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Messages - Juku121

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31
The X-Com Files / Re: The X-Com Files - 0.4.2 alpha: Going Postal
« on: November 27, 2016, 03:11:57 am »
@Juku
Do not subvert what I said. It makes me think bad of you.

So I basically said you should make your mod to a mod, not the opposite, as you claim. Since it will keep working even after updates (although not 100%), also there is a chance Solar might look into it to pull some content; modyfying master file is idiocy since nobody sane will try going through your changes, nothing is worth such time and work investment. Unless Solar wants to relinquish the position of the main developer to you, but I don't think so.

I did not mean to misrepresent you, and apologize If it came across that way.

That having been said, I still fail to understand how your quote actually supports the position of making a 'mod to a mod' being superior in case the 'submod' is large enough.

Any update by Solarius will have to be manually merged anyway, due to how different the balancing is by now. Updating, say, 0.4.2 into what's currently available in the 'Idea Proving Grounds', you'd get an unholy mess even if my changes came in a 'submod' format. It won't be 'not 100%', getting 75% would be an achievement. You of all people should understand this.

And maintaining only 'minimal change' rulesets makes MY life hell for modding purposes, while not making Solarius' life much easier, and is of no benefit to anyone else except some hypothetical replacement of his, who I have no desire to become.

I see no better option than what I've proposed and implemented right now: Solarius and other interested parties can ask for specific changes they like, and can identify what they like by either ruleset diving (bad idea in general, which has essentially been your whole point as far as I can tell, but feasible for small things and Solarius has done some of it), reading the Ufopedia and playing quick battles (easiest, but most shallow), and trying a quick run of my version (sabotages playtesting for XCF, but If people have already gone through it once and want a somewhat different experience, why not?). When asked, I can provide a 'current' and/or 'backported' implementation of the changes.

If you have an actual idea how to improve the above, by all means, please elaborate.

32
The X-Com Files / Re: The X-Com Files - 0.4.2 alpha: Going Postal
« on: November 14, 2016, 04:10:44 pm »
Juku, I appreciate your help and I've used quite a bit of your code, but the harsh truth is that your version is so hard to work with that I'd need to hire a secretary to keep up with it.
As I've said before, it would be MUCH easier for everyone, yourself included, if you wrote a mod to a mod instead of modifying the source file every time the mod gets updated.

Anyway, I'll be happy to use your changes, cheers!

Well, I've offered to do the secretary bit at least twice, for select changes if nothing else.

But, as Dioxine noted, making a mod to the base mod is largely an execise in futility since I have so many changes I'd have to essentially maintain a base and a diff file for each ruleset, publish only the latter and it'd be outdated the moment you publish a new version.

That's why I made the 'Idea Proving Ground' thread, so I'd know where the secretary is needed. :P

33
The X-Com Files / Re: The X-Com Files - 0.4.2 alpha: Going Postal
« on: November 14, 2016, 01:58:06 pm »
They're not ready yet... I've been working on them a year ago, they were crashing the game, I never got around to finishing it as I started doing other things. If anyone want to help with the ruleset, I'd appreciate it. :)

Apparently, nobody reads my changelog. :'( This has been in since August.

As a general advertisement, if you think of something that's an extension or combination of previous work, chances are, something like it exists in the "Idea Proving Grounds" version.

If it's something qualitatively new, requires changes in the codebase or is otherwise creative, wait for Solarius to come up with (or steal) it.  :D

34
The X-Com Files / Re: The X-Com Files - 0.4.2 alpha: Going Postal
« on: November 10, 2016, 04:51:56 pm »
I'm of course have no intention to hurry you up, every bit of work you've done so far is awesome and fun to play, it's just I'm closing in to Cydonia mission and would probably like to start a new run of X-Com Files with higher difficulty as soon as any critical update releases.

You're in luck!  ;D I just posted an altered version of the X-Com Files in a separate thread (an older version was in the middle of this one, but it's updated now, too). It has... lots of new stuff, and I hope some more of it migrates to XCF.

If you really want 0.41 or whatever it's going to be called, I'm going to update to that. No promises about 0.5+ right now, though.


