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Messages - justaround

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The X-Com Files / Re: 1.8 Feedback
« on: April 30, 2021, 01:51:09 pm »
Here we go again. As always, please keep in mind that while it may seem mostly like finding issues, I still enjoy the game quite much, simply concentrating on pointing out things that are really janky, going out ot their way to grab my attention or disrupt things - and usually it's just negative things that do so. As before, what seemed to be outright bugs rather than design or balancing issue was posted in a relevant thread.

First, let me address previous answer

1. Civilian support is fun, but must be done carefully. Apprehensions aren't suitable, because if the police is already on their tracks, why would X-Com even be involved? Also any feature promoting camping is best avoided.
Then it shouldn't be a problem. X-Com would be involved because local authorities are one thing, but if X-Com wants to apprehend and fly out enemies for enhanced interrogation and disposal, pulling them out of police custody is not a great thing. As for camping, again it shouldn't be an issue with proper balancing of number of police vs enemies. Two policemen, for example, are unlikely to turn the losing battle, but they may kill some enemies denying the captures or be killed, lowering points. At least they could help one look for enemies in those pesky multi-store-buildings maps. But sure, I understand your concern.

I'm not too concerned about Sectoids' CQC abilities. I ewant to make aliens more alien, almost Lovecraftian, so a Sectoid shouldn't be seen in the same terms as a skinny gopnik on speed.
If we talk ufopedia entries and what one can learn about sectoids, their mentality etc, stereotypical skinny gopniks on speed are already much more alien and Lovercraftian.  ;D
Anyway, I understand the intent. But if the enemy is portrayed and described in a certain way, ignoring those to raise their stats appears to me as very artificial ramping of difficulty for difficulty sake and not adding to the impression of fighting some eldritch opponents at all, at least to me.

3. There should be less anti-alien opertation in the future, or at least they'll be more structured. We'll talk later about balance. Also, aliens only see for 20 tiles at night, so let's not get dramatic.
5. Your dudes have sight range of 40 at day. AFAIR nothing in the game has more.
Then there's some bug, because it's not that hard to find oneself in a situation where enemies, not only alien but human as well shoot from beyond the range of what X-Com operatives see, no matter during the day or night. Again, I am talking (flat) terrain still not uncovered (black), many tiles away, on the other end of the midsize map as if AI would use a spotter mechanic X-Com can use (shoot at a target the sniper himself doesn't see, with a penalty) but sometimes without actual spotters being visible either.

4. You want shiny armours? So you could be sniped by 40 enemies from the entire map? Would make sense if you could turn them on and off... (You can, but for all units at once, and you start with light on.)
As long as those can be turned on and off without penalty and whether the troopers are seen or see the enemy depends on whether they have light on at that very moment - it could work fine. Still not ideal and a bit rough, but hey, at least you don't have to carry a start-game flashlight into the endgame!

6. No, I'm not allowing rifles on QD, lol. :P
You're right, that is a problem. Is it possible to make QD slot allow only items with certain tags? That'd solve it. If it's not possible, I guess making at least some of those weapons have smaller graphics - wakizashi, stun rods etc - would make sense.

7. Yes, mass driver/Gauss weapons are heavy. Otherwise, not really. But having to buff your troops to let them use these guns is part of the plan.
Problem with that weight requirement is that rookies are often unable to fight at all as they're unable to wield equipment that would let them do things in mission and get better. It's the problem some other people had with when there's no strange creatures missions anymore - at some point there's no way to effectively bring rookies up to speed in general, while veterans still keep being killed later in the game with no even half as effective replacements despite full gym course done.

8. Metamorphs have almost no armour, so eeeeh?
Must have been very weird rolls or visual glitch as they still withstood shots from M83 Barret and either .308 cal Sniper Rifle or BlackOps Sniper Rifle (don't remember which anymore) without flashing red as it happens when the bullet hits and penetrates unit's armor. Small-caliber pistols (Glocks 18 or BlackOps ones my snipers tended to use as default sidearms at the time) were completely useless.

9. Sanity is a controversial issue. I'lll keep testing, but for now it stays.
Understandable. I, myself really want to like the feature, it sounds nice on paper, it's just I worry it won't work well in the game in the current form, not without being situational and dependant on many changing factors during the mission. And I bring another example of woes I had with it:

Finishing up Black Lotus. Seems like some single ninja survived and his morale is rock solid, despite his glowy idol and all his compatriots strewn all around the place dead. Was looking for him for about 10 - 20 turns on top of about 30 - 40 of the battle itself. Since it's not a tiny map and there's trees, rocks, nooks and crannies everywhere it's practically impossible to find him, especially with panicking troopers. I've set some explosives around hoping he'll off himself but apparently he's never nearby to trigger them. Possibly he's just stuck somewhere and/or goes back and forth as less aggressive enemies sometimes tend to do. Seems like unfinishable mission despite every other enemy dead now unless debugging is done. Now that my troopers are all around the map and I cannot even bring them back to evac zone due to aforementioned insanity panic, it's the alien base raid all over again. I'll spare you crappy self-therapy fanart for it this time.

It seems that the problem is most noticeable whenever it's not a quick mission or one where the enemies gun for one's troopers soon. I probably would leave weakened ambient sanity effect only on the most bizarre, paranormal missions (rituals, hauntings, underground tombs or whatever missions only if they don't require too much navigation of tiny nooks before finding enemies) and make the rest of it additional, long-term damage from morale-decreasing situations or being hit by psionic attacks (to be honest, the stronger of those attacks probably could be buffed vs sanity, rather than morale and lead to a nice trade-off of long-term recuperation vs "mind control is the best ever, in every situation"). A change like that could cancel most of its danger out, but it will also solve the severe problem where both troopers (and the player in front of the screen) go crazy because they have to play hide & seek with some enemy or because the battle itself is just long, even if seemingly few steps from being victorious.

And secondly, great work on the events! Let me list them here with some remarks.
Glad you like them! Of course, if you feel some other faction than the one presented would befit an event more, feel free to make any necessary adjustments, I have no problem with that whatsoever. Also, do tell what's the issue with the events that you didn't mention, I don't mind adjusting them. I also repeat my offer of making events for various parts of the game that you'd want to prioritize, just tell me what would you like to see, about what and/or where.

As for future events, I really liked UAC letter thing that is more than one screen of text. To be honest, as with randomized loot I wasn't aware was possible, I'd like to know what's the limitations of event system so I could make more events and more advanced ones. Also, what are the character/paragraph/line length limits for various messages? I offer to preformat them for the future.

We already have similar ones, so why not. But I'd rather randomize the loot to make it less repetitive. Any ideas for extending the list?
I tried to make it limited to stuff one could expect during some gorey ritual, so probably remains one can sometimes find in the caves could also work. A few suggestions:
Those-remains/piles-of-meat-I-cannot-remember-the-item-name-of. Mysterious skull. Regular skull. Ancient Tablet. Strange Aluminum Tablet. Rusty blade (the one ghouls wield). Dulled Prometheum Crystal.
Outside of cave stuff:
Ectoplasm (especially useful since it's hard to stumble upon it outside of two non-repeatable missions for now), rosary.

The main problem is just the lack of occult items, be they just lore stuff, scientific research items (would help with the fact that one can go usually straight from parapsychology to metapsychology despite how supposedly researchers have plenty of things to investigate in that new field and that there's almost no lore or investigation on dreaming or Children of Aether) or weaker-tier psi-weapons (some charms, ritual dagger with some bonus damage from Psi strength and skill). I had some hard time finding the gift for "package from unknown occultists" event I've made earlier because it's either useless stuff they wouldn't care to send X-Com or either powerful or at least expensive psi weapons with nothing in-between.

I think it's more of an event than a dossier. Okay.
Yes, it is. What I mean is whether it wouldn't be better for there to be a dossier entry on the celebrity that'd allow the event once researched, for example.

Sure, very vanilla. (The players will curse us for all these negative events!)
Hm, you say? I'll try to add a few more positive ones for the future.

Cool, but it should be enabled also by beetles. (Which means I'll have to add a separate research... :-\ )
True. As mentioned I don't know what are the limitations of the events (what triggers them, what they can activate in turn) so I work kinda blind, using the events I've already seen as the basis. Apologies.

(renamed to "Prelude to Invasion"), Holy Protection, New Age. Other events are to be decided, as per my remarks above.
Sure. Though if the event is to be prelude, it probably should be triggered a bit before invasion itself, just when first scout UFOs are being seen (which is usually, IIRC, third quarter of 1998?)

I wait for the remarks for some of the other events I've made and you didn't seem to comment on yet so I can adjust them as well the stuff you've mentioned. A few new ones I'll probably include with the next feedback.

Thanks, man!
Hey, thanks to you. I just do a bit to flesh out what I can.

Now, onto weird stuff I found so far:

- Knockout grenades give "correctional officer", likely due to their stunning nature but almost never "grenadier". In general grenadier progresses very slow because compared to number of times an agent shoots a gun per mission, grenades aren't used as often even if from player's perspective every mission finds some use of them.

