OpenXcom Forum

Modding => Released Mods => Area 51 => Topic started by: Hobbes on October 23, 2017, 05:10:28 am

Title: Area 51 beta version 0.962 updated June 27th
Post by: Hobbes on October 23, 2017, 05:10:28 am
Download link: http://www.mediafire.com/file/fx0cykc1j81myho/Area%2051%20V0.962.zip

Requires latest Nightly (https://openxcom.org/git-builds/) openxcom_git_master_2018_05_10_2033 or more recent

Image gallery: https://imgur.com/a/J5yzV

(https://i.imgur.com/o9Tyy3j.png)

(https://i.imgur.com/F0qa4kt.png)

(https://i.imgur.com/AJW3WdD.png)

List of changes:
* Several bugs fixed, including all those reported on the forums
* 10 new civilian units added
* Escape and Extraction missions now appear correctly as a mission success when evac occurs
* New starting mission added with new Area 51 Factory terrain - can be skipped without penalty, contains an item that unlocks Bluebook Research and also gives a random tech
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.95 released!
Post by: Hobbes on October 24, 2017, 03:41:42 am
Bugfix added to the download version
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.95 released!
Post by: Hobbes on October 26, 2017, 03:33:11 pm
My playtesting and feedback has revealed a number of shortcomings with the whole system of Bluebook reports and the Council missions where you recover research, namely they seemed to be mostly ignored and aren't really useful. And I failed to consider the effects when I added the Factory mission on the first month in version 0.95, by making it a requirement for unlocking the Bluebook research, which essentially broke down the system.

So there will be major changes to this system on upcoming version 0.95 to address this issue
* Reduction the number of possible Council missions from 48 to 36
* The research tree now has 6 additional topics: Weapons, Armor, HWPs, Facilities, Craft and Craft Weapons. These topics can only be unlocked by successfully completing the Council missions of Extraction/Recovery/Capture (specific missions unlock specific topics, or give a random topic).
* You can only research Plasma Pistol, Power Armor, Hovertanks, Firestorm, Plasma Beam/Fusion Launcher and the late game facilities by first completing the corresponding topic.
* The ingame justification is that XCom's scientists may be brilliant but it is impossible to them to fully understand the alien technological wonders by themselves due to limited resources, and that Earth's nations have initiated a mobilization effort to protect themselves when the aliens started aggressive raids on military and science facilities.
* There will still be 2 Council missions per month, currently they are separated into research (Data Extraction, Data Recovery and Capture) and non-research (Defense, Destroy, Assault) objectives. But from 0.951 the missionScript will randomly choose between both research/non-research objective when determining each of the two missions, from February onwards.
* Each research topic (Weapons, etc.) can be unlocked through two specific Council missions (Data Recovery/Extraction), which will always be in the same location and have a non-random terrain assigned. Once a topic is researched the corresponding missions will never appear again.
* Bluebook Reports/research have been completely removed since they served no practical propose.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.95 released!
Post by: Hobbes on October 30, 2017, 09:17:32 pm
My laptop crashing was actually the best thing to happen to this mod since it has given me time to play a campaign and fix/balance a number of issues.

Here's the 0.951 change list at this stage

Features
* There are two monthly Council missions, each can happen anytime during the month. This kinda makes it very important to get a 2nd transport craft ready, since it is quite possible for them to spam near simultaneously, or one of them at the same time as a terror site.
* Council missions can be of two types, chosen randomly except for the first month: the ones with a cyan Geoscape marker can be Assault, Destroy or Defense objectives; and the green Geoscape marker can be Capture, Recovery or Extraction objectives, where you can gain free techs.
* On January 1999, the Council missions are scripted and one will be Assault/Defense/Destroy and the second will be a Recovery mission. Researching the data disk present on the recovery mission will randomly give either Alloy Vest, Combat Armor, Alloy Ammo, Gauss Weapons, Stormhawk Missions and Gauss Cannon.
* From February 1999 onwards, the 6 available techs that can be gained through the Capture/Recovery/Extraction missions are: Laser Weapons, Personal Armor, Improved HWPs, Laser Defense, Blackbird Transport and Laser Cannon. Gaining these techs through this method will require less research days and can allow to bypass some early techs.
* The objective of each Council mission type is determined randomly, but after January 1999 the geographic location of the site can be used by the player to figure out the terrain type and the tech that you can recover.
* The Capture/Recovery/Extraction missions will stop appearing as the 6 techs are researched. After research is complete in all of them, there will only 1 Council mission per month and it will have a Assault/Defense/Destroy objective.
* The two special missions (Biolab Recovery and the two part Cold Isle/Pyramid Assault) are now triggered by time (month) and lack of the progress of the player in capturing alien engineers, navigators and scientists and unlocking alien techs. If completely successfully Biolab unlocks UFO Navigation and UFO Power Source research, and Pyramid unlocks Elerium research. It is still required to capture and interrogate those ranks to gain access to other technologies though like Hyper-Wave Decoder.
* The Bluebook reports have been removed and some of their titles reused. There are 4 new UFOPaedia topics that are gained as some key research is completed: Down To Earth, The Growing Security Threat, Let Humanity Beware and Above Top Secret. Those cost nothing to gain and give some background story to the Council missions.
* The existing Alien Operations research topic has been renamed 'Inimical Forces'

Balance/Fixes
* Switched Alloy Vest and Combat Armor manufacture requirements and removed Vests being required to build Combat Armor
* Fixed bugs with several UFOs and terrains
* Mission timers reduced from 30 to 25
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.95 released!
Post by: BaburKhan on November 01, 2017, 10:22:04 am
Hello, I'm getting a bug right as 1st of February 1999 rolls in. It states:

[01-11-2017_02-15-11]   [FATAL]   A fatal error has occurred: Region BLUEBOOKC not found
[01-11-2017_02-15-17]   [FATAL]   OpenXcom has crashed: Region BLUEBOOKC not found
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.95 released!
Post by: Hobbes on November 01, 2017, 01:10:11 pm
Hello, I'm getting a bug right as 1st of February 1999 rolls in. It states:

[01-11-2017_02-15-11]   [FATAL]   A fatal error has occurred: Region BLUEBOOKC not found
[01-11-2017_02-15-17]   [FATAL]   OpenXcom has crashed: Region BLUEBOOKC not found

Hello,

Here's the fix: http://www.mediafire.com/file/bon8mmcyap6sr86/Area_51_v0.951.zip (http://www.mediafire.com/file/bon8mmcyap6sr86/Area_51_v0.951.zip)

Just unzip it and use it to replace the existing Area 51 folder. You should be able to continue your game
Title: Re: Area 51 beta bug fix released - November 5th
Post by: Hobbes on November 05, 2017, 05:42:51 pm
And another fix for some missing files: http://www.mediafire.com/file/f3wotsrcxcoc8oc/Area_51_v0.952.zip

I'm still working on the missions redo and it is looking pretty sharp plus it will be quite a change in game pace. Can't give an ETA yet but it should be the final version for the new missions
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.953 released - November 7th
Post by: Hobbes on November 07, 2017, 09:57:24 pm
Version 0.953 has been released!

This should be the definitive missions/research structure since I've playtested it a few times already and I've been getting a good feeling, but more feedback would be appreciated.

Plotline

The main difference now from the original story is that Earth's countries have undertaken an emergency mobilization and research effort, in addition to funding XCom.  And the aliens have noticed this effort because of their infiltrators and are taking steps to neutralize the threat from the humans resisting their covert invasion. This scientific effort can help XCom in their own research, if certain missions are completed successfully.

As certain research is completed it will also give additional information to the player about the Council missions and the war effort. The old Bluebook Reports titles have been reused for this but their content has been completely replaced. All of the individual facility names have also been removed and replaced with more generic terms.

Mission Scripts
* The 6 previous Council Missions (Defense, Destroy, Assault, Recovery, Extraction and Capture) haven't been changed but their frequency has.
* On the starting month, two missions are scripted: the Facility Assault where you help the human defenders of the military base; and the Abandoned Factory, which contains a data disk that randomly gives 1 of the early techs
* Starting on February and going to June, a random number of Council missions is activated each month, drawn from a common pool of 18 missions, containing 3 missions of each type (Defense, etc.). Once a mission is run it is then discarded from the pool
* It is possible to have between 0 and 6 Council missions each month, depending on the number of missions left in the pool and RNG
* On July the pool is refilled with 18 more missions, 3 of each of the 6 types
* When the pool is empty or no missions were generated because of RNG, a Defense/Destroy/Assault mission will be generated from a secondary mission pool, until it is also empty
* In addition to all of those, there are also 3 special missions that can spawn during a campaign, if certain research conditions are met, and the facilities need to be detected by XCom craft on the Geoscape

Research
* The Recovery/Extraction/Capture missions of the first pool all give automatically specific techs: Laser Weapons, Personal Armor, Alloy HWPs, Laser Defense, Thunderstorm and Laser Cannon.
* Each individual Recovery/Extraction mission will contain a specific tech, and successfully performing the capture mission gives a random tech of the previous list.
* The Recovery/Extraction/Capture missions of the second poll can unlock (but not give automatically) the following techs: Plasma Pistol & Clip, Power Armor, Hovertank Plasma, Blackbird Transport, Plasma Defense and Plasma Cannon
* Successfully performing the capture mission gives a random tech of those: Stun Launcher, Mind Probe, Alloy Shotgun or Alloy Sword
* Each of the 3 special missions gives specific techs: UFO Power Source and Navigation; Elerium; and Advanced Plasma Weapons
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.953 released - November 7th
Post by: Hobbes on November 08, 2017, 02:24:33 am
First terror mission pics

(https://i.imgur.com/g1i8HII.png)

The landing was going OK until a Puffer came down stairs and killed 2 soldiers, then on the next turn Spacefarers knocked out 2 soldiers unconscious and a Razordisc took out the HWP.

(https://i.imgur.com/yZokVND.png)

Last soldier goes down unconscious to the Spacefarer's 'psi stun'

(https://i.imgur.com/HfL4Yor.png)

Out of the 10 soldiers lost in the mission, 8 were unconscious at the end.

(https://i.imgur.com/mCQbCEp.png)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.953 released - November 7th
Post by: Dwarmin on November 09, 2017, 06:20:35 pm
Planning to run a mini-campaign, slowed down by the fact I can't seem it get it to work the latest version of OXCE.

Anyway, I approve of the changes. The previous use of bluebook reports to unlock those missions seemed to be a bit poorly explained to me-I actually ran through my first Area 51 playthrough completely blind to give it a through testing, and only got the laser weapons purely by accident, I think-I actually shot the scientist in my first mission of that type (Now I remember they wear Lab coats). Granted I was seriously falling behind in tech at that point (As my earlier post in Area 51 suggests, I was not very good at capturing aliens and missed vital info) and it was welcome, but I had plasma weapons developing simultaneously.

And that factory mission you were talking about a few posts ago was filled of phasers, so I ran away, lol.

...

Btw, is the basic design of missions intended to be...

Defense, Destroy, Assault=Extra Terror Mission basically? Lose big points if ignored?

