (hopefully)

- No additional mechanics, buttons, hand-wavium or anything else required.

- 72 hour delivery time for Condors is equal to that of recovery of indestructible aircraft.

- Delivery times of advanced aircraft would match the recovery time + some of the repair time of indestructible advanced aircraft.

- Promotes the spread of Xenonauts into other funding nations.

- Prevents Goldhawk from being sued by the makers of the A-team for having no one ever die in a crash.

Controls

Available Hanger space still controls the number of aircraft you can receive from funding nations.

Game economy controls availability of funds to build hangers. Their cost/maintenance of hangers can be balanced accordingly.

Current game economy makes spreading into new territory or building facilities at normal level very hard. So Hanger spamming should already be limited.

Cons

Xenonauts has progressively made a number of items free or automatically updated. As a result, manufacturing has become less important in the game. Free aircraft & possibly all ammunition for them adds to that list. There are solutions, but out with the scope of this post.

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Feel free to point out the viable alternatives if you want and I'll read through them, but just be warned in advance I'm not going to type out a long justification for each one being viable or not as I've almost certainly already covered it in this thread or one of the others.

I was just replying to the member that was wondering about it. I also specified that I do not agree that there is a problem with the air-combat significance and that players will have to improve their skills with it, so that they do not suffer too much.

I know pretty well that this is an opinion only a couple of the other members agree with and I have already stated that I will be happy if I have the chance to mod it out, happier if it make it to the higher difficulties. As you can see, I am not so unreasonable, am I?

As a side note, it hits everyone as unrealistic. Many have proposed indestructible interceptors for anything above a foxtrot and unlimited or cheap enough condors and foxtrots. Both sound like they solve the problems people think they have with balancing aircraft losses. It also solves the problem with balancing auto-resolve.

Still, please, I would appreciate it if you made it tied to difficulty level.

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A compromise would be to make Foxtrots only a bit more expensive than Condors, but both are unrecoverable, while alenium-based ships are recoverable (as are UFOs - magic alloys) but still wildly expensive. Really, Foxtrots are a starting tech (yeah, a 2-week into the science tree tech, whatever), so there's no reason to make them way more expensive than another starting tech, the Condor, or to make either really that expensive.

In the early game, it's not unbalancing to reduce their costs a good bit, since the player's income stream is currently so low and they haven't built up base infrastructure (or multiple bases) anyway. By the mid-game difficulty spike, they're less useful and the player's overall assets and incomes are much higher, so making them "cheap to replace" when they're basically tech-obsolete is almost the same as "free recovery". Like, 65K for a Condor, 100K for a foxtrot. That said, the Foxtrots needs to be a bit more useful, like at least 3 torpedoes instead of 2.

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There'd be a centerline hardpoint. True, in real-world jets that's usually reserved for non-weapon components, but whatever.

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seems the less vocal of us hold more sway in game content? should we all just do a silent protest? or just shout about how much we like it?

To be fair, in this case I don't think our voices (on either side) had much sway. It seems like the devs have their own vision (making aircraft expensive) and they're following it regardless of community feedback (both for and against).

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Person - the problem with what you're suggesting is that if planes aren't cheap (even on Easy), then if a player does not lose one of their aircraft and the game is balanced that they are expected to lose 4-5, then they have an enormous amount of excess money (which can be spent on new bases, or buying loads of new guns / vehicles etc, which are much cheaper).

This is the fundamental issue touched on at the very start of the thread - because planes are expensive, the amount of money you'd save by playing your air combats perfectly is far more than you'd save by playing your ground combat missions really well, or playing the strategic game really well. It's even more important late game, because late-game planes also need large amounts of Alenium / Alloys / workshop time to build, so you'd have lots of them spare too.

This leads to a situation where the biggest factor in whether a player will succeed in winning the game is how well they play the air combat, even though the air combat is only supposed to be a small part of the game.

The alternative solution is just to give the planes a really low construction costs (again, posted in the OP). I don't see this as being more realistic than the Xenonauts recovering downed planes and repairing them, though.

