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Author Topic: Changes for 2.5  (Read 25712 times)

Offline H-Hour

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Changes for 2.5
« on: November 26, 2012, 12:42:04 pm »
UFO: Alien Invasion has undergone extensive changes during 2.5's development cycle. This includes a comprehensive re-balancing of the campaign and battlescape, as well as some important additions to the game mechanics. This post will try to outline a few of the most important for players transitioning from 2.4 to 2.5.

To avoid spoilers and allow players to explore the changes themselves, I will speak in general terms. Please do the same in your replies or they may be edited. Separate threads can be produced if you want to discuss a particular weapon balance or something.

Campaign Pace
The schedule of UFOs, aliens, research and disassembly, as well as the tech tree itself, has been changed significantly. Over the course of the campaign, the player will face fewer UFOs. There should be no large chunks of time with nothing to do like 2.4, and you had better get moving quickly on research and development.

Air Combat
The aircraft vs. UFO balance has been adjusted quite a bit. Be careful making assumptions based on your previous experience.

Laser Weapons
Handheld laser weapons are no longer available as soon as you research CWS at the start of the game. They will come later. This may be particularly disorienting for our long-term players.

Ground Combat Difficulty
Expect to face more aliens who are more difficult to kill. In general, you will likely find your soldiers dying more. You will also receive more recruits throughout the game to allow you to suffer more casualties. Do not expect to be able to play a zero-casualties game as easily as before.

Weapons
The weapons have been comprehensively re-balanced and have undergone significant changes. In general, weapons have been adjusted to better serve specific tactical purposes. That means the trade-offs between different weapons and different firemodes within weapons are more significant now. Without getting into specifics, I'll just say that you should pay special attention to all of a weapon's attributes and think about which tactical situations it might be most effective.

Wounds and Healing
The game now includes a proper wounding and healing mechanism. Soldiers will get wounded and bleed out each turn based on how wounded they are. A medikit is able to heal wounds, which will stop bleeding, but it will only be able to give a soldier back a very small amount of health. Soldiers are expected to recover in Hospital. Medikits are for keeping them alive until the battle ends.

Weight and Encumbrance
All soldier items now include a weight and soldiers can only carry as much as their Strength ability allows them. A soldier will be "encumbered" and will lose TUs when they are carrying more than 50% of their max weight. A soldier will be "light" and gain extra TUs when they are carrying less than 20% of their max weight.

Soldiers Stay Equipped
Soldiers will now stay equipped when they are not assigned to a dropship and can be equipped through the employees menu.

More Soldiers
You can now have up to 12 soldiers on the battlescape. The starting dropship, the Firebird, still only supports 8 soldiers, but base defense missions and later dropships will support more.

New Weapons
New weapons and equipment have been introduced for soldiers and aircraft. Most of these become available late in the game.

Soldier Stats
Rookies will now improve stats more quickly, and the overall stat growth throughout the course of a campaign will be much higher. Veterans will be more valuable, but even late in the game you will be able to improve rookies quickly enough to make them useful.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 12:16:02 pm by H-Hour »

Offline Vermillion_Hawk

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Re: Changes for 2.5
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2012, 05:22:45 pm »
I'm curious as to whether this means the 2.5 stable version is soon to be upon us.

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Changes for 2.5
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2012, 05:50:26 pm »
It doesn't mean that. 2.5 has some serious stability issues with multi-threading at the moment and until those are worked out we won't even think about a new release. But we benefit from people playing the in-development versions and 2.5 has an especially large number of good reasons to do so. This is a guide for them.

Offline Wolfwalker_Prime

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Re: Changes for 2.5
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2012, 07:30:45 pm »
I was wondering about those extra numbers at the top middle for squad members...

I did notice a bit of an empty feel (especially as I like to use battlefield salvage to pay for a lot of early building,) and the lack of laser rifles was felt keenly... I miss the accuracy.  And I noticed the enemy fields a certain weapon a lot earlier in the game this time around.


