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Belmakor

[V8.5] Weapon Balance Mod V1.0

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Ok, firstly a couple of things

Not sure how it will be at beta but at the moment almost all the different alien races have approximately the same amount of health (all around 40-60) but with varying degrees of armour. It seems to me that unless the starting weaponry is suitably mediocre there will be little reason to upgrade to expensive (both time and money) laser and plasma tech.

Don't forget that half the fun (at least for me) from the first game was getting your ass kicked for the first few months until you are able to reverse engineer the alien tech and use it against them. In this period you are bound to lose a good proportion of your squad. They are not super human after all. All it takes is for you to keep one or two alive.

Either you keep the starting weapons weak and progress tech to cope with tougher aliens, or the weapons start tough, get tougher and the aliens stay the same. That last option sounds unappealing to me and I would hope many others.

Not sure how you're getting your stats seeing as only one alien race is in the game at the moment...

make the aliens more intelligent, like hiding in cover or flanking, make war tactics work, dont make the weapons gay

Not sure how to 'un-gay' guns. Didn't realise they had sexual preferences

But now the good news. Here is what is planned for the aliens.

- Different races of aliens will have different AI, and special abilities that work off each other. Sebilians for instance can regenerate injuries, and also prefer to get up close and personal. You can see how those would work together no doubt.

- There will also be upgraded versions of each race, to make sure that you don't have missions late game that are too easy. That way the game should keep you challenged

- Different alien types also have different armour values, which in turn will require different weapons to counter effectively

- Now the problem with reaction fire is that every shot one of your soldiers take, allows the possibility of the aliens getting a reaction shot. Also the lower AP your soldier has the more likely it is to occur (or he is to get hit, I forget which one). So by increasing the amount of shots required to kill an alien, you increase the chance of getting shot back in return

Now I may have missed some stuff, and some of the stuff I did write up may be off a bit, but hopefully that answers some questions =]

Edited by anotherdevil
disclaimers are fun!

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Not sure how to 'un-gay' guns. Didn't realise they had sexual preferences

Think that's when the user/wielder/gunner tries to sexually abuse/harass other ppl by pokeing them up other peoples butts.

or possibly by arms smuggler when trying to get them past custums I dunno.

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Ok, firstly a couple of things

Not sure how you're getting your stats seeing as only one alien race is in the game at the moment...

Not sure how to 'un-gay' guns. Didn't realise they had sexual preferences

But now the good news. Here is what is planned for the aliens.

- Different races of aliens will have different AI, and special abilities that work off each other. Sebilians for instance can regenerate injuries, and also prefer to get up close and personal. You can see how those would work together no doubt.

- There will also be upgraded versions of each race, to make sure that you don't have missions late game that are too easy. That way the game should keep you challenged

- Different alien types also have different armour values, which in turn will require different weapons to counter effectively

- Now the problem with reaction fire is that every shot one of your soldiers take, allows the possibility of the aliens getting a reaction shot. Also the lower AP your soldier has the more likely it is to occur (or he is to get hit, I forget which one). So by increasing the amount of shots required to kill an alien, you increase the chance of getting shot back in return

Now I may have missed some stuff, and some of the stuff I did write up may be off a bit, but hopefully that answers some questions =]

AD, you can have a look at the AIprops.xml It has a list of the parameters for 7 alien races; Caesan, Praetor, Reaper, Wraith, Harridan, Andron, Sebillian. I know that these have probably just been put in as placeholders, but none have outrageous stats though they appear to have been demarcated to a degree.

With regard to reaction shots. What seems to happen is you come into contact with an alien. They have a chance to react fire based on their reaction stat. If they pass they shoot, if they fail they don't. Now if that alien normally takes 30AP to shoot, then you need to use 30AP yourself before the alien has a chance to shoot again. Obviously if you have 60AP and use them all during a turn then that alien has 3 chances to shoot (probably at around a 30-40% chance each time - not sure how this is calculated!) I may be wrong on this I have expanded slightly on Chris' post.

So actually, having 6 shots at 10AP shouldn't be any different than 2 x 30AP shots from a reaction fire point of view.

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Well that's alright then if that's the way it works.

And as for the stats, this is still an alpha with only one alien race in it, so there isn't even the chance to try and balance the alien races yet, so going off some rough numbers on a spread sheet is a bit far fetched. As others have said, let it get to Beta before demanding drastic changes! =p

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure Chris appreciates suggestions on how the game can be balanced, it might give him some new ideas, but some people have been posting as if the way they are suggesting is the way it 'has' to be. Keep posting ideas, and good on ya for doing that, but remember they are just that, ideas =]

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As others have said, let it get to Beta before demanding drastic changes! =p
Isnt the point that hes not demanding changes? he's makeing a modification that you can choose to apply or ignore completly. He's giving you the option of trying it out and see if you like it.

