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This post is mainly directed at Chris, in that it is his decision ultimately.


The current system where aircraft are recovered after some time fixes a lot of very difficult balance problems quite nicely and simply. Often the best answer to a problem is the most simple answer available, and this one does it quite elegantly, as far as the alien alloy aircraft are concerned.

As far as the Condors and Foxtrots are concerned, the realism begins to fade and flicker. No "human" aircraft can be recovered after a crash in a state able to be repaired. These two aircraft have no alien alloys in the construction, and thus don't have that "get out of jail free card" that explains why they're recoverable.

Hopefully this solution adequately fixes this.


My solution is to make Condors, like Foxtrots, require a manufacturing project. (bear with me, it'll make sense in a moment.)

So, we first start by adding two items, available for free from the funding nations: an F-16 Airframe and a MiG-31 Airframe.

These are "purchased", or obtained, through the "Buy Aircraft" menu (where the Condor currently is purchased) and the airframes are stored in the hanger itself. The airframe takes X days to arrive (balancing will decide). Also, the airframes can only be ordered if there is an available hanger.

When an airframe arrives in a hanger, you can begin a short manufacturing project that costs money to outfit the airframe for Xenonaut use. This would be time spent adding the special armor plating, changing the avionics out, etc. Part of the money cost for these manufacturing projects should be noted as being making tons of spare parts for the aircraft, allowing repairs to be much more rapid than they normally would be.

After the manufacturing project is finished, you have a shiny new Foxtrot or Condor, ready to fly.

Once this plane is shot down, the game follows the current aircraft recovery mechanic: there's a "recovery time" where the plane is at 0% HP, afterwards it repairs from 0% HP up normally.

What the game tells you what is happening is that upon the plane destruction a new airframe is ordered. The "recovery time", waiting to begin repairs, is actually the "shipping time" for a new airframe. Once the plane enters "repair time", that's the flight crew outfitting the craft for Xenonaut use, using the spare parts from the previous aircraft. The reason it doesn't cost money this time is because they already have the parts ready, and just need to bolt them on, as it were.


This attempts to keep the current balance (planes cost significant money and time to get) and also explains the aircraft recovery system for Condors and Foxtrots.

It also (this was initially unintentional, but I like it) removes the Condor being magically fully outfitted for Xenonaut use. I mean, they would ship an F-16, not an F-17. We, the Xenonauts, make it from an F-16 to a Condor; it's a specially built plane for UFO hunting. They wouldn't manufacture these and have them waiting to be purchased.

It also gives the Foxtrot a shipping time, which is lacking in it's current form. Currently, we just magically, instantly receive a MiG-31 airframe from the Soviets.

Really, both the Condor and the Foxtrot's acquisition methods, how we get them, are kinda messed up right now, in that both don't make much sense. Condors are already outfitted, but take three days to ship here. Foxtrots arrive instantly, but have to be outfitted. Why not make both of them require a shipping time and an outfitting time, like it really would be?


So, there's my idea. If you would, Chris, just say a few words on what you think of it. I think it'd keep the balance quite nicely, since you could still make the planes cost $XX,000 through the manufacturing project, eliminating the issue of making a game where aircraft are unrealistically inexpensive. It also standardizes the way aircraft are obtained: the first two aircraft are mostly finished (since they're based on real planes), we just need a short manufacturing project to finish them up. The next aircraft require a much longer manufacturing project because we can't simply order an airframe for an aircraft that doesn't exist yet. It all makes sense, and it keeps the balance.

So, what do you think?

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I have a slight alteration to your suggestion.

Make recoverable air-frames a research project

I would balance it by making it quite a man-hour intensive project. I.e. 10 scientists for 2 weeks. 20 scientists for 1 week etc. Scale this according to difficulty level.

That means in the early game, if your rubbish at aerial combat you have the option of assigning your scientists to this project for 2 weeks of the invasion so that you have your get out of jail free card up and running by the time things get really hairy.

For those of us more skilled at the job, we will likely put off the project indefinitely as we would rather have our MiGs, laser rifles and wolf armour 2 weeks earlier and don't count on losing more than 2-3 aircraft in the initial months.

This is better than some sort of toggle in the options as it means its a viable strategy for some players, not a cop out in balance terms.