Offline krilain

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Re: Changes for 2.5
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2012, 03:38:55 pm »
Sounds good  :)
Hope I'll end 2.4 campain soon and jump on 2.5.

Offline maackey

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Re: Changes for 2.5
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2012, 07:56:34 am »
Quote
Campaign Pace
The schedule of UFOs, aliens, research and disassembly, as well as the tech tree itself, has been changed significantly. Over the course of the campaign, the player will face fewer UFOs and this will be most apparent at the start of the game. It may lead to the start feeling "empty" of UFOs for those who are used to the excessive UFOs seen in 2.4. The pace will increase before long. There should be no large chunks of time with nothing to do like 2.4, and you had better get moving quickly on research and development.
While I greatly enjoy the new slower rate of encounters (perhaps I can actually get to the later stages of the game now!), the beginning is a bit too barren. I was able to research all techs by the end of the first month or so, and waited a whole 'nother month before any new research items became available. Similarly I have nothing to fight, and I cannot make any money (because there are no alien ships/weapons to sell) All my soldiers, scientists and workers were idle for almost a whole month. After that however the game picked up nicely, I am still in the first year so we'll see how it ends up later on.

Quote
Air Combat
The aircraft vs. UFO balance has been adjusted quite a bit. Be careful making assumptions based on your previous experience.
I haven't noticed any significant change to the air combat. My fighters still take out alien fighters and scouts, and not even two simultaneous fighters can take on a harvester.

Quote
Laser Weapons
Handheld laser weapons are no longer available as soon as you research CWS at the start of the game. They will come later. This may be particularly disorienting for our long-term players.
I never went for the early laser weapons (gl/sniper/flamer worked for any occasion typically) but sometimes went for the rail gun. I don't mind so much that laser weapons were moved, but so were the rail guns. As I mentioned before in the beginning months there is nothing to do -- there should be some sort of weapon upgrade that I can research early on because I'm still stuck at the basic weapons many months in to the campaign.

Quote
Ground Combat Difficulty
Expect to face more aliens who are more difficult to kill. In general, you will likely find your soldiers dying more. You will also receive more recruits throughout the game to allow you to suffer more casualties. Do not expect to be able to play a zero-casualties game as easily as before.
Bwahaha, this is spot on. [spoiler]Although a little more variety would be nice. So far in a few dozen missions I've only killed hoverdiscs, Taman and Shevar and the latter typically are armed only with plasma blasters/rifles. [/spoiler]

Quote
Weapons
The weapons have been comprehensively re-balanced and have undergone significant changes. In general, weapons have been adjusted to better serve specific tactical purposes. That means the trade-offs between different weapons and different firemodes within weapons are more significant now. Without getting into specifics, I'll just say that you should pay special attention to all of a weapon's attributes and think about which tactical situations it might be most effective.
I never really liked the balance of weapons in UFO:AI for various reasons, but some of the weapons seem to be completely redundant or useless, especially with the new RF system. Is there a wiki page or something that shows each weapon's tactical purpose? I should probably gather my thoughts and put these in a new thread...

Quote
Wounds and Healing
The game now includes a proper wounding and healing mechanism. Soldiers will get wounded and bleed out each turn based on how wounded they are. A medikit is able to heal wounds, which will stop bleeding, but it will only be able to give a soldier back a very small amount of health. Soldiers are expected to recover in Hospital. Medikits are for keeping them alive until the battle ends.
The medkit now has three options: antipsychotics, stimulants, and first aid. I kinda guessed that antipsychotics cured morale (never tried it though, as morale never got low enough) and first aid healed somehow??? but there is no information regarding what does what. I have no idea what stimulants do and my soldiers still bleed out and die even if I give them first aid. Do I have to continually give first aid during the duration of the battle? I'm not sure I like that. I think its great that medkits have been made more realistic (there were times when I wouldn't kill the last alien because I had to heal up my wounded soldiers before flying home) but medkits may need a small buff, especially in conjunction with the tougher aliens.

