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Modding => Released Mods => The X-Com Files => Topic started by: krautbernd on August 09, 2019, 01:22:25 pm

Title: Alien food / unused items
Post by: krautbernd on August 09, 2019, 01:22:25 pm
I'm not sure if this belongs in the general thread, but i've a feeling it would get buried pretty quickly without getting feedback.

Solarius, have thought about tying in some of the normally 'unused' recoverd items into the game as prerequisites for buildings/research?

Right now, alien containmant requires alien biology, but has no ties to alien food or alien entertainment. Have you thought about making alien food & entertainment a required research for alien containment, along with alien biology? I don't know how containment is supposed to work, but if they interrogate them, x-com probably has to have some idea how to actually feed their alien prisoners. Also, how about making alien entertainment a needed material (not much, 5-10 units) for the acutal containment facility? You know, as an incentive for the aliens to cooperate with x-com. The good cop/bad cop method only works if you can offer them something in return: "Care to tell us about your species plans for world domination? In return you get an hour on extraterrestial cable".

Also, how about incoporating multitools and alloy welders into some of the 'advanced' labs instead (or in addition to) elerium and alloys? Right they are only used for research and don't serve any other purpose, but you regularely recover them from engineers.
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: BlackStaff on August 09, 2019, 02:03:18 pm
Right now, alien containmant requires alien biology, but has no ties to alien food or alien entertainment. Have you thought about making alien food & entertainment a required research for alien containment, along with alien biology? I don't know how containment is supposed to work, but if they interrogate them, x-com probably has to have some idea how to actually feed their alien prisoners. Also, how about making alien entertainment a needed material (not much, 5-10 units) for the acutal containment facility?
The idea is not a bad one.
But I prefer to play the "bad cop" game.
If you talk, you eat. And once he has spoken, he dies, it seems to me.
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: krautbernd on August 09, 2019, 02:12:31 pm
The idea is not a bad one.
But I prefer to play the "bad cop" game.
If you talk, you eat. And once he has spoken, he dies, it seems to me.
At least for humans that doesn't work - torture doesn't get you reliable information. It's just get's you whatever you want to hear. The best interrogation is one where the one being interrogated doesn't even realize he's being interrogated. Seeing how the alien races in-game also have shared myths and oral histories (Snakemen, Floaters, Sectoids, Ethereals...) i'd wager they're not all that different. Chance is they will let something slip when they don't feel observed. Like when they zone out using their space-xbox.
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: JustTheDude on August 10, 2019, 12:10:11 am
Adding even more micromenagament (that gives no fun) isn't really a good idea. However it is nice to think about the subject and maybe add it to UFOpedia. Maintenance upkeep has to contain cost of nutrients, aliens aren't picky about their food, X-Com could buy literally dog food, or waste from factories and make "Alien Food" from it.

Torture would be probably the best solution to interrogate any alien. EU (2012) shows interrogation scenes as some two "speakers"(?) emmit some high pitched noise. This could be a nice method. All X-Com has to do is to make aliens fear them more than they fear Ethernals. Ethernals themselfs probably require harsh methods, like hours inside such chamber, any living being would snitch very fast everything they know.
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: krautbernd on August 10, 2019, 12:29:25 am
Adding even more micromenagament (that gives no fun) isn't really a good idea. However it is nice to think about the subject and maybe add it to UFOpedia. Maintenance upkeep has to contain cost of nutrients, aliens aren't picky about their food, X-Com could buy literally dog food, or waste from factories and make "Alien Food" from it.
'Even more micromanagement'? What? I explicitly said it should be added to research - i wasn't talking about upkeep or ongoing costs.

Most aliens are apparently picky about their food, as per ufopedia entries. Case in point, why have alien food in the first place? Again, add it as a research requirement. The whole point of alien containment is to provide the aliens with an environment that doesn't slowly kill them. I'd say that this includes apropriate food - something x-com has no inherent knowledge of, which is why you can research the stuff.