- Currently one either has to force agents to use thrown weapons like throwing knives or shurikens or they'll have a very hard time improving throwing accuracy with stuff like grenades as well.

- You can get laser weapons technology lead by researching alien laser rifle, but you cannot do the same with human laser tech (used by MiB), laser pistols, hydra laser and similar if you find them first - they don't lead to the laser tech at all and/or cannot be researched till later in the tech tree than alien laser rifle tends to be.

- Lost CQC struggle with a spider. While using pretty strong character. Spiders and other smaller creatures shouldn't even attempt such thing, not knowing what a gun is. I can understand them generally flailing at whatever is pointed at them and can also imagine CQC involving them jumping at an agent, but they still should have considerable disadvantage.

- Exalt HQ raid is a battle mostly inside a modern, furnished building. It should get many more artificial lights, if only for the sake of defenders protecting it at night.

- One can fly fighter jets (Arrow), make and fly Shyhawk and Skyrider before researching advanced flight training. An early game anti-UFO ship that's dependant on regular flight training would be good, possibly with Arrow pushed a bit further back and slightly upgraded into an actual tech (maybe even making it a choice - one either can unpack mothballed Arrow to get a single fully functional aircraft or research it to design something that will cost time and money themselves). At the same time Helix transformation tech depending on some advanced aircraft flying skill seems kinda weird.

- Many "normal" (as in not energy-blade ones, but tritanium and below, including regular combat ones) knives still unavailable for covert labor missions.

- Muton corpses allow one to extract synthmuscles but mutons captured alive who then turn useless (no new research topics to investigate) can only be sold. An analogy to bioextraction option for zombies, that allows processing of both corpses and alive subjects would be welcome.

- Gillman attack is very strong, while accurately employed as a mortar attack outside of whatever gillman sees. Stuff like cyber armor seems to not really protect against it despite resistances, allowing it to instakill troopers that can tank high-caliber sniper rounds and rarely even energy weapon like laser or plasma (one-shot kills against experienced, 60+ health agents in cyber armor are hardly rare). The ufopedia entry is suspicious in that it's supposed to be 90% accuracy aimed attack but there seems to be no accuracy penalty with distance, allowing gillman that accuracy even when shooting from 20 - 25 tiles away at a trooper hiding in a narrow alley between two buildings. The enemy's pretty alright but if their attack is more powerful than what majority of their compatriots can throw at the player - be they Dagon cultists or Deep Ones - shouldn't they attack in boundaries of what they see or be moved to more strategically important missions like outpost defense (especially since their ufopedia entry claims they're mostly employed for guard duty but I see them in every deep ones raid)?

- Also, I assume it's a matter of redesign and assets, but ufopedia portrays Gillmen as using guns.

Once again, thanks for your time.

The X-Com Files / Re: The X-Com Files - 1.8: The Shores of Hell
« on: April 30, 2021, 12:45:54 pm »
Sounds like a fun module, but quite complex on both the base code and the content... :)
I was wondering about this one and whether it could be implemented simply. Would it be possible to make the rebel support managed through some council contacts fluff-wise, but mechanically simply return support of a country, with reset funding size to make it start really small (rebels not being able to spare much as they retake the country, but doing better the longer it's not under alien control anymore)?

Suggestions / A few issues
« on: April 30, 2021, 12:38:28 pm »
A few issues noticed when playing X-Com Files mod but was told are vanilla OpenXCom things. Since I was suggested to report it here, here I am:

- Sometimes when I try to throw a grenade or shoot something in particular location, I get information that the location is inaccessible. Very commonly happening with throwing grenades through windows. However, if one keeps clicking, sometimes the game actually will still allow to throw that grenade/shoot and then there's even some chance it will actually get where one hopes it would. Enemies can still shoot and hit troopers at angles player is unable to return fire from despite neither the enemy nor the trooper moving at all.

- An alien ran out of ammo and then its AI just went crazy - it ran to my vehicle, to the pile of items in it and kept going back and forth, as if it was trying to equip human weapons there, be denied, go away and then try again.

- A typo in Alien Reproduction entry: "short space of time". I assume it was meant to be "span of time".

The X-Com Files / Re: Bugs, crashes, typos & bad taste
« on: April 30, 2021, 12:33:41 pm »
More bugs from the latest test. Will write another feedback thread post soon (fair warning). First though:

Normal nad as designed. It's one of normal outcomes (a flavour of "no results").
Could an alternative item be used for such? For example, there are many gibblets/corpse-like trash items that can be found in caves, substituting generic corpse for one of them and adding a short description "Rotting remains of some hapless creature. Whatever it once was, now it has absolutely no monetary or scientific value." and a price of -1 dollars (trashbags are expensive) would probably make it look far more fleshed out and less confusing - after all it's rasonable that the Salvagers would send something that didn't survive the journey or was simply not identified well rather than mysterious corpse of a creature one cannot identify yet is also unable to investigate.

Possible, drones can get unconscious if you really try hard to make them to.
That it's possible it's obvious, it's how it was done seems to be a bug. I can understand electricity but a robot should probably have much more decent resistance to bio/organic attack (unless it's corrosive but that one is usually handled by "chemical" attack type so it's not an issue anyway), at the very least the stun aspect of it. It does seemingly have 0% vulnerability, so theoretically resistance already - but if something goes through, then that something still doesn't work well. OpenXCom issue?

Should I remove this category and treat Stun Rods as melee weapons, Dart Rifles as rifles, etc.? Perhaps I should, especially since I plan to give these weapons some lethal options.
Hm, maybe, though merely allowing default item list to segregate items on the basis of how they're employed/their type, rather than their effect would fix this issue easily as well as prevent any issues if you'll implement above-mentioned plan. If someone wants to then look for stun weapons in particular, they could choose that from the drop-down menu.

If this is confirmed to not work, and the script author doesn't fix it, then I'll do something about it.
I can confirm their issue. While I never really suffered killing an alien from an overstun due to use of handcuffs, it's certain that handcuffing an alien does mess with some stats of theirs as often stunned (Zzzz) enemy icon turns into the one of a heart when handcuffed for a couple of turns.

Now, new bugs:

Whenever I interrogated someone from cyberweb I was informed of getting Cyberweb space technomad processing workshop option despite never dealing with anything cyberweb that wasn't the mission in the sewers, with one regular technomad, some roboturrets and drones.

Lack of sprite for the chubby beach resort civilian holding a spear. He's standing there with spear levitating in front of him. Screen001 during the mission Deep Ones Attack, one of the civilians picked up the weapon.

Sprite of a trooper facing wrong direction for a cybersuit wearing trooper armed as the Screen003 shows (including direction that was clicked for the trooper to turn to). Must be my luck - I almost never use bigger melee weapons for reasons mentioned so when I finally made someone pick one up, there had to be an issue :P

Inventory sprite of a trooper with wide torso can sometimes poke outside the armor layer. Xcomfilesbug.png shows an example.

Call of T'Leth mission is available before Deep Ones Outposts are researched though it seems to depend on the knowledge of outposts.

"Lots of swarmid corpses" cannot be autopsied like regular "swarmid corpses". Similarly with stunned "lots" that cannot be researched like smaller swarmid swarms for some reason. Both should probably lead to the same research since in either case it's a study of single bugs in the swarm.

Roboturrets and robospheres (intact, not wrecked) seem to have no weight.

Since apparently it was meant to be a thing but isn't, I can confirm what someone else reported - MiB tanks aren't recovered after the mission. Neither wrecks nor stunned ones.

The X-Com Files / Re: 1.8 Feedback
« on: April 20, 2021, 04:39:54 pm »
Feel free to drop any ideas! I like events, and they're easy to add.

A few considerations:

I've tried to make sure that they're not more profitable or damaging than ones already in game. Some offer interesting rewards but also penalties, others may be positive but have negative counterparts, some offer rewards that may seem of some value, but aren't really that useful at the point of the game where they appear.

The idea is to to even out number of positive and negative events without affecting the balance as the latter seem much more common somehow.

Most of them probably shouldn't kick in more than once and I checked them with character counter to make sure they're not too big for the game's window, albeit they still require formatting.

I want to fill out the early game first since there's a lot of content still barely scratched (various subcultures, for example, often seem to jump at a player out of nowhere all at once) and then go further from there - should these be acceptable, let me know, I'll make more and with time move to other parts of the game (already have some ideas for invasion, hybrid and cyberweb events).

Some very cursory proofreading was done but since it was, well, cursory, some little grammar or whatever mistakes may still lurk. If so, then I apologize.

Spoiler Rise of the Old Guard:
Normally they would be quite valuable but at this point of the game most players have whole squads of scientists and engineers and may not even need more for quite a few months. Still, a nice gesture from the old, yet spry veterans.