Recovery, Extraction and Capture=Potentially ignorable, but lose out on vital techs?

Because it seems to me you will not be able to get all these missions done in some playthroughs, and will have to pick and choose which ones to handle. Tough choices make a memorable campaign tho!
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.953 released - November 7th
Post by: Dwarmin on November 09, 2017, 06:58:09 pm
Feedback on the Factory Mission. Spoilered for those not wanting to accidentally get...spoiled.

Enjoy the map design...very TFTD like in size and complexity, but there's more logic to it. Lots of crossfire and snipe spots from above. Enemies not too hard. Still lost 4/8 guys initially! And I couldn't actually find the last aliens and chose to bug out.

Love that you added an indicator arrow to the data disk. That helps a ton, I was worried it would be hard to see.

Unfortunately, the aliens I didn't find tossed a grenade at my team as they were about to retreat and destroyed the disc as it laid on the ground (I was facetiously trying to gather up fallen equipment), and all the rest of the squad save ome. Best laid plans and all that. :P The landing zone for the factory mission, in perfect snipe/nade range of elevated aliens with cover, seems to have Satanic inspiration.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.953 released - November 7th
Post by: Hobbes on November 09, 2017, 07:46:16 pm
Planning to run a mini-campaign, slowed down by the fact I can't seem it get it to work the latest version of OXCE.

It's likely that Yankes hasn't pushed in the latest changes to the nightly

Quote
Anyway, I approve of the changes. The previous use of bluebook reports to unlock those missions seemed to be a bit poorly explained to me-I actually ran through my first Area 51 playthrough completely blind to give it a through testing, and only got the laser weapons purely by accident, I think-I actually shot the scientist in my first mission of that type (Now I remember they wear Lab coats).

That's what I also felt to be a major flaw with the Council missions - they weren't properly explained and having to conduct useless research to unlock them made them nearly irrelevant.

Quote
Btw, is the basic design of missions intended to be...

Defense, Destroy, Assault=Extra Terror Mission basically? Lose big points if ignored?

Recovery, Extraction and Capture=Potentially ignorable, but lose out on vital techs?

Mostly correct. The penalty for ignoring any Council site is the same as Terror sites (1000 points) - I thought of reducing it for the missions that give research but for now decided to keep it the same. You don't lose out on vital techs by ignoring those missions - you can still get them if you follow the research tree, and capture the required alien ranks - but you can use them to partially bypass research bottlenecks, like the Elerium one, or get an unexpected boost (like getting Laser Weapons even before you complete research on Alloy Ammo)

Quote
Because it seems to me you will not be able to get all these missions done in some playthroughs, and will have to pick and choose which ones to handle. Tough choices make a memorable campaign tho!

On February you'll need to get at least 2nd Skyranger ASAP and enough soldiers to be able to send 2 teams at the same time. You'll definitely have to pick and choose because RNG might drop you 6 missions on a single month, if you're really unlucky, and you'll need to carefully manage your score. But you're also informed of the mission type and terrain on Geoscape, which can great affect a mission's difficulty. And, if you pay attention to the location of the sites you'll know which tech is available
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.953 released - November 7th
Post by: Hobbes on November 09, 2017, 07:50:02 pm
Feedback on the Factory Mission. Spoilered for those not wanting to accidentally get...spoiled.

Enjoy the map design...very TFTD like in size and complexity, but there's more logic to it. Lots of crossfire and snipe spots from above. Enemies not too hard. Still lost 4/8 guys initially! And I couldn't actually find the last aliens and chose to bug out.

Love that you added an indicator arrow to the data disk. That helps a ton, I was worried it would be hard to see.

Unfortunately, the aliens I didn't find tossed a grenade at my team as they were about to retreat and destroyed the disc as it laid on the ground (I was facetiously trying to gather up fallen equipment), and all the rest of the squad save ome. Best laid plans and all that. :P The landing zone for the factory mission, in perfect snipe/nade range of elevated aliens with cover, seems to have Satanic inspiration.

Yesterday I lost an entire 14 soldier squad while playtesting it on Superhuman ;)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.953 released - November 7th
Post by: Dwarmin on November 09, 2017, 09:14:20 pm
More attempts.

Attempt 2. Everybody died. :P Those launchers are nasty. Ground floor is really not the place to invade.

Attempt 3. Figured a better way into the factory, intercepting multiple high points and staying off the ground-logically, the enemies seem arrayed to defend against Xcom barging in through the front door. But couldn't find the disc at all, even after checking seemingly all the place. Perhaps should have checked bodies...it was possible it was destroyed in an explosion-again-I saw a whole little lab go up early on from stray rookie plasma fire. Would it be possible to tell the player if the data disc was destroyed somehow? A sort of 'MIB communications indicate critical data was lost! Mission failed!". Same thing if you accidentally blow up the scientist with a rocket launcher (she looked shifty). Or maybe some indicator on the score screen, like a minor penalty for 'valuable data destroyed by thoughtless XCOM rookies'

Also I dunno if it was you, but good job on making the aliens super aggressive after so many turns-they really come after you with a vengeance, lol.

Attempt 4. Success! Only six rookies dead, a damn good op! It's interesting how hard this mission seemed considering the relatively few enemies, which I credit to the map design. And me not being that great of a player. I ended up getting the alloy vest 'blueprint', which would have def given me armor research earlier than I could have achieved it on my own. Given Alloy research gives a significant bottleneck in the early game, this is most helpful.

Further experimentation led to a data extraction mission which was more hectic than difficult-I had to escape a base-and most of the guys who died here were the ones who spawned badly lol. Got some HWP tech. I like to use those. Note to self-do not bring an abundance of equipment on the skyranger when doing council missions...it has a tendency to get left behind.

So to sum up, One terror mission, one 'council' terror mission and one data mission on the first month. Two council 'terror' missions, one extraction mission, and one terror mission on the 2nd month. Would have been a rough go!
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.953 released - November 7th
Post by: Hobbes on November 09, 2017, 10:04:21 pm
More attempts.

Attempt 2. Everybody died. :P Those launchers are nasty. Ground floor is really not the place to invade.

Attempt 3. Figured a better way into the factory, intercepting multiple high points and staying off the ground-logically, the enemies seem arrayed to defend against Xcom barging in through the front door. But couldn't find the disc at all, even after checking seemingly all the place. Perhaps should have checked bodies...it was possible it was destroyed in an explosion-again-I saw a whole little lab go up early on from stray rookie plasma fire. Would it be possible to tell the player if the data disc was destroyed somehow? A sort of 'MIB communications indicate critical data was lost! Mission failed!". Same thing if you accidentally blow up the scientist with a rocket launcher (she looked shifty). Or maybe some indicator on the score screen, like a minor penalty for 'valuable data destroyed by thoughtless XCOM rookies'

Also I dunno if it was you, but good job on making the aliens super aggressive after so many turns-they really come after you with a vengeance, lol.

Attempt 4. Success! Only six rookies dead, a damn good op! It's interesting how hard this mission seemed considering the relatively few enemies, which I credit to the map design. And me not being that great of a player. I ended up getting the alloy vest 'blueprint', which would have def given me armor research earlier than I could have achieved it on my own. Given Alloy research gives a significant bottleneck in the early game, this is most helpful.

Further experimentation led to a data extraction mission which was more hectic than difficult-I had to escape a base-and most of the guys who died here were the ones who spawned badly lol. Got some HWP tech. I like to use those. Note to self-do not bring an abundance of equipment on the skyranger when doing council missions...it has a tendency to get left behind.

So to sum up, One terror mission, one 'council' terror mission and one data mission on the first month. Two council 'terror' missions, one extraction mission, and one terror mission on the 2nd month. Would have been a rough go!

I'm thinking of completely removing the Stun Launchers from the Thin Men on that initial mission

Most of the ground level entries can become traps very easily (notably the large doors in both sides of the building) but there are a couple locations more or less 'safe'. Entering from up is usually safer, but then you're limited to certain routes around the building.

The data disk can randomly spawn in 3 different locations - that might explain why you didn't see it where you expected. I've already suggested to the developers about adding an objective flag to specific items (such as data disks) to be properly displayed on the end mission score as you suggested, but no ETAs there.

After turn 20 the AI automatically knows the location of all your soldiers, so it will usually aggressively attack you - this is a feature from the original game for all missions, in order to speed up battles (and help avoid the 'hunting for the last alien'). On the Council missions this timer can change - in some missions like Defense the AI knows from turn 0 the location of all your units, and in Extraction it knows from turn 10

There's a mod included with OpenXCom called 'Limit Craft Item Abilities'. It reproduces the 80 item per craft limit that existed on the original game and I recommend using it, to avoid loading up the Skyranger with hundreds of items and risk losing them when you start a mission outside the craft.

1 Terror + 3 Council missions should be around average, just be prepared for 2 or even 3 sites becoming active within days or hours of each other
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.953 released - November 7th
Post by: Hobbes on November 10, 2017, 04:53:48 am
Version 0.954 released - https://www.mediafire.com/file/8f6cnain97npp60/Area%2051%20v0.954.zip

List of changes:
* Small bug fixes with research topics
* Renamed 'A Festival of Absurdities' Council report to 'Prometheus Unbound'
* Additional stairs added to Abandoned Factory terrain + minor fixes/changes
* Decreased number of Thin Men present in Abandoned Factory mission to reducing spawning of Small Launchers with Elerium Bombs
* Other minor fixes/changes
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.954 released - November 10th
Post by: Hobbes on November 12, 2017, 01:54:53 am
Version 0.955 released, download here - https://www.mediafire.com/file/y42p5hzv3zb6a8p/Area%2051%20v0.955.zip (https://www.mediafire.com/file/y42p5hzv3zb6a8p/Area%2051%20v0.955.zip)

Changes:
* Bug fixes with terrain tiles
* Reduced the strength of walls and other terrain tiles to make High Explosives and Rockets more useful
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 released - November 11th
Post by: Dwarmin on November 17, 2017, 06:17:40 pm
Playing through a more full run this time. Not found any major issues. Overall I like the pace of the game much more now. Usually early game XCOM you shoot down 2-3 ufo's a month up until the 3rd month or so, not doing much but scraping for cash.

Now, on the 3rd month I had 2 terror missions and 6 council missions-I'm assuming the extra terror mission was one delayed from last month, I must have shot down a scout ship. Anyway, a lot more actions means a lot more cash and research bumps, so you can actually raise your infrastructure up faster than usual, if you have a lot of success. And you NEED to have success, or you'll get swamped, eventually. There's an actual tangible threat to XCOM from the first month on, in that you need to tackle these missions or lose due to score. I like that.

Given in my last game I sort of lounged around and did the cool new autopsies until the commander guard showed up and trashed my gauss wielding goofballs, I definitely feel a springboard into mid-game. It's not a cakewalk, but it's also not impossible, since I'm facing mostly sectoids and human agents. Mostly.  ;)

Other stuff..

