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Topics - tkzv

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1
Rejection reason: this is beyond/outside the scope of OXCE

Elsewhere we've been talking about air combat, and I thought: this minigame is a neverending source of frustration. Clumsy controls, not much of realism, a game of fast reaction looks out of place in turn-based tactical game. But since X-COM is all about turn-based tactical combat, why not implement air combat as a special Battlescape mission?

This is how I imagine it:

  • Of course, this mode is optional.
  • If it's on, the special Battlescape mission starts either when a human-controlled craft touches a UFO, or when distance is closer than standoff.
  • If it's a one-on-one air battle, then the mission has only 2 units. If multiple interceptors engage one UFO at the same time, all of them participate in the mission. In case of escorting, also all crafts participate.
  • There's no terrain, just open air. Or is the dirt floor unavoidable? Is it possible to make background light blue for midday and darken it at morning/evening and further at night?
  • I don't know how big should the map be. At least twice the range of the battleship main gun, I suppose.
  • Maximum TUs and energy, dodge chance and such are computed from the craft speed and maximum acceleration. I haven't tested any formulae yet. I supppse, hit points and weapon damage may be copied verbatim, but don't know about the rate of fire.
  • If it's a battle a UFO can escape, then time is limited. When turns run out, it is said that UFO outran the interceptor.
  • There are exit grids for interceptors. For example, in all 8 corners.
  • For hunter-killer if human craft is slower, the escape is pointless as it is, but it's a separate question. But there should be a function like "paradrop crew, passengers and cargo".
  • An interceptor has up to 2 weapons in its "hands". Can units shoot two (identical) weapons simultaneously, by the way?
  • Earth craft from Interceptor to Avenger are 1x1x1. Small and medium UFOs are 1x1x1, Battleship is 2x2x1. Can Terror ship be 1x2x1? If no, then all large UFOs are 2x2x1 too.
  • Drawing routine is 3 or 4 — cyberdisk or Ethereal.

If you are going to implement it, I'll try to make Battlescape sprites for all vanilla craft in UFO:EU.

2
Playthroughs / Let's play The X-COM Files, shall we?
« on: June 25, 2019, 04:05:22 am »
Starting tomorrow I'm going to play The X-COM Files. In case you don't know, it starts with 2 agents of a secret international service traveling around the world (by public transport and rented cars), and shooting paranormal phenomena. With usual research, base building, agent hiring...

I'm accepting requests for renaming newly hired agents. Name, surname and country. I can't change an agent's sex, can I? Thus you can either give 2 name variants or a gender-neutral name :) I'll try to keep them all alive, but will fire the ones with psychic power below 50.

I won't record or stream video. Screenshots will appear here.

To begin with, let's decide:

1. Where to put the starting base? I don't think it matters much in this mod. I always picked Hungary out of habit. Should I try something else for variety?

2. What to research first?
Medicine — for Trauma Pack and later Bio Lab.
Basic Operations — for dogs and rats and Cover: Workers, and still later Intelligence Center.
Non-Standard Weapons — to buy weapons like recovered.
Personal Protection — for Leather Coat and later Kevlar Vest.
Logistics — for 4-agent Van. But slower.
Or everything at once. Much slower.

If you are not registered here, you can post anonymously at Linux.Org.Ru: https://www.linux.org.ru/forum/games/15071524 Please, avoid tabooed words and national/political/religious flaming.

3
Offtopic / UFO:EU-inspired story
« on: February 19, 2019, 01:51:29 am »
Found a story last week. It was published in January-April of 2006 in Russian magazine "Best Computer Games". http://lki.ru/text.php?id=644 , but it's in Russian and contains too much slang for Google Translate. It was a part of a series by Nikolay Romashov about playtesting virtual reality games in the 2040s. The story "Defenders of the Fatherland" describes a "UFO-inspired" game (rather than a remake). Funnily, there's a lot of ideas I've seen implemented in later inspired games as well as OXC mods. And some ideas nobody tried yet.

