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Topics - Anarch Cassius

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Discussion / The Strong Taman (Minor spoilers)
« on: January 20, 2013, 12:54:23 pm »
I'm not liking the new strong Taman. They just feel wrong, not overpowered but just shoe-horned in and trying to make things work that maybe logically shouldn't.

They were added recently as a way to let this race use the now heavy endgame equipment, but I think that's just awkward. In terms of setting it makes me wonder why they even have multiple races if they can just tweak one race so far. In terms of gameplay it makes me feel like they are cheating. There is no penalty for this, no explanation, just no gun so big a Taman cannot lift it.

It seems like we have this very nice detailed sim but as soon as that internal logic becomes inconveneiant for the aliens they just cheat and dramatically so at that. I mean this isn't a small increase in Strength, it's the difference between some of the lowest stats in the game and some of the highest.

Rather than just pumping a ton of steroids into one species it'd be nice to see some advancing of the templates in all races in all skills as the game goes on. Or just split the race in question in to two types, one weak but mental that appears early but isn't dangerous until psi and one that favors strength more but doesn't have as extreme mental abilities. Or both, anything but the game waving it in your face that it doesn't have to obey logic or precedent.

I understand the end game in undergoing heavy revision near constantly and there will be placeholders but I just want to state that this seems like a bad approach for a final system.

Bugs in stable version (2.5) / Unable to target UFOs
« on: January 17, 2013, 10:08:58 am »
With builds from the past few days I cannot target a UFO. They don't appear as missions for interceptors and double clicking them just move the globe around like I click-held it.

Discussion / Recent healing commit
« on: January 09, 2013, 10:24:16 pm »
I saw a recent commit removed the ablity to heal soldiers who aren't "wounded". Does this mean we can no longer perform a heal once on someone who took damage but didn't start bleeding? I considered that a feature rather than a bug.

Frankly I hear people talking about soldiers going through 100 missions and laugh. My best have seen 40 out of the 100+ missions I've done and that was with a lot of scumming to keep the vets alive. My the mortality rate of my soldiers is very high and the gains in experience are very slow. Combine that with how many soldiers I get each month and training veterans and bothering to keep them alive is looking less and less possible and less and less strategically important. I could just throw new recruits in to every mission and not care how many die and get through the game a lot faster but that doesn't seem like it would be as fun. On the other hand, retrying the same mission a dozen times so I don't loose more than half my vets isn't fun either.

I like the changes to healing overall but I'm wondering if this is starting to go too far.

Bugs in stable version (2.5) / Bug with new TUs
« on: December 21, 2012, 08:26:29 am »
So I've been feeling that with the way the penalty for being loaded is applied to the old Speed TU boost we aren't getting much value from Speed now.

I drew up a chart to compare this and show an alternative pair of values for MIN and Boost TU but then I realized that I couldn't get my chart to match my game.

The math would indicate that a character with 27 speed should have 31 TUs when loaded... unless weight penalty is round up before being applied in which case it's 30. Which is what I'm seeing and means humans typically have either 29 or 30 TU when loaded which has a lot less variance.

Then I tested on Sheevar and found a Sheever who was technically barely loaded counted as light for TUs. When I dropped a clip he counted a light in the GUI but he TU stayed the same, which figures as he was already light for TU purposes.

Still rounding errors aside I'd like to have the old variance from Speed back to some degree.

20 was the old Speed max boost and it's now effectively reduce by 30% most of the time. 26 would be about 30% more and if the MIN TU is cut back from 39 to 38 you get a ratio that looks like the best of both worlds to me by staying close to the original important of Speed without getting too far from the new TU values.

Here's the chart, assuming better rounding. Note that the change in TUs gained from Speed with a normal load between 15-35 is 3 under the old rules, 2.1 under current and would be 2.73 under my proposal. The bigger that amount the more the player will notice change in Speed stat which right now are very subtle.

Feature Requests / Define new Materials and Armor for destroyable entities
« on: December 19, 2012, 04:40:14 am »
It'd be nice to be able to say have .ufo of materials with rules for sounds and armor. Then we can have more realistic destructibles and define new types without having to put it in the hardcode.