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wasn't so much referring about belmakor's mod, which as you can read I've tried to provide feedback for.

I was more referring to these comments:

if you get a standard alien and doesnt die/(panics/faints/etc) with 2-3 shots of an assault rifle something is wrong.

it bugs me aliens have more vision that humans... why? it is not THEIR PLANET.!!!!, on a sunny day it would be realistic to be able to see most of the battlefield.

i just hope it doent happen like the old x-com games , you drop at night and the first 3 soldiers dead before they get to the ground and see anything..........., the reason i didnt do any night missions in original x-com

and the original tanks were a joke..... 1-2 shots and dead, even the advanced vehicles melted with 1-2 plasma rifle shots.......IT IS A TANK!!!!!!!!!!, not a bicycle

you can always have more/tougher aliens to start with.......(cleverer too of course)

Sorry if it was unclear, I was mainly just putting out a word of warning

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Having a look through everything, it doesn't sound too bad really. I'd be a bit wary about modifying the damage too much due to how armour works, especially with starting aliens (which you should be able to take down reasonably easily, 1 on 1 usually)

Without the AI being finalized its a bit hard to really balance it though (especially the reaction fire). Also without knowing how the races progress.

I'd say having the early aliens about as tough as your soldiers in Jackal (with tougher clades being a bit harder) would be good, with the next race requiring two soldiers working together to take down in one turn, with the one after that requiring a hail of gunfire to bring down (at least 3 or 4). This is with rifles mind.

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I'm very much open to balance suggestions such as these, mostly because right now at the dev end we're concentrating on getting the mechanics done and game balance is a bit of an afterthought right now. Having some workable stat values for the game would be useful for when we hit beta and we concentrate on the polishing a bit more.

Just to inform the discussion a bit more, I think it'd be reasonable to assume that for the Caesans, you'd encounter the first three ranks of them before you got your hands on laser weapons - so non-combatants, guards and soldiers. Throwing ideas off the top of my head:

A non combatant should probably go down after three/four pistol shots, a couple of shots from a rifle and a single shot from a shotgun or a precision rifle.

A guard should go down after about 6 pistol shots, three rifle shots and two precision rifle / shotgun hits. Given there is 20% of the base damage variation on the weapons, there should be a possibility that a precision rifle hit or a shotgun hit would kill a guard outright if the player is very lucky with their random damage.

A soldier should be a tough cookie. The pistol should be pretty ineffective, maybe 8-10 shots to kill him. The rifle would take 4-5 shots, and you'd be looking at three shotgun / precision rifle shots to kill one. Two even with good damage rolls. I think it'd be the same for a machinegun too (two hits).

You can play around with values to try and get a system that would make that work. It's also worth thinking about the shotgun - it'd be good if that was a very powerful weapon close up but rapidly dropping off in power from beyond say 6 tiles range and pretty useless beyond about 10-12 tiles. I'm not sure if the current mechanics allow this as I don't remember them off the top of my head (they're on the wiki), so perhaps it'd be possible to design something with that effect? If not we can change the code a bit I guess.

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It's also worth thinking about the shotgun - it'd be good if that was a very powerful weapon close up but rapidly dropping off in power from beyond say 6 tiles range and pretty useless beyond about 10-12 tiles. I'm not sure if the current mechanics allow this as I don't remember them off the top of my head (they're on the wiki), so perhaps it'd be possible to design something with that effect? If not we can change the code a bit I guess.

I so want that tesla cannon now. A heavy (aoe) weapon with shotgun range mechanics! (although it would probably be redundant and less useful then the shotgun, so I dont expect I ever will see it ingame. I just want it for flavour =P)

Edited by Gorlom

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Those stats seem awfully harsh Chris. Now don't get me wrong, I want this game to be challenging, but if the Caesans are going to be like Sectoids in that they are fairly weak compared to all the other races then this is quite ridonculous. 8-10 shots to kill a soldier with a pistol, or 3 sniper shots seems like a lot, and I'l tell you why.

