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Author Topic: Finished game on 2.5 Hard mode. Thoughts and experiences.  (Read 12343 times)

Offline MonkeyHead

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Re: Finished game on 2.5 Hard mode. Thoughts and experiences.
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2013, 09:12:30 am »
I 100% agree that some kind of EP round (or some human tech based plasma weapon) for colse ocmbat is needed - the close combat tech tree is pretty much done by mid game with plasma blasters, plasma blades and laser pistols (until very late game if you can keep a ready supply of PB pistol ammo, which I find hard to do). A EP Shotgun similar to the blasters ball fire mode maybe, SMG rounds like Assault rifle lite, or some kind of plasma torch derived from the flame thrower/plasma blade even.

I tend to use EP over the PB line as the PB line has not so great accuracy so single shots at mid range or greater often miss (when multiple single sots form laser or EP would hit), and the rifle lacks an automatic fire mode for close in stopping power. This is best shown with the PB blaster. You only hurt an alien if you hit it, which is where the HMG is better. More on that later.

As regards the current implementation of EP - it is designed to be an armour penetrator, and is justified in game with the research text. I am under the impression that limitations within the game mechanics are responsible for its behaviour regarding unarmoured targets, but to be fair by the time I have them in my arsenal the enemy are all heavily armoured save for the Shevaar (who have natural armour according to thier fluff text in any case). It is fairly overpowered, but no more so than PB weapons, and there is something nice about defeating the alien horde with weapons based on human ingenuity rather than taking wepons from the hands of dead aliens and using them back on them.

As for machine guns... I use them early game primarily as a support weapon, with typically no more than one per squad, two at maximum. Its user hangs back a little from combat and saturates an area with fire. Yes, it is horribly innacurate, but more than cabable of softening up enemies at range, especially the basic hovernet and bloodspiders who will not reaction fire back at you, or when firing from smoke in the first few rounds of combat, or at enemies who have no TU's left, be it from thier movement or a flashbang. I drop it midgame for the Heavy laser which I use as a long range assault weapon just like the normal Laser rifle, but late game when heavily armoured enemies and EP rounds come around it reverts back to its support role. It may attract reaction fire, but at long range this fire is often innacuate, and the sheer number of rounds it fires will land a few hits, wounding pretty much anything badly, especially with EP rounds. Consider the needler - it fulfils a similar role, but with worse accuracy, lower per projectile damage, and a lot more projectiles with similar TU use and more weight than a HMG.

Of course, with so many different approaches to combat possible, YMMV.

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Finished game on 2.5 Hard mode. Thoughts and experiences.
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2013, 11:24:54 am »
EP ammo penetrates heavy alien armor as though it was a leather apron but does no more damage to an unarmored taman than regular lead bullets do.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you here, but regular AR ammo base damage is 42. AR EP's base damage is 90, so it does more than twice as much damage to an unarmoured target. And this is before you factor in aliens' innate resistance. Both Ortnok and Shevaar have "resilient bodies", and perform well against regular AR ammo, but get no protection against AR EP ammo.

FYI, I do plan to implement EP ammo for shotguns at least, possibly also the SMG to rehabilitate that unused weapon a bit. But to be honest I have never had the plasma blaster hit its target without killing it, so I may have to drop the plasma blaster's power a touch to make the shotgun EP ammo worth it in the late game.

And I tend to play like Telok (machine guns and needlers aren't my thing), but I can appreciate that some play styles will make good use of them.

Offline MonkeyHead

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Re: Finished game on 2.5 Hard mode. Thoughts and experiences.
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2013, 11:40:08 am »
I use the SMG a LOT early game for troops with close combat skill and decent accuracy (troops with rubbish accuracy get the microshotgun for death or glory close combat murdering) to harass the enemy at range - especially if they have strength in the 30 to 32 range and cant carry a full load of kit with a heavier weapon. It is nigh on useless when alien armour shows up though, but that is totally appropriate. EP rounds for it would be a welcome addition.

As for a EP shotgun round... perhaps the range and accuracy of the plasma blaster could be nerfed further rather than the damage, whilst tweaking the shotgun accuracy up a little, giving us a plasma blaster that will kill anything close in (so a slightly longer range flamethrower) but wont hit anything regularly from more than say 6 to 8 tiles away, and a shotgun that will badly maim anything if it hits, with reasonable accuracy up to 10 tiles or so? A EP shotgun with a lower weight would be a more than sensible alternative to a heavy plasma blaster for power armoured troops who might not have the strength for heavy armour and heavy weapon.