Was fighting in a slums mission and got a cyberdisk in a stairwell, facing a single space avenue along the dark edge of the map. Cue traumatic flashbacks to the  single Xarquid hiding in a closet from the massive TFTD ship missions that waits til you clear the map, then you have to check room by room, then... :P

He seemed trapped and unable to anything but point blank reaction fire anyone who went that specific path. And there is no other way inside the building than using the stairwell! Bad RNG/Unlucky Pathing or is that intended? I think I might have this happen before as well, I remember running from another slum mission because I just couldn't find the last alien.
Turns out the rogue scientist will die if you capture them without an alien containment. Despite not being an alien-I guess you can't just tie them up and toss them in a closet. Probably not an actual oversight, and not really something that needs to be changed (assuming prisons are prisons, tho I'm the sort of person I'm going to have to mod the facility description now for my peace of mind), but it bugged me. Increased cost/build time to get a base up and running in the early game so you can have more than one loaded skyranger for response is a really close thing. Wouldn't mind a cheaper facility option for keeping the non-aliens in lock up. Possible to make alien containment an early research goal?

I do recall the Xcom files mod seemed to have different prisons for different creatures, but I haven't looked at the code for that yet.

Possible that you could have a human prison facility, and make a business of capturing the agents+flunkies and ransoming them off to the council for extra money or bonus completion points? Assuming they have intelligence value and being rewarded for not using lethal force on human criminals. The sheer amount of extra missions being thrown at you can seriously depress your score and finances, it might help! Also can add interrogation files if you ever want to identify these guys we are encountering.
For reference of the mods I am using that could affect balance issues, or for consideration as future additions to the game.

-Elerium Flares: Makes the initial flare weaker, but adds a stronger flare higher up on the tech tree. Given almost half the council missions take place at night, probably not that much of a boon. Still I like the progression and the logic, and there's always incendiaries. Interesting note is that the increased amount of night missions (you can't dodge them like UFO crashes) means you really do need to pack up on incendiaries and flares.

-Alien Melee/Plasma Weapons: A nifty little mod that gives the aliens lightsabers and the skills to use them. They actually will totally use them on xcom agents if they got close enough-they will also do melee 'reaction fire', which I've never really seen before. Actually pretty terrifying, even sectoids can one-shot your rookies...but it is a totally gamble if they hit. Sort of nerve wracking to close on them with stun rods. :P

-Scout Drones: I really do love this mod, it makes 1x1 sized mini-HWP's that can fit inside doors. They don't do any attacks initially except for a weak smoke grenade, but they are good for scouting/drawing fire and can be outfitted with a scanner or medkit. They can also be repaired when they get destroyed!

I actually did a little modding myself to extend this to all the other HWP's, allowing them to be rebuilt for about half the cost in money and materials it takes to make them. Given I'm not fond of the 'meat grinder' strategy, this pleases me.

-Arsenal Expanded: I only added one part of this weapon mod ultimately, which was to give the mass driver guns (modded for accuracy mod balance) to the human agents-they are a little better than the gauss XCOM eventually gets, about equivalent to laser weapons, doing armor piercing damage. I felt the agents having unique weapons from either the aliens or xcom was pretty cool-they give them a unique flavor as the MIB. The weapons also match the color of their suits (black and gun-metal grey) and have nifty blue particle effects.

If I can provide any other direct feedback, just ask.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 released - November 11th
Post by: Hobbes on November 17, 2017, 09:19:24 pm
Playing through a more full run this time. Not found any major issues. Overall I like the pace of the game much more now. Usually early game XCOM you shoot down 2-3 ufo's a month up until the 3rd month or so, not doing much but scraping for cash.

Now, on the 3rd month I had 2 terror missions and 6 council missions-I'm assuming the extra terror mission was one delayed from last month, I must have shot down a scout ship. Anyway, a lot more actions means a lot more cash and research bumps, so you can actually raise your infrastructure up faster than usual, if you have a lot of success. And you NEED to have success, or you'll get swamped, eventually. There's an actual tangible threat to XCOM from the first month on, in that you need to tackle these missions or lose due to score. I like that.

I'm enjoying the new pace as well for the same reasons you mentioned. Don't know if you noticed but you'll actually see a slight reduction in the number of UFOs when compared to vanilla, and one of the issues I've been dealing is that I never have enough alloys and Elerium. 

Quote
Given in my last game I sort of lounged around and did the cool new autopsies until the commander guard showed up and trashed my gauss wielding goofballs, I definitely feel a springboard into mid-game. It's not a cakewalk, but it's also not impossible, since I'm facing mostly sectoids and human agents. Mostly.  ;)

Commander Guard only appears in alien missions where the Overseer UFO will be present, and this includes the scout UFOs that show up before the Overseer. But Overseers can appear right from February onward. But facing them with Gauss is almost suicidal.

Quote
Was fighting in a slums mission and got a cyberdisk in a stairwell, facing a single space avenue along the dark edge of the map. Cue traumatic flashbacks to the  single Xarquid hiding in a closet from the massive TFTD ship missions that waits til you clear the map, then you have to check room by room, then... :P

He seemed trapped and unable to anything but point blank reaction fire anyone who went that specific path. And there is no other way inside the building than using the stairwell! Bad RNG/Unlucky Pathing or is that intended? I think I might have this happen before as well, I remember running from another slum mission because I just couldn't find the last alien.

Might be RNG, I'll check the map files, but since there's 50 of them it's easier to fix with a pic. If you spot any weird things like that with maps just hit F12 and it will generate a screenshot.

Quote
Turns out the rogue scientist will die if you capture them without an alien containment. Despite not being an alien-I guess you can't just tie them up and toss them in a closet. Probably not an actual oversight, and not really something that needs to be changed (assuming prisons are prisons, tho I'm the sort of person I'm going to have to mod the facility description now for my peace of mind), but it bugged me. Increased cost/build time to get a base up and running in the early game so you can have more than one loaded skyranger for response is a really close thing. Wouldn't mind a cheaper facility option for keeping the non-aliens in lock up. Possible to make alien containment an early research goal?

Rogue scientists can only appear from February onward, and the AC is usually one of the first buildings I build in vanilla. I assumed most people would also build the AC first, so that would solve the issue you mentioned (I had considered it before), of a human dying because of no AC (which also felt weird to me)

Quote
I do recall the Xcom files mod seemed to have different prisons for different creatures, but I haven't looked at the code for that yet.

Possible that you could have a human prison facility, and make a business of capturing the agents+flunkies and ransoming them off to the council for extra money or bonus completion points? Assuming they have intelligence value and being rewarded for not using lethal force on human criminals. The sheer amount of extra missions being thrown at you can seriously depress your score and finances, it might help! Also can add interrogation files if you ever want to identify these guys we are encountering.

XCom Files uses OXCE/OXCE+ but for Area 51 I decided that I didn't want to have the player download a specific OpenXCom build to play it, other than the nightly, despite OXCE/OXCE+ additional features. I'm planning to use it in the future, but in new mods designed specifically to use its features.

Just checked, don't think it's possible to increase the score from captures (or even change it). Increasing the sale value of the Rogue Scientist (currently at §50.000) is possible but that only works if the option to sell live aliens is activated (which I can recommend in the documentation)

However, there's a caveat because of how the game works: you either research the Scientist for the tech or ransom it for a boatload of cash (§500.000? more?). Which can an interesting choice for the player.

This is due because how the research code works: the 'live scientist' item is consumed at the end of the research, otherwise it would still be available to research again.

Quote
For reference of the mods I am using that could affect balance issues, or for consideration as future additions to the game.

-Elerium Flares: Makes the initial flare weaker, but adds a stronger flare higher up on the tech tree. Given almost half the council missions take place at night, probably not that much of a boon. Still I like the progression and the logic, and there's always incendiaries. Interesting note is that the increased amount of night missions (you can't dodge them like UFO crashes) means you really do need to pack up on incendiaries and flares.

-Alien Melee/Plasma Weapons: A nifty little mod that gives the aliens lightsabers and the skills to use them. They actually will totally use them on xcom agents if they got close enough-they will also do melee 'reaction fire', which I've never really seen before. Actually pretty terrifying, even sectoids can one-shot your rookies...but it is a totally gamble if they hit. Sort of nerve wracking to close on them with stun rods. :P

-Scout Drones: I really do love this mod, it makes 1x1 sized mini-HWP's that can fit inside doors. They don't do any attacks initially except for a weak smoke grenade, but they are good for scouting/drawing fire and can be outfitted with a scanner or medkit. They can also be repaired when they get destroyed!


All sound great, I designed Area 51 so that the player could add smaller mods like you described with the items he/she likes the most. At a certain point in development I had a number of smaller 'improvement' and additional items/etc. but decided to remove all of those except the ones really needed for the changes in research/missions.

Quote
I actually did a little modding myself to extend this to all the other HWP's, allowing them to be rebuilt for about half the cost in money and materials it takes to make them. Given I'm not fond of the 'meat grinder' strategy, this pleases me.

At a certain point I was trying also to avoid the 'meat grinder' until someone pointed out that it is how the original game was designed. That you can lose half your squad trying to take a medium UFO and still consider it a win. So I just decided to keep this part of the original design but I'm planning to move away from it in future new mods.

Quote
-Arsenal Expanded: I only added one part of this weapon mod ultimately, which was to give the mass driver guns (modded for accuracy mod balance) to the human agents-they are a little better than the gauss XCOM eventually gets, about equivalent to laser weapons, doing armor piercing damage. I felt the agents having unique weapons from either the aliens or xcom was pretty cool-they give them a unique flavor as the MIB. The weapons also match the color of their suits (black and gun-metal grey) and have nifty blue particle effects.

At a certain point the Human Agents or MIBs had their own unique weapons, but that got axed on version 0.7 or before, because of several reasons regarding weapons balance and plotline. I'll have a look into it.

Quote
If I can provide any other direct feedback, just ask.

Just describing how the missions/difficulty curve is going for you like you did is great, many thanks!

Have you noticed the 'second wave' of Council missions? The way the script is set you'll usually see two spikes of Council missions, on the first one you'll get laser techs, on the second the plasma techs.

There is also another thing I wanted to ask about the new missions but I might be spoiling the surprise(s) if I did ;)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 released - November 11th
Post by: Dwarmin on November 18, 2017, 05:59:18 pm
Found a bit of an annoyance, one on of my capture missions. Sorry I couldn't get a screenshot, but it was one in a railyard type maps.

In the tunnel area that bisects the map-one with a sort of pyramid of bricks leading to a closed railway. I had a scientist spawn up there on the catwalks and she was completely unreachable by my melee stun weapons. Loaded up the map a few times and occasionally there is a connecting building that allows access up there, but sometimes not, or on both sides. I pretty much just tossed smoke grenades at her, until she decided to jump down and charge XCOM. But she could have stayed up there indefinitely. :P
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 released - November 11th
Post by: Dwarmin on November 20, 2017, 08:44:27 pm
Found a small bug in the terrain file.