Make the first airframe you buy of a particular aircraft cost, say $100k for numbers sake. Make replacements for that aircraft $20k. This could even be the perk from the research project!

You lose an aircraft, yes you have to shell out a little but your not going to be breaking the bank and not getting magic aircraft in your hangar.

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Well, under my idea you aren't getting magic aircraft in your hanger. In fact, it makes more sense than the previous system where you got Condor's pre-modified and MiG airframes arrived instantaneously.

The reason I made it "act the same" as Chris's aircraft recovery system is because that is the idea he likes best, and the idea that makes the most sense, gameplay wise. If he liked another idea better, but that one still had logical inconsistencies as far as explanation goes, then I'd slightly tweak that idea too. I'm not attached to aircraft recovery any more than the game is. Since Chris hasn't changed his mind (that I know of) and we still have aircraft recovery, I'll modify that system slightly, but I won't change the way it actually works. Otherwise it wouldn't work with Chris's plan, and thus wouldn't get implemented.

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  • 2 weeks later...
After the manufacturing project is finished, you have a shiny new Foxtrot or Condor, ready to fly.

Once this plane is shot down, the game follows the current aircraft recovery mechanic: there's a "recovery time" where the plane is at 0% HP, afterwards it repairs from 0% HP up normally.

What the game tells you what is happening is that upon the plane destruction a new airframe is ordered. The "recovery time", waiting to begin repairs, is actually the "shipping time" for a new airframe. Once the plane enters "repair time", that's the flight crew outfitting the craft for Xenonaut use, using the spare parts from the previous aircraft. The reason it doesn't cost money this time is because they already have the parts ready, and just need to bolt them on, as it were.

I'd much rather see a fast "shipping time" and longer assembly time, and please not using old salvaged parts, that's so unrealistic.

The parts needed could be things supplied from the funding nations.

Like how the ISS is a joint effort, a conglomerate of technology from many nations specializing in different components to make it all work (well I think it is or i'm thinking of just the CanadaArm for the space shuttle)

It also gives the Foxtrot a shipping time, which is lacking in it's current form. Currently, we just magically, instantly receive a MiG-31 airframe from the Soviets.

This don'ts annoy me in the slightest, why couldn't the Russians put a whole airframe in their Antonov and fedEx it to you in the same day?

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I'd much rather see a fast "shipping time" and longer assembly time, and please not using old salvaged parts, that's so unrealistic.

I don't believe that the suggestion was that you were using salvaged parts.

More like you were using the stockpile of spares that would have otherwise been used to keep the original (lost) plane running.

As the parts were already purchased (or are purchased as part of the upkeep cost of the aircraft) then using some of them from stock makes sense rather than having to wait for them to arrive.

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Gizmo, I like your idea.

I think of even more.

There are no second-third-fourth tier planes, there is only "light fighter airframe" and "heavy fighter airframe".

Player can outfit airfrime with (1-4 tier) engine, (1-4 tier) plating, (1-4 tier) avionics, as now he outfit it with (1-4 tier) gun and missiles.

Player do not research new plane - he research and manufacture new engine, new armor etc.

Light fighter needs 1 engine, 20(?) armor pieces and avionic kit.

Heavy fighter needs 2 engines, 50(?) armor pieces and avionic kit.

These components can be bought (1 tier) or manufactured (upper tiers).

And three problems solved at once:

1) when plane crashed, frame is recovered with some random number of parts. After recovering days player need (not so much) time to re-assemble, assuming he have enough spare parts in storage (plus recovered). If he have not - manufacture.

2) when you invent new tecnology, you can refit your planes - as now you refit plane's weapon. No need for hangar reserved just for plane building (except last transport spaceship - it is so different from everything, maybe it needs special hangar-launchpad).

3) no question like "Whom did we sell all these planes of previous gen, and why buyers cannot help us shot down at least scout ufos? Even city cops learned how to use lasguns we sold - are army pilots more stupid than cops?!"

And moreover, player have MORE plane variants and DEVs have LESS pictures to draw! :)

Edited by a_beorning
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(continue from previous comment)

And it is even more reallife-style!

Su-35 (2008) is neither more nor less than heavily refited Su-27 (1977),

F/A-18 Hornet (1977) became after refiting F/A-18F (1999),

and F14 (1969) was last upgraded in 2005 (and maybe later - I have no access to US top secrets).

