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Messages - zee_ra

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166
Something something power systems something something energy source something something quantum.

I think, the idea with plasma cannon using elerium as ammunition is a sound one, and represents the basic notion of the power source being built-in into the beam cannons.  In fact, the munitions in the kinetic cannons also serve as a power source for those weapons.

In that vein, it makes sense to make such systems interchangeable in a craft.  After all, the cost of beam amounts to the cost of its munitions.

By the way, a similar system could be applied to shield systems.

This way, there's no argument about the dependence on a craft's power source.  Only considerations whether the mounts and liftoff capacity are sufficient to support weapons of given size remains.

167
The X-Com Files / Re: Xcom Files: Why so many UFOs?
« on: August 24, 2022, 07:16:04 am »
  • Smoke also sucks against aliens since they mostly have heatvision and you usually don't. So they tend to spot you first. Kinda mirrors their night vision advantage. And aliens are almost uniformly all snipers.


Without serious armour, the tactics against aliens is generally as follows.  (A) Against surface aliens outside the vessel, use explosives extensively.  (B) Against aliens inside the vessel, setup ambushes at doors with hand-to-hand weapons (prods and blades).  (C) Against aliens underwater, outside the vessel, use probes and surface features, and use more powerful weapons, like e.g. Dagon's staff.

It's not entirely impossible to take on a battleship with mortars and rockets, and with only a heavy tritanium suit.  Ideally, though, Juggernaut armours should be employed for such fights.

In principle, with a couple of blaster launchers, the weaker armours remain very, very viable.  Though, by that point (whence a blaster launcher is researched), a Juggernaut suit should be available technologically.

Now, a question to an experienced player: what if you got a lobstermen assault mission, while only having heavy tritanium suits and kinetic weapons (even with Tt, for the sake of an argument) available.

168
The X-Com Files / Re: Xcom Files: Why so many UFOs?
« on: August 24, 2022, 06:46:45 am »
Interesting. But I'm not sure whether several of these suggestions really work out:
  • Using the Mudcrawler on random mansions in the ass end of nowhere means you must build a temporary base with hangars, living quarters and perhaps stores. That's about 1.15-1.75 million dollars, more than you'd usually gain from a single assault on even the highest-tier mansion.
  • Smoke means your troops are firing at a penalty. So are theirs, but theirs can outnumber you by quite a margin (Red Dawn, EXALT and BL depending on their team composition and where they actually move during the mission). And smoke tends to work against you more than against the enemy due to the "You hit me, I spot you, anywhere!" mechanic.

    Sniper rifles in the hands of high-accuracy troops mitigate the penalty quite a bit, but sniper rifles used that way are good for one shot per turn, at best.
  • Smoke also sucks against aliens since they mostly have heatvision and you usually don't. So they tend to spot you first. Kinda mirrors their night vision advantage. And aliens are almost uniformly all snipers.
  • In brief, hoping that smoke will hide you from the enemy is folly, unless you never attack anyone (and in that case, you're not a 'sniper'). Hoping it'll provide cover is a gamble. Only against non-sniper enemies or combined with actual hard cover does it of work. Mostly.
  • I am extremely doubtful of the general early applicability of mortars and rocket launchers against terror ships. The map is usually crawling with baddies, there are alien laser turrets that can take a rocket round or three and stay in the game. I can see it happening with a favourable starting position, map layout and/or a weaker enemy race (floaters&reapers :) ). But in general, the margin of error is just too damn small without strong armour and armor-piercing weapons.
  • I do agree that mansion maps are uniquely suited to mortars due to the  open-air nature of your starting position, and the general openness of the map.
  • As mentioned before, grenades with their ridiculous range and accuracy make the game so much easier it's almost cheating.
  • The 'occasionally rolling back into auto-saved positions' bit is probably the biggest contributor towards no casualties at all.

The mansions could be stormed with OSPREYs.  I never found a need to use a mudcrawler.  The only instance had been when it was forced upon in Dimension X.  By that time, the soldiers wore Juggernaut armor, and didn't even need rockets.  Guess why?  (Answer: the psi ams + turbolasers were more than sufficient).

The Galil + Desert Eagle is a nice combo for any smokescreen tactics.  The limited use of grenades is possible in such scenarios, but I assure you that one sniper shot per turn tactics, with movement behind the smoke screen cover is a very workable one.

When you storm a larger cult installation at lower tech, you need three things: (1) OSPREY to carry 16 troops, (2) armored vest, better if tritanium, (3) explosives, with at last 2 dynamites primed per soldier at a minimum.  The explosives are absolutely essential for storming the mansions at lower tech, especially before the acquisition of miniguns, mortars, and rocket launchers.


169
The X-Com Files / Re: Sonic munitions disassembly for Zrbite.
« on: August 24, 2022, 06:37:56 am »
I don't recall how exactly I got 5000, but the idea was to consider the time it takes to make an Alien Grenade and a Sonic Pulser from scratch, and multiply Alien Grenade breakdown time by that. Looks more like 5 * 400 = 2000 right now.

I think, a good argument for specific numbers would be to reference the similar numbers for the disassembly of plasma-based items.  E.g. for a heavy plasma clip, the time cost to make is 80, while to break down is 400, or about 20.0%.  For a plasma rifle, the numbers are 80/320, or about 25.0%.  For alien grenade, 200/400 or 50.0%.



170
The X-Com Files / Re: Minor changes
« on: August 24, 2022, 06:17:47 am »
@zee_ra: Heavy Pike is already todolisted.

The mission "Cruise Liner Raid" is still played on the large version.

I also noticed that the dream levels use large maps, with more than 3 height levels.