Offline Telok

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Re: Finished game on 2.5 Hard mode. Thoughts and experiences.
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2013, 10:25:58 pm »
Maybe I'm misunderstanding you here, but regular AR ammo base damage is 42. AR EP's base damage is 90

OK, I didn't know that because I always produce EP sniper ammo first and the damage boost isn't very impressive on those, you're really looking for the armor penetration. If the MG EP ammo has a similar damage boost to the AR EP ammo then spray-and-pray might be powerful enough to do something positive for your soldiers. I dunno, I still feel that if you want mere wounding shots at long range the higher accuracy of the AR is still superior to the weight in ammo that the MG uses. I don't use needlers much either but I can see keeping one on hand for long distance, low %hit, wounding. Those hundred-ish shots normally get a hit or three where a MG at the same %hit gets 1/4th the shots and hits.

I tend to use EP over the PB line as the PB line has not so great accuracy so single shots at mid range or greater often miss (when multiple single sots form laser or EP would hit), and the rifle lacks an automatic fire mode for close in stopping power. This is best shown with the PB blaster. You only hurt an alien if you hit it, which is where the HMG is better.

I'm pretty sure my opening post noted that PB blasters are uselessly inaccurate and disgustingly heavy. Once they're out of alien hands and into mine I don't consider them weapons so much as big bags of money. But I'm pretty sure that the PB rifle compares favorably in accuracy and TUs to the human AR and it's damage is impressive. I've never missed the full-auto from the AR while using the PB rifle because the 3-round burst on the PB will kill anything if all three shots hit, and the horrendous wounds from two hits usually sends aliens into panic mode if they survive the bleeding. I don't think the PB rifle really needs a full-auto mode to be an awesome death ray.

As regards the current implementation of EP - it is designed to be an armour penetrator, and is justified in game with the research text. I am under the impression that limitations within the game mechanics are responsible for its behaviour regarding unarmoured targets, but to be fair by the time I have them in my arsenal the enemy are all heavily armoured save for the Shevaar (who have natural armour according to thier fluff text in any case). It is fairly overpowered, but no more so than PB weapons, and there is something nice about defeating the alien horde with weapons based on human ingenuity rather than taking wepons from the hands of dead aliens and using them back on them.

I think that my objection to the way EP ammo is handled is that it is supposed to be an armor penetrator that explodes during penetration. Which is fine but even armor penetrators are still affected by armor and this round isn't. The current setup really is just a magic bullet that ignores all armor. It grates on my sense of realism, and I do fully appreciate the irony of that statement. Let me put it this way, the current implementation of EP ammo violates what I know of ballistic armor penetration and ammunition construction without a sufficiently convincing explanation of it's effects. I'll read the UFOpedia again and see if I missed anything. It's not the existence or function of EP ammo I dislike, it's the magic bullet nature of the current system.

Offline MonkeyHead

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Re: Finished game on 2.5 Hard mode. Thoughts and experiences.
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2013, 12:55:13 pm »
H-Hour, why not make the Particle Blaster a close combat skill weapon? I mean, its useless at anything other than point blank range anyway.

Offline TallTroll

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Re: Finished game on 2.5 Hard mode. Thoughts and experiences.
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2013, 01:25:47 pm »
>> I think that my objection to the way EP ammo is handled is that it is supposed to be an armor penetrator that explodes during penetration. Which is fine but even armor penetrators are still affected by armor and this round isn't.

From the fluff text, I had assumed EP ammo was more like HEAT rounds, striking armour, then letting a mini plasma blade off. As such, its performance is fine, as armour that can't stop it dead is all equally ineffective

Offline braven5

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Re: Finished game on 2.5 Hard mode. Thoughts and experiences.
« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2013, 10:16:30 pm »
dont even know how to get 2.5 version, i only got v2.4 lol

Offline aa_

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Re: Finished game on 2.5 Hard mode. Thoughts and experiences.
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2013, 10:58:03 pm »
 2.5 is the beta version, you will have to get the sources and compile them youself.


 
 I think that the EP ammo is really overpowered and unrealistic.
 The begging weapons should get obsolate, and get replaced by advanced alien weapons/PHALANX developed weapons.

Offline Telok

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Re: Finished game on 2.5 Hard mode. Thoughts and experiences.
« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2013, 11:54:53 pm »
Quote
The Encased Plasma Ammo is essentially a shape charge miniaturized to fit inside of a traditional rifle. It consists of a small plasma core, a tip that fragments on impact and a soft outer casing. When the bullet hits its target, the tip fragments and the small plasma core slams into the armour. The speed of the blow causes the soft outer casing to deform, creating a sealed shell around the plasma core and trapping the heat so that it burns through the armour.