  • Like many fictional games in the series it's designed for single or cooperative play. Each player controls a single operative, and the rest are controlled by simple AI.
  • The setting is a somewhat romanticized picture of 1990s as recalled 50 years later.
  • X-COM is a limited liability company funded jointly by state and private sponsors.
  • At first its scope is limited to the starting country. Advancing beyond requires some research, diplomacy and money.
  • Lack of money is a running gag.
  • The state rewards successful missions with money, but that doesn't cover even the price of bullets spent.
  • The reward for a terror mission comes with fines for property damage. But it's possible to brie bank managers and steal from a bank.
  • It's possible to make and sell moonshine right from the start. It's possible to develop this production into a large-scale alcohol factory.
  • It's possible to get a replacement jet fighter after losing one in battle — in theory. But the process is called "puzzle-adventure elements" for a reason.
  • Starting operatives are conscripted college flunk-outs. Starting scientists include useless "secretaries" and "managers".
  • The game starts with wage of operatives at 0. Increasing it brings volunteers to be hired.
  • Untrained but strong psionics can still work as alien detectors.
  • Starting troop transport is 1 snowmobile for weapons and skis for operatives.
  • It's possible to chase a UFO on a car.
  • Fighters are piloted by the same operatives who do ground missions. It's an air combat simulator.
  • Vehicles can malfunction in flight. But they can also be repaired in flight.
  • Planes can hide from UFOs in clouds.
  • Downed pilots can be rescued during ground missions.
  • Operatives can dig trenches during ground missions.
  • Skiing operatives can ram aliens stunning them.
  • One possible side mission is protecting a country house of a nouveau riche from aliens. This gives a reward (money and weapons), recruits and an extra channel to buy weapons.
  • Mutons are gorillas with green fur and thick skin.
  • Aliens send mixed-species crews from the start.
  • Researching laser weapons requires studying alien plasma weapons.
  • Coordinates of the Martian base are known only to Sectoid leaders and navigators, who become rare by the time research reaches this point.
  • Finding the channels to profitably sell alien corpses and artifacts is another research/diplomacy puzzle.
  • Some of the useless starting equipment is also hard to sell.
  • One mission is robbing a NATO military base. It turns out to be a disguised alien base, defended both by aliens and by human mercenaries.
  • It also unlocks an investigation about corrupt local military.
  • Parked UFOs are captured with the base.
  • Captured alien bases can be turned into X-COM bases.
  • Terror missions start with several UFOs meeting far from the target and loading all weapons and troops into a single transport. This rendezvous point can be attacked.
  • Terror maps may include underground passages such as cellars or sewers.
  • Operatives can pick thrown grenades and throw them back.
  • Operatives can climb each other to shoot over obstacles.
  • To become an officer an operative has to spend some time training away from the base.
  • Questioning prisoners is a gruesome minigame.
  • Invading Mars is like Earth invasion with roles reversed. XCOM builds secret bases and terrorizes alien cities. But it's possible to finish the game quickly by assaulting the central base with the first landing party.
  • Fighter craft also participate in this operation.
  • Psionics can protect friendly troops from psionic assaults.
  • Troop advancement mechanics uses levels. It is possible to level up during a battle, recovering lost points.
  • The ultimate psionic attack renders the attacker unable to use psionics anymore.

4
Work In Progress / [WIP] Mass Looters
« on: November 30, 2018, 02:40:30 am »
A couple months ago I saw a suggestion of a Mass Effect crossover mod. It got me thinking. What if some unscrupulous corporation from Citadel space came to the Solar system in the late 20th century looking for Prothean ruins? What if they fly all over Earth looking for more ruins? What if Quarians find about the place too? What if the corporation hired Blood Pack for protection, but can't fully control them? What if they hire agents on Earth to cover everything up, but several payments don't arrive on time? The cover is blown and X-COM is created!

The only things working so far are intro (without sound) and unlimited ammo in alien guns. And unbalanced missions against Vorcha in "New Battle" mode.

The mod is attached, if anybody is interested. I'm posting everything to GitHub too: https://github.com/tkzv/looters/

I'm planning a line of research that would keep Earth guns usable until the end. There'll be medigel. There'll be collapsible alien weapons. There'll be biotics, but I don't know what to do with it besides Barrier and Shockwave. There'll be timed missions to catch infiltrators. There'll be multistage missions. There may be plot advancement coupons. I'm thinking of including base destruction mechanics. There'll be choices. There'll be unreliable narration. Any other suggestions?

I've been experimenting with 3D models I found online and created some sprites. This is far from the final look. I'm thinking of making them wider, and I will definitely retouch them pixel by pixel. What is your opinion?

