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Author Topic: Feedback and impressions after 1 campaign  (Read 16852 times)

Offline Sarin

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Re: Feedback and impressions after 1 campaign
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2012, 08:54:06 pm »
I think you need clarification about how stat upgrade work in game. I don't have exact formula, but in short...amount of experience (in certain stat) needed to "level up" it is increased by difference between current stat level and initial level (when the soldier was first recruited) and reduced by soldier's mind stat. Therefore currently mind stat controls two things. Maximum rank that soldier is able to attain, and rate of growth of all his stats. It's set in the way that stat progression slows down gradually...

And using speed stat the way you propose would require a huge rescaling of all battlescape action costs, since right now, when normal move cost 2 TUs there's little room for altering that...unless we get into all those annoying fractions.

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Feedback and impressions after 1 campaign
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2012, 12:17:23 pm »
Bashar, you have some interesting ideas. I'll address them one-by-one.

1. Speed: As Sarin mentioned, having speed effect the TU cost of movement would introduce a lot of fractions and rounding. Most importantly, it would effectively complicate the player's planning process. Most players will learn how far 20 TUs gets a soldier in the current setup. But it will be very difficult to learn how far 20 TUs gets a soldier with 25 speed, and then also how far 20 TUs gets a soldier with 35 speed, etc. Some UI feedback could be provided, but it would force the player to rely on testing the distance rather than having their own implicit sense of how far they can move. Also, you are correct that in its current setup Speed is useful for all soldier types, but I don't think it is equally important for all soldier types. More TUs are more valuable for a close specialist than a sniper. This is also why I am not a fan of combining Speed and Accuracy in one Experience value.

2. Accuracy: I actually think that Accuracy, as it currently works, is good. It is appropriate both from a gameplay and a realism perspective for some soldiers to be highly accurate at certain skill types and not accurate at others. A close specialist will be more accurate firing close weapons while a sniper will be less accurate at firing close weapons. In other words, Accuracy should provide an equally positive bonus to any firemode's skill type. Because the Accuracy ability and the weapon skill work together, there is a progressive effect DEPENDING ON THE SOLDIER'S SKILL. The reduced accuracy of automatic fire ought to be an effect of the weapon's firemode, not hidden inside of an accuracy stat.

I should mention that I think we need to be clear and consistent about the difference between Abilities (speed, strength, accuracy, mind) and Skills (close, assault, heavy, explosive, sniper). Abilities roughly correspond to broad physical attributes of a soldier. Skills represent specific, trained weapons capabilities. This difference is clear, easy to understand quickly for new users, and transparent in the way that it effects things in-game (although because some of it is not implemented yet it can be confusing). For those reasons, I think the mechanisms need to remain comfortably within these conceptual categories.

3. Encumbrance: The use of empty boxes in the inventory panel as a measure of encumbrance is interesting, and I take your point that it offers clarity for the player. But I think it will run into some complications with our current system. For instance, there is only one panel for each hand, which would make an assault rifle and a flame thrower take up the same number of inventory space. I actually think that it would be clear to the player to simply have a weight limit with a display in the equiping UI that tracks the soldiers current/max weight. It has the added benefit of corresponding directly to reality, which is something games can not often do effectively.

You're right that stat increase is difficult for this one. My concern with basing increase on encumbrance is that it effectively requires the player to penalize his own soldier in order to raise the strength stat. I'm not sure how to resolve it, but if we get our numbers figured out we might be able to write an equation that provides strength bonuses progressively based on weight, so that a soldier would get some improvement even if they weren't encumbered, but quite a bit more if they were.

4) Skill experience progression: First, I disagree with your analysis of the rate of increase of accurate vs. inaccurate weapons. There are a lot of factors that come into play which effect how much a soldier is actually firing and hitting an alien. A sniper rifle may be more accurate, but most players will use it from a distance. A close weapon may be less accurate, but it is also going to be used in a different range. Other factors, like the number of shots for a weapon (like the machine gun) also affect the number of shots on enemy. There may be existing imbalances which require certain weapon stats to be adjusted at the moment, but I don't think the underlying concept is fundamentally wrong.

Second, your proposal to base experience progression on expenditure of time units is highly vulnerable to players gaming the system. It would encourage players to bring along extra soldiers to all missioins and just have them fire into the air to expend time units using their skill. It's worth noting, too, that this same problem exists with developing the Speed and Strength attributes and I am not, as yet, sure how it can be prevented.

