Jump to content

Ground Combat Balance - V21 Experimental 6


Recommended Posts

Frank_walls does indeed make a good point that the aliens using the tools they have makes for a good game.

I don't see how that relates in any way to making them an attack free from retaliation.

I would have put that into the category of artificially crafted advantages.

For example aliens running up to throw grenades then being attacked by the troops you had put on overwatch to guard against that very thing rewards tactical planning, good placement of troops for supporting fire and so on.

If those grenade attacks are made impossible to retaliate against when all other actions in the game do not have that artificial limitation then your tactics don't really matter, they will throw those grenades no matter what you do.

Which seems the most fun to you?

To me it is the one where I can defend against alien tactics by using my own tactics and the aliens can defend against mine by using some of their own.

It is definitely less 'authentic' that someone could stand in a field in plan view of their enemy then take out a grenade and throw it without the enemy thinking it might be a good idea to react to this in some way.

Especially when if they had taken any other possible action or fired any other weapon at them they would have at least attempted to react.

@legit I think you need to look at your last post and realise that your comparison with ARMA is flawed for the very reason you point out in your post.

ARMA strives to be a military simulator while Xenonauts doesn't.

Chris has pointed out many times that ground combat is abstracted, ranges are not intended to be accurate, weapon damage is not realistically modelled, the player doesn't even aim they just pick a shot and let the rng go to town.

ARMA and Xenonauts have very different design goals, the scope of the games isn't even similar, not to mention one being a real time first person game while the other is an isometric turn based game.

Even if you wanted to get stroppy over 'strategic planetary defence simulator' that still doesn't specify tactical level simulation of ground combat actions.

I also would object to reaction free grenade throws being given the label of tactical or simulation, neither of those labels apply.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@legit - I typed out a long reply but really it's not worth the argument. ARMA is a fundamentally different type of game to ours and if you don't understand that then there's no point discussing this any further.

Also, adding more complexity whilst maintaining perfect balance often requires sacrifices elsewhere...like the more complex air combat requiring recoverable interceptors, or reduced ammo counts allowing an ammo system that the player can't just ignore, which cause reduced realism. But you apparently want complexity, balance and realism at the same time and I don't consider that achievable.

I think at this point the most sensible thing for you to do is to make your own "realistic balance mod". If it turns out to be amazing, more power to you and I honestly think a lot of people will want to play it. But I think it's more likely that you'll come away with a greater understanding of why we do things the way we do in the official game.

The arguments now are just degenerating into you telling me why my changes are wrong, me explaining why practical experience suggests the changes have to be that way, and then you just telling me I'm wrong again. There's no point, because "acceptable realism" is completely subjective so neither of us can prove the other wrong.

Finally, if you let the aliens use grenades freely, they always and only use grenades. It's been tried and everyone hated it because it removed any semblance of tactics from the game. You're welcome to read the announcement thread on it to see just how much fun everyone had in that build (I'm explaining this one because I don't think the XML files have an option to reactivate grenade spam).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Frank_walls - yup, I'd actually post that in the AI suggestions thread. The defensive aliens should occasionally check outside the door to see if your soldiers are there, and if they're bunched up then the AI should already be capable of throwing grenades at them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Incidentally do you know how reaction fire is checked when throwing grenades?

As grenades don't have a reaction modifier I assume the reaction check is done with whatever weapon you have equipped when you throw rather than the soldiers reactions with the grenade equipped?

If the grenades had a reaction modifier and this was used would that help in any way?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, because the modifier is applied to get the Initiative score. So if you're able to throw a grenade, you've already got more Initiative than the target (else they already would have fired at you until they no longer do).

Once you've thrown it, Initiative is calculated again to see if you've still got the initiative. The grenade is no longer in your hand at that point, though...or never was, if you've used the quickslot. So it'd just use the equipped weapon's score, or 1x modifier if you're unarmed after having thrown it from your hand slot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Loved the Terry Pratchett's quote and argument of @Max_Caine: space lizards realistic, low-ammo weapons not :-).

Games are supposed to be fun, not realistic (utmost original statement, I know - you can quote me). In some other thread we had a discussion on how unrealistic it is to have a Chinook flying half of the world. Well yes, but would putting effort into this rather than e.g. balancing & bug hunting really make the game better? Let's be honest: if a specie has ability to travel the stars, then we are as good match for them as ants are for us. You should face "GAME OVER" screen an hour after destroying first UFO because of a death ray from the orbit :-).

Besides, these are already low-level details that can be easily modded. Over last year there were couple of decisions I disliked, but honestly enjoyed that Chris was sticking to some vision he had in mind. Overall it turned great, but to make it happen designer needs to say at some point "because I said so". I prefer more time spent on bug fixing, which usually cannot be done by editing XML files.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, because the modifier is applied to get the Initiative score. So if you're able to throw a grenade, you've already got more Initiative than the target (else they already would have fired at you until they no longer do).

