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Zhab

Why Firaxis is a very serious threat

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It was not actually, I played X-COM long before hearing of Xenonauts, and never did it then either. I was quite young back then, so maybe I never thought of it, but I digress, we've already been over this =p

Basically I'm saying: Don't blame Xenonauts =]

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It was not actually, I played X-COM long before hearing of Xenonauts, and never did it then either.

No offense but I think you are a special case and yes we did go over this before. I was talking to minispace and to be honest I was about done talking about that with him too.

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Huh. I might not have explained myself very well because that doesn't describe my stance on this.

These games (Xenonauts, X-Com, or whatever) should allows savvy players to turn a profit by manufacturing high-demand items. Selling salvaged goods on the world market must be a viable way to supplement your income, and players should be able to use surplus resources to manufacture advanced technology to essentially convert mission salvage to cash.

I think we agree on this much. My apologies in advance if I am mistaken--I don't want to speak for you so please correct me if I'm off base.

Now here is my thing, and where we probably differ: It would be nice if we had a rich economic system that took into account supply and demand that added consequences to flooding the market with manufactured goods or mission salvage. How many alien corpses does the world want to buy, anyway?

A more direct way to limit the supply of easy cash would be to require that every manufactured item use some kind of resource to build, and your ability to produced massive amounts of finished goods will inevitably outstrip your ability to acquire the materials needed. That would mean that players will have to continuously raid the aliens just to acquire raw materials if they want to pursue a manufacturing-focused strategy.

Having said that, these games are not economic simulators, as much as I would like them to incorporate these principles. If none of them is going to include a dynamic economy (but I really wish they would), then Xenonaut's system cuts down on the cheesy gameplay mechanic to print free money. I wonder how Firaxis will approach the issue, or if it's even an issue at all?

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Personally I don't like the randomness that comes with a living market (if you have to rely on playing it). I' d rather have either nothing at all or an increasingly profitable manufacturing process the deeper into the techtree you get. possibly with 2 options for each plateau, one quick but small margin and one timeconsuming but slightly larger profit (compared to the number of quick profits you can ship out in the same time.)

Technically an organization such as X-com or Xenonauts would never be able to saturate the market for any manufactured goods. They are the sole manufacturer and supplier and demand must be severeal thousand times the supply. Probably not for alien corpses either (if not if not pharmacutical companies i bet universities or teaching hospitals can never get enough of those corpses.)

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For my own point of view, I'd rather a more simplified view of the matter. Rather than a fluctuating market, I'd prefer one based on scarcity.

Sure you may have produced 10 laser rifles, but you have the opportunity to produce many hundreds of thousands. This to me means that it should not be worth as much. But what can take that high value slot?

Things that are truly rare. And I mean out of this world rare, which is convenient then that we have aliens bringing them to us. So things like Elirium, alien corpses, and other things that can only be gained from taking them from the aliens (and therefore the risk of getting them can also be added to the price), those should be the super high value objects.

That makes much more sense than selling laser canons to me =p

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Yes but you did infact not produce many hundereds of thousands of them, you only produced 10 for your soldiers and 10 for Japan! (no wait, that's another game) and every hillbilly in texas needs one NOW!

also they dont care for your fancy Elirium Element 115 Alienuim or whatever you call that goo/crystal/mist/shiney/whatever. And their mums dont have any recipy for cooking those tangy grey donkies uncle thingamabobs

Edited by Gorlom

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Huh. I might not have explained myself very well because that doesn't describe my stance on this.

After reading your post, thinking about and typing the following post, I still think I did correctly understand your point of view on this. If think I ma not, then the post you just typed did not correct this or you did not understand what I was saying in my previous post.

These games (Xenonauts, X-Com, or whatever) should allows savvy players to turn a profit by manufacturing high-demand items. Selling salvaged goods on the world market must be a viable way to supplement your income, and players should be able to use surplus resources to manufacture advanced technology to essentially convert mission salvage to cash.

Yeah we do agree. What I don't get is how you go from here to "criminalizing" the use of engineer for profit.

Now here is my thing, and where we probably differ: It would be nice if we had a rich economic system that took into account supply and demand that added consequences to flooding the market with manufactured goods or mission salvage. How many alien corpses does the world want to buy, anyway?

Yeah that would be nice. But I still don't see why for you it is either that or nothing. In my book what the original did was way better than nothing.

A more direct way to limit the supply of easy cash would be to require that every manufactured item use some kind of resource to build, and your ability to produced massive amounts of finished goods will inevitably outstrip your ability to acquire the materials needed. That would mean that players will have to continuously raid the aliens just to acquire raw materials if they want to pursue a manufacturing-focused strategy.

