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Topics - OmniscientQ

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OpenXcom Extended / Disabling Mod Sanity Checks
« on: July 19, 2021, 08:21:16 pm »
I had been hoping that the next release of X-Piratez would be compliant with the new ruleset sanity checks on the latest versions of OXCE, but alas. It was not to be. Normally, I'd just build an older version that Piratez is known to work with. However, there are a few critical bugs that have been resolved since 7.0. I'm not sure there's any version that both contains these fixes and lacks the new sanity checks that are incompatible with Piratez.

Is there an option, either in the options.cfg file or a parameter I can set when compiling, to disable the checks? Would that even be a good idea?

OpenXcom Extended / Segmentation Fault - OXCE 7.0.3 & X-Piratez L8
« on: April 24, 2021, 10:17:51 am »
I'm getting a repeatable crash using OXCE 7.0.3 and X-Piratez L8. I just pulled and compiled the latest from Github, just to be sure it hasn't already been fixed, to no effect.

It should be easy enough to reproduce; simply end the turn. It's just one of the Piratez Air Race missions.

I wasn't entirely sure whether it'd be more appropriate to post this here or in the Piratez subforum. Apologies if I guessed wrong.

Programming / Auto-Battle
« on: May 31, 2020, 05:06:23 am »
X-COM Auto-Battle

One of the few features of the old xcomutil by Scott Jones yet to be implemented in OpenXcom is the auto-battle feature. For those who don’t remember, it was an option that would allow the player to automate tactical combat.

It didn’t hand control of your troops off to the AI to finish the battle. Instead, it reduced the participants on both sides to a couple of abstracted numbers, and then rolled some dice. If I’m recalling correctly, it made some sweeping assumptions. Ammunition wasn’t actually consumed. Fire rates didn’t matter. You had a basic 5% chance to capture rather than kill. Night missions applied a huge penalty that was partially offset for any soldier carrying a flare. Psionics basically amounted to an “I win” button. The xcomutil feature could also be invoked mid-battle. Once you had cleared the bulk of the alien forces, tipped the score in your favor, you could leave the clean-up to the grunts.

Some people might be tempted to say that an auto-battle function is cheating, or it defeats the whole point of the game, but I have a few reasons for thinking that OpenXcom would benefit from having one. In no particular order:

1 – One of the self-imposed challenges proposed in the xcomutil readme, and one I enjoyed, was to run auto-battle on every mission, and never assume direct control (Insert Mass Effect meme here). Being unsure of whether you’ll get the live Navigator or Deep One in your first month means having to change things up, and poses some new challenges.

2 – Sometimes, you just can’t stomach the thought of going through the motions to retrieve a medium scout full of Floaters, or to track down the last alien who's hiding in a closet. Even when you don’t have the flying power armor and psionic amplifiers to make such a mission risk-free, it’s just a chore to go after another wreck. Then there are the wonderful mods that border on being total-conversions, like X-Piratez and X-COM Files, where a single campaign *will* last for several years. Two years into a Piratez game, I feel guilty about letting Warehouse Wars missions despawn, but they feel like a chore just like the hypothetical medium scout full of floaters.

3 – The Android port of OpenXcom is wonderfully done, but a touchscreen is sometimes a pain in the ass. For some reason, it feels forgivable to me when I’m doing anything on the strategic level, but the tactical side leaves me frustrated at the lack of a mouse. If I could automate combat while on my tablet, I would.

If an auto-battle feature were to be created for OpenXcom, how would you want it to work? Would you want something fairly vague like the xcomutil version, or would you want the game to track every single movement and shot? A more abstract system might make it easier to work with mods in the mix, though the results might not reflect how difficult the mission would have been if it were played out manually. Would you want a status screen that shows the relative strengths of each side as the battle progresses, perhaps with simple buttons to influence it (something along the lines of Cautious, Standard, Aggressive, Retreat), or should it jump straight to the battle summary? Should it be made interruptible, so that the player can step back in if something goes horribly wrong (Much harder to implement. Where do you place all the units?)