The issue isn't necessarily how tough they are or how easy it is to escape with them, because if that was the main issue then you'd have to set the game up so that the planes were pretty difficult to lose and balance the game to expect the player to lose 0 planes. Which is exactly the same as the interceptor recovery feature we've put in, except there's no extra time penalty for having lost your interceptors.

Not really, that's why you have difficulty levels. Yes, for a veteran player, being expected to lose 4 or 5 aircraft over the course of a game when it is really easy not to lose a plane will indeed result in much excess cash. That is why it is easy and not hard. When we're at hard mode you're looking at maybe being expected to lose 2-3 (or whatever is appropriate) aircraft, and air combat also becomes more difficult with regards to how hard they are to shoot down. Thus, that same player who found air combat oh so easy on easy mode now finds it more challenging. This should surely be balancable without making them roll in cash if they lose 0. And if they're still losing none, they should consider moving on to very hard.

Edited by Person012345

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As far as I can see, nobody as said anything that changes there being three options at this stage (as mentioned in the OP):

1) A game where the most important skill for the player is not to lose interceptors.

And if you make it scalably easy or hard to not-lose-interceptors then everyone can have that skill.

2) A game where aircraft are unrealistically cheap, to the point where losing them doesn't have much of an effect on the game.

Unrealistic as opposed to having a mildly strengthened F-16 get ripped into by lasers then plummet into the middle of the atlantic ocean be ready for action again 3 days later? And losing them doesn't have an effect on the game... but now we have interceptors we can't lose at all.

3) A game where aircraft that are shot down are repaired and returned to action a few weeks later.

I think this is a pseudo-solution that is actually the same as #2.

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@Thothkins - The idea of having free interceptors in unlimited quantities is quite similar to recovering them after being shot down, except there's less time penalty for losing them and also you can't have the manufacture costs as a way to "gate" the invasion difficulty. So I don't think it'd address the problems people have with recoverable interceptors and would add a couple more too.

@GizmoGomez - In the current idea you've posted, having the manufacturing project cost money means the idea doesn't address the issue that recoverable interceptors does - i.e. losing interceptors costs money which makes the game hard to balance as the money involved is going to be quite large, giving those who are good at the air combat too much of a comparative advantage.

If you change it so that the airframe changes cost time, but not money, then the system is identical to the recovered interceptors one - but the underpinning logic is different and may be more palatable to players than recovering the plane that crashed. The only problem is that you're using the UI in a less intuitive manner there - you're buying an airframe, instead of building it in the workshop. I suspect that might strike many people as a peculiar design decision given that vehicles etc are made there. So while it may seem less hammered in in a logical sense, it might seem more so in an interface manner. But it is the most plausible alternative I've seen thus far.

@Person - You're inadvertently proving my point there. In your example, the main factor in selecting difficulty levels is how good the player is at the air combat. That's the exact problem we already have, the air combat shouldn't be that important to the game (ultimately the ground combat is much more important).

What happens if someone is a veteran X-Com player and wants a hard game, but doesn't want to pick up all the extra skills to do the air combat correctly? They'd then have to pick Easy mode. We can't make an X-Com remake and not cater to them. Ground combat and the strategy layer are the two "core" parts of the X-Com experience, as far as I see it, and primarily success in the game should be based on success in them.

Having an interceptor rendered unusable for a week or two because you had it shot down can be a pretty severe penalty, one you're overlooking. It's actually far more severe than being able to replace it immediately at low cost, hence why 3) is better than 2). There's no reason why the length of the repair time can't increase with difficulty, either.

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Dranak - Without a viable alternative available that addresses the same issues as recoverable interceptors (and "do nothing" not being a valid choice), there's not really much scope for the decision to change no matter how many people voice opinions for or against.

It's not us being deliberately aloof about this, rather we don't see any other option.

