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GizmoGomez

Realism Issues Center: Lets make this game make more sense

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First off, let's start out by saying that this game has the best writing of any of the X-Com games ever. It really does. We all appreciate what Chris and all of the other devs are doing; namely, a superb job.

That being said, lets get to business.

GOALS

  1. Create a list of places in the in-game lore (Xenopedia) that contradict realism or otherwise break player immersion.
  2. Make proposals to alter the in-game lore to more realistically explain the game without altering the gameplay.
  3. Do it all in such a way as to minimize the work and/or annoyance of the developers. (We want to help, really. :))

How we will accomplish this:

  1. People will make posts detailing specific instances of unrealistic or otherwise immersion-breaking lore ("unrealisms").
  2. I will update this post with a list briefly describing each unrealism and include a link to the post.
  3. We will discuss the specific issues to try to reach a few good realistic explanations to replace the immersion-breaking one.
  4. When we reach a few good ones that people can (mostly) agree on and that make sense, I will update the list to indicate that the issues has been resolved and include a link to a post containing the more realistic lore.
  5. Allow Chris to decide if the proposed alteration is acceptable.

IMPORTANT:

To keep things organized, I'd ask us to avoid reporting unrealisms and discussing unrealisms in the same posts. Report posts should only contain where the unrealism is found, and why it is unrealistic. Feel free to make a second post directly after the report to discuss it.

LIST OF UNREALISMS:

Changes Not Proposed Yet

<none>

Changes Proposed

LINK Missile Range Explanation is Unrealistic

--Sidewinder

--Avalanche

LINK Fighters Having Armor is Unrealistic

-- CONDOR

-- FOXTROT

LINK Weapon "Magazines" Erroneously Called "Clips"

-- Rename Weapon Clips

LINK Both Xenonauts and Local Forces use radar, but only the Xenonauts can see UFOs and track them consistently. So, we propose renaming the radar base structure.

--(Same Link)

OLD, OR OTHERWISE IRRELEVANT:

LINK Anti-Gravitons for Plasma Weaponry (They Don't Exist)

DECIDED ISN'T A SIGNIFICANT ISSUE

LINK "Supersonic" Shrike and Valkyrie Dropships have same speed as Chinook

CHRIS (reportedly) STATED WILL BE FIXED

Edited by GizmoGomez

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Allow Chris to decide if the proposed alteration is acceptable.

This is the most important thing right here - a ton of the complaining about realism on the forums involves adding/changing shit for the sake of adding/changing shit, or, at best, the sake of the interested party's personal biases, when doing so would add literally nothing to the game and serve only to clutter up an already hefty title. A simple 'no' should be sufficient in these cases, but often people have doggedly kept whining about their personal item of incredible immersion destruction, and it generally shits up the forums and is annoying as all hell.

Point being, anyone using this thread should remember one very important thing - Xenonauts is NOT being crowd-developed. All decisions to be made about the game are for Chris and the other members of the development team alone. No amount of whining about your favorite location or firearm will change that. So if your idea gets shot down, no whining about it - you have no stake, stop pretending you do.

Now, since that lengthy rant is out of the way, Gizmo's idea is a very good one - edits to the text-based Xenopedia as explanation for inconsistencies are far easier than major changes because somebody can't handle a break from reality in his Alien game. Even if no official changes are made ingame, any explanations thought up here can just be packaged into some kinda MY IMMERSION mod and released that way.

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Exactly; it's Chris's game. He can do whatever he wants with it. Ha, he could've made the Condor a repurposed blender and we'd have to go along with it. ;)

I like the idea of an "Immersion Mod". Perhaps if Chris doesn't decide to go along with something we could package that into a mod to release. I would hope that simple (if time consuming) text changes wouldn't be too much trouble, though, so lets hope for the best (namely, a Xenonauts that we all can love and become immersed in). :)

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There are aliens in the game! That's unrealistic!

The game is in 2D and people stand completely still for a long time during combat! That's unrealistic!

Anyway, jokes partially aside, there are a few slight errors I've noticed.

Xenopedia references anti-gravitons, as if that's a thing.

Xenonauts are 40% female at a time when a woman being an officer on Star Trek was controversial enough that they were forced to change the uniforms from unisex to skirts. Where are my xenonaut combat maids? =(

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Antigravitons in plasma tech, noted.

The female thing isn't a part of the lore, nor can/should we propose anything involving that.

Oh, and while I appreciate the humor, I don't appreciate it on this thread. ;)

I mean, we're trying to actually get things done, so please don't post frankly irrelevant things such as female ratios and aliens being unrealistic. All it does ultimately is clog up the thread.