I realize this falls outside the scope of OpenXcom, or even OXCE. The OXC mission statement was to faithfully recreate X-COM without the bugs and limitations imposed by hardware of the time. Adding an auto-battle feature means designing an entirely new system for which there's no canonical reference, so I want to get some input and feedback, and maybe even some semblance of consensus on what it should look like.

Years ago, I was sitting bored at a crappy job, and thinking about X-COM while some customer with an unimportant complaint droned on and on about how horrible a person I was. Specifically, I was thinking about the research tree, and all the various ways I would change it, if I could.

Now, OpenXcom is here! Finally, I can make my dreams a reality!

Of course, I had many of the same ideas as everyone else. Improved "alien alloy" rifles and cannons. Night vision goggles. I even wanted to redo the way grenades worked, by separating the detonator from the payload. Then, the motion scanner technology would lead to a motion sensor detonator. Motion-detonator + regular grenade = proximity grenade! Proximity detonator + stun bomb = stun mines! I thought about making Blaster Bombs and Stun Bombs interchangeable ammos. Blaster launchers that can shoot stun bombs around corners! Small launchers that can fire blaster bombs, but only in direct line-of-sight! (Though, the small launcher would have the inherent danger of inaccuracies...). I wanted to make it so that simply researching plasma weapons would let you use, but not manufacture, the alien weapons. In order to manufacture them, or research new weapons based on alien principles, you would first need the Plasma Weapon Theory project... Maybe a new helmet inventory slot that could hold a mind shield device. That way, psionically weak soldiers don't automatically lose half their number to a single sectoid leader, much less an entire ship of ethereals!

So. Now I can make all of those things happen. But as I look back, I find myself wondering what I could add that would be meaningful, rather than just "power creep". For example, I wanted to make a new class of weapons, a hybrid of terran and alien technologies. I didn't like the idea that X-COM was unable to out-guess the aliens, to innovate. I wanted X-COM to get creative. Alien-alloy rifles, for example. Using the alien technology in unexpected ways. Unfortunately, the alien tech already seems to have most of the bases covered. They have improved rocket launchers, long-range stunners, and the best direct-fire weapons available. Anything new would really just be redundant, and probably overpowered. Do I really need a gun stronger than a heavy plasma? Am I really going to claim with a straight face that heavy plasma isn't deadly enough? That I need more firepower, because the conflict isn't one-sided enough already? I suppose an argument could be made for having an arms race. Add new terran guns and hybrid weapon classes, and then the aliens can adapt and start making better weapons too. Would that be fun, though? Or would it just be the same old thing with slightly larger numbers in the inventory window?

Bleh. I started this post intending to share all these "cool" ideas I had way back when, but over the last 20 years, I've played tons of games that have ten different guns that all try to fill the same role, or that have five different tiers of guns, each more deadly than the last. As I pulled up my old text file and reviewed its contents, I didn't ask myself "What else would cool and awesome?" Instead, I'm asking "What does this add that wasn't there before?"

This morning, I was so excited about the prospect of modding, but something's gone horribly wrong along the way. So, my fellow X-COM fans... What's missing?

Offtopic / Greetings, OpenXCOM
« on: June 01, 2013, 03:28:07 am »
Greetings, OpenXCOM folks! I come to you by way of UFO:AI, and I have to say I am impressed by the speed with which this project has progressed. I remember looking at the various X-COM related links on the UFOAI a year ago, and OpenXCOM was at version... 0.3? There was no working Geoscape, no working base management, no nothing. Now... You have recreated X-COM. I am humbled.

I managed to find a bug, and reported it (as a guest user) but figured I should actually register and introduce myself. An open-source X-COM game has been a dream of mine for a while, and I am eager to start modding things. Small things, probably, but still.

I have some slight skill in C++, and so I hope to contribute to the base project as well. I'm currently reading through the source code to see if I can solve my own bug report, so we'll see.

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