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Author Topic: Feedback on 2.5-2.6  (Read 6246 times)

Offline hwoarangmy

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Feedback on 2.5-2.6
« on: June 07, 2014, 01:38:57 am »
Hello,

On another thread, I said I would post some feedback about the game I am playing so here it comes :)
First, I want to thank you all for this great game. I have played it much now and I enjoyed it :)
Let me introduce my UFO history. I discovered on a website for old games UFO : Ennemy Unknown a while ago and played it (and none of its followers). I liked it very much so, few time ago, I started to look for a similar open source game and that's how I ended up in UFO AI's website.

So, I played a few the 2.4 then 2.5 and a little bit 2.6.

Concerning the 2.4, not much to say since I didn't play much so I don't really remember the differences between 2.4 and 2.5 except the equipment weight, which is a very good thing in my opinion.

Concerning the 2.6, I tried to play a game but it was too buggy for me (I tried in the beginning of 2014). The soldiers used to go for strange paths (for going from 1 case to the next one, they go diagonaly then horizontally so 5 TU instead of 2). I have also seen a map where I could not go inside the UFO (like if there was a wall) and I have given up on a base attack where my soldiers were not able to go to the stairs because of an invisible wall again.
But I have seen the UI and I think it is nice. It is good to see everybody's health. If it is not done yet, it would also be cool to add the TU bar so you can see in the blink of an eye if everybody has used his TU or not, which is especially good in a base attack to not forget a soldier.

Concerning the 2.5, I have played many hours now and I have an advanced game (normal difficulty) which is going very well (bases on every continent, every nations happy).
First of all, I want to say that I have seen almost no bug. Only some very annoying battlescape crashes when I was trying to capture living aliens but they were fixed by DarkRain in a thread where I posted the bug so it is not a bug anymore.
Concerning the game itself, I enjoyed it much.
I have only seen few things that could be improved (if you didn't play the game, please don't read this as you could be spoiled) :
1 - Spawning points : I played a map with the Heracles and 3 aliens (Ortnok, Taman and Sheevar) looking at me. Without smoke grenades, I would have lost all the team. I feel it is not very fair to start a map in such unfavorable situation.
2 - Reaction fire : It is pretty hard to understand how it works. The first games I played, I thought it didn't work as I never saw it trigger. I was keeping TU on every soldier to make sure they could handle any situation but I was seeing aliens come just in front, shoot, kill them and leave. After reading the forum, I have understood how it works but I believe it is much too hard to use. You cannot reserve enough TU for killing one alien (or it will kill you before it is triggered). Well, as you understood, I don't use reaction fire, which is a shame. If there was no smoke grenade, for me, the game would be unplayable.
3 - In the introduction, it is said that every nation sent its best soldiers to Phalanx. When you recruit them, it is strange to see that they are at most mediocre, even for sniper skills using a sniper riffle. IMHO, it would be better to use futuristic weapons even for the beginning (no sniper or assault riffle) used only by Phalanx.
That would explain why recruits, even being the best soldiers, are just rookies when they go to Phalanx. Or to say that the nations have revived Phalanx unit after loosing all their best soldiers.
4 - In the text, when trying to understand alien minds, it is said that some aliens are killed. in fact, their number do not change. It could be nice to really kill them so that the player as to capture some more to make more researches.
5 - In the text, it is said that some aliens (at least sheevar), do not see but have something similar to infrared detection. In fact, I have seen in game that they spot my units from far and, when I am behind smoke or behing a wall, they do not seem to detect me. It could be nice and interesting to really have different behaviours when dealing with different alien species.
6 - The game is really difficult in hard level. I have tried a game and I got a game over from the nations only after few months even having attacked every UFO I could (which are only scouts) and letting the other ones land but doing all missions. As I use many smoke grenades, civilians do not survive for long as aliens kill them fast since they do not see my units.
7 - When an Alien is in a room inside a building, it usually keeps wandering and I often have to suicide one soldier to find it or to make it come out to be able to finish it.
8 - AI.
 8A - I have seen many threads talking about it and saying it is not good. I do not agree. I think it is not that bad. Even if it can seem suicide addict, it is well explained in the game so it didn't seem weird to me. For me, the only problem is that when they do not see phalanx units, they just seem being lost and not knowing where to go (most visible during base attacks when you see them through the camera going in and out without doing anything). For me, if there was some kind of destination where aliens tried to go, the AI would not seem stupid. This destination doesn't have to be really strategic but it would make player think aliens know where they go.
 8B - From what I have seen, aliens do not seem to share there vision. I heavily use smoke grenades and the only aliens that kill me are the ones that go just near my units. I have never seen an alien spot me and another, without vision, fire at me. Even if I have to admit that this might be wrong since usually, the soldiers that are spotted do not survive. But if it really is, one thing that could be done coud be to check for all aliens to see if there is a good opportunity to fire when a Phalanx soldier is spotted (instead of playing alien turns one after the other). That would seem like if they were playing together instead of each one for himself.
Moreover, I would say that it is easy to make the AI seem to play better by giving aliens good stats (many TU and good accuracy as it is the case actually). But if the AI was better, and every aliens did play well, alien level should have to be decreased or the game would be unplayable.
To summarize, IMHO, to improve alien AI, there should be an objective so that they do not seem to be lost and the aliens should change their turns when they spot a soldier to let the one with the best chance to kill play.

