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Messages - BTAxis

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XPiratez / Re: Bugs & Crash Reports
« on: November 18, 2020, 01:31:13 pm »
There seems to be an inconsistency between the Golden Shields article, which states that plasma deals full damage, and the refractor armor article, which states that the shield is strong against plasma. They can't both be right.

The X-Com Files / Re: Want to help?
« on: October 15, 2018, 03:02:41 pm »
Here's my attempt at adding a new Staff Input article.

The X-Com Files / Re: Some feedback after finishing my campaign
« on: October 14, 2018, 01:29:40 pm »
No longer true for at least 2 fighter planes that can't land.

Ah, the point was really to take away potential concerns that the pilot would be dedicated, i.e. sit the tac mission out in the cockpit. If the craft can't land in the first place I think it's kind of moot.

Of those pictures, helicopter_by_just_tenth-dcjli5c.png is probably my favorite.

The X-Com Files / Re: Some feedback after finishing my campaign
« on: October 12, 2018, 02:57:51 pm »
I have to say, though, I hope the author doesn't take you up on your points about dramatically ramping up the economic difficulty level. It's already a very hard game for beginners, and this might make it truly inaccessible to those outside the hard-core veteran audience. I'm only doing so-so with money in my playthrough, and this is only because I do every mission that comes up and I've been getting steady raises from the Council. I don't seem to make much selling plunder (admittedly, I hoard a lot of it, for no other reason than just because), nor do I even try to manufacture things for profit. Maybe those are flaws in my approach, but on the other hand I wouldn't really be much interested in relying on them if they were required. On this one point, then, I'd have to say the current game economy works pretty well-- for certain kinds of players, of course. Another way of saying this might be-- it's simulated management of a government bureaucracy. Budget bloat should be a natural course of events.  ;)

Yeah, that's definitely a valid consideration. I would say the game encourages sweat shop manufacturing though, because it has UI explicitly intended for that. I didn't even exploit it that aggressively, having 5 workshops total in my game, but I still ended the campaign with almost a billion in the bank.

I'll be brief, since I have a bad flu and everything is suffering now...

Hope you recover soon!

3. More Staff Inputs and lore in general. Yes, I definitely agree. The thing is, when you are working on a project like this, you keep thinking in terms of big supporting structures (skeleton) and such small tidbits (meat) tend to be pushed until later. This is not good, but it's my weakness. I will try to produce a bit more, since it's actually fun to do.

I have an idea for one goofy article that you would get as a one-for-free from any of the laser construction research topics. Do you think there is room for that?

5. The Stormtrooper armour might indeed need a new name. It's not only for sniping, but also reactions, observation and strealth. Something like "Cyber Ninja", but less cheesy (and less suggesting that it's about hacking).

Reactions yeah, very true. I tend to undervalue that because I prefer to ensure the enemy won't have an opportunity to shoot at me rather than to be in a position to shoot back.
It doesn't do stealth though, at least not at this time. The Synthsuit does, but as it excels at melee that's of minor value. Plus the scout/sniper AI cheese makes camouflage kind of pointless most of the time.
As for Thermal Vision, I've sort of stopped using smoke for the most part, because typically the enemy can see through it better than X-Com, and ThV is another mechanic that is really hard to get a handle on as a player.

6. Melee is supposed to be a last resort, at least for you. The scope of this mod, however broad, is still limited and does not include X-Com ninjas. Mostly because it would be hard to balance.

He says, and adds a katana that does upward of 400 damage. Heh.
Anyway, I think melee is pretty fun. It's also very situational, being useful only in situations where you fight in tight quarters a lot, such as UFO breaches. I never got the impression that it was unbalanced with ranged combat.

8. Mass drivers having an AP bonus: maybe, but wouldn't it devaluate lasers?
Heavy weapons are generally slower to shoot than hand weapons. Not saying that it must always be so, but I'd like to see more arguments.

Oops, brainfart on my part there. I meant to say the heavy MD is actually *faster* than the Rifle, not slower. 80% on the Rifle, 70% on the Heavy.
I don't think AP on MDs would devalue lasers. My reasoning is that MDs offer a lot fewer shots per TU than lasers, and that's OK, but they also offer a lot less damage potential right now, which isn't. New tech should be an improvement in some way, or it would be a waste of the investment of getting it. MD weapons could be the optimal end-game weapon for taking on high-armor enemies while lasers remain a solid all-round choice.
All of that of course is only a prediction based on no actual play testing whatsoever. Keep your grain of salt within arm's reach.

10. I can add a Pedia page on the pilots. would it be cheeky of me to ask you to provide some basic text? I am not 100% sure of what exactly should be covered, and you're good at this.

I can do this sure. How about:
STR_PILOTS_UFOPEDIA: "All of our vehicles require an Agent acting as the Pilot to function. Agents piloting a vehicle will be able to partake in tactical combat normally.{NEWLINE}You may manually select which agent will pilot the vehicle from the Pilots menu in the craft equip screen. If you don't assign a Pilot, whichever Agent is lowest on the Crew list will automatically be assigned as the Pilot.{NEWLINE}In combat with UFOs, the Pilot's stats have the following effects:{NEWLINE}>FIRING ACCURACY affects the chance to hit the UFO.{NEWLINE}>REACTIONS affects the the chance to avoid incoming fire.{NEWLINE}>BRAVERY affects how quickly the craft will approach the UFO.{NEWLINE}Pilots can gain experience in these stats (and these stats only) by successfully engaging and defeating UFOs. Note that some craft require more than one Pilot. In such cases, all Pilots' stats will be averaged. All Pilots will earn stat experience from shooting down UFOs."

The X-Com Files / Re: Bugs, crashes, typos & bad taste
« on: October 12, 2018, 01:26:58 pm »
"It makes no sense to me that laser, mass driver and gauss cannons are bought, not manufactured. I'm hopeful that this is a temporary state of affairs." - No, it's very permanent. It was mainly done for two reasons: 1) giving the UAC more reasons to exist, 2) removing a senseless source of endless cash.

Alright, but then you might as well make the Tritanium Cannon buyable too. It just feels very inconsistent that I have to build that thing and its ammo myself while superior products can be painlessly purchased from the market.

"Tactical Neural Implants are good for nothing, so they might as well be removed." - I have plans for them.

Then maybe disable them until those plans are implemented. Having a useless production item exposed to the player is confusing.

