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Messages - ChainsawAardvark

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Offtopic / Re: WWII XCOM?
« on: March 10, 2015, 03:14:10 am »
Well we can't have this topic if someone doesn't mention Harry Turtledove's "World War" series. A big part of that is thought the aliens have late 90s tech levels, they don't have the supplies to maintain combat against all the nations at once.  That actually seems to be close to X-com as we know it, with infiltrators and terror rather than outright combat.

Perhaps instead of shooting down the crafts, the radar coverage is your spy network, and you have to wait for the machine to land. However, the aliens stay on the ground longer, and X-com has bigger forces to deal with the higher alien population. Kevlar is still a few decades away so no body armor, and the only thing close to the HWPs would be the ineffective "Goliath" remote bomb used by Germany. Lasers are also a post war concept, so there wouldn't be much of a middle ground between human weapons and plasma.

Aside from the late war STG-44, there weren't really any select-fire rifles, so there would need to be a fairly clear difference between semi-auyo full powered weapons and sub-machineguns, with possible light MGs (m1919/mg-42) in the mix. This shouldn't be too hard to implement - rifles have snap or aimed only, smgs are snap or burst and lower damage, Machineguns fire burst, and use so many TUs that you can't move before shooting (ie 75-90%).

This might be some extra work, but we might want to consider making the story a little more than a rehash of what we know, just with different weapons. Perhaps these are creatures from Lemuria/hidden jungles in Antarctica. Rather than flying to Mars on 1940s tech, they head to the South Pole for the fianl mission of no return. (Functionally the same as Cydonia, just a palette swap.)

Well the XAE (xcom armory expanded) mod contains a lot of stuff and works together.

Picking and choosing, I like Modest Rebalance, Equal Terms 1.0, Body Armor, Human Plasma Weapons, and of course the new UFOs/New Terrain mods. I also found one on the forum that reverse the progression of lasers, making heavies a bit more useful, and giving more time for the new human weapons to be used.

As to an idea for adding some factions - what if you had sub-mods that would let you alter the price of new personnel or the delivery time? I don't think you can make soldiers available only at the beginning of the month, but if it takes two or three weeks for replacements - you can't be so picky about who you choose, and tanks take an escalated importance. Starting with cheaper soldiers, and a craft bigger than a sky ranger makes human wave tactics a little more plausible.

What about an airdrop/fast rope deployment craft? Its in mission appearance is just some flat tiles on the ground for the deployment zone (like when you start a base mission) The soldiers have nowhere to hide, but almost every one of them can move on turn one, rather than queuing up to exit like the Skyranger and Avenger. You could have possible variants like an eight person UH-1, sixteen for a KA-29, or some tanks with a CH-47.

The vanilla Skyranger has always seemed a little too good - able to cross the world and loiter for days, while still a fuel hungry VTOL. What if there were some more early game choices for transports? A rapid response craft with a small team (yes I know, lightning) or a huge slow craft that delivers many troops, but basically needs to be kept on patrol or it will never get to a mission in time.

Even without adding a bunch of new craft, simply lowering the fuel load of the vanilla craft makes the rush to build new bases all the more pressing and prevents people from loitering around waiting for daylight. Add in the modest re-balance mod's altered funding - or include some more nations, and the opening moves become truly tense as you must chose between research or new locations.

Try to think of ways to make things more specialized and niche - there should be a reason to avoid having everyone in flying suits with heavy plasma cannons.

As long as we're brainstorming, how about this: turn around the tech 180 degrees. Aliens use plasma because it limits friendly fire - they're fairly immune to it and the energy dissipates without damaging internal parts of the ship. Although its a step up from nitrocellulose guns for the humans (or at least has higher ammo capacities than usual) the real advancement is when your scientists reverse engineer the internal parts. Ignition coils lead to lasers and containment bottles reveal Gauss weapons.

Do you know how the night visibility is coded - scout armor with light intensifiers to see in darkness might be neat.

« on: January 12, 2015, 07:37:11 pm »
Although realism is a relative thing when you're introducing ubersoldats into the mix, the bolter has at least some grounding in real life you can leverage off of.

In the 1960's a series of guns known as gyrojets were developed. The good news was the weapons were light, simple, cheap to produce, and had next to no recoil. On the other hand, the rocket ammunition was poorly manufactured, meaning it was inaccurate and too slow to accelerate - the bullets needed 15-20 feet to get to speed. If you put your finger in the barrel and pulled the trigger, the projectile would harmlessly spin and sputter.

The above phenomenon could be modeled by reusing the code for the various sniper rifle mods that makes the weapons less accurate at close range. (technically it would be power that changes, but I don't know if the code allows that) As the tech improves, the dead zone of the acceleration is reduced, until you get the bolter which apparently has no such problem.