35
The X-Com Files / The X-Com Files: Idea Proving Grounds
« on: November 10, 2016, 04:46:46 pm »
I've decided to create a separate thread for my personal modifications to the X-Com Files. Strictly speaking, with more support it would become a submod, but I'm not able to put in the effort right now (tracking down credits, updating, tracking bugs etc is not terribly fun and takes time I currently really don't have).

Instead, I'm putting this out as a source of inspiration and an attempt to garner support for including some changes in Solarius' master version. So the primary goal of this thread is to get enough people to look at or play the 'mod', identify changes they like enough to see them in the X-Com Files proper and post your ideas and preferences here. Then I can lobby Solarius with popular support and playtesting in my favor.  ;D

I already made a half-hearted attempt earlier, but my changes are extensive enough and the ruleset structure is by now sufficiently different that it's just too much to expect Solarius to work through all the files. And I'd prefer him continuing to focus on adding new arcs and ideas, not burning out on WinMerge.  :P

The secondary goal is to get some minor playtesting and provide people who've already gone through a good part of the X-Com Files with an alternative playthrough.

So here it is:

The X-Com Files (Juku121 edition)

&

X-Com Files Music Selection

What you need to get started:

  • A basic setup compatible with the X-Com Files; e.g. XCF 0.4c, later versions will probably work as well until something major changes in the file structure.
  • Meridian's OXCE+ 2016-11-06 (or later, if backwards compatibility is maintained).
  • Rename, delete etc the XComFiles mod directory in /user/mods/ and replace it with the one from the archive.
  • Optionally, put the music and Daylight Indicator mods also in /user/mods/.

While the changes are somewhat more 'alpha' than the parent mod, I don't think there are enough bugs to make the experience noticeably worse than the XCF itself. So bug reports are welcome, but not a priority, especially since quite a few are going to be shared with the master mod anyway.

An overview of the changes and some recommendations for people who decide to start an actual playthrough are attached.




36
The X-Com Files / Re: The X-Com Files - 0.4.2 alpha: Going Postal
« on: November 08, 2016, 08:10:05 pm »
@Arthanor: have you considered using the Guard Dog sprite from Piratez as base, since it's a bit better-looking than the 'regular' dog?

I'm also aiming at publishing the new version I promised before 0.4 either tomorrow or the day after, unless Solarius is again faster and puts out a new version before then.

37
The X-Com Files / Re: The X-Com Files - 0.4.2 alpha: Going Postal
« on: October 29, 2016, 03:46:56 pm »
Be careful with buffing their Psi Power too much, Solar already went that route in FMP and it wasn't fun to play at all (get mindfucked no matter what or go 100% tanks yo), since how the psi equations work (quadratic attack, linear defense). Going above circa 4000 psi (Power * Skill) is venturing into game-breaking territory, at least w/o tweaking how defence works.

Right now, it’s 3000 for soldiers and 5000-6000 for top end guys. Promoting the use of tanks is actually an unintended side effect I quite like. But the psi system has also undergone some changes: dedicated psi-troopers with special equipment max out at 2250, and ALL psi is distance-based and requires energy. So you do have tools to mitigate their power somewhat.

Also, how did you make that stun? As an extra attack from their psi weapon? I'm curious since I didn't try that out yet.

Yes, exactly as Yankes outlines in his documentation. I have a special copy of the Black Lotus Flame Glove for direct damage, and the Ethereal leadership has their own counterpart as well, so I didn’t want to make a lethal psi-attack. I think it all works well: the player does not get a lot of use out of stun, since it’s shorter-ranged and less reliable than other ranged stun weapons. But it’s highly disrupting in Alien hands, yet can be managed with medi-kits etc, so not quite instakill territory.

As a word of advice, better make your changes a separate mod. Else you'll get fucked as Solar updates his files (not to even mention your changes will quickly become useless to anyone but yourself). It's a higher energy & time investment upfront, but saves a ton of trouble later. I made the same mistake as you did when tweaking the 40k mod.