Torture would be probably the best solution to interrogate any alien. EU (2012) shows interrogation scenes as some two "speakers"(?) emmit some high pitched noise. This could be a nice method. All X-Com has to do is to make aliens fear them more than they fear Ethernals. Ethernals themselfs probably require harsh methods, like hours inside such chamber, any living being would snitch very fast everything they know.
Ethernals? What are you even talking about? Again, torture get's you anything you want to hear - not necessarily the truth.
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: JustTheDude on August 11, 2019, 12:53:08 am
- Snip -

New research just for Alien contaiment is a bit "micro" in a way that you would have to research this (few clicks, but still).

Isn't it like every "Mars Aliens" eats Cows and People mixed to the point of disintegrating into simple nutrients?

Either way, just autopsy on proper alien gives enough hints for X-Com to deduct what they would need to survive. Every alien from Mars have a very simple digestion track etc. How Scientists know what Shoggs, or Deep Ones, or Dimension X creatures need to it is probably bound to the engine and simplicity on our side. Researching basically the same thing 4 times, then building 4 different alien contaiments, or atleast researching 4 different "food items" isn't really a good idea.

Even now, acquiring Alien Food is fairly hard, you have to be lucky to get landed UFO with it onboard, or you would have to be locked from Alien Contaiment untill Invasion starts.

I meant "Ethereal" (I always thought they were called "Ethernals", even when looking at UFOpedia entrenance, I was just simply looking at first 4 letters and I never noticed). Tortured prisoners can't lie if you can easly check their words. Interrogated Sectoid can give us detailed description of several alien weapons, early X-Com can't figure their stats easly, however they are advanced enough to check if some things match etc.
Good cop - Bad cop works only on humans and only on those less "criminally hardcore", pain is understood all across the X-Com universe.
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: krautbernd on August 11, 2019, 01:26:59 am
[...]Researching basically the same thing 4 times, then building 4 different alien contaiments, or atleast researching 4 different "food items" isn't really a good idea.
Is that what i was proposing? Multiple different alien containments?

Even now, acquiring Alien Food is fairly hard, you have to be lucky to get landed UFO with it onboard, or you would have to be locked from Alien Contaiment untill Invasion starts.
I don't know about you, but on my playthroughs i normally only get 3 or 4 early wave UFOs and than most of the time nothing until 1999. Keep in mind that you have to reasearch alien containment to begin with - which entails an autopsy. Unless you get really lucky with your UFO spawns and time your research right you will probably have your containment up and running, but no aliens to put into it. Alein food is preset on multiple UFO types (i got mine from a lab ship), and UFOs aren'T the only way to get the research either.

Tortured prisoners can't lie if you can easly check their words. Interrogated Sectoid can give us detailed description of several alien weapons, early X-Com can't figure their stats easly, however they are advanced enough to check if some things match etc.
Do they though? Every time? Or do they also tell us more abstract stuff? Like alien missions, UFO types, about other alien races we haven't yet encountered or researched etc.? Tortured prisoners can lie about anything. They will tell you that the sun is green if that's what you want to hear.

Good cop - Bad cop works only on humans and only on those less "criminally hardcore", pain is understood all across the X-Com universe.
It's not simply about the good cop/bad cop routine. It's about getting your target to drop their guard. Look up interrogation of POWs in WW2 for example. Or any modern interrogation technique that actually produces usuable intelligence. Torture doesn't get you very far. Threats do. Promises do. Rewards do. Postive reinforcement is more powerful than negative reinforcement. I'd be surprised if that isn't universal for any intelligent form of life.
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: Solarius Scorch on August 20, 2019, 01:13:08 pm
I understand and appreciate the idea of making alien stuff useful, but I am not convinced yet.
Alien Food is pretty much only available from supply ships and bases. This is kinda late, I'm afraid it may feel like "padding" the game for artificial prolongation of campaign time. Maybe if there are some alternative sources. Additionally, what about alien organisms that aren't Cydonians?
Alien Entertainment is probably even harder to obtain, and feel kinda simplistic, considering there are countless ways to interrogate an alien. I think the current system of gradually cracking the alien language works better, but might require some additional development.
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: krautbernd on August 20, 2019, 01:34:48 pm
I understand and appreciate the idea of making alien stuff useful, but I am not convinced yet.
Alien Food is pretty much only available from supply ships and bases. This is kinda late, I'm afraid it may feel like "padding" the game for artificial prolongation of campaign time. Maybe if there are some alternative sources. Additionally, what about alien organisms that aren't Cydonians?
Alien Entertainment is probably even harder to obtain, and feel kinda simplistic, considering there are countless ways to interrogate an alien. I think the current system of gradually cracking the alien language works better, but might require some additional development.
Point taken, but it still feels like a waste considering that you recover those items en masse later in the game and all it's really good for is selling it off. Could we at least get some manufacturing options to sell them off for more money?

