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Messages - hstech

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Released Mods / Re: [CRAFT] AWACS Aircraft
« on: September 25, 2014, 02:33:29 am »
... Wait! Did I say "conventional underground radar"? It's ridiculous. Underground radars are not allowed because it is impossible. ...

I have an idea for another scenario featuring these AWACS aircraft and the radars:

Underground radars work but the pile of mud used to hide them means they can't use the fancy spread spectrum tricks to hide themselves below the background noise floor. This means the aliens will be able to lock onto their signal and find your base pretty quickly once you prove to them you are more than a little nuisance for them. Expect to have so many aliens knocking at the door of your base(s) that you will be literally forced to dismantle them all and rely solely on AWACS to figure out where these pesky UFOs are lurking around.

Plus the pile of mud gets in the way of the radar's detection abilities. This means while AWACS sports a whooping 50% chance of detection in a small radar range, the small radar itself can barely get to the measly 20%. Long range radar has much higher range but at a pretty high cost: It has to use much stronger signal which makes the base where it is locate much more vulnerable to detection of the alien craft but even that does not help too much as the detection chance is only 10%

And don't think a mind shield is going to do you any good in avoiding detection. If the aliens can see your radar's signals, they can detect your base no matter if it has a mind shield or not.

Well, that could add an interesting twist to the game. If you like to invite aliens to bring their gear to your hideout and then perish, you can build a bait base equipped by radars. Then whenever aliens go out searching for your base(s), they will find your bait base and the carnage can begin ... :D


I also would suggest AWACS crafts based on alien technology. Can hold hyperwave decoding circuitry, have 100% detection rate and huge range but are EXTREMELY expensive to build and operate (the 100% detection gear needs a lot of fine alien avionics and communication artefacts to build and the high range has its costs in Ellerium consumption as well). This would add an interesting strategic twist to the game: Am I going to pay to cover the important area with 100% accuracy detection or I am going to be content with 50% (standard AWACS uses human fuel and Hyperwave Decoder does not use any Ellerium as it is mostly passive decoding device able to operate on standard electricity).

Suggestions / Re: Make ufos smarter an tougher
« on: November 26, 2013, 12:56:59 am »
A bomber-UFO would really be a good idea since currently (and in the original) your base is completely immune from battleship attacks once you have a couple of fusion ball defense facilities.
Maybe it could damage/destroy random facilities at your base during a flyover without triggering defenses. So if you don't shoot it down with your crafts it will seriously damage your base - and clear the way for further battleships to land.

Your base is completely immune from battleship attacks once you get Hyperwave Decoder in it and you shoot down any and all "piñata" that dare to try to do Alien Retaliation around it. You don't need any Fushion Balls to defend it. The Hyperwave Decoder has 100% chance of detection, making it impossible for them to search for your base without you knowing that they are doing exactly that. And if you design it for defendability, you don't even have (or don't want ;) ) to bother with shooting down the "piñata" and rather have the aliens arrive and bring with their supplies directly to your General Stores 8)

The bomber is good idea, I would suggest adding detection capabilities to it so it can detect your base. And give it a decent damage resistance so you need a lot of rockets to kill it and weapon with range larger than Plasma Cannon but smaller than Avalanche. This would give the player to use Avalanche alongside Plasma Cannon.

Suggestions / Re: Make identification of alien ranks harder / more logical
« on: November 10, 2013, 12:21:18 pm »
As we had the discussion about color schemes for different alien ranks here,737.0.html
I always wondered how even the dumbest Rookie who had never seen an alien before could easily identify it's rank as soon as he was standing over a stunned one.

My suggestion:
A) give the different ranks some differences in color (only partly explains how the rookie could identify the rank of an unknown alien species)
B) treat stunned aliens like alien artifacts - as long as they are not researched only the species should be displayed in the inventory screen - like in corpses.
This would make it harder to catch the desired ranks as you'd only know what you caught after completing the mission.

I know replying to a topic 6 months old is kinda stupid but I want to put my $0.02 to the point and this topic fits the theme perfectly.

Basically I also wondered how on earth the soldiers/scientists manage to identify the alien ranks without even without taking a closer look at them before. Have the aliens written their ranks at their foreheads? Or is an unconscious alien repeating its rank constantly in human-understandable language until it wakes up or dies?

My idea would be that the aliens should have their ranks hidden no matter whether researched or not. This is because the rank is stored in the alien's mind and you can't simply peek into its mind without special equipment.

To identify the rank you would:

1. Use a Mind Probe. This peeks directly into the mind of the alien, allowing it to extract the rank out of it.

2. Mind control the alien. This also extracts the rank out of the mind of the alien (Psi-Amp also acts as a supercharged Mind Probe of some sort).

Once identified the alien rank would remain known until your soldiers lose sight of the alien. Once they lost their sight from the alien, they would have to identify that alien again (by using Mind Probe on it or mind controlling it).

Additionally, the scientists would require the alien rank to be already identified on the field in order to perform the rank specific part of their interrogation. An unidentified rank would give only information about the alien species and nothing more.

