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Hovis

Designing a Mod around the theme of all out war

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Hokay so I've been playing Xenonauts off and on for months, and now it's hit v1 I figured I'd try to put on my modding shoes and kick it into the shape I want it to be. And I figured I'd ask you guys for help, because other than a few config tweaks I don't know what the funge I'm doing. I've tested a basic version of this mod out, but I want to go to the next level with it.

So here is the concept. I want to make Xenonauts less a small scale group and beef the whole thing up to being more like how I imagine it might be, a bloated, supremely well funded and heavily staffed operation. The caveat here of course, is that the best humanity has to offer might as well be Mayans against heavily armed alien conquistadors. The duration of the game and the number of missions involved would increase, because you'd be able to set up global coverage very quickly and intercept most if not everything that comes in.

What I'm hoping to change is:

1. Funding. Loads of money. Absolutely tons of the stuff. The point here is that the Xenonaut program should want for nothing on Earth. This means more personnel, more bases in operation, and from the get-go a general sense that you are running a full blown military operation. I love Xenonauts as is, but this will be a change to a grander, more epic fight. The challenge would not so much be survival and victory, because you'd probably have no problem achieving those goals eventually, the challenge would be to do it with the minimum loss of human life.

2. More soldiers per transport, I'm thinking 16 per vehicle is a good number. This means you are just about rolling in with a platoon, or an overstrength squad, depending on how you look at it. This means more troops on the ground, larger scale fights, and yes, it means you will win more missions however the flip side of this is more casualties. Troops get in each others way, XP levels drop as the fighting is done by more troops. Enemy numbers will also be increased to balance this out a bit too.

3. Chinook range reduction. This would mean that rather than having a main base you would essentially play this game by managing a succession of regional branches. Somebody brings down an alien ship in Japan, you're going to need a response team based in Asia to handle it. This again reduces the experience level of your squads, because your regional teams will only get involved if there's something they can reach. Regions where the enemy are coming at you strongly will see teams grow and develop, but one squad doesn't see action for months, then finds they are the only thing stopped a terror mission, you've got a real fight on your hands. Newer transports have normal range.

4. New weapons. I will elaborate on the specifics later, but the jist is that I want to expand the utility of the Xenonauts weaponry, so rather than adding a few more rifles or whatever I want to add the weapons I've thought, "Hang on, why don't I have one of these?"

5. More armed locals on missions, I figure unless you get to the scene of an alien fracas immediately, you won't find many of the unarmed civilians, aliens would have killed them or they'd have legged it. However I would expect any populated area to be pretty well populated with cops, soldiers, militias and armed civilians trying to do their bit for the species. I want there to be a good give and take between aliens and locals that the Xenonauts pile into.

6. Longer vision ranges, maybe a shade less accuracy. Would have longer, less decisive long range firefights, which would necessitate suppressive fire and flanking attacks more of the time.

So that's the outline. The specific weapons I want to add are:

1. Incendiary grenades and rockets. Because who hasn't wanted to just open the doors to an alien ship and purge it with fire like the Emperor intended am I right? Would add a flamethrower too but that's probably really hard to do and much less practical anyway.

2. A multipurpose grenade launcher. Smaller than a rocket launcher. Able to fire gas, frag, incendiary and smoke grenades. All the grenades would be smaller and weaker than normal, EMPs wouldn't be useable because they'd not be able to be shrunk down (and it'd make things too easy).

What I'm wondering though guys, is does this sound like a very difficult thing to set up? Can it all be done with config changes or am I going to have to roll up my sleeves and learn to do stuff? I have close to zero graphics skills, so the plan is to basically do what I can with what I have, but I would like to eventually learn how to add stuff properly.

Any help much appreciated. :D

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1. No problem - very easy to modify the starting cash and the cash multiplier,

2. No problem - the game was designed in mind for 16 soliders (but 16 is the max the UI will fit!).

3. No problem, but bear in mind that Xenonauts started out with that specific intention, and changed as more and more people complained about the short range of Chinooks.

4. It's very easy to set up new weapons, but it can be fiddly to make sure that everything is in place, as multiple files and assets are involved.

5. You'd have to edit the maps directly, but again, not really a problem.

6. No problem - easy to edit.

Incendiary grenades and rockets - the original art assets and weapon stats are still there (I think).

Different ammo types per weapon - that's been tried before, check earlier mods to see what people did with that. I don't know if the game is set up for a grenade launcher, however.

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To item #3, I'd add that crash sites should not persist for very long, so that you're forced to recover a downed UFO in the night if it's shot down at night.

I do think that there should be some way to lose, though.

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Did you test XNT ITD, even a single time?

Alas my timing has been off with it. Every time I start a campaign the game updates or, as in the case of my last campaign before this one, hits launch. This has meant I've not had a new game lined up on a stable build to experiment with til now. I'm in the middle of my first playthrough since live with a few tweaks here and there. That means I've not had the chance to test the mod out yet.

