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Author Topic: [Rejected] Turn-based dogfight / air combat  (Read 6805 times)

Offline tkzv

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[Rejected] Turn-based dogfight / air combat
« on: July 03, 2019, 08:51:03 am »
Rejection reason: this is beyond/outside the scope of OXCE

Elsewhere we've been talking about air combat, and I thought: this minigame is a neverending source of frustration. Clumsy controls, not much of realism, a game of fast reaction looks out of place in turn-based tactical game. But since X-COM is all about turn-based tactical combat, why not implement air combat as a special Battlescape mission?

This is how I imagine it:

  • Of course, this mode is optional.
  • If it's on, the special Battlescape mission starts either when a human-controlled craft touches a UFO, or when distance is closer than standoff.
  • If it's a one-on-one air battle, then the mission has only 2 units. If multiple interceptors engage one UFO at the same time, all of them participate in the mission. In case of escorting, also all crafts participate.
  • There's no terrain, just open air. Or is the dirt floor unavoidable? Is it possible to make background light blue for midday and darken it at morning/evening and further at night?
  • I don't know how big should the map be. At least twice the range of the battleship main gun, I suppose.
  • Maximum TUs and energy, dodge chance and such are computed from the craft speed and maximum acceleration. I haven't tested any formulae yet. I supppse, hit points and weapon damage may be copied verbatim, but don't know about the rate of fire.
  • If it's a battle a UFO can escape, then time is limited. When turns run out, it is said that UFO outran the interceptor.
  • There are exit grids for interceptors. For example, in all 8 corners.
  • For hunter-killer if human craft is slower, the escape is pointless as it is, but it's a separate question. But there should be a function like "paradrop crew, passengers and cargo".
  • An interceptor has up to 2 weapons in its "hands". Can units shoot two (identical) weapons simultaneously, by the way?
  • Earth craft from Interceptor to Avenger are 1x1x1. Small and medium UFOs are 1x1x1, Battleship is 2x2x1. Can Terror ship be 1x2x1? If no, then all large UFOs are 2x2x1 too.
  • Drawing routine is 3 or 4 — cyberdisk or Ethereal.

If you are going to implement it, I'll try to make Battlescape sprites for all vanilla craft in UFO:EU.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2023, 12:38:10 pm by Meridian »

Offline Nord

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Re: [Suggestion] Turn-based air combat
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2019, 10:48:48 am »
 Not really worth it as gameplay change, but nice idea for special mission. Like 0-g missions in PirateZ.

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: [Suggestion] Turn-based air combat
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2019, 04:43:30 pm »
While obviously we can live without it, I would very much appreciate it. It would be so much more exciting.

Offline Meridian

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Re: [Suggestion] Turn-based air combat
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2019, 04:50:52 pm »
I have zero interest in this.

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: [Suggestion] Turn-based air combat
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2019, 05:01:43 pm »
I thought the air combat was dull even in the original X-Com, when I was 17 and liked everything. :P
But okay, no means no. I realize it would be a lot of work.

Offline Bobit

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Re: [Suggestion] Turn-based air combat
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2019, 07:00:40 pm »
There's no terrain in the air so so far I and many major modders see autoresolve-ish air combat as best.

Offline Hobbes

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Re: [Suggestion] Turn-based air combat
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2019, 08:36:10 pm »
Elsewhere we've been talking about air combat, and I thought: this minigame is a neverending source of frustration. Clumsy controls, not much of realism, a game of fast reaction looks out of place in turn-based tactical game. But since X-COM is all about turn-based tactical combat, why not implement air combat as a special Battlescape mission?

So, since air combat is a neverending source of frustration for the reasons you listed, you want to implement a solution suffering from similar issues?

Offline Nord

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Re: [Suggestion] Turn-based air combat
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2019, 08:40:19 pm »
I always loved x-com air combat.
And this concept reminds me of StarCraft 2 missions, where you control Hyperion directly.

Offline tkzv

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Re: [Suggestion] Turn-based air combat
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2019, 09:22:50 pm »
Quote
Clumsy controls, not much of realism, a game of fast reaction looks out of place in turn-based tactical game.
So, since air combat is a neverending source of frustration for the reasons you listed, you want to implement a solution suffering from similar issues?
The controls are different, the model is different and it's not reaction-based. It suffers from entirely different issues :)  And I suppose that starting Battlescape mission instead of opening the air combat window would be easier to implement than keybindings for air combat window.

And this concept reminds me of StarCraft 2 missions, where you control Hyperion directly.
Is this bad? I haven't played StarCraft 2, and only know them from online descriptions.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2019, 10:39:28 pm by tkzv »

Offline krautbernd

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Re: [Suggestion] Turn-based air combat
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2019, 07:25:40 am »
While i've also been thinking how something like this could be realized, this idea suffer from some major flaws:

First off, engagements don't last for long, and outcome is - in almost all cases - predetermined by fighter armament and UFO type. Replacing a realt-time event with a turn based event drags out resolution (i.e. you have to invest more time) for a mostly predetermined outcome (at least if this is to reflect vanilla stats for fighters and UFOs).