Now you wait a second there. Not all resources must come from aliens. First, because some tech have nothing to do with aliens to begin with. Like lasers and motion scanners for examples. Second, it's not because it is alien tech that all of their devices have to involve some mystic resources that don't exist on earth. I think that the original did good on that aspect and did not abuse elurium unduly. Third, because that could have dangerous impact on the game. Say for example that you get owned on a mission. One of the great thing about the game is that did not mean game over. You could rebuild your assault team and try again. But if to get a new team you need to blast aliens because you don't have stuff to make you new team but that you can do that because you don't have a team... well... that is pretty much game over right there. You could go back to basic starting weapon, but unlike the beginning of the game the aliens are no longer pulling their punches. If you lose miserably with good gear chances are that it will be worst with basic gear. In short, it introduce a concept called "slippery slope" in game design. A game is usually better without it. It is often unavoidable. But games that do succeed to avoid this (like the original) should be careful about introducing this in.

With that out of the way... I think that Firaxis is doing something along those lines. Countries give money and resources. Making laser cannons take resources and you have a limited amount of them. In the original cash and resources were the same thing. The manufacturing cost was to illustrate the need for generic resources. Because labor was already paid and facility cost and maintenance were all already paid. So all you needed was time+cash to make greater cash. But in the Firaxis version, there is only so much resources that the world can offer you at once. Even if you have to money to pay for them the resources are not there (yet). Further more, you need a good part of those resources to build stuff vital to Xcom success against the alien invasion. How much do you have left to cash in ? That is an interesting concept. Countries will occasionally tempt you with juicy offer. But can you afford to divert your engineers from vital task to take advantages of those offers ? I like games that offers that kind of choices/dilemma to the players. Specially in a game about running an entire organization. Seriously, if all you want is to kick alien but, then the FPS from 2k Marin is for you. But if you want to feel like you are running every aspect an organization in constant need for approval and funding, then I think that this are the kind of touches that make a difference.

Having said that, these games are not economic simulators, as much as I would like them to incorporate these principles. If none of them is going to include a dynamic economy (but I really wish they would), then Xenonaut's system cuts down on the cheesy gameplay mechanic to print free money. I wonder how Firaxis will approach the issue, or if it's even an issue at all?

Ok, both of you seem to think that using engineers to make money is super easy, cheesy and game breaking. Have you tried this for yourself ? Do you actually know what doing this involve ? Because the more I listen to you guys the more I think you never done it. You think you know everything about the ocean when you have only read about it. I suggest trying this for yourself and see how it affects your game. You might be surprise to see that it do not go quite as what you have imagined.

Both of you seem fine with few occasional profit opportunities here and there. What you seem to have a beef about is going all out with this right ? But going all out is not easy. First you actually need an entire base for that. You need to take the time to set that up. That is not free you know. It takes lot of money that are not used to finance other things more useful to fighting off the aliens. It also take lot of time. Several months. Also, you have to defend the base. You can't let it naked and hope to hell that aliens wont attack your "cash base". Also, building laser cannons cost a lot per units. Asking your engineers to build 10 of them means you have to surrender several millions for a good amount of time. This means that you first need to have those millions in the first place. Which means that you don't spend your money as soon as you get it. Which means that your are less equip than a player not aiming for this would be at that stage of the game. It also mean that you are not spending that money (ever) because you need it as a running fund for your cash factory. Also, it will actually take a good while before you actually make money equivalent to your running funds. Since you will never use your running funds, it is only after you finally match those millions that you are truly starting to make profits here... Finally, 150 engineers cost a fortune of money each months. To make any profit, you first need to pay for all that and only then may you start to finally make profit.

It's not exactly an easy effortless trick. Going all out on this means that you are aiming at long therm benefices at the cost of substantial sacrifices in the meantime. Can you even survive that long ? Try pulling this off in super human and come back to me. This is essentially what eventually replace funding countries as they start to inevitability drop out. Because infiltration missions are pretty much unstoppable. So if you are going for a long game, countries will fall even if your rating is over 2000 each months. This is a way to fight that. So you either go for a quick game and kill mother brain ASAP or you buy yourself time with a trick like that.

But yeah, I could talk about this all day. But really, just try this on super human and come back to me.

Edited by Zhab

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I had laser cannons researched by mid-February and then lost interest in the experiment. The US was pleased with my performance! :cool:

What I would like to see in the next X-Com (and, of course, Xenonauts) is a living economy that forces the player to adapt to shifts in world and regional demand, just like we have to adapt to new alien weapons and tactics. It should be difficult to exploit the system, and every decision should have a cost and risk of failure. Complacency should be punished in both the battlefield and the marketplace, but smart players should be able to survive in both arenas. Good luck designing that, Game Designers!