Quote
Weight and Encumbrance
All soldier items now include a weight and soldiers can only carry as much as their Strength ability allows them. A soldier will be "encumbered" and will lose TUs when they are carrying more than 50% of their max weight. A soldier will be "light" and gain extra TUs when they are carrying less than 20% of their max weight.
This makes the backpack storage completely useless. TU's are penalized *way* too heavily (how does weight affect TU's anyhow? it would be nice to have a bar showing troop TU next to their weight) Heavy weapons should be heavier (and appropriately more powerful) to compensate for a TU penalty buff. I personally would also loosen the thresholds to 60% heavy, 30% light on top of TU penalty buff (or even 66/33 to make it nice and symmetric)

Anyway, its a good first start :)

Quote
Soldiers Stay Equipped
Soldiers will now stay equipped when they are not assigned to a dropship and can be equipped through the employees menu.
WOoO! Love that I can finally equip my guys off the plane. This is a huge awesome change.

Quote
More Soldiers
You can now have up to 12 soldiers on the battlescape. The starting dropship, the Firebird, still only supports 8 soldiers, but base defense missions and later dropships will support more.
I haven't gotten to the point when I can ship out 12 soldiers at once, but I like it nonetheless. I have had a few base defense missions, but I never have more than 8 guys in a base at one time. Something that struck me as odd though was small hangers no longer let baddies in, but workshops now do. Why was this changed? To shake up veteran UFO:AI players? After the first go around players will just optimize their bases differently to increase the alien funneling. Perhaps the entrances should be randomized so not all the time workshops or hangers etc. will be open to alien invasions. I also noticed cameras, but they didn't grant me vision :( And I still don't have base auto-turrets... but I'm a little off topic now.
Quote
New Weapons
New weapons and equipment have been introduced for soldiers and aircraft. Most of these become available late in the game.
Haven't noticed anything yet. Heck, my selection of weapons and equipment has been severely limited thus far, but the game is still fun. How far in (eg. how many missions will I have to fight through) to get to the late game goodies?
« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 07:59:34 am by maackey »

Offline Anarch Cassius

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Re: Changes for 2.5
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2012, 11:07:03 am »
Quote
The medkit now has three options: antipsychotics, stimulants, and first aid. I kinda guessed that antipsychotics cured morale (never tried it though, as morale never got low enough) and first aid healed somehow??? but there is no information regarding what does what. I have no idea what stimulants do and my soldiers still bleed out and die even if I give them first aid. Do I have to continually give first aid during the duration of the battle? I'm not sure I like that. I think its great that medkits have been made more realistic (there were times when I wouldn't kill the last alien because I had to heal up my wounded soldiers before flying home) but medkits may need a small buff, especially in conjunction with the tougher aliens.

Basically if you take damage you may take one or more wounds. The more damage the more and more severe the wounds.

Wounds cause bleeding and stat penalties. The penalties reduce slightly once treated.

You can apply first aid to a soldier who has been hit once or until bleeding is stopped, whichever is greater.

First aid heals a few hit points and reduces rate of bleeding. It typically takes 1-3 applications to stop bleeding entirely. After that they won't take more damage unless they are hit again.

Since bleed is per round and healing attempts are limited, it's best to heal as quickly as possible, using multiple medics if you can. This gives you more hit points back and stops bleeding faster.

Quote
Haven't noticed anything yet. Heck, my selection of weapons and equipment has been severely limited thus far, but the game is still fun. How far in (eg. how many missions will I have to fight through) to get to the late game goodies?

More late game and more ammo options is what I'll say.

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Changes for 2.5
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2012, 11:41:20 am »
@maackey, feedback is appreciated, so I don't mean to blow you off, but if you're only 12 missions in you've still got a long way to go. Regarding some of your points:

Pace: Since you're an experienced player, you should try Hard or Very Hard campaigns. You will be introduced to new threats more quickly.