Thanks! :)

Edited by GizmoGomez

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Xenonauts are 40% female at a time when a woman being an officer on Star Trek was controversial enough that they were forced to change the uniforms from unisex to skirts. Where are my xenonaut combat maids? =(

Don't do this.

Edited by PsychoLandlord

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The fighters. You literally can't armor an "interceptor." You make fast-attack aircraft more resilient by installing redundancies, so that when one control system or resource is blown out, you have another mechanism standing by; the stuff that aircraft sling at each others' airframes quite simply can't be defended against. Even if you consider what are essentially last-ditch pistols that aircraft carry (i.e. their rotary guns/revolver cannons/autocannons), you're looking at 20/25/30 millimeter shells being fired at a rate of thousands of rounds per minute, any one of which is powerful enough to knock through several inches of armor-grade steel and absolutely destroy anything behind it; this is, pointedly, something you couldn't do to an aircraft that has to catch up to and stay with other aircraft, even if you wanted to. Seeing as how even the aliens' small arms weapons can melt through and destroy armored vehicles that aren't much more than armor plating, a gun, and a control system; there's nothing you're going to be able to do to protect an aircraft that has to go fast.

As a side note, this also explains why we don't have personal armor at the beginning; we simply don't have the capability to mitigate the damage the alien weapons do with current technology, and also tells us why we haven't developed Jackal armor yet.

The explanation we get for missile systems as to why we're not engaging at long range. We don't need a bunch of poorly-researched technobabble about radiological or EM signatures; we could track those just fine, even in the day the game's set. The simple fact is that the longer the distance you're slinging a missile, the more time the target has to react to it or deploy countermeasures, and the less likely you are to actually hit the target you're firing at unless it's some massive Soviet bomber. We're not fighting massive Soviet bombers; even the larger, more ungainly craft are apparently better suited at this than our own fighters are; the reason we can't engage them as massive distances is there's just too much time for something as maneuverable as the alien craft to do something about the fact they were shot at.

Edited by EchoFourDelta

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That's actually true, the missile thing can be explained better with "The alien ships turn and destroy missiles fired from outside of a x, only by getting close enough are missiles effective."

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Okay, so can we agree that the reasoning behind the shorter-ranged missiles is because at longer ranges it'd be child's play for the UFOs to counter them?

So, something like, "We cannot simply fire our long range missiles at enemy craft and expect the missiles to hit their marks. This isn't due to the tracking systems we have; once locked on we can track the UFOs with a good degree of accuracy (as is evidenced by our ability to track them on the map indefinitely once we've detected them, provided they stay within range).

The simple fact of the matter is that in the time between our firing of the missile and the missile reaching the target the UFO would be able to deploy counter-measures or otherwise evade our missiles. The extra-terrestrials know when they've been shot at, and the more time we give them to react, the more likely they'll prove our efforts futile. As a consequence of this, and out of a desire to avoid wasting precious missiles, I've lowered the range at which we can fire our air to air missiles and torpedoes to keep the amount of time the extraterrestrials have to react to a minimum."

Sound decent?

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It's kind of ridiculous that they'd actually lock out the distance; this is something that a bunch of military pilots would know, and there's not any real sense in-universe of robbing them outright of the ability to fire them if they needed to; this is something you'd brief them on and continue with business. They're not children that have never stepped in a cockpit before.

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Alternatively, blame it on jamming. Claim the UFOs have advanced jamming and countermeasures, noisemakers and chaff and the whole shebang, and have the alternative be the necessity to acquire an optical-based weapons lock as opposed to one based on signal alone.

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Xenopedia references anti-gravitons, as if that's a thing.

Well, Gravitons are a real theoretical particle, it would be massless with a spin-2 nature, and some bosons do have anti-particle equivalents, for example W- and W+ bosons, so a Anti-Graviton, as far as i'm aware, is feasible, if a bit of a stretch.

Short of replacing it with Quantum locking (aka: Bioshock magic stationary balloons), but that would require magnets on the ground.

So gravitons seem the best option unless you want to go down the 'lol aliens did it' route.

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Ok, let us be realistic with fighters: light bombers like the A-10 or the soviet equivalent are armored with a titanium "bathtub" , but are mostly designed to avoid ground fire. At the start of the Vietnam War, the US had removed guns from fighters, which they quickly found was a major mistake, and they reinstalled them. As for missiles, most fighters of the time (and still today) have both heat-seeking missiles (sidewinders) for close range attacks and radar-guided missiles for long range. Newer US light and heavy bombers have stealth, which complicates things still more, but the newest fighter, the multi-use F-35 does not have stealth. And let us not get into the number of missiles problem (which idiotic country would send out a fighter armed only with two sidewinder missiles? or a Mig armed with only two long-range missiles and no countermeasures?)