While working, I got an idea that Salarians were named after the place where they crash landed (Salarievo Landfill was real in 1998). Any other suggestions?

5
Help / [Solved, but advises are welcome] Intro: font colour and music
« on: November 21, 2018, 12:48:53 am »
I made the following intro:
Code: [Select]
cutscenes:
  - delete: intro
  - type: intro
    useUfoAudioSequence: true
    slideshow:
      transitionSeconds: 30
      slides:
        - imagePath: cutscenes/1.png
          caption: STR_INTRO0
          captionColor: 253
        - imagePath: cutscenes/2.png
          ...
1. Slides show correctly, although there are small colour glitches. Is there any way to get rid of them? Besides using the same palette for all slides.

2. Text uses the same palette, and more than one colour. Not much of a problem for one of the standard palettes, but troublesome for autogenerated palettes with random colour order. Is there a way to set all colours the text uses? If no, which colours will appear for filling, border and corners relative to 253?

ANSWER: For "captionColor: 0" the font seems to use colours:
1 for solid fill,
2 for anti-aliased pixels which are closer to fill colour, e.g. rounded parts,
4 for anti-aliased pixels which are closer to border colour, sort of serifs,
5 for border.
See the attached "font-drawing.png" and "font-drawingX10.png" (palette is at the bottom, orange is for unused colours).

I guess, for 253 it would be 254, 255, 1 and 2.

3. Is it possible to set custom intro music?

ANSWER: Yes. "Land of Sand - DUNE Total Conversion" has a good example. https://openxcom.org/forum/index.php/topic,2957.0.html

Spoiler:
I set "useUfoAudioSequence: true" and tried
Code: [Select]
extraSounds:
  - type: INTRO.CAT
    files:
      0: music/music.wav
      1: music/music.wav
...
      99: music/music.wav
with 11kHz and 8kHz 16- and 8-bit, stereo and mono. I got no sound.

P.S. I used ruleset reference for OXC nightly, but I'm running OXCE+.

P.P.S. There's no intro sound even without extraSounds.rul file.

Working music example:
A. Put music files to "SOUND" directory. OGG and MOD worked fine, but WAVs were distorted.

B. Describe the music files:
Code: [Select]
musics:
  # SOUND/CONSPIRI.MOD
  - type: CONSPIRI
    normalization: 2
  # SOUND/music-stereo.wav
  - type: music-stereo
    normalization: 2
  # SOUND/fog.ogg
  - type: fog
    normalization: 2
"type" is the name of a file in "Sound" folder without extension. I don't know what "normalization" is for, but the music seems the same without it or with different values.

C. Refer to them in the cutscenes section:
Code: [Select]
cutscenes:
  - delete: intro
  - type: intro
    slideshow:
      musicId: CONSPIRI
      slides:
        - imagePath: cutscenes/dump-1.png
          caption: STR_INTRO0
          captionColor: 253
          transitionSeconds: 10
        - imagePath: cutscenes/dump-2.png
...

6
EDIT by Meridian: for future readers, questions are about OXCE, even though the thread is in OpenXcom section

1. I want to display a Ufopaedia page after a successful mission. I wanted to use alienDeployments...unlockedResearch, but these posts: https://openxcom.org/forum/index.php/topic,4187.msg79243.html#msg79243 https://openxcom.org/forum/index.php/topic,5227.msg78149.html#msg78149 say it won't work. Does it still not work? If no, will creating a mission victory slideshow work?

2. Is there a limit to missionScripts...startDelay ? What happens if the conditions for researchTriggers change, for times over 1 month? For example, startDelay is 100 000 (over 2 months) and researchTriggers has STR_THE_MARTIAN_SOLUTION: false, but I discover STR_THE_MARTIAN_SOLUTION in the meantime. Does the mission execute 2 months later or not?

3. I want to make a mission about chasing an enemy in a crowd of bystanders. Is it possible to create a mission where enemies don't deliberately shoot civilians? (Collateral damage is fine, but the enemy only targets X-COM, it shouldn't be distracted.)
By the way, how do I set civilians' aggressiveness toward the enemy?

4. Did anybody ever make collapsible weapons? What I mean: an object in backpack has 1x2 size, when placed in hand it changes the sprite and becomes 2x3, when placed to backpack it becomes 1x2 again. Or, at the very least, it stays 1x2, but its sprite changes when in hand. Do scripts allow anything like that?