I've watched a couple of videos of it though and it's a bit different from what I'm aiming for. I kind of want to preserve the low-tech tone of the game, but increase the scale of it while keeping to that. So I wouldn't be changing things like weapon TU costs or reload times and so on. More troops, more burning, more bases and more battles. Most stuff wouldn't change from the original game, there'd just be more of it.

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1. No problem - very easy to modify the starting cash and the cash multiplier,

2. No problem - the game was designed in mind for 16 soliders (but 16 is the max the UI will fit!).

3. No problem, but bear in mind that Xenonauts started out with that specific intention, and changed as more and more people complained about the short range of Chinooks.

4. It's very easy to set up new weapons, but it can be fiddly to make sure that everything is in place, as multiple files and assets are involved.

5. You'd have to edit the maps directly, but again, not really a problem.

6. No problem - easy to edit.

Incendiary grenades and rockets - the original art assets and weapon stats are still there (I think).

Different ammo types per weapon - that's been tried before, check earlier mods to see what people did with that. I don't know if the game is set up for a grenade launcher, however.

Thanks for the info. I didn't know the Chinook used to be short ranged. Might leave that alone then, or just leave it to preference.

The grenade launcher could be a pickle then. I was hoping it'd just be a case of scaling down something with the exactly same functionality of a rocket launcher and fiddling the stats to match. Can figure that out later though it's not really vital I suppose.

Edited by Hovis

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To item #3, I'd add that crash sites should not persist for very long, so that you're forced to recover a downed UFO in the night if it's shot down at night.

I do think that there should be some way to lose, though.

In my experiments with the I suppose you'd call it beta version of what I'm planning, even with sixteen troops night missions (on veteran) are absolutely lethal, so adding the time pressure could be a good thing. I want the player to really get a sense that every team they send out is going to get chopped up if they are not on the ball.

With regards to losing, I was thinking that perhaps the aliens might just try to wipe out the Xenonaut bases? In theory you could still lose by all the normal methods, it's just with a big wedge of cash backing you up it's harder to actually do that.

I have yet to give much thought to how I'll balance the invasion itself to match the increased Xenonaut resources. Maybe more bombers and fighters and more escorted ships.

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I understand, yes is quiet different.

In my experience put too much units in ground combat result on lot of crashes and slowing down the game a lot.

If you increase the amount of Friendly AI and Xenonauts you need to increase the amount of aliens, resulting in LONG alien turns, crashes, loops and lot more annoying thing.

But first of all I feel that more units in the game will be boring and... messy.

For example, I found developing XNT ITD that Battleships has too much aliens and combat is not ... enjoyable any more, at the contrary in vanilla Battleships are boring as hell.

In XNT I reduce the amount of aliens or try to keep similar amount, but alien ranks and progression is increased in huge amount. A single Sebillian Elite carry lot of equipment and can be compared in combat with a Xenonaut. They run, cover, flank throw vortex grenades, use smoke grenades, make long accurated shots, enter fire and make combat LOT more fun.

Well this is my experience, if I will begin a mod Im pretty sure that is not about increase units in combat and maintain rudimentary equipment, because the engine and game mechanics.

I hope it help :/

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Thanks for the info, I didn't know that just increasing the numbers would cause crashes (thought my PC would handle it easily) but that might explain why I've been having the odd one or two crashes since messing with the game.

The advantage of more Xenonauts is that, despite doing more missions, you can do them faster if you want to and are willing to eat the extra casualties and throw caution to the wind. This is something I like, as with a smaller but more experienced team of troops you have to be a lot more careful.

So far it is balancing quite well against Veteran difficulty. If this was the normal game I'd be getting battered, mostly due to the lack of interceptors more than anything. On this difficulty individual aliens can be very deadly, especially when breaching ships, so that element of the balance seems to have sorted itself out.

I haven't tested against anything bigger than a corvette yet on this build. Just about to crack open a landing ship. So that'll be a learning experience. :)

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Thanks for the info, I didn't know that just increasing the numbers would cause crashes (thought my PC would handle it easily) but that might explain why I've been having the odd one or two crashes since messing with the game.

Believe me when too much alien units and friendly AI is present in the game all is a mess no matter the hardware you have, I run the game in a professional server, something like 32RAM, Server processor and 3 Graphic cards, the game get struck because something called "Iterations". The prossesor seems to fall in a endless cycle of calculations that never ends. :/

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Believe me when too much alien units and friendly AI is present in the game all is a mess no matter the hardware you have, I run the game in a professional server, something like 32RAM, Server processor and 3 Graphic cards, the game get struck because something called "Iterations". The prossesor seems to fall in a endless cycle of calculations that never ends. :/

Yeah I can see how that might happen. If the calculations the AI is doing to work out where to go and what to do are based on what is going on around them (as they obviously must be) then having loads of units in play could mess that all up. So far just buffing squad size on stock alien numbers has been tolerably stable though, so what I think I'll do is stick to that and maybe buff some other aspect of the alien game plan to even it out.

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Soviet Weapons and Transports too please :D I want to see the Eastern Block also aligned against the alien menace. Sounds like a perfect idea for a mod, it's pretty much how i played the original X-com, cheated to get money, then sent wave after wave of rifle armed men at the aliens.

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