5) Stat proposal: I believe you read my wiki article on the abilities/skills/damagetype adjustments I am hoping to make. If you did, you will remember that I am trying to match up the Skills to combat roles, to increase the specialisation of soldiers and encourage players to bring along a more diverse set of specialists. In other words, each weapon Skill ought to present a particular solution to one of the tactical problems a player will face on the battlefield, and each tactical problem ought to have solutions that are best performed by one of the Skill sets.

Your proposal to put Rifles in one category, effectively collapses the distinction between an assault specialist and a sniper. Also, your proposal neglects to mention machine guns. But our proposals match up (with different names) for Close (Specialist) and Explosives, so I think we're on roughly the same track.

Offline homunculus

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Re: Feedback and impressions after 1 campaign
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2012, 07:37:27 pm »
The fractional time units complication is solved in some games (x-com:eu, jagged alliance) by calculating shooting time units as % of total time units (rounded to integer) and it sort of works.
I didn't read word by word and failed to notice criticism or even mention of it here, so I got the impression that the wheel is being reinvented.

Right now not only accuracy, but also speed seems to be a general weapons skill.
If some soldier can get 36 time units, he can fire two aimed shots with sniper rifle.

I mean, in the (imho more clear) case of % tu for shooting, that % tu could depend on the weapon skill, as skilled soldiers learn to shoot faster, and the % tu for recoil could depend on strength maybe.
Or maybe recoil recovery could be a skill, and instead of weapon skills we would get skills something like maneuvering the weight of the gun (pointing in general direction of target), aiming, and recoil handling (whatever, there are more competent shooters than myself here).
This is why I think with fixed tu for shooting, total tu (= speed) becomes a weapon skill.
About weight effects being added, how much would weight encumber shooting speed in reality?

On the other hand, knowing that a particular shot, say, a sniper rifle snap shot, will always take a fixed 12 time units (the way it presently works) rather than some soldier dependent % is convenient, though.

Snap shot tu + added tu for aiming would be my personal favorite (would make a more clear distinction between the firemode switch on the weapon and soldier aiming), but that is unlikely to happen here.

As for strength, is it used for anything at all at the moment?
How far a soldier can throw a grenade does not depend on strength, as far as I know.

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Feedback and impressions after 1 campaign
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2012, 09:27:05 pm »
Yes, more TU will help all weapon skills. But my argument was that it will be MORE valuable for a close specialist, who stands to gain much more from an extra 10 TUs than other skills. A close specialist's ability to move far in a given turn is more valuable, because they are more likely to be moving into unseen territory and encountering surprises after expending their TUs. The extra TUs from speed will increase his chances of winning or escaping a kill-or-die situation, something other weapon skills are not faced with as often.

Strength is not currently implemented.

Offline homunculus

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Re: Feedback and impressions after 1 campaign
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2012, 12:40:16 am »
Yes, more TU will help all weapon skills. But my argument was that it will be MORE valuable for a close specialist [...]
I didn't intend to contradict this, but was rather thinking about what the dependency on speed would look like with weight effects added.

@Bashar
Quote
I did a search but didn't find a recent thread and was reluctant to bump something that was out-dated.
As for the skills and stats rearrangements, I vaguely remember that a few years ago after some discussion and argumentation for and against rather amusing skills and stats proposals it was decided to bury this skills and stats topic and keep it as we presently have it.
I guess that is why the threads are "outdated".

There are such things like
1) firemode switch that is on the weapon
2) aiming that is done by the soldier
3) recoil recovery
and maybe some more, and including the effects of the above on the moment when reaction fire is triggered, and the time units effects associated with getting hit, and perhaps some wounds effects.
All this would be some serious analysis and implementation.
And without doing those you will probably (= as far as I can tell) end up with inconsistencies anyway, and the question shifts in the direction of "Is UFO:AI that kind of a game, or is it more like light entertainment?"

Like, how to do weight effects so that it doesn't burden the player?