I believe this would finally give the players a reason to research and use the Mind Probe in the field. I personally felt the Mind Probe to be pretty underused.

Suggestions / Re: How about a new points system?
« on: October 19, 2013, 12:35:44 pm »
Though killing a Sectopod is often a team effort... You can abuse it by having the rookie do the killing blow...

Solution would be simple, let any alien remember who gave it how much damage (and what type - as xracer said, taking a Sectopod down with a laser weapon is much easier than, say, with armor piercing weapon) and then after its death distribute the points accordingly.

Similarly these points should be awarded for STUNNING aliens. Given the fact that stunning them is way harder (especially with the stun rod) than killing them, it is quite questionable why the soldiers doing the stunning are not rewarded for it at all.

Suggestions / Re: Research and manufacture options
« on: October 13, 2013, 12:12:40 am »
Another possibility is that once a player has completed all possible research and DOESN'T then attempt to hit Cydonia within a certain time frame (according to difficulty level?) then alien attacks upon Earth and Xcom bases will continually increase in frequency and difficulty.  If you've completed the research tree then at most you need a bit of time to find and train up psi troops and to build ONE Avenger.  Maybe 1 month, after which penalties for scoring purposes will increase, awards for any accomplishment will decrease, size of UFO's to intercept starts scaling up and you no longer even see Very Small or Small UFO scout missions, infiltration missions increase, etc.  In short, you get 1 month grace period before the game starts sliding into INEVITABLE defeat short of cutting off the head at Cydonia.

This would be easy to avoid: the player would simply keep a couple of less important research topics (Alien Entertainment, Alien Food etc) unresearched until they decide they had enough of the aliens and go to Cydonia to hit them.

Additionally, with Psi active and ready this would not work very well against the player. The Psi allows riskless assault of any ufo with any race.

How about this?

If the player captures a high ranking alien and then interrogate him, he would obtain information about some alien mission going to happen in 2-3 months? Then he could get prepared for them to come.

Ok, quick fix to this post.

I did order 8 bases with Big Radar, General Stores and Hangar after I edited my fresh savegame to match the "Super Easy" difficulty. This means I gave myseld $ USD so I could forget about financial stuff completely and focus on the plot.

Once I completed this "Super Easy" game, I started a "normal easy" game which was a vanilla Easy. In this type of game it does not fit into your initial budget to have 8 bases with a Large Radar, General Stores and an Interceptor with generous supply of Avalanche missiles. However it is still possible to schedule about 90% world coverage (Australia, Antarctida and some remote arctic locations had to be left out) with large radars during day 1.

I don't yet know how it will turn out to be but I started my attempt to take it off.

Also, another interesting option is to give myself a generous supply of money (say $100 million) but disabling all of the government funding completely (set funding cap to 0 and currend funding to 0). Then I would have to earn it all from the field operations and/or manufacturing.

The third interesting option would be The Privateer Way. This would also in addition to editing the council funding away would require editing the manufacturing costs so that no items can be manufactured for profit. The only income could be to shoot down the UFOs, recover them and sell the loot.

I'm not sure this is a bug.
I only know this is this way the original game works.
I believe this is intentionally done to prevent your game from running indefinitely, since a good avenger fleet would permit you prevent any alien infiltration as long as they don't send a great number of simultaneous alien infiltration missions. This is a way to figure that time runs against humans.

If this is so, then it was pretty sloppily done. The defense against Infiltration is simple: Get Hyperwawe Decoders ASAP, build 100% world coverage even if you would have one or two "normal" bases and the rest to be just access lift, Hyperwave Decoder, General Stores (to hold the ammo) and a couple of Hangars to hold Interceptors so that you can shoot down everything quickly. Then shoot down any small UFOs which are on "Infiltration" mission as soon as they appear and the aliens will never get to the point of signing any pacts.

Well, also when I had only the lowly Radars, what I did was to build 8 bases right at the beginning of the game. At the first day I ordered 7 bases having a radar to spot any UFOs and an armed Interceptor to shoot it down. Before the end of the month I could destroy them all. I then bought truckloads of Avalanche missiles and shot down everything that was "Small" or smaller. My abilities to do some speedy research were initially pretty limited but I was able to contain the alien's invasion to small UFOs only, collecting the loot until I got enough money to build additional labs and put scientists into them.

Basically, the aliens could manage to do some scouting pretty unhindered during the first 26 days but after that they had really BIG troubles getting any scout down to Earth and back. And if they tried to do Terror during the first month, I took the commitment to shoot that dreaded Terror Ship down even if I had one or two Interceptors down. And despite the defendability of my detection bases being rather pathetic, they could not even do any retaliation because the Battleship seems to not contain any detection ability so if all the small scouts got destroyed, they could not figure out where that pesky base of mine actually is when the Battleship was ready to do the attack.

And I was still able to capture a Navigator to get a Hyperwave Decoder. I was even able to obtain the Psi technology during the wait: the Ethereals showed up and as I had my Stun Rods ready from the day 3 (the first 2 days they were in the mail :) ), I took my time to capture one alive.