All these planes where refited from duralumin to carbon composites, from transistor analog electronics to digital integrated systems, not even to speak of several generations of turborocket powerplants.

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I am in favor of Gizmo's tweak.

But I love the idea of modular Aerospace technology, IE: engines, armor, avionics... you could also look at advanced aerospace frames, which could open up some cleaver tricks for that extra edge. like the 'stealth' fighter F-22.

I am also for the idea of a chance that some of the modular parts can be recovered. which could lead into fa

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Just an update:

Last I heard (this morning) Chris doesn't think that changing the acquisition methods for the Condor, Foxtrot, and Charlie (because if it happens for the Condor and Foxtrot, the Charlie should probably be included too to simplify things) is worth the effort.

His understanding was that the idea was intended to "cool the anger" of those opposed to the idea of his aircraft recovery system.

However, I told him that, while I'll leave it be since he doesn't want to discuss it any longer, the system would be of great value to newer players, and it'd be more for them than for the older players.

What I mean:

So, older players here know why we have the system, and even if they don't like it (unrealistic, whatever) they know that it fixes a problem, and so they can at least somewhat justify it.

However, new players will not know of the issue that aircraft recovery fixes. They'll only see their destroyed aircraft getting inexplicably fixed. Even if the game tells them, "Parts were salvaged from the crash site and used to repair the aircraft" they'll be going, "WTF? It cost me X thousand dollars and Y days manufacturing time to make it, and after a crash (which almost invariably disintegrates the plane) we can somehow fix it for 0 dollars and Z days repair time? How unrealistic! How unnecessary! How baby-like!"

They haven't, nor should they, been told that the aircraft recovery system is actually necessary for the game to be balanced properly; they will invariably see it as an attempt to make it baby-easy and see it as lazy on the devs part. Because we cannot explain from a gameplay balance perspective why it's there, we have to explain from an in-universe perspective why it's there. There has to be some kind of communication to the player as to why the game works the way it does; lack of communication will kill any relationship, even that between a gamer and his game. Especially when the lack of communication is about a part of the game that, unless explained, will make absolutely no sense to anyone who doesn't know the backstory of that design decision (basically most of the players of the game once it's released).

I explained this to Chris, and then bowed out of the discussion (since he doesn't want to continue it). Hopefully he sees the problem and, if he doesn't want to use my idea, he finds some other way to explain to players why the mechanic is there without breaking immersion or revealing the gameplay balance factors in the game.

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as posted in one of the several Interceptors from krypton threads...


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.

So, it has very similar mechanics that removes the need for plucking aircraft form the middle of mountain ranges, which is (and I know it's a little tactless) nonsense. I tried to type "immersion breaking" but I do feel a little more strongly than that about it.

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I'll throw my take in it as well, without going into a wall of text;

Earth aircrafts are free, i.e Condors take 3 days, and migs are assembled on base as it is now with parts from Russia.

For alien based aircrafts They are treated in the same way as Migs, but the parts are coming from all round the globe from different countries, with the one exception, that you need to provide your own Alenium. Or you need to provide alien alloys yourself (hopping there won't be a killer shortage).

Missiles and torpedoes need alienium from your stockpiles, torpedoes take much more, so this makes Migs expensive to use against alien fighters which will only give alien alloys.

A wall of text for the brave (

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.

72-48 hour restock/refit for new Condors and current time for 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 not too affected,(training wheels).

Latter 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, and that system is contrary to the dev ideology of streamlining.

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Condors cost $50,000. Is anyone really losing condors and MiGs to scouts and fighters at such a rate that it puts him out of the game? I think the lesson is that, at least in the early game, you need to keep about 100 k in your bank account for a rainy day. There are usually enough light scouts out there to make a decent profit from successful missions. Anyway, the current 72-hour waiting period for the Condor is fine with me, since it only affects the early game.

For the conventional human aircraft, I don't agree with salvaging parts, because it's not necessary and it feels silly. On the other hand, the XCOM craft take forever to build, and alien UFOs can crash land without taking too much damage, so maybe "alien" technology is comparatively crash-resistant which allows some parts to be salvaged. If salvaging parts is still too silly for ya, you could also make each XCOM craft cost marginally less to build, as the engineers in your base become more efficient at the process. For example, the second corsair you make be built in 70% of the time for 50% of the cost, and so forth.

Edited by lemm
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