Ok, HEAT rounds don't work this way. This is functionally a miniaturized plasma blade made from a soft metal and launched at the target at hundreds of feet per second. From the description this should only work if the round strikes perpendicular to the armor, the soft metal melts more slowly than the hardened alien materials designed to reflect plasma away from the armor, and the soft metal can maintain some sort of seal or hard shape after impacting the armor and having hot rapidly expanding plasma released between it and the armor.

With this kind of round I would expect wildly varying results from angled hits and imperfect seals along side the devastating damage of perfect hits. I'd almost expect less damage to unarmored targets if the round fails to fragment while passing through soft tissues. It should certainly not penetrate walls at all but could easily cause a torch of plasma to eject from the far side of the wall. It's certainly not a magic no-armor bullet.

Offline DarkRain

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Re: Finished game on 2.5 Hard mode. Thoughts and experiences.
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2013, 05:34:06 am »
2.5 is the beta version, you will have to get the sources and compile them youself.

Actually as noted here we are offering a 2.5 nightly build

Offline aa_

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Re: Finished game on 2.5 Hard mode. Thoughts and experiences.
« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2013, 08:24:06 am »
Ok, HEAT rounds don't work this way. This is functionally a miniaturized plasma blade made from a soft metal and launched at the target at hundreds of feet per second. From the description this should only work if the round strikes perpendicular to the armor, the soft metal melts more slowly than the hardened alien materials designed to reflect plasma away from the armor, and the soft metal can maintain some sort of seal or hard shape after impacting the armor and having hot rapidly expanding plasma released between it and the armor.

 How do you imagine packing plasma into a bullet and keeping it inside until the weapon is shot? The bullet will melt once it is made. Even if you have materials that wont melt, the heat will diffuse through the metal and cause the gunpowder explode pre-maturely. Even if that wont happen, plasma will lose heat by the time it is delivered to the battlefield.

Actually as noted here we are offering a 2.5 nightly build
But only Windows ones, no Linux or Mac builds... Really, there isn't much Linux releases as well.


Offline NicSO

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Re: Finished game on 2.5 Hard mode. Thoughts and experiences.
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2014, 06:02:09 pm »
Reaction fire problems :P

In real combat soldier that is hiding in narrow space (ambush) is in great advantage. Lets say I am at the end of corridor hiding behind wall:

1. I can hear enemy coming and shoot at him around corner
2. I can peek and open fire on unsuspecting enemy

In this game waiting around corner is great disadvantage, specially on high rise map. Im waiting for enemy to come to me, hiding on the stairs but my soldier reactions are too slow so enemy can come around the corner and just shoot my soldiers faster than they can respond.

It gets specially bad when using plasma blades, they have reaction fire but it is unusable in such cases. Battle hoovernet had time to come to my soldier hiding at first step on stairs, come face to face to him and obliterate him.

Game engine has some limitations but you can simulate this in the manner of adding one more fire mode - reaction fire fast fire mod which can be used only as reaction fire option. It will simulate real situation well.

I also discovered small bug - missing fire when shooting near the tent in woods....I just loose TUs but there is no bullets.

Also, UFOs are to slow and too weak so I doubled their damage capacity and I made all aircrafts 2 to 3 times faster then I also made ammo and rockets + SAM weapons faster to compensate faster UFOS.

Saracen has now cruise speed of over 3000 kmh, stiletto over 2200.

I also made scout faster cos its scout, unarmed craft and it needs to be fast.


Offline ChungHorwitz

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Re: Finished game on 2.5 Hard mode. Thoughts and experiences.
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2014, 10:42:31 am »
Save attached if anyone wants to play or data mine it.

Soldiers:
My A list soldiers were a rockin' slay-fest by the end. 100% weapon skill, 35 TU, and 160 health armed with particle beam rifles, grenade launchers (PB ammo), coil guns, and sniper rifles (enhanced ammo) made for a smooth
solar panel. The only save scumming I did was when I lost 2+ people on my first turn (that happened every five or six missions) or the transport got shot down by a surprise alien gunboat out past interceptor escort range (this only happened five or six times in the whole game).

My B list guys were pretty good too, except that last guy. Aliens have a tendency to target the easiest kill, which is pretty logical. But that guy is usually the newest guy, he'll have lower strength so may be in nano armor instead of power armor, and he'll have the lowest health total even when fully healthy. So I ended up hiring expendable assault rifle guys for that slot and letting them draw fire away from more valuable troops. This is pretty gamey and probably an unintended tactic but the AI pretty much required it.

When the aliens bust out the particle beam weapons you'll want a third squad and transport. This might give you time to train them up a little and maybe get some of them into power armor and the 120+ health range before things get hairy.

