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Topics - The Reaver of Darkness

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IDT Modding Hub / Reaver's Harmony Megamod - A Massive X-Com Expansion
« on: April 27, 2021, 12:05:00 am »
Greetings! I am Reaver and I would like to present to you my OXCE megamod which expands and overhauls the entire game, taking advantage of many new capabilities for mods, while maintaining the original spirit of the game, all while being way better balanced! My design philosophy is to always present the player with an array of choices, to give the player several tools which all serve a purpose and have plenty of ways to be used. My mod is quite difficult and challenging, but there is always a way to beat every challenge the game throws at you, and the five difficulty settings have been greatly expanded to help you select the right amount of challenge for you!

The following details are spoiler-free, and will serve as a guide and introduction, giving you important insight as to how the mod works. If you'd prefer to spoil yourself, or just want to watch someone else play, have a look at Hadriex's playthrough of Harmony:

Installation: standard mod install. Download the attached mod here, unzip it, and put the mod's folder into your mod directory. Requires Open Xcom Extended (OXCE) 7.0 or 7.1. Later versions may crash. If they do, let me know.

Selecting a difficulty setting
The five difficulties in my mod have been expanded, such that there is a much greater difference from one to the next.

Beginner: This setting should be even easier than Beginner in vanilla x-com, especially with the expanded array of items you will have available. This difficulty setting has less enemies, enemies are weaker, UFOs deal less damage, enemy psionics are weaker, and your body armor and aircraft are stronger. The council will be extremely lenient with you when you have a negative score.

Experienced: This should be about the same as Experienced or Veteran difficulty in vanilla x-com. This difficulty setting has less enemies than Veteran, enemies are a bit weaker, you have stronger aircraft but your body armors are the same as in Veteran. The council will be very lenient with you over a negative score.

Veteran: This should be about as hard as Superhuman difficulty in vanilla x-com. This difficulty setting has a normal amount of enemies, normal enemy toughness and psionics, UFOs deal normal damage, and your aircraft and body armor are all normal. The council will be fairly lenient with you over a negative score compared to the original game.

Genius: This difficulty is much harder than the original game, being more like the difficulty of most of the popular megamods in the x-com community. This difficulty setting presents a normal amount of enemies but they are much stronger and have sturdier armor, and more potent psionics. Your aircraft are normal. UFOs deal a bit more damage, and your body armors will be significantly weaker. The council will not be very lenient with negative scores.

Superhuman: This is a very difficult setting, comparable to the most difficult mods in the community. This setting presents more enemies which are stronger, they have tough armor, potent psionics. Your body armor and aircraft are both weaker, and UFOs will deal a lot of damage. The council will not be any more lenient with your score than in the original game.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Research Project Information

There is a new section in the UFOPedia which will often contain important info related to your research. Any time you have a research project that you'd like to know more about before you start it, check in the Research Project Information section and there will likely be an entry on it! These articles will help you decide if you want to spend time researching this topic, or choose something else.

Feel free to explore the UFOPedia, and potentially find other useful information! I have added many new UFOPedia entries, information collected by the X-Com Project's finest scientists and intelligence operatives, to ensure that you stay as informed and as up to date as possible!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

You Always Have Choices

I try to never lock the player into any one option. You won't often have an obvious right answer to any problem, and if you think you do, you're probably missing an alternative strategy somewhere.  But you'll have plenty of tools to play with, and all of them will be useful in their own way, and none of them will be optimal all of the time.

It may seem overwhelming at first that you have so many options to choose from right at the start of the game. If you feel overwhelmed, try focusing on just a handful of things at first. Follow these steps for a decent starting strategy. It is by no means the best, but it will serve you well until you get the hang of everything.

1.) Stick with the initial base setup and don't bother building any new facilities yet. Don't bother buying any equipment for your soldiers, either, for now just stick with what you start with.

2.) Purchase 15 scientists. This will fill up your first laboratory and help you unlock science faster. Purchase a few soldiers with any living space you have left, as you will need replacements when they die. And don't get too attached to soldiers because they will die. A lot. (At first.) Get your scientists started researching one of the four options--use Research Project Information to help you decide.

