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Stinky's sandpit (Fighting against passive AI.)

Ol' Stinky

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This was for v20 stable candidate 4, but it seems to work fine with cand. 5 (which will probably be v20 stable). Edit: yep.

If you want a simple mod to make the AI take shots at distance, have human survivors follow Xeno soldiers, and try and make reapers less likely to dance in and out of sight, try this. Install it by extracting the .zip into your Xenonaut dir (e.g. "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Xenonauts\"). You should be asked to overwrite the existing aiprops.xml. Note that alien grenades have effectively been removed, since the alternatives are aliens that can throw for miles, or no AI improvement at all.

I imagine this AI bug will be officially fixed after the holidays, but for now this helps.

I've also cooked up a version of weapons_gc.xml here that removes alien overdamage and changes the alien heavy plasma rifle so that it has a use at long range (suppression). The changes are that its range increases from 5 to 20. Its accuracy decreases from 40/80/120 (snap/normal/aimed) to 20/75/100, and its damage goes from 35 damage per hit down to 30.


Boxing day update.

GJ's shown that there's a bug with the alien weapon accuracy variable in config.xml, so I've put up a fixed version here. Installation is as normal for my stuff: extract into your Xenonauts dir. Good luck!

Edited by Ol' Stinky
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I played 3 missions now, and it took me a LOT longer than usual. Groundcombat was nervewrecking, intense, terrifyingly awesome!!!

The first mission I played I actually had to restart completely because i lost 5 guys, and the last one was surrounded by 3 sebillians. This hasn't happened in almost 100 hours of playing time, since I started my first playthrough ever and just rushed ahead ;)

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I played 3 missions now, and it took me a LOT longer than usual. Groundcombat was nervewrecking, intense, terrifyingly awesome!!!
So, you're saying the aliens shooting at longer ranges makes the ground combat better? :D

It's funny how being on the other end of the stick will change your view of the world sometimes! LOL

Maybe a sight range increase for the aliens isn't needed then.

Edited by StellarRat
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So, I explored the altered files and the primary change that "activates" the AI is the reduction in the accuracy treshold. Nothing really surprising there, as the AI wasn't shooting when it was supposed to.

However, upon further inspection of some test setups; I found that the AI was being fed far too low accuracy values. Something we noticed before, but thought could be attributed to the new accuracy implementation some time back.

Long story short: It seems the aliens were being given the Using-Alien-Tech penalty, which reduced their accuracy by 50%. Combined with the threshold, this resulted in a whole lot of not firing.

This, along with several other things, will be fixed in the next patch.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I guess I'll bump this thread instead of making a new one, since I'm still playing in the sandpit. Sorry, Gaud. I probably should have asked you to rename the thread to "Stinky's sandpit" and have done with it.

I was playing v21 experimental 1 with the balance patch and half-way through a mission, I realised I'd have to sweep not only the other half of the map, but breach the UFO (a landingship, iirc?) as well. And suddenly, I couldn't be bothered. Here's my attempt to change things up a bit.

The general blueprint for all aliens' behaviour is:

If no enemy in sight: group up.

If enemy in sight: go get 'em!

Extract this into your Xenonauts folder if you want to give it a try. It'll overwrite your aiprops.xml file (Xenonauts/assets/aiprops.xml) and the airplane .xmls in Xenonauts/assets/ufocontents. It's only been tested on light scouts so far, so please let me know if it makes the AI do anything especially daft. Also, the heavy plasma rifle problem hasn't been tackled here, so the gameplay might come undone when you get further in.

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I was playing v21 experimental 1 with the balance patch and half-way through a mission, I realised I'd have to sweep not only the other half of the map, but breach the UFO (a landingship, iirc?) as well. And suddenly, I couldn't be bothered. Here's my attempt to change things up a bit.

Me too i played like 8 light scouts missions and they are way too easy.If i lose soldier (i lost one actually) it's because i was careless but i am able to explorer 80% map eliminating aliens outside of UFO,then breach into UFO and kill all remaining aliens.And come to think of it i really don't get it how do people fail so miserably,I read a lot of comments about reaction shoots being deadly (not really),that they can shoot you from other half of map (oh really ?I have yet to see it).... only thing that's valid is that using shield is now more or less not that useful anymore.So let's see will this bring me some challenge,so far this was walking in the park for me (at least light scouts missions,maybe i should rise difficulty from veteran to insane ....).

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Alrighty. I've whipped up a mod that tries to make the aliens more distinct. It's for v21 exp 2. The mod overwrites:

  • weapons_gc.xml
  • weapons.xml
  • strings.xml
  • aiprops.xml
  • gas_gc.xml

Here are the notes:

  • Armour pen. rebalanced for Xenonaut weapons. Ballistic weapons get 5 max, lasers 15 max, plasma 25 max, MAG 35 max. Armour for aliens is changed to roughly match these values.
  • As mentioned, alien armour's been changed a little: Andron armour becomes much more of a concern to people still on ballistics, and Sebs get some armour as well as a 20% hp boost.
  • All Caesans now know how to cast Fear.
  • Sebillians get Venom weapons, highly inaccurate guns that lob poison gas grenades into the fray. Sebillians no longer give a hoot about minimum accuracy, so smoke won't stop them firing.
  • Androns get Decimator cannons. These suppress like crazy. Androns also no longer care about minimum accuracy.
  • The AI is mostly the default version in this as I ran out of time.