"I'm unsure why the Tentaculate (I will never not call it that, maturity is overrated) has nonstandard vulnerabilities to laser, plasma and EMP damage, since there are no weapons in those categories that can ever be used against it." - Sorry, but what do these two things have to do with one another?

Pretty much what legionof1 said. The Ufopedia now provides stats that are irrelevant, so hiding them would be cleaner. It's just a neatness thing.

"The Golden Ankh research topic should probably consume said Ankh." - Why? It's just a metallic object, not complex machinery. Also, why would I force the player to repeat this mission to get another one? And why would I want to piss off the Coven? :)

But you're giving the Ankh back to them, aren't you? You didn't just recover their relic to show it to them and say "hey we found your MacGuffin! It'll look great on our mantelpiece!"
Why would the player want to get another one? It has no dependencies, at least not at present.

Edit: It just occurred to me that the Found Items and Damage Rolls articles' format is not in line with the other Field Manual articles (text + art).

The X-Com Files / Re: Bugs, crashes, typos & bad taste
« on: October 10, 2018, 10:23:05 pm »
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a list of feedback for XCF, that's not even remotely similar to a bird or a plane, what's wrong with you.

(Note that my campaign is now over. My tech counter reached 85% but I went and debug unlocked all of the Ufopedia and went over everything I hadn't read already. As such I have read every string that is accessible via the Ufopedia. That includes a lot of stuff that is presumably deprecated, but there you go.)

Dem strings:
- The following strings appear to be missing: STR_UNARMED_WASPITE, STR_UNARMED_TASOTH, STR_SECRETS_OF_LO_WO, STR_SECRETS_OF_LO_WO_UFOPEDIA (those last two are obviously WIP though). Also, many armor strings are not in, such as STR_ETHEREAL_SPEAKER_ARMOR. These can show up on mind controlled aliens. I'm unsure if it's worth having a string for every single alien type however.
- STR_ANEXIS_OFFER_UFOPEDIA: "I thank you for your intervention on our behalf and defeating" would be better as "I thank you for intervening on our behalf and defeating". "frontline" should be "front line". The semicolon would be better as a full stop (this sentence meanders a bit). Assuming that full stop, "so I" would be better as just "I".
- STR_DREAMERS_UFOPEDIA: Nothing specifically wrong here, just felt it was a little rough. Suggest a rewrite: "Apparently the ancient psions developed a technique called 'deep dreaming', which allowed them to enter a dream state they used for meditation and even communication with one another. This skill still survives in some Immortals, but even among them it has become rare." I left out the bit about the "humbling experience" because it's a tad non sequitur.
- STR_ADVANCED_UNDERWATER_OPERATIONS_UFOPEDIA: "Warning: any dogs on this mission will drown!" makes more sense as "Warning: any dogs on underwater missions will drown!"
- STR_TASOTH_DATA_PAD_UFOPEDIA: "repeat the process" would be better as "duplicate the process". Suggest rephrasing "due to all the Zrbite" as "when the Zrbite buildup in its system reaches critical mass".
- STR_TASOTH_AUTOPSY_UFOPEDIA: Suggest rephrasing "The whole body lacks" as "The body wholly lacks".
- STR_SONIC_CANNON_UFOPEDIA: "Featuring" should be "It features".
- STR_DEEP_SEA_OPERATIONS_UFOPEDIA: Suggest rephrasing "Also we will have priority access to any Zrbite they may recover" as "We will have priority access to any Zrbite recovered by HD".
- STR_MASS_DRIVER_RIFLE_UFOPEDIA: "is lack of autofire setting" would be better as "is a lack of an autofire setting".
- STR_ZOMBIE_CATACOMBS_DESCRIPTION: "Our 'Zombie ecologists' team" would work better as "Our team of ecologists tasked with investigating Zombies".
- STR_ZOMBIE_HIVE_BRIEFING: "with strong Zombie presence" should be "with a strong Zombie presence".
- STR_WASPITE_AUTOPSY_UFOPEDIA: "Grafted on to the body," does not need the comma.
- STR_LO_WO_REFUGE_DESCRIPTION and STR_LO_WO_REFUGE_BRIEFING: "The joint work" would be better as "A joint effort".
- STR_TENTACULAT_AUTOPSY_UFOPEDIA: I felt the need to shoot this with the Rewrite Cannon: "Our autopsy has revealed a myriad of small cybernetic implants that are lodged in the creature's large brain. It possesses receptors for visible light as well as for thermal imaging, so this monster can navigate with unerring accuracy even in the inky depths of the ocean. Its internal organs are mostly vestigial, just barely sufficient to sustain it. An external connector leads into its stomach, so it is logical to assume it is fed nutrients directly by its masters."
- STR_TENTACULAT_UFOPEDIA: "such as this" as a standalone subject, while classy, becomes pretentious if overused. Suggest changing the second instance to "something like this".
- STR_GREMLIN_POD_UFOPEDIA: "some kind of a trap" would be better as "some kind of trap".
- STR_SECTOID_GUARD_UFOPEDIA: "separated from normal Sectoid chain of command" should be "separated from the normal Sectoid chain of command". "We can expect to see them more" would be nicer as "We can expect to see more of them".
- STR_DEEP_SEA_ANALYSIS_UFOPEDIA: "has lead me" should be "has led me". "shrug off explosives and gunfire as if they were nothing" would be better as "shrug off explosions and gunfire as if it was nothing".
- STR_MIB_ACTIVITY_UFOPEDIA: "aliens-related" should be "alien-related". "concerned about" should be "concerned with". "know more" would be better as "find out more".
- STR_MIB_IDENTITY_UFOPEDIA: I don't like "the world elites", suggest "the world's driving powers". "MiB were" would be better as "the MiB were".
- STR_HYBRID_BASE_UFOPEDIA: "diffused" would be better as "diffuse".
- STR_HYBRID_MIB_MEETING_UFOPEDIA: "among half-human hybrids' associates" should be "among the half-human hybrids' associates".
- STR_DOSSIER_GUNTER_MEYER_UFOPEDIA: "a highest-ranking member" should be "the highest-ranking member". "the scope of which" would be better as "whose chief business".
- STR_MRRSHAN_RIFLE_UFOPEDIA: "projectiles, not much different from Earth design" does not need the comma. "additional 25% damage" should be "an additional 25% damage".
- STR_SKULL_STAFF_UFOPEDIA: "a subtle but disturbing effect of breaking down" would be better as "the subtle but disturbing effect of breaking down".
- STR_STRANGE_ALUMINIUM_TABLET_UFOPEDIA: "10 thousand" would be better as either "ten thousand" or "10,000".
- STR_MIB_STORMTROOPER_UFOPEDIA: "They wear light power suit" should be "They wear a light power suit".
- STR_GIANT_SPIDER_KING_AUTOPSY_UFOPEDIA: "The Spider King body" would be better as "The Spider King's body".
- STR_WERECAT_BLACK_UFOPEDIA: Suggest rephrasing "a higher level of cognitive functions" as "cognitive functions of a higher level". "It may" should be "They may".
- STR_FLOATER_LEGIONNAIRE_AUTOPSY_UFOPEDIA: "in any conditions" would be better as "no matter the conditions".
- STR_BADASS_CHRYSSALID_UFOPEDIA: Suggest rephrasing "It is a special property of all Chryssalids" as "It appears all Chryssalids possess this unique talent". "it comes useful" should be "it comes in useful".
- STR_BADASS_CHRYSSALID_WEAPON_UFOPEDIA: "attack in similar" should be "attack is similar".
- STR_CELATID_WEAPON_UFOPEDIA: "Celatid spits" would be better as "Celatid spit is".
- STR_CARCHARODON_UFOPEDIA: Suggest rephrasing "half-functional" as "minimally effective".
- STR_CARCHARODON_AUTOPSY_UFOPEDIA: Suggest rephrasing "a malfunction of their robust regenerative abilities, leading their flesh to slowly reject their cybernetics. These problems would seem to indicate that they are a recent development" as "a side effect of the creature's robust regenerative abilities, leading its flesh to slowly reject the cybernetics. These problems would seem to indicate that this species is a recent development".
- STR_JANISSARY_AUTOPSY_UFOPEDIA: Suggest rephrasing "some sort of a lightning generators built into their arms" as "some sort of lightning generator built into each of their arms".
- STR_LOBSTERMAN_FERAL_AUTOPSY_UFOPEDIA: "Its shell is nigh-impervious against anything that can't be wedged between the carapace plates and laughs in the face of firearms" is humorously ambiguous. Suggest "Its shell is nigh-impervious to anything that can't be wedged between the carapace plates, and laughs in the face of firearms".
- STR_HORROR_UFOPEDIA: "It repeatedly tries to attack" would be better as "It constantly tries to attack".
- STR_LARGE_ALIEN_DRONE_AUTOPSY_UFOPEDIA: "with actual anti-gravity unit" should be "with an actual anti-gravity unit".
- STR_REPTOID_DRAKE_UFOPEDIA: "use best equipment" would be better as "use the best Reptoid equipment available".