3.) You don't need to buy engineers right now, but you can put the ones you have to work making incendiary grenades. If you hit the [ Sell ] button, the grenades will be sold as soon as they are made, and your engineers will earn you most of the money it costs to pay their wages. If you keep the grenades, you can load them onto your Mammoth later and use them in combat. Set the production number to infinite for now (right click the up arrow).

3.) Load your tank onto your Mammoth. Other than that you can stick with your starting craft loadouts.

4.) That's about it! Hit one of the time control buttons in the Geoscape to make time go by faster. Eventually you'll either finish research, or your radar will detect a UFO. Once you have your first UFO, check its size. If it is very small, chase it down with your Skyraider. If it is small, chase it down with your Interceptor. If it is medium or larger, ignore it for now.

5.) If it lands, or if you make it crash land, then send your Mammoth out to do ground combat! Once you have your first ground combat, you can arm your troops however you like or stick with the default armaments. Combat is tricky at first, but you will get the hang of it!

6.) Your first terror mission will be hell. You will probably perform horribly there. And that's okay!

Have fun and enjoy the mod!

Help / Help with: in-depth explanation of difficultyCoefficient?
« on: August 23, 2019, 10:26:29 pm »
I'm asking you guys for help! I know I've had this explained to me before on the Discord, but I've forgotten most of it and I can't find the text. I'm posting it here because I want to create a resource which can be looked up again at any time. I'll start by listing off the different elements of the difficultyCoefficient, and I'd like you guys to comment on how it works. What I want to know is the specific calculations, or what specific numeric values mean here. I'll edit this post as I get information, and eventually it should be a complete reference.

difficultyCoefficient can be given a list of values in the ruleset, with the default list being [0, 1, 2, 3, 4]. This means that each difficulty receives its own value, based on the list. As I understand it, that means Beginner is 0, Experienced is 1, Veteran is 2, etc. Using startingDifficulty (OXCE only), as I understand it, you could have a mod select a specific difficulty rather than allow the player to choose their difficulty. Alternatively, without OXCE, you could just set the difficultyCoefficient list to all the same number, for example: [4, 4, 4, 4, 4].

difficultyCoefficient affects several aspects of gameplay, including:

1.) Monthly rating threshold for losing the game (together with defeatScore)

2.) UFO firing rate during dogfight

3.) UFO escape countdown during dogfight

4.) Retaliation odds after dogfight; and odds of targeting xcom base region or not

5.) Number of aliens facing in the direction of the xcom craft at a start of a mission

6.) Various AI decisions (in Battlescape)

7.) Together with statGrowthMultipliers and aimAndArmorMultipliers affects how alien stats change with difficulty level

Feature request: add mod ability--in a base defense mission, the spawn chance of each alien is multiplied by the fraction of remaining HP of the craft when it touched down. For example, if it has 30% remaining HP after getting past base defenses, then each alien which would have otherwise spawned has a 70% chance to fail to spawn.

Purpose: To give base defense more granularity; where previously, failing to completely destroy the craft resulted in zero value of defense facilities, now any damage helps. The result is a gradient of effect as opposed to the binary result of the ship either coming in whole or not at all.

Example code:
Code: [Select]
    defenseProgressiveDamage: true

Potential uses:
 - A.) To make sure that an inadequate defense facility setup still has some value, and that weaker defense types have some reason to ever be used.

 - B.) Weaken defense facilities and essentially ensure UFOs will land. The purpose of defenses is only to reduce the incoming fight.

 - C.) Hard-difficulty mod--To punish player for not having adequate defenses by a certain time frame. Increasingly larger and sturdier ships attack the player's base over time. Punishment level is dependent on how lacking the defenses are.