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This is my proposal - create a funding bonus for aircaft loss coverage:

[TABLE=class: grid, width: 600]

[TR]

[TD]Relation Points[/TD]

[TD=align: center]0-20[/TD]

[TD=align: center]21-40[/TD]

[TD=align: center]41-60[/TD]

[TD=align: center]61-80[/TD]

[TD=align: center]81-100[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Relation Status[/TD]

[TD=align: center]bad

[/TD]

[TD=align: center]poor

[/TD]

[TD=align: center]average[/TD]

[TD=align: center]good

[/TD]

[TD=align: center]excellent[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Airplane Loss Coverage (%) [/TD]

[TD=align: center]10[/TD]

[TD=align: center]25[/TD]

[TD=align: center]50[/TD]

[TD=align: center]75[/TD]

[TD=align: center]90[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

[TABLE=width: 800]

[TR]

[TD=align: center]-------------------------------->[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD=align: center]Game Difficulty[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

Relation points value (example):

- mission success = 5 points

- mission failure = -7 points

- interception success = 2 points

- interception failure (retreat) = -3 points

- airplane losse = -1 points (they can help you with the airplanes loss but do not abuse)

Now lets suppose that in the first month of the Xenonauts activity they get the following results for Africa:

- previous relation status: bad (20)

- successfull missions = 2

- failed missions = 1

- successful interceptions = 3

- failed interceptions = 0

- airplanes lost = 1

Calculation:

Africa relation points = 20 + [2 * 5 + 1 * (-7) + 3 * 2 + 0 * (-3) + 1 * (-1)] = 20 + 8 => Poor (new relation status)

Africa airplane coverage funding = nÂș of airplanes lost over territory * airplane cost * coverage percentage = 1 * airplane cost * 0.25

----

TLDR: Regions will cover a percentage of the Xenonauts resources lost (money and materials) in the production of the airplanes shoot down over their territory by the alien forces. The percentage of coverage is proportional to the relation status they have.

The percentage of coverage can be modified for a specific game difficulty. Easy - more coverage; Insane - less coverage.

How can the regions supply materials? - they have been gathering them since the beginning of the invasion from abandoned UFO's that they are able to shoot down and from the Xenonauts airplanes crash sites.

Edited by Antr4cite

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Ragnarok - Noted, but then why are UFOs allowed to crash and survive being shot down while interceptors (mostly made from alien materials) aren't allowed to also survive being shot down? Surely it's pretty similar in effect?

I appreciate your reply and as such i will reply, too. I think its easy to explain. Ufos are made entirely out of alien alloy and are more sturdy. Is human weaponry (even hybrid) manages to take them down, their superior structure and knowledge of frame construction would avoid a full destruction "midair" and even survive the initital crash impact.

Human vessels, even hybrid ones, are still only that, hybrid. They might be more dense and better armored, but ultimatly rely upon human construction and alloying. They would be able to survive, in fact they wouldnt even crash. Unless highly advanced in Tier, human aircraft would explode midair, they would be nothing to salvage. I could see how the most advanced human aircrafts might have perfected the incorporation of alien tech, so they would in fact only be damaged, unable to maintain flight control and hencefor crash, and even survive the initital crash impact.

yay.

To concluce, i would suggest adding a global modifer to each human plane. This modifer is a pct % of salvaging the craft for MONEY (not the craft itself). Lesser Tier human planes have a very, very low salvage %, the better they get, the more can be salved in money.

If money doesnt work, construction items can be salvaged. Like you might be able to salvage a certain amount of the original alien alloy spent, and there would be chances to salvages flight controls etc.

Edited by Ragnarok

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@GizmoGomez - In the current idea you've posted, having the manufacturing project cost money means the idea doesn't address the issue that recoverable interceptors does - i.e. losing interceptors costs money which makes the game hard to balance as the money involved is going to be quite large, giving those who are good at the air combat too much of a comparative advantage.

How does it not address the issue? Losing an intercepter would cost no money to repair, I thought I'd made that clear. Guess not. :-P

Basic rundown again, hopefully more clear this time:

1st) In the hanger screen, you get the airframe for free

2nd) After the airframe arrives, you can begin the manufacturing project that does the following

a) Spends time and money on making the parts needed to outfit the aircraft for xenonaut use, and makes lots of spare parts for rapid repairs of the aircraft after sorties.

b) Spends time only outfitting the airframe with the parts made.