Dem other bits:
- The Tasoth Factory mission allows a full complement of soldiers to participate, which goes against the standing instructions for underwater missions (I didn't expect it so I went in somewhat under-equipped). Consider explicitly mentioning it in the mission description.
- I think STR_ADVANCED_UNDERWATER_OPERATIONS_UFOPEDIA should explicitly mention that the Trident has a capacity of 15.
- One of the Juggernaut Suit's strengths is superior underwater NV. This info can't be gleaned from the stats page, so maybe it should be mentioned in the description.
- The Reptoid Assassination Squad mission times out very quickly considering you can only do it with rather slow vehicles.
- It makes no sense to me that laser, mass driver and gauss cannons are bought, not manufactured. I'm hopeful that this is a temporary state of affairs.
- I had 5 battleships spawn simultaneously on a base assault mission. All 5 of them despawned after the tactical mission though. But it seems like the game got confused with the hunter-killer missions. Save attached for good measure.
- I think there is value in adding production items for retrofitting Sectopods from Laser to Plasma and back. These HWPs are the only type to use Alien Electronics, which makes them limited.
- The Neural Whip trains reactions and throwing, but uses firing accuracy. I don't think that's a good thing. When training with any tool, one doesn't generally improve with some other tool.
- Tactical Neural Implants are good for nothing, so they might as well be removed.
- Since the Cybermite is robotic, maybe it should not be susceptible to psi attacks. I had a similar concern with the Holodrone, but there are indications that that unit is not completely robotic which would make it okay.
- Similar to the Flame Spider, I've never seen a Cybermite explode on death. I actually tested it by killing one a bunch of times with save scum on, but failed to trigger an explosion. I'm convinced it isn't working.
- I'm unsure why the Tentaculate (I will never not call it that, maturity is overrated) has nonstandard vulnerabilities to laser, plasma and EMP damage, since there are no weapons in those categories that can ever be used against it.
- The Golden Ankh research topic should probably consume said Ankh.
- The yellow active unit arrow is misaligned on the Seabot.
- The diagonal passages on the underwater city map cannot be passed through (or even seen through most of the time). See image. This is not a problem per se, only enemies can spawn inside of them, and spotting them can be problematic absent psi sense.
- Issues with the TFTD base map. See image. In particular, the block containing the MacGuffin does not fit with the other blocks, which results in weird black dead-ends. It does have a connection to the rest of the map though (just), so the mission is at least perfectly playable.
- Issues with the Atlantis Temple map. See image.
- The female Synthsuit sprite has its head screwed on wrong. This only applies to the underwater version.
- Both Synthsuits seem to have issues with the left arm when a weapon is held. This only applies to the underwater versions.

As my game is done that's all from me, at least for now. I did however write a few more words of feedback here. Also, if you want me to proofread anything else you write in the future you can just prod me on Discord, I'd be happy to help. Otherwise, I leave you with the last line remaining in my notes, which I never found a home for:

TODO: Minotaurs never use flamers, Mummy Matriarchs never use their ranged attack.

The X-Com Files / Re: Some feedback after finishing my campaign
« on: October 10, 2018, 10:21:27 pm »
(Continued from last post)

Psionics and Hybrids
Okay, Hybrids. You've already mentioned elsewhere that they're a bit of a work in progress right now, and I can't say fairer than that. I'll still write down my impressions of their current implementation though.

Essentially, I was not impressed by the Hybrids, because they're weak in two important areas: max strength and max psi strength. The former is not a major issue as such, it just means they can carry less stuff and throw said stuff less far. It's not great though. The latter however is more important, because, as it turns out, psionic strength is the only stat that matters for a new recruit. Everything else can be trained, but a bad psi strength soldier will be a bad psi strength soldier forever.