Prerequisites: X-Com History: Kiryu-Kai, X-Com History: Xenonauts, X-Com History: UNIT

"During our investigations of XCOM predecessors, we've learned about and contacted (with the Council's permission) many of their former employees. While most couldn't due to age, state of health or other obligations, a few brilliant minds left their retirement and decided to volunteer for service should we need them (+2 scientists, +3 engineers)"

I've mentioned there being little impact in the world for how ground-breaking and seemingly commonspread psionics or effective occult arts are. Thought I'd try to help it a bit, also trying to refer to some tropes you've mentioned enjoying and ufopedia entries, taking it all into account so it all works well together:

Spoiler Holy protection:
Prerequisites: Parapsychology

"While understanding the necessity of this knowledge and its potential benefits to our cause, certain Council members expressed worries about our forays into what they consider "occultism". They won't interfere but we were informed to exercise extra caution. One provided us with a personal item supposed to help us. (+1 rosary)"

Spoiler Watching you:
Tried to make this event in a way that it'd hint that psionics indeed is known to others, not merely Council and there are groups out there which may see and practice it differently, possibly developing it in ways so far only mentioned in some dossiers/ufopedia entries of individuals able to invoke powers XCOM cannot. Could be also related to various very powerful, old factions from Ancient Aliens entry. Chosen Flame Glove as the gift as it's one of the first combat-effective psi artifacts a player can get.

Prerequisites: Metapsychology, Using Flame Glove

"A package was left at the edge of our perimeter. After security checks, we opened it to find a small bundle and a letter. Apparently occult practitioners unknown to us keep track of our study of psionics. While they consider our understanding of its mechanisms and our dependency on psi-devices laughable, they provided us with one such device to help. However, the Council is very upset that a third party managed to gain some intel on us. (-160 Council standing, +1 Flame Glove)"

Also, because salvage corps get no love despite all this thankless job of reliably transporting all those alien guts strewn around battlefield

Spoiler Homegrown wizardry:
Prerequisites: Psiclone

"An unit of council's salvage corps was sent to investigate a site of supernatural sightings. While they found no opposition, they did uncover a small workshop of an occultist of sorts. The Council denied us most of its content, claiming we don't need the books many of which are available publicly in less valuable editions, but we did acquire some other items found at the site. (+1 knife, +1 psiclone, +1 bone)"

Spoiler New Age:
Prerequisites: Parapsychology

"With the raise of supernatural sightings and reports of paranormal events all over the world, global interest in strange and mystical seems to increase together with number of uncovered, questionable occult practices. The Council reluctantly made an additional contribution to our funds expecting us to be ready to combat future new enemies both mundane and otherworldly. (+$100,000)"

Some early game events, so the organisations and subcultures seem to have slightly larger presence in the world

Spoiler Stormy Smash!:
Prerequisites: Subculture: Stormies

"The Council is alerted by the recent rise in acts of violence seemingly involving bio-enhanced perpetrators. It was linked to the circulation of the Storm serum and we are the ones somehow blamed for not stopping it yet. (-20 Council standing)"

Spoiler Winners don't use drugs:
I wonder if this one wouldn't be better with some dossier.

Prerequisites: Subculture: Stormies

"A prominous MMA fighting star was recently arrested for using performance enhancing drugs. Council's investigators who already kept tabs on the celebrity due to his sudden raise in popularity found certain quantities of Storm among various substances confiscated by the police. It was sent to us to do with as we see fit. (+1 Storm)"

Spoiler A carrot and a stick:
Prerequisites: Subculture: Pinky Devils

"During investigation of one of the new subcultures, our researchers found information about a club where various prominent figures were sighted enjoying company of Pinky Devils hostesses. Soon after, a group of rather nervous Council members approached our representative to offer a donation, but they also forbid us from looking further into events at this establishment. (-15 Council standing, +$120,000)

Spoiler Tempted:
Prerequisites: Subculture: Pinky Devils

"One of our civilian employees was found relaying clssified information to his lover who was found to belong to Pinky Devils subculture. While the employee in question was of low rank and didn't know nor could share anything really important before he was taken into custody, the report on the event made us look bad in front of the Council. (-80 Council standing)"

Spoiler Black Lotus Assassin:
Prerequisites: Black Lotus

"A minor politician allied with the Council was assassinated recently by, according to evidence, a Black Lotus agent. The Council expects us to prevent similar events. We were given the recovered murder weapon as a reminder of the threat Black Lotus poses. (-50 Council standing, +1 wakizashi)"

Spoiler Altar of Dagon:
Prerequisites: Cult of Dagon

"Following a string of reports of paranormal activity in the area of a small, secluded village, the Council's agents found the place deserted, with various markings pertraining to the Cult of Dagon smeared on the buildings and a crude stone altar in the center of the local market. We are urged to double our efforts against the cult. (-50 Council standing)"

Spoiler Crowd-sourced:
Prerequisites: Red Dawn

"The Council's intelligence recently found and shut down a group of freshly created websites and social media accounts belonging to Red Dawn which used them to recruit naive, ideologically aligned youth and acquire financial aid. We were allowed to seize the funds raised so far but also warned to destroy Red Dawn as it no doubt has other, more inconspicuous ways of increasing influence. (-15 Council standing, +$5356)"

Spoiler Busted:
Prerequisites: EXALT

"During a drug raid against one of the South American cartels, police unconvered evidence of EXALT involvement on a massive scale. While not surprised, the Council is also not amused by the organisation's growth and expects us to do something about it (-10 Council standing)"

Since we rarely get any corpses or creatures in events, I thought it'd be kinda nifty and also show that they are out there in the world outside of XCOM's missions.

Spoiler Patient zero:
Prerequisites: Zombie Autopsy

"Our intelligence managed to intercept a police report mentioning a heavily ill, aggressive individual attacking citizens of a small town. Upon further investigation we identified the person as a victim of a zombie parasite. The Council's executives convinced local authorities to hand over the infected. (+1 zombie)"

Spoiler Pests be gone:
Prerequisites: Giant Rat Autopsy

"During renovation of a minor metro station in one of the European cities, what appeared to be a small nest of giant rats was uncovered. Its inhabitants were killed by the workers in self-defense, although with a few of them sustaining injuries of various severity. As we're certain these animals are similar to what our agents found in the field, we took possession of the cadavers. (+3 giant rat corpses)"

Spoiler Big bugs:
Prerequisities: Giant Spider Autopsy

"A report on a new, dangerous species of arachnids was released by a prominent biologist. Upon investigation, it was found that the researcher was studying corpses of creatures our agents fought before in the field and which were delivered to him by parties unknown even to him. We convinced him to part with the remaining samples. (+2 Giant Spider corpses, +4 Giant Beetle corpses)"

Spoiler Invasion:
Intentionally made without references to Xenonaut entry hint on the off-chance it wasn't researched yet (which bodes ill for the player but it's not event's role to judge it). No rewards/penalties for this one, as I want it to be more of a flavor exposition.

Prerequisites: Year 1999

"An unprecedented increase in UFO sightings all over the globe throws some of the Council's business in disarray. As current methods of information control and obfuscation start to fail and intelligence reports various countries making contact with extraterrestrials outside of Council's supervision, we are urged to quickly get to managing it."

The X-Com Files / Re: 1.8 Feedback
« on: April 20, 2021, 04:32:21 pm »
Played for a few more days, got further so there should be a bit more feedback past initial few organizations. A few things that seem outright janky I reported in the relevant thread.

Answering last replies before moving on:

I realize it's the mod's biggest point, and perhaps it shouldn't even include real aliens... But it's too late to change that. I can only keep improving the current model.

But I do like aliens as well! While aesthetics of many XCOM ones, without severe changes don't really give into the whole mysterious, otherworldly conspiracy theme, better these than none. The major issue with them seems elsewhere, which I'll address in another point.

Adding friendly police forces would be better in this regard, but I fear it would just promote doing nothing.

Quite the contrary! The very idea is that should XCOM not be efficient, there will be a risk of mission ending succesfully, sure, but with severe point decrease due to killed cops and with reduction in live captures as cops tend to outright attempt to murder the enemies. Could possibly also help with the annoying "it's a simple early game round, but it's also turn 40 cause some gangbanger hid in a closet in a top-floor apartment of a building on the edge of the map".

Well, Sectoids have 20 basic Strength. Their Melee is a whopping 12. Their only advantage in close combat is good Reactions of 63.

If that's too strong for your agents, then maybe it's gym time? :D

Had another such situation again, this time I tracked stats more closely:
Two troopers, 52 and 63 strength respectively. A single sectoid next to them fired 4 or 5 shots, none of them succesfully interrupted, both of them accurate, killing both soldiers. At this point no gym will help further, bio-enhancement also won't, I consider just organising X-COM wide program to have my agents snort so much Storm that they won't need any camo when fighting in snowy environment.

More seriously, yeah, just some issues with that. I do understand though that it's very RNG-based and that there's whole discussion about problems with this mechanics you're already aware of so I'm just bringing it up for reference/perspective.

Yeah, I agre, but for aliens it doesn't seem as fitting - they are varied, but all are reasonably strong and sturdy.

In all honesty, it may be that you found the the core of the issue. Aliens, in any amounts and with equipment beyond what smallest recon UFOs provide, usually are a considerable difficulty bump compared to even "second tier" (better equipped, higher stats, not available initially) human organisations. There's no weak alien parties, strong alien parties, alien parties some particular tactics is very useful against - from the most expandable goon to the most treasured commanding officers everyone is an accomplished sharpshooter and martial artist, resistant (though not evenly so) to small arms fire, often equipped in paranormal powers, fought in environment passively messing up troops (which still needs some adjustments IMHO, a thing I'll address later on) with equipment superior to XCOMs.

