Craft maintenance

Time to get some more controversial debate going on here!

As every X-Com veteran knows, when a craft returns to base, it always goes through the maintenance cycle: Repairing -> Refueling -> Rearming. While a craft can start at any step (eg. an undamaged craft will skip Repairing), it’ll always goes through the remaining steps, even if they’re not necessary. So for example, any craft that goes on a little trip will always have to Refuel and Rearm when returned to base, even if no ammo was spent or the craft doesn’t even have any weapons.

This has sparked some debate on whether this is correct or not. A lot of people just consider the “Rearming” step a necessary evil, like a final “maintenance” step (fix the paint, warm the engines, etc.) a craft always needs to go through before it’s ready to take off again . Others think it’s a bug that just wastes time and don’t want to have anything to do with it.

So what do you think? Should the original logic be preserved? Or should it be considered an unfixed bug and crafts should skip Rearming if they can? And don’t just say “make it an option” or I’ll just make it twice as annoying. 😛

15 thoughts on “Craft maintenance

  1. marabus

    I think I have a simple, yet effective solution to propose 🙂
    Just change places for Rearming and Refueling so the process looks like this:
    Repairing -> Rearming -> Refueling
    This is logical, since the craft should always be refuelled when returning from patrol, and at the same time this solves the issue of time wasted that you describe.

  2. Biscuitry

    Marabus has a good idea, I have to say. For my part, though, I think craft should go through each stage they require, and only those stages.

  3. bramcor

    After doing some thinking after my forum post on the same topic I have to say that I think OpenXcom would be better off implementing the same system as UFO:EU the first time around. However, in the future I think it would be nice to add some transparency to the craft-return process even though it might add some complexity.

    https://ufopaedia.org has more detail to the scenario: It seems that the rearmament phase in UFO:EU also contains a “hidden” +1 hour of maintenance/craft preparation in addition to rearming weapons.

    I think it would make the process more transparent if the two were split up, so the return-to-base process looks something like this:

    Repairing (if needed) -> Refuelling -> Rearming (if needed) -> Maintenance

    I find it confusing that troop carriers without craft weapons also go through a rearming phase. Instead a “resupply” phase could be added for crafts that contain any soldiers and/or items. The return-to-base process for that scenario would look like this:

    Repairing (if needed) -> Refuelling -> Rearming (if needed) -> Resupplying (if needed) -> Maintenance

  4. marabus

    Just to make myself clear – in the solution I proposed it should be possible to skip Repair & Rearming steps altogether if unneeded. Therefore, when a craft returns from a patrol unscathed and with full payload – only refueling applies.

  5. anon

    I say: don’t change the original gameplay unless there is *no doubt* that something is a bug and should be fixed. Here (1) there is a plausible explanation for rearming happening and (2) it makes sense to delay the aircraft from a game rules point of view (this must have been by design), I’d say leave it as it is.

  6. name (required)

    “The final readiness check takes an extra one hour, beyond the time it takes to ensure all weapons are fully loaded. Weapon loading and readiness checks are always completed at the top of the hour (HH:00:00).”
    – from UFOpaedia.org “Rearming” article.

    I’d say stay with the existing craft maintenance mechanics (don’t alter the order) but make the extra hour taken on the system check transparent so that people don’t think that their craft are rearming when they actually aren’t:

    Repair->Refuel->Rearm->System Check

  7. name (required)

    * to clarify:

    Rearming, like Repairing, shouldn’t take place when the craft doesn’t need to rearm, but players might think that their craft are rearming needlessly because the mandatory system check is listed under Rearming.

  8. JP

    A project like this should resist the urge to do game design until improvements can be expressed as patches or mods. Which is to say, OpenXcom should reproduce the gameplay of the original, warts and all, as faithfully as possible in my opinion. Then people can go nuts with patches/mods to make the game better, and you get the best of both worlds for less work.

  9. Davorian

    I will put my two cents in with the argument that the original gameplay should be preserved. It might be a bug, but I think it’s an unnecessary time sink to redesign UFO as you progress. In other words, I vote you save yourself the decisional stress and just implement the original behaviour.

    If it is decided that this should be changed later for some really good reason, it doesn’t seem like it would be a huge effort.

  10. Jon Porter

    Regardless of whether the original ‘makes sense’ the fact is that the time it takes for a craft to be ready to go back out is something that’s been balanced within the gameplay.

    It may not seem like a big change, but it could have far reaching consequences further on down the line.

  11. Uyraell

    I favour Marabus’ solution, though in truth there is a more annoying facet relating to craft return, especially regarding advanced trooper weapons.
    Namely: plasma weapon spare “magazines” (which always contain precious Ellirium and cost a lot to replace by manufacture) ALWAYS go missing on mission return, even if troops were not deployed that occasion.
    The same happens with ordinary rifle and heavy weapon magazines, in the early game.

    As I see it, this relates to a similar logic-path as Return >> Repair >> Rearm >> Refuel.

    I would suggest Marabus’ solution to the Thread post as being valid, but would hope the “disappearing magazines” issue would receive attention immediately after that.

    @ Jon Porter: Your logic is solid, yet I feel it simpler to implement an improvement to gameplay now, rather than have to deal with the same issue later. This is why tho I see your point,I favour Marabus’ solution in the interim.

    Respectful Regards, Uyraell.

  12. Oldtype

    I favor making it rearm only when needed. You could change the order too if you find that simpler since that change would not realy change the balance as long as you keep the mandatory “check” time. But it should not be called rearming but something different.

  13. Pam.

    What makes you all so sure that the developers put a ton of time and effort into finding the perfect amount of time to waste for balance reasons?

  14. comedyblisoption

    You should be able to force cancel re-arming/re-fueling. Even if it may affect balance, it makes no sense why you shouldn’t be able to force an aircraft to launch.

    I suspect the designers of the original game made this decision to simplify implementation rather than for balance reasons. Implementation is slightly easier when you know the craft must be at 100% when it launches.

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