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Author Topic: Alien bestiary  (Read 29409 times)

Offline bluereaper75

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #30 on: July 20, 2011, 09:21:14 am »
I got an idea for one. now this one is inspired by the mechs from falling skies

It would just be a large robotic shock troop. It is unable to enter buildings due to its size, so it marches through the streets shooting anything in its path. A good strategy would be to move your troops inside of a building or behind cover, and use explosive and/or energy weaponry to take it down.

dispatched from orbital entry pods dropped by carriers (so, a carrier can send several down into a city and keep on flying to provide distraction if it is attacked).

could maybe act as an upgraded version of the "alien tank"
« Last Edit: July 20, 2011, 10:05:03 am by bluereaper75 »

Offline Nutter

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Brainstorming on a tangent.
« Reply #31 on: July 21, 2011, 12:58:24 pm »
Or it could just be the 'tank'.
 Practicality issues for bipedal mechs in a combat zone aside, it'd probably be a nice fire support unit. And maybe also a decent tank untill heavy firepower came into the game.
And since there aren't any AT missiles in this game, that might take a while. Say up untill you can mass produce coilguns and twin mount them onto UGVs.
 Make it two storeys tall, heavily armed and rather vulnerable (for a machine, anyway) and you get something of an annoying glass cannon that wipes out most of the stuff it can find in the open and petty much anyone who can pop up on the roofs of the desert houses.

 You could just make it a precursor to the standard alien tank that simply can't take much damage (legs suck in combat).
Hey, you could mix up the standard aliens with mechs gig and make the them into tetrapods! It'd be a bit fresh. Ish.

Of course, now I wish there was a human version so I could mount gatling guns on it. But that'll pass.
 But still. Mechs are only really god for intimidation and reaching hard to get places. Like sniper nests. One proper hit and the thing will either fall apart like Nazi Germany or crash like the Western Empire*. Depends on where you hit, really. And how hard but that's where the 'proper' comes in.

*Only difference being that unlike said states, it'd wouldn't need assistance after the initial push.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2011, 01:00:48 pm by Nutter »

Offline jerm

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #32 on: July 22, 2011, 03:20:03 am »
While bi/tri-pedal or quadruped UGVs (even 'mechs) might sound good on paper, legs prove to be an extremely fragile mode of locomotion - especially in combat situations. One good example is the 'Dog' quadruped UGV. I'm sure it's still on youtube if anyone cares to look. Has about 70-80kg carry capacity last I checked, enough for a decent weapon loadout or carrying injured soldiers. But unless heavily armored (thus reducing mobility/capacity), the legs aren't meant to survive any kind of directed weapon fire.

That's why wheels or tracks are so much more popular for combat-type UGVs as they have less weakpoints. If you wanted a 'tank', just use riot shields (which really has no business being in a hostile tactical situation). Otherwise, use rookie fodder as tanks. But if you need a tank, then you're being too reckless. Just use standard tactical procedures like bounding overwatch and using more cover. And stun those pesky civvies. It's a damned pity you can't direct civvies to safe zones. ("Evac is right THAT way, ma'am.") As if it's not bad enough they run into your line of sight, they have the annoying tendency to wander into "hot" zones.

Offline Nutter

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #33 on: July 22, 2011, 12:36:43 pm »
Actually, that's probably one of the reasons Science fiction uses the things to such an extent. Well, aside from the usual rule of cool.
What better way to show how advanced the enemy is than to have a mech at least as though as the best tanks you can throw at them?
And as I said. It does work lovely for intimidation.

Offline TallTroll

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #34 on: July 22, 2011, 07:32:56 pm »
Looking ahead a bit to the possibilty of a new visibility system, a dedicated sniper type might be a neat idea. With extended vision range compared to other units, and possibly limited ability to see through smoke (if any future visibilty system supports that) they would be better than other aliens (and probably a little better than PHALANX troopers) at acquiring targets. They should prefer accurate weapons over more damaging ones, and crouch and use aimed fire more often, to maximise their hit chances.