It makes meh stats of particular units in alien roster mean less when there's several of them pouring still very accurate and very powerful fire (even trained, tritanium-armored operatives still can get one-shot by a sectoid with a plasma pistol), from darkness and distance my operatives cannot even see at despite super sci-fi suits (more on that later) and taking usually several shots to kill by the strongest human non-sci-fi guns available (talking about anti-materiel stuff like barrets and blackops sniper rifles still often needing a couple of shots to take said basic sectoids out). It's not a big deal in every case but when every enemy at that point is treating this level of power as a baseline and only gets stronger from there, the progression is a bit out of whack and again - a lot of it becomes just a slugging match, since there's no tactics, no non-situational weaknesses to exploit, only grabbing the biggest guns, putting on the sturdiest armor and hoping you decrease enemies' health faster than they do so with your agents (which they usually do till you get through that slog and have your own even greater sci-fi stuff to balance it out).

But they aren't that good. Yes, they have good Reactions, but nothing "godly"; they are merely compentent.

That may be aforementioned baseline power issue. Even the weakest, most frail, mass-produced invader, with qualities as listed above is overall at least as "merely competent" as a veteran XCOM operative and still available in infinite quantities (while veteran agents are often hard-won and when lost making XCOM even weaker for future fights). That's, again, is not horrible (minus the "shooting outside of range your agents can even see at in broad daylight", which is just both unfair and  unfun), but with addition of environmental benefits (constant sanity drain) and numbers of enemies, becomes kinda meh, at least at difficulties higher than the lowest ones (which also gets the player penalized as less enemies = less loot, points and stat increase).

Alright, enough about this, I bet you get my point. Time to move to other feedback.

Spoiler Personal lights:
Perhaps personal armor luminescence could be upped? It's kinda weird that no matter if one just wears a suit or supertech sci-fi armor, an agent still has to depend on flashlights and flare-derivatives to see things some distance away. I can understand, for the sake of balance, the agents not getting head-mounted lights at the beginning of the game but once one runs with literal sci-fi gear, a person would assume neither an armor-mounted light nor a quality night-vision equipment would be out of reach.

Spoiler Shots out of bounds:
Aforementioned range. Even in broad daylight, enemy units, at least at Veteran difficulty simply shoot from a range on flat terrain that's so great my agents, despite their fancy armors cannot even see (it's still in the black/fog of war) terrain that is there, yet alone enemies on it. Be it aliens or humans, augmented or not - if they can shoot me from a certain range, they will, often even without spotters that could explain their great sniping skills available. Adding on top of that the fact that apparently most enemies have at least some low-level cloaking (as they're not automatically seen even when the terrain itself is unless one gets closer) it makes it kinda annoying at times.

Spoiler Non-lethal bio takedowns:
Seems like quite some things are resistant to bio damage or there's something else afoot - despite seemingly better stats of a dart rifle, I had far many more one-shot takedowns with a puny taser. The rifle has better range, is much more expensive to acquire and generally more advanced weapon but all-in-all seems less effective, at least against basic cult/gang/organisation members, sometimes not even penetrating the "armor" of half-naked cult of apocalypse folks or random farmers as reliably as taser seems to do. Talking about toxin A, B seems considerably more effective, at least against regular humans (still takes a bit to take down anything else, but at least it's not worse than tasers).

Spoiler More item size issues:
As I play further I notice many more seemingly direct upgrades to early-game items are not really practical on actual battlefield due to issue I've mentioned last time - their graphic/size is great enough that they have to be put in a backpack, making things like drawing out melee weapons very hard. Even adding one more slot to "quick draw" inventory and having some items more "vertical" (various long knives like wakizashi would take those 3 slots rather than 6) would let it work like a scabbard. At the point when I run around with pew pew laser guns, I am still forced to use start-game electric batons, simply because I can actually pull one out from QD and still have TU to swing it - by comparison all the other rods, stun spears etc are useless in this regard unless one just began their turn next to the enemy (which is usually dangerous and a situation to avoid). Equipping troopers with one-hand firearm and such bigger melee weapons is overall a bad idea - even if the melee weapon doesn't require both hands, so equipped troopers are usually underpowered.

Spoiler Some item weight issues:
Also, weight similarly seems to be kinda out of whack. Losing troops is to be expected, but the problem is many new ones simply aren't strong enough to really carry late-game weapons, wear armor and still be combat-effective enough to even have a chance of improving for the future and fill in for the loses. And the further in game one gets, rather than be more ergonomic, the weapons become more clunky, with stuff like BlackOps one-handed weapons having the weight of an RPG launcher. And it gets even worse from there. At some point I've noticed that magnetic pistols and rifles are heavier than anti-tank weapons and they're nowhere close the weight of early-game weapons of similar size/designation, but again, I have to underline, it's an issue every better weapon tier keeps getting the further one gets in game, making increase in strength not an actual increase, just requirement so the trooper can keep using new counterparts to their old weapons of the current tier of them.

Spoiler Armored metamorphs:
A minor thing, but, well, noticeable: metamorphs rather than having a lot of health seem to be very sturdy (anti-materiel sniper rifles had to work on some of them for a bit just to start dealing damage) armor - kind of opposite of The Thing.

I've mentioned sanity still having some issues. Ran some missions and parts of them repeatedly to test its effects and drain:

Spoiler Sanity woes analysis:
The good:

There seemed to have been some improvement in regards to sanity since I've last played. At the very least, it's less likely for agents in regular missions to freak out without something really dreadful that would hurt their morale happening first, which is as it should be. At least when it comes to missions that aren't long and with severe ambient sanity loss. Generally, an interesting feature slowly starts shaping up. However:

The bad:

It still requires a lot of work. In those of the missions that last long with ambient sanity decrease it still depletes too fast for what the mission requires. Initially over 70 sanity (as checked at mission start), first troopers started panicking around turn 20 when assaulting a big UFO, despite nothing in particular happening. Many, likely most enemies were dead, the casualties were noticeable but neither crippling nor fatal and all those agents took part in assaulting other UFOs before - there shouldn't be anything even very scary, yet alone nightmare'ish (which was how the ambient was described). None of the enemies were of the psychic variety, either. Even the environment the mission was happening in was picturesque in its daylight. The battle seemed almost won and yet in the end drugs had to be taken just to be able to leave it all and get to evacuation area without people freaking out.

Most UFO missions, if the UFO is of bigger size, lead to some, even quite high-level troopers freaking out at nothing, simply because any sort of battleplan that's not dependant on heavy save-scumming or running in guns blazing (which is only possible if you, again, save-scum, smash everything with high-caliber weapon/explosives and/or have already equipment superior to that of aliens) takes too many turns. Actual tactical, logical maneuver of moving the troopers as they cover each other, scout terrain ahead, setting up firing lines etc is just far too slow, and any attempt at setting up ambush points is outright useless.

Alien bases/bigger maps are even worse because how easy it is for some enemy to just get stuck somewhere off the way  - I had a situation where most aliens around 40th turn (which, unless I am just bad at it, isn't a long time for alien bases, especially with those enemies getting stuck and if agents aren't suicidally sprinting everywhere) were dead but the mission was unfinishable, as all my troopers and whatever was left of aliens were just panicking and shooting corridors. I watched that for everal turns unable to do anything but trying to make some agents pick up their weapons before considering either just canceling the mission (which would mean big chunk of all my in-game forces and equipment getting lost) or just debugging (cheating in something to counter) it. I won't lie, it's kinda hilarious imagining both a group of mutons and my troopers screaming their heads off, ignoring each other to just run through corridors flailing arms or peeing themselves in fetal positions on the floor - but it does take away both from experience of epic base invasion and from actual ability to progress as everyone turning into a deranged, uncontrollable lunatic, even on drugs, makes sacrifice of time, effort and troopers in the fight so great it's often leading to overall loss one is unable to pick themselves up from (can't even evacuate because uncontrollable troopers won't run to evac zone).

In the end, far too often sanity doesn't increase the game complexity as much as works as a very strict timer or a gate preventing less-experienced agents to be used in the mission at all since they seem to freak out so much sooner and is even more difficult to deal with than aliens themselves (as drugs can take one only so far before they render the trooper useless). Sure, sometimes ones gets lucky, all enemies are quickly found and dispatched (assuming they weren't found because they were surrounding my agents and shooting them up) and at some point one can get powerful and equipped enough to not worry about sanity in most missions and finish them quicker, but then the whole mechanics doesn't cause issues only because it doesn't matter as much anymore.

I'd gladly sacrifice all those supposed fancy-shmancy atlantean magic-tech bio-enhancements for an ability to send veteran operatives to a therapist so they won't freak out in UFOs when they already have the upper hand and plenty of experience with prebvious won battles. Yes, it's that bothersome at times.