Quote
- name: AREA51BASE84
width: 20
length: 20
items: STR_DATA_DISK_CRAFT_WEAPONS_:
 - [15, 1, 2]

You left off an E or possibly an F on the end of the STR_DATA_DISK_CRAFT_WEAPONS entry (I cross checked and those are the only two possible strings I could find) , so it crashes when I load up the the Area 51 mission. I tried adding an E and it seemed to work. :P
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 released - November 11th
Post by: Hobbes on November 21, 2017, 12:34:26 am
Found a bit of an annoyance, one on of my capture missions. Sorry I couldn't get a screenshot, but it was one in a railyard type maps.

In the tunnel area that bisects the map-one with a sort of pyramid of bricks leading to a closed railway. I had a scientist spawn up there on the catwalks and she was completely unreachable by my melee stun weapons. Loaded up the map a few times and occasionally there is a connecting building that allows access up there, but sometimes not, or on both sides. I pretty much just tossed smoke grenades at her, until she decided to jump down and charge XCOM. But she could have stayed up there indefinitely. :P

Found a small bug in the terrain file.

You left off an E or possibly an F on the end of the STR_DATA_DISK_CRAFT_WEAPONS entry (I cross checked and those are the only two possible strings I could find) , so it crashes when I load up the the Area 51 mission. I tried adding an E and it seemed to work. :P

Both bugs fixed. The first one I simply removed the possibility of the close railway appearing solo. I've updated the download link with both fixes, thanks a lot :)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 released - November 11th
Post by: Dwarmin on November 21, 2017, 08:35:22 pm
Minor, yet critical bug. In the DATA EXTRACTION MISSION COMPLEX, the data disk is floating in mid-air a level about the ground, obviously unreachable. Pretty much in the center of the map-right above the lab area I assume it was supposed to be placed.

Also working on your other queries btw, but haven't run into 2nd wave missions as of yet.

Quote
name: COMPLEXURBAN36
width: 20
length: 20
groups: 10
revealedFloors: [0, 1, 2, 3]
items:STR_DATA_DISK_CRAFTS_E: - [14, 14, 1]

Found the exact problem. Changing the last number from 1 to 0 sets it back down on the floor. No anti-gravity floppies allowed.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 released - November 11th
Post by: Hobbes on November 22, 2017, 01:33:14 am
Minor, yet critical bug. In the DATA EXTRACTION MISSION COMPLEX, the data disk is floating in mid-air a level about the ground, obviously unreachable. Pretty much in the center of the map-right above the lab area I assume it was supposed to be placed.

Also working on your other queries btw, but haven't run into 2nd wave missions as of yet.

Found the exact problem. Changing the last number from 1 to 0 sets it back down on the floor. No anti-gravity floppies allowed.

Fixed and link updated, thank you!

I haven't bumped the version number because I've started adding post-mission cutscenes to act as debriefings and replace some of the UFOPaedia Council topics gained from those missions. I might also try to further personalize the Council missions.

Another change I'm considering is whether to remove the alternative UFO interiors:
*  I've seen several visual bugs of UFO ground flickering when units walk over them, but I didn't design those maps so fixing them won't be easy
* This can be added through existing mods
* There's already so many new maps that keeping the UFOs as vanilla gives some sense of familiarity
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 released - November 11th
Post by: The Martian on November 22, 2017, 08:05:56 am
I've started adding post-mission cutscenes to act as debriefings

Very cool!  I'm looking forward to seeing that.  ^_^

Another change I'm considering is whether to remove the alternative UFO interiors
I've been really enjoying the variety that the differing UFO interiors bring, if you can avoid it please don't remove this feature.

Attacking the same UFO again and again isn't as fun as storming a similar UFO who's differing layout provides a new tactical experience.

Even just having the exterior doors in a different location can drastically change the course of battle as you first have to figure out exactly where the aliens may suddenly come pouring out from.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 released - November 11th
Post by: niculinux on November 22, 2017, 04:30:51 pm
Fixed and link updated, thank you!

I haven't bumped the version number because I've started adding post-mission cutscenes to act as debriefings and replace some of the UFOPaedia Council topics gained from those missions. I might also try to further personalize the Council missions.

Another change I'm considering is whether to remove the alternative UFO interiors:
*  I've seen several visual bugs of UFO ground flickering when units walk over them, but I didn't design those maps so fixing them won't be easy
* This can be added through existing mods
* There's already so many new maps that keeping the UFOs as vanilla gives some sense of familiarity

oh the cutscenes! As for the interiors, since the spirit of the mod is to preserve the original vanilla feeling, i'd hubly agree :)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 released - November 11th
Post by: Dwarmin on November 22, 2017, 04:39:58 pm
Fixed and link updated, thank you!

I haven't bumped the version number because I've started adding post-mission cutscenes to act as debriefings and replace some of the UFOPaedia Council topics gained from those missions. I might also try to further personalize the Council missions.

Another change I'm considering is whether to remove the alternative UFO interiors:
*  I've seen several visual bugs of UFO ground flickering when units walk over them, but I didn't design those maps so fixing them won't be easy
* This can be added through existing mods
* There's already so many new maps that keeping the UFOs as vanilla gives some sense of familiarity

Really looking forward to seeing fancy new story scenes. :D

As for the UFO interiors, I've not consciously noticed what you describe, though I am sure I would if you pointed it out. And it is a completely existing mod that can be added on without any problem, I believe. I have no opinion on adding or removing them, as I'd still probably use them if I could.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Hobbes on November 22, 2017, 06:22:50 pm
Here's a test of the post-mission cutscenes

(https://i.imgur.com/7XC9Fka.png)

Still deciding whether how or if I should add them... they don't quite work for debriefings

Haven't made my mind about the alternate UFO interiors... I guess I'll try to fix them myself first to see how bad/difficult it is
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Dwarmin on November 22, 2017, 06:50:29 pm
I'd like those to be added, tho we will have to see the final result to determine if they 'fit.

Maybe even for normal missions.

Something like "Local Hyperwave signal traffic has gone silent-all hostiles are dead, and the area is secure. Send in the clean-up crew." when you clear a UFO, or "The remaining Alien forces, shaken and demoralized, abort their terror attack on the city of X, and flee to the stars. A cheer rises from the surviving defenders and civilians-XCOM has won, at great cost." when you win a terror mission.

And I just lost a radar mission/crew/ranger by running out of time (reloading revealed a spacefarer hiding in a corner, the sneaky bugger) so a brief explanation of my rookies no doubt horrible fate would have been welcome there. :P
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: niculinux on November 22, 2017, 07:26:53 pm
The vanilla game had cutscdnes -in a form of slideshow, but only in the ending sequence as far as i temember - so i don't see why not add them 8) 8)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Hobbes on November 22, 2017, 07:45:29 pm
I'd like those to be added, tho we will have to see the final result to determine if they 'fit.

Maybe even for normal missions.

Something like "Local Hyperwave signal traffic has gone silent-all hostiles are dead, and the area is secure. Send in the clean-up crew." when you clear a UFO, or "The remaining Alien forces, shaken and demoralized, abort their terror attack on the city of X, and flee to the stars. A cheer rises from the surviving defenders and civilians-XCOM has won, at great cost." when you win a terror mission.

And I just lost a radar mission/crew/ranger by running out of time (reloading revealed a spacefarer hiding in a corner, the sneaky bugger) so a brief explanation of my rookies no doubt horrible fate would have been welcome there. :P

The vanilla game had cutscdnes -in a form of slideshow, but only in the ending sequence as far as i temember - so i don't see why not add them 8) 8)

Regarding both replies, the question regarding the cutscenes is: are they needed?

Until I tested them out, my answer was yes, they are needed to better explain the results of the special missions like the Pyramid, and possibly to also use in the regular Council missions. Now, I'm not sure if all the work required (getting background images for each slide of the cutscenes) is worth it. They might be worth it if the Council missions are turned more into mini-campaigns, but the question is still the same: is it needed?

I'll work more on them in the next days to see my answer to that question :)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Dwarmin on November 27, 2017, 11:25:41 pm
Well, I'm six months into my campaign and able to report a bit more now.

Just describing how the missions/difficulty curve is going for you like you did is great, many thanks!

Have you noticed the 'second wave' of Council missions? The way the script is set you'll usually see two spikes of Council missions, on the first one you'll get laser techs, on the second the plasma techs.

There is also another thing I wanted to ask about the new missions but I might be spoiling the surprise(s) if I did ;)

Turns out the aliens LOVE building bases for me. I hit one pretty early on (it was the holy grail, a floater base-those guys are easy money). Cue six months later, I am playing around with my Darkstar, and I find another alien base in Australia. It's number...five. :P A worldwide search reveals three more bases in Africa and Europe. Gonna have a lot of work to do next month! It's interesting, I typically don't use the Darkstar, mostly because of the cost and space requirements-by the time you can really afford enough of them I feel you don't really need them-late game HD's can cover the whole earth. But they were very useful in this situation. I think their design intent is to ferret out alien bases, correct?

As a side note, the increased amount of council missions also make the Blackbird much more valuable-you want to minimize flight time as much as you can-and in fact, a lot of your smaller maps tend to use high vertical spaces with narrow alleys, so having some height is pretty useful. At least to get out of the feed chute...I barely used the Bird in my last game, this game it is integral.

Anyway, at this point in the campaign I am liking the pacing. I've fought a variety of enemies in a gradual difficulty increase. Month four was Phasers (I had a defense mission against them and they turned the building into swiss cheese. "The lab is safe!" "What lab?") and Spacefarers. Month five was snakemen and Mutons and a bit of everything. Month sixth was Gazers and Ethereals. Tho I have not seen any second wave council missions yet, they have gotten steadily more difficult in scope. I particularly enjoy the Docked ship/Dock Assault/'Unidentified signal' missions. Lots of bugs.  ;)

As for tech tree progress, I've pretty much hit a dead end right on six months in. I got pretty much everything except for an alien scientist I need to progress, and now I am least trying hard to get one. None of my 'kill feeds' shows I've accidentally popped one yet, I'm just waiting for one to spawn. This is where council missions come in, hopefully!

Haven't found any more bugs. The weirdest thing that had happened was a Silacoid in a terror mission, burned down the stairwell he was in, and got trapped. Leading to a long and ridiculous search for a pile of molten snot. But we stunned him, and now he lives with us.

I'm enjoying the new pace as well for the same reasons you mentioned. Don't know if you noticed but you'll actually see a slight reduction in the number of UFOs when compared to vanilla, and one of the issues I've been dealing is that I never have enough alloys and Elerium.

I tend to do a construction heavy build start-investing in workshops for every base-so I don't suffer as much from that. I have noticed the lack of UFO's, tho they are starting to pick up now. I did get lucky with two landed abductors early on, which gave me enough alloys to afford a lot of my basic improved equipment-and I got the craft laser cannon from a tech disc.

But maybe there could be future council missions to seize alien supplies from MIB warehouses or Black Market dens, or fight with them over salvage to crashed UFO's. Would be problematic to code, but would work as a story mission?

Just checked, don't think it's possible to increase the score from captures (or even change it). Increasing the sale value of the Rogue Scientist (currently at §50.000) is possible but that only works if the option to sell live aliens is activated (which I can recommend in the documentation)

However, there's a caveat because of how the game works: you either research the Scientist for the tech or ransom it for a boatload of cash (§500.000? more?). Which can an interesting choice for the player.