Edit:
Quote from: wiki
Soldier gets a weight value up to a certain limit, at which point the soldier is considered "encumbered". When encumbered, additional weight reduces the soldier's maximum TUs.
So, once the weight limit is reached, weak and strong soldiers have same steepness of the weight effect on their TU (= not perfectly correct, but for simplicity's sake, we could live with that).
But, the scouts, in contrast to snipers, might want to wear some armor, and therefore they might end up bit burdened, and 2 more max TU (like 32 or 34) might end up determining if the scout can take 2 steps each round (4 TU remaining) or 3 steps (6 TU remaining).
Hopefully it will not be as drastic as that, but nevertheless I mean that the remaining TU effects will become steeper.

x-com:apoc had a similar system, but I got the impression the effect was smoother.
If I remember correctly, the flaw in x-com:apoc was not clearly showing how much the soldier is carrying and where exactly the burden effect starts.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 01:05:48 am by homunculus »

Offline Jon_dArc

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Re: Feedback and impressions after 1 campaign
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2012, 05:06:13 pm »
Yes, more TU will help all weapon skills. But my argument was that it will be MORE valuable for a close specialist, who stands to gain much more from an extra 10 TUs than other skills.
I don't actually agree—in my experience, snipers and heavy weapons gain the most from more TUs, as it allows them to do more before they make their attacks. Snipers in particular have "magic numbers" at 33 and 39 TUs where they can, respectively, crouch (or move one tile crouched) and still fire twice in a turn (or, in the latter case, three if they're using a basic sniper rifle and Snap Shots), and the value of a machine gunner can substantially be measured in how many tiles they can move before they hit 28 TU and need to crouch and fire.

~J

Offline pack.wolf

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Re: Feedback and impressions after 1 campaign
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2012, 07:41:59 pm »
Hello,

Beware, this is a long one...

This is a very interessting topic. And since it appears to be of interest to the developers too, I'll try to contribute.
I also feel the campaign could greatly benefit from more dynamic elements. I think a combination of a steady, unstopable increase of the threat level over time and changes in alien tactics in response to player action might be the best way to go.

## Alien intentions and capabilities ##
First, we'll need to make a few assertions about the aliens, to be able to assess their capabilities and motivations:
- They come from a place a long way away, so resupplying is difficult. Specialty gear is hard to come by, so allround equipment needs to perform tasks for which it is not designed for practical reasons. Everything is limited in numbers, any loss of equipment, life or a vessel is a hard blow to them, not so much because of replacement cost but replacement time.
- Their goal is to take Earth with as little losses as possible, preserving as much of their and our resources as possible.
- Sun Zu tells us you have to know your enemy if you want to have a shot at victory. Since they know very little about us, their primary goal at the start of any campaign is to gain knowledge about us.
- Whenever they aquirre new intel about us, they reassess their options and plan their next moves.
- Over time their supply routes grow in capability, allowing them to field more and better equipment.
- They are intelligent, so their reaction to resistance is not merely 'throw more or tougher stuff at it', but includes changes in tactics and strategy.

## How do they win, what do they want ##
Second, we'll need to do the same for 'conquer-scenarios':
- If they erradicate all noteable resistance to them by destroying our means of defence, they have achieved their goal.
- If they break our will to fight, they have achieved their goal.
- If they infiltrate countries and win them over to their side, they have achieved their goal.
Basically those are the win-scenarios of many strategy games: military victory, domination victory (let's call it terror victory in honor of XCOM :D ), cultural/diplomatic victory.

## Difficulty scaling mechanism ##
Now that we have established that, let's look at a mechanism for scaling campaign difficulty:

What I propose is for the aliens to get a certain number of points at the start of each month. These represent their available NEW supplies for this month (transport capacity from their homeworld). The number grows over time and starts higher and grows faster at higher difficulty levels. They do not carry over to the following month. Each mission they decide to perform requires resources. Scout missions require scout ships, terror missions terror ships and so on. Of course battleships are much more expensive than scouts. I'm sure you get my drift. Vessels and troops need supplies, so they can't just blow all their monthly points on new stuff, they first have to pay for repair, maintenance and resupply of vessels that survived the last month. So after getting their nose bloodied particularly bad in one month the threat stays nearly the same, while if they finish a month unscathed their capabilities are increased. This should be at least partially self-balancing, since even after a month where all their vessels survive, the new ones they bring in will also have to bring supplies for themselfes AND for the surviving ones. And the next month supply costs for BOTH fleets will be deducted before new vessles can be 'ordered'. This should be fairly easy to balance by using a certain percentage of a vessles cost as their upkeep cost and adjusting this percentage with the difficulty. See [1] for an example of this. Also they would have to use each vessel at least once per month, so they can not just build up their arsenal without the player being able to do anything about it. After all, this is also in their interesst: if they don't use them they just sit there eating preacious supplies without any gain.

## Dynamic campaign elements ##
No let's add some dynamic elements to the campaign:

Now how will they decide what kind of missions they will start with their limited contingent? The basic answer to this is quite simple, they are going to compare the anticipated reward and risk.
With every mission they undertake they are trying to get closer to their goal: dominating Earth, it's resources and it's population. They can do so by either going after their objective directly or by performing missions that increase the success rate and cut back on losses of the 'objective'-missions.