Spoiler Vehicles and their weapons:
I like how humvee's can mount some anti-air weapon. Sadly, they seem unable to fight even the weakest of aggressors, which is understandable as jeeps probably aren't meant to take down sci-fi alien craft. Still, a slight upping of the basic cannon strength against the weakest of drones would be nice, though I also don't mind it being mostly for flavor. I do however recognize that while I run around with laser and mag-rifles and have access to various flying transporters, I get no interceptors among them and that no other vehicle can mount even that symbolic, weak weapon. Even something like a Dragonfly or Mudranger should be perfectly capable of sporting a weapon mount, if only to look cool. Maybe other, non-UFO weak vehicles that such cannons could fight - very, very slow moving terran ones of various factions which leave some small mission when destroyed, equipped with weapons or not, for example. Certainly it'd be an ideal thing for all those convoy missions which currently are just a mission popping up and not moving, but various human factions in general could move around from time to time.

Speaking of cannons - given its UAC, the weapon seems very weak. Weapon at this level that should be probably available the moment one gets a license to use machineguns as it appears to be kinda that - a craft-mounted heavy machinegun, not much unlike what those poor combatants in third-world countries mount on their pickups. Alternatively, even better, adding simple machinegun and pushing UAC cannons till promotion III with increased stats would make for much more smooth and reasonable progression - currently one goes from a very long time of no (yet alone useful) anti-aerial defences to sci-fi anti-UFO weapons. Something between these two points, both in terms of interceptors and their armaments is sorely missed, especially when the invasion starts, UFOs are flying around but unless one was looking up tech leads and going straight for it there's nothing to take them down with yet (there was IIRC a special craft that could be acquired but it was not guaranteed at all).

Feel free to drop any ideas! I like events, and they're easy to add.
A few examples in the next post.


Since I felt like it after all this bothersome sanity mechanics testing gameplay, here's an artistic rendition of the epic base assault added as an attachment. I know, gorillion hours in Paint spent. Much time, very effort, such fanart. Hoping to provide some good-hearted laugh at the sillyness I had to deal with.

The X-Com Files / Re: Bugs, crashes, typos & bad taste
« on: April 20, 2021, 10:25:29 am »
- From land survey I've received a "corpse" corpse, unresearchable, with no ufopedia entry, $0 worth

- Not sure if intended - had a shady tavern where no enemies spawned and there was turn counter, 1/1. I just came in, ended the turn, won the mission. Guess it's fair that there's a chance that the meeting with the informant goes without problems, especially since there's a variant where you just arrive too late no matter what - but it still feels a bit weird.

- I researched female stormy after a male stormy, got no info about any data being pulled from her, despite her being researchable.

- A bullfrog managed to render my drone unconscious.

- Probably more of an OpenXCom issue than X-Com Files but just in case - sometimes when I try to throw a grenade or shoot something in particular location, I get information that the location is inaccessible. Very commonly happening with throwing grenades through windows. However, if one keeps clicking, sometimes the game actually will still allow to throw that grenade/shoot and then there's even some chance it will actually get where one hopes it would. Enemies can still shoot and hit troopers at angles player is unable to return fire from.

- I have a workshop order of extracting synthmuscles from mutons available before I even researched what synthmuscles are.

- Again, likely OpenXCom issue rather than X-Com Files - an alien ran out of ammo and then its AI just went crazy - it ran to my vehicle, to the pile of items in it and kept going back and forth, as if it was trying to equip human weapons there, be denied, go away and then try again.

- Strix cannot be handcuffed despite being normal-sized humanoid.

- Knockout grenade in a listing of items in one's storage is somewhere among pistols (its position if "everything" view is chosen, not the item's category) rather than grenades.

- Osiron goons on the cruiser are all labeled "human" when looked up, even if they were already interrogated. This led to a weird title for some of my troopers at the end of the mission, "Bane of human"

- Had a mission show up on geoscape without any popup, named STR_ALIEN_BIG_BASE_ (if anything's after that, it was cut off by the window) - Alien Colony Assault

- A typo in Alien Reproduction entry: "short space of time". I assume it was meant to be "span of time".

The X-Com Files / Re: 1.8 Feedback
« on: April 02, 2021, 05:52:18 pm »
By all means, go ahead! But of course other people can write here too.
Obviously, no issue with that.

When it comes to briefings, I could add direct info on deployment size, but it would kill the suspense, no?
Depends how much info and in what case. A set of vague statements about the mission, be it terrain or describing enemies going from "a creature" through "multiple contacts" to "whole horde" and merely underlining "humanoids", "some sort of animals", "weird creatures" would least make one aware that, for example, it's an area where some type of weapon wouldn't work (sniper rifles in confined spaces, shotguns in vast open plains) and that what they fight wouldn't be numbers of animals (easy to fire, low damage weapons prefered) but something big and mean (hevy caliber rifles necessary). Less of suspense destruction and more of a giving the player the bare info any COC would give its soldier, lest they come shooting at rats with missile launchers, pull out knives against horde of chupacabras they should be able to see outside the window before they even deployed or force player to spend boring time and turns moving each agent to equipment stash near the vehicle and rearm each of them one by one.

Yes, I wholly agree. It's all on Meridian!
Sincere props to Meridian as well, then.

Sorry, I don't understand. Do you mean to say that zombies can be excluded from standard monster missions? If yes, then I guess they could, but why?
It's basically the same mission with similar numbers of enemies under two different names, making it double as likely to show up compared to other missions that could be chosen instead of it. Not a big deal either way, I just thought that since there's already mission like that, why double it? The one where it's just a couple of zombies is a different matter.

So? Not sure what you're trying to say. You got some missions, some didn't happen this campaign, that's how RNG works and how it was designed. And what is a "mission roster" - was it a metaphor? Because there is not such thing as a "roster"...
Ah, if it's intended then nevermind. I was under the impression that the intent is to have every player get a considerable chance at experiencing all kinds of creatures and missions. As for roster, yeah, a figure in speech in that it's not exactly roster but - from what I know, missions that will spawn are decided a bit ahead of time and there's no script running random dice every in-game X minutes to spawn another mission.

Eh? Why? I don't get what you're getting at. Why would I want to do that?
High chance to miss lots of content as the player moves through the game, unless they purposefully wait with promotions to enjoy it (but then that may cripple them later on).

This change is what people actually begged me for, so I went ahead with it. There's a saying in Poland "keep the fish or keep the aquarium" - you can't have both. If the mission start is too bad, just abort.

Yeah, I can move smoke grenades a bit earlier. Hell, let's make it Promotion I, as an experiment.
That's the problem - without saving before first move you don't know if it's too bad. One often doesn't know if it's too bad till they actually start moving on the first turn and realize there's several enemies aiming at them - and then the very fact they made one trooper take one step may lead to them being shot up and then there's little left to abort with. Same problem with smoke grenades: I repeat, because of how grenades seem to work, they're not useful because agents get shot up after making a single move, so before those grenades explode even if one starts the round with them equipped and primed.

I've been tapping into early game's potential for like 5 years, I'd really like to move the fuck away from early game eventually. :P
Hah, I understand. My personal bias speaking because as mentioned, the "special agents in trenchcoats and with normal military hardware uncovering paranormal happenings/conspiracies" is kind of unique yet very much appreciated aspect for me.

I am open to considering adding it to some other mission too, but the cult apprehension feels too early for an advanced feature like that. Maybe something else?
As you've mentioned, nearly any mission could have *some* reason to add such, start-game cult apprehension just felt fitting for me because at this point XCOM is just budding initiative pursuing their first leads wherever they may be and trying to apprehend what's basically simple criminals - so having their gangs send a few guys more if they realize some of their men were attacked/someone went onto their turf or regular police coming in to take care of these criminals seems reasonable to me.

Admittedly, I like the idea of police arriving to spice things up... But they should shoot you too, and we can't have that! :D
In regular cult apprehension, maybe we cannot. I could think of a special mission though where some intelligence agency had secret op to raid some important place housing things not meant for their eyes tied to some council members so rather than going undercover and browbeat their officials to let XCOM in on it, one's forced to crash the party and either fight both groups (with penalties for killing cops) or prepare less-lethal crowd control. Could even underline the aspect of how council isn't really just good guys and we may be forced to do some of a really morally ambiguous, wet work for them.

Eh, I know, ideas are easy but what's the work to put them in!

Are you talking of something roughly between cult apprehension and cult activity?
Wasn't thinking about it but that'd be an option - rather than heavily modifying suspect apprehension mission, one could get its alternative where there's no penalty for letting it slide, but there's additional risks and rewards (in form of more enemies if one takes their time) if they want to get on it (could be easily explained that since local authorities are onto it and the targets are unlikely to be of any great priority, XCOM can let it sort itself out).

I want to make more undercover missions, of course... But most of development time went into early game, why would I pour even more into it when the mid/late game is a skeleton???
Could think of the reasons but as mentioned, I'd rather give you the honest answer of untapped potential and how it's by my absolutely subjective take the most awesome part of the game and its greatest appeal. Of course, I understand if your opinion differs on it, but just there's so much more that could be done so it'll be better (and some of those things with less work required than the others) that eh, it hurts. But yes, I am aware there's a lot of other things to be done in other parts of the game and there's only so much time and will.