The use of countermeasures against missiles is not 100% foolproof, and depends a lot on the pilot's timing, ability and luck. Without adding player-controlled countermeasures, complicating air warfare. Personally I think that the player should be given the option of winning the air battle automatically to concentrate on the real fun - ground battles.

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The alien craft are said to be "poorly equipped to work in atmosphere" there is no reason for the aliens to have any countermeasures that would work well in atmosphere. Chaff, and flares and the like.

However, the electromagnetism waves are certainly something they'd be able to produce, and so the jamming aspect makes a certain amount of sense. One of the things about radar jamming is that it takes a lot of energy to do broad spectrum (although this wouldn't be that big of a deal for the aliens) and it creates a huge "bloom". Basically, it's really easy to tell you are being jammed, and you can use that to localize the source.

I think that arrogance definitely plays a role here.

Here's my suggestion:

"Oddly enough, the aliens don't seem to care that we know they are coming. It seems they don't take our attempts to intercept their craft seriously enough to consider us a credible threat. They've made no real attempt to hide their presence at long ranges. However, if aircraft or munitions enter into a range of about a kilometer, the alien craft will react with extreme hostility.

Attempts by local Earth forces to engage the aliens at ranges beyond a kilometer have met with failure. The alien craft can lock onto long range missile and jam them quite effectively. In other instances, they have simply shot down the missiles with their plasma weapons. Unless we can counter the aliens' jamming, our best bet is to engage them at close range before they can jam the missiles.

I've instructed our pilots that engaging alien craft at ranges beyond a kilometer is futile."

Edited by Ishantil

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A kilometer? You can engage with medium/heavy machine gun fire and high-caliber rifle fire at that distance; an aircraft that's accelerated to attack speed can close this distance in not much more than the blink of an eye. A close-range missile shot might go out at a few kilometers; missiles close this distance in the order of a few seconds, with the speedier ones traveling at several Mach. Guns might fall into that category.

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Feel free to suggest a better number, E4D, I was pulling that from my memory of the in game fiction.

What are your thoughts on the rest of the description?

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It's fine, I like it. A klick does seem a little short, but I can't remember off the top of my head what the engagement range in game actually is, so just alter the number to whatever that is and go with that explanation. Boom, problem solved, nerds can rest easy that their video game isn't too gamey.

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The absolute closest range the ones in-game can be used are about two and a half kilometers; this is mainly out of safety concerns for the craft that's firing the missile; a few kilometers outside of that provides a very short time for the target to do anything but increase speed, roll into a sharp turn, and hope it doesn't hit. Inside of that, the missile can hit, but won't go off; this in and of itself would be a point of worry; 190 pounds hitting you at 2.5 Mach isn't exactly a BB gun. The guns in and of themselves are effective out to the missiles' minimum range.

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So the longest range conventional weapon in the game is the Avalanche (AIM-54D?), correct? What's the longest range that weapon is effective?

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Over 100 kilometers in real life. That said... that's a long time for aircraft to take evasive maneuvers, especially if they're somewhat difficult to track.

The excuse that we have to engage them close enough simply so they don't just turn and burn or blast our missiles down is reason enough.

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So, if we make 2.5km the distance the guns can be used within, what does that make the max in-game range for the avalanche? 10km?

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Well, roughly; they're acceptable for use on a target holding a relatively steady heading a little past the missiles' minimum range. From looking at the data, the guns are set to 3000, which is... I'm going to assume 3000 meters, which is more or less accurate. The Sidewinders in-game are set to 8000; it's close, but given what we see in-game, and if we go on the logic I posted on further back, reasonable enough to keep them from having too much time to do much about it once a few missiles are out. SOMETHING's going to hit it. The Avalanche, going on the same logic, and used in-game on slower, heavier craft without the same evasive capabilities, strikes out to 15000 units, again assuming meters.

This gives us more info on the background; it'd be a lot easier to swallow to just go with the fact that yeah, we can't hit shit if we shoot from that far away. Look at what happens when we fire the Avalanche missiles from their maximum effective range. Sidewinders are moving MUCH faster than the Avalanche missiles, too, two and a half times as quickly; there's your reason. We can't hit them from too far away because we just can't get our missiles there fast enough to hit them reliably before the aliens boogie on out.

I think the analogy of one guy chasing another guy and trying to hit him with a rock fits; yeah, CAN you hit him from way over there? Maybe, but if you're a good deal away, and your "rock" isn't tracking as well as it should be in the first place, you're a damn sight more likely to nail him if you get in close, and wing it from there so he can't juke out of the way. You can see him just fine, but you're not going to nail him unless you get in good and close.

Edited by EchoFourDelta

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