Before they can decide which kind of mission they want to start, they'll need information about what kind of resistance to expect. So in a first stage of the game they'll send scouts to survey our military bases, our population centers and industrial capabilities. As they can't know how and with what kind of power we will respond they have two options at this stage: send the biggest, meanest thing they got to break anything that dares block their way (not likely, since supply routes still have to be established, making this impractical. Also, in case of a lucky hit, mechanical failure or simply the pilot screwing up they would loose a major asset and provide us with excellent intel and technology), or they could try to be stealthy and evasive (highly likely).

# Therefore in stage 1 (let's call it recon) they should run 2 kinds of missions with stealthy, small and fast ships (= small scouts):
- land in remote areas, stay as short as possible, retreat; this way they assess our social structure and gain knowledge on indigineous flora and fauna, population distribution, social order, ...
- do runs only to draw out interceptors without intention to land, retreat asap as contact is made to assess our air-to-air capabilities

# Depending on the results of stage 1 they decide on how to proceed in stage 2, combat recon:
- If they suffered only a few or no losses they have gathered enough intel and can go directly to stage 3: infiltration
- If most of their UFOs where shot down they will regognize that they will have to send tougher ships. Now if they also shot down a lot of our craft they will know we are vulnerable and will deploy lots of ships that are a bit tougher (= medium scouts). This way they can gather a lot of intel (bc of high number of ships) and still avoid losses. On the other hand if they have hardly shot down interceptors they will send fewer, tougher ships (= heavy scouts) to avoid losses, even if it means they will need more time to gather intel.
- Independent of that, if they suffered heavy losses on the ground they will send fewer ships with more numerous and/or tougher crews. Again if they decide to go for 'more' or 'tougher' will depend on the losses they have inflicted on us.
Should they again suffer heavy losses they will recognize that they will HAVE to go with a more brute-force approach and initiate stage 4 (assault), skipping stage 3 (infiltration).

# Stage 3 (infiltration):
Infiltrating your enemy, weakening him from within, dividing alliances and strong armies and conquering the pieces one by one are key concepts in warfare. So after successfully establishing our capabilities they will try to do that to us: Lure governments to their side with promises of technology, surpremacy over others, ..., pitting one against the other to gain a foothold and weaken our defences. Depending on the results of stage 1 and 2 they will use any type of scout and crew they deem appropriate and land on Earth to perform longer missions: covertly set up bases, infiltrate human society and governments. This means again they will try to avoid confrontation and try beinig stealthy (hence the scouts). Once they are content with the level of discord sown and the footholds established or once they start suffering significant enough losses they will go on to stage 4 (assault).

# Stage 4 (assault):
Now we're cooking! Basically during this stage they will try to destroy our defenses (attack our bases, try to gain air dominance by actively hunting our crafts) and subdue the governments they couldn't infiltrate in stage 3 (terror missions). Of course they'll also need to keep their bases supplied during this time (supply missions). Btw, alien bases established on Earth should provide extra resource points for the aliens and weaken nearby countries resolve. This stage can only end one of two ways: it's them or us.

####################
And voila, dynamic campaign with good difficulty pacing!


So now what are your thoughts on all my ramblings there? :D
Hope this will be of use to you and help you generate some good ideas!
Cheers,
Alex


PS: In my opinion a less linear tech tree with more sidegrading instead of upgrading and more varied paths to different-but-equal results as propsed by Bashar would be a great addition too. He's already gone into a lot of detail there, so I won't start repeating it here :D, but I really like the idea of having to choose to use captured equipment and vessels either for improving Earth based technology, providing a long term benefit, or salvaging it for human use, providing a short time boost.

PPS: Some of this may also be applyable to the Battlescope (assign a certain number of points to each kind of vessel (maybe depending on mission type), each alien and each peace of equipment uses a certain amount).

PPPS ^ ^: English is not my first language, please ignore any blunders ;)

####################
[1]: Supply cost example (values are completely arbitrary and not chosen for balancing but ease of calculation):
Let's say the aliens start at 18 pts per month and increase that amount by 3 pt per month. A scout vessel costs 6 points, a small scout 4, supply percentage is 50%. So in month 1 they can bring in 2 scouts plus their supplies, using all their points. The next month they get 21 pts.