On the minus side, they should be physically quite weak (low HP, low natural armour), unable to wear heavier armour, and especially vunerable to flashbangs (due to oversensitive eyes, similar to the Tamans stated vunerability, although probably for slightly different reasons), but quite resistant to stun. They should also be quite rare, appearing at quite a late point in the alien progression, and only normally present at all on larger UFO types, and generally only in small numbers then. They would effectively be deployed as a Marine contingent on larger UFOs, providing long ranged support to the run'n'gun Ortnoks, and heavy firepower of the alien tank units.

Since they are introduced later in the alien ranks, they should have quite a range of weapons to choose from anyway, but it might be appropriate to also add an additional weapon just for them, with relatively low damage, high accuracy and only aimed and snap fire modes, and a medium TU cost. The objective is to model a Designated Marksman Rifle, *not* a true sniper rifle.

Doctrine is to use several well placed shots to kill / wound, not volume of fire. The weapon should still do appreciable damage to end-game PHALANX armours, around 80 points wth low variance perhaps - enough to allow a one-shot on low HP troopers with no armour, and still enough to worry a high HP soldier with good armour if he cant find and deal with the shooter quickly. Preferred method of attack would be to sneak out of cover and take a snap shot or two at mid range, or stay fairly still and take a couple of aimed shots at very long range. Unit TUs should therefore be fairly high, but not outrageous. It should probably have a fairly small clip as well (more like the 8 rounds of the bolter than the 30 of the AR).

As a comparison, the human sniper rifle does 105 damage (more than proposed for the new weapon), and costs 12 and 18 TUs to fire. If the "alien sniper rifle" takes the same TUs for the same fire modes, giving the sniper unit around 40 TUs would seem reasonable. That's faster than most PHALANX units, enough to fire 2 aimed shots whilst retaining a minimal ability to move, crouch / uncrouch, or 3 snap shots, or quite a bit of movement plus a snap shot, and so on.

The total *maximum* damage output / round would be around 240 (3 snap shots). If the best PHALANX armour had a resistance against the damage type of 50 (which seems possible given the planned progression of armour), that would bring actual damage from 3 hits down to about 90, enough to worry even the toughest trooper, and kill weaker specimens.

That would however almost certainly leave the sniper stranded in the open, though. Note that 3 shots at 12 TUs consume 36 of a max of 40, leaving a max of 4 left (enough to walk out of cover in a straight line, shoot 3 snaps, then take a 2 TU step back, or crouch before shooting from an exposed position, but not to move whilst crouched, then shoot, then move back into cover, for instance). Clearly, sniper AI should prefer to either aim to end a turn in cover and take what shots that TUs can be spared for, or try and stay at long range to take advantage of their superior range and accuracy

Although there is little firm detail about the proposed psionics system, I suspect using a psionic scan of some kind would be one of the best ways to locate these little monkeys, or UGVs whose relatively thick armour should serve them well here, enabling them to soak up several hits without undue damage.

Whether any new weapon is considered or not, the alien sniper would fill a gap in the aliens tactical makeup, allowing them to compete better in long range engagements, which is currently quite a weakness for them. They would logically spawn outside a UFO more often than other types where possible, to make maximum use of their talents.

If a specialised weapon was added for them, perhaps it should only unlock considerably after the snipers have started appearing, to give PHALANX a decent chance to get good armour and weapons fielded. These guys should certainly be scary, and able to punish sloppy tactical play, but not ubersoldiers with instagib guns.

Thinking about it, under the proposed health / medikit changes, an accurate, low-damage weapon would make even more sense for the aliens, since you'd have a fair chance of a soldier who has been hit several times having several bleeding wounds, and needing very swift medical attention to stop them from bleeding out, taking not only the wounded soldier out of the line, but also the soldier, or soldiers, needed to do the doctoring, possibly for several turns

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #35 on: October 17, 2011, 01:51:59 pm »
Attached is a quick graph of the resistances of the current aliens to damageweights. These are aliens WITHOUT any armor effects. New graph has armor as well.

Also, here is a quick run-down of the damageweights and which weapons can cause each particular weight.