TBH I don't get how these ideas would work. Are we still talking about the reinforcements feature?
Yes. All those scenarios are just hypothetical ideas for the ways reinforcement mechanics could be implemented. Be it enemy reinforcements for some gangsters if player is slow to capture enemies the mission begins with, police reinforcement to fight those enemies and thus possibly deprive XCOM of captives (again, should player be too slow) or military reinforcements in a bigger battle against aliens (as the battle keeps raging).

Ghosts are shelved for now, but of course I'd like to develop this arc at some point.
Looking forward to it.

Good point, I'll add something like it, thanks
No problem. Hell, while I am hardly a professional writer, if you want any little text blurbs like that about any little thing for events and whatnot, just let me know what's needed for what and I can probably make several on the fly.

There is some value, but yeah, it's a hard mission. Good luck next time!
Uh, not my point. The mission difficulty isn't what I concentrate on, but it's the fact that the informant doesn't have to be kept alive and cannot be kept alive since he spawns in the middle of enemy location and dies instantly all the time. Sometimes he even appears in mission loadout phase (sometimes he doesn't), sometimes he's not there during the mission, sometimes he's a controllable character, too and sometimes just implied to exist in mission debriefing but not actually appearing on the map. It's a weird mission like that.

Better one-tile knives: no idea what would be better than the shiv but not larger. A plasma switchblade?
We wouldn't even have to get as far technologically though plasma knife which would be basically just a small hilt till it's in one's hand and activated makes sense. I was thinking mostly about absolutely or just somewhat realistic alternatives to shiv which by the name alone usually implies improvised, small weapon mostly made in prisons or other criminal circles - while there's proper, quality folding knives, short, very easily concealable blades for some special forces - and that without mentioning simple, tiny knives once alien or hi-tech materials get researched or XCOM gets into occult.

Plus, there's general a lot of tiny, useful things that should be available to clandestine organisations and fit one slot of covert operative's inventory, not only knives, pistols or telescopic batons. Lethal or disabling agent injectors/syringes? An accurate melee weapon dealing a lot of damage but holding one "ammo" and having hard time with armors, for example.

But the core of the issue is examples that seems to be what I edited in before you started replying, like katanas which because of graphics even when not held take as much space and are as hard to wield (on account of needing to be put in a backpack when not held) as heavy missile launchers. No quick draws possible.

Sure, Sectoids are small and frail, but as you well know they have psi shields. Yes, it's unfair. So what?
I don't mind them being difficult enemies and being defended by psi-shields, when I was mentioning wanting strong/weak enemies with fitting stats I was literally meaning that - some enemies which have to depend on their hi-tech guns, but some that are just beasts in general. Enemies that are frail (but may or may not make up for it with aforementioned tech) and not.

The issue with sectoids are that they're NOT small and frail outside of their graphics and they, as mentioned, seem like any other kind of able enemy: whatever their stats, in examples above, they outmatched strong (for a human!), fully trained, fit adult in matters of purely physical prowess, as if it'd be sectoids who are muscled up martial artists, not operatives fighting them. And that applies even to those sectoids which simply even aren't in combat roles, but merely support. Their performance and warfare experience as a species is a different topic altogether.

Says who?
That's how specialization works. The former are, as you've just said yourself, meant to be small and frail. The latter have no mention of any extensive training and conditioning with their purpose being warfare but are implied to serve mainly as a middle management of Dagon's cult.

Sorry, but this just isn't true. They are as varied as they can within reason, and carefully designed for it.
I'll take your word for it, but from their prowess in battle I am willing to attest that depending on their rank, all enemies seem to be comparably skilled all across the board. If an enemy is a decent rifleman, they're usually also good at bashing my troopers or pushing their guns away in what I called "gun struggle" (trying to shoot next to each other). If they can shoot well, they can also react quickly with their shots - 360 no scope headshot reaction fire seal of excellence. If they're strong, they're usually also pretty sturdy. I am sure there's some variation in their stats, but it just isn't visible during the gameplay when it comes to armed sentients. I have to underline t's better in case of non-sentients like, for example, chupacabras which indeed seem very fast, hit very hard but have merely okay toughness fitting for their looks and ufopedia description.

So I fail to understnad your point, feels more like a rant than anything else, sorry.
No problem, to a degree it is. It may be that the boundary for what's lethal and not for melee is thinner because usually when enemies get into melee range, they exchange several strong hits most armors offer limited protection toward - and thus it looks how it does, with melee attacks either doing nothing or outright obliterating xcom operatives of average health pool.

However, I have the feeling that you only addressed very early game, which I've been focusing on for the past few years and I really am not interested in developing it further for now, since late game is sorely neglected. Do you even go beyond the invasion phase?
Yes and no. I got much further in the game before but as I've mentioned, I wanted this feedback to be about what was very noticeable to me in 1.8 alone. I've started a fresh new game for this purpose, play it when I have time not occupied by anything else (which varies, thus me not being that active anymore) and try to make my remarks on this basis, without mixing in stuff I recall from further down the line till I get there in this new playthrough, since otherwise it'd be unfair as things may have changed by now. Like I wrote:

Will write more as I keep going through old and new content in a fresh new game, should time allow. Unless it'll be just bugs, then I post those in the relevant thread.

So, should I get that sweet, sweet time and IRL won't bother me with tragedies and responsibilities to deal with, I promise to put in at least some of that time in playing and writing more of the feedback for 1.8

I could be wrong, but I think what he means, is that with every update we get more and more stuff to research but not more time to actually perform the research in.
I mean merely access to the content itself - certain missions, enemies etc stop being available with time and progression. I don't think one should get cheaper research just because there's a lot of potential technologies - no one says player has to research absolutely everything before moving on and shouldn't prioritize. Plus, early game the biggest limiter for research isn't even just money (though it is expensive) but number of available laboratories and amount of space for scientists to staff them with. But again, that's not really the issue I talk about.

It may indeed affect one's preparedness for invasion, as with new threats and things one has to deal with they also may suffer more casualties to build up back from but I find it fair - new opportunities bringing new risks - as long as they're not forced onto the player and heavily penalized.

The X-Com Files / 1.8 Feedback
« on: April 02, 2021, 12:47:02 am »
I am still not really active anymore due to many things happening nowadays and simply not having enough time between regular life and other interests but I've found some time to play the new version, compare it to experience from a couple of versions ago and offer general feedback. It's not really just neither only suggestion/wishlist nor a bug report thing, but a collection of thoughts, issues and hopes with/for various aspects of the game gathered over dozen or more hours of gameplay. If it doesn't deserve its own thread, my apologies.


Strange creatures mission division
I still miss how "strange creatures" missions have the generic debriefing description rarely hinting at what one would be fighting. Dividing them into several missions named the same, but with various description giving vague hints of what one would be up against ("fragmentary reports from the area mention sightings of a single/a group of/a horde of wild animal(s)/humanoid(s)/alien beast(s)/giant spider(s)" etc) would be great. I see that you did make some progress in that direction with zombie infestations and other such stuff, but probably most variations of strange creatures missions could have their own stuff, be it spiders, megascorpions or whatever.

Early game knives balancing
Regular knife has considerably better stats than combat knife, at least when wielded by an average soldier, despite the latter being the one meant for combat and more than twice as expensive. Also, regular knife can be taken on covert missions combat one cannot despite the fact it wouldn't be too suspicious in situations where regular knife is allowed.

Zombie missions
Zombies seem more aggressive - and frankly, they're much better now. Some missions with them may be harder, perhaps, as you have actual traditional zombie scenario of whole hordes running at you in numbers greater than what you can quickly dispose of in the beginning, but it also makes the fights more dynamic and not drag as long as before. First time I had to pull agents from a regular "strange creatures" zombie mission as they just got swarmed. Also, first time I found it worthwhile to set up firing zones with flamers and (the agricultural flamer itself seems awful at actually setting zombies on fire, but it does make firewalls zombies avoid). Good change.

However, now that they all rush, they keep making that charge roar all the time. Changing it to something less bothersome when it's repeated 10 - 15 times a turn, some short zombie moan/groan for example would be better. Or even disabling it till replacement will be found.

Also, not sure if intended but now that zombie infestation is its own kind of mission, maybe zombie variant of strange creatures mission where it's not just a couple of zombies isn't necessary?

Madmen' rampages
In several games across several versions, "madman rampage" enemies or "concerned citizens" seemed to be unable to squeeze their missions into the roster and are very rare in general. In current version "strange creatures" mission happens all the time but I had literally one single mission with some "homicidal" type enemy before I moved (without rushing, either) far enough in plot that I didn't even dare to expect they'll show up anymore. And they didn't, that was one, single instance of that mission in whole campaign so far. Never even got to fight other "homicidal" enemies and I recall there being several.

Mission clusters
Missions seems to show up in "clusters" even more so that it'd seem a couple of versions ago. A year without zombie infestation mission and then I suddenly had 2 following about 2 strange creatures sightings, all in a span of one day. Then several days of a pause, then again a couple of missions pop out nearly one after another. Missions shouldn't happen completely regularly, but at the same time having them clustered like that is weird.