That’s what I was rambling about on the last page and what the page 17 version essentially is, isn’t it? The problem is, it’s hard to parse for changes and diverges from the original in a number of places, so Solarius (understandably) did not want to try incorporating anything major and picked only some low-hanging fruit. I think there’s more of those still available, e.g. soldier icons for equip screen and UFOpedia entries for enemy stats, but that’s the whole point behind my trying to enlist … alpha-testers, right?  8)

38
The X-Com Files / Re: The X-Com Files - 0.4.2 alpha: Going Postal
« on: October 29, 2016, 12:32:49 am »
I certainly don't mind, if there is interest. But I think our differences are mostly around basic gaming concepts, like "should armour have weight", in the large picture there shouldn't be much differences. But it also depends how you'll approach 0.4, which is pretty much done.


Oh, there are definitely some changes that either clash with your vision or are just plain unintuitive. But I don’t think armor weight is one of those. Full-body armor definitely weighs more than a business suit. I guess the real issue is that my armors have negative weight.

And I don’t have anything you might call an 'approach’. I just scavenge and develop random gameplay ideas that I either read about or that come to me while playing. You’re the guy with lots of new ideas and a vision.

BTW: It's your call Juku, but like before, I really recommend writing a separate mod to XCF rather than changing the master mod, since the thing is a nightmare to work with. ;)

The trouble with doing that is it’s pretty much ongoing work that both changes and adds to the original mod. It would be a major pain to try to maintain minimally changed rulesets. Plus, I don’t think it’s possible to make an extensive submod for anything but a fixed version of the base mod, and right now there is a single constantly changing version.

Maybe all this would be feasible for an eventual 1.0, but that’s a long way off yet and I’ll probably burn out on X-Com sometime during the next six months or so and then disappear until 2019.;D

What I can offer is that if (when?:D) you identify a list of changes you like, I can provide the minimal changes needed to implement those and you can just paste them in.

I agree with the principle. Not really convinced by alien brain juice useful for psionics, since it has to do with complex information patterns, and that's highly unlikely with chemical molecules - otherwise we'd have moldy food leftovers go sentient. :) And other such components are often easily enough synthesised on Earth. But I'm all for the general idea.

Well, I was thinking more along the lines of a lobotomized piece of alien brain in a small life support unit ('brain in a jar’, heh). Kinda like the semi-dead Tasoths, biodrones and Great Sleeper lore of TFTD. ‘Big-brained’ aliens can be cut into smaller pieces and still function as a psionic medium.

But yeah, it’s mostly window dressing for a desirable gameplay effect rather than a well thought-out idea.

No, that's not true: the aliens really start their shit in January 1999. There are some alien vessels before, basically research, but they are only occasional at best. To get such a ship, much less an Ethereal one, before 01.1999, requires much luck (lol).

Shameless plug: my version gets to Ethereals only in 2002, but they’re really scary now. As in, can see you through walls, have psi-stats far beyond human (so virtually immune to your psi), able to stun you instead of mind control, which is arguably worse than MC. Nuking them with Blaster Bombs might be a legitimate tactic now. But you MUST capture an Ethereal Commander to find out about Cydonia.

Edit: this talk about Alien food reminds me of another change: advanced buildings require Alien components now: surgeries for the Sick Bay, food for containment (you can hold a single alien in a prototype facility that can be built without Alien Food), Elerium power sources for plasma defences etc.

39
The X-Com Files / Re: The X-Com Files - 0.4.2 alpha: Going Postal
« on: October 28, 2016, 03:44:32 pm »
@Arthanor:

However, since yours is the only other TC that's still going, I'm thinking I'll just restart (after having a look at the mission stuff :P)

If you're going to restart, might I interest you in trying out my altered version of X-Com Files? The primary reason for this would be to identify which of my changes have a broad enough appeal that I can lobby Solarius to add them individually, instead of just dumping all the raw changes at him. The latter did not work, and I'm not blaming him for it either.

