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Author Topic: PHALANX base design  (Read 12766 times)

Offline Erk

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PHALANX base design
« on: February 23, 2013, 04:50:16 pm »
First, since this is my first post here, I'll get the praise out: This is a great game, and I am playing the dickens out of it in all my copious free time as a full time student and new dad. I'm really enjoying the 2.5 changes, which have added some genuine challenge without being too hard to enjoy (those lizard dudes can be downright scary), and all in all I love the reimagining of the original xcom. Sad that terrain can't be more destructible, but them's the breaks I guess (bahaha).

Anyway. I have had a long string of base attacks lately, and I just have to ask: What is the deal with PHALANX base design? They go to all this effort to put the whole base underground, but then make every second module type an access point. The main lift entry is designed such that it's far easier for an attacking force to gain control and hold the top from defenders than it is for defenders to protect the bottom. The whole thing, to put it bluntly, kind of stinks. This is exacerbated by a starting base design that puts access points all around the map, and a mission start system that often places enemies closer to the major defensive positions than your own troops.

Some of this could be alleviated by having UFOpedia list which buildings contain surface access, since it's kind of random to a newer user (eg workshops, but not small hangars...). Really, though, it seems to me like some of the base attack stuff needs reworking, at the very least making the main access defensible for defenders and having your soldiers start out in a logical location rather than scattered willy-nilly throughout the base. And perhaps having the aliens not actually start the invasion inside the base? It'd be great if they had to deploy like PHALANX troops do at the beginning of our attack missions.

I apologise if this is a well known complaint. I'm still learning where to find things in this community.

Nice to meet you all,
Erk

Offline Noordung

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Re: PHALANX base design
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2013, 07:06:13 pm »
Best way to defend base is to get your soliders in living quarters top floor and when alens come closer you just shoot them through wall with sniper rifle.

One improvment however could be made. Since you know aliens are comming you could have option to choose where your men would start defense. At least in witch building.

Offline GPS51

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Re: PHALANX base design
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2013, 07:21:09 pm »
Yeah I agree, I've taken to just shooting aliens through the floors/walls. I don't understand at all how supposedly a "top secret ultra military base" is so wide open to assault and capture. My soldiers start ALL over the map? huh? But I'm sure the design team will get around to it. They've usually got a good idea (just never enough hours in the day) ;)

Offline ShipIt

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Re: PHALANX base design
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2013, 09:20:42 pm »
I agree we need a better solution for this, but it is not that easy to make both the map more "base-like" and the base defence missions still challenging.

Offline Erk

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Re: PHALANX base design
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2013, 10:23:44 pm »
The deployment issue is already something in development, I think. That will solve a lot of problems. The main one that breaks suspension of disbelief for me is the layout of the access ramp.... The walkway around the top makes it an untenable location for defense, even though canonically it should be the strongest spot in the base. It's easier to hold down the workshop.

[edit] ran out of time while typing that. Also wanted to say that I realise some of the obvious developments would make it too easy... sniper points and automated defenses, for example. I wonder if you could do something  like have a few more blown-out walls, perhaps? I am no coder, but it seems to me you could make a "wall/roof blown out" version of each topside model, and then randomly distribute a certain number of these around the base to give the aliens other ways to take potshots and jump through holes in the bunker ceiling.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 10:59:39 pm by Erk »

Offline Triaxx2

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Re: PHALANX base design
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2013, 02:48:05 am »
The default layout is terrifyingly awful. On the other hand, it's also very useful, since it includes one of every single building so you can see where the weakpoints are.

I tend to build so that the accessible locations are all 'north' of the living quarters. This way, I can advance and cover all the potential entries. I also build so that the Storage can see the Hangar area. So I can step out and sight for troops in the hangar. If I'm lucky, the RNG will be kind and drop snipers there so they can step out, shoot and step back from there.

I always keep a couple of flame thrower guys, because they can hold the ramp for the entrance a lot better than rifles or machine gunners. Alien walks down ramp, turns to shoot flamethrower guy, gets BBQ'd.

Offline noctilucus

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Re: PHALANX base design
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2013, 05:53:23 pm »
What also works well (for secondary bases where you don't need all the available space) is if you place hangars in such a way that the only way invading aliens reach your base is through 1 choking point. The same goes to whichever building it is again that has a loading ramp leading to an open door, I don't remember...
In practice this means clustering these buildings together to the far North-East of your base and leaving a stretch of open space South. To the West, leave open spaces for all but 1 hangar.

It's quite easy to keep the aliens pinned down in that choking point (1-2 soldiers with reaction fire can manage while the others make their way to the scene).

Offline jffdougan

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Re: PHALANX base design
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2013, 04:39:43 am »
One simple fix would be to remove the upper-level access points for the workshop. Failing that, swap the default locations of Workshop (vulnerable) and Alien containment (not).

The discussion was probably a long time ago, but what's the logic behind the unbuildable points on secondary bases? Given the large number of effectively mandatory structures (at a minimum, access elevator, power plant, command center, living quarters, radar), they seem to be an annoyance more than anything else.

Edited to add: One other possible solution would be to allow the player to see the locations of the rock tiles and then place the access elevator in the position they desire. This could actually allow the player to turn these unbuildable points into an advantage rather than a nuisance/liability.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 04:49:01 pm by jffdougan »

Offline Erk

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Re: PHALANX base design
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2013, 04:34:58 pm »
That's a pretty excellent point about unbuildability. If the roof to a module actually *is* the surface, why can't I set my whole base up at once?