As to the actual payload of a bolter shell - its a 20mm cannon more or less. Although a hand held weapon probably shouldn't match an M61 Vulcan, the data for its shells says its overkill for anything that isn't a cyberdisk or sectopod. Rather than making a 200 damage handgun, it wold probably be better to adjust armor resistances.

Moving on to guardsmen and other things - the game probably already has what we need. There has to be someway to make lasers the default weapon and projectiles the ones that need your initial research. New recruit plus a laser rifle with a bit or reduced damage equals guardsman. Upgrade to limited but more effective ammunition and you have the special teams.

« on: January 11, 2015, 07:42:05 am »
Does the Codex Astartes support this brother? (Beware the Games Workshop, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird...)

While not overly fond of the baroque overtones of WH40K, this does look really nice. The concept does fit pretty well with what you would want for breaching UFOs (though I tend to think USMC marines from Aliens first...) Frankly combining the 1960's gyrojet concept with modern M-25 25mm grenade launcher tech seems a lot more likely for humans than reverse engineering plasma. Chainswords and flamethrowers plus as much armor as possible seems to be a quicker solution.

Is there any special way you implemented bolters?

Open Feedback / Other Ways to Modify Aircraft
« on: December 15, 2014, 09:52:45 pm »
Does the code allow for interceptors that modify variables outside of HP/speed etc? For example, a unit with an improved radar system that lets it fire weapons faster and more accurately. Or a stealth craft that has a better chance to dodge enemy fire when you select aggressive interception mode. Rotary launchers/multiple ejector racks that let the plane carry more ammunition than normal also occurred to me.

On a somewhat related note - can research projects affect these variables. You could have a Top Gun dissimilar air combat training (DACT) program that makes your pilots better. It could either add the bonuses above, or give an extra 10% speed as they hunt the aliens more efficiently.

As a final question, could there be craft with built in special weapons unique to them? An F-89 cleared for the genie air to air nuclear tipped rocket, or swarms of rockets, an F-14 with extra long range Phoenix missiles. (I am aware that we try to avoid real world craft, but these were the first one weapon one plane systems I could think of.)

Playthroughs / Re: How to Film X-com for Free?
« on: December 03, 2014, 05:12:03 am »
You hit the nail on the head Warboy. Prior versions of x-com with clear tiers of aliens, and all heavy plasma was due to costume/prop limits. This is the special edition "we didn't have a budget to film before". concept. Or more likely - "this is how it was, not the TV sanitized version".

Some sample quotes from the narrator
"Code names were not drawn from a hat, or sent in by eager viewers. Our best Snipers were named for Bands, those strong enough to carry Heavy Weapons for automobiles. If you weren't accurate or strong, god help you - you were a scout named after an animals. Contrary to the horror stories you may have heard, scouts were not officially hazed by being sent into an alien craft with nothing but a pistol and a stun rod. Key word there. Officially. On Sight Leadership - OSL - tended to prioritize the survival of proven agents over new meat."

"We were not Santa's elves descending from the north pole, ultimate survivalists from the south, or crazy commandos out on a pacific island. And of course, a lot of episodes were filmed in America of Europe for familiar city scapes. Truth is X-Command began in Northwest China. It wasn't money, communism, national pride - just a few hard calculations. This put about one third of the human population under one radar umbrella, and kept us close to the Soviet Nuclear silos in anything truly got out of hand."

"To be clear: our North American base is not - was not - Area 51! Nor was anything we used based on something found there. That area is a perfectly normal ordinance test range and airbase for experimental craft. The closest we came is that our basic interceptor was inspired by the F-16XL project by NASA. The Skyranger was based off the Dornier 31 VTOL transport from Germany, wrong side of the planet for any of this Roswell nonsense."

Playthroughs / Re: How to Film X-com for Free?
« on: December 03, 2014, 01:48:11 am »
OBS seems to be ideal for recording. I found something from the aforementioned sites called ezvid that might be what I want for editing, though I'm still looking. My goal isn't really to edit in transitions and effects, but rather to add a voice over.

My big idea is to stage the LP as an interview/recollection by an actual X-com agent. It starts off explaining that a lot of what has been seen before are adaptations made for either drama or budget.
  • Why does X-com start with no body armor, one pistol, and one rifle - because blanks are expensive, actors don't like armor, and most of the kills being chalked up to far away snipers is uninteresting.
  • Humans using alien weapons unmodified - fewer props to design.
  • Rampant psionics - its easier to get an actor to grab their head and yell "its in my brain!" than to render FX in post.

