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Underbelly Hardpoint for Support (non-weapon) Packages on Aircraft

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Since my initial post was really really long, I've condensed it into this spoiler box:

I propose adding another hardpoint type to aircraft, called a Support Hardpoint (as opposed to Heavy Hardpoints, Missile Hardpoints, and Cannon Hardpoints). This would allow the attachment of Support Packages to your aircraft to enhance it's capabilities outside of the Air Combat minigame.

Before you say, "But isn't the air combat mini game the point of aircraft?" let me explain:

Aircraft are used for more than simply shooting down UFOs in the dogfights:

--They are used for searching for and detecting UFOs and Alien Bases (and any other detectable things). However, the radar ranges are pretty small for any good scouting, unless you want to run the aircraft over the same area dozens of times.

--They also have to actually travel from the base to the enemy (or scouting location, either one), which can be far away, or the enemy can lead them in circles, using up all of their fuel, etc. In essence, they need fuel, and can run out.

So, I propose two Support Packages: an Enhanced Sensors Package (ESP) and an Extended Fuel Tank (EFT).


(ha, I didn't even intend the acronym to be the same as Extra-Sensory Perception. It's rather fitting, though, if you think about it.)

This would make it easier for an aircraft to detect UFOs near it and Alien Bases on the ground, (as well as anything else that is detectable that I may have forgotten.) This would allow the player to actually have airplanes that are good at reconnaissance (which considering this is practically the oldest use of the airplane I don't see why all our planes kinda suck at it in this game).

It would increase the radar range of the aircraft and also improve the detection change over the base plane's stats.


Just like what it sounds like: more fuel to use for flying, letting the aircraft fly farther than it normally would be able to. This would let us send planes from farther away to intercept UFOs, let us scout for Alien Bases from farther away, etc. For simplicities sake, this would simply increase your aircraft's initial fuel level +X% per attached external tank (I propose 25%, but it's up to balancing).

There should be one Support Hardpoint on the underbelly of the plane. This can only carry Support Packages (like Cannon Hardpoints can only carry cannons).

I think that since Heavy Hardpoints can already carry both torpedoes and missiles, they should be able to carry support packages as well.

Obviously, placing a Support Package on a Heavy Hardpoint would remove some offensive capabilities from your aircraft, namely one missile or torpedo. This is good, as it helps balance it out.

There should be a penalty for using the underbelly Support Hardpoint as well, to give players a reason to not simply equip every plane with a Support Package all the time.

My thinking is that the plane could be made slower, both in the geoscape and in air combat, and the evasive roll and the afterburners could be disabled in the air combat. Thus, you wouldn't want to use these support packages all the time, only when you're doing recon or you need to fly really far.

I would also recommend the ability to drop whatever's on your underbelly hardpoint during air combat, which would then allow afterburners and the evasive roll to be used again and remove the speed limitation, to be used in emergency situations.

Obviously this would destroy whatever you've dropped, which means that, to penalize this, the ESP and EFT should not simply be free.

The fuel tanks could be purchasable inexpensively initially, as they would just be used like ordinary external tanks. However, for alien technology-equipped aircraft, they would be manufactured.

The sensors should be manufacture only, and pretty pricey, since they offer a significant increase in the scouting ability of your planes.

Whew. Thanks for reading all that. :)

If you'd rather not read all the details, here's the TL;DR version:

-Add another kind of hardpoint to aircraft, Support Hardpoint, located on the underbelly of the aircraft.

-Add Support Packages which can be equipped to Support Hardpoints and Heavy Hardpoints.

--Enhanced Sensors Package (ESP): increases radar range and detection rate of aircraft, used for scouting UFOs and Alien Bases

--External Fuel Tank (EFT): Adds extra fuel to the airplane, allowing for increased operation time, range, etc.

-Penalty for using Support Packages on Heavy Hardpoints is you have less missiles or torpedoes to use in air combat.

-Penalty for using Support Packages on underbelly Support Hardpoint is: slower aircraft speed in geoscape and dogfights, no using evasive roll or afterburners in dogfight.

-Ability to eject underbelly package in dogfight to remove penalties in emergencies.

-Small cost (in purchase initially, then in manufacturing) for External Fuel Tanks.

-High cost in manufacturing for Enhanced Sensors Package.

Anyway, comments?

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I know this was a very very long time ago Chris, but I found this whilst reading more on the subject. Please let me know what you think about it now, as opposed to then.


Maybe we'll look at drop pods at some point in the future (I'd prefer them to building non-base structures on the map tbh) but right now we've got to balance the invasion speed etc before we can really see how much of a need there is for this sort of thing. It's difficult to hypothesise too much about WIP systems and I guess this is something for the beta.

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I do like the idea of adding enhanced functionality to the aircraft. Currently I don't do much in the way of air recon, so being able to do so, with sufficient fuel and the chance of a reward seems a good one.

Would there also be a small reward for running flyovers to region scoring? Showing that you are protecting them. Adds a nice bit of depth and increases the interaction of the player to the game world. It's also proactive. Even if alien base detection chance was very small, it's better than siting there waiting for it to be found by others all the time.

I enjoyed this sort of thing when it was in Apocalypse, and would be very pleased to see something similar here.

