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Messages - psavola

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Playthroughs / Re: OG TFTD playthrough
« on: November 06, 2022, 07:31:00 am »
Meridian has such a long list of names that he has to use battlescape tactics that ensure sufficient aquanaut rollover  :P. Also, not using dye grenades to provide cover is notable and probably intentional - it's somewhat boring and you must give the aliens some edge. On open maps like in the previous episode, not doing so is very risky (need quite a few scouts or fish food to spot the aliens, and those are very likely to be killed).

Is it intentional that an autopsy of any of the four aliens gives you alien containment, after you also have both cryogenics and cloning. If so, obtaining alien containment and getting sonic isn't so far off after all.

    listOrder: 4910 # listed after MC-Lab
    cost: 300
    points: 25
    # depends on alien cryogenics and cloning and alien autopsy

    cost: 0

Simultaneous attack with many barracudas (up to 4) may be fruitful against mid-large USOs (depending on armament).
Gas Cannon: H.Cruiser
AJAX and Gauss Cannon: Hunter
DUP and Sonic Oscillator: Predator
PWT: F.S.Cruiset and Battleship
Anything above requires certain barracuda sacrifices or multiple waves with missile type armament.

I think a typical tactic with vanilla is that you try to recover large or very large ufos only if they land - and start shooting down large ones once you get sonic oscillator (and don't try to team up on very large ones even then) instead of deploying a large number of barracudas to be able to team up against them.

My point is that why would you want to spend 2.4M per month for the rent of 4 barracudas (or even more, if you want to have interception capabilities around the globe) in order to shoot down mid-large UFOs?

That would make sense only at that point of the game where there are plenty of guaranteed UFOs in each month, so that you can be sure that you can get enough funding from selling UFO materials to cover your monthly deficit. For the first 6 months or so, it is possible that you can't recover enough. But at that point, you already have Manta, which essentially makes barracudas obsolete (even more so in this mod than in vanilla).

The balance in this mod makes shooting down even small subs suspect unless you have at least two barracudas. Even two barracudas entails a considerable maintenance cost in the early game, perhaps better spent on scientists to rush manta so that you don't need barracudas at all. This is made even easier in this mod, because you get manta so early in the game (you could get it built in May, or even April).

Work In Progress / Re: [WIP][SOURCEMOD][OXCE] Brutal-AI
« on: November 05, 2022, 07:11:18 am »
YouTube suggested the latest vid (attacking a large UFO). You could certainly see a difference there. The aliens seemed to be "sniping"  more, and rushing out of the ufo like a tsunami (in a regular game, you usually would need to wait for around turn 30 or so until every alien is out of the ufo). This is also a downside. As you could see, there might be even 4-5 aliens clustered together, easily killed with a single grenade. You may need to make the rushing out less aggressive and/or ensure that they don't stick around as easily killable clusters (like your soliders were). One criteria might be that they might prefer to move so that they could have enough TUs to end up in a covered spot and at the very least not next to other aliens.

As an improvement of your own battlescape tactics, you should always use smoke grenades if you don't have other cover and especially if you have many people in the same place (= otherwise an alien grenade magnet). The aliens can't get visibility on you while you are in a sufficiently thick smoke. So in that mission, you might have avoided almost all casualties by using a sufficient smoke cover.

Because the aliens don't have smoke grenades, they cannot protect themselves in this manner. But you should certainly try to avoid the aliens imitating the "basic" battlescape tactics where you deploy all your troops in the same place.

A very nasty alien tactic might be throwing grenades at smoke-covering areas, in the hopes that they would hit or wound someone. But this might be too brutal.

I have been playing this for a bit now. In my current, latest game I guess I was lucky as the aliens started a base building mission in my region and now I have two bases nearby, so I can collect trophies from their fleet supply cruisers.

I had one chance to try a very large sub early on. Xarquids that accompany gill men also seem to be very tough and deadly, and as they float, cannot be tackled by grenades. I had to abort the mission. But I keep wondering where else I could get Alien cryogenics and implanter to progress the tech tree (a battleship is equally unlikely for cryogenics). I wonder if I will have to wait for an artifact site mission to get started on MC labs and alien containment. Tasoths are pretty tough. Even 3 shots from gauss rifle from point blank range is not a guaranteed kill. So I suppose you might usually need to stick around with gauss stuff for quite a long while.

I guess one valid strategy with this mod is to try to avoid attacking subs with barracudas altogether (except very small ones). People have played TFTDwithout attacking any ufos in the early-midgame after all. (You may need to be prepared for base defense missions, however. I already had one, but against gill men it was very easy.) In my games, I have usually sacked the second barracuda at the end of January. With luck, you can get Manta in April, which can deal with small, even medium alien subs alone and you avoid the crippling rent costs.

The maintenance costs of base defenses seem to be so high that I think it will be a while until you can even consider building any.

Work In Progress / Re: [WIP][SOURCEMOD][OXCE] Brutal-AI
« on: November 04, 2022, 04:14:41 pm »
Here's some things that happen which can't necessarily be told from the video:

1. Vanilla AI limits itself to 1 psi-attack per unit per turn. This limit was removed so the amount of psi-attacks you have to endure against sectoids are essentially doubled.