If you're game, give me a day or two after Solarius releases 0.4 to merge in the new stuff. If not, well, I'm happy enough with it myself, but I really think at least some of my work is clearly an improvement and it'd be a waste to just let it fade away on page  17 (double the page count, already?  :o)


More utility for alien corpses, a la NuXCOM. You could, say, get some kind of alien blood serum with regenerative properties from Reptoids/Snakemen, combat implants from Gazers, psychoactive brain tissue from Sectoids/Cerebreals, repairable armor from Ethereals. These are just random examples, I'm sure Solarius can think (or ask for!) more and better ideas.
I've always wanted this, but it's hard to think of reasonable products from alien soldiers. We already have grav units and synthmuscles... Perhaps alien cybernetics?

Well, I implemented something along my original ideas. Most corpses give something (Alien electronics, Alien Alloys, Synthmuscles and Grav Modules are largely unchanged) and the primary new resources are:

  • Alien brain tissue (Sectoids, Cerebrals, Ethereals), which is required to build advanced psi-amps, psi-weapons and Psiclones. Basically a way of turning corpses into (more) money via Psiclones and a speedbump for building psi-amps. Finally, this could also be turned into 'ammo' for psi-amps etc, but I don't personally like that idea. And dead Ethereals are still a resource for building Psi-Suits.
  • Alien blood serum (mostly reptile Aliens: Snakemen, Tasoths, Reptoids, but also Chryssalids), which is used to build advanced medikits and perishable combat drugs, which are basically 'stims on steroids'. :) That is, they are one-use items that regenerate a lot of energy, remove stun and provide some TU, but are consumed after use and the resources to build them are comparably as limited as Elerium is for general use.
  • Alien acids from Celatids, Spitters and their ilk, used by bioweapons like Toxiguns, Dart weapons; Acid grenades, rockets and other munitions. It is possible to synthesize these after extensive research (basically, research all Aliens, their autopsies and bioweapons), but in early and mid-game you have to scavenge.



Thanks for the report! It's probably the first time anyone's gone that far with the mod.


Well, I got as far as late fall of 1999, but restarted due to extensive changes (merging in Commendations mid-game being the primary culprit) and a desire to rebalance the early game. I'm now (back) up to May 1998. I'm no good for bug reports, though, since I'm liable to fix them myself.  ;D

As an aside, Commendation triggers seem to be quite buggy. Off the top of my head, people get IED medals for no reason (smoke grenades?), I-stunned-all-Aliens-myself medal is given out left and right, the kill-by-ranks medal is also too frequent.

40
The X-Com Files / Re: The X-Com Files - 0.4.2 alpha: Going Postal
« on: October 13, 2016, 09:02:47 pm »
Hi again!

I've updated my personal take on the X-Com Files to 0.3.5 and added some new things:

  • more UFOPaedia copyediting,
  • finished the 'tactical briefing' UFOpaedia entries listing important enemy stats (resistances, vision modes, camo etc), which you get after researching a live capture AND the corresponding autopsy (if applicable),
  • mortar tanks,
  • stealth armors,
  • a full overhaul of enemy stats,
  • some 'new' aliens - Lobstermen, Calcinites, a plasma-based lifeform loosely based on the Solarite/Overlord of Hobbes' Are 51 mod, a variant of hellrazer's spitter Chryssalid;
  • news reports from Area 51 and Hardmode mods,
  • and probably more that I'm forgetting at the moment.

I'm kinda reluctant to release any of this right now, since Solarius is likely to produce a 0.4 before I playtest my changes enought to know they're stable (I've caught SO MANY rather trivial errors that it's not even funny any more, and I'm beginning to dread changing anything in research.rul).  :'(

But I've thought a bit about the future of the mod and have two rather concrete suggestions and a couple of observations.

The primary proposal would be to use more of the excellent maps Hobbes has created for his Area 51 mod, and a few from XenoOps. There are forgotten pyramids, an arctic listening post, a bunch of 'secret' installations, the iconic cargo/cruise ship terror missions, and more. They'd definitely give a whole new life to the presently somewhat skeletal T'leth arc.

The second suggestion is to move more towards 'classic' UFOlogy and instead of creating brand-new factions, flesh out the Hybrids, Men in Black and Reptoids. They're the most recognizable and integrate into the overall 'secret invasion' theme far better than evil megacorps or Doom portals to Hell.