Code: [Select]

normal_light XXXXXX smokegrenade,pistol,pistol2,smg,grenl,stunrod
normal_spray XXXX shotgun2,shotgun_micro,chaingun,xaw95
normal_medium XXX assault,machinegun,vhs
normal_heavy XXXXXXX needlergun,needlerheavy,sniper,coilgun,shotgun2,bolterrifle,ugv_chaingun
normal_steelblade X knife
normal_monomolecularblade XX knifemono,kerrblade
blast XXXXX fraggrenade,plasmagrenade,rpg,grenl,shotgun
fire_light
fire_medium XXX incgrenade,rpg,grenl
fire_heavy
fire_flamer X flamer
shock X flashbang
laser_light X laserpistol
laser_medium X laserrifle
laser_heavy X heavylaser
plasma_light X plaspistol
plasma_medium X plasrifle
plasma_heavy XXX grenl,plasblade,plasblaster
particlebeam_light X pbeampistol
particlebeam_medium X pbeamrifle
particlebeam_heavy X pbeamcannon
stun_electro XX electrolaser,stunrod
stun_gas X stungrenade
« Last Edit: October 17, 2011, 02:45:53 pm by H-Hour »

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #36 on: October 17, 2011, 05:15:13 pm »
A rather large and unwieldy graph showing weapon damages sorted by damagetype. Things to note:

1. Splash damage and regular damage are simply added together. No account is taken for distance from splash damage so it's like a max-damage rating in which splash damage weapons may score higher than they deserve.

2. Damage from any shots after the first (burst or multi-shot weapons like shotguns) is halved to try to account for the fact that a burst shot will usually not hit with all shots. My thinking is that this is still scoring higher than they deserve.

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #37 on: December 23, 2011, 09:15:11 pm »
I have put the alien bestiary in the wiki for safe-keeping and expansion. But the forum is still the place to discuss ideas.

Offline MrRoivas

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #38 on: January 12, 2012, 08:30:56 am »
Out of all the ideas discussed here, the one for an alien sniper seems the most well thought out and most needed. Long range sniping is where humans utterly dominate, especially with laser weapons. Having these guys pop up in the last third of the game would suddenly make taking cover and flushing out sniper positions quite important indeed.

Offline TrashMan

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #39 on: January 12, 2012, 11:25:36 am »
Frankly, I'd completely change the damage types for something that's imspler and more intuitive.

DAMAGE TYPE:

- ballistic_small  (size of the pojectile)
- ballistic_large
- laser
- fire
- plasma
- particle?
- gas(?)
- electro

Alternatively, one could differentiate balistics by speed, not size. So you'd have balistic_normal, and balistic_hyper (for hypervelocity/relativistic rounds)




And DAMAGE_DELIVERY (sub)type.. How damage is applied.

- ripping/tumbling (wepons designed to tear flesh)
- penetrative (armor-piercing. Kinetic weapons with hardend tips)
- focused (lasers generally.unles we're talking pulse lasers)
- continous (is the damage applied over time or not?)
- pulsed(? also possible for lasers)
- splash
- area (?)

Or something similar


So a sniper would be balistic_large, penetrative
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 11:30:33 am by TrashMan »

Offline maackey

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #40 on: December 12, 2012, 09:38:52 am »
Quote
Frankly, I'd completely change the damage types for something that's imspler and more intuitive.
This. A thousand times this.

I've looked around at the weapon balance a few times before and was stopped dead in my tracks by the dauntless numbers of damage types and resistances. Not to mention the wiki weapon tables are woefully out of date. (I've been working on a little lua script to parse the data to better compare weapons/armor... I don't suppose anyone has a working program to do this already? or perhaps it isn't very convenient to use...)

The convoluted amount of damage types are detrimental for both developers and players. On the developer side, with so many variables it is practically impossible to properly balance weapons, armor, aliens, etc. On the player side, it is incredibly confusing when your weapons one shot ultra powerful brutes in one mission, and are completely ineffective against fragile twig-men the next. Not to mention the disconnect in expectations (ever play a point and click adventure with those "simple" puzzles that you needed a manual for?) "... what do you mean bloodspiders are resistant to shock!? they are completely electro-mechanical! No amount of electrical shielding can stop yadda yadda"

It would be really nice if we had something like the taylor knockout formula for ballistic projectiles. It is roughly:  damage = mass * velocity * diameter of bullet
There are other factors for sure, such as bullet shape and composition,but its a good guideline.