I can maybe get off 4 pistol shots a turn, if my guy doesn't move. I can get off one sniper shot per turn, with some movement. And maybe 2-3 or a burst from the rifle, and maybe 2 from the shotgun. Now this means that to kill a guard with one Xenonaut they need to be able to have at a minimum 2 turns firing, at a max, 3 (presuming all shots actually hit that is). Now the thing is those Xenonauts which take 3 turns to fire enough shots also are the ones with the least armour, scouts and snipers. So somehow I need to get my guys to survive, and it's not their armour that's going to do this. So I have to be lucky and hope the alien misses, because he not only gets a shot or 2 each of his turn, but probably also reaction fire shots each turn.

Now I know you'll be thinking 'well why don't you have more Xenonaut's firing at them?' By definition the scout is going around quicker than the rest, and the sniper is hanging back behind the rest due to his long range.

And even for those who do have armour (jackal), they still need to shoot one turn (hit each and every time), survive the reaction fire, survive the alien turn, and then shoot and hit each and every time the next turn as well (surviving the reaction fire again).

And this is against the weakest alien type! God forbid a harder alien species arrives prior to laser tech...

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Sadly we don't have a tesla cannon in the game, Gorlom. If nothing else it'd be hard to animate an arc of lightning rather than a bolt (we'd have to cheat like we have with the lasers).

@AD - the AP costs for firing the weapons haven't been finalised yet and people are free to lower the AP firing costs as part of the balancing. But you can burst fire a pistol twice and single shoot it once in a turn, which is seven shots. You can fire a shotgun twice and burst fire an assault rifle and still have 20APs left for moving around. It won't take much of a AP cost reduction to make it possible to fire each an extra time a turn.

Also, bear in mind these are the toughest Caesans you'd encounter before laser tech. Yes, you'll probably need at least a couple of guys working together to take one down, but that's life. Not all the aliens in an UFO will be that tough.

And think of the other alien races as being different to the Caesans, not more / less difficult to beat than them.

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Sadly we don't have a tesla cannon in the game, Gorlom. If nothing else it'd be hard to animate an arc of lightning rather than a bolt (we'd have to cheat like we have with the lasers).

@AD - the AP costs for firing the weapons haven't been finalised yet and people are free to lower the AP firing costs as part of the balancing. But you can burst fire a pistol twice and single shoot it once in a turn, which is seven shots. You can fire a shotgun twice and burst fire an assault rifle and still have 20APs left for moving around. It won't take much of a AP cost reduction to make it possible to fire each an extra time a turn.

Also, bear in mind these are the toughest Caesans you'd encounter before laser tech. Yes, you'll probably need at least a couple of guys working together to take one down, but that's life. Not all the aliens in an UFO will be that tough.

And think of the other alien races as being different to the Caesans, not more / less difficult to beat than them.

Liking this! :D

I'm a strong believer in lowered AP shots, but with several hits required to kill a standard alien even if this means lowering its damage. If you balance it right the average damage per AP should not actually be any lower than it is currently so although it is taking more shots to kill the alien, it should still be possible over the same amount of AP providing the accuracy is the same for both.

Now of course if you take a single 90% to hit shot and replace it with 3x90% to hit shots that both equate to the same damage then the second option on average should do lower damage over X amount of shots so it does need some work. I'm going to think on this some more.

Lastly, @ AD. Surely the purpose of a scout by definition is merely to find out where the aliens/UFO are and not to actually engage the enemy (unless under extreme circumstances). If they are being used as assault troops then they should be getting slaughtered when facing alien solders and quite rightly too.

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I agree with Chris' numbers. A big problem with EU was how soldiers are basically death dervishes. You can take out between 2-4 aliens in a single turn with one soldier. (Case in point: In my LP, had a near rookie soldier clear out a packed UFO with a pistol in a couple turns. A ballistic pistol. Its a bit different with later weapons due to auto-fire and other stuff).

Having to use multiple troops in concert to take out each alien sounds good to me. It's why I like TFTD better after all.

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Sadly we don't have a tesla cannon in the game, Gorlom. If nothing else it'd be hard to animate an arc of lightning rather than a bolt (we'd have to cheat like we have with the lasers).

(Sorry that I'm still plugging this. I don't mind it not beeing in the game, I'm just haveing fun with the the concept and my own version of "problem solving" it =P)

Bolt lightning is not a problem. I can name the guy carrying the Tesla cannon "Raiden" and pretend I'm playing mortal combat! =P

Tbh it wouldn't even matter that much since it's a short range weapon like the shotgun.

Edit: alternativly you could have the weapon fire a solid object that upon impact causes electrical damagein the area.. then it wouldnt have the "must target closest" limitation either.