I def agree of increasing the 'ransom'. I have already caught at least one rogue scientist I couldn't research at all, because I had all the techs from her already researched, only the one tho-to be fair, RNG blessed me and she literally ran right into my Blackbird to be stunned and kidnapped. This happened with a few data disks too-I think the , but that is the RNG for you. Still, a more annoying thing to me was that the discs could 'bait' you into researching them despite having that tech already done. Needless to say I made some small personal changes. :P

Quote
   
      STR_DATA_DISK_WEAPONS_E: "PROJECT EXCALIBUR (Laser Weapons)"
      STR_DATA_DISK_ARMORS_E: "PROJECT MITHRIL (Personal Armor)"
      STR_DATA_DISK_HWPS_E: "PROJECT ED171 (Alloy Tank)"
      STR_DATA_DISK_FACILITIES_E: "PROJECT OBELISK (Laser Defense)"
      STR_DATA_DISK_CRAFTS_E: "PROJECT VERTIGO (Thunderstorm Interceptor)"
      STR_DATA_DISK_CRAFT_WEAPONS_E: "PROJECT DURANDAL (Craft Laser Cannon)"
      STR_DATA_DISK_WEAPONS_F: "PROJECT BORNEO (Plasma Pistol)"
      STR_DATA_DISK_ARMORS_F: "PROJECT ADAMANT (Power Suit)"
      STR_DATA_DISK_HWPS_F: "PROJECT TACITUS (Hovertank Plasma)"
      STR_DATA_DISK_FACILITIES_F: "PROJECT ROSEMONT (Plasma Defense)"
      STR_DATA_DISK_CRAFTS_F: "PROJECT ORCA (Blackbird Transport)"
      STR_DATA_DISK_CRAFT_WEAPONS_F: "PROJECT REAPER (Craft Plasma Cannon)"
      STR_DATA_DISK_7: "PROJECT MAJESTY (Random Early Tech)"
      STR_DATA_DISK_8: "PROJECT AQUARIUS (UFO Power Source/Navigation)"

I feel clearly labeling the techs in the strings is probably more helpful so you know not to waste research time, tho it is best a minor annoyance.  Most of those are references to command and conquer, dungeons and dragons, robocop, and XCOM The Bureau.

...

And to add one more thing, I've started playing around with adding the plasma/laser sniper rifles and shotguns from the Arsenal expanded. I really like these weapons starting out-I tend to use the sniper rifle all the way into the late game-and I like the idea of expanding them to later 'tech' levels.

To cap it off, what's your general design idea around balancing shotguns, or were you even the one to add them to area 51? Sniper rifles seem pretty easy to balance to me. Damage set in between the rifle and heavy cannon, poor snap shots, no autos, and really good aimed shots, with a heavy TU cost to fire. But I'm not sure about the shotguns.

All in all, to sum up-having a lot of fun with this mod. And hope I'm actually being helpful!
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Dwarmin on November 28, 2017, 07:33:40 pm
Small update!

Darkstars are more useful than I thought. Finding the Cold Isle Pyramid was a complete surprise to me! And I think it solved my other problem...

The real question is where they got all those skulls for decoration. Map is really well done+looks amazing.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Hobbes on November 29, 2017, 03:05:00 am
Well, I'm six months into my campaign and able to report a bit more now.

Turns out the aliens LOVE building bases for me. I hit one pretty early on (it was the holy grail, a floater base-those guys are easy money). Cue six months later, I am playing around with my Darkstar, and I find another alien base in Australia. It's number...five. :P A worldwide search reveals three more bases in Africa and Europe. Gonna have a lot of work to do next month! It's interesting, I typically don't use the Darkstar, mostly because of the cost and space requirements-by the time you can really afford enough of them I feel you don't really need them-late game HD's can cover the whole earth. But they were very useful in this situation. I think their design intent is to ferret out alien bases, correct?

So many alien bases is chance, not design. I usually use the Darkstar to cover areas without radar and detect UFOs for the interceptors to take down, by using the graphs to figure out which regions have active alien missions. And they can be very useful also at detecting alien bases :)

Quote
As a side note, the increased amount of council missions also make the Blackbird much more valuable-you want to minimize flight time as much as you can-and in fact, a lot of your smaller maps tend to use high vertical spaces with narrow alleys, so having some height is pretty useful. At least to get out of the feed chute...I barely used the Bird in my last game, this game it is integral.

I've played with the Blackbird but its main limitation (10 units) makes me uneasy to bring it to major fights.

Quote
Anyway, at this point in the campaign I am liking the pacing. I've fought a variety of enemies in a gradual difficulty increase. Month four was Phasers (I had a defense mission against them and they turned the building into swiss cheese. "The lab is safe!" "What lab?") and Spacefarers. Month five was snakemen and Mutons and a bit of everything. Month sixth was Gazers and Ethereals. Tho I have not seen any second wave council missions yet, they have gotten steadily more difficult in scope. I particularly enjoy the Docked ship/Dock Assault/'Unidentified signal' missions. Lots of bugs.  ;)

Working as planned :)

Quote
As for tech tree progress, I've pretty much hit a dead end right on six months in. I got pretty much everything except for an alien scientist I need to progress, and now I am least trying hard to get one. None of my 'kill feeds' shows I've accidentally popped one yet, I'm just waiting for one to spawn. This is where council missions come in, hopefully!

Yup ;)


Quote
I tend to do a construction heavy build start-investing in workshops for every base-so I don't suffer as much from that. I have noticed the lack of UFO's, tho they are starting to pick up now. I did get lucky with two landed abductors early on, which gave me enough alloys to afford a lot of my basic improved equipment-and I got the craft laser cannon from a tech disc.

But maybe there could be future council missions to seize alien supplies from MIB warehouses or Black Market dens, or fight with them over salvage to crashed UFO's. Would be problematic to code, but would work as a story mission?

I already have these sort of supply missions thought for the Terminator mod and it's possible to add them. But at the same time, less UFOs make the air game more vital, IMO. I'm gonna need to be persuaded of the need for them, because this would involve a significant amount of work creating the terrains to use :)

Quote
I def agree of increasing the 'ransom'. I have already caught at least one rogue scientist I couldn't research at all, because I had all the techs from her already researched, only the one tho-to be fair, RNG blessed me and she literally ran right into my Blackbird to be stunned and kidnapped.

Next version, sale value will be increased from 50.000 to 500.000

Quote
This happened with a few data disks too-I think the , but that is the RNG for you. Still, a more annoying thing to me was that the discs could 'bait' you into researching them despite having that tech already done. Needless to say I made some small personal changes. :P
I feel clearly labeling the techs in the strings is probably more helpful so you know not to waste research time, tho it is best a minor annoyance.  Most of those are references to command and conquer, dungeons and dragons, robocop, and XCOM The Bureau.

I've made several attempts with the tech names so far - I've already tried the 'Project X' format, although to be useful to the player it still requires the description at the end like "PROJECT ED171 (Alloy Tank)" (I'm not familiar with C&C and D&D though).

My issue with a solution like this is that it doesn't fit the text style of the original, but that's highly subjective and it might be better to consider the needs of the player. However, if the criteria for the name should be informative, then it is also possible to specify the research bonus gained, since data disks give either the full tech (for the laser tier techs) or merely unlock it (for the plasma tier)

So I can either add the 'Project ED (Alloy Tank)' format or change the existing one to "Alloy Tank Tech"/"Hovertank Unlock" or something else. Which would you prefer?

Quote
And to add one more thing, I've started playing around with adding the plasma/laser sniper rifles and shotguns from the Arsenal expanded. I really like these weapons starting out-I tend to use the sniper rifle all the way into the late game-and I like the idea of expanding them to later 'tech' levels.

To cap it off, what's your general design idea around balancing shotguns, or were you even the one to add them to area 51? Sniper rifles seem pretty easy to balance to me. Damage set in between the rifle and heavy cannon, poor snap shots, no autos, and really good aimed shots, with a heavy TU cost to fire. But I'm not sure about the shotguns.

You haven't unlocked Area 51's Laser Sniper Rifle yet, since it requires Elerium and Heavy Laser. It has 120 power, and it can fire 3 Snap shots with 75 accuracy in a single turn, or a Snap and an Aimed shot (110 accuracy). The stats were taken from XComUtil's Improved Lasers (which I always used when playing the original). You might also have not unlocked Alloy Shotgun, which sits halfway between the laser and plasma tiers in damage.

Regarding those two weapon types, sniper rifle and shotgun, I decided a while ago to just add 1 upgraded version of those weapons (Alloy Shotgun and Laser Sniper Rifle) and make them available around the middle of the research tree, to simplify things. But if you would prefer more versions of these weapons, can you suggest some stats?


Quote
All in all, to sum up-having a lot of fun with this mod. And hope I'm actually being helpful!

That's great to hear, and thank you very much for the feedback :)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Hobbes on November 29, 2017, 03:11:07 am
Small update!

Darkstars are more useful than I thought. Finding the Cold Isle Pyramid was a complete surprise to me! And I think it solved my other problem...

The real question is where they got all those skulls for decoration. Map is really well done+looks amazing.

The original terrain designer was XOps, I used his terrain files from his XenoOperations mod to make an unique map for the Pyramid mission. :)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Dwarmin on November 29, 2017, 05:19:39 pm
So I can either add the 'Project ED (Alloy Tank)' format or change the existing one to "Alloy Tank Tech"/"Hovertank Unlock" or something else. Which would you prefer?

Regarding those two weapon types, sniper rifle and shotgun, I decided a while ago to just add 1 upgraded version of those weapons (Alloy Shotgun and Laser Sniper Rifle) and make them available around the middle of the research tree, to simplify things. But if you would prefer more versions of these weapons, can you suggest some stats?

I prefer the former, as I tend to value immersion. You can probably name less tongue in cheek tho, more in line with the lore.. :P

A balanced solution might be to make the tech unlocks named "PROJECT: POUNDCAKE (Plasma Shotgun)", and the full unlocks "SCHEMATIC: BFL 8000". With a small note in the council missions UFOpaedia of the difference, perhaps.

...

As for the stats I'm playing around with, they aren't too crazy. My general idea was cribbed from noticing the relation in your mod between the normal shotgun and the alloy shotgun. Pretty much that the more powerful shotguns get, the less pellets they should shoot, and the less accuracy-meaning you have to get closer to get more value from them. It makes the 'weaker' shotguns still viable with their better spread and hit rate against low armor enemies. Higher power shotguns should be very devastating at close range, but only there. This puts shotguns in with pistols, rifles and heavy rifles as a usable type of weapon, without being too powerful in comparison to them. Also, generally, lasers have slightly less accuracy in all areas than conventional weapons, plasmas should be about the same as them, but have much better snapshots (got to punish those low reaction score rookies!).
Shotguns (They are all modded to use the same range limitations as our existing shotguns. I made the techs to be given alongside standard rifles of that type.)