5. Is it possible to inflict damage with all thrown objects? For example, throw an empty gun at an enemy and remove several hit points? If this would require rewriting each object as a weapon, can it be done with guns too?

6. How is energy consumption calculated? How to set actions different from the formula Energy Used = INT( TUs_Used / 2^X ) where X = 0, 1, 2, 3, 4... ? I want to create a unit that would throw grenades with great range and precision, but at the cost of energy.

7. Is it possible to create a unit that surrenders at the end of the 1st turn?


And the questions I forgot:
8. Is it possible to make a two-step research: where the after-mission report is short and partially incorrect, and further investigation in the lab replaces it with the correct one?

9. Some terrain tiles explode, when hit by bullets, some catch fire, some do neither. Where to set it?

10. Timed missions: turnLimit and chronoTrigger. What can happen with the loot when turns run out, but both sides are still alive, conscious and can fight? Do enemies surrender if ChronoTrigger = 2? I want to keep the corpses and stunned ones and their possessions, but lose the ones, who escape quickly enough, and their possessions. So that a player can choose to risk for a large gain or just wait it out for zero gain.

7
Suggestions / Optional extra buttons
« on: July 23, 2018, 12:32:38 am »
Right now my desktop doesn't work and I only have a notebook and a tab. Lack of the middle mouse button — or of the whole keyboard — makes the game much more frustrating. OXCE+ has a lot of useful functions called from keyboard, such as Ufopaedia, results of the last shot, mission briefing, debug(;D). Also there are left-click, right-click, middle-click, Ctrl-left-click, Shift-left-click... did I miss anything?

Has anybody suggested adding extra icons/buttons to the interface yet?

What I suggest isn't expanding the classic bottom toolbar, but adding extra buttons on the sides (disabled by default). The buttons would correspond not to actions, but exactly to keyboard keys — thus no need for new icons, and the engine would handle it as a pressed key. Some of the buttons would be prefixes such as Ctrl or Shift, or turning clicks into right-clicks or middle-clicks.

Is anybody planning something like that?

8
The X-Com Files / TV Tropes
« on: June 22, 2018, 08:16:56 pm »
tvtropes.org is a wiki about TV programs, films, books, animation,video games and such. I saw there a page about Piratez and decided that X-COM Files needs a page too. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/TheXCOMFiles

I don't have time to keep it up to date. Besides, their misguided war on adblockers makes editing more time-consuming. And Solarius finds it inappropriate for an authour to work on it... much. So, I invite you, other players, to correct the things that changed since 0.8 and things that I forgot or got wrong.

9
Suggestions / UFO and TFTD in the single sequential campaign
« on: December 11, 2017, 01:19:37 am »
Has anybody tried merging the two games in a single mod?

It would go something like this. Just a normal UFO game until you win at Cydonia, but then the game continues. Probably your funding is cut, and you spend several month doing nothing. Maybe all your Avengers are requisitioned. Maybe there's a timeskip a few days or weeks long (to travel to Mars and back).

And then Aquatoids start appearing.

You retain all your technologies, but cannot use most of them underwater. You cannot get more ellerium — whatever is transported from Mars isn't yours.

I know of Dr.Crowley's mod: https://openxcom.org/forum/index.php/topic,5811.0.html , which uses a similar idea, but it is TFTD-only, separate from UFO, starting in 2037.

P.S. The X-COM Files tries a parallel approach with Deep Ones as early as 1997. I asked about serial one.

10
Troubleshooting / Sound of hidden movement
« on: December 10, 2017, 06:33:20 pm »
How does it work? Currently doors and gunshots are heard, but footsteps are not. I noticed that I can't hear enemy tanks in "The X-COM Files" mod, tried to experiment and concluded that tank engines are only heard if the tank starts moving where an operative can see it.

Is there any way to make loud units always audible? Or maybe this should apply to all units?

P.S. Same for vanilla nightly and OXCE+.

11
OXCE Support / [Solved] Closer look at an enemy (inventory)
« on: November 26, 2017, 02:57:51 am »
In a number of playthroughs I've seen players somehow open a window with a big picture of a targeted enemy and weapons in his hands. For example, here, at 34:48. https://youtu.be/xyPLPav-p4Y?t=2088

How can I do that?