Be warned that all of this is probably hilariously imbalanced. I've tested it to see if it works, but I can't promise a fair experience.

The philosophy behind the changes is to try and make the aliens more distinct, while giving them a way to deal with excessive use of smoke. Caesans are the psychics, Sebillians go for a scorched earth policy, Androns use miniguns.

Edit: mod updated for exp 2.

Edited by Ol' Stinky
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Would anyone be interested in having black units be in the game? I've not finished basic armour yet by a long shot, but I'm hoping to be done in around a week's time. Here's a preview if you're interested, complete with grenade throwing bug (whoops):


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That's really cool stinky and it's something a lot of people have been fussing over for a while (that and female soldiers). May I ask how did you pull it off?

It's a different set of armour to the normal basic one which you select back at base. Unfortunately it's not automatic, the player has to manually select the black units. It's going to be trickier to do the manufactured ones since white and black versions of armour will have to be manufactured separately. Hopefully, I can put in an engineering project that lets you trade one type of (say) Jackal for the other.

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Jackal won't be too bad since I can leave the north-facing sprites alone (hopefully). Basic armour's definately the most work. Still, I've got all combat shield and ballistic tier weapons done. Half of laser guns, and plasma, MAG and all of assault shields to go. There's also the question of little used weapons (AK-47, aliens weapons); I'll probably finish the common weapons, release, and then finish those off while waiting for any bugs to become apparent.

I took a break from it today and mucked around with AI. Here's the mod of the day, which I'm playing with right now. Sebs' behaviour is simple: they should come at you and stop for nothing. Caes, on the other hand, will group up if you don't head out and get them. The mod doesn't include any of the stuff from the alien variety mod, this one's purely aimed at AI. The files modified are aiprops.xml and the contents of ufocontents.

I started by setting all the pathing weights to zero and starting from there, so it lacks sophistication right now. Hopefully you'll find it less passive, though!

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I don't like the way assault rifles are snipers' baby brother. APs aside, it feels like snipers are always better than assaults. So here's an experiment:

  • Sniper and assault rifles have their damage values swapped, pretty much. For ballistics, sniper goes to 30 from 50, and assaults from 30 to 40.
  • Assault rifles go from 30 range down to 18.
  • Assault rifles' burst mode down to 35 APs from 40. The accuracy's also down a little (25 from 30), but that shouldn't affect the suppression.
  • Assault rifles and LMGs now don't benefit from short range bonus: that's for shotguns and pistols only.
  • Shotguns recieve an accuracy boost. They're now ~4.5 acc/AP, which gives snap shot an accuracy modifier of x1. In the humans' tongue, that means a soldier with 50 accuracy has a 50% chance to hit.
  • Ballistic LMGs have 40 suppression while scatterlaser/plasmacaster/MAGStorm have 64. They're the only gun to currently do this: a plasma rifle does the same suppression as a ballistic rifle. LMGs are meant to be King Suppression, but they suffer from having to reload more frequently as they upgrade. This change gives a reason to upgrade to at least laser LMGs.
  • Shotguns and pistols now get armour penetration as they go up the weapon tiers, but the armour pen's always lower than the rifles/LMG of the same tier.

The reasoning behind the changes is this: assault rifles are now the best gun in the ~10-18ish range, while snipers are better for ~20ish-30. LMGs are the best for suppressing, especially after an upgrade. Shotguns should still be best in close combat, since assault rifle burst is always inaccurate.

Also included are some more armour changes. Caesans start to get armour around soldier level, and Androns get a TON of armour. It might be too much. Hopefully it puts the pressure on upgrading weapons, though.

This is for v21 experimental 2 and affects the aiprops.xml and weapons_gc.xml files. It includes yesterday's primitive-but-aggressive AI, but not the alien variety mod.

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I like where this is going. Your "TON" of armor on your Andron elite is 2/3 of what mine is at and your hp is 80% of mine, but I also give my soldiers more armor and changed alien weapons to encourage slightly longer firefights. It does make for interesting situations though in that an alien with full strength armor doesn't get suppressed very easily, but given your values it should be fine... mine were almost impossible to suppress cause I got carried away with armor values and had to reduce them.

Anyways, looking at your changes you shouldn't have armor problems for either damage or suppression.

I do have some suggestions for explosive type weapons though:

1) Make grenades(human and alien) back to incendiary now that 4x damage multiplier correctly destroys terrain and cover instead of everything.

2) Give aliens some incendiary armor to keep tier 1 rockets from destroying elite aliens so quickly. Since air combat is so important, chances are your rockets will be on tier with the aliens and should actually need the upgrades.

3) Increase radius of rockets and grenades a bit to reinforce their usefulness of destroying terrain and injuring multiple enemies.

4) Decrease radius of C4 to make it more of a directed demo charge and not a mini-nuke.

I haven't been playing much lately so I haven't kept up my balance modding, but many of the things you are doing are the direction I would like to go with mine so I'll just piggyback on yours for now.

Also for shotguns, instead of raising accuracy, lower damage a bit, remove mitigation, and increase the pellet count to 8. Should probably lower the reaction modifier to 1.5 given the current reaction system. Increased pellet count is fun stuff and encourages close quarters ambushes, charges, and other risky and fun things.

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