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Alternative Mechanic to Indestructible Interceptors Designed to Please Everyone

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Add another button in the air combat aircraft screens (same category as retreat, afterburners and evasive roll) titled "Emergency Disengage" which would allow the rapid egress of an aircraft from a fight, but would result in a 72hr recovery time in addition to the repair time for the accumulated damage +20% max HP more damage (to a minimum of 1% HP) to simulate the rough landing. (More info in the Details section).

-The balance should be similar, if not the same, as the current indestructible interceptor system. (More info in the Balance section.)

-This should satisfy both sides of the indestructible interceptors debate, the for's and the against's. (More info in the Reasoning Section.)


Each aircraft in the air combat would have a fourth button, "Emergency Disengage," available to them.

Upon pressing the button, the aircraft enters into a nose dive. This is represented by the icon shrinking in size, and the aircraft's speed going to 120% the max speed (both because a diving aircraft can/will go faster than a level-flying aircraft, and because it gives the aircraft more of a chance to outrun any tailing UFOs). The icon would fade out after 1-2 seconds (whatever works best), indicating that the aircraft successfully escaped the air combat.

The pilot (behind the scenes) forces the aircraft down in a powered emergency landing, sustaining +20% damage (to a minimum of 1% HP) on top of the existing damage sustained in the air combat, to simulate the damage taken in forcing the plane down.

If the aircraft has ≤1% HP remaining after the -20% HP, there is a 25% chance that the aircraft is destroyed in the forced landing. If that is the case, a popup box will inform you that your plane was destroyed in the forced landing.

For Example: You have 25% HP and you hit Emergency Disengage. You land with 5% HP remaining.

Alternate Example: You have 8% HP remaining and you hit Emergency Disengage. You land with 1% HP remaining, successfully surviving the 25% chance that the aircraft will explode on impact.

Alternate Alternate Example: You have 12% HP remaining, and hit Emergency Disengage. You fail the 25% chance, so upon exiting the air combat you are greeted with a message informing you that the plane exploded upon impact.

The aircraft takes 72 hours to recover back to it's base of origin, upon arrival it begins repair on the damage sustained.

Upon the plane's arrival, a popup could inform the player that the aircraft has been recovered from the forced landing, and will have repairs started immediately. The total time to repair the damage and refuel/refit the aircraft should be included in that popup, for the player's benefit. Something like, "Full combat readiness in 48 hours" or the like. In addition, if players enjoy seeing how close to death they got, the popup could also include the final HP% of the plane after the landing.


The consequences to this change would be similar, if not identical to, the ones caused by the addition of indestructible interceptors. The player would still have a 72 hour wait + repair time to get their planes back, which otherwise would have been destroyed. The player really should take advantage of the emergency disengage button, and if they don't then they're either playing very poorly (and thus should be penalized for losing their plane by losing their plane) or they're intentionally destroying their own aircraft, in which case they would get their wish and lose their plane.

However, if you don't want to lose your plane, simply pause the game when you're getting thrashed and hit the emergency disengage button, and presto! your plane is safe, albeit severely damaged (just like what would happen if you lost your plane under the current system).

This would not replace the current Retreat button, as that one allows you to continue flying back to base if you can survive the UFOs chasing you. That's the idea of that method; you have to fly the entire way out of the battle, exposing you to enemy fire, but you are rewarded by keeping your plane flying home and not losing 72 hours of it's time.

The Emergency Disengage would have the upside that you exit the battle almost immediately, but you lose 72 hours in addition to up to 20% repair time, with the added risk of the plane exploding upon landing if it has too little health. These should be incentives enough to not spam the emergency button whenever your aircraft takes a scratch; that's what the regular retreat button is for. The emergency disengage button is designed for, well, emergencies, as the name suggests.

The only real gameplay difference (as far as extra things to do) would be to pause the game before the plane takes too much damage (generally I can tell if a plane will be lost pretty soon after it takes the first hit) and press a single button/hotkey. This is incredibly minimal, but the addition of the requirement for player action to save your plane should assuage all concerns about "hand holding" and the like, since it's no longer a hand holding, it's a feature of the air combat, and an (to me at least) appreciated feature at that.

As far as balancing the economy; treat it just as if the planes were indestructible, or perhaps a tad more forgiving/lenient with funds (just in case someone lets one plane die.)

The planes (unless you are somehow incapable of hitting the space bar and clicking the mouse) will generally always survive the air combats now, since they can simply run away in a big hurry now instead of being either a) destroyed while fighting the enemy or b) destroyed while running away from the enemy, if the UFOs are faster than you.

Losing a plane would still be hard on the player, but that would now be their own fault for not leaving the battle soon enough/at all, and not be because of a game flaw.


With indestructible interceptors being introduced, two camps have formed: Those for the change, and those against.

-Those for the change argue that it makes the air combat less of a game killer, and actually can increase the difficulty in that late-game building a plane might take less time than recovering and repairing one.

-Those against the change argue that it makes the game less "hard core" and more "casual," leading to perceptions of "hand-holding" and pandering to casual gamers instead of holding true to the X-Com legacy. They also argue that from a realism standpoint the mechanic makes no sense, as a plane shot down (and thus under no power of it's own) is inherently unstable and would be impossible to land safely, much less with the plane in any sort of intact or recoverable state.