As I didn't finished my game yet, I might post more comments later :)
« Last Edit: August 28, 2015, 11:57:43 pm by hwoarangmy »

Offline anonymissimus

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Re: Feedback on 2.5
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2014, 07:07:36 pm »
Quote
As I use many smoke grenades, civilians do not survive for long as aliens kill them fast since they do not see my units.
Some maps are extremely bloody in this aspect. However, some can also be turned around by "smoking" the civilians (and not just yourself). I got out of the "holiday paradise" map with a perfect result, after loosing desperately the first time I played it. I now normally have 2-4 cannon fodder units without armor (speed boost) and with smoke grenades who scout, put smoke and then pose as a target so they attract the shots which would otherwise have hit the civilians or valuable units. This also places AI in a way Phalanx can shoot them the next turn. The AI almost always leaves the civilians alone if it can see a Phalanx soldier. This fodder likely dies, but there are enough recruits.
Killing aliens as quickly as possible is the best way to save civilians (and soldiers) however;. It's still possible to win on the first turn, I did it once on the graveyard mission, as there were only 4 aliens and I had an optimized squat. Saving all civilians greatly improves the relation to all nations. It seems that saving less than 50% makes them unhappy, so that's what one should go for.
Quote
From what I have seen, aliens do not seem to share there vision.
I imagine this is unlikely to ever happen, because it is much too difficult to code. It would require considering all units every time a soldier or civilian is spotted and doesn't allow to simply loop over every unit and go on once it's TUs are used up.

EDIT
The "holiday paradise" I was talking about is called "resort" when selecting a map for skirmish. On that one throwing smoke at civilians works best, since all civilians are placed together and in reach for the cannon fodder units. 5-8 smoke grenades on the first turn are needed. it's useful to let some units start with one in hands.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2014, 07:25:12 pm by anonymissimus »

Offline DarkRain

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Re: Feedback on 2.5
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2014, 06:02:42 am »
Concerning the 2.6
<...>
But I have seen the UI and I think it is nice. It is good to see everybody's health. If it is not done yet, it would also be cool to add the TU bar so you can see in the blink of an eye if everybody has used his TU or not, which is especially good in a base attack to not forget a soldier.
It is possible to switch the bars to show to HP, TU or morale with one clik (but yes future 2.6 is currently under heavy development and it breaks regularly)