Released Mods / XBase Terrain Condensed
« on: April 29, 2019, 11:35:40 am »
Terrain is limited to 256 total tiles per map block set. In the vanilla game, there are only 95 tiles left unused for base facilities. This tool contains a rearrangement of tiles, removing several death tiles for objects which are rarely if ever destroyed, and moving all remaining death tiles outside the end of the 256 tile limit. This removes 32 tiles and pushes 15 tiles off the end, increasing the number of tiles you can add by 47, to a total of 142 tiles, almost a 50% increase. The tile removal should not significantly affect gameplay.

This tool must be used with care. You must follow the given instructions for adding tiles and facilities. This tool does NOT play well with other mods which affect base facilities or base defense tilesets.

You can install this tool like a standard mod and play it with Vanilla X-Com just fine. To add tiles or edit maps, you'll need a proper tool for those, which you can look up in the "Tools" forum of the OpenXcom forums. You can also find instructions there or in the "Help" forum.

If you wish to add your own tiles, you can edit the XBASE0.MCD and XBASEADD.MCD files, and place your tiles in any of the spaces marked RESERVED. Tiles which do not have a corresponding death tile should be placed into XBASEADD.MCD. Tiles which do have a corresponding death tile should be placed into XBASE0.MCD. Place the original tile in one of the reserved spaces, and then add a tile at the end of the list for your death tile.

If you wish to add tiles from existing .MCDs, you should carefully copy those tiles with their graphics into the provided reserved spaces.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you maintain the tile numbers. XBASE2_1 is 80 tiles in length (0-79); XBASEADD is 100 tiles in length (0-99), and the last usable tile in XBASE0 is 73 (the 74th tile, blue floor). This makes 254 tiles. These plus the two from BLANKS.MCD make the 256 tiles you are limited to. If you insert or remove tiles, you must be careful to make sure the counts all add up to 256, including two for BLANKS.MCD. If you need more tiles with corresponding death tiles, you can remove some tiles from XBASEADD and insert the same number into the beginning of XBASE0. Be careful not to push the size of any of the .PCK files to greater than 63kb, or it'll crash.

If you load up existing maps with these tilesets, the tiles will be all mixed up. You can tediously fix them by hand if you want to, or you can try to redesign new map blocks instead. If you choose to fix existing maps, it helps to get a screenshot of the map working correctly to use as a reference. This tool comes with the vanilla XBASE maps fixed for the rearranged tiles. I may add some more maps at a later date, such as Dioxine's or XOps' facility maps. If you fix any maps, I encourage you to attach them in a post here so that other modders can access them. Include in your post any special instructions that may apply.

Please use this tool for megamods or total conversions only. And if you do use it for a smaller mod that you publish, then you must offer a warning that your mod won't work well with other mods that affect maps or textures in base defense missions.

Help / [SOLVED] Too many bullet sprites?
« on: April 18, 2019, 01:03:20 am »
I am trying to put a spritesheet containing 128 sets of bullet sprites into my mod, but any time I put more than about 30 bullet sprites in, it starts drawing the bullets from the wrong parts of the spritesheet, and some parts of it won't even be accessible at all. It'll start partway into the spritesheet, will start partway through an individual sprite set, and even seems to wrap back onto the same line, instead of wrapping onto the next line. If I tweak the alignment of the sprites, it almost works but seems to draw varying amounts of space from an unknown empty area that's not adjacent to the line it's on.

I've tried breaking my spritesheet into smaller pieces, I've also tried using lower numbers, but those don't seem to make any difference. Only the total number of bulletsprites logged into extraSprites seems to make a difference, and the total number seems unreasonably small.

Am I doing something wrong, or am I missing something? Or does OpenXcom limit to a small number of bullet sprites? If the latter is true, can it be expanded? I feel like it should be relatively easy to enable the game to allow thousands of bullet sprites, much like it can do with other kinds of sprites.

Here's the original code I wanted to use in the mod:
Code: [Select]
  - type: Projectiles
    width: 105
    height: 384
    subX: 3
    subY: 3
      21000: Resources/More Bullets/Reavers_Bullets_600_bullets.png

This would have the bullets from my spritesheet begin at index 600 and end at index 727.

Below I have attached the bullet spritesheet.