Scatter Laser (Named From XCOMEU)
65 Power
4 Pellets
No Auto
Snap Acc 100%/TU Cost  30%
Aimed Acc 125%/TU Cost 60%

(Less accurate than the projectile shotguns, a bit more powerful per pellet than than the Alloy Shotgun. In return, less spread. Damage is enough it'll kill low level aliens in two pellets, etherals can take three or four, mutons usually take at least a blast or two. Thinking about bumping up the carry weight, since shotguns usually have strict ammo requirements to balance them. Laser damage+no Ammo is enough of a bonus I think the slight damage increase is OK.)

Plasma Shotgun
90 Power
3 Pellets
No Auto
Snap Acc 120%/TU Cost  30%
Aimed Acc 115%/TU Cost 60%

(The Plasma shotgun is the most powerful individually, but fewest pellets. Slightly more accurate than the laser version. It will shred XCOM units until you get proper armor, with personal armor being a big help and power armor reducing the threat-still, a close range blast is going to hurt. Alot. Tho probably not as much as a point blank auto-fire from a heavy plasma.

I generally give these weapons to aliens who camp inside UFO's, so they can get the most use out of them.)

Sniper Rifles (Generally, these should be in the tech tree alongside the heavy laser/heavy plasma, respectively.)

Laser Sniper Rifle
90 Power
No Auto
Snap Acc 30%/TU Cost  50%
Aimed Acc 120%/TU Cost 85%

(The Laser Sniper Rifle I have, is indeed inferior to the laser sniper rifle you get after researching Elerium-115, which I renamed the 'Laser Marksman Rifle'. I made this one develop along the lines of being a sort of 'fill in' weapon-it's aimed accuracy is still better than the Marksman version, tho in return you have usable snap shots and more damage. It should be a big help for squaddies with poorer aim than usual as a mid-game weapon.)

Plasma Sniper Rifle
115 Power
No Auto
Snap Acc 50%/TU Cost  40%
Aimed Acc 130%/TU Cost 70%

(Pretty much along the same lines as above. Interesting thing, I actually don't know if aliens use Aimed Shots properly, so this weapon is more of a general upgrade to the plasma rifle in that specific direction. I mostly give these to alien soldiers, or any aliens lurking outside.)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Hobbes on December 01, 2017, 06:16:47 am
I prefer the former, as I tend to value immersion. You can probably name less tongue in cheek tho, more in line with the lore.. :P

A balanced solution might be to make the tech unlocks named "PROJECT: POUNDCAKE (Plasma Shotgun)", and the full unlocks "SCHEMATIC: BFL 8000". With a small note in the council missions UFOpaedia of the difference, perhaps.

I'll change them and post here an image

Quote
As for the stats I'm playing around with, they aren't too crazy. My general idea was cribbed from noticing the relation in your mod between the normal shotgun and the alloy shotgun. Pretty much that the more powerful shotguns get, the less pellets they should shoot, and the less accuracy-meaning you have to get closer to get more value from them. It makes the 'weaker' shotguns still viable with their better spread and hit rate against low armor enemies. Higher power shotguns should be very devastating at close range, but only there. This puts shotguns in with pistols, rifles and heavy rifles as a usable type of weapon, without being too powerful in comparison to them. Also, generally, lasers have slightly less accuracy in all areas than conventional weapons, plasmas should be about the same as them, but have much better snapshots (got to punish those low reaction score rookies!).
Shotguns (They are all modded to use the same range limitations as our existing shotguns. I made the techs to be given alongside standard rifles of that type.)

Scatter Laser (Named From XCOMEU)
65 Power
4 Pellets
No Auto
Snap Acc 100%/TU Cost  30%
Aimed Acc 125%/TU Cost 60%

(Less accurate than the projectile shotguns, a bit more powerful per pellet than than the Alloy Shotgun. In return, less spread. Damage is enough it'll kill low level aliens in two pellets, etherals can take three or four, mutons usually take at least a blast or two. Thinking about bumping up the carry weight, since shotguns usually have strict ammo requirements to balance them. Laser damage+no Ammo is enough of a bonus I think the slight damage increase is OK.)

Plasma Shotgun
90 Power
3 Pellets
No Auto
Snap Acc 120%/TU Cost  30%
Aimed Acc 115%/TU Cost 60%

(The Plasma shotgun is the most powerful individually, but fewest pellets. Slightly more accurate than the laser version. It will shred XCOM units until you get proper armor, with personal armor being a big help and power armor reducing the threat-still, a close range blast is going to hurt. Alot. Tho probably not as much as a point blank auto-fire from a heavy plasma.

I generally give these weapons to aliens who camp inside UFO's, so they can get the most use out of them.)

Sniper Rifles (Generally, these should be in the tech tree alongside the heavy laser/heavy plasma, respectively.)

Laser Sniper Rifle
90 Power
No Auto
Snap Acc 30%/TU Cost  50%
Aimed Acc 120%/TU Cost 85%

(The Laser Sniper Rifle I have, is indeed inferior to the laser sniper rifle you get after researching Elerium-115, which I renamed the 'Laser Marksman Rifle'. I made this one develop along the lines of being a sort of 'fill in' weapon-it's aimed accuracy is still better than the Marksman version, tho in return you have usable snap shots and more damage. It should be a big help for squaddies with poorer aim than usual as a mid-game weapon.)

Plasma Sniper Rifle
115 Power
No Auto
Snap Acc 50%/TU Cost  40%
Aimed Acc 130%/TU Cost 70%

(Pretty much along the same lines as above. Interesting thing, I actually don't know if aliens use Aimed Shots properly, so this weapon is more of a general upgrade to the plasma rifle in that specific direction. I mostly give these to alien soldiers, or any aliens lurking outside.)

I might add the tier 2 shotgun and sniper rifle (Alloy Shotgun and Laser Sniper Rifle being tier 3) but I'm not a fan of aliens having the plasma ones. In my personal lore those are Earth weapons and the aliens shouldn't be copying inferior human designs. Plus the AI wouldn't use the sniper rifle as well as a Heavy Plasma.


I'm gonna add a couple of extra main buildings to the Abandoned Factory mission on the first month, so that you can get randomly one of 3 different buildings. I'm also adapting a terrain that might be useful for the supply missions, and another one for a new mission type (Rescue), where you need to save VIPs trapped by the aliens.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Dwarmin on December 02, 2017, 12:33:59 am
Huh, a rescue mission was an idea I had myself. I wasn't sure how you could keep them alive or escort them to safety tho. Unless they are trapped in a little box and can't escape.  ;D Maybe even put them behind some sort of terrain feature that the aliens have to attack and destroy (pretty sure there is code for them to attack certain base structures that way) before they can get to them.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Dwarmin on December 02, 2017, 04:43:09 pm
Also, I think next version/campaign I run I am going to try something new to satisfy my curiosity-making alien alloys unable to built in workshops. I'll see how it interacts with the reduced amount of UFOs, and the prevalence of your supply missions to replace them. Because I'm wondering at how useful those supply missions will really be when we can just spam out alloys in our workshops.

I recently tried a TFTD mod that played this way in regards to aqua plastics, it made the campaign rather much more difficult, and in my mind more engaging-every piece I could get was absolutely vital, and it made me think a lot more strategically about how to use them, sort of like how you usually worry about your elerium stocks late/mid game. I often had to balance using advanced equipment and base equipment, and not all my teams could be outfitted with the best stuff. You could also dismantle various pieces of alien tech, as opposed to selling them for cash, to scavenge resources. Capturing landing USO's become a lot more vital. It works the same way in EU2012.

Not sure if this could be added to Area 51 baseline, but I might make a mod of it just for myself and whoever else wants it.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Hobbes on December 02, 2017, 07:52:59 pm
Huh, a rescue mission was an idea I had myself. I wasn't sure how you could keep them alive or escort them to safety tho. Unless they are trapped in a little box and can't escape.  ;D Maybe even put them behind some sort of terrain feature that the aliens have to attack and destroy (pretty sure there is code for them to attack certain base structures that way) before they can get to them.

This is one of the maps I'm thinking of using

(https://i.imgur.com/64QhMuz.gif)

In this map the VIPs + escorts start on the top level, aliens in the lower levels and the XCom craft is placed on the edges. This terrain is called POLIS and can appear as terror sites, there are a total of 8 different 40x40 buildings similar to the one above. What I'm thinking is to remove the terrain from the terror sites and set it as a specific rescue mission, although I haven't decided about the frequency of these missions.

Also, I think next version/campaign I run I am going to try something new to satisfy my curiosity-making alien alloys unable to built in workshops. I'll see how it interacts with the reduced amount of UFOs, and the prevalence of your supply missions to replace them. Because I'm wondering at how useful those supply missions will really be when we can just spam out alloys in our workshops.

I recently tried a TFTD mod that played this way in regards to aqua plastics, it made the campaign rather much more difficult, and in my mind more engaging-every piece I could get was absolutely vital, and it made me think a lot more strategically about how to use them, sort of like how you usually worry about your elerium stocks late/mid game. I often had to balance using advanced equipment and base equipment, and not all my teams could be outfitted with the best stuff. You could also dismantle various pieces of alien tech, as opposed to selling them for cash, to scavenge resources. Capturing landing USO's become a lot more vital. It works the same way in EU2012.

Not sure if this could be added to Area 51 baseline, but I might make a mod of it just for myself and whoever else wants it.

In a past version of Area 51 it wasn't possible to build alloys, power sources or UFO navigation, I got the idea also from EU2012, but I removed this change because the only effect it had was to increase difficulty and deviate from the original game.

But if supply missions are added, then it would make sense for XCom not being able to build UFO components, and UFO & Supply missions get more important.

Other than the terrain, which I already have an idea, I'm thinking of adding those supply sites as facilities that you need to detect on Geoscape using your craft. First supply site is always in a region with an XCom base (to help player discover about them), other ones are generated in a monthly basis, although they cease to spawn after a number of months.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: The Reaver of Darkness on December 04, 2017, 05:30:10 am
Also, I think next version/campaign I run I am going to try something new to satisfy my curiosity-making alien alloys unable to built in workshops. I'll see how it interacts with the reduced amount of UFOs, and the prevalence of your supply missions to replace them. Because I'm wondering at how useful those supply missions will really be when we can just spam out alloys in our workshops.

It'll have the interesting effect that you can always supply yourself with alloys by running crash sites, while those won't work as well for your elerium needs.

Another way to do it would be to allow building alloys, but make them slow and time-wasteful for the value, so you aren't forced to go to a new crash site just because you need a small amount but if you want a steady supply of them you'll probably want to collect them from the aliens.

Just the same, while it'll be different in various mods I'm sure, I know in the base game I'm never short on alloys unless I'm building lots of stuff without running ground missions.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Dwarmin on December 06, 2017, 12:52:54 am
I like the new VIP map. Can't help but wish we had more tools to work with. The aliens really love to attack apartment buildings!

And, as for removing maps, I'm all for have as much terrain variety as possible. The slim chance of seeing two maps in a row is not a terrible problem in my opinion.

Also approve of the supply sites hidden on the geoscape. It would be a nice way to get the player searching the whole world for 'goodies', and eventually lead to HFS later on.