I think 'cash bases' and 'cash factories' are cheesy, yes. I never said they were super-easy (I would never call X-Com easy!) or that the build strategy was game-breaking. You have posted some interesting reasons why you think they are balanced vs the opportunity cost of following other pursuits. I just think in the end it's easy money--too sure a thing.

But that's just me. Different people will have different opinions on what strategies are smart, and which are exploitative. So far I grok the design changes that Goldhawk has made with Xenonauts. I'm looking forward to seeing where the Firaxis developers draw that same line. In the end we'll play either game and use the available tools as we see fit.

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When I first played X-com, like the very first time only, I did not use the ability of engineers to build and sell items to make money. However, once I discovered you could sell what they create, probably the second time I played it, it was very obvious to me that it was the intentions of the original programmer to have that as a strategy available to the player. It is not a game breaker and it involves a fair amount of micro-management. For me it was merely a way to have the engineers pay their own salaries and provide a means to pay for non-alien gear. If you really want to call that cheesy, exploitative, or cheating go right ahead, but it makes a whole lot of sense to me and obviously the original programmers as well as just about everyone I have ever talked to about the game that this strategy is viable and meant to be a part of the game. I also can not see how you couldn't make a large profit as if you had laser rifles that were actually effective and indeed more effective than any assault rifle available you are not going to have any trouble selling 10, 100, or even 10,000. It would really come down to who you are willing to sell them to as opposed to whether you will find a buyer or not. Now if you had been selling laser rifles for 10+ years and had sold hundreds of thousands THEN I could see the price coming down. Until then though you would just not be able to make enough to satisfy demand and even what you did sell would probably wind up on the black market for more than you sold it for. With that stated I wouldn't see a need to have a strong economic aspect to the game unless you are spanning the game over many years.

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The potentially disastrous implications of selling high-powered alien weaponry on a global scale amuses me greatly. More proof that X-COM is not exactly the most competent organization. :D

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The potentially disastrous implications of selling high-powered alien weaponry on a global scale amuses me greatly. More proof that X-COM is not exactly the most competent organization. :D

It is unclear to who you are selling. But it is generally admitted that you are most likely selling to the founding countries' governments. Also, even when you go all out with this, you would not manufacture enough laser cannons to equip even just 10 % of USA fighter jets and/or tanks/vehicles in an entire game. Now that is assuming you are selling just to USA.

So the "global scale" reselling is probably not an issue.

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Another point to make is that ideally X-com would be trying to get as much weaponry out as possible to other countries as it can only help the Earth in its fight against the alien invaders. They can't possibly fight every battle on the Earth so it would make sense to help the funding nations fight their own battles when possible.

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Those explanations do make sense; I guess I'm just cynical by nature, and have little faith that Earth governments would refrain from using the weapons to intimidate fellow nations. :P

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Those explanations do make sense; I guess I'm just cynical by nature, and have little faith that Earth governments would refrain from using the weapons to intimidate fellow nations. :P

That is so very true. As a commander of X-com you would just inwardly cringe and hope that something can be done about it after you have successfully fought off the invasion. I could definitely see many brutal wars going on after the aliens are gone. You could also hope that the threat of alien invasion would make humanity unite on a global level. My cynical nature thinks that is highly unlikely as well.

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I would just like to add something to the debate - make of it what you will. I took notice of this project when it was in it's infancy and have not been back until today. I was blown away with excitement at the news of Firaxis's announcement, and am eagerly awaiting that product.

And then I came here and pre-ordered.

edit: Incidentally, I did order the premium - not sure how the badge is supposed to show up here for me. :confused:

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RE: The laser cannon profit discussion - I think it wasn't quite intended, due to how incredibly easy it makes the game. Mostly its the profit magins on Motion scanners, Laser cannons and personal armour (PersArmor is quite profitable, and uses up Alloys too, which is great).

The profit margin on all three is something like twice the manufacture cost. Even if it was intentional, you probably weren't intended to be able to set up self sustaining 'cash factories' with it.

Its also ridiculously easy to set up. A single supply ship, maybe 2 will fund a factory base that in 2 months can expand under its own power.

Not to mention you can use your own manufacturing facilities in proper combat bases during their downtime.

That said, it isn't really all that necessary in Superhuman. So much loot and corpses. I do it in the LP because

a) I have nothing else to do with all the manufacturing capacity I've got.

b) It lets me expand in a completely unsustainable fashion.

Its mostly the first one though. You need to manufacture so little its increasingly silly.

You should also never use TFTD as an example for cases like this or similar to this. Its basically a reskin, with extra bugs.

My view on the laser rifle 'thing' in Firaxis' game is basically thus: "Gamers like quests, we'll put quests in." Everything else they say related to it is justification, not an actual reason.