Suggestions / Simple change to alien deployment
« on: December 20, 2018, 10:18:44 am »
How the game currently works: if the number of aliens to spawn ends in .5, the number that spawn is rounded down.
Example: Deployment calls for 1-4 aliens. On medium difficulty setting (Veteran and Genius), it spawns 2.5 (2 after rounding) aliens.

Suggestion: round it down for Veteran, but round it up for Genius
Example: Deployment calls for 1-4 aliens. Veteran difficulty spawns 2 aliens, and Genius difficulty spawns 3 aliens.

This change would put Genius difficulty more in between Veteran and Superhuman, and would allow a savvy modder to adjust deployment numbers to increase or decrease the difference between Veteran and Genius.

Work In Progress / How UFOs Make the Plasma
« on: November 24, 2018, 01:42:59 pm »
I heard some people discussing how UFOs shoot plasma, when they don't appear to have any weapons. It got me thinking, and I came up with a cool idea which I've been tossing around in my head the past few days and developing. I already have mechanical lore written up on how it functions, and I have also drawn some (rudimentary) tile artwork to put it into the game. I was saving it as a reveal for my upcoming mod, but after hearing more people talking about the topic I figured I'd share what I have early. It not only provides a method for UFOs to shoot plasma, but actually makes it very alien as well. If you like it, perhaps you can sample my idea and put it into your own mods? One of the things I like best in this community is when we agree on the fanon and sample the same thing into multiple mods.

If any of you make upgrades to my idea, I'll be sure to slip them into my mod!

The basic idea is that the UFOs have a "plasma emitter" which is a bulb of high-power focusing components which accepts the hot, prepared plasma and wraps it into a gravity bubble which it then sends off in a direction determined by the firing computer. It uses no barrel, but rather the same mechanisms which control the UFO's direction of travel control the direction of fire. The power to run it is drawn from the powergrid system running redundant through the UFO hull and (as referenced in the UFO Construction UFOPedia report) uses the hull itself to shape the gravity waves. The plasma is stored as a "cold" substance which is fed into the initiators at the ends of the array. It is heated until it goes into gas (super critical) phase, then run through the heating array at high pressure until it goes well past the plasma point. You can see the mechanism on the top of the UFO in my example image.

I made it into a mod you can plug in and play! It took a small effort which was difficult for me, but I did it because I love you. The mod is designed to be used with vanilla or modded OXC but I didn't put much time into balancing anything. It's really just a demo. If you install it, it'll add new ingredients to your plasma beam and fusion ball recipes. It will also increase Elerium yields from landed sites a bit, and cause you to get some Elerium from crash sites.

As always, I welcome any discussion relating to the topic, and I hope to hear your interpretations, suggestions for revision, and relevant technical expertise.

Help / Original sound effects
« on: October 28, 2018, 10:07:41 am »
I've heard it discussed a bit in the past that the sound effects were changed for X-Com UFO Defense at some point, but I don't remember much of the details and it's very difficult to track down. I originally owned an earlier copy which had all of the original sound effects, and so it was very jarring to switch to the final version and hear such major differences. Even after all these years I still remember the original effects, and hearing the new ones just makes me long for the old. The "new" ones really sound a lot lower quality to me, it's not entirely nostalgia.

It's difficult to track down examples of these sound effects, since the original audio formats sounded different on every sound card. To date I've managed to find several example videos, only one or two of which were definitely what I heard in my original gameplay.

I made this thread to ask a few questions:
 * Why were the sound effects changed?
 * Does anyone have a source containing the originals?
 * I had a SoundBlaster card. Does anyone else remember the original sound effects on a different card? Have you felt the same way about them as I did?
 * Did any of you play the game originally (on DOS) with the new sound effects?

This thread is for any and all discussion relating to the change in sound effects which happened in the early days of X-Com: UFO Defense/UFO: Enemy Unknown.