If both the scouts survived then 6 will be deducted for resupply. At this point let me just quickly point out that a damaged ship's maintenance should be more expensive than the standard percentage, but never exceed 100% (they would just scrap the ship at that point). That leaves them with 15 pts for new stuff. For that they can bring in another scout and a small scout (and their supplies). So at the start of the 2nd month they have 3 scouts. If again everyone survives they will have to spend 11 of their points on supplies, leaving 13 of the 24 for new stuff -> less than the month before, the growth is self limiting.

If only one scout survived only 3 pt are deducted for supplies, so they can spend 18 on 2 new scouts, leaving them with 3, they miss out on the small scout.

If all vessels are destroyed they will only be able to get another 2 scouts for their 21 pts in month 2, but even if all vessels are destroyed again they will be able to afford 2 scouts and 1 small scout in month 3 for their 24 pts -> even if the player performs flawlessly the threat level steadily rises.

Now try changing the supply percentage to higher/lower levels and you'll see how easily you can adjust difficulty that way, without having to worry about the other variables (costs of the ships). Game designers dream: Tune one variable for balancing without breaking anything else! Ship costs can still be assined completely independent of this as a function of hitpoints, speed, range, whathaveyou, as they are now.

Offline Jon_dArc

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Re: Feedback and impressions after 1 campaign
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2012, 12:22:40 am »
## Alien intentions and capabilities ##
First, we'll need to make a few assertions about the aliens, to be able to assess their capabilities and motivations:
I'm compelled to pick some nits ;)

Quote
- They come from a place a long way away, so resupplying is difficult.
Access to an FTL drive means all bets are off here.

Quote
- Their goal is to take Earth with as little losses as possible, preserving as much of their and our resources as possible.
This is much less of a useful statement than you might think—what are "resources" to the aliens? Depending on how exactly they make their antimatter, it's possible that the only resources available from Earth are humans, and with a sufficient stockpile you can use the ones you have to make more.

Quote
- Sun Zu tells us you have to know your enemy if you want to have a shot at victory. Since they know very little about us, their primary goal at the start of any campaign is to gain knowledge about us.
- Whenever they aquirre new intel about us, they reassess their options and plan their next moves.
I doubt they're going to be up on ancient Earth strategists. Given the sheer energy advantage they have, it's not totally unreasonable to start out not caring much about strategic knowledge of us. There's also the fact that, again due to sheer energy advantage, we need to assume that their strategy is going to be fundamentally dumb in at least one way for the story to be something other than "survive for as many days as you can before being obliterated".

Quote
- Over time their supply routes grow in capability, allowing them to field more and better equipment.
Again, due to the FTL drive it's not clear why this should be the case.

Quote
- They are intelligent, so their reaction to resistance is not merely 'throw more or tougher stuff at it', but includes changes in tactics and strategy.
They're certainly intelligent in the sense of "effectively steer universe towards futures that include achievement of their goals", but it's really hard to see how we end up with a game if we assume that the aliens are effective adversarial planners.

~J

Offline pack.wolf

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Re: Feedback and impressions after 1 campaign
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2012, 07:32:23 pm »
You raise some very good points there. I still think many of my assumptions still hold tough.

Even with FTL travel, I can hardly imagine resources can be transported where they are needed for free. They may get there in an instant, but it will still need a substantial amount of energy to operate any such drive. Otherwise they could just transfer every soldier and every piece of equipment from their home world onto earth surface in a matter of seconds, completely surprising us and oblitering any hopes or chances of defending ourselfs or merely surviving, and be home in time for lunch. That would make for a fairly boring game.
So I think they would have a need to establish and over time improve some kind of supply chain. It's not even merely a matter of transporting goods and vessels, but also setting up their equivalents of field hospitals, maintenance facilities, probably even entertainment and recreational facilities close to the front lines.
It also fits the fluff. Why else would their presence grow stronger and more threatening over time? Obviously for balancing reasons, but try putting that in the UFOpedia :D

Even if the only things they want from earth would still be present and unharmed after a long all out conflict, they would still try to avoid that to preserve the resources they would have to ship here to wage such a war. Even if they could resupply nearly at a whim and they got their equipment for close to free, there is still a cost. They would surely try to avoid that cost. So they would try to adapt their tactics to our responses to avoid loss.