Now, with what I just wrote in mind, I will say that the instant psi strength reveal upon recruitment, once the relevant tech is unlocked, is way too strong. It makes it trivial to simply hire a few buses full of agents and sack anyone with a psi strength lower than 80, repeat as often as necessary. Considering that psi, even with the limitations added by XCF, is still immensely powerful, there is every incentive to do exactly that. I would advocate going back to the vanilla behavior of having to train a soldier for a month before finding out their psi strength, just to make it a little less inviting to cheese. I'm thinking some sort of early Psi Lab that doesn't train psi skill and only measures psi strength.

Given that I could afford that sort of extreme unnatural selection, a cap of 90 on psi strength for Hybrids made them seem so-so indeed. Their innate strengths weren't really making up for it either - a strength 20 shield is nice, but not that nice, and the improved night vision is mostly irrelevant because the top-tier armors start coming in fairly soon after you get the Hybrids, and those perform the same for humans and Hybrids alike.

Now, one idea that I've been kicking around in my head is this: give Hybrids psi sense. Not a lot, maybe to the tune of 0.04 * psi skill. Psi sense is really good, and having that on my Hybrids would make me cuddle and pamper them like you wouldn't believe. In fact, I'm not so sure that wouldn't be too good.

On the subject of psionics in XCF, I think it's much improved over vanilla or even FMP. It's still crazy powerful, but more fair than it used to be. All of the psionic equipment has its use (except for the Psiclone which is garbage). The Skulljack is a great tool for high-psi soldiers as soon as it comes in and continues to be a good training tool for beginning psions later on, while the two psi-amps each have their own use. The multi-phase psi-amp in particular is indispensable for being able to mind-control civilians. Good stuff.

The Economy
Money in X-Com campaigns inevitably becomes irrelevant sooner or later. I paid specific attention to this in XCF, and for me, this happened around the 25% mark (as measured by tech progress). That's not bad at all considering how long XCF is, but I think it could be better.
On the expenditure side, I think various things could stand to cost substantially more than they do. The only really expensive things after the immediately early game are the various labs. Other important facilities could take a price hike as well, both in terms of build cost and upkeep. I'm thinking of things like Psi Labs and Hyperwave Decoders. Advanced craft as well. The Avenger could cost 30M to build, and I would consider it fair.
As for income, a major contributor to runaway funds is always the for-profit projects in the workshop. That's why I'm so leery of any project that makes a profit at all, especially the ones that recoup the upkeep of the engineers. In theory it's a way to stay solvent even if things really go south and a lot of countries drop out, but I think sales from mission loot can cover that just fine.

Here's a list of the most profitable X-Com sweatshop projects I could find, expressed in profit per engineer per month:

Alien Laser Cannon: 34K
Gauss Sniper Rifle Clip: 36K
HWP Gauss Ammo: 53K
Tank/Mass Driver: 57K
Gauss Pistol Clip: 70K
Gauss Rifle Clip: 73K (I'm convinced my engineers smuggle cocaine in these or something.)

This is just a number of observations that don't fit anywhere else.

Aliens rarely pick up weapons after panicking. They do it sometimes, but often they just wander around unarmed once they're sane again. Possibly the attraction on their weapons is too low. I noticed that in vanilla it's 10 for everything except grenades, but XCF uses lower values.

The Aquatoid Navigator might benefit from having another title. The reason why I think so is that I ended up being rather far delayed on the T'leth arc because I sold every Navigator I found on general principle. Every alien Navigator unlocks the same techs, so I'd mentally written them off as "useless" and killed and sold every Navigator on autopilot. Turned out the Aquatoid was an exception. A different name for this alien would have made me pay attention. To wit: I made a point of capturing every special Muton I came across, even though they turned out to just be the same old boring Medics and Leaders.

I feel pilots could use a little more explaining in the Field Manual. Though a lot of the important information can be read from the pilot UI, I still think there is value in giving the player a primer as soon as Advanced Flight Training is researched. In particular, it would be good to explain which stats a pilot will train as a result of intercepting UFOs, and how.

The late-game craft are a bit of a jumble. In my campaign I was stuck with the Raven and Skymarshall for the longest time, only to then get everything after that in one go, right up to the Avenger (I actually got the Stormfist last, but that's on me for failing to research the Zrbite I had sitting around in my manufacturing base). No doubt my research order had a great role to play in that, but I'd have liked to see a little more gating for the craft.

The weapon slots afforded by OXCE feel a little awkward too. Interceptors feel pretty rigid in their configuration now, with most of their customizability lost. For instance, I had some laser cannons sitting around in my base for ages, just because I couldn't put them on my Raven. When the Lightning finally showed up I almost built one just to get some use out of those lasers! I mean, I didn't. I have some standards. But yeah.

In XCF air combat is pretty trivial most of the time. Anything past laser cannons is unnecessary, providing you can actually mount them. I'm not entirely sure why, but I think perhaps the pilot bonuses stack the odds too far in X-Com's favor. Even my Ravens were never really in danger. Also, you really have to pussyfoot around those Battleships, or you end up breaking them. I managed to crash one only once in the entire campaign. Anyway, the thing to take away from this is, harder UFOs.

The X-Com Files / Some feedback after finishing my campaign
« on: October 10, 2018, 10:21:05 pm »
I have recently finished my XCF campaign, starting on 0.9.3 and ending on 0.9.6. I played on Genius difficulty. The following is an account of my collected thoughts. Where I am critical, I will try to be as constructive as possible.

First of all though I will make it a matter of public record that I have immensely enjoyed my time with XCF. Though it is clearly not finished in places, those parts that are are very good indeed.

It's hard to point any one thing out as a high point during my playthrough, but I did generally enjoy the fight against the Syndicate. They have a range of interesting enemies to deal with and their missions are often eventful. The office building infiltration was tedious because it takes so long to go up all those stairs, but the CEO kidnap mission was super smooth because I had flying armor by then. Marched that CEO right into my Skymarshall, only to find out it transformed into a monster as I was pulling everybody back. Surprise!

Probably the low point of the campaign was the vampire castle. Yeah. It's a great map but it's very exhausting to play due to all the zombies hiding away in it. It overstays its welcome more than TFTD's cruise liner ever did.