Answer: OXCE+ only. Doesn't work if middle-click is set for drag scroll.
Add line battleDragScrollButton: 0 to the configuration file
In Battlescape options set Drag Scroll to left or right button or disable it
and click middle mouse button (or the wheel).

12
Suggestions / Autopsies from living aliens. Deeper X-COM base.
« on: November 21, 2017, 01:41:23 am »
Modern medical technology, and even the technology of late 1990s do not require a dead body to understand how it worked. At least on the crude level of X-COM autopsy reports. MRT, X-ray, some probing, some syringes... Unpleasant, not good for health, but unlikely to be fatal, even to frail Ethereals.

There can be some research item, possibly a special lab, that would allow to get autopsy reports from studying living specimens. It can be a purely Earth invention, like lasers, or something derived from alien medical technology (Abductor ship, "alien surgery", cloning...).

Has anybody tried that?



Does the engine allow to make some X-COM base facilities go deeper? If yes, then alien alloys, for example, could unlock 4-floor base modules with double volume.

Deeper living quarters, labs and workshops would house twice as many people. Deep stores would have double capacity. Deeper radars can have 3 times as much electronics crammed under the same dishes, which would mean 3 times more power and something like 70% higher detection chance. Hangars and rocket launchers would not benefit from this, since they need the area, which doesn't change. Don't know about shields.

Has anybody tried this?

13
OXCE Bugs FIXED / [FIXED] Crash when opening ufopedia in Battlescape
« on: November 11, 2017, 05:10:28 pm »
Now that the main thread is locked and there's no "issues" link on the Github page, where to gather the bug reports on OXCE+?

The problem I encountered is non-critical, but funny. If earnings and monthly income exceed 2^31 (2 147 483 648), there's a warning that you need to sell something to avoid taking credit. To reproduce, load the attached savegame and wait for the end of the month. (It was created with "The X-Com Files" mod, but the bug reproduces without it fine.) No warning for vanilla or OXCE.

P.S. Non-critical, because the sum does NOT warp around to -2^31 at the end of the month. It remains positive.

14
I created a ticket https://openxcom.org/bugs/openxcom/issues/1369 (pathfinding is wrong for grain field), but can't attach the example files. I'll leave them here for now.

15
Suggestions / Bait and switch research
« on: October 30, 2017, 11:54:49 am »
About the same time as UFO: Enemy Unknown there was another strategy game with space aliens and research: Alien Legacy. Its research had a unique feature, which I don't remember anywhere else. Every time a new research item appeared, your advisor gave you a pitch about how useful this is going to be. Some of them proved immediate flops, although useful in the long run.

Here are two (long) examples:
Spoiler:
Proposal:
Dr. McGuffey has some ideas about what he calls the 'absolute number theory.' It may give us a new way to conceptualize the structure of the universe and, indeed, could very well revolutionize our understanding of mathematical theory.

After the research started:
Dr. McGuffey is running his new mathematical hypothesis through our supercomputers as they become available. His 'absolute number theory' may revolutionize mathematics.

Immediately after it finished:
We are now able to posit McGuffey's Theorem. Unfortunately, the mathematic proof did not live up to our expectations in revolutionizing the structure of basic mathematics. Oh, well... However, the theorem is quite elegant.

Later:
McGuffey's Theorem was expected to revolutionize basic mathematical thinking. The final proof did not live up to expectations. In lay terms, the theorem proves that the process of getting somewhere is more interesting than being there.

Much later the theorem helped to design a new shuttle engine.


Proposal:
The process we are developing restructures grain protein into meat protein. In effect, we are turning grass into beef.

After the research started:
Makes tasty steaks from mushrooms

Immediately after it finished:
The Shiitake Meat Synthesizer transforms grain protein into meat protein. Unfortunately, the process will work only with shiitake mushrooms, which are difficult to raise here. However, the shiitake steaks taste wonderful. Sorry to have wasted our time and resources, Captain.

Later:
The Shiitake Meat Synthesizer converts grain protein into meat protein. The process requires shiitake mushrooms, and the energy required to convert the protein is 20 times as great as that which is derived from the meat. Aside from being of historical curiosity, the process has no other redeeming value.

Much later the synthesizer was used to process organic compounds found in Kuiper belt.

What are the ways to create something similar in OpenXcom? Catchy names for research goals? Multi-stage research that outlines the follow-up projects?

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