I think it is fair to assume that they have not peacefully coexisted on their home world through all of their biological and social evolution, but that they have fought wars with one another. That means they would have to have developed some type of strategic and tactical knowledge, as they have faced enemies as potent as they are themselfs, since that's exactly who they were fighting. Therefore I imagine they have come to similar conclusions as we have: gather intel, preserve your own resources and deplete your enemies, strike a weaker force with overwhelming strength to avoid casualties. While they can clearly judge from our level of technology that we are no match for them, again why not act on knowledge gained, on lessons learned. Their initial plans will surely be full of flaws and even after gaining enough intel and changing their strategy accordingly, nothing hinders the player to change his own strategy too. Then again all bets are off.
As it stands for now, basically the game works a bit like this: Build up your bases, manpower and equipment to a certain level while fighting of aliens. Then just sit there bored, with loads of missions that have all become to easy, waiting for some research to finish so you can go to their base, kill them off and finish the campaign. After a single campaign you have probably already figured out a strategy that will work 99% of the time. That's neither motivating nor does it create replayability. An AI that adapts to your actions forces you to adapt in turn, keeping the game fresh and motivating. And knowing that at some point you will no longer be able to keep them at bay is in my opinion exactly the kind of feeling one should have while playing.
So while their initial tactic may be stupid and flawed and they might never achieve to perfect it (after all, they have millions of years of history and evolution to catch up on), they should become more dangerous over time not only via numbers, but more intelligent actions and reactions.

Offline Hertzila

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Re: Feedback and impressions after 1 campaign
« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2012, 06:11:41 pm »
Even with FTL travel, I can hardly imagine resources can be transported where they are needed for free. They may get there in an instant, but it will still need a substantial amount of energy to operate any such drive. Otherwise they could just transfer every soldier and every piece of equipment from their home world onto earth surface in a matter of seconds, completely surprising us and oblitering any hopes or chances of defending ourselfs or merely surviving, and be home in time for lunch. That would make for a fairly boring game.
So I think they would have a need to establish and over time improve some kind of supply chain. It's not even merely a matter of transporting goods and vessels, but also setting up their equivalents of field hospitals, maintenance facilities, probably even entertainment and recreational facilities close to the front lines.
It also fits the fluff. Why else would their presence grow stronger and more threatening over time? Obviously for balancing reasons, but try putting that in the UFOpedia :D

Note that they have already done a massive attack, many in fact (though all could conceivably be part of a single operation). IMO, there is another way to understand the situation and explain the Sorting Algorithm of Evil, other than a simple supply problem.

Simply put, we beat 'em. You might call it a Pyrrhic Victory and you'd be at least somewhat right but we did beat them. Their main armies and the best/'best' guys are dead from the massive defences we managed to mount. What you are fighting at the start are the b-companies and the maintenance guys and such, haphazardly equipped and sent to try and do what the main invasions were supposed and failed to do. Then the better guys 'finally' start rolling in and you see the armored and better armed guys, doing what they'd now consider a better strategy: squad-based "covert actions" and small missions, exactly the kind of stuff PHALANX would be perfect at countering.
Why not do another big invasion? We proved already that we are capable of forcing them to retreat and we have prepared the whole time they announced themselves. Doing another one after they've recovered the capability would be suicidal, as we would be much better prepared on a global scale too (I seriously doubt PHALANX keeps its research to itself).

Offline kouko

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Re: Feedback and impressions after 1 campaign
« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2012, 04:08:11 pm »
Moro! (Hi, greetings from Finland)

Introduction:

I am a fan of the original X-COM, and ended testing this UFOAI project through a lot of googling of the original game. This is the best freeware game i have played, so thank you guys! I enjoyed finding new aliens and stuff :D...
Next some impressions after playing the campaign (stable version 2.4.). I do my best to be constructive in my criticism...
Overall, I am impressed with what the team has achieved (like the thread starter...). This game is quite good balanced, fun to play and special thanks about throughout descriptions of tech tree upgrades.
I immediately enjoyed the variety of equipment and weapons available. You can really pick the weapons you like, anyways more of this under topic Tactical mode. First something about geoscape...

--
Geoscape:

Overall the system is good.
I like the radar system and UFO intercepting system with rockets or beams... I was expecting one of the UFOs to just bomb a SAM site eventually... That didn´t happen at version 2.4.
However a couple of things, if my interceptor go to same position with UFO, the game might get stuck and the game loads a long time between each rocket and bullet that my interceptor fires... Usually 30-180 sec waiting helps.
Also i would like option, that if you shoot a UFO scout with best weapons available they would blow up, not just take damage or drop into ocean :D
Too much UFOs spawns, I saw over 300 before ending the game... Balance between advancement and dozens of useless missions could be a bit better.
UFOs attacking your base, you should be able to shoot em down, not just engage aliens at battle inside the base.
It didn't help that I got stuck in the tech tree for a moment (capturing aliens... I think there should be more hints of what to do).