Code: [Select]
sounds {
neutral {
hurtsound "aliens/bloodspider/hurt1"
hurtsound "aliens/bloodspider/hurt2"
hurtsound "aliens/bloodspider/hurt3"
deathsound "aliens/bloodspider/die1"
deathsound "aliens/bloodspider/die2"

resistance {
normal_spray 16
normal_light 40
normal_medium 20
normal_heavy 5

normal_steelblade 5
normal_monomolecularblade 0
normal_needle 3

blast 30

fire_light -10
fire_medium -20
fire_heavy -30
fire_flamer -1

incendiary 0

shock 10

laser_light 30
laser_medium 20
laser_heavy 10

plasma_light -10
plasma_medium -20
plasma_heavy -30
plasma_pierce 0

particlebeam_light 10
particlebeam_medium 20
particlebeam_heavy 20

stun_electro -20
stun_gas 30

The last change when I updated was the no sounds on start. Since that update I can't play a campaign. Skirmish works but trying to start or load a game just gives me a totally blank world on which no time passes. I don't even get intro for a new game.

Okay, I removed my 0locust.pk3 and I'm good. This still might be a bug since I can't imagine why an alien race that doesn't appear in the campaign would affect the campaign but I can't be sure until I test my locusts more.

Mapping / Stupid RMA tricks
« on: December 19, 2012, 12:19:49 am »
As someone who is getting in to making games for a living, I have to say I think the RMA is one of the nicest features in the game. However it's impressiveness as a system and it's ability to make interesting maps aren't immediately obvious I think.

What makes the RMA so useful is how it's practically a language in it's own right. Like DNA proteins each little bundle of simple instructions interacts to create very complex patterns. So maybe I'm being dramatic but my initial frustration at lack of direct commands has been replaced by awe at what indirect ones can do and I'd like to do some brainstorming in the interest of better maps.

There are some issues. You cannot rotate tiles, this would seem logical enough and save disk space, but I'm blaming the light engine since as far I can see that's the major obstacle. The lights are prebaked and you'd have 4 different competing "suns" if tiles rotated.

Also shadows are baked to objects so you they won't extend over to the next tile. IE a long hallway will have light gaps at connections where one tile shows the sun it would get if the next space were clear. The next hallway segment would have a shadow overlap on that side to cover this gap, but with no object to receive the shadow on it's own tile it has no way to put that shadow on the adjacent segment.

You MIGHT be able to make some kind of no-clipping, invisible-but-shadow-receiving brush to fudge this gap... but then you'd have to make the RMA set up so only a tile with floor/wall at the right places to make your dummy shadow can go there. I don't recommend trying this as the RMA can freak up with hard to comply with instructions (I'll discuss more below)

Roads are explained in the basic help for RMAs. You make a type for vertical (E here) and a type for horizontal (F) and have cross pieces count as both types. I used this for hallways on the school I'm working on. Good but there are some problems.

The hallways would appear in odd places connecting nothing, and worse form clumps of just hall. I set the building tiles to want hallways at their doors and set the halls to want basic area (A) on their sides. Basic areas are the buildings and open space (also tagged O) so they sometimes appear in the middle of nowhere but they won't clump. Building doors always open on to a hall or open space ( E or F, and O).

Mostly good but my crosspieces can appear at doorways and some of them block the door. So now I set my hallways with a second type C (which I just removed from other tiles as unneeded) for clear. The main hallways get this for their 2nd type and I make my doorways want to be next to C or O.

Now all these instructions are getting a bit much for the RMA. I'm basically giving it a puzzle to solve and it knows in advance if it has the right number of tiles but it doesn't know if it will be able to fit them all together. The more strict the rules the fewer possible solutions and the more likely it will take a long time or lock up generating the map.

Giving the tileset more flexible free tiles to work with helps as it can drop these to complete the map. Having lots of tiles in general helps as it has more options. I'm also looking into using the preconfigured blocks to set up larger chunks of hallway and building that can be dropped in with the rules already fulfilled.

I'm just getting started and welcome more ideas. I'll keep posting with my tricks, issues and discoveries.

Mapping / Destruction
« on: December 15, 2012, 10:16:05 pm »
I know this is a rather done to death topic and I understand that completely destructable terrain won't happen. However a lot is possible with what the engine does and I want to talk about how best to utilize it.

Breakable windows are everywhere but not tactically that interesting. I've seen destroyable fences on one level and I'm experimenting with how to bring this feature up to something approximating old mechanics.

Off the bat, Leveling most buildings is totally not feasible. I could design a building for total destructability but I can't see a way to prevent for example, all the lower floor being blown out and the top still hanging like this was Worms.

So if not everything can be destroyed it seems good to set some ideas for what should and should not be attempted. If two people make apartment complexes and one can be reduced to a burned out shell and the other has no damage points we have a suspension of disbelief issue. If the suburban fence is destroyable the rest should be.

Making blast holes in the walls is the most straight-forward option. Quake2 did this a lot for secrets with small cracks showing it was weak. This way you could break walls down along pre-determined sections. Support beams and heavily reinforced sections would be undamagable. How many and where is the issue.