This strategy worked because the alien's AI was quite stupid (at least at the Begginer difficulty, see below). The aliens tended to send the UFOs one after another at least early in the game. During the first month they probably did only "Research" (which makes sense, you can't do anything more complex to the human race when you don't know where it is living and how it is living so on and so forth). Later when the search&destroy system was in place, they kept sending a single small UFO every now and then and see them disappear into thin air instead of sending a swarm of them in an attempt to discover why these scouts are disappearing.

I was thinking that when I shot all these scouts down, they could not figure out any suitable location for the Infiltration and thus did not bother trying to Infiltrate. However this place seems to suggest that it is probably not the case but I am not sure. What I know is only that when I shot down the scouts, the aliens would not send the last wave containing the main crew.

So I don't know if the bug is in the "instant success" thing of the last phrase of Infiltration or it is in the ability of the player to render the mission impossible by killing the scouts but there has to be a bug somewhere.

To be honest I was playing only "Easy" difficulty. I don't have any experience from the harder versions of the game and I don't have any experience doing this in the OpenXCom (I am goint to fix  that as I have OpenXCom armed and ready). And also I liked this kind of "alien stupidity" because that allowed me to hold them back until I had my assault combat equipment ready. Then I allowed them to do selected missions (so I could receive more resources to expand my initial combat kit ;) ).

Suggestions / Re: Additional button for interception
« on: October 12, 2013, 03:19:42 pm »
It would be extremely helpful in this case if not only the interceptor name is displayed but also the base where the interceptor is located. Otherwise it would be rather difficult to distinguish which interceptor/lightning/firestorm to send.

And I would suggest sorting the Interceptors in this "Intercept" window according to the distance from the UFO so you will have the closest ones at the top.

Released Mods / Re: Combat Armor
« on: October 12, 2013, 03:14:53 pm »
In regards to the Combat Armor, looking at the stats, I can't tell any reason to use Personal Armor given you can buy this and get virtually the same protection.  Really like the idea but think I'd like to tweak it to make it useful but also give a reason to manufacture Personal Armor.

I got some ideas to fix this.

First I suggest making the Plasma damage modifier of the Personal Armor much lower than for Combat Armor, leading to the Personal Armor to be much more resistant to Plasma Weapons than this Kevlar thing. Given the fact that aliens use plasma weapons almost exclusively, I would think this would be pretty strong reason to swap your Combat Armor with Personal Armor once you have it. The explanation would be that since aliens want to be able to perform combat inside the UFO without destroying it, they would tailor their alloys to make them plasma resistant.

Additionally the Personal Armor could also have reduced damage from fire. Given the fact that it is made from non-flammable metal alloy which has some pretty impressive heat resistant abilities (the alien Battleship can zip over 1500 km at 5000 km/h in the full Earth atmosphere without turning into so much molten metal and still be functional enough to break the X-COM base's hangar and access lift doors and deliver all the troops in it into the base, see; especially the Alien Retaliation section on that page; the explanation would be simple, Alien Alloys make for an excellent heat shield), I would expect that an armor made from it would handle fire much better than a Kevlar suit. That would also explain the extreme resistance to the hot plasma spitted by the alien weapons.

Next, the Combat Armor would be really heavy, requiring a strong soldier to wear it or suffer the resulting encumbrance. The alien alloy properties would allow for the Personal Armor to be much more lightweight, allowing any soldier to wear it without any encumbrance effect (it would be as light as Coveralls).

And last, the Personal Armor could see some strength upgrade and maybe more even distribution. Maybe all its stats having 60 armor strength (or maybe making the under armor only 50 or even 40 armor strength but the rest being 60). This would make it enticing from the protection point as well while not removing the enticement from the Power Suit (which has the front armor set to 100). The power suit could also be upgraded to 100, 90, 90, 80, 70) to give the player a reason for its increased cost.

Work In Progress / Re: Brainstorming for slower technological progression
« on: October 12, 2013, 02:40:36 pm »
Basically, if the Psi trigger detects that it's authorised user has expired suddenly; and if it doesn't get "reset" by an engineer within a certain amount of time; then it automatically destroys itself. You'd still be able to figure out some rudiments of how the system works from the self-destroyed guns, but you'd be missing a lot.

I got an idea: Don't make it too obvious that the weapon destroyed itself. The weapon would appear normally as a research project however once researched it will turn out that it has been destroyed somehow and an alien engineer is necessary to figure out why it got destroyed and how to prevent that. Once researched, all self destructed weapons would be reduced to so much scrap alien alloys after the mission completes. The explanation would be that the self destruct mechanism destroyed the internals of the weapon while leaving the outside of the weapon largely intact.

Additionally, the weapon would self destruct immediately upon the death of its authorised user. Given the fact that aliens have enough resources to send a fully crewed and equipped battleship to your base several times a month (see, I would suggest that they will not bother to make their weapons reusable like this and make them rather disposable. Once the alien soldier dies, its weapon will die with it and that's it.

If you manage to capture a live alien with its weapon and research it, it would be possible to tell apart live weapons from the dead ones so you would be able to skip the dead weapon research necessity.

This would waste your research time if you did the most obvious thing: kill all aliens and then collect their corpses and their toys.

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