Both sides have very valid arguments, and both sides' needs/wants are met in my suggestion. Those for it will get a way to keep their planes intact, albeit with a consequence (as the current recovery system has), and those against it will have that hard core feeling back again, because if they don't act properly they can still lose their planes. Also, the realism of the mechanic is fixed, meaning that those (like myself) who enjoy realism won't find the air combat woefully lacking in that department.

I am going to post links to this thread in any threads discussing the indestructible interceptor issue. If your needs would be met with this idea, if you like and support the implementation of the idea, please comment and say so. This will help the developers see how popular this idea is (if it indeed gains popularity.)

Please comment any concerns or suggestions below as well.

Thanks! :)

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The "magic" disengage button is unrealistic, it was at the heart of the original debate in a similar thread to the Interceptor immortality, what a great idea! current thread, I forget were it is now sorry.

Anyways the gist of it was "OMG how can an aircraft get away from danger in a click when it's nose to nose with an alien ship"

BTW I wonder what you think of my post on the bottom of page 4?

Edit: Err sorry I should have taken the time to carefully read through your idea, I get what your saying now, it's about putting the control back easily into the player's hand, and if they are so bad that they don't take advantage of this they deserve to loose.

That's better then I imagined, but ... still bothers me a bit, still a bit gamey maybe, but it's worlds better then what we have now, [automatic plane retrieval no matter if it's at the bottom of the ocean].

Edited by smoitessier
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Alternative to alternative


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.


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.


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.


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.


- 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.


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.


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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Another alternative :P, I probably missed something but anyways

The problem:

Same as above

The solution:

Let all Earth aircrafts be free.

Let all advanced aircrafts be free, but need Alenium from you.

Missiles torps no longer free.

Let the attainment of limited Alenium resources be the key balancing force.


Alenium is to be used as a component in the manufacture of all advanced missiles and torpedoes tiers.

Xenonauts share all aircraft research and design blueprints with world governments.

48 hour restock/refit for new Condors and Migs

X days for corsairs, and more for later tiers. i.e. every X days = 1 corsair

Example of Alenium costs:

Sidewinders 2

Torpedoes 4

And double these figures each successive tier grade.


To be balanced, the amount of Alenium recovered from an alien ship should be somewhat greater then the amount used in it's capture. This should still prevent the player from using exclusively torpedoes against fighters because it would be a waste, and not sustainable in the long run, yet still letting them sell some for $$$.

In the beginning a player could loose as many basic planes as he wants, and would be still be unaffected, except for the 48 hour restock/refit delay. (training wheels)

Latter on the player would hopefully (if he was using fighters against fighters, and not loosing too many advanced aircrafts) be sitting on a reserve of Alenium. This 'long term' reserve would keep him afloat in case he had a few rough streaks in air combat. It would be a safety blanket, but not anything more.


The player is not penalized in the short term, only the long term or in his play style.

Migs become balanced .

Alenium resources are better utilized as a game mechanic.


Alenium costs/gains needs to be finely balanced, hopefully it's possible.

Edited by smoitessier
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Very much in favour of thothkins/smoitessier's suggestion. Don't know if there's a points penalty for losing aircraft at the moment, but one could be added/existing penalty could be made bigger to represent funding nation's displeasure at you throwing expensive planes away.

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My sincere opinion...The best alternative is for people to learn to think! Just use every trick you know or you can think of in order to stop the enemy, while getting the least damage possible. I would understand if the UFOs were invincible. That would be a game breaker. But they are not. What we are seeing here is an attempt by the devs to accommodate the players that like a "kill-em all" type of game. Hell, no! Strategy games like this one have to teach the taste of failure. You can never win every damn battle. Mistakes cost try to avoid them. If you failed in one play-through is no big deal. You are lucky. It is a game, you can restart(if it is ironman) or load that save game to try again.

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Well, why don't the aliens simply kill our guys on the ground?

I get your point, though.

Because when youre guys go on the ground it's either when an enemy UFO was shot down (thus not in the air, capable of delivering death from above) or has landed (thus not in the air).

Enemy fighters do shoot down the Chinnok if they are close to the crash/landing site.

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Gotta say it's probably the best idea I've heard that will not only "help" satisfy both player types but should be a much less time consuming solution for the devs than having the hardcore and casual air battles selectable during game start. Whether you guys like the idea or not, I wouldn't be surprised if they run with it because of time constraints.

Funny how they try to introduce an improved, tactical style of air combat and it only serves to come back and haunt them. I actually feel for the devs somewhat so I'm gonna give this one two thumbs up. Nice idea Gismo. It's nice to see people thinking of solutions from both sides of the table instead of just one.

Edited by 200down
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There already are several solutions in this thread and actually are are valid. Personally I'm leaning the most towards the original idea, but with one additional condition: only fighters made of alien alloys should be recoverable. Landing an F-17 on a corn field is just silly, the plane would turn into a long strip of charred parts. :) Later fighters, however, are as sturdy as UFO's, so controlled crash is a viable option.

Bear in mind it'll also make a bit more sensible to use Corsairs over Condors, which nobody does right now (because Corsairs are expensive and mostly useless).

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