Early game and pacing
It seems we get new content but the pacing is still the same as many, many versions ago, which makes it easy to skip by some of content. Extending the early game phase, requiring some more time to get each promotion and pushing the date of official beginning of alien invasion back may help there.

Map size and enemies ambush
Some maps are smaller than before. That's okay. But now there's even more of a problem with how enemies ambush operatives. Far more frequently now there's absolutely no chance but to lose operatives at no fault of the player's - they simply spawn in sight of several armed opponents and get shot at from several directions the moment they as little as even crouch. It's neither fun, nor fair nor well-designed and simply makes save-scumming not even an option but a necessity at times as sometimes missions aren't winnable because of particular enemy strengths but because my agents parked the van in the middle of enemy group with no cover they can ever reach.

It's less of a problem later in the game where one starts inside one's own vehicles but till then, having enemies in such firefight-intensive missions have slightly less TU or even just lowered reaction stat during first player's turn so they don't just take out whole team after one player's click, before the player even gets a chance to do anything with said troops seems kinda necessary if save-scumming is to be avoided. At this point, there's no difference if there'd be a random chance of "after your van left the base the drunk driver crashed it and killed everyone" - would be as silly, but at least wouldn't waste player's time spent reaching the mission and modifying loadouts.

Smoke grenades would be ideal thing for such a situation but they won't work because mechanics-wise grenades explode after player's turn, not during it, making any cover they provide happen too late to be of any use during said first turn. Again, lowering TU and/or reactions for first player turn would at least help players position troops and throw some smoke.

Early game and content
As I've mentioned in the past, early game, when it's more of an X-Files vibe than X-COM one is also my favorite part and what makes this conversion stand out. Together with above idea of changing pacing and extending early game phase, there's a lot of potential here that's simply untapped.

Especially with new mechanics like reinforcements. For example, basic cult/gang mission "suspect apprehension" could very much use it in a way that requires XCOM operative to apprehend the members in several turns or they get reinforced with a sizeable group of other, simialr gang members (which could be even kind of challenge for those hoping to use that ambush to lure additional enemies) with additional variant of this mission where it's friendly law enforcement that shows up as reinforcement, forcing players to apprehend enemies quickly or risk them getting shot by NPCs.

Maybe even easiest apprehension missions could be covert ones, allowing any and all concealable weapons which wouldn't change much early game, where civilian clothing and small arms are the staple of XCOM's equipment, but would still add a bit to the flavor.

Or a mission that's practically unfinishable (a single enemy is hidden somewhere inaccessible to players) where a bunch of covert operatives lands in area full of early game equipment, secret files, small quantities of money and it's up to them to find and gather as much of it as they can and drop it at evac point before escaping, but every few turns a new unit or two of enemies shows up, slowly, if anything making operatives use up all the ammo - fitting for abandoned lab with zombies or other cryptids, for example).

Perhaps even a downed UFO mission where military of some country managed to take down an alien ship all on their own and XCOM under guise of law enforcement managed to get itself in support role - with player being able to see how aliens fare against human military and perhaps gather some loot and escape before said military crumbles. Or maybe said military keeps getting reinforcements ultimately defeating aliens at the cost of many lives, underlining the threat aliens pose - though in such case, no loot beside what's at the evac zone tiles should be available.

There's also other content which could be hinted at early game but isn't. For example, repeating haunting missions with a couple of hostile possessed civilians (who should still bring score penalty if killed) and a single ghost (with ectoplasm unlocking parapsychology research rather than being unlocked by it) at some haunted house would be great.

Civvies nicking stuff
Random civilians can steal weapons from XCOM's spawn. I don't know if it counts as lost at the end of th emission so I tend to stun them and take the gun back but still, I know the items just lie there in the field but it'd be nice to have some way of preventing people from taking them. Maybe it's possible for deployment tiles to be considered something like being on fire as far as AI pathfinding goes?

Another, related issue is civilians wielding picked up alien tech, one even my agents cannot use yet.

As always, events are a really nice addition and I am glad there's more of them, even if most seems rather negative in effect. Two things I'd like to notice:

They all seem to have comparable frequency, when I think some should be much more rare/common than others. For example, attacks by beasts, kidnappings by the deep ones should be more common, but so should be ones where rituals are disrupted (granting that corpse and a spear). I only had one land survey event and frankly, that probably should be far more common thing - rewards in it, the same as in disrupted deep one operation one are really weak, even by early game standard, but they'd add to the feeling that things are happening behind the scenes and balance out the impression that most events are negative.

Some events could very well offer their own research and missions. XCOM got hacked? Maybe it generates a mission next month where one disrupts some minor hacking operation - a completely regular, unaltered EXALT safehouse mission, just under different name, with different fluff, hanging around on the geoscape for long. If one feels more ambitious, changing loot items to a military computer and secret files instead of ammo/weapon boxes or switching EXALT for Osiron goons. A simple thing, again, not very hard nor profitable after early game but at a low work price the immersion and fun's greater.

Lastly, there seem to be almost no events relating to zombies despite how big role they play. Even some just along the lines of "We have multiple reports about an illness causing people to mutate into aggressive beasts not unlike those of classic zombie movies. Despite our efforts, those reports start to filter to the mainstream media and the condition itself may be responsible for disappearances among populations of small villages and remote farms, rumours of which add to the unrest."

Dossier missions
Many dossiers entries could also be done in that way. It's nice that some dossier targets get their special scenarios, but I wouldn't mind simple stuff like, for example CHAD (which could be just a recolor of MiB power-armored unit, totting some hydra laser rifle and with morale/status effects disabled) attacking XCOM base or some civilian facility early game after its dossier is researched, making it a tricky enemy given at what level XCOM is (usually I get CHAD dossier while still running around with hunting rifles, AKMs and similar) but doable. Rewards? Maybe its laser gun and an alenium crystal?

Alenium crystals, disregard if AI units are meant to be limited resource
Speaking of which, some version ago there were concerns about balancing rates of receiving crystals vs losing units (as IIRC the crystal can be lost permanently if the unit is destroyed in a fashion not leaving a corpse or the mission is lost completely). Maybe rather than just giving one usable crystals, some way of slowly gathering resources that can be recombined into such crystal could be introduced? For example, the crystal itself is not be enough, one also needs to have disposable "alien programming lattice", "resonance imprinter" and whatever other pseudotech mambo-jumbo one can think of - and only by combinining them through a simple, short-lasting manufacture order one gets a "functional AI core" item. Such parts could drop from Osiron crates or Syndicate research labs and the crystals acquired from destroyed, disassembled AI units.
Thanks to that there'd be some way of getting more AI units, but it also requires collecting resources over a span of succesful battles - and makes enemy AI units more valuable, upping their value is fair given how often (at least in my case) they require use of powerful explosives to take down, risking destruction of the "corpse".

The informant
Regarding non-dossier special units - the informant mission is yet to make it possible for me to retrieve the informant alive. Almost always, given where he spawns, enemies find him in first one or two turns. Not sure if that's intended or if there's even any value in keeping him alive.

Inventory spacing
I recall long time ago someone adding handcuff graphics that was deemed not as bad as previous iterations but it wasn't still implemented yet and we have bulky two-tile handcuffs still - is it still not good enough even just a temporary measure to change handcuff bulkiness? Also, in general many items seem bulky and spaced weirdly, making it hard to put them in "limb" slots that normally should be able to handle such items easily. Melee weapons like katanas taking more space and being as hard to wield as anti-tank missile launchers. We have one tile pistols, but some extendable, electrified batons (even just a miniaturized version of game-start ones which are supposedly telescopic but in reality are as big as wooden clubs) and better one-tile knives that could be smuggled on any covert mission would be great, make sense and be quite practical. I know that items can change graphics when they're in hand vs when they're stored elsewhere so visuals shouldn't be a problem.

Hydra and laser tech
Rsearching hydra laser should probably be alternative lead to laser weapon technology. It wouldn't unbalance anything since the tech itself is just a prerequisite and one requiring certain lab (and often the player will get alien laser rifles before then) but it'd make sense.

Vanilla aliens vs other enemies and XCOM troopers balancing
A thing I suspected earlier but now confirmed - aliens have stats not balanced well compared to other units.

A series of early and mid-game checks (Veteran difficulty) made me see a puny, thin-limbed sectoid that could:
- react faster than trained, experienced troopers with dozens of completed missions
- repeatedly overpower in "gun struggle" a high-ranked operative with 50 - 60 points of strength and finished training, be they the ones trying to shoot or prevent being shot point-blank
- when shot at from somewhat covered location - repeatedly do a spin in reaction fire and then tap out a sniper from across most of a medium-sized map with just a laser or plasma pistol

Sure the missions are still beatable, but the pure stat difference, no matter RNG luck often makes it seem like the game discourages tactics - it's all about either cheesing and exploiting AI mistakes or just out-tanking most aliens in primitive heavy-caliber slugfest where you exchange hard-hitting attacks till one side has no units left.