I dunno if I should post here or somewhere else, but some initial thoughts for a proposed change:

ballistic (physical)
 - physical projectiles
 - cut/stab/bludgeon
 - blast (concussion)
energy
 - electric
 - plasma
 - laser
 - fire
 - blast (eg. from plasma grenade)
hazmat
 - stun gas
 - poisons
 - blinding flash (from stun grenades?)
 - mind controlling spores

Three damage types may be a pretty extreme change from the current 30 (hush... its hyperbole), but look at it this way: damage isn't the only variable we have to play with. It makes no sense to have sniper bullets have a different damage type to pistol bullets. Anything that a .22LR can hit a .50 BMG will hit harder. No exceptions. But that just means that 22s can have less recoil (less TU), cheaper ammo, more capacity, etc.

The example is a bit weaker for energy & "hazmat" but the principle is the same: KISS. Reduce the extraneous variables and only work with ones that give meaningful results. I can probably think up counter examples and reasons not do put flash/poisons together but is it really worth it to have them separate? How many weapons use the mechanics of the flash grenade? or stun gas? Is there a vital reason why an alien would be weak to stun gas but not flash grenades (other than *arbitrary* story fluff)?

I would also love to have more varied ammo types, so for example there would be your standard ball, but also armor penetrating, AP incendiary, AP plasma etc. AP rounds would get a bonus vs ballistic armor, incendiary would apply energy damage over time, plasma applies large instant energy damage. I dislike using stock alien weapons. I would much rather take their technology and turn it into something human. I know there were a few threads discussing franken-weapons: alien weapon models with human modification on them which would be awesome. (If I ever get into modeling again I might have a go at some)

heh, thats a lot of text. I've got to stop making these giant walls...

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #41 on: December 12, 2012, 11:23:25 am »
It's not as difficult to properly balance the existing weapons as it appears at first. Once you dive into it, you will realise that a lot of damage weights have only one or two weapons associated with them, so you can have pretty fine control. Adding new weapon concepts is difficult, though, without adding new damage weights (this was done for the Encased Plasma Ammo).

I have toyed with the idea of a new damage model as well. But I'm not yet convinced that it is actually simpler for the player -- what seems simpler from a conceptual point of view (ie - the developer) is not necessarily simpler for the player. If I have to calculate damage by analysing an armour penetration rating, mass, velocity or other elements, that may just be more ambiguous than a simple damage number. I'm not yet sure about this, though, and my primary concern was to expand the ability to better model a weapon's interaction with armour.

The real problem we face with the current implementation is that the player is not given information on the real damage weights protection/resistance for armour and aliens. So he's unable to make a simple addition/subtraction comparison with a weapon. Including this information as the result of an autopsy would be a nice incentive for completing autopsy research, and the same information should be made available upon researching alien armour.

Offline maackey

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #42 on: December 12, 2012, 09:54:35 pm »
Hooray, another wall of text from your bedsick fellow complaining about more stuff :) I do it because I love.
(should this be split to a separate thread? I don't really want to drive the thread off-topic)

It's not as difficult to properly balance the existing weapons as it appears at first. Once you dive into it, you will realise that a lot of damage weights have only one or two weapons associated with them, so you can have pretty fine control. Adding new weapon concepts is difficult, though, without adding new damage weights (this was done for the Encased Plasma Ammo).
Some damage weights make sense, and I'm pretty sure it would be fine to have a half dozen or more if it meant keeping fine control, but in the resistances graph you linked to there are types like normal light, spray, medium, heavy, fire light, medium, heavy, flamer etc. I can't imagine why there would be a difference in *TYPE* for a light/medium/heavy damagetype.

Quote
I have toyed with the idea of a new damage model as well. But I'm not yet convinced that it is actually simpler for the player -- what seems simpler from a conceptual point of view (ie - the developer) is not necessarily simpler for the player.

I suppose... do you have any specific examples though?

Quote
If I have to calculate damage by analysing an armour penetration rating, mass, velocity or other elements, that may just be more ambiguous than a simple damage number. I'm not yet sure about this, though, and my primary concern was to expand the ability to better model a weapon's interaction with armour.

I agree, there is a balance between realistic simulation and fun intuitive gameplay.