Time for some more details.

Tone and Theme
XCF deserves its name most in the early parts of the game, of course. The area where this is most so is the dossiers, which can be considered the actual titular X-Com Files. I believe the dossiers as they stand are fine, but that's probably about it. They tie in with the lore of the cults, but they don't seem to connect much to the game otherwise (except for two). When I ask myself, "what would make XCF even better?" the answer isn't "more dossiers".

Instead, the answer is "more Staff Input". I think the various characters are excellent and deserve a lot more screen time. As it is they pop up occasionally and their voice is heard in some of the articles, but I think a lot more can be done with them. The existing Staff Input articles are a good start, they have some context and the gags are funny, but I think the various characters could also comment at important moments as the various arcs develop, for a little bit of individual perspective to go with the somewhat general Ufopedia.

In regard to the covert missions, I like the idea of them but maybe not so much the way they work out. Especially in the late game I ended up ignoring what covert missions there still were, because I simply didn't have any vehicles for the purpose anymore. Why let a Pickup sit in a hangar for months when you can put an interceptor there instead? Especially since shooting down UFOs gets you more points AND better loot than doing the covert stuff. I never did the Reptoid Assassination mission because of this, for example. In my opinion, covert missions should be a thing of the early game, when X-Com is more or less an amateurish agency working out of someone's garage. All missions in urban settings should then be covert, with only missions involving wild animals, zombies and maybe farms allowing heavier gear. Then as the Promotions come in the covert missions should gradually taper off until they are gone completely after Promotion III, which marks the full militarization of X-Com.

And now for something completely different: I miss the commendations. I can see the reasons why they are absent, but I did enjoy them very much in FMP and elsewhere so I was sad to see them gone from XCF. In an ideal world, the commendations systems would kick in and its 'pedia category added once Promotion III rolls around, at which point the "agents" would be renamed to "soldiers". Clearly that is outside the capabilities of the engine at this time, but one can dream.

In this section I will be focusing mostly on Blasters and Mass Driver weapons, because I just don't have much to say about the rest of the arsenal. The firearms used prior to those families are generally quite well realized. Not all weapons are that useful, but that's fine because they're for use by enemies as well as X-Com, and there are so many of them that there's plenty of choice regardless. There's no particular need to strike too fine a balance. Anyway, I'll get to the weapon tiers later. First I have some opinions on mechanics.

With the introduction of the scout/sniper AI we now take a 50% penalty to firing at targets we can't see. This is mostly a good thing, but it has rather dramatically undercut the utility of the grenade launchers. These weapons are all about firing at enemies you can't see. After all, if you have line of sight, you might as well just shoot a proper gun. But when there's a hill or a wall in the way - that's when you can use your arcing weapons to effect. Or you could, in the past. With the accuracy penalty the grenade launchers are just not accurate enough anymore to be worthwhile. Especially since thrown weapons do not suffer from the same limitation (at least I think). I see no easy solution to this. Exempting grenade launchers from the penalty, or straight up boosting their accuracy would likely do more harm than good. Perhaps a hefty kneel bonus? I don't know. I'm not feeling it on this.

Sniper rifles, on the other hand, thrive under the 50% penalty. Since their accuracy rises exponentially with the soldier's firing accuracy they are quite capable of exceeding 200% base accuracy, which means an almost guaranteed hit even beyond visual range. Few weapons can match that. In fact, sniper rifles are so accurate that the penalty for shooting at close range becomes mostly irrelevant. Even at 2 tiles an aimed shot will still be well over 100%. Perhaps that's an area worth tweaking.
Apropos of the sniper rifles, I think the Stormtrooper armor needs a different name. Its current name suggests it is for breaching actions and front-line duty. It very much isn't, at least not from where I stand. The Stormtrooper armor excels at one thing: sniping. The +20 bonus to accuracy is huge, greatly expanding the Firing Accuracy range at which the soldier can fire a sniper rifle accurately without LOS, and it boosts the sniper rifle's power to boot. The armor can also fly, which makes it great for hanging up near the ceiling of the map and picking off everything that isn't in cover. So yeah, definitely a rear-line piece of kit.

Melee then. I am... troubled here. Melee isn't what it used to be. I used to use it a lot in FMP and indeed I still have my ninja Synthsuit builds in XCF, but it's not as good as before. The reason? Dodge. I don't like Dodge. It's not even that I don't like the way it is handled in XCF, I just think it is a fundamentally flawed feature. It is at once ubiquitous and unnoticeable. Everything and its dog has Dodge now, and yet it doesn't come back to the player. It lowers your chance to hit with a melee weapon, but the game doesn't tell you that it does. When attacking with a melee weapon, you'll see a percentage chance to hit, a percentage that happens to be guaranteed wrong because everything has Dodge. This means you'll hit a lot less often than you would expect based on the feedback the game gives you, and that is frustrating.
What is worse is that Dodge hurts low-accuracy melee attacks worse than high-accuracy attacks, at least if I understand the mechanic correctly (and I might not, because this mechanic is obscure in all things). A Dodge value of 30% would reduce a 50% accuracy attack to a mere 20%, while a 100% accuracy attack would still hit 7 times out of 10. So it becomes easier to train melee accuracy the better you are at it. This contrasts with the general stat gain paradigm I've observed, where gains show diminishing returns as stats go closer to the cap.
And that's not all. Dodge isn't even expressed as a value in the stats page, so you can do the math in your head and work it out. No, it's a function of Reactions, which you can't see unless you spend TUs on a Mind Probe! I get it, that's so the game's difficulty setting has an effect on it, but it's yet another thing to dislike.
So, my opinion? Get rid of Dodge. It's too obscure to be part of the player's experience and it isn't constructive to the game. The only time I would use it is for enemies you want to be immune to melee altogether, such as Swarmids, which should just have a Dodge value of 200. You can't punch bees. (Ironically, Swarmids are the only enemies I've seen that lack Dodge altogether, so they are the only enemies against which melee makes sense.)
I know you won't do this, of course, which is fair, but I would at least ask that you explain Dodge in the article about melee weapons, and mention also that attacking from behind mitigates its effect.

A quick evaluation of melee weapons overall: the Plasma melee weapons are terrible, the Tritanium stuff is pretty okay, the Wakizashi was my favorite for the best balance between speed and accuracy. I never found the Photonic Blade, but presumably it's great.