--
Tactical mode:

Vision... You can see everything, day and night. That makes game pretty easy and night missions less spooky.
I think you guys should not show what kind of mix of aliens you are going to fight against, so different load screens pls :D
I think my troops never fired reaction fire (RF), even with TU reserve. But guess this problem is noted elsewhere, so enough of that.
I enjoyed testing variety of weapons. Anyways, pretty quick I formed squad of 8: 2 Rocket launchers, 2 grenade launchers, 3 snipers and one assault men (assault rifle ->plasma rifle). Maybe my game would be easier with different combination, but that 8man group did last from the start to end.
So i think that you should have a bit more differation between earlygame weapons and lategame (alien) weapons, ´cos the earlygame weapons are sufficient to drop every alien you encounter.
Also there should be more troop advancement, i think they should also gain speed some times... I didn´t regognize any use of skill mind of my troops.
Medkits... The healing system isn´t perfect. Maybe at different game skill levels you should drop the soldier max hp to half of the amount it is right now. You don´t have to be afraid of the aliens, ´cos they can´t kill your units very easily, and after firefight you can heal your troops pretty easily.

I would personally enjoy having one tank or mech at my team, as well as UFO:s having theirs.
At UFO harvesters the aliens get often stuck between the two mid stairs in their ship. Also, why the heck everyone assault off their ship... Why they just don´t wait and kill the incoming attackers. Could use more differation of alien tactics (easy to wish, hard to make...)
Aliens should also use more grenades and explosing weapons, so you can´t form 3-5man firing groups so easily. Overall the aliens should be more unfair: more troops, better weapons and better vision etc.
I got the impression that the AI will typically fire weapons at the beginning ot the turn, and move to open at end of turn. However they have enough TUs for reaction fire even after that.
The maps are mostly good, I enjoy having plenty of differation and different details, such as flickering TV:s at em. So good job!
...But damn those wooden fences can take hit :(

--

Conclusions:

Thank you for making a good game
Wouldn´t made any kind of feedback for a bad one :D
Hopefully someone will enjoy my 5 cents, see you again shooting some plasma rifles!

-Kouko

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Feedback and impressions after 1 campaign
« Reply #26 on: November 28, 2012, 04:22:12 pm »
I was expecting one of the UFOs to just bomb a SAM site eventually...
It can happen.

Too much UFOs spawns, I saw over 300 before ending the game... Balance between advancement and dozens of useless missions could be a bit better.
Significantly revised campaign progression in 2.5.

UFOs attacking your base, you should be able to shoot em down, not just engage aliens at battle inside the base.
If you see them making a beeline for your base, launch some interceptors.

It didn't help that I got stuck in the tech tree for a moment (capturing aliens... I think there should be more hints of what to do).
There is an in-game message events system now. You should get a message early in the game to capture live aliens.

Vision... You can see everything, day and night. That makes game pretty easy and night missions less spooky.
One of my wishes, but I don't think it will happen soon. Not an easy task and requires some programmers with special skills.

I think you guys should not show what kind of mix of aliens you are going to fight against, so different load screens pls :D
Not sure what you're talking about, but we've got a new mission loading screen in 2.5 anyway.

So i think that you should have a bit more differation between earlygame weapons and lategame (alien) weapons, ´cos the earlygame weapons are sufficient to drop every alien you encounter.
Done in 2.5. Expect it to get pretty hard by the third month.

Also there should be more troop advancement, i think they should also gain speed some times... I didn´t regognize any use of skill mind of my troops.
Known, not sure if any improvements will make it into 2.5.

Medkits... The healing system isn´t perfect. Maybe at different game skill levels you should drop the soldier max hp to half of the amount it is right now.
THere is now a wounds system in place.

Aliens should also use more grenades and explosing weapons, so you can´t form 3-5man firing groups so easily. Overall the aliens should be more unfair: more troops, better weapons and better vision etc.
I got the impression that the AI will typically fire weapons at the beginning ot the turn, and move to open at end of turn. However they have enough TUs for reaction fire even after that.
Alien AI is significantly smarter. They are still not "smart" per se, but they are definitely not as stupid as before.

Check out this thread for a run-down on some of the major changes.

Offline znachor

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Re: Feedback and impressions after 1 campaign
« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2012, 04:33:22 pm »
I'll add my feedback.  I'm in a similar situation to Kouko, having just finished one Standard-difficulty campaign in version 2.4.