Once you've thrown it, Initiative is calculated again to see if you've still got the initiative. The grenade is no longer in your hand at that point, though...or never was, if you've used the quickslot. So it'd just use the equipped weapon's score, or 1x modifier if you're unarmed after having thrown it from your hand slot.

That's what I thought.

I did mix my tenses up a bit though so well done on actually making sense of my post :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But you apparently want complexity, balance and realism at the same time and I don't consider that achievable.

Those three together is what makes a good simulator game. The fact that you claim it is "impossible" is a little disheartening. Xenonauts is advertised as a "strategic planetary defense simulator".

I think at this point the most sensible thing for you to do is to make your own "realistic balance mod". If it turns out to be amazing, more power to you and I honestly think a lot of people will want to play it. But I think it's more likely that you'll come away with a greater understanding of why we do things the way we do in the official game.

Ah, the old "if you think you know better do, it yourself" argument.

You don't have to be a chef to know if a dish is cooked incorrectly.

The arguments now are just degenerating into you telling me why my changes are wrong, me explaining why practical experience suggests the changes have to be that way, and then you just telling me I'm wrong again. There's no point, because "acceptable realism" is completely subjective so neither of us can prove the other wrong.

Agreed. We seem to differ on where the line should be drawn in regards to authenticity vs streamlining of design. I apologize if I seemed rude, but I realize now that I am arguing for an opinion on how the game should be. It's like a guy getting into a shouting match with another guy on how blue is the best color and he can't see how anyone else would like different.

Finally, if you let the aliens use grenades freely, they always and only use grenades. It's been tried and everyone hated it because it removed any semblance of tactics from the game. You're welcome to read the announcement thread on it to see just how much fun everyone had in that build (I'm explaining this one because I don't think the XML files have an option to reactivate grenade spam).

This wasn't what I was arguing for.

I was just advocating the idea that the action of throwing a grenade does not provoke reaction fire. That way you can pop into a doorway and throw a grenade into a room without it being even more dangerous then simply walking into said room.

Edited by legit1337
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah, the old "if you think you know better do, it yourself" argument.

You don't have to be a chef to know if a dish is cooked incorrectly.

legit, I'd be inclined to takes Chris's suggestion in good faith.

Ultimately, Chris et al. have to make a game that's going to sell. That game's never going to appeal to everyone exactly (otherwise there wouldn't be all this argument) and as you say in your following paragraph your argument basically reduces to a difference in preference. But this is why mods are great, because they allow the same game to do different things and cater for particular player preferences.

So I'm inclined to agree with Chris: I'd expect a good 'realism' mod to be popular; and I'd expect that it will make Xenonauts a better game since it will provide a method of catering for people who don't like some of the gameplay 'compromises' which have been made. So if you're passionate about a 'realistic' version of the game, then it seems to me like producing such a mod would be an excellent way to both make the game more enjoyable for you and also make the game more successful overall.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, it wasn't intended to be dismissive of your concerns. It's just that there's been a series of unrealistic things in the game that have gone in there because I've genuinely not been able to find a better way of producing a balanced game. The most obvious example of that is indestructible interceptors, another is the unrealistic aircraft ranges etc.

In those situations, I've chosen balance over realism. You're genuinely welcome to have a look at the issues and see if you can find a way that works better - I've looked and I don't think it's possible. It may be disheartening but if I can't get the balance to work realistically there's no point me dwelling on it, I just have to fix the game so it plays well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, gotta agree. I have disagreed with Chris several times but I've already learned to trust him - he seems to know what he's doing. (excluding the fullscreen loading bug I have mentioned god knows how many times before I was taken seriously... ;))

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even though it was a long time ago and I wasn't the only one saying so, I feel partly responsible for poisoning the well against the LMG. I'd like to make a case against swinging the nerf bat at the thing, or any weapon - for gameplay reasons, not realism ones.

I understand the extremely legitimate concern about any single weapon becoming too good to make any other weapons worth using in the eyes of the majority of players. It sucks to feel like you've put a lot of work into a game only to find out that it's unbalanced somehow and that is causing everyone to play it the same way, discarding all the options which are present because of the many long hours you've put into development. But on the other end of this pendulum's trajectory is the terrible realm of killing the favorite tactic of a player or group of players because it appears too dominant. Not wanting high-volume-of-fire playstyles to snuff out high-precision playstyles is all good and well, but when ammunition limitations shrink and shrink until you have machine guns that get two bursts out before going dry, I think the desire to balance the game against a desire in players to embrace a playstyle of spraying large quantities of ammunition about the battlefield is reaching the point where it's in direct opposition to the simple necessity of retaining the all-important fun-factor of allowing the players to play a game the way they want to play it.