Right then, let's do Lasers! *Cracks knuckles*
The Laser/Blaster Pistol: The Laser Pistol is frankly underwhelming. It's heavy, it's slow, it has pitiful aim. It does feature better damage than contemporary traditional sidearms, but not much. I took one look at the stats and wrote it off. The Blaster version I did build and use on occasion, because the increased damage begins to make up for the drawbacks and infinite ammo always helps.
The Laser/Blaster Rifle: Pretty solid on both counts. Good damage and good accuracy at fair TU costs. A staple for my X-Com until the end of the game, especially on Hybrids (for some reason).
The Blaster Carbine: This is a surprisingly good weapon. At anything other than long-range shots it outperforms the Blaster Rifle so badly the Blaster Rifle is feeling a little insecure. Pretty much my go-to weapon for overwatch, but it also served well to pour damage into high-health targets. Looking at you, zombies.
The Heavy Laser/Blaster: A mixed bag, this. The Heavy Laser is quite solid, marking a good improvement in both firepower and accuracy over the Alien Laser Cannon, which comes in much earlier. One of the better heavy weapons of its time. Interestingly, the same can't be said for the Heavy Blaster, even though it's essentially the same weapon only better. That is because the Heavy Blaster faces stiff competition from
The Blaster Sniper Rifle: Ah, Laser Sniper Rifle, my old, somewhat mediocre love. What a difference some time apart makes, eh? Damage is much better now than it was in FMP, and though it's still the least accurate of the sniper rifles it's also the fastest on the aimed, which is valuable given that the scout/sniper AI cheats plays unfairly gets a lame advantage cheats can take shots at soldiers who have attacked an alien the previous turn. What with accuracy being over 100% even at close ranges (as mentioned above) and only goes up beyond that, this weapon is useful at any range. A 120 Firing Accuracy soldier in Stormtrooper armor boosts the damage up to 85, which is the same as the Heavy Blaster, but in a much more versatile package.
The Scatter Blaster: At first glance I thought this weapon was a disappointment compared to FMP. In FMP, this weapon excelled at training Firing Accuracy - one volley at a MiB HWP and the soldier was done for the day. Now though, 5 shots down from 20, accuracy cut in half (unless kneeled), fewer shots per TU. That said... mmmh, no, it's actually fairly decent. I've used it a bunch and it got the job done. The only thing about it I don't like is its range - it uses the default 7 tile auto-shot range, which is not great for a minigun. Though it has the highest accuracy of all the miniguns, the falloff typically makes it the least accurate of all the miniguns, except at very short range, and at that point it is handily outperformed by the Blaster Carbine anyway. So yeah, it could use a bit more range. Oh, and it should block both hands. I mean, it weighs 51. I don't care how ripped you are, you're not aiming that with one arm.
The Blaster Shotgun: Virtually unchanged from FMP, this is still the worst of the shotguns. It's neither fast nor accurate. It's the strongest per projectile, but shotguns aren't about having strong projectiles. They're about having a high damage multiplier against soft targets, and about sweeping freshly breached rooms. The Blaster Shotgun does neither of these things well.

Altogether I think Lasers vs Blasters are in a good place. Blasters require sufficiently more research and investment that the base Lasers are in use for a respectable time, at least this was so in my campaign.

Next up are Mass Driver and Gauss weapons. I think these weapons are somewhat better balanced than they were in FMP, though there is room for improvement. My criticism at FMP was that the Gauss weapons appeared pretty much simultaneously with the Mass Drivers, and eclipsed them completely. The first statement remains true. In fact, Gauss weapons appear first now. The second statement, however, no longer applies, I feel. Yes, Gauss weapons still do ridonculous amounts of damage and have the same stats as their MD counterparts or better, but unlike in FMP, they now weigh a ton! This matters a lot. Moreover, these weapons are now being used against X-Com, which further serves to de-cheese the Gauss family. I approve.
For my part, I was happy to stick to the MD weapons, but I do still feel they're a little lackluster. Not because they don't have auto-shot modes (I favor snap and aimed anyway), but because they're only marginally stronger than lasers, while being significantly slower. I have a proposed fix though. Remember how the MD weapon descriptions keep banging on about how good the weapons are at punching through armor? Well, why not make it true? A baseline level of reduced armor effectiveness for the whole MD family would do wonders, I think.
A few more general thoughts here: the Heavy MD is slower than the MD Rifle on the aimed, I'd suggest switching these two around. The Heavy and Sniper MDs probably need a substantially smaller clip, considering how the Rifle boasts about having a big clip. I mean, 27 isn't bad. But I've seen bigger. Not that I stare at rifles' clips all the time, mind you.

That's it for weapons, I think. Shoutouts go to the BlOps Smart Rifle for being the best rookie rifle and the BlOps Smartpistol for being the best sidearm.

(Continued below)

The X-Com Files / Re: Bugs, crashes, typos & bad taste
« on: October 05, 2018, 02:58:06 pm »
This is a royal pain, are you sure it is necessary?

Nope. It was just an idea because I was surprised to find the Pretender articles in my 'pedia despite never having seen one. It's a papercut at worst and a non-issue by any means.

Nice. I'm on 1440p and the vanilla scaling options mean I have to put up with either not being able to see anything, or massive slowdowns. 1/4 display sounds like it'd be the sweet spot.

The X-Com Files / Re: Bugs, crashes, typos & bad taste
« on: October 04, 2018, 04:13:00 pm »
More stuff. Not that much, because my campaign is at a bit of a standstill with no new research coming in.
All of the below applies to the 09-27 WIP version.