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Ha, we should add a third Support Package, a propaganda leaflet bomb bay. ;)

Kidding, but that is a great idea Thothkins, I like the idea of increasing standing by doing flyovers of nations. It wouldn't be much, but it could allow you to keep a nation from succumbing so easily.

Also, that would be super great for when you're looking for an alien base. I mean, lets say you see the country losing points. You know there's a base there, so you do fly overs all the time, searching for it. Normally the base would continue to drain relations, but with the fly overs that would be slowed a lot, or even halted altogether if you've enough planes, allowing you to search for the base longer before the nation is lost. I mean, if the player loses a country due to an alien base, it should be because he didn't act fast enough, or at all. If the moment they see the relations drop indicative of an alien base they send out aircraft to find it, they shouldn't lose the country simply due to bad luck on the random chances. They should have sufficient time to find it, otherwise it'd be imbalanced.

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Imagine. A nation lost to the aliens. A nation without hope, whose leaders have sold them to hostile forces from another world. A place of darkness. Thunder approaches from the distance. A low, rolling reverberation around the streets of the capital. But the thunder builds, deafening fears, tearing suspicious, downward eyes from the ground. A rain of hope follows this storm. Lightning of will and resistance.

Or a black propaganda leaflet drop if you prefer that terminology :) Just the sort of thing that's done today as it was back in WWII. Hearts and minds. It also opens up another part of the Xenonaut world. One f fighting to retrieve the worlds lost nations after the final battle or during the conflict. Bombers, counter measures and resistance groups.

A line of yours in jest, GizmoGomez, but think of the possibilities... ;)

I'd post more, but I'm getting paper cuts from all this stuff falling from the sky. "Pirelli's Pizza Parlour" leaflets? Hey! that's not hearts and minds! That's stomachs and wallets! Quit it! Hmmmm... Pizza....

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Uh... The flyover bonus is a no-no to me. Think about what a pain it'll be to keep the planes in the air for the maximum time, scoring popularity points. You won't have time nor energy to manage the invasion...

Perhaps it would only give a bonus when there's an alien base in the nation? This way you couldn't simply try to farm relation points (which shouldn't be possible anyway, if balanced correctly) but you'd still be able to slow down the pace at which Alien Bases reduce relation points.

Anyway, this thread is getting off topic. Does anyone want to comment on the actual content of my OP?

How often do people use planes to search for UFOs and Bases, anyway? Is a better radar-equipped plane worth the effort?

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How often do people use planes to search for UFOs and Bases, anyway? Is a better radar-equipped plane worth the effort?

I never had any trouble finding an alien base quickly after I started looking. Frankly, I wouldn't care for a better radar for that purpose.

Scouting for UFOs however is a different matter. While it worked in the original UFO: Enemy Unknown, it's virtually impossible in Xenonauts due to the pitiful radar range. (While I understand the game tries to be realistic about radar ranges, but on the other hand in real life you'd get plenty of info from military radar station around the world...)

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Back in ye olde dayes, I'd use the activity stats to determine which parts of the world to patrol. Then send out extra craft to see what I could find.

Here, resources are so tight that sending out any ship leaves a gap in your defences. Sending out patrols means you may not have enough fuel to combat the next wave, as you're not likely to have too many spare aircraft around.

Sending a craft out alone if there's an air superiority mission is suicide.

In reality, as everyone knows there's 3000 alien craft right above them, they would be shouting out all UFO activity from the rooftops. It's not as though there's any real secrecy behind the alien presence.

If Xenonaut bases have craft flying in and out all the time, why don't the aliens spot them far more easily? Likewise, if they have infiltrators/ sympathisers, why don't they just point the aliens in the right direction more often?

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I like to think that the base is underground with the hangars being elevators to some underground runway under a mountain. Following take off, the planes would be very low to avoid detection and would fly low enough for long enough in a random enough way to obscure their point of origin. That is what I like to think happens until the aliens discover your base location anyway.

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And I think that the radar ought to be handled differently anyway (though I wouldn't be too sad if it stood as it does now). It would be nice if nations could detect craft for you, but your radars have a much higher detection chance than those of the national militaries (especially if there is some tech to improve your own radars with alien tech). I assume that enemy craft are rather stealthy and have special technology/can fly super low even at ridiculously fast speeds to avoid radar.

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Support packages could add a large new library to the tech-tree, and potentially have some interesting uses.

Random stuff off of the top of my head:

Shield Generators, advanced targeting to maximize or specialize certain types of damage, radar/holo-projector to fool enemy targeting, internal warhead for kamikaze time ... , and maybe an advanced radar package if they ever wanted to improve the dogfight GUI.

Hell, maybe a wifi computer virus transmitter (we all know how bad aliens are with antivirus software, heh) that can force down or temporarily control an alien craft.

-Or maybe something simpler, like research to add another hard-point (structural stability or something)

I'm not going to get too carried away, but there are a lot of potential possibilities...

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Hmmmm. shields a la Apocalypse. Yes, I'd like those (and personal ones too actually)

so, that also gives us...

Enhanced Weapons Control

Cargo Module (not really needed as the retrieval teams cart everything around post-mission.

Passenger Module

Bio-Transport Module - think about how you get to that final mission.

Missile Evasion Matrix

Disruption Shield

Cloaking Field



Weapons Pod - for that one big extra missile

Thrusters - for extra boost in combat/ evasion

Drop Pod - when you just can;t waste the time taking a Chinook.

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