There are going to be people who want to spend thousands of bullets for every single enemy they down. There are also going to be players who want to scout all sneaky-like and pick off enemies one ridiculously precise long-range shot at a time. Still further there will be players who lose their marbles and decide that they'd really like to carpet bomb a map with an abundance of grenades for no particular reason.

You rhetorically brought up the possibility of weapons having infinite ammunition in Xenonauts, Chris, but that was already a reality in the original X-Com, was it not? Even though you could recover plasma weapons and turn them against the aliens, and they were more powerful than the lasers you could produce, some players swore by their lasers and others swore by their plasma. Why? Because even though plasma was way more powerful than lasers, and lasers boasted infinite ammo, you could get away with using either option. They were supposed to be a clear tier-2 to tier-3 progression, but the way it played out was just a matter of personal preference. The great debate of lasers vs plasma in the old games never really resolved, and that's one of the things that made it great. You had multiple options, and the choice came down to a matter of preference for your playstyle - do you like high performance or simplified logistics? Do you worry more about running out of ammo or failing to drop the muton on the same turn in which you spotted him?

Bear in mind that there are always going to be players whose greatest desire is to spray shots all over the place until the sounds of alien screams stop coming from the direction of the as-yet-unsettled dust cloud in the distance, and taking this option away from them because you don't want to give the shaft to players who like their carefully aimed shots just achieves the effect of spoiling the fun of the former group of players for the benefit of the latter.

I would appeal to you to worry less about tweaking the various weapon classes in relation to each other and more about ensuring that, whichever weapon or tactic the player chooses, as long as it's not mind-bogglingly silly, that they will be able to make it work and have their fun the way they want to have it. Some players will want to run with squads whose weapon loadouts are quite diverse to facilitate clever combined arms tactics, while others may want to be as uniform as possible to keep things easily manageable. Maybe a player will decide he wants to forget about doing his fighting outside of point blank range, and to that end he wants to kit up his soldiers with shotguns and a big old bag-of-holding full of smoke grenades. Why not? Some of the things players will come up with will be quite silly - it is a game, after all - but as long as nothing terribly game-breaking is going on, and I mean HEAT-rocket-sniper levels of crazy, why work to take those toys away from the players?

We may never agree on where exactly to draw the line, but if we must err in one direction or another, maybe it's best to err in the direction of letting everyone have the toy of their particular preference. Is there an especially compelling reason that players shouldn't be able to load up on high volume of fire weapons and spray their murderous little hearts out if that's the way they want to manage their firefights? As long as other playstyles work as well, I don't see why not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, gotta agree. I have disagreed with Chris several times but I've already learned to trust him - he seems to know what he's doing. (excluding the fullscreen loading bug I have mentioned god knows how many times before I was taken seriously... ;))

Hey, you only had to mention once that load times were different between windowed and fullscreen mode and we fixed it :)

@RotGtIE - there's no reason why weapons can't be fun and balanced, though. The MG was probably better balanced before I gave it 10 shots, but it was less fun. After a couple of iterations we now have a weapon that's more fun and almost as well balanced, so the two don't have to be mutually exclusive.

But having a weapon class that is overpowered is generally a bad idea, because people will tend to gravitate towards using it. It then makes the game less challenging, making it less fun for the player. It might sound silly that people would spoil a game for themselves by taking advantage of poor balance (or exploits / cheat codes), but it certainly happens.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm, I still see (rarely, but still) AI reserving TU's for reaction even if they have LOS to xenonauts. :/

Also, I hate, hate, hate the alien's ability to "guess" where nearest xenonauts are and turn towards them even if they don't see them. It pretty much kills the fun in trying to outsmart and surprise your enemies with successful flanking. If aliens are doing 360's on their turn to check if someone is flanking, I hope its tendency could be toned down. Sneaking behind your enemies without them noticing and shooting with a shotty to the back of their head is too much fun to be nullified with AI hacks like that.

I rage quit just few minutes ago as I snuck behind a caesan, planning to shoot it's brains out the next turn as it was focused on two other guys in cover in front of it. On AI's turn, with some psychic abilities, the caesan just ignored the guys in front of it, turned 180 and one shotted my flankking shotgunner. Bullsh*t!

Edited by Skitso
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I understand it, the AI has each unit face the direction where it is most likely to be attacked from at the end of that units turn, and at the start of each units turn, each AI unit does a 360 twirl at the start of it's turn so it is fully informed of its surrounding environment (otherwise it couldn't make decisions on which actions to make). That's not a hack per se, seeing as how human players can do those things as well.

EDIT: Almost forgot. Don't forget that FOV is persistent until the next turn. Therefore, if the AI does a 360 twirl (as it should), that FOV will remain in your turn, so there's no point in trying to sneak up on an alien, as the persistent FOV means it will mean it can detect you.

This is why FOV needs to be changed. Real-time would be best, but even if it were reset at the end of the side's turn, that would be better than the current siituation.

Edited by Max_Caine
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...