The number of encounters has been covered many times, so I'll only say that yes, there are many.  Around 250 in my game.  I'm not sure what missions the aliens are pursuing - do they scout first, then try to terrorize and/or use "diplomacy" to try to steer a region away from the player?  Do they harvest randomly?  I guess the sheer number of encounters would not be a bad thing if they were part of an overall strategy.  For example, the aliens could just decide to blitz the Revolutionary Countries to try to permanently turn them against the player (maybe they already do this?)

Combat - here I'll compare the game to the X-Com series.  In X-Com, there were the following killers:  mind control (not yet implemented, so no comment here), explosives (grenade falling at the foot of a soldier is murder, regardless of armor), "terrorists" such as the Tentaculat or the Brainsucker from X-Com Apocalypse, and last but not least, close combat.  In my most recent play-throughs of Apocalypse and Terror, easily 80% of my casualties came from the above sources.  Any sort of regular bullet-type fire the player can compensate for via armor, cover, tactics etc.

Now, UFO AI:  Aliens rarely use grenades.  They don't seem to have any other explosive weapon, either.  There are no alien terrorists that can see you, come to you across half a landscape, and kill you or worse unless you get lucky with your reaction shots.  So, reaction shots are a luxury, not a necessity.  Aliens ARE very effective at close combat - when they use it.  I lost a few guys to the plasma blade.  It's more effective than a pistol - so maybe they should use it more often?  Instead, I see aliens actually walk right past my guys, and end their turn in the open, instead of using the TUs to whip out a plasma blade and butcher one of my guys.

Overall, though, I think that the game is great and it will only get better.  Even the pretty consistent criticism of "too many encounters" can be overcome if these encounters become as lethal as X-Com Terror encounters, for example (I *never* went into those thinking that all of my guys have a 99% chance of survival).  Easier said than done, I know.

That's my two cents.  Thanks for a great game.

Offline geever

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Re: Feedback and impressions after 1 campaign
« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2012, 04:54:12 pm »
I like the radar system and UFO intercepting system with rockets or beams... I was expecting one of the UFOs to just bomb a SAM site eventually... That didn´t happen at version 2.4.

Maybe happened but SAM site won... This part needs some overhaul.

However a couple of things, if my interceptor go to same position with UFO, the game might get stuck and the game loads a long time between each rocket and bullet that my interceptor fires... Usually 30-180 sec waiting helps.

Known bug, fixed AFAIK.

Also i would like option, that if you shoot a UFO scout with best weapons available they would blow up, not just take damage or drop into ocean :D

It is too strong. :P

UFOs attacking your base, you should be able to shoot em down, not just engage aliens at battle inside the base.

You can shot them down, build and equip base defence buildings.

-geever

Offline Wolls

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Re: Feedback and impressions after 1 campaign
« Reply #29 on: November 28, 2012, 08:42:36 pm »
Umm, wow, some thread (still reading..) but in regards to SPEED and TU's, specifically actions cost:

  As I understand the game's battlescape theory, as is, is centered on the small group tactics.  Its a short intense firefight basically broken up into times units (TU's).  I think a part of that, the sense of an elite group working in tandem to engage and neutralize the alien epidemic is dependent on them moving at the same speed.  I mean take light vs heavy, 42 TUs and 18 TU's for the other, in gameplay both move at the same speed (more TU's but one is not moving any quicker then the other guy).

  That is both soldiers take the same amount of TU's to achieve similar results, this helps maintain the battlescape theory of moving in-step.  (The difference of TUs is that the 42 TUs soldier is active the entire turn while the 18 TU soldier is burdened under load and the cost of 'keeping in-step' is spending the other 24 TU inactive, presumably huffing puffing and casting murderous looks at his/her fleeter comrades).

  One of the biggest advantages/surprises of having all units move in-step is that it highlights (dramatically) the new Wounds system.  Where the cost of TU's can and does go up, based on severity of injuries.. it really makes the impression of 'whoa, this guy is hurt and can really no longer keep up' add the fact that he/she is suffering 'bleeding' damage and you notice that. 

If you start messing with TU cost too much, on an individual level you would notice 'used to be this but now its this' however, on a group level I would worry about the wounded being lost 'there are slower non-hurt guys and the hurt ones can keep up / move at the same pace with them' its a mitigation/ diffusing of the overall tactical effect/price of having a wounded soldier in the first place, its the only time you really feel like a soldier is out of step.
  Not sure if I'm making sense but in 2.4 you really DIDN'T care about getting hit and in 2.5dev you REALLY DO, I'd hate to lose this.