Thus I have a good standing for introducing a bunch of mods and options not used in vanilla X-com.

As to the mods, I'm thinking XAE might cover it all, but the big focus is:
  • Equal Terms (new human weapons/armor)
  • Up Close (a few more good weapons)
  • Personal Armor Variants
  • Human plasma weapons
  • Yet more UFOs (no more reusing the same sets!)
  • New Terrain/Maps
  • Modest re-balance (new income)
  • Alien Armory Expanded
...and probably some new aliens as well, since PSI is nerfed and I have more firepower.

I hope its not too conceited that I try to make the "True" account of X-com or the one with a bigger budget. If you would like to see me reframe it or include some other mods, I am open to suggestions.

Playthroughs / Re: How to Film X-com for Free?
« on: December 02, 2014, 05:24:28 pm »
Thanks for the help! I'll look into this OBS program.

Playthroughs / How to Film X-com for Free?
« on: December 01, 2014, 10:52:25 pm »
I watch entirely too many LPs on youtube, and I've had an idea for a story to tell with X-com for a while. However, I don't really have the funds to buy a lot of editing software and the like. Do any of you know about open source alternatives for filming and editing in post-commentary?

Playthroughs / Re: Let's Play OpenXcom: Up Close and Personal!
« on: November 29, 2014, 06:15:49 am »
Nice run, quite exciting and a welcome change from most LPs. What programs do you use to record and edit?

Although its probably a bit late in the series to change things up, did you ever consider the Equal Terms Mod? It adds an machine-pistol, SMG, and Magnum revolver to the mix for a bit more ballistic variety.

Fan-Stuff / Preferred Early Game Mods
« on: November 28, 2014, 05:42:43 am »
So how do you like to change up the early game? We certainly seem to have plenty of options. There is Rylsken's Armory, Modest Re-balance 1.0, individually adding a few items (ballistic armor, sniper rifle, grenade launcher, attack dogs), Air-combat Re-balance, and XAE.

I like re-balance, along with a mod that reverses the order of laser research, dogs, and the human plasma weapons mod. My one request would be a mod that adds an alloy cost to lasers, to limit the profitability of laser cannons. (Enough things take elirum that requiring that for lasers just seems excessive.)

I like where you are going with this, keep up the good work. So far the sprites look very good.

My one thought though, is I'm not sure if they're quite enough.

For technical writing I learned the "CRAP" principle - Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Placement. In turn this adds up to "Things that are similar should be very similar, those that are not should be very different."

Especially when working with sprites, the differences need to be very extreme to be noticeable. Take heed of the fact that in vanilla, each class of weapon is an entirely different color. (gunmetal, brown, off-white in vanilla, yellow, silver, red in TFTD).

In this case, for upgraded rifles, give them cammo stocks, sights and under-barrel lasers, and curved magazines (aka "tacti-cool") for enhanced lasers add visible blue coolant hoses, possibly venting white steam.

Open Feedback / Re: Will TFTD allow UFO Defense weaponry?
« on: November 19, 2014, 07:40:40 pm »
As I recall, the X-com of TFTD is not actually related to its predecessor. Our 2040s incarnation began as a salvage company searching the sea floor for wreckage of aliens.

At some point its made clear that a) many of the advanced lasers/plasma guns don't work in aquatic environments and b) 40 years later, the Elirum supply is used up. With the original alien threat eliminated, the mandate for X-com probably expired. Most nations don't like paramilitary groups with advanced weapons and access to anywhere within their borders. Everything was probably either turned into commemorative coins or locked away in warehouse 23 next to the ark of the covenant.

Working at 500 to 1000 feet underwater to repair oil pipelines and the like is very dissimilar form your 150 feet or less SCUBA dives (my uncle Joeseph used to do deep welding off Louisiana). TFTD Xcom isn't recruiting ship to shore frogmen, but JIM suit operators and oxy-helium mix experts which may explain the lacking military skills.

As much as I hate the movie Armageddon, this really is "oil roughnecks with the skills we need vs the experts who do not" just flying in the opposite direction.

Perhaps what we require is a new research project: Secrets of the Past (or "Unlocking the Bunkers") where the new commander tries to find veterans or weapons from the old X-com. Fluid breathing apparatus (yes, that stuff from The Abyss. Yes, it is real) might be a neat point of interest as well.

As to the dart weapons - they are actually unrealistically powerful compared to real underwater weapons like the ASM-DT and P11. But we could introduce a feature like the mod for OXC that lets us research toxins/additives for the darts. A non-lethal one for ranged stun and a powerful neurotoxin (blue ring octopus?) would give the weapon new utility and longevity.

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