I don't want just weaker enemies but more differences between them, greater variation. Strong aliens, weak aliens. Even Storm-taking enemies seemed less purely physically able than those little grey guys - sectoids of non-soldier type shouldn't compare to even rank-and-file human solder by stats alone but depend on their powerful equipment.
Armored units should be very slow but be able to shrug off weakest of weapons.

In general, more enemies, especially stuff like sectoid engineers or just random Dagon priests should be stat-wise very weak as they weren't even meant for combat but still can pack a punch due to their powerful toys, and some combat-dedicated troops should be some danger even when their weapons are rendered ineffective. Especially Red Dawn, due to aforemenetioned Storm, should be much more eager and capable unarmed vs other NPCs and possibly on par with Black Lotus (with former being much less accurate but stronger, while the latter reacts better and is more accurate in melee). Currently most humanoid enemies work the same in this regard and the only difference between them lies in what attack they can do/what weapon they use.

Funnily enough, when it comes to melee even weak, all melee enemies, beasts and human aline, somehow either miss completely or are able to take down my rather healthy, high-rank and somewhat armored operatives with just a few whacks with random improvised weapons, with rarely any in-between (injured, yet still well-capable of fighting) results.

Psionics and the plot
As always, it's nice to see more plot developments/storyline missions but I tend to notice that for how much world-changing things psionics is, it doesn't seem really that much underlined in fluff itself. I am yet to see missions where it'd be the main concern - no homegrown occultists to arrest or perform services for in exchange for mystical knowledge, no books of purely human magical lore to study, no non-Dagon rituals (with exception of that one pentagram at mental asylum) that actually would seem to do anything. It's a pretty good potential plot-driver with its various applications mentioned in many dossiers, hopefully you'll explore it further!

Will write more as I keep going through old and new content in a fresh new game, should time allow. Unless it'll be just bugs, then I post those in the relevant thread.

The X-Com Files / Re: Alien Embassies
« on: June 06, 2020, 05:08:44 pm »
It would be plausible enough, but I'd rather see the keys as very special rewards, not simply given by their Council friends. If there would be a long and difficult arc to get there, then why not.
Perhaps a random, tricky mission then? "A an armed convoy of one of the alien-allied countries is transporting goods as well as access key to the alien embassy in the area. You have a possibility to intercept it but be aware - it is defended by regular human military merely following its orders and you will be penalized for any casualties" for example, where hostile defenders are well, alien-tech armed military whom you have to disable non-lethally or pay a hefty price of standing with the council/region on top of losing some points for stealing the cargo of the convoy (simply negative point values for killing your enemies would do).

I don't understand this argument - what you described is 100% political. How can a black ops/terrorist organization be anything else than a political organization? This article looks 100% correct to me.
Ah, you see, the differentiation is as follows - usually, by "political organisation" one understands groups that operate publicly, gathering personnel and making a push toward certain ideology or established interests of said political groups. Black ops is off-the-books, hush hush operations which while often utilized to further certain political agenda but that's merely as a (perhaps intended but still) side effect of their direct action, which usually means eradication of opposing forces, sabotage, illegal acquisition of data or material.

The issue is that otherwise you can claim that any and every group and organisation associated with the Council is political as it furthers Council's agenda, even if it's local hot dog stand furthering said agenda by keeping some Council member fed with his favorite hotdogs before he goes to work.

Plus, hey, you wrote that:
There are many reasons why Alien Embassies shouldn't be removable with no limits, mostly because X-Com is not a political organization
which is why people bring that ufopedia entry as X-Com is described as political there.

The X-Com Files / Re: The Ghost Ship
« on: June 06, 2020, 04:41:50 pm »
I wouldn't mind it myself, in fact that was more or less the plan :D

But it's a whole new arc with lots of new creatures and weapons, and it is not a priority. If someone wants to give it a try, I'll be happy to lend a hand.

Perfectly understandable. Can't officially declare myself to do it all as I already am helping in various ways in various indie game projects (and I still want to also do that check on armor balancing I promised you) so taking up scripting of new missions and building maps may be a bit hard for me now (especially since my experience here in case of OpenXCom is, shall I say, very limited), but I can certainly consider writing at least a few short paragraphs for ufopedia should you need descriptions of various random crap, reports and have no idea/will to deal with them yourself when you'll be working on this arc. I mean, I'd like to offer more help but I'd rather not promise more than I comfortably can do and then leave you hanging.

Other than that, not a problem. Just sharing those thoughts for your consideration when you will work on that arc, whenever it will be and without nagging you.

The X-Com Files / Re: The Tyson Challenge
« on: June 06, 2020, 04:33:14 pm »
Possibly doable, but probably not worth it.

Assuming we don't count outright cheating through debug/value editors etc, it still would require probably a lot of save-scumming and quite some knowledge with will to exploit every opportunity and mechanics of the game available. And time, a lot of time. Some missions are tiresome and long with proper guns and whatnot - using just fists with no other items in any way at any point would make it a masochistic nightmare, and that assuming you have aforementioned decent power suits that would let you punch later enemies and deal any damage at all which you may be unable to get to with punching alone.

The X-Com Files / Re: The Second Base - when to build it?
« on: June 06, 2020, 04:28:01 pm »
Should I keep one scientist per research and spread out, or go for more?
Depends on you. Do you want some technologies to be researched just a short while before heat death of the universe? Then the single researcher will do :P

In general, at least later game, many techs will absolutely require some team of researchers per tech to be acquired in timely manner (which is kinda weird in case of some things like various hired, not particularly involved goons of "second tier" hostile organisations who shouldn't really be much harder to interrogate than other goons of other organisations, but that's beside the point) - it's just up to you and how much priority a tech has for you to decide how quickly you want it and so, how many scientists you want to assign to it. I don't think I ever researched anything with just one scientist on the research, with exceptions of common regular human weapons and various other mundane "trash" items (licenses, badges etc).

The X-Com Files / Re: Bugs, crashes, typos & bad taste
« on: June 06, 2020, 04:20:58 pm »
But what research? I don't think they lead to anything.
Hmm, you may be right. I mean, I am sure the corpse (wreckage) gave me some additional tech but it's possible it was just regular armored car combat analysis.

Edit: I looked around and doesn't armored car leads to mounted machine gun? Though I still don't seem to have access to those despite researching it. My humvee's were unarmed, helicopters are getting outdated and I am slowly moving into skyrangers now.

No, because the main problem is a potent enough battery. Basically you need a miniaturized version of the UFO Power Source.

I realize that having such batteries on hand should help, but between having to go the whole UFO Power Source route and simply researching some looted batteries, the latter option would be just too easy by itself.

I'm thinking about possibly adding an alternate energy source (other than Cydonian tech, perhaps Reptoid), which would also unlock laser clips.
I understand. Maybe then interrogations on MiB scientists could also lead to such theoretical research topics? After all, they have to get the inkling of how to make such kind of stuff, since I got my first non-alien laser rifles off of MiBs. And since it's still relatively strong mob one needs to catch and interrogate it wouldn't be too easy either.

As for general battery issues and getting the tech too soon, maybe it could be handled by allowing one to make weaker batteries by default (offering merely something like two shots that would make them work but much harder to employ as easily as currently) and setting up current batteries as an upgrade that'd have to be looted of MiBs if one wants to have such without researching his own? It certainly worked pretty well with regular and larger magazines for Glocks where with the former the pistols would probably be quickly forgotten, but then the latter gave them new life.

Wow, it's a new one. I'll check.
Just in case, I played around with a debug and indeed there were small pockets of space in those areas imprisoning the creatures just with no way to get to them. Also, funnily enough 10 - 30 minutes later IRL I got another cave mission, this time with giant worms and they had similar issues - one or two were stuck in inaccessible area and the rest couldn't squeeze themselves through most corridors, just sitting there stuck and waiting to be killed (though they could at least shoot back).

I already made the caves much more spacious. I can't go too far, ir they won't be caves any more. :)
Perfectly understandable. Plus, the claustrophobic areas add to the challenge. I think just widening corridors to two tiles so aforementioned shamblers and other similar creatures can squeeze through would be enough to make those caves dangerous enough without being too open - wouldn't even have to be all of those corridors either, just enough of them so the creatures can move at all and be approached.

Sorry - that part can be fixed, though I'm not sure how to do so in this particular case.
I may be mistaken, in which case feel free to correct me (and I cannot even check mapping manual right now since I get timeouts) but aren't starting locations for agents and the equipment not put on them set manually? Moving them to the same tiles entrance/evacuation tiles are would probably do it.

The X-Com Files / Re: The Ghost Ship
« on: June 05, 2020, 12:51:25 pm »
For future reference, I certainly wouldn't mind small "Haunting" missions. Something simple like early game Strange Creatures, except with some single ghost on a small map of some ruined house, cementary, farm and whatnot (probably some of the already existing maps could be repurposed for it). It could also help kickstart the whole arc and give players a reason and a way to build ghost tank before Asylum/Ship, with ghosts, if there's yet not much new content to be gained from their interrogation, perhaps teaching about the use of some psi items as well as stuff like period weapons in case of pirates (sabers etc). Interrogation probably should require basic parapsychology research first, though - at the same time with stuff like ectoplasm leading to it.

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