- The following string appears to be missing: STR_POWER_ARMOR
- STR_MESSAGE_FROM_MAGMA_TERRAMITE_UFOPEDIA: "type of material" would be better as just "material". "new better" could use a comma.
- STR_LARGE_ALIEN_DRONE_UFOPEDIA: Suggest rephrasing "Its only weakness is against melee weapons" as "Its only weakness is a vulnerability to melee weapons".
- STR_COELACANTH_ARMOR_UFOPEDIA: "against bullets" should be "to bullets".
- STR_ANCIENT_ZOMBIES_UFOPEDIA: "with non-Zombies" should be "against non-Zombies". "appeared on the surface" would be better as "has appeared on the surface".
- STR_MESSAGE_FROM_MAGMA_POWER_ARMOR_UFOPEDIA: "piece of machine" should be "piece of machinery".
- STR_POWER_ARMOR_UFOPEDIA: "by licensed M.A.G.M.A. service" would be better as "by licensed M.A.G.M.A. technicians". "maintainance" should be "maintenance" at minimum, but I suggest "maintenance fee".
- STR_COUNCIL_POWER_CHAIN_UFOPEDIA: This article is much too long for the screen. I've attempted to rewrite it. I had to prune it considerably, but at least it fits: "The organizations serving the Council can be divided into two basic categories:{NEWLINE}The 'technical' category includes global institutions such the World Bank. These organizations are expected to ensure that global order is maintained. Their affairs are generally not discussed during Council sessions and they are only monitored for results. Each of them is supervised by a Council High Commissar and audited by other High Commissars.{NEWLINE}Then there is the 'political' category. These organizations, while often much smaller than some 'technicals', determine the political balance of power. Such organizations work to harm big factions that are oppositely aligned while benefiting their allies. As such, they are viciously contested and fought over.{NEWLINE}We are in the second category. We have many enemies, even on the Council itself, but we also enjoy a lot of leeway for mistakes."
- STR_GIANT_SPIDER_ALLOY_UFOPEDIA: "the master of unexpected attack" would be better as "a master of the unexpected attack".
- STR_CEREBREAL_AUTOPSY_UFOPEDIA: "typical alien race" would be better as just "typical alien". "different to" should be "different than those of".
- STR_BLASTER_MULTI_LAUNCHER_UFOPEDIA: "of alien invaders" would be better as "of the alien invaders".
- STR_SONIC_PISTOL_UFOPEDIA: "accuracy drops quickly over a distance of 14" would be better as "accuracy drops quickly at distances greater than 14", because the former would mean that accuracy becomes 0 at distance 14.
- STR_SONIC_PULSER_UFOPEDIA: "using magnetic microdrive" should be "using a magnetic microdrive".
- STR_PSYCHEMICALS_UFOPEDIA: Suggest rephrasing "Its role is supposedly making" as "Its purpose is supposedly to make".
- STR_SONIC_BLASTA_RIFLE_UFOPEDIA: "super conductor amplifier" would be better as "superconductive amplifier". "is relatively low effective range" should be "is a relatively low effective range".

- The Aqua-Plastic Suit 'pedia entry is available prior to being researched.
- Underwater missions only list Diving Suits and Coelacanths as valid armor, but other armors are allowed as well, such as the Power Armor and the Synthsuit.
- The Flame Spider article claims it often explodes upon death, but I've never seen this happen.
- The Plasma Sniper Rifle Clip does not have the standard plasma features like setting things on fire or getting 2 damage rolls. Oversight or intentional?
- The Fusion Torch should maybe block both hands, because cutting a hole in a wall is no problem even wielding it with just one hand.
- The Shogg Blade claims it's "too heavy for use by normal humans", but it only weighs 14, which is pretty doable. It also claims it is effective against armor, but it has no bonuses against armor at all.
- Perhaps the Blaster Multi-Bombs should be producible, because they don't seem much different than the regular Blaster Bombs.
- The Ancient Mummy Matriarch is never recovered even if it survives the Ancient Mummy Abode mission.
- Given that the Jarhead interrogation unlocks both the Jarhead Combat Analysis and the Jarhead Pretender Analysis, consider arranging the Jarhead missions so you always get a mission with Pretenders first.
- I don't think the non-Pretender Jarheads should bleed.
- It is possible to pass through any of the the Stormfist's diagonal walls.
- The built-in weapon of the MAGMA Chainsawbot is misaligned.

The X-Com Files / Re: Bugs, crashes, typos & bad taste
« on: September 29, 2018, 11:51:28 pm »
That looks just fine, yeah.

The X-Com Files / Re: Bugs, crashes, typos & bad taste
« on: September 27, 2018, 07:36:18 pm »
It's hard to decide what is important and what isn't. Theoretically, everything is under INFO... But maybe I can add something to the Plasma Weapons Calibration article, if space allows. What would you like to see there?

Essentially the things I mentioned, without breaking immersion and explaining the OXCE engine directly. So, maybe mention that plasma projectiles "melt armor with their intense heat", that they "can cause anything they hit to burst into flame" and that they "inflict great damage more often than not". There's no need to go into details or be otherwise verbose about it, because players can be expected to look at the info screen, like you said.

You mean the item? Or research?

The item.

The X-Com Files / Re: Bugs, crashes, typos & bad taste
« on: September 27, 2018, 03:57:03 pm »
Is this another list of feedback in my pocket, or am I just glad to see you?