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RE: The laser cannon profit discussion - I think it wasn't quite intended, due to how incredibly easy it makes the game. Mostly its the profit magins on Motion scanners, Laser cannons and personal armour (PersArmor is quite profitable, and uses up Alloys too, which is great).

The profit margin on all three is something like twice the manufacture cost. Even if it was intentional, you probably weren't intended to be able to set up self sustaining 'cash factories' with it.

Way to prove that you don't know what you are talking about...

Laser cannons cost 182 000 to make and sell for 211 000 for a profit of only 29 000. Far from being twice the building cost, the profit margin is actually more than 6 time smaller...

It take 300 hours to make. So you can build at most about 99 in a month (31 days) with a team of 40 engineers (max). That is 2 871 000. Now engineers are not free. They cost 50 000 each every months. So 40 X 50 000 = 2 millions. So having a team of 40 engineers around building only laser canons leave you with a net profit of 871 000... and it toke a full month to make that. With a dedicated living quarters and a dedicated workshop (which the maintenance fees have not been accounted for). Oh and if you need anything to be built, you need some other engineers with some other facilities because these are busy 24/7. Which means more fees. Clearly game breaking right ? So much game breaking that you will have made several times more money by simply hunting aliens... Oh and did I mentioned that laser canons gives the best results ?

As I said, this thing is for having your engineers help out to pay their own salaries when you don't need them. The only way to make significant money with this is to really REALLY go out of your way. Which is not exactly quick and low cost endeavor (it even involve some risks). I agree that doing this in super human might not be optimal. Which is why I suggested people to try this before calling this an exploit.

Anyone viewing this as a game breaking "money tree" need a reality check.

Side Note: Personal armor is TERRIBLE for this. It take 800 hours and take 12 units of work space to make ! Now I will skip the details... but if you go for maximal production for one workshop for 31 days, you lose 1 510 280. You did not read that wrong. YOU LOSE MONEY ! Personal armors are terrible terrible terrible for this. Yet you claim they have a great profit margin. I don't need a better proof that you are very clueless about all this. You would be way better off just selling alloys.

I guess you saw that they cost 22 000 to make and sell for 54 000 and though hey that is 32 000 of pure profit ! That is even better than the laser canons at 29 000 ! Not considering that each armor cost 26 000 in alloys (26 000 + 22 000 = 48 000 build cost). In the figure above, even if I take out alloys from the equation completely (as if you don't need them at all) you still lose 688 160 anyways.

I wont even talk about motion scanners because it is pointless at this point. I will just say that the profit margin is no where near double the build cost.

Edited by Zhab

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Wow Zhab chill out. He's expressing his opinion, maybe he got some numbers wrong, but really?

Ok this time I admit that I was somewhat outraged by his outlandish claims. Yet I believe that I remained polite and civilized in my otherwise forceful rebuttal.

I respect his opinion. He can be against this "trick" all he want for all I care. I have already decided that I would no longer argue about the "right" or the "wrong" of this. But I could not tolerate his twisted "facts" which he boldly use to attempt to validate his point. I could not resist ripping them apart. Especially the part about personal armor... great for profit... oh really now ?

Edit: Bold text in previous post was for emphasis only. I wanted those parts to jump out of the surrounding text.

Edited by Zhab

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Well your numbers are off a bit as well Zhab but specifics aren't really important.

For me the profit margins were excessive as they allowed you to overcome a whole aspect of the game (funding) with little effort.

If you choose to use it then that's your own problem when you find the game lacking in difficulty.

I would have preferred some kind of diminishing returns on sales just to make selling extra gear useful but manufacturing complexes less useful.

The game was not balanced to my mind when using that tactic so I will be interested to see how Xenonauts pulls it off.

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Well your numbers are off a bit as well Zhab but specifics aren't really important.

How so ? My numbers match both my version of the game and ufopaedia wiki page. Unless I did a "typo" somewhere, my number are correct. Maybe you have a different version of the game ? Which number do you claim is off exactly ? Do you claim this from memory or did you take the time to check in game ?

Edited by Zhab

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Somewhere in the laser cannon numbers yours do not agree with mine, although that could just be a mix up in the way it is worded.

The ufopedia agrees with my old notes but I have been playing TFTD recently so have no save files to go back into and check.

As I said though the precise numbers aren't particularly important.

Being able to generate that kind of income on any base with a workshop, stores and living quarters removes any threat from the funding nations being taken over.

That should not be the case with Xenonauts.

I would have made the diminishing returns for sales (within a specific time frame) a suggestion if lack of profiteering was not already planned.

It should really add to the tension of lost nations.

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The ufopedia agrees with my old notes but I have been playing TFTD recently so have no save files to go back into and check.

That might be the problem. My numbers are based on UFO : enemy unknown and ufopedia wiki page agree with me on this. Here, look for yourself.

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