The code appears to have something to this effect (_didPsi flag). But I keep wondering. I think I have seen numerous times missions where there is only one PSI-capable alien do multiple attacks during the turn (multiple "blips" on the same person, maybe even a different one). I would have even have sworn that. But maybe I am still mistaken or something else is going on (e.g., multiple signals are still actually one attack).

Good hint with the preprimed smoke-grenades. The code that scores the grenade-throwing needs to make sure it's actually something that can deal damage.

With current AI you can eliminate almost all impact of alien mind control by having a primed smoke grenade and dropping your hand-held weapons at the end of the turn (and picking them up again). The only thing you might lose is having your guy wander around (and possibly trigger proximity grenades). The game is going to be extremely brutal if AI under alien MC is made better and more realistic (e.g. throwing grenades, taking weapons out of your belt or backpack, picking up weapons), which might also be rather easy to implement. Some missions or campaigns might even become essentially impossible (with previous battlescape tactics) until you develop protections against MC.

Maybe a more realistic and brutal AI under MC could even be a separate feature with toggle on/off. I wonder if that could more easily be merged to mainstream.

Work In Progress / Re: [WIP][SOURCEMOD][OXCE] Brutal-AI
« on: November 04, 2022, 12:43:56 pm »
The only thing from the video I see that differs significantly from vanilla are grenades after mind control (or have I always avoided this by having a pre-primed smoke grenade, which the mind-controlled troops throw first). Though it is possible that lots of firing from every direction is made slightly more efficient in this case due to "information sharing" between the aliens. Obviously the example in the video is somewhat of a corner case, as no experienced player would dare to play in that manner even in the vanilla. So you would have been equally crushed with vanilla as well.

This mod does not change random USO generation. By the way, how do you recognize scripted vs. not scripted events???

Based on the mission, no. But in miissionScripts you can see a scripted ALIEN_PROBE_MISSION at the start of the game. Looking at the definions, such a mission is defined as a survey ship, escort and two cruisers. In my game, my radar detected only the escort and one cruiser.

Whatever you described is pretty much vanilla behavior that I have experienced many times. Once upon a time they all appear in the areas outside your radar range somewhere in other part of the globe. You don't get any money, any technology advancement and then boom: terror missions with Tasoths, Bio-drones, Reapers, Lobstermen, etc. That happened to me from time to time in vanilla games too. Nothing you can do about it. On lower difficulty levels player usually have enough time to evolve and build more bases with monthly income until attacks intensify. On SH it may be unforgiving.

I have never seen a complete lack of alien subs in my dozens of vanilla games. True, there may have often been only few UFOs in January/February (usually you get the 3 scripted ones), but zero in March as well? I don't recall a single play. By the end of March in TFTD you may even have completed all the UFO missions you need to do if you do speedrunning (except a very large lobsterman ufo).

One thing I wonder in particular is the following definion in missionScripts:

  - type: invasion # begins month 6 (July)
    firstMonth: 6

.. I wonder what is the default value and the behaviour (where can I find it out?). If the default TFTD value for the start of the "invasion" (whatever that implies in vanilla) is earlier, this might affect the amount of UFOs seen in this mod.

EDIT: found that in bin/standard/xcom2/missionScripts.rul the default definition is the same (but not sure if it actually does anything).

A somewhat strange playing experience with SH/IM so far.

In January, there were two scripted small UFOs with aquatoids. Since then I've had three terror missions with gillmen and deep ones (-> plastic aqua armor). There haven't been any sights of UFOs since those scripted two. In the council report at the end of March, apparently Free China signed a pact and Australasia was unhappy with my activity (of course I saw none of this as I had only bases in the US and Europe at that point).

Now, in the beginning of April, there appeared a ship terror mission with lobstermen. At this point I have 50 % gauss rifles and 50 % heavy gauss. I'm only researching vibroblade. Soon I'd be able to research manta. Capturing live aliens and getting toward sonic is still far away. I have not yet decided if I should try the mission or abort. Looking at the rulesets, gauss has 1.0 effectiveness against them so one might be able to make a scratch with this mod (vanilla would be hopeless). But regardless I guess the mission would still be brutal with SH/IM.

The lack of alien subs could be due to a very bad RNG, or the game is supposed to be very slow and have only terror missions in the first months. But this seems a bit strange.

I assume you were testing on latest published version?

Yes. I did reload and retried (and avoided clicking on deep one, which use OXCE extra features), so I could continue playing. I suppose this problem doesn't come up with OXC as you probably don't see those sprites (not sure about if you do MC though). So this is currently not an urgent problem.

With OXCE, the game crashed in the first terror mission when middle-button clicking a deep one. Error message: "OpenXcom has crashed: Image missing in 'BIGOBS.PCK' for item 'DEEP_ONE_WEAPON'". There is also a more detailed crash trace in the log, but I suppose that message is enough to fix it.