Also, what about labs (or other buidlings) requiring other items beside alloys&elerium? I don't think advanced labs requiring multitools or alloy welders is too far off, or PSI labs requiring mind probes or alien entertainment.
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: Solarius Scorch on August 24, 2019, 10:14:28 am
Point taken, but it still feels like a waste considering that you recover those items en masse later in the game and all it's really good for is selling it off. Could we at least get some manufacturing options to sell them off for more money?

Well, alien food is basically just normal Earth meat and intestines. I don't know who would buy that, cattle fodder manufacturers? It's the 90's after all. :P
On a more serious note, there are also some interesting enzymes... But I think the current value of 5000 represents it sufficiently well. Hell, I can increase it to, say, 20000, but I can't see any other practical use for this item.
Alien entertainment systems are more interesting, we can think about these.

Also, what about labs (or other buidlings) requiring other items beside alloys&elerium? I don't think advanced labs requiring multitools or alloy welders is too far off, or PSI labs requiring mind probes or alien entertainment.

We'll think about it. It's an okay idea in general.
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: TheCurse on August 26, 2019, 12:09:16 am
Alien entertainment would be a very fitting item to make hologram traps from...
Not sure if its possible though.
Idea would be to work it into a grenade that spawns a non-controllable (or 0 TU) soldier that gets shot at by enemies, but doesn't give penalty when (easily) killed...
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: JustTheDude on August 26, 2019, 09:11:01 am
Alien entertainment would be a very fitting item to make hologram traps from...
Not sure if its possible though.
Idea would be to work it into a grenade that spawns a non-controllable (or 0 TU) soldier that gets shot at by enemies, but doesn't give penalty when (easily) killed...

Every entity that spawns on the map (outside before first round) have go be hostile to the player and friendly to the enemy, so it is not possible.
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: krautbernd on August 26, 2019, 11:48:52 am
Every entity that spawns on the map (outside before first round) have go be hostile to the player and friendly to the enemy, so it is not possible.
It is, actually:
https://www.ufopaedia.org/index.php/Ruleset_Reference_Nightly_(OpenXcom)#Miscellaneous
https://openxcom.org/forum/index.php/topic,6535.0.html

Personally i'm not a fan of adding more stuff from the x-com reboot, outside of the fluff. I also don't see how alien entertainment would lead to holograms. As far as i can tell those two are unrelated. If you're talking about PSI-traps, how would these work on mechnical units or those immune to PSI effects? My initial proposal of using those items were directly related to facilites and their in-game descriptions/effects. Alien entertainment uses "psionic circuitry [to stimulate] various centres of the brain". It stands to reason that these can be used for training purposes or at least to introduce rookies to PSI effects and the underlaying theories.

Alien multitools+alloy welders are research prerequisites for various technologies. It stands to reason that these would be of use in the higher tiered laboratories, since they would aid in disassembling and analysing other alien devices.
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: Solarius Scorch on August 26, 2019, 08:43:05 pm
Alien entertainment would be a very fitting item to make hologram traps from...
Not sure if its possible though.
Idea would be to work it into a grenade that spawns a non-controllable (or 0 TU) soldier that gets shot at by enemies, but doesn't give penalty when (easily) killed...

It's actually an interesting idea, but like Krautbernd, I can't really see how it ties to the alien entertainment.