My C list guys are almost totally expendable. Maybe half are strong enough to wear power armor, which means that they other half usually die to a single shot from a particle rifle. That base (in Africa) has about 15 soldiers, most of them are pretty badly wounded much of the time. Almost none of them last for ten missions, the kill rate with particle beam weapons is too high for new recruits to survive gaining enough experience to get past the "mook" designation.

In future games I'm going to change my soldier skill spread. In this game I used (on the A and B teams) two assaults, three snipers, and three grenadiers. I will reduce the grenadiers to two, but I don't know if I'll increase the snipers or assaults. Plus the weight rules have caused me to disregard any soldiers with a strength score of less than 36. The weaklings just can't handle real armor and a weapon, combat armor is worse than useless against particle beam weapons. If a soldier can't handle nano armor, a weapon (plasma rifle or sniper rifle and a reload is the minimum acceptable), and a med-kit then what is he doing on the field? Dying, that's what.

Bases:
Do you see that ring of eight AA defences around the workshop base in China? That base was attacked eight times. My first base was attacked once, some other base was attacked twice, and that one workshop base just pissed the aliens off somehow. I only up-gunned it after the fifth attack, after the improvements that base must have accounted for 30%+ of the ufos that were shot down.

I also need to specialize my bases more, turning the first base into a full research/combat base is still OK, but no more combining an active workshop base with a combat squad. The hospital and large hanger reduce the available workshop space too much. Plus those stupid doors in the workshops favor a more kamikaze approach to base defence.

The entrance is still an ungodly pain in the butt to defend or attack, still a horrid OSHA violation that must be a right nuisance to carry fragile laboratory equipment or heavy aircraft weapons up and down. It's a good design for a dangerous tactical shooter set-up, but it really bad as an actual useful entrance. At the minimum that little wire cattle gate is idiotic and there ought to be a helicopter landing pad there.

Base defence consists of (for non-combat bases) expendable weaklings and a couple of snipers. I started the mooks with shotguns and slug ammo, which worked pretty well until medium alien armor came along. I tried giving them plasma blasters but that didn't work out, the blasters are too inaccurate to be effective even at close base defence ranges. Plasma rifles and plasma blades are where it's at, unless you want to spring for the enhanced ammo for assault rifles but that ties up production man-hours while plasma ammo just falls out of the sky. Set your command post right next to your entrance and lock a sniper rifle guy in the room with the security cameras, give him IR goggles just for something to do. Sniper guy is there to shoot through walls and ceilings when he's the last defender, plus the security camera views are useful. The other sniper gets to go to the ground level of an enclosed building, living quarters, small hanger, or power plant(?) and shoot through walls to wound as many aliens as possible. You'll lose two to five guys defending your entrance and another couple of guys clearing workshops or blind corners of ground level. That's why you use the weak mooks. Expendables.

Weapons:
This is what I used.
Assault rifle -> Plasma Rifle -> Particle Beam Rifle
Sniper Rifle -> Coil Gun or SR with enhanced ammo
Grenade Launcher, upgrade ammo as appropriate

I tried the following.
Plasma Blaster: too inaccurate, I missed 4/5 shots at a range of 4 squares with the Ball mode.
Particle Beam Cannon: enormous damage potential, crap accuracy. A one hit kill isn't worth the other 50 misses.
Shotgun: OK until aliens started wearing armor, needs enhanced ammo (slugs are bigger than AR rounds anyways).
Bolter: the TU, weight, and ammo issues make this not enough of an upgrade to adopt. Does the anti-matter enhanced ammo make it an area explosion? That might be worth it on a specialized support sniper, but that's still iffy.
Rocket Launcher: fun but too situational to dedicate a soldier to.
Flamers: the 12 TUs for the candle setting and the short range make this a suicide-by-alien weapon, and sometimes the tougher aliens survive.

Pacing:
Early game is still slow, waiting for aliens so you can sell some stuff for that next building or to replace a shot down interceptor. Late game is... interesting. If you play the save be prepared for waves, a week or ten days with eight to twelve ufos then a week to ten days of quiet. It's going to harsh up team 3 pretty regularly, that's why there are so many of them.

Last thoughts:
Good times, still some smoothing out to do, the AI is still in it's infancy. Implementing the dropship inventory will help with situational weapons, it'll happen someday. I don't know if 100% close weapon skill helps the plasma blaster or PB cannon, I don't know of it's worth carrying a close weapons guy long enough for him to get good enough to try. Close needs something, flamers need something, and I still don't know if the first two researched interceptors are worth the effort.


It was pretty nice game for sure.. I have played it several times and will give 3 out of 5 stars..
« Last Edit: February 04, 2014, 12:00:18 pm by ChungHorwitz »