Quote
1 - Spawning points : I played a map with the Heracles and 3 aliens (Ortnok, Taman and Sheevar) looking at me. Without smoke grenades, I would have lost all the team. I feel it is not very fair to start a map in such unfavorable situation.
Well it isn't as if the aliens didn't notice you landing, why wouldn't they be ready to welcome you with hot plasma :D
Of course, not all maps should be like that, but I don't see anything wrong with some maps doing that

Quote
3 - In the introduction, it is said that every nation sent its best soldiers to Phalanx. When you recruit them, it is strange to see that they are at most mediocre, even for sniper skills using a sniper riffle. IMHO, it would be better to use futuristic weapons even for the beginning (no sniper or assault riffle) used only by Phalanx.
That would explain why recruits, even being the best soldiers, are just rookies when they go to Phalanx. Or to say that the nations have revived Phalanx unit after loosing all their best soldiers.
Well, the intro does say that they tried their best to fight the aliens with very few victories (and don't forget the Mumbai massacre)

Quote
8B - From what I have seen, aliens do not seem to share there vision. I heavily use smoke grenades and the only aliens that kill me are the ones that go just near my units. I have never seen an alien spot me and another, without vision, fire at me.
They already share vision in future 2.6 (but they do take turns in strict spawning order), but I haven't played long enough to see if it make a difference, anyway the AI still haves a long way to go, it might not be a catastrophic failure, but still needs a lot of development...

Offline Visitor

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Re: Feedback on 2.5
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2014, 07:32:28 am »
To comment on a few points:

Recruits - I would like game fluff to more directly explain the selection of potential Phalanx members. The fact that sizeable group of soldiers died in Mumbai in itself (which bit of background also should be reconsidered as it overblows a bit strength of the aliens to what turns out happens during the gameplay) is hardly a good explanation why the rest of the world can now offer only a bunch of largely inept recruits, often mediocre even by the standards of typical military (as I assume that's what those are based on since they are available before Phalanx begins operations to make it's own standards and evaluation).

Simply mentioning that due to security concerns for what is beyond regular black ops, fitting background, attitude and mental/emotional characteristics is a priority would be good. Or even saying that there are many soldiers that fit high standards for potential Phalanx fodder but their respective governments are reluctant in offering informations about them, yet alone give them away as the threat is global and they'd like to keep some skilled personnel for their own military operations.

Reaction fire is improved since the last major release but I have to agree, it's still convoluted and unreliable enough that it's often better to use the remaining TU to hide the soldier or attempt one more shot at slightly subpar angle/accuracy rather than wait till the enemy moves to a bit more convenient position - as it often means that it'll simply shoot the soldier without provoking the reaction fire.

Aliens starting near the dropship is not the best idea from the standpoint of gameplay unless Phalanx always gets the first shot and is certainly questionable from the standpoint of realism. Even IRL, modern helis usually have at least some way of clearing the area before landing (on-board machinegun etc) or they land somewhat away from the enemy.

Landing next to them is a bit more understandable in case of missions where the alien ship is crashed to prevent the few able aliens left to leave the place or secure the area.

Speaking of crashes, there really should be an increased chance of sizeable number of ship's crew dying with them leaving bodies near the crash site at the beginning of the tactical round, at least in case of battle-oriented or smaller units like fighters - not only player deserves such boon at times after prolonged dog fight in the air, but it's also more believable than 'they have REALLY good seatbelts' when the ship is bunch of burning bits strewn all over the place.

AI doesn't particularly bother me. In fact, aliens already seem to have suspiciously high stats at times given their long-range accuracy with close-range firearms (I would never guess that blaster was meant to be used like a shotgun, aliens had no problem employing it as an artillery support) and number of TUs (though here one may argue that they are simply far less burdened by their equipment).

Certainly, I am not fond of increasing their stats even higher; that really actually doesn't give impression that they're smarter - typical player will still notice erratic pattern of movement and questionable actions, but there will be more to actually complain and get irritated about when aliens will pull some 'run around the block, shoot two soldiers and then take a sniper bullet to the unprotected head with a grunt and a shrug' superhero routine. Say what you want about some tough skin and subdermal armor, for me it sometimes feels more like comicbook supervillains who forgot their dark capes more than scary soldiers of alien invaders (and cliche, colorful taman super sentai-styled armors certainly do nothing to alleviate this impression).