Wounds: The in-game information is not great. If you look on the character stats screen in the HUD when a soldier has a bleeding wound, you'll see a red (!) icon near the health bar (at the bottom). You should apply first aid until the icon turns blue. The wound is still there but the soldier will not bleed out.

Offline maackey

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Re: Changes for 2.5
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2012, 05:59:11 am »
Quote
Basically if you take damage you may take one or more wounds. The more damage the more and more severe the wounds.

Wounds cause bleeding and stat penalties. The penalties reduce slightly once treated.

You can apply first aid to a soldier who has been hit once or until bleeding is stopped, whichever is greater.

First aid heals a few hit points and reduces rate of bleeding. It typically takes 1-3 applications to stop bleeding entirely. After that they won't take more damage unless they are hit again.

Since bleed is per round and healing attempts are limited, it's best to heal as quickly as possible, using multiple medics if you can. This gives you more hit points back and stops bleeding faster.
... wow. What is the point of not stopping bleeding in one application? Especially when you don't get any health out of the deal either. I can't see having medikits on every soldier be viable with the new weight system (which I found out btw that it gives a flat -13 TU penalty for *any* weight over 50% and flat +12 TU bonus for *any* weight under 20% strangely. I thought the bonus/malus would be incremental -- guess I can dig in and try my hand at tinkering)

Thank you tremendously for explaining how medikits/wounds work, it makes much more sense now. I read somewhere that medikits stopped bleeding and lost a few soldiers because they weren't healed "all the way"

Quote
More late game and more ammo options is what I'll say.
...
@maackey, feedback is appreciated, so I don't mean to blow you off, but if you're only 12 missions in you've still got a long way to go. Regarding some of your points:
Yeah I understand I'm not very far in, that is fine I expect people to take my comments with a grain of salt (which is why I mentioned my progress in the first place) however, my question of how many missions does it take to get to the late-game still remains... (rough estimate will do)  I never got past midway through the previous versions (tried my heart out to get further though) because I was inundated with missions and never had the time to sit down and grind through it.

Is there perhaps a console command where I can see the alien interest level /manually increase it? Are there any actions in game I can do to increase my interest level? I'll definitely try out the harder difficulties as well.

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Changes for 2.5
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2012, 11:01:34 am »
however, my question of how many missions does it take to get to the late-game still remains...

I'll PM you the answer because I'm trying to keep spoilers out of this thread. If others want to know this feel free to make a new thread.

Offline GPS51

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Re: Changes for 2.5
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2012, 08:07:55 am »
Great work, I still remember when I tried about UFOAI 2 years ago almost exactly... now it's darn near grow'd up :)

Offline Quizer

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Re: Changes for 2.5
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2012, 03:47:36 pm »
Is there a place where I can see what changes get added to the nightly builds? I've taken a look at the commit logs, but that doesn't look very useful to someone who isn't hip deep into the coding part of the game's development process. I'm looking for something more like patch notes.

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Changes for 2.5
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2013, 12:47:13 pm »
The commit log is the only place to get all the details in a timely manner. We try to include all the changes that concern players in our monthly news posts, but these may be too late for you if you're regularly updating your game.

If you're following the logs, to be honest you can basically ignore anything that you don't understand. A lot of minor coding changes are irrelevant to the player -- aDuke has been doing loads of refactoring and all the coders are constantly tweaking things. So if you see a commit message like "started to make inventoryInterface_t a class", you can be pretty confident that you're not missing anything important. If a commit is something that will matter to you in a direct way, it will likely be named something you understand, like the following:

* AI: If target is already stunned don't try to stun it again.
* raised volume of footstep sounds
* reimplement Transfer UI backend

[of course, the coder-specific stuff is still just as important for the project, but players will only benefit indirectly]

Offline Quizer

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Re: Changes for 2.5
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2013, 10:06:00 pm »
Okay, guess that'll have to do. What time each month are those newsposts compiled, generally speaking?

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Changes for 2.5
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2013, 01:00:32 am »
Between the first and last day of the next month, with occasional exceptions.