Here's a video of the intro which sounds exactly as it did on my computer back in the day:

Troubleshooting / Black boxes at 1920x1080 resolution
« on: September 17, 2018, 09:44:38 pm »
My desktop resolution is 1920x1080 and I also have OpenXcom set to 1920x1080 fullscreen resolution, and I'm getting black boxes at the sides which show up on screenshots. The effective resolution I'm getting is 1728x1080 which makes sense because it's a 16:10 aspect ratio, same as the original X-Com 320x200 resolution. The problem is that I don't have a screen resolution option at this high size that has the same aspect ratio, and OpenXcom is also not correcting for the wrong aspect ratio by continuing backgrounds/battlescape over it.

The top resolution option is 1920x1080 (16:9), and the next one down is a much smaller 1680x1050 which is 16:10 aspect ratio. Can you change the 1920x1080 into a 16:10 that's bigger than 1680x1050? 1920x1200 might be a good option--good multiple of the original resolution--although I don't have the option to set my desktop resolution that high and I don't know why. 1816x1135 Is about the highest you can go at that aspect ratio without going over the number of pixels at 1920x1080.

I also don't have 1600x1000 (next multiple of original going down) as an option. There is 1600x1024 which will give black lines at top and bottom of screen. In fact there's a general lack of 16:10 aspect ratios available.

Released Mods / Reaver's Rebalance
« on: September 17, 2018, 11:53:35 am »
Reaver's Rebalance
Latest version: 0.9.0

This mod makes several minor changes across the game, primarily increasing or decreasing the power of various things in order to bring them into balance. No new items or graphics are added. I've got another mod (Reaver's Faithful) which adds a lot more content while still remaining faithful to the original feel of the game. This mod is even more faithful to that original feel as it changes almost nothing about the way the game feels. This mod is dedicated to those of you who want to bring back that old nostalgia but with better game balance.

Changes include:
* Weapon damage/accuracy/TU cost adjusted
* Pistols greatly buffed, Heavy Laser buffed, Heavy Plasma made more powerful/cumbersome
* Heavy/Auto Cannon AP buffed, HE nerfed
* Grenade and High Explosive buffed
* Motion Scanner and Mind Probe take less TUs to use
* Alien TUs increased. Aliens will be more mobile and will seek you out more.
* Alien reactions decreased. High starting reactions on your soldiers (50-60) is now high enough to feel a difference.
* All difficulties have a different alien armor multiplier, thus making a larger difference in difficulty. Superhuman has +50% armor on aliens.
* Mind Probes continue to spawn on scout crews into the late game
* Plasma Pistols and Plasma Rifles do not disappear completely from deployments
* Power Suit and Flying Suit given +10 TUs and Strength to match what the UFOPedia says about them
* Some alien resistances/weaknesses adjusted either for their size or to match UFOPedia
* Incendiary does more damage, now viable as a weapon (it ignores armor)
* Firestorm/Lightning now twice as fuel-efficient (range/speed unaffected)
* Buffed Stingray, Fusion Ball, Laser Cannon; nerfed Plasma Beam -- Cannon left untouched. It's too awful, I can't fix it!
* Buffed General Stores, Small Radar, Missile/Laser Defense
* Inventory pistol slots! Leg slots made vertical. Shoulder slots still horizontal.
* Laser Cannon profit bug fixed - they are still profitable to make but profit is more comparable to other laser weapons
* Soldiers start with 40-80 psi strength. Max is lower but range is much smaller.
* Research changes:
- - Laser Weapons immediately unlocks Laser Pistol
- - You can do either Power Suit or Flying Suit first
- - You can do either Firestorm or Lightning first

This mod is designed to work without UFOExtender Accuracy, meaning the aimed shots have much higher base accuracy than snap shots rather than relying on range to make the difference. It'll work just fine with UFOExtender Accuracy if you prefer to play that way.

If you don't like any of the changes, you can simply edit them yourself or delete the corresponding section of the mod ruleset to restore it to vanilla values. Alternatively you can tell me about it here and suggest changes.