- STR_CYBERWEB_HQ_UFOPEDIA: "Cyberweb's HQ" should be "the Cyberweb's HQ" for consistency. Similarly, "the X Dimension" should be "Dimension X". "wrecking chaos" should be "wreaking chaos". Suggest rephrasing "We must assault this battleship on the ground, as it requires a lot of maintenance" as "As it can simply escape into Dimension X when engaged by our craft, we must assault this battleship when it is grounded for maintenance" (an attempt to explain why it comes back after being destroyed). "Earth skies" would be better as "Earth's skies".
- STR_CYBERDREDNAUGHT_ASSAULT_DESCRIPTION: Suggest rephrasing "If we succeed, this will end Cyberweb plans for world domination and revert them to the role of petty criminals" as "If we succeed, this will end the Cyberweb's plans for world domination, and their members will revert to their former lives of petty crime".
- STR_CYBERDREDNAUGHT_ASSAULT_BRIEFING: "against Cyberweb" should be "against the Cyberweb". "from Cyberweb's" should be "from the Cyberweb's".
- STR_POWER_SUIT_UFOPEDIA: The last comma would work better as a full stop.
- STR_MASS_DRIVER_CANNON_UFOPEDIA: The main body of this description wraps to 4 lines, so "{NEWLINE}TYPE: CANNON" doesn't make it on the screen.
- STR_SUPERLASKA_UFOPEDIA: "Hybrid's harsh selection program" should be "Hybrids' harsh selection program". Suggest rephrasing "after just a few years they are ready for deployment" as "those that do are ready for deployment after just a few years".
- STR_BREAKDOWN_STR_ALIEN_GRENADE: "Alien Grenade" should be "Plasma Grenade".
- STR_GAZER_UFOPEDIA: "armor piercing" should be "kinetic".
- STR_SPITTER_UFOPEDIA: "all matter of damage" should be "all manner of damage".
- STR_HYBRID_OPERATIONS_UFOPEDIA: "aimed at subversion of" would be better as "aimed at the subversion of".
- STR_UAC_STAPLER_UFOPEDIA: "the outer space" should be "outer space".
- STR_MASS_DRIVER_SNIPER_RIFLE_UFOPEDIA: Suggest rephrasing "therefore diminishing the need of autofire" as "which renders the weapon's lack of an autofire mode negligible."
- STR_MUMMY_ABODE_DESCRIPTION: "key to resolve" should be "key to resolving".
- STR_PLASMA_WEAPONS_UFOPEDIA: This article feels a lot like a stub, because it only mentions that plasma weapons are "based on accelerating particles from within a minute anti-gravity field", something that's mentioned in just about every plasma weapon description anyway. Also, since this article isn't required to research or use the plasma weapons but rather unlocks production of same, it should probably talk about that instead. Here's my idea of what the text should look like: "Now that we have a solid scientific foundation of the physics involved in the aliens' plasma weaponry, we are able to replicate their designs. In theory we could develop our own plasma-based weapons from scratch, but this would be a costly, time intensive and potentially dangerous affair. Reports from the field suggest that the aliens have already settled on a well rounded arsenal, so it is much more practical for us to reverse engineer their existing weaponry.{NEWLINE}We will be able to reproduce any plasma weapon recovered from the field as soon as we have studied it."
- STR_FUSION_WEAPONS_UFOPEDIA: Similar to the above: "Humanity's command over nuclear fusion has historically been crude to say the least, but with the knowledge we've gleaned from the aliens we are now capable of using fusion power at much smaller scales and with a much greater degree of control.{NEWLINE}We are now capable of producing any fusion powered weapon in our workshop, so long as we have a workable design for it."
- STR_CHRYSSALID_VILLAGE_DESCRIPTION: Suggest changing "hopelessly" to "frantically", because come on, I haven't even started the mission yet. Give me a chance here.
- STR_CHRYSSALID_WEAPON_UFOPEDIA: "Chryssalid" would be better as "The Chryssalid".
- STR_SECTOPOD_UFOPEDIA: Suggest a rewrite of "Sectopods are robot creatures with a powerful laser beam weapon. The control of these mechanical beasts is via a telepathic link to their controllers, usually the Ethereals" as "Sectopods are robotic creatures armed with a powerful laser beam. These mechanical beasts are typically controlled via a telepathic link, usually by the Ethereals".
- STR_SALAMANDRON_AUTOPSY_UFOPEDIA: Suggest rephrasing "This creature is very sturdy, covered with thick scales and" as "This creature is very sturdy. It is covered with thick scales that are".
- STR_VAMPIRE_QUEEN_AUTOPSY_UFOPEDIA: "except the lower muscle mass and slightly better developed brain" would be better as "except for a lower muscle mass and a slightly better developed brain".
- STR_DISRUPTOR_HEAVY_UFOPEDIA: It kind of feels this description starts twice, so suggest changing "This heavy warp weapon is mostly an overgrown biocomponent. This exotic life form emits" to "This heavy warp weapon is mostly an overgrown exotic life form capable of emitting".
- STR_MUMMY_UFOPEDIA: "the ultimate form of Zombie" sounds like a martial arts stance or something. Suggest "the ultimate Zombie evolution".
- STR_HOVERTANK_PLASMA_UFOPEDIA: "lease of life" should be "lease on life". Suggest rephrasing "The added maneuverability of air travel and the power of plasma beams is a lethal combination" as "The combination of aerial maneuverability and the power of a plasma beam is nothing short of lethal."
- STR_PSI_PREDATORS_OF_YITH_UFOPEDIA: "some sort of creature that capture" should be "some sort of creatures that capture".

- STR_COUNCIL_APPEARS_UFOPEDIA is hard to read due to its color scheme.
- The power suit claims to amplify the wearer's speed, but it does the opposite as it takes away 15 TUs. Also the claim that it enhances the user's strength is a little misleading, because it does nothing for throwing distance or strength-based weapons. It may be safer to say that it allows the wearer to carry more stuff.
- A similar line might be appropriate for the Juggernaut suit.
- Plasma firearms share a number of notable characteristics, such as armor stripping, setting targets on fire and having multiple dice rolls for damage. I think it's worthwhile pointing this out to the player as the plasma tech comes in, preferably via an article in Field Manual.
- The Tank/Plasma 'Pedia entry and its weapon are unlocked from the Plasma Cannon topic. Not the HWP itself though.
- The HWP Plasma Cannon (Hover) appears as its own research that is unlocked from the Plasma Cannon, Tank/Cannon and UFO Construction topics. Until it is researched the HOVER/PLASMA entry does not appear even if Hovertank/Plasma is researched.
- STR_STAFF_027_UFOPEDIA needs to be added to the Ufopedia.
- The Swarmids' article still claims smoke is effective against them, but in fact they are immune to choke damage.
- The Dimension X Outpost Defense mission yields Alien Surgery, which seems odd.
- The Mass Driver Rifle, Mass Driver Sniper Rifle and Heavy Mass Driver research topics have needItem set to true, which makes them effectively unresearchable as far as I can tell. The Mass Driver Pistol is fine.
- The general Cyberweb Battery can be brought on missions, but there is no point in doing so.
- The Mass Driver Defenses are inferior to the Laser Defenses, which is strange because the latter comes in much earlier and the handheld MD weaponry tends to outperform laser weaponry.
- Consider sorting the Plasma Caster after the Plasma Pistol, as the former refers to the latter.
- They Cleric of Apocalypse is visually a little wonky. It disappears while it is walking (in some directions) and turns red when downed.
- The Pinky Devil sprite has a pink rectangle where there shouldn't be one when facing north.

The X-Com Files / Re: Bugs, crashes, typos & bad taste
« on: September 23, 2018, 01:06:39 pm »
As player, one's meta-role doesn't really have an in-game avatar.

While I'm in agreement with you, vanilla X-Com breaks this relationship with the player right at the end of the game in the final cutscene, where it goes "you pull the trigger and blow the alien brain to pieces" or some such testosterone-fueled sentence. I always thought that was a bit of a gaff.

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