3rd) You now have a shiny new plane, ready for action.

For a plane shot down (and this requires no player input, it's automated):

1st) A new airframe is ordered for free

2nd) Once it arrives, the flight hands use the already manufactured spare parts from the previous plane to outfit the airframe, making it fit for Xenonaut use. This requires only time, as the parts are already built and thus require no money.

3rd) You now have a shiny new plane, ready for action.

Perhaps my post wasn't quite so clear on that, I wondered about that, actually.

Hopefully the above cleared that up.

If you change it so that the airframe changes cost time, but not money, then the system is identical to the recovered interceptors one - but the underpinning logic is different and may be more palatable to players than recovering the plane that crashed.

But then where does the money cost come from, if not from the manufacturing project?

The initial machining and manufacturing of the "xeno-brand" aircraft parts is what takes the money; since you have plenty of spare parts for rapid repairs, you have plenty of spare parts for bolting on to the new airframe when it arrives. Because you already have the parts made, you have no money cost, just time. I hope that clarifies it sufficiently. :)

The only problem is that you're using the UI in a less intuitive manner there - you're buying an airframe, instead of building it in the workshop. I suspect that might strike many people as a peculiar design decision given that vehicles etc are made there. So while it may seem less hammered in in a logical sense, it might seem more so in an interface manner.

Well, you purchase Condors in the hanger screen, and you make MiGs in the manufacturing screen. Both are human planes, converted from airframes shipped to the base into planes fit for Xenonaut use, so I don't see why it'd be more intuitive for them to have different processes for acquisition, especially since they're both technically acquired the same way: get the airframe from the funders, make it a Xeno-plane, profit.

I don't think that it'd be an issue, what with vehicles being made in the workshop and planes in the hanger + workshop, simply because planes and vehicles are different enough. If it were an issue, I suppose Hunters could require a free "ferret armored car" and have a project to fix that up, but that'd open the door for indestructible ground combat vehicles, and I don't want that. That'd be too much, in my opinion, especially since vehicles are optional, and airplanes are not. But, yeah, airplanes are not ground vehicles, so they don't need to be the same. I'd rather there be fragmentation between airplanes and vehicles and between two different airplanes of the same human "class", or origin.

Honestly, it would actually make the UI less fragmented and more streamlined by making both human planes require the exact same steps to reproduce. Then, the only difference with the later planes is that you build the airframe yourself (which should be specified in the research description) as a part of the whole manufacturing project, and that happens in your own workshop. I think it'd make even more sense than the current system, and I don't see any reason why people would be unduly confused by the process, especially since the game will have a manual or a first-visit-popup info screen (or whatever) that explains a bit about what each screen does.

The homogenization of the first two human plane obtaining process (making it simpler and more streamlined overall), as well as the explanation for the first two human planes being replaced without cost, seems to make this idea a pretty good one.

But it is the most plausible alternative I've seen thus far.

Thanks! :)

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I appreciate your reply and as such i will reply, too. I think its easy to explain. Ufos are made entirely out of alien alloy and are more sturdy. Is human weaponry (even hybrid) manages to take them down, their superior structure and knowledge of frame construction would avoid a full destruction "midair" and even survive the initital crash impact.

Human vessels, even hybrid ones, are still only that, hybrid. They might be more dense and better armored, but ultimatly rely upon human construction and alloying. They would be able to survive, in fact they wouldnt even crash. Unless highly advanced in Tier, human aircraft would explode midair, they would be nothing to salvage. I could see how the most advanced human aircrafts might have perfected the incorporation of alien tech, so they would in fact only be damaged, unable to maintain flight control and hencefor crash, and even survive the initital crash impact.

yay.

I see no problem with planes built out of alien alloys surviving the crash. I doubt they'd explode in mid air; after all, don't they run off of alenium, which is actually incredibly stable unless excited by a laser of the proper wavelength or something?

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