Some levels are obvious. Africa has many building with wall segments already about the right size and they are made of wood and mud. There are a lot of levels though and some use single brushes for big areas to keep their large poly count down. The more ambitious a goal the more difficult it would be to implement universally.

I've recently started a map assembly, a school, and want to give it good destructibility without setting a precedent no one will follow. Please give me your thoughts.

Artwork / New camo
« on: December 14, 2012, 03:50:46 am »
I've been trying to make some new camo for Phalanx but when I try to add skins using this info:

Nothing changes when I switch skins for the humans. It somehow re-enabled the skins for aliens but their naming conventions look nothing like what that page describes. Also trying to copy their format doesn't work either.

Is this something internal to the model now? Is there a newer tutorial?

Bugs in stable version (2.5) / Base Attack Crash
« on: November 17, 2012, 11:33:28 am »
I am getting a crash when the attack on my base begins. Hasn't happened before.

It's a newish base and rather small. I didn't really have any employees there yet so I quickly threw together 12 recruits to defend it. When it loads it crashes. Thinking of anything weird I might of done, I decided not to send in my guy weilding 2 grendades. Worked fine.

Okay... so was it the grenades being dual-wield? I put him back in but this time with grenade and shock rod. Crash.

I'm thinking my base may not have enough spawn points for 12 people yet and that could be it but if anyone has some other ideas let me know.

Discussion / Plasma Blaster
« on: November 14, 2012, 12:17:26 am »
The Plasma Blaster is a very oddball weapon. Ostensibly it's the heavy weapons version of the Plasma Rifle. In practice it's crappy knock-off. I'm also not sure what's up with it firing plasma beams, is that a graphical artifact or is it beaming plasma down ionized paths or magnetic fields?

It's heavy, short-ranged and inaccurate. I'm not sure why the aliens were favoring them over the rifles unless it was to give me a sporting chance. The only good thing about it was the ball which was recently nerfed. It's more like a crappy shotgun than a heavy weapon. The only use for it seems to be for people who aren't any good with assault rifles and even then the plasma pistol is a tempting alternative, to say nothing of human weapons like the submachine gun.

Also does anything use heavy weapons any more? No weapon says so but my skill in it keeps rising for several characters implying it's being used. Is it Melee now or something applied to any type of weapon that happens to be large?

Windows / Auto Binaries
« on: November 13, 2012, 10:34:06 pm »
I can't download any of the new 2.5 binaries. Not for about a week. The download starts and lists what looks like an accurate full size. Then after a minute or so it decides it's done, Chrome lists it as 100% and changes the max size to whatever I've gotten so far. The files are of course too short and corrupt.

Anyone else have this problem?

Tactics / Can't weaken crashed UFOs?
« on: November 12, 2012, 11:27:34 pm »
So I had a team of plasma fodd- new recruits go and take on a UFO. They all died but killed 4 of 8 aliens. When I sent the next batch in there were again 8 aliens.

This sort of discourages the player from accepting anything less than a total victory. I'd have been happy to send waves of less than stellar recruits in but I take a hit in relations for every attempt that results in less than victory and I can't do any permanent damage to the crash site.

Failure being a little less severe would encourage less save scumming and wider tactics. Also I have to wonder if this oversight could be abused... sending a strong raid team to weak crash sites and killing all but a couple, taking all the stuff you can, evacing and repeating to farm alien gear.

Bugs in stable version (2.5) / Highly unstable mission
« on: November 11, 2012, 09:38:10 am »
I've been trying to play through this mission for over a day now and every time I try it crashes at some point. I'm used to crashes but this is ridiculous. The map is "oriental" and the enemy has needlers. I'm not sure if it's the weapons, the map, both, or just coincidence.

It's hung between rounds at least twice. The last thing in console is my bleed damage. The turn just never advances.

The next log (3rd one) is from a crash during enemy needler fire.

And finally the save in case this varies by system.

Windows 7. Last version before weight was added. I'm about to go to a version from a bit more recently to see if that helps. Also I can't DL the Win binaries or latest Radiant right now, I consistently get small corrupt files.

Bugs in stable version (2.5) / Windows cannot create Multiplayer game
« on: November 04, 2012, 07:33:33 am »
Windows starts spewing a WSAENOTSOCK error to the console when I try to make a new multiplayer game. The dedicated server seems to work fine but in game I just see a black screen with UI and that error repeating in console. This just started happening a couple days ago. Previous versions were working at least somewhat for MP.

Latest 2.5 dev. Win 7, 64 bit.

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