I don't know. Base defense just baffles me, it is really hard to make any sense of in the context of the rest of the game. I just started another mission where my soldiers began deep in the center of my base while aliens started actually within my entrance, and headdesked again. Fortunately I know it's a WIP.

Offline samofishfire

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Re: PHALANX base design
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2013, 05:24:05 am »
Really I find that base defense missions are easy to spot (where else do UFO's beeline for your base). I shoot them down unlike in the original XCOM for 2 reasons. A) the fact they won't send another one immediately. B) The fact that it's not a battleship (monster of ship).

Offline Noordung

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Re: PHALANX base design
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2013, 05:03:19 pm »
Sometimes there can be land attack on base.

Offline GPS51

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Re: PHALANX base design
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2013, 07:49:46 pm »
I don't understand why workshops provide 2 access points per buildings for aliens. (yes my production base was just overrun 3 straight tries). I did try shooting down the bomber with a fighter equipped with antimatter missiles (low dmg to ufo) but it calmly flew through my sam sites/laser points (no dmg dealt to ufo). I'm also curious as I've never seen aliens move so far in one turn, I can't move my units more then one turn before the aliens have run down through the workshop doors and through the next "tile" building and started gunning down troops with pb rifles. For goodness sakes, the production workshops shouldn't even have doors to the outside world. If all the aliens must spawn around the entrance ramp then so be it. But I'm tired of them getting stuck in corners and having to go find them when they attack my other bases because they went into a workshop and moved into the next building then stopped in the corner (tends to be very effective). Also, shouldn't there be a time limit on base attack missions? Say 30 minutes? They are such time hogs compared to other missions that I dread playing them due to having to find the aliens stuck in corners etc. I've taken to equipping my troops with sniper/bolter/em rifles and just shooting through walls/floors because the aliens get stuck in corners and/or just stand above my troops above ground for the most part. Perhaps moving them all to the access ramp would allow the AI to function better?
I don't mean this to be a simple rant post. I would love to help out in creating fun, dynamic (as the engine allows) base defense missions because I feel that done properly that they add a lot to the feel of the game. I have no technical skills beyond doing qa for another indi studio.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 10:47:05 pm by GPS51 »

Offline Telok

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Re: PHALANX base design
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2013, 10:55:21 pm »
The simplest way to address this is to make and submit your own base map tiles.

If what you make is better (and it shouldn't be too difficult to improve on the entrance, radar, large hanger tower, storage, or living quarters) then it will be included and replace the old tiles.

Offline GPS51

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Re: PHALANX base design
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2013, 01:09:38 am »
I'm curious (as usual), from what I've seen the map "tiles" all have to be modular in so they can randomly be fit together? Isn't this where the majority of the problem comes from in the "stuck in the corner" part of the base defense mode, because all the tiles have to join at the 4 edges of the map for pathing? I believe changing the spawn points also would help a great deal, I chuckled to realize the aliens where spawning inside my base (no wonder they were on me so fast). But I'm hoping that had more to do with stairs being broken and random files being tweaked then anything else, why else would they wind up hiding under the laser and missile batteries in my base? I would be very much interested in trying my hand at map tile creation if there was a map plan of how base defense will play out in the future, namely will workshops always be an "easy access" point for a supposedly secure facility that has a *gasp* entrance/exit building that MUST be built before the base is ususable, weird eh? I'd love to equip all 50 production workers with rifles and send them off to fight the aliens. Failing this how about a (base ground defense weapon) 2 man world war 2 vintage aa machine gun (german 88) at the base gate, or some base guards? (would probably die quickly but be fun). Why do workshops have to be raised? Why can't they be flat like a lot of other buildings? Then there's a lot of room for landing a ufo on top of the base and watching the aliens sprint for the gate as you move your troops ?from the barracks? around the base? would be great! (sorry for the wordy post)
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 01:16:04 am by GPS51 »

Offline Telok

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Re: PHALANX base design
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2013, 02:23:01 am »
Base map tiles need to be modular because you can build any base tile next to any other base tile. The "stuck in corner" bit is due to the fact that the AI is still under development, like the rest of the game.

Base defence, in the future, will play as the contributors to the game make it play. Your contributions will alter the future of how base defence will play, within the limits of the game engine obviously.

If you want to try to make base defence better start with reasonable and logical changes. Make the tops and sides of the buildings smoother, walkable, and have landscaping (trees, bushes, appropriate terrain) on top. This will help with topside pathing issues by eliminating trapping corners and make the base more believable by making it more "hidden." Then try to tackle illogical design. The entry gate tile needs a helipad, stairs, security checkpoint, and a cargo elevator. The large hanger needs glass in it's tower windows and a full 360 view. Some doors probably shouldn't be open by default but closed and replaced by breakable entities, I'm uncertain of how the AI reacts to breakables so this may be problematic.

At some point base defence will include aliens rushing for the alien containment module, possibly some sort of camera and security system activated from the command center, and the possibility of aliens breaching your anitmatter containment. All these things are possibilities that are mainly dependant on AI and engine improvements that are planned for "someday."