...

Also found another missing two strings. They both have to do with FACILITY ASSAULT HWP.

Quote
STR_FACTORY_ASSAULT_BRIEFING: They be stealing our tanks, yo
STR_TANK_FACTORY: They make the cup holders here

Missing the briefing and the geoscape facility name.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Hobbes on December 08, 2017, 07:38:07 pm
I like the new VIP map. Can't help but wish we had more tools to work with. The aliens really love to attack apartment buildings!

And, as for removing maps, I'm all for have as much terrain variety as possible. The slim chance of seeing two maps in a row is not a terrible problem in my opinion.

Also approve of the supply sites hidden on the geoscape. It would be a nice way to get the player searching the whole world for 'goodies', and eventually lead to HFS later on.

I've been thinking over the past days on the possible new missions and at this point I'm not sold on both, because of several reasons, the main one being that I don't think that they would add anything significantly new/needed at this stage, and would require major changes to the mission system.

Plus I need to focus on introducing some features for the existing missions, like the post-mission cutscenes, and some additional surprises included, plus a new mid-tier Sniper Rifle and Shotgun, as previously discussed.

Quote
Also found another missing two strings. They both have to do with FACILITY ASSAULT HWP.

Missing the briefing and the geoscape facility name.

Fixed both, thanks
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Dwarmin on December 09, 2017, 05:08:06 pm
Yeah, gotta watch out for mission creep.  :P
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Dwarmin on December 09, 2017, 10:14:34 pm
Also, I was bored, so I wrote up some potential lore for the human agents you face on council missions. I figure this way could leave them as dead ends (mystery forever intact), or possibly a future development of them as more detailed enemies.

EXINT Agent
(Our harshest interrogation techniques were ineffective in extracting any useful information from the subject-as soon as their stress levels grew too great, they seemingly went unconscious. When the subject awoke, they claimed to have no memory of what they had been doing. They said they were active military intelligence, and that they had been recruited by a group called EXINT on orders of their government. The purpose of this group had only been explained to them as being 'vital to the safety of their country'. And, next they knew, they woke up in our interrogation room. All our gathered information seems to suggest this part of the story is true, and they genuinely have no memory of what they did-their minds have been wiped perfectly. The subjects health has begun to deteriorate rapidly and mysteriously, as of this report-perhaps a bit of additional insurance to their silence-and we are not sure if they will recover.)

EXINT Agent Autopsy
(The body of the human agent we recovered possesses no surgical, or technological enhancements-it seems to be no more than an ordinary human, in perfect health and prime of life, with physical marks that indicate extensive experience in combat. An autopsy revealed nothing abnormal, except for some odd swelling around the neo-cortex. There are also no signs of identification-it is clear the subject received surgical alteration to change their identity at some point. Even their fingerprints have been permanently removed. The only body marking was a circular tattoo on the back of the neck which read 'EXINT', in red letters, over a black background.)


My idea to call them EXINT follows along the lines of XCOM (Extraterrestrial Combat) and EXALT. My idea is that EXINT (Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is something like the Bureau-they pretty much are the parts of the world governments who want to silence the whole alien invasion and 'make it disappear', trying to keep things quiet, getting rid of witnesses and destroying evidence which XCOM needs to acquire to win the war-they end up working with the aliens and working against XCOM.

The autopsy also hints at how I think the alien 'infiltration' in XCOM actually works. Think of the Spanish giving pox infected blankets to the natives, then apply that to the ways Aliens could sneak something into 'gifts' for human collaborators, like the plasma rifles the human agents wield. With the ultimate intent of making the affected humans minds easier to control via alien psionics. Could go some lengths to explaining how it is more difficult to develop plasma weapons in Area 51-the tech as XCOM finds it, cannot be wielded without nullifying this pacification effect.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Hobbes on December 10, 2017, 06:10:01 am
Yeah, gotta watch out for mission creep.  :P

Well they are good ideas that I'll certainly use for the Terminator mod - on that one the main way to get resources will be through these type of missions since the machine crafts will give little when compared to UFOs.

And I really want to get this mod to the finish line, and adding these missions at this stage really feels redundant for all the work involved.

Also, I was bored, so I wrote up some potential lore for the human agents you face on council missions. I figure this way could leave them as dead ends (mystery forever intact), or possibly a future development of them as more detailed enemies.

EXINT Agent
(Our harshest interrogation techniques were ineffective in extracting any useful information from the subject-as soon as their stress levels grew too great, they seemingly went unconscious. When the subject awoke, they claimed to have no memory of what they had been doing. They said they were active military intelligence, and that they had been recruited by a group called EXINT on orders of their government. The purpose of this group had only been explained to them as being 'vital to the safety of their country'. And, next they knew, they woke up in our interrogation room. All our gathered information seems to suggest this part of the story is true, and they genuinely have no memory of what they did-their minds have been wiped perfectly. The subjects health has begun to deteriorate rapidly and mysteriously, as of this report-perhaps a bit of additional insurance to their silence-and we are not sure if they will recover.)

EXINT Agent Autopsy
(The body of the human agent we recovered possesses no surgical, or technological enhancements-it seems to be no more than an ordinary human, in perfect health and prime of life, with physical marks that indicate extensive experience in combat. An autopsy revealed nothing abnormal, except for some odd swelling around the neo-cortex. There are also no signs of identification-it is clear the subject received surgical alteration to change their identity at some point. Even their fingerprints have been permanently removed. The only body marking was a circular tattoo on the back of the neck which read 'EXINT', in red letters, over a black background.)


My idea to call them EXINT follows along the lines of XCOM (Extraterrestrial Combat) and EXALT. My idea is that EXINT (Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is something like the Bureau-they pretty much are the parts of the world governments who want to silence the whole alien invasion and 'make it disappear', trying to keep things quiet, getting rid of witnesses and destroying evidence which XCOM needs to acquire to win the war-they end up working with the aliens and working against XCOM.

The autopsy also hints at how I think the alien 'infiltration' in XCOM actually works. Think of the Spanish giving pox infected blankets to the natives, then apply that to the ways Aliens could sneak something into 'gifts' for human collaborators, like the plasma rifles the human agents wield. With the ultimate intent of making the affected humans minds easier to control via alien psionics. Could go some lengths to explaining how it is more difficult to develop plasma weapons in Area 51-the tech as XCOM finds it, cannot be wielded without nullifying this pacification effect.

i like the description, but I simply decided to remove the autopsy/interrogation since they gave nothing of value in return to the player for the research spent. And also to keep the mystery, and let the player come up with his/her own explanation to how these human guys are working with the Thin Men.

At a certain point of this mod I also had a fully developed version of these MIBs - shadowy conspiracy group and all the cloak and dagger known as the Omega Corporation. Then that also got chopped out because it distracted the story from the aliens to the rogue humans.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Dwarmin on December 11, 2017, 04:48:03 pm
Yeah, I figure I came in at the end of this mods development, right? And started suggesting random things.  ;D

It's good to be done at some point, to know when your project is complete. Anything else really wanted, other people can add afterwards.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.955 updated with bugfixes - November 21th
Post by: Hobbes on December 28, 2017, 03:11:21 am
Yeah, I figure I came in at the end of this mods development, right? And started suggesting random things.  ;D

It's good to be done at some point, to know when your project is complete. Anything else really wanted, other people can add afterwards.

Well, the good news is that new ideas are most welcome at this point since I've started gathering ideas to a new project. :)

At this stage Area 51 basically requires bugfixing and playtesting since the few changes I had thought aren't really that needed. But one less known feature is that there are 107 possible types of new missions but Area 51 only uses about half of them. So all these resources can be used to create other mods, and use alternative weapons/units/craft/etc. or even a whole different storyline.

So I've lately been going through possible scenarios for such a mod based on Area 51, although I haven't decided on them yet because each has different challenges implicated. My main decision at this stage though is what type of organization will the player command and the overall setting.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.956 updated with bugfixes - January 31st
Post by: Hobbes on March 17, 2018, 08:41:40 pm
Download link: http://www.mediafire.com/file/ng28p3jmtdhid78/Area_51_v0.957.zip

Requires latest Nightly (https://openxcom.org/git-builds/) openxcom_git_master_2018_03_17_1018 or more recent

List of changes:
* Several bugs fixed
* Added partial Hungarian support
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.957 updated with bugfixes - March 18th, 2018
Post by: Cristao on April 03, 2018, 07:37:43 pm
Going to try new upload. Should be fun perhaps terrifying. Going to try it with extended
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.957 updated with bugfixes - March 18th, 2018
Post by: Hobbes on April 03, 2018, 10:42:33 pm
Going to try new upload. Should be fun perhaps terrifying. Going to try it with extended

Just updated the link to 0.958

Download link: http://www.mediafire.com/file/vr4dgblejw66vp6/Area_51_v0.958.zip

List of changes:
* Several bugs fixed

Enjoy :)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.958 updated with bugfixes - April 3rd, 2018
Post by: Cristao on April 04, 2018, 09:29:06 pm
Great!!
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.958 updated with bugfixes - April 3rd, 2018
Post by: Cristao on April 05, 2018, 06:24:18 pm
Normal to get more than one council facility attack at a time?
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.958 updated with bugfixes - April 3rd, 2018
Post by: Hobbes on April 06, 2018, 01:10:33 am
Normal to get more than one council facility attack at a time?

Yes but uncommon
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.959 updated with bugfixes - April 9th, 2018
Post by: Hobbes on April 10, 2018, 01:05:48 am
Just updated the link to version 0.959

Download link: http://www.mediafire.com/file/h33l9aybq9qh6v6/Area%2051%20v0.959.zip

List of changes:
* Several bugs fixed
* Balance: Council missions have a decreased probability of being spawned each month

Enjoy :)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.959 updated with bugfixes - April 9th, 2018
Post by: Cristao on April 10, 2018, 08:09:04 pm
Thanks on the decreased council missions. I am using it with Extended and it is very enjoyable - thanks.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.959 updated with bugfixes - April 9th, 2018
Post by: Hobbes on April 12, 2018, 04:04:38 pm
Thanks on the decreased council missions. I am using it with Extended and it is very enjoyable - thanks.

I've noticed that their frequency was a little too much by watching Meridian's LP and from starting a new campaign ;)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.959 updated with bugfixes - April 9th, 2018
Post by: Cristao on April 13, 2018, 10:18:35 pm
Researched two topics - Wraith Corpse and Hovertank. Research completed but I couldnt see any entries in the UFOpedia.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.959 updated with bugfixes - April 9th, 2018
Post by: Hobbes on April 15, 2018, 08:09:00 pm
Researched two topics - Wraith Corpse and Hovertank. Research completed but I couldnt see any entries in the UFOpedia.

