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Fire in the Hole! - Destructible UFO Hulls and Dynamic UFO Assaults


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In other news:

I've been messing around with Scouts all day trying to make them better. I've had some success: currently aliens have a habit of camping around the entrance to the ship to murder anyone trying to use the front door. It's a bit more extreme than I'd like, but at the moment it's basically impossible to use the front entrance without getting people killed.

You know there is something that bothers me about the AI when it comes to UFO interiors. There are often perfect positions to guarantee reaction fire around the sharp corners in some ships but the aliens never ever take advantage of them. Instead they are always positioned in a direct line of fire.

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Some rambling, in case anyone cares:

Playing around, I've had some success:

- Sometimes, aliens will camp by the external UFO door, making such an approach potentially dangerous. They don't always do anything from this position, but the idea is to make it a possible threat rather than an inevitability. As such, it may be safer to approach from the side rather than through the main door to avoid the risk of being gunned down as you line up for an attack.

- The non-saturated objective tiles seem to work reasonably well. The aliens sometimes still sit in stupid places, but I think this is due to them trying to move from one place to another but saving TUs so they end up sat in a stupid place instead (and there's not a lot I can do about that).

- I've removed Command Room AI aliens entirely and replaced them with Defensive AI aliens. From what I can tell, the Command Room AI is bugged or otherwise working unreliably so I think it's better to remove it entirely. This does have it's downsides, as it means that I can't keep certain aliens (e.g. an Officer) in the UFO command room. I'm actually not certain this is a problem, however; having the offer be placed more dynamically will mix things up a bit more. More importantly, however, it's a bit difficult to stop aliens hugging the front of the ship (e.g. I can't force the aliens to stay in the back room of the scout). However, I'm thinking of mixing up where I put the UFO objective tiles on different iterations of the UFO maps, which will hopefully create some structured variation in where the aliens tend to be found.

- The larger number of defensive aliens seems reasonable. In the case of the Corvette, I can't help feeling there should be a few more even. But I don't want to push it too much.

Some Other Things:

- x1.5 reaction modifier weapons are pretty good. Short of failing to kill an alien with a shot, it seems pretty hard to draw reaction fire at the moment. I'm thinking, then, of creating a new set of aliens armed with Assault Plasmas or a new Plasma Carbine to give the aliens a bit of a boost in terms of reaction fire.

- I've also been thinking about grenades, especially area-denial grenades like gas and incendiary grenades. I think these could make hull breaching very valuable, as the aliens can use these to block off corridors and doorways and halt an attack, thereby requiring the player to approach from a different direction or wait until the gas/fire clears.

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I'm trying my hardest! :P

In fairness, getting shot by reaction fire while going around corners isn't really a big thing in Xenonauts. Certainly not if you compare it to the OG, anyway. It doesn't help that the AI seems to waste TUs wandering around for no reason at the moment, and with high reaction-fire modifiers it's quite easy to avoid most alien reaction fire (at least in my experience).

It's also worth noting that I'm not interested in increasing difficulty for its own sake. I just want to make sure its not a cakewalk if you just stroll through the front door.

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Question, can you only enter the UFO with breaching charges, or do missiles and other explosives work too?

The hull can be damaged with any weapons (machine guns work pretty well, actually). They just have a lot of HP to its generally less effort to use the breaching charges.

Also, would it be possible to release a version with only breachable sides, but with the original UFO layouts?

People do keep asking this. As I've said before, I'm not sure that the mod would work very well with the vanilla layouts, as it would make them even easier than they already are. (And, in some cases, the access points are actually in quite poor places for the vanilla maps so I'd probably need to alter them partially anyway.)

Now, I did say upthread somewhere that I'd do this at some point anyway. However, I'm currently playing around with the interiors and they're becoming a bit more like the vanilla ones anyway (i.e. more open; much less small rooms). So I'm hoping that the revised layouts will be sufficiently vanillery for those who want the vanilla maps, but facilitate the mod and make it not just easy-mode.

So, maybe. I'll see. It's a lot of work. I'm going to do the revised interiors first and see how that pans out.

EDIT: Actually, on the subject of vanilla maps, people keep asking for them but I'm not sure exactly *why*. I'm quite happy to take comments/criticism about the existing layouts; if people don't like them it would be really useful to know why that is. After all, I can't make the mod better if people don't tell me what the problems are! I'm kind of flying on the basis of my own experience of the mod - which is that it's still too easy due to AI issues and door blocking - but having thoughts other than my own would be exceptionally helpful.

Edited by kabill
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A Favour: I found yesterday something that might help the AI be a bit more active inside of the UFO. I'm away over the weekend so I can't to a good test of it, but I was wondering whether anyone playing either with FitH or vanilla would be willing to try out the change and report back on whether it makes a difference for them.

Here's the link

Just paste it over AI props. Ideally what it should do is make the AI more mobile within the UFO and more inclined to attack you between rooms. It doesn't seem to make a difference with door blocking (i.e. it doesn't seem to allow aliens to open a door where you have a unit on the other side) so I'd advise for testing purposes not doing this.

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The door blocking issue would solve itself if AI knew how to open the doors that are visible by Xenonanuts and they don't see the alien. But since they only can "pop" in front of those - nothing else should fix it. I guess that Gijs-Jan could made some kind of condition - If alien is 1 square before Xenonanut LoS, he should move normally otherwise he can teleport as usual. That is how I see it now.

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About the vanilla option, I know it would make it easier, but many people are having enough difficulty already breaching through the front door, especially at higher difficulty levels. I don't know how much easier it would be though, as I haven't played with it yet, first going to finish my vanilla + map packs run.

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When you will have the initiative to make the vanilla layout destructible? :(

I ned to ask you something about "Kabill Character" in XNT mod :D

I'm hoping that when I roll out the new layouts that this won't be necessary. But it might take while in any case (I accidentally overwrote them yesterday without backups, so I'll need to build them from scratch. Also, I need to have a look at how well the AI fix that's supposed to have been released works: in theory the AI should be able to open blocked doors now).

What is X:CE ?

It's the abbreviation I'm using for the Community Edition mod.

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If you edit the hull spectres using a text editor and scroll across to the right, you'll see some entries for alenium and alloys. Just change those numbers. Note that you'll have to do crashed and landed separately.

(For the larger UFOs, there's multiple hull parts. I honestly can't remember which ones I put them in so you'll need to do some searching.)

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Big thanks, finally find how i can do that:)

If you edit the hull spectres using a text editor and scroll across to the right, you'll see some entries for alenium and alloys. Just change those numbers.

Know about that, but can't find where)

Note that you'll have to do crashed and landed separately.

And thx for this, i don't know about this.

Edited by Vruir
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