Edited by Gorlom

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Lastly, @ AD. Surely the purpose of a scout by definition is merely to find out where the aliens/UFO are and not to actually engage the enemy (unless under extreme circumstances). If they are being used as assault troops then they should be getting slaughtered when facing alien solders and quite rightly too.

True I get what you mean and I completely agree, but if my scout guy goes out there and finds an alien, a single alien, he should have a chance to take him out. Meeting an alien and having the only option be retreat or die isn't much of an option. I thought the idea was to make the pistol a viable weapon in and of it's own, so that soldiers with combat shields etc. weren't just bullet magnets, but actually had some say in combat.

Also Chris, didn't you say in another thread that pistols aren't meant to have burst fire?

To be honest, if it all works out, then thats all good with me. I'm just putting my voice of caution out there because those numbers seem high to me. But I've only balanced one game before, so I'm a bit of a noob at it =p

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They'd still have a chance, just not a great one against the combat focused aliens. On the other hand, since they are only lightly encumbered you could use them to distract the alien/s for your mainline combat troops to get into position and shoot them with little retaliation.

Or just blow everything up. Grenades are pretty light after all.

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as for distracting the aliens... if they hit your guy (reaction fire) he's dead because he has no armour...

also that gives me an idea for reaction fire. Is it possible to make it harder to hit the target (the soldier/alien) if the thing that provoked the reaction fire was moving? I believe it'd be harder to hit a running target than it would a turning or stationary one...

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Makes sense. A dodge bonus basically. Might be a bit hard to code due to the turn-based nature of the game.

As for the first part, that's true. Its what cover's for though. That and sniper-spotter tactics (which may or may not be useable in Xenonauts). Combat shields are meant to be bullet (plasma) soaks though.

Depending on how the RF coding works, part of the usefulness of pistols could be causing reaction fire though. If they're shooting at a scout or breacher in a defensible position they can't be shooting at the riflemen moving up across open ground.

That and they're the only guns that can be used one-handed, which was why very few players used them in the X-com series (since you could fire rifles one-handed).

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hmmm I would agree with you when I thought the availability of cover might be a bit more like gears of war. As it is there is hardly any anywhere, unless you are in a building, in which case that's pretty close range anyways (can basically run past the cover and get a flanking shot off if you wanted to). I realise this may change in the future with different tile sets.

Actually that's something, where are all the vehicles? Seriously there should be crashed cars on the roads which could easily be used as cover...

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I like the way Chris looks at the alien ranks and difficulty.

Your first few missions might see you running into mainly non-coms protected by a guard while later ones might be mainly guards with a couple of soldiers in command.

When you are coming up against lots of soldiers you should be thinking about upgrading your weaponry or using better tactics to concentrate your available firepower.

At this stage you would also be coming across another alien species which may be as tough as the ceasan guards but have different tactics.

As for the weapon balance it also sounds good to me.

More shots for slightly lowered damage gives you more to do in a turn and makes you think about your tactics more.

If you only have the option of either moving and firing a single shot or standing still and firing two shots it limits your choice of tactics.

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Quote from the background story:

"energy beams <snip> cut through the steel as if it were tissue paper" and

it took hours of "streams of machine-gun fire" to reduce the enemy to anything that could be approached.

I'm all for having a difficulty level in the game (one that works this time please ;) ) but the hardest difficulty should definitely stick to the storyline. Earth based weapons and shields are virtually useless against this highly advanced foe. It's the reason Xenonauts even exists. The priority is for our research to come up with something that we can attack them with and something we can use to defend ourselves. (I remember one mod for X-Com was that laser weapons were already available, but required a massive power source making them useless in combat. Discovering Elerium changed that and gave us a fighting chance - I liked this because without it I always wondered why the 'normal' army didn't develop laser weapons with just a few days research).

The initial missions should be about simply surviving and getting out of there with something worthwhile (eg. an alien body or weapon) which we can use and retrofit to give us more power/shielding. (eg. an autopsy could give us clues for weak spots allowing our soldiers to aim for them (aka the 'head' shot). Doesn't have to show up graphically or anything, just after an autopsy anyone fighting that type of alien gets a significant advantage - eg by reducing the stats of that alien species)

This doesn't have to apply to easier difficulty settings, but again - why do the Xenonauts exist if our weapons/armour are already so effective?

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I got the impression that the ship in the backstory was a battleship and it contained a regiment of aliens bunkering down and yelling "remember the Alamo!" or the alien equivilance.

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