Wraith Corpse should give the Prometheus Unbound UFOPedia article + random weapon tech. I've fixed the Hovertank bug, I'll release a new version later today

Thanks :)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.959 updated with bugfixes - April 9th, 2018
Post by: Lord_Kane on April 18, 2018, 08:34:35 pm
and where is this new version? :D
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.959 updated with bugfixes - April 9th, 2018
Post by: Hobbes on April 19, 2018, 04:44:11 am
Version 0.960 released

Download link: http://www.mediafire.com/file/mcppi8h7ficpcz6/Area%2051%20v0.960.zip

List of changes:
* Several bugs fixed, reported on this thread and elsewhere
* Balance: Council missions despawning penalty reduced to -500 points; data disks recovery is now worth 500 points and they can be sold for 500k; Destroy missions tactical score from destroying objectives reduced to 500 points
* Balance: civilian presence in Council missions reduced/increased, depending on the mission
* Balance: alien race appearance in Council missions changed


Enjoy :)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.961 released May 13th 2018
Post by: Hobbes on May 14, 2018, 12:57:53 am
Version 0.961 has been released!

WARNING: you should delete the existing /Area 51 folder on your /mods folder before installing 0.961

Download link: http://www.mediafire.com/file/ju5vjvrrs897d9n/Area%2051%20v0.961.zip

Requires either Nightly (https://openxcom.org/git-builds/) openxcom_git_master_2018_05_10_2033 or OXCE+ Extended+-3.10a-bfe5b47-2018-05-08-win32

List of changes:
* Support for Macintosh users - thanks to Meridian who converted all the .gif files to .png format
* Spacefarers' weapon damage can now vary other than stun
* For OXCE+ users, the Hunter-Killer feature has now been added (see next post for details)
* Several bugs have been fixed
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.961 released May 13th 2018
Post by: Hobbes on May 14, 2018, 01:24:52 am
Hunter-Killer UFOs (OXCE+ only)
* Specific UFO types can now detect and attack XCom craft
* Specific types of alien bases can now detect and launch UFO waves to intercept incoming XCom craft
* Hunter-Killers can only appear in certain types of alien missions (e.g. Retaliation)
* For more specifics about how the system works, check this thread (https://openxcom.org/forum/index.php/topic,5717.msg92133.html#msg92133)

Recommended Options
* Airborne transfers - YES (for when your transport is returning and a UFO appears by its home base)
* Friendly craft escort - YES (OXCE only - allows your interceptors to escort transport planes to their target)
* Draw enemy radar circles - NO (OXCE only - otherwise the radar will reveal the HK UFOs)

This is an optional feature - the idea is to change a major variable and see how it works with vanilla air combat, with as little changes as possible since I don't have in my plans to switch Area 51 from the nightlies to OXCE+
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.961 released May 13th 2018
Post by: Meridian on May 14, 2018, 09:36:18 am
* Airborne transfers - YES (for when your transport is returning and a UFO appears by its home base)

How is this supposed to be used?

* Draw enemy radar circles - YES (OXCE only - otherwise the radar will reveal the HK UFOs)

Did you mean yes or no? :)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.961 released May 13th 2018
Post by: Hobbes on May 14, 2018, 01:20:55 pm
How is this supposed to be used?

When your Skyranger is coming home from a long-range mission and several UFOs just appear over its home base. Unless you have a 2nd base to here you can divert the craft, you have a serious risk one of the UFOs being an HK and shooting down your Skyranger before it lands, because there's no other way to change its course/destination.

Quote
Did you mean yes or no? :)

I meant No, thanks :)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.961 released May 13th 2018
Post by: Meridian on May 14, 2018, 02:26:55 pm
When your Skyranger is coming home from a long-range mission and several UFOs just appear over its home base. Unless you have a 2nd base to here you can divert the craft, you have a serious risk one of the UFOs being an HK and shooting down your Skyranger before it lands, because there's no other way to change its course/destination.

Lol, I see.
I always wanted to try that option, and was always too lazy.
In the base GUI, you transfer the craft as item... but it actually doesn't transfer anything... only redirects the craft to a different base... clever.
Would be nicer if it was done via a button on the craft detail geoscape GUI tho... todolisted (low prio).

I meant No, thanks :)

I was thinking... shouldn't the Hyperwave Decoder be able to tell us the UFO's intentions (hunter/escort) and radar range? And once it is hyper-detected, we could draw the radar circle... I'd be happy to ditch the user setting completely if it worked that way.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.961 released May 13th 2018
Post by: Hobbes on May 14, 2018, 06:07:05 pm
Lol, I see.
I always wanted to try that option, and was always too lazy.
In the base GUI, you transfer the craft as item... but it actually doesn't transfer anything... only redirects the craft to a different base... clever.
Would be nicer if it was done via a button on the craft detail geoscape GUI tho... todolisted (low prio).

I never had this issue with Tech-Comm because the short range of the transports but on vanilla XCom sending a Skyranger across the globe can be very risky.

One feature that minimizes this situation is that HK UFOs have a short detection range (max is Battleship with 500 nautical miles) - I designed it this way so a player might only discover that the UFO is a HK when it's too late for the Interceptor to return safely to the base.

I haven't checked the mechanics of the airborne transfer... if it doesn't actually transfer anything, what happens to the craft/soldiers/items onboard it?

Quote
I was thinking... shouldn't the Hyperwave Decoder be able to tell us the UFO's intentions (hunter/escort) and radar range? And once it is hyper-detected, we could draw the radar circle... I'd be happy to ditch the user setting completely if it worked that way.

Some would say the vanilla HWD is already overpowered and spoilerish ;)

Technically sounds to me a good idea (better than having yet another option) but it will remove the element of surprise and make those air combats more predictable, specially during the late game.

There's also the factor that not all UFOs in an alienMission will be HKs, the percentage changes between 50 to 75%, depending on the mission and UFO type - the idea I want to give to the player is that the aliens don't specifically conduct missions to target XCom craft or escort other UFOs (unlike Tech-Comm) but a UFO can switch to HK mode as a possible response to a hostile craft getting too close for comfort (the Sectoid Navigator gets scared and decides to get rid of those puny humans).

The way I designed the HKs was:
* HKs can only appear in Alien Retaliation, Terror, Base and Infiltration missions, with a higher chance of UFOs being HKs on Retaliation
* Only Large Scout, Terror Ship and Battleship on those missions can be HKs
* Large Scout - major threat to Skyrangers but Interceptors can handle it, usually 50% will be HKs
* Terror Ship - major threat to Skyrangers, Lightning and Interceptor, Firestorm and Avenger can handle it, usually 66% will be HKs
* Battleship - major threat to all craft and unescorted Avengers, usually 75% will be HKs
* I didn't add any escorts because it would involve a major redesign of missions that would affect the vanilla version. I considered adding escorts to Supply Ships on supply missions, but I realized that escorts are redundant if the alien base can launch UFO interceptors.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.961 released May 13th 2018
Post by: Meridian on May 14, 2018, 07:07:56 pm
I haven't checked the mechanics of the airborne transfer... if it doesn't actually transfer anything, what happens to the craft/soldiers/items onboard it?

If I remember correctly (can't check now)... the recovered items are magically transported to the original base immediately after the mission. Also craft re-equipment happens immediately.

So, the soldiers, (re)equiped items and craft would be saved when redirected to other base.
The recovered items (from the mission) would be lost if the original base was destroyed... or just wait in the original base if it's not even if skyranger lands elsewhere.

Some would say the vanilla HWD is already overpowered and spoilerish ;)

I like it :)
And if you're able to learn e.g. their mission objective, I'm sure you can look for radar ranges in their database too :P

Technically sounds to me a good idea (better than having yet another option) but it will remove the element of surprise and make those air combats more predictable, specially during the late game.

OK, I'll leave it for now and wait for more feedback from players and modders.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.961 released May 13th 2018
Post by: R1dO on May 14, 2018, 11:01:45 pm
...
And if you're able to learn e.g. their mission objective, I'm sure you can look for radar ranges in their database too :P
...

From a lore wise point of view that alone would be enough for me to find the option useful.

Although it does open another can of worms:
 If certain ufo's are researched ... why not display the largest know radar range for a given size class when using conventional radars.
 For a short while players can be "fooled" in 2 ways:
 1. If only the ranges < than the HK are known ... false sense of security when trying to evade them (e.g. unexpected attack)
 2. If ranges > than the HK ones are known ... player tries to desperatly evade a simple scout , might even decide to forget about the terror mission because it is "on route".

As for a modder overriding the option to show them ... please only override the option to forcefully show them but leave the hide part intact. So a player can always chose to turn them off.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.961 released May 13th 2018
Post by: Hobbes on May 16, 2018, 08:03:37 am
Version 0.962 has been released!

Download link: http://www.mediafire.com/file/fx0cykc1j81myho/Area%2051%20V0.962.zip

Requires either Nightly (https://openxcom.org/git-builds/) openxcom_git_master_2018_05_10_2033 or OXCE+ Extended+-3.10a-bfe5b47-2018-05-08-win32

List of changes:
* Reviewed all ListOrders
* Fixed issue with alien bases not generating UFO interceptors
* Set automatically several recommended OXCE+ options to use with Hunter-Killers (can be reversed by changing vars.rul)
* Small increases in UFO and Alien Base radar ranges
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.962 released May 16th 2018
Post by: R1dO on May 16, 2018, 11:08:02 am
Looking at the changes, i am missing the segfault preventing bugfix (mapfix) you've provided on discord.

Knowing you it is probably included. Mentioning it ... just in case ;)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.962 released May 16th 2018
Post by: Hobbes on May 16, 2018, 03:16:50 pm
Knowing you it is probably included. Mentioning it ... just in case ;)

It is included, thanks for the reminder ;)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.961 released May 13th 2018
Post by: Meridian on May 20, 2018, 10:34:30 am
* Set automatically several recommended OXCE+ options to use with Hunter-Killers (can be reversed by changing vars.rul)

Looks like a wrong option was fixed.
(Landing alert instead of radar drawing)
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.962 released May 16th 2018
Post by: Meridian on May 21, 2018, 12:57:18 pm
Lab Ship has more holes than Emmental cheese, people get shot through walls...

Save attached.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.962 released May 16th 2018
Post by: Hobbes on May 21, 2018, 04:48:18 pm
Lab Ship has more holes than Emmental cheese, people get shot through walls...

Save attached.

Thanks! I'm a bit busy at the moment but I'll have a look at it later
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.962 released May 16th 2018
Post by: Hobbes on June 27, 2018, 04:53:46 pm
OK, I haven't looked at the Lab Ship yet, but I've been fixing small bugs/typos reported and I've added Polish and Russian language files to version 0.962 - just redownload this version.
Title: Re: Area 51 beta version 0.962 updated June 27th
Post by: Hobbes on July 09, 2018, 04:30:00 am
Hello all,


I have been adding more bug fixes and some balance tweaks based on what I've seen from Meridian (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7YIQCsRiiA&list=PLe0K-GUDQkNKDtMl-W4eQ9x92uRtJ9l8P)'s and tarsolyger (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GD1n4jeLOJs&index=1&list=PL2t9VWDusOo8LiDdpcXYhZkVzzOEE4jml)'s current Let's Play series.

I'm still working on fixing the line of sight issues reported with the Lab Ship, plus a couple more terrain bugs I've seen, but I should have the new 0.963 version released this week.