Not sure about the difficulty on hard - yes, it may be tricky but the core problem here i not really winning missions from the get go as much as creating proper radar coverage as it's the aliens who went undetected that usually are the reason behind nation's lack of support.

Rest of the OPs points I have little of a reason to comment on, with exception to hivemind and seeing-through-walls behavior suggestions.

I'd be very careful with implementation as it will disturb the balance considerably as well as possibly give more of an impression that AI is simply crude and the system uses unfair exploits in deciding it's actions. In addition, that may be in already in to an extend because of how AI actually works - use infrared goggles and look at aliens on the other side of some wall and then keep observing them when moving - you'll notice that they actually follow the soldier as if being able to spot him/her through the wall, just too stupid to do much else about it.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2014, 07:35:35 am by Visitor »

Offline hwoarangmy

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Re: Feedback on 2.5
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2014, 12:40:00 am »
It is possible to switch the bars to show to HP, TU or morale with one clik
Really cool

Well it isn't as if the aliens didn't notice you landing, why wouldn't they be ready to welcome you with hot plasma :D
Of course, not all maps should be like that, but I don't see anything wrong with some maps doing that
Well, if I was phalanx commander, you were my director of field operations and you told me "Let's land the dropship with 12 over 30 of our best soldiers in the middle of ennemy lines without cleaning the field before they drop", you could be sure that I would send you to Doctor Connor to make sure, as I already know, that you are infected with the X Virus.

Well, the intro does say that they tried their best to fight the aliens with very few victories (and don't forget the Mumbai massacre)
Not every good soldier died in Mumbai, I guess. And again, I think that the soldiers we can recruit are really bad if they are said to be "the best soldiers from every country". But that's just a detail.

They already share vision in future 2.6
Good :)

(but they do take turns in strict spawning order), but I haven't played long enough to see if it make a difference, anyway the AI still haves a long way to go, it might not be a catastrophic failure, but still needs a lot of development...
I really think that if they could switch turn to choose the alien with the greatest chance to hit, AI would feel much better (at least, playing as a team). But anyway, I think that the worst thing is the "wandering aliens". They just seem to be lost and make really think that the AI is weak. But in all the other cases, I didn't feel there was a problem with AI. And again, if you find a way to improve alien AI so it shoots soldiers behing smoke grenades when they see them hide in the smoke, for example, the game will be really unplayable so the aliens levels will have to be decreased.

Recruits - I would like game fluff to more directly explain the selection of potential Phalanx members. The fact that sizeable group of soldiers died in Mumbai in itself (which bit of background also should be reconsidered as it overblows a bit strength of the aliens to what turns out happens during the gameplay) is hardly a good explanation why the rest of the world can now offer only a bunch of largely inept recruits, often mediocre even by the standards of typical military (as I assume that's what those are based on since they are available before Phalanx begins operations to make it's own standards and evaluation).
We agree. it's hard to explain that there is not even one sniper out there who can shoot an alien from 10m with more than 10% hit chances.

Simply mentioning that due to security concerns for what is beyond regular black ops, fitting background, attitude and mental/emotional characteristics is a priority would be good. Or even saying that there are many soldiers that fit high standards for potential Phalanx fodder but their respective governments are reluctant in offering informations about them, yet alone give them away as the threat is global and they'd like to keep some skilled personnel for their own military operations.
Yes, that could explain some things.


Landing next to them is a bit more understandable in case of missions where the alien ship is crashed to prevent the few able aliens left to leave the place or secure the area.
Let's be honest, no phalanx commander would agree to land a ship in the middle of alien lines to have a small chance to save 4 civilians and a big chance to loose 12 veterans. If we speak from realistic point of view, they would embed weapons to clear the area before troups can land.