By turning off lazy loading (advanced options), there seemed be a few more issues which would also result in a crash in some circumstances:

Error for 'DEEP_ONE_WEAPON': Wrong index 2069 for surface set BIGOBS.PCK
Error for 'PLASMICIDE_WEAPON': Wrong index 2069 for surface set BIGOBS.PCK
Error for 'SQUIDFACE_WEAPON': Wrong index 2068 for surface set BIGOBS.PCK
Error for 'STR_BIODRONE_MELEE_WEAPON': Wrong index 2070 for surface set BIGOBS.PCK
Error for 'STR_HALLUCINOID_STUN_WEAPON': Wrong index 2069 for surface set BIGOBS.PCK
Error for 'STR_LOBSTERMAN_MELEE_WEAPON': Wrong index 2067 for surface set BIGOBS.PCK
Error for 'STR_TRISCENE_MELEE_WEAPON': Wrong index 2066 for surface set BIGOBS.PCK
Error for 'STR_XARQUID_DYE_WEAPON': Wrong index 2069 for surface set BIGOBS.PCK
Error for 'TENTACULAT_WEAPON': Wrong index 2068 for surface set BIGOBS.PCK
Error for 'ZOMBIE_WEAPON': Wrong index 2071 for surface set BIGOBS.PCK

The log also includes some different warnings wrt TRITON, which might be useful.

[02-11-2022_15-40-28]   [INFO]  Bad node in RMP file: ROUTES/TRITON.RMP Node #2 is outside map boundaries at X:10 Y:9 Z:1. Culling Node.
[02-11-2022_15-40-28]   [INFO]  RMP file: ROUTES/TRITON.RMP Node #1 is linked to Node #2, which was culled. Terminating Link.
[02-11-2022_15-40-28]   [INFO]  RMP file: ROUTES/TRITON.RMP Node #1 is linked to Node #2, which was culled. Terminating Link.
[02-11-2022_15-40-28]   [INFO]  RMP file: ROUTES/TRITON.RMP Node #0 is linked to Node #2, which was culled. Terminating Link.

Thanks. Loads properly, will playtest later. NB. There is a warning message, which didn't stop the game but may or may not become an issue later. It would be cool to address this in some update as well to get rid of the message: "Supressed Error for 'STR_LOBSTERMAN_GUARD': This unit can be recovered (in theory), but there is no corresponding item to recover."

The latest 1.12 fails to load on OXCE 7.8.1 with error message "[ERROR] During linking rulesets of armors: Error for 'COELACANTH_ARMOR': The first battle corpse item must be of item type 'corpse' (battleType: 11)".

In COELACANTH_ARMOR, there are corpse definions (COELACANTH_CORPSE_1..4) , but those have not been defined (commented out in items.rul), thus trying to pull in from vanilla, I suppose. I guess there might be a few more missing definions in the rulesets.

Released Mods / Re: [TFTD] [Expansion] TWoTS+ Release (v.2.52)
« on: November 01, 2022, 10:44:03 am »
Finished the SH/IM campaign. Overall, was lucky to avoid HKs appearing out of nowhere to kill the transports (at the early-midgame phase where you can't avoid it).

Other minor comments:
- I had to wait for about 2 months to get a Freak mission (except a ship terror mission, which would have been deadly) in Jan-Mar 2019, so I was stuck and not able to research Leviathan (which requires MC shields). Maybe the occurrence of minor Freak missions (very small/small subs) could be increased slightly.
- MC projector seems to have incorrect or misleading ufopedia text. The text seems to suggest that it boosts your MC capabilities; it does not (but some previous version might have, the code to do that is commented out in items.rul).
- I think I have already commented on UFOpedia/ruleset differences in certain advanced armors (for example, ion armor sonar range is different in UFOpedia entry and in the ruleset).
- Vibro knife is extremely useful right now if you have trained melee accuracy (easiest to do in gym). With 70-80 % hit chance and fixed 8 TUs you can essentially instakill everyone at long as you hit (except ghosts and similar special units). Even the drills don't always kill a lobster, and they will also miss sometimes. OTOH, if you don't have good melee accuracy, you miss a lot and maybe the drills may be better in some contexts. Even though I love it, I would still suggest some further balancing, for example reducing the damage and/or making it further in the research tree.
- The properties or Zrbite, Mag and ION armor are probably already decided. But I wonder what is the use case of ION armor. The shield might be cool especially for scouting or "enemy facing" units, but the other properties are much worse than MAG armor (sonar, heat vision, stamina, etc.). So in my SH/IM runs I haven't at least made any use of them.

Released Mods / Re: [TFTD] [Expansion] TWoTS+ Release (v.2.52)
« on: October 31, 2022, 05:20:56 am »
While MC-controlling a sharkman, I notied that you apparently cannot use its melee attack (in contrast to other aliens, such as lobstermen and hellcrabs, or tentaculat in vanilla). This is likely a bug, but I'm not sure if it's a bug in the rulesets or OXCE. The sharkmen are the only alien where meleeWeapon (STR_JAWS) is defined in units.rul.  The others have buildInWeaponSets or lobstermen a specialWeapon (at armors.rul). This for some reason likely results in a different behavior.

Edit: As another observation, is it intentional that MC Focuser exercises your melee accuracy? A very easy way to pump up the stat if so :-)

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