Secondly, with the Battlescape consisting of nothing but empty space, what's the point, really? The whole point of battlescape gameplay in xcom is dealing with the the terrain and sightlines. Congratulations, you've replaced an 'out-out-place' real-time tactical event with a battlescape mission that lacks any tactical component. It's the same slugfest, but it's going to take more time.

Thirdly - and this is a personal opinion - i always saw air engagement as part of geoscape gameplay - which isn't turn based either. This mix of realt-time geoscape and turn-based strategy events was what set xcom apart from other titles. The aircombat is part of that experience - the whole point of is to be more hectic and fast-paced than the ground missions.

I like variety in my games. Replacing a game mechanic that's different with a game mechanic that's the same as a mechanic already in game takes away that variety.

I also like game mechanics to be engaging - air combat as it is in the game is engaging because it's designed to be. Granted, it's a slugfest, but it's over quick, it's kind of fun (at least for me) and it's different. Battlescape missions are designed around the terrain and in most cases you have to deal with mor than one enemy. You have to take into account multiple factors. That's what makes them fun and engaging. You plan to take away most of those factors. Granted, it would make for a somewhat different experience from ground-based engangements. It would also be worse.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2019, 07:29:32 am by krautbernd »

Offline kevL

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Re: [Suggestion] Turn-based air combat
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2019, 08:29:13 am »
on a tangent

to make air combat more interesting implement acceleration

delta += craft->getAccel() - ufo->getAccel()

w/ limits ofc. (don't allow a slow UFO to escape just because it has a higher acceleration, or cause closing to become disengaging nor vice versa)

I did this in my personal build and it's kinda whacky (but not too whacky, i like it)

Firestorms zip right up on smaller ufos, while Interceptors crawl slowly into position ...


i mean, I don't *think* that acceleration is in OxC (or OxCe ...) but pardon my French it's not too good,

Offline tkzv

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Re: [Suggestion] Turn-based air combat
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2019, 11:27:45 am »
While i've also been thinking how something like this could be realized,
What do you have in mind?

First off, engagements don't last for long, and outcome is - in almost all cases - predetermined by fighter armament and UFO type. Replacing a realt-time event with a turn based event drags out resolution (i.e. you have to invest more time)
A close range shootout between 2 units won't last long either.

for a mostly predetermined outcome (at least if this is to reflect vanilla stats for fighters and UFOs).
I do have ideas how to vary the outcome (see below), but didn't put them in the first post to encourage people to suggest something less obvious. Nobody did.

Secondly, with the Battlescape consisting of nothing but empty space, what's the point, really? The whole point of battlescape gameplay in xcom is dealing with the the terrain and sightlines. Congratulations, you've replaced an 'out-out-place' real-time tactical event with a battlescape mission that lacks any tactical component.[/u].

1. Even if the air is empty, you can simply approach the enemy and shoot him point-blank, letting him do the same; or  you can briefly engage, shoot and retreat outside weapon range.

2. Clouds let you hide.

3. There is such thing as wind. The simplest implementation would be several identical-looking empty tiles that take different time to cross.

Offline Meridian

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Re: [Suggestion] Turn-based air combat
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2019, 11:30:43 am »

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: [Suggestion] Turn-based air combat
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2019, 04:25:44 pm »
Worked in WW I! 8)

Now, I completely agree with all the issues mentioned by Krautbernd. I agree that better mechanics are possible. Xenonauts is a good example (I enjoyed air combat there). Another working ign would be UFO: Extraterrestrials, with its RTS combat on geoscape itself (though probably unrealistic with geoscape scales). Or my personal favourite: turn-based, but Master of Orion 2 style rather than X-Com style (similar but not the same).
But all these are total pipe dreams. I can imagine adapting the battlescape mechanics for air combat, but making a completely new minigame? Who would be this crazy?

Offline Bobit

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Re: [Suggestion] Turn-based air combat
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2019, 05:48:37 pm »
Xenonauts air combat, while fun at first, is so non-procedural (same optimal algorithm for same craft vs UFO combination) that even the developer of its sole megamod has admitted that autoresolve would be better. Though, he might take offense at me quoting him this much.

I am hopeful that Xenonauts 2 will have multiple units in a fight, allowing for some depth. Either way the fights play themselves out, so worst case it's a neat-looking auto-resolve.

I don't doubt that it's possible to simulate a better air combat in battlescape using mods. The hardest parts to mod would be actually replacing air combat with that (say, maybe you have a multi-stage mission, and you can only send interceptors to landed UFOs) and reducing turn rate. But it would be pretty difficult to mod every other part, and ultimately harder to control / longer than it needs to be. Feel free to create it if you like tkzv, but no one else is going to.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2019, 06:18:25 pm by Bobit »