For instance, you can have a cattle mutilation site, find an abandoned organ extractor there, stun the (understandably angry) farmer who's now a security risk, interrogate him and track down the Hybrid team responsible for the deed. Or a bunch of compromised Hybrids in some backwater try to signal their masters with crop circles and after some investigation you have a chance of finding a Small Scout delivering new Alien Communicators, or codes, or fetuses, or ... something.  :-\

Maybe as a result of the intel you can intercept and stop another Hybrid team from impregnating a woman with the 'evil Alien fetus', which I stole from XenoOps. And then the MiB might interfere with all this...

Reptoids could also be a secret society, perhaps even rivals of the T'leth aliens. Say, as the original Atlanteans, whose empire was destroyed by the arrival of T'leth and who are now manipulating humans to get back at them.

There are some more barebones ideas at https://www.goldhawkinteractive.com/forums/index.php?/topic/6480-the-truth-is-in-here-4-if-x-com-were-more-fortean/.

Random thoughts:

There could also be some limited space missions before Cydonia, using the environmental damage ruleset. I'm not so keen on Moon Nazis, but if done well, they might work out.

Cults upgrading to existing factions, like the Church of Dagon already does:

CoD -> UW aliens, EXALT -> MiB, Red Dawn -> Cyberweb/MAGMA, Black Lotus -> Hybrids.

More utility for alien corpses, a la NuXCOM. You could, say, get some kind of alien blood serum with regenerative properties from Reptoids/Snakemen, combat implants from Gazers, psychoactive brain tissue from Sectoids/Cerebreals, repairable armor from Ethereals. These are just random examples, I'm sure Solarius can think (or ask for!) more and better ideas.

41
The X-Com Files / Re: The X-Com Files - 0.4.2 alpha: Going Postal
« on: September 01, 2016, 08:28:53 pm »
Quote
Juku, I started browsing your version. Impressive. I'll probably include something, but it's complicated; for example I already added a plasma SMG of sorts which is completely different.
I also think it would be best if you made your mod as an expansion to mine. It would be much slimmer, since it would only include the changes, and also much easier to handle (by me, heh). You may specify in the metadata that your mod requires something else to work.

Well, I can't guarantee that I'd be able to do much in the near future (new (school)year, new people to teach at uni). There are also large swathes of unfinished work (item pricing and manufacture costs are rather ... random, especially all my new additions; I never got to the enemy stats overhaul, Meridian keeps adding new stuff I'd like to make use of at some point, and I've discovered and fixed a bunch of errors (I *think* they were all my own, not yours  ;)) since I posted my files).

Basically, I think there are a couple of unquestionably nice ideas (briefings on enemy resistances etc), some more controversial ones (Alien weapons must be converted/rebuilt before use) and quite a few rather random things (Psi-Suits, because I could). I mean what I said: use what changes/graphics you find to your liking, ignore the rest. My .rul files are close enough to yours that just comparing them with some file comparison tool should cut down on your work quite a bit. It'd be a shame to let all the work go unused and I'm currently not able to sustain and support a submod.

42
The X-Com Files / Re: The X-Com Files - 0.4.2 alpha: Going Postal
« on: August 18, 2016, 01:00:36 pm »
All right, I lied. I took some time and put together a changelog of sorts after all.

I've separated my changes into two archives:

Full

(a dump of my X-Com Files mod directory) and

Lite

(a pruned version which should contain only the changed files; eats less space and gives a better overview of what's changed).

The documentation is contained in both archives and is also attached below.

I'm not interested in either getting or giving credit, so consider this a 'modder's resource' that borrows heavily from a number of people's work. I'm releasing it for free, no strings or requirements attached, but if anyone wants to use it in a public mod, they should credit people I've stolen from (most of whom should already be on the FMP credit list).

Hope my ideas serve as inspiration to somebody and good luck to Solarius with the monumental task he's taken on himself.

43
The X-Com Files / Re: The X-Com Files - 0.4.2 alpha: Going Postal
« on: August 16, 2016, 05:17:00 pm »
Hey!

First, I'd like to thank Solarius for all the effort he's put into this mod (and maintaining the FMP). I don't think I can go back to regular X-Com after experiencing his work.