-- EDIT by Meridian, resized the image

OpenXcom Extended / [RESOLVED] Incomplete Deployment Data Causes Hang
« on: September 17, 2018, 10:19:45 am »
In a mod I made a change to the itemSets on one particular rank on one deployment, and the mod ran fine but attempting to get into a mission with that UFO caused the game to hang. With some trial and error I discovered that if I provide data for the itemSets without providing data for the rank quantity, the game hangs.

This code will cause the game to hang:
Code: [Select]
      - alienRank: 4
            - STR_PLASMA_PISTOL
            - STR_MIND_PROBE
            - STR_PLASMA_RIFLE
            - STR_MIND_PROBE
            - STR_HEAVY_PLASMA
            - STR_MIND_PROBE

This code will not cause the game to hang:
Code: [Select]
      - alienRank: 4
        lowQty: 1
        highQty: 2
        dQty: 1
            - STR_PLASMA_PISTOL
            - STR_MIND_PROBE
            - STR_PLASMA_RIFLE
            - STR_MIND_PROBE
            - STR_HEAVY_PLASMA
            - STR_MIND_PROBE

Am I just supposed to include all of the data that I'm not making changes to? How much do I need to include to avoid resetting values to defaults?

I'm not sure if this relates to OXCE+ or OXC.

Help / Retaliation missions have completely stopped
« on: September 12, 2018, 10:03:42 pm »
I was ready to test out some base design concepts in the battlescape maps when I discovered that the retaliation missions aren't operating. I know they were previously, in fact it was only a couple weeks ago that I easily spawned a retaliation mission in a fresh game and confirmed that my new large scout retaliation works properly. But now it's not spawning at all and I can't find anything in my code that should be the cause of this. The only changes I can think are related that I have made since then are that I added the hunter-killer mechanic to existing UFOs, I added elite UFOs (which do not spawn yet), I added new deployments which are not yet used, and I have added some aliens and armor suits.

In the copy of my mod below, I have two research retaliation missions set to 100% spawn rate if you research alien alloys, elerium-115, UFO power source, and UFO navigation, and I have decreased the time it takes to research them. I'm also attaching a save file which should easily be able to spawn the mission. I also increased the radar range, so you can clearly see that the retaliation mission never spawns in the first place.

Help / How do I extract INTERWIN.DAT?
« on: September 07, 2018, 09:51:28 am »
I am trying to get my hands on the images contained inside INTERWIN.DAT but XCOMExtractor doesn't read the file. Does anyone know how I can extract the images, or know where I can get a copy of them already extracted?

Help / [RESOLVED] Having trouble with Chryssalid variant
« on: September 05, 2018, 08:02:55 am »
In my mod I have a variant of the Chryssalid which is supposed to turn soldiers into a variant of the zombie which then can be killed to spawn the chryssalid variant. The problem is that the chryssalid variant spawns just a regular zombie.

Code: [Select]
    livingWeapon: true
  - type: STR_ZOMBIE_C
    race: STR_ZOMBIE
    armor: ZOMBIE_ARMOR_C
    livingWeapon: true
    spriteInv: CHRYSSALID_C
    spriteSheet: CHRYSSALID_C.PCK
  - type: ZOMBIE_ARMOR_C
    spriteInv: ZOMBIE_C
    spriteSheet: ZOMBIE_C.PCK
    fixedWeapon: true
    zombieUnit: STR_ZOMBIE_C

edit: I determined that the STR_CHRYSSALID_C is apparently using STR_CHRYSSALID_WEAPON instead of STR_CHRYSSALID_C_WEAPON, which I tested by trying to change the bullet sprite on a different alien variant. What I don't understand is how the game determines that the alien should use STR_CHRYSSALID_WEAPON, as I have not told it at any point in the ruleset which weapon to use.

Help / How many rows on each spritesheet?
« on: September 02, 2018, 03:11:39 pm »
I am encountering a problem when trying to make alien sprite sheets: the tool I use to extract the images makes every unit on the sprite sheet into a single image. I can use Falko's Sprite Combiner to merge the images into a spritesheet, however I need to know how many rows each alien has in their spritesheet, because it's different for every one. Is there some guide somewhere I can use to find out what each arbitrary value is?

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