Lots of games have AP, its an easy enough concept to understand. Damage range falloff also makes sense: it realistically models projectile drag, laser light scattering, etc. I'm curious on what your thoughts are for weapon armor interaction. I've done a lot of searching on the wiki and forums and have only ever found really old out of date discussion on the topic (which frustrate me to no end*). In my view, armor is there to reduce damage. Either by subtracting a flat amount, or reduced by a fraction, or both. I dislike the general idea of minimum damage (eg. armor blocks 10000000 damage and pistol damage is 10 -- minimum 5 goes through) I'd rather have better reduction/damage values. (eg. armor blocks 15+50% and pistol damage is 20 -- 2.5 damage goes through) and I dislike* pistols,shotguns,rifles etc. having different damage reduction types (on top of different damage values) as it contributes to the confusion of how much damage does my weapon actually do?

I play a lot of Zero-K and its motto is no special damage types -- and it works wonderfully. Armor is modeled by more HP, weapons and units are balanced according to the physical interactions and limitations, it is dead easy to determine how much damage a unit will do, and how well it will stand up to punishment. I'm not suggesting going to that extreme, just trying to give perspective.


*The one thing that bugs me the most and I would like to see changed is the light/medium/heavy damage types -- heavy plasma can be modeled by shots doing 100 damage, light plasma can have shots do 20 -- they are both plasma and it doesn't make sense to have them separate.

Quote
The real problem we face with the current implementation is that the player is not given information on the real damage weights protection/resistance for armour and aliens. So he's unable to make a simple addition/subtraction comparison with a weapon. Including this information as the result of an autopsy would be a nice incentive for completing autopsy research, and the same information should be made available upon researching alien armour.

With so many damage types I wouldn't want to compare values with every alien/armor/weapon combo even if I had them automagically pop up side by side. Having fewer damage types would mean it would be easier to naturally infer resistances/weaknesses, which could counteract the benefit of autopsy research, but that means that I don't need to make tons of addition/subtraction comparisons! To compensate for that we could give the player a small 5% increased damage buff vs that type of alien -- or some other fun little perk. Either way it would be nice to have that information in the autopsy, I wholeheartedly agree.

Offline Anarch Cassius

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #43 on: December 12, 2012, 10:41:58 pm »
When I first saw this system I completely cringed. What's listed in UFOpedia seemed simple and elegant like Fallout, which uses modifiers to handle penetration.

However I now think this system is the way to go. Rolemaster used a similair super detailed system and the idea is very realistic if you can have a computer doing the math. The downside of any reasonable complex damage system is it is nearly impossible for the player to calculate damage on the fly. On the other hand if the general system is intuitive not being able to get exact results in your head can be a good thing.

I think what's needed is a more formulaic approach to the subtypes and adding a few rather than trying to simplfy the system. With a little clean-up and continuing attention to detail this probably is the best way to model the interaction of weapons with various armor types.

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #44 on: December 13, 2012, 12:18:45 am »
@maackey: the main reason we have the damage weights (spray, light, medium, heavy, etc.) is to be able to model armour. The SMG, for instance, uses normal_light, and can be effective on Tamans early in the game. But as soon as armour is introduced it becomes pretty obsolete, because armour's protection against normal_light drastically reduces the damage potential. Having separate damage weights allows us to model the effectiveness of armour differently for different weapons. Assault rifles (normal_medium) get a lot weaker against armour, but the sniper rifle (normal_heavy) still packs a powerful punch. If we tried to do this just with higher damage values, we'd end up under-powering or over-powering weapons in the distribution.

As I said, I'm not entirely happy with the damage weights system, but I'm not in any position to change it at this time. I've also just finished a pretty comprehensive rebalancing of the weapons. I'm interested in riding the system we've got for a while and seeing how it plays out.

Personally I like the idea of modelling more abstract weapon parameters which define the interaction with armour and the wounding process, but I'm only half-way through my campaign with the new weapon balance and I'm really happy with the weapon balance we've got (pre-Needler, though, this could get rough!). Maybe the system does work, even if it doesn't appear as elegant under the hood, and I'm not going to beg a coder to rewrite a system that works unless I'm really convinced the benefits will be worth taking their time away from other features.