Speaking of crashes, there really should be an increased chance of sizeable number of ship's crew dying with them leaving bodies near the crash site at the beginning of the tactical round, at least in case of battle-oriented or smaller units like fighters - not only player deserves such boon at times after prolonged dog fight in the air, but it's also more believable than 'they have REALLY good seatbelts' when the ship is bunch of burning bits strewn all over the place.
I had not really thought about it but I agree.

though here one may argue that they are simply far less burdened by their equipment
Or that they are not humans so they have mucles that allow them to do so :)

Certainly, I am not fond of increasing their stats even higher
I agree. It would only increase frustration to see an alien from the other side of the map coming to contact and kill your soldiers (When I didn't use smoke grenades, that was what I felt).


Offline hwoarangmy

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Re: Feedback on 2.5
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2015, 11:57:29 pm »
I've played 2.6 lately. Again, thanks for this great game, it is really nice and well done ^^

I like the new GUI. It is not very easy to understand at first because there is no difference between clickable buttons and the rest of the GUI. For my first game, it was not straight forward to get to the screen allowing to recruit soldiers.
During the game, I've not seen many bugs. The only one I have seen is when I try to transfert a soldier from a base to another (with his equipment), some weird stuff is added to the cargo (for example weapons or aircraft stuff).

Apart from that, I have nothing to say except some balancing tweaks.
IMHO, strength is too important compared to the rest. In my game style, I do not use armour because it reduces so precious TU and it usually is not enough to save the soldiers.
I do not use reaction fire either because it is also too expensive on TU and it is usually not enough to kill an alien anyway.
I like the changes about smoke grenades. It forces us to be carefull when using them and is pretty well balanced since there is no way to win a combat with less than 6 losses for me without them. Not talking about the games where you start with some aliens with direct vision on our troups.

BTW, the changes about reaction fire are nice (the timer). It makes it easier to understand how it works. I remember that during my first games (in 2.5 a year ago), I even thought it was broken... I do not use it because I think it is not usefull but at least, it is easy to understand how it works now.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2015, 12:00:34 am by hwoarangmy »

Offline hwoarangmy

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Re: Feedback on 2.5-2.6
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2015, 12:11:30 am »
Concerning the UFOs, I usually never try to take them down. I can barely kill scouts and do not see them often. I usually let them fly and go when they land. I understand that in the story, UFOs are much better than human crafts but it makes almost useless to try to take them down before getting UFO technology.

Offline Rodmar

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Re: Feedback on 2.5-2.6
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2015, 11:28:12 pm »
Concerning the Mumbai massacre and following Terran-Alien ground encounters, I'd think that it lacks some added explanation as why the casualties rate was so high, whereas "skilled" PHALANX teams, properly equipped with ballistic weapons (no energy), win most of the time in a 1vs1 fight.
Were the 2080s-battalions sent with no tactical order and no PRL/GL/MG support ? Even without armour, it should have been a more even fight (as compared to PHALANX first missions efficiency). Did they play on very difficult settings?

Secondly, in Mumbai, they were small alien crafts and even a squadron of harvesters wouldn't have poured down hundreds of aliens.

A last remark: nowhere is it explained why the thousands of dead in three metropolitan cities, and then nothing but seemingly small scale harvest missions on earth.

Offline TBeholder

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Re: Feedback on 2.5-2.6
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2015, 03:46:59 pm »
Concerning the UFOs, I usually never try to take them down. I can barely kill scouts and do not see them often.
Armored and equipped with ECM interceprors shoot scouts okay, and alien fighters are aggressive, so they can be lured to fly straight through a SAM kill-circle (or sometimes two in sequence), after which if they survive at all, interceptors have a good chance to finish the job.

Offline cevaralien

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Re: Feedback on 2.5-2.6
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2016, 01:54:58 am »
Hi!

It's possible to change the health increase? I want to freeze the health in a static value. Why? because the health of a human is more or less equal and don't "raise" with the time. It's matter of make the game more "realistic".