Also, I'm worried that it might be a bit OP - knowing the players, they'll activate 30 holodudes at once and then pick off the enemies at leisure. :P
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: krautbernd on August 26, 2019, 08:46:50 pm
[...]knowing the players, they'll activate 30 holodudes at once
Would 30 holodudes be more or less expensive than 30 rookies? Can they be re-used if they aren't killed?


Asking for a friend.
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: TheCurse on August 26, 2019, 09:34:45 pm
Would 30 holodudes be more or less expensive than 30 rookies? Can they be re-used if they aren't killed?


Asking for a friend.
not sure about the cost (its definately over selling price of entertainment...), but of course they can't be re-used... the grenade they came in is gone :P
For balance reasons there might even be a maximum turn lifetime for them, like 1 or 2 or so...
(your arguments on why it doesn't fit content wise are pretty valid though. then again, might be psionic projections... >_> )
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: krautbernd on August 26, 2019, 10:01:33 pm
So what reason would there be to use them over rookies?

I don't really see the downside here. Maybe i'm missing something. I mean, as long as the rookies don't die during the mission they are quite reusuable, and they don't have a turn limit either. They can even use weapons (well, grenandes probably, unless they can actually hit something with a gun).
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: TheCurse on August 26, 2019, 11:21:21 pm
The grenades don't take up transport capacity and may be cheaper, and you can carry multiple.
Also you can throw them immediately where they are of most use, instead of having them to walk around (and possibly get shot before that).
Basically a "rookie in a can" at the right time at the right place. ;)
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: krautbernd on August 27, 2019, 12:02:01 am
But can the hologram guy carry a primed high-ex and run up to cyberdisk a group of aliens?

I don't think i'm totally sold on the idea. I don't quite see the appeal.
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: TheCurse on August 27, 2019, 12:44:52 am
Of course the hologram can not.  ;D
Its not meant to replace rookies, just have a target at the right time at the right place to maybe catch some bullets or draw some enemies out.
Of course a rookie is better in any aspect, except more expensive, limited by transport slots (as you surely don't wanna carry 10 rookies with you) and costs score/morale if killed...

I´d imagine hologram use to draw sniper shots (or other powerful attacks) or waste a few enemy shots/TU if you throw them closer to an enemy than your units are, so less shots are actually fired at them.
Just giving some tactical options.
Like e.g. you ran around a corner and there´s 3 guys standing and you can't retreat far enough. 1 hologram closer than your unit and it´ll eat some shots/TUs. Or maybe throw 2 or 3 if you can, maybe the enemy is stupid enough to blast each other with explosives...
(Then again if you could throw 3, just use real grenades...)
Or maybe eat a chrysalid attack. Or waste an alien MC. Or eat 1 cyberdisc or blaster shot... Or make an enemy with a heavy gun melee attack since range too close... I can imagine dozens of possible scenarios where a throwable dummy unit would be kinda useful.
Cannot guarantee all are valid or worth it though. ;)
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: Solarius Scorch on August 27, 2019, 11:22:11 am
How about not being court martialled? Is this incentive enough? :P
Also, holograms mean almost unlimited numbers. Very easy to overwhelm the AI the dumb way.
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: krautbernd on August 27, 2019, 12:17:20 pm
Can't be court martialed if you're not part of regular military forces. As far as i am concerned all my agents are private contractors. Who am I to tell them that they shouldn't strap explosives to their body and run up to extraterrestial invaders?  ::)

And yeah, being able to overwhelm the AI with dummy units is kind of exploity.
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: TheCurse on August 27, 2019, 12:55:02 pm
oh, yeah that definately is an issue.
i think that could be solved by item size though. 2x2 or 1x3 size and you can't take too many with you.
might still be exploitable.
then again, its made from an item thats not really cheap... so you *could* mass spawn them every mission, if you´re willing to give half a million away each time...

@krautbernd: you know you could just let them throw the explosives, right?  ;)
Title: Re: Alien food / unused items
Post by: krautbernd on August 27, 2019, 01:35:44 pm
@krautbernd: you know you could just let them throw the explosives, right?  ;)
Not worth the risk, considering the throwing accuracy. Better safe than sorry.