Now, I've had several weeks of fun playing and modifying (way too much modifying, in fact) the X-Com Files to suit my own tastes, and I think I'm nearing a point of repletion where I'm going to drop the game, at least for a while. Happens to most games I play, unfortunately, but I usually come back to the good ones in a couple of years.

But I've done quite a bit of ground work that may be of interest to Solarius and possibly other modders, so I'm asking whether there's any interest in me sharing my RAW changes (as in, I don't have the time or inclination to support or extensively document anything) to X-Com Files? If you know how to use file comparison software, most of my changes can be easily found and incorporated (if they make sense and you like them, that is).

So you don't buy a pig in a poke (or cat in a sack in the case of Solarius, I think), I'll give you a partial list of changes:
  • all HWPs have two weapons, a cannon or rocket launcher and corresponding automatic weapon,
  • there's a line of alloy HWPs to go with Personal Armor,
  • different armors and HWPs have different icons in the craft equip screen a la Piratez,
  • an overhaul of faction and alien equipment (everyone has somewhat standardized loadouts) + some YML "copy-paste" to avoid mind-numbing repetitions,
  • several corrections and additions in the UFOPedia articles,
  • a couple of changes to psionics: there's now a dedicated psionic armor, an upgraded X-Com "flame glove" and three tiers of Psi-Amps,
  • somewhat more fleshed out weapon families, including a second tier of most explosives (Fusion land mine, extra-powerful smoke grenades etc), a full family of dart weapons, various types of grenade launchers (and a mortar) instead of the HC and AC, and so on,
  • a biowarfare program piggybacked on the dart weapons, including a chemical warhead for most explosive-style weapons (rockets, grenade launchers, hand grenades),
  • several tiers of agents, starting with the usual types and going through SF specialists with higher minimum stats and two or three slightly raised maximums to Psi-soldiers (same, but focus on the two psi-stats),
  • severely limited funding (you start with 1M and grow from there),
  • more nations and cities (mostly from the Improved Nations mod),
  • a number of new facilities, mostly 2x2 (a global radar, 250-engineer workshop, etc) and stolen/modified from XOps,
  • Alien Containment is delayed after Alien Biology and terrestrial enemies take up storage space instead of containment cells (there's a bug/feature that makes interrogations require 1 space in the Alien Containment, no matter whether the critter itself does, so it's not perfect),
  • the Gym is restyled as a psionic training facility (and thus delayed to the later stages of the game), since daily stat growths are quite ... astronomical,
  • fully recolored corpses for the recolored aliens (Snakemen in particular),
  • psionics (including higher-tier Psi-Amps, psi-armor, psionic 'gym' and the like) is tiered behind five prerequisites, unlocked by capturing and interrogating successive tiers of psionic aliens (Sectoid -> Cerebral -> Ethereal -> high-ranking Ethereals -> Ethereal Order),
  • doubled research times,
  • the appearance of alien races is spread over a two-year period, with usually three months allocated to a new arrival, but that's far from ironclad, and works well enough due to the increased research times, all the new terrestrial tech to unlock and lowered council funding,
  • MiB and hybrids use the same 'terror' mission model as the cultists, instead of the fake UFOs they used to travel in,
  • a balance pass at aircraft, featuring an implementation of the embryonic non-weapon equipment in Solarius's files (so you can put an improved radar suite on the Skywarden or reinforce the airframe of the Raven even further with alloys) and more,
  • all Hybrid installations (not convoys), cult bases and HQ's and every EXALT mission is now an infiltration mission; you haven't experienced true pain unless you've gone through a dozen ninjas using only leather attire, handguns and SMGs;
  • a solution to the 'Major League Baseball pitchers' problem: everyone has severely limited strength (soldiers top out at 30+x, with x depending on the blessings of the RNG), but all armors grant you up to 50 'free' weight points, so grenade ranges are much more realistic now,
  • a slight change to inventory: backpack is 3x4, and belt is 2x2 + 1 + 1x2, but you can no longer use shoulders or left leg for 2x1 items (right leg still works),
  • and more, including quite probably a number of bugs I haven't caught, since I've only made it to July 1999 so far.

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