In general, the smaller maps in this game don't feel so really limiting, except perhaps for the fact that sometimes a tactical approach from afar would have presented more opportunities for use of heavier ordnance from a larger distance.  In practice, though, the fight for the landing position is unavoidable, and hard to argue against, and the mortars are perfectly usable even in close landing scenarios.  It really takes a turn to move the soldiers in position.  With rockets, it's not uncommon to find the troops firing on the first round, and taking cover behind ship and smoke.  All in all, the smaller maps still feel quite adequate.  It is a consequence of their good design.  The larger maps tend to add more tedium in general, and with the larger number of missions in this game, only contribute to the longplay fatigue, even for an enthusiast.

171
The X-Com Files / Re: Sonic munitions disassembly for Zrbite.
« on: August 24, 2022, 06:11:19 am »
All right, I'll cut these time requirements to roughly 1/3 of the current costs.
As for the sonic cannon, I'll withhold for now, until I test it better.

Sounds good.  Please note that the grenade reprocessing cost of 5000 is an outlier and excessive, even compared to the Elerium variant.  In principle, it's not particularly pertinentent, due to the utility of sonic pulsers as compact and lightweight HE package replacements.

I wonder, what test case do you have in mind?  I find the tactics with extensive psi use with subsequent application of a sword to be very effective.

Also, I wonder, if there's a way to produce the vibro blade?  It may be less competitive with e.g. a psi blade, but a good consistent damage maker for less psi experienced soldiers on execution duty during underwater engagements.

I wonder, if there's a rationale for the sonic cannon not having a mode with fewer shots?  What about a 2-shot snap shot?  Also, the explosive shots could in principle have 5 charges instead of suggested 10 above (note e.g. the case of UAC rocket launcher).  Since those are Zrbite based, it stands to reason that the additional power in a compact package is justified.

172
The X-Com Files / Re: Bugs, crashes, typos & bad taste
« on: August 23, 2022, 09:35:27 am »
We call this "swallowing" or "eating whole". 8)

I wonder, if it's possible to specify in weapon properties (I assume, under "items") that a weapon should never disintegrate upon impact?  I'd like to e.g. have a 200-power laser, that burns holes through the bodies, not disintegrates them in whole.

173
The X-Com Files / Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.
« on: August 23, 2022, 07:58:43 am »
Since Zrbite becomes a later game commodity available for purchase, and since it is both a fuel and a catalyst in the ion beam accelerators, it stands to reason that it could serve both as a component and fuel in advanced atmospheric, and also near space engines.  Note that the article about STARFIGHTER also mentions its advanced ion engines.

I think that the more advanced crafts should be able to use Zrbite as a fuel, and still have their excellent stats.  Those are essentially even better hypersonic variants of the hypersonic THUNDERSTORM vessel.  The latter should be understood as operating at the limit of accessible high energy chemistry, without the essential use of alien propulsion tech.  Therefore, a slight extension of this tech with ion beam accerators should yield a more advanced hypersonic craft.  The TORMENTOR fits the profile.

It stands to argue that the space-capable crafts that rely on modulation of gravity waves, of which AVENGER and LIGHTNING are presumably one such examples of, should still rely on Elerium for fuel.  However, anything atmospheric and oceanic, like Dropship and Tormentor, should rely in general on Zrbite.

174
A question about the planned heavy version of the Pike: what should it require (besides the Pike itself)? I don't want to give it exactly the same prerequisites, because then you'd only get one article automatically displayed, and that isn't elegant. Then again, I can't think of any prerequisites which wouldn't feel forced.

I tried to make an experimental version of Pike, that fits only in heavy launcher (type 3) slot, and has 4 seconds reload time on aggressive setting, with a magazine on 9.  All other parameters were the same.  It seemed like a good aerial MLRS sort of system.  The conclusion has been as follows.  While such configuration had been advantageous, in the end, it had not proven itself more efficient at large versus gauss cannon based configurations.  Indeed, four THUNDERSTORM crafts with good pilots, and extra accelerators, are sufficient to down even a battleship.  The use of Pike or Stromlance only adds more logistical and production burden.  In fact, with Stormlance, an issue of non-renewable resource utilization is added.


175
For now I set it up the same as the earlier missiles. It can easily be changed by simply editing research costs.

I think, it would suffice to merely enable the use of cannons everywhere the beams and heavy missiles could be used.  Also, it would be nice to allow the use of beams everywhere the heavy missiles could be used.  Basically, 3 becomes [0, 1, 3], and 1 becomes [0, 1].  Allowing beams where cannons are available is not really necessary.

Considering the documentation, it might suffice to mention this substitution / compatibility in a general article.  Each specific craft article needs not mention this substitution, and could be understood as outlining a reference usage, which could be extended in a standard way, without being mentioned specifically.

176
Very strange comment. How can you do any serious mission with DRAGONFLY if they are challenging enough even with OSPREY?
In my playthroughs I always get Kitsune far earlier then I research SKRANGER. It, of course depends on priorities, and I have no incentive to rush for SKRANGER when I have OSPREY.
But CF105-ARROW is not designed for fighting UFOs. It's main purpose is to spot cult mansions. Also it can catch syndicate's DRAGONFLYs while "Little Bird" cannot.
As for armament, pretty much everything can be shot down with Avalanche without taking a backfire. I with there were some benefits to use anything besides Avalanche, but I don't think there is.

It's not entirely impossible to take on a cult mansion with 8 soldiers, armored with heavy tritanium suits.  The caveat is that the automated mortar almost becomes a requirement in such circumstances.  Even rocket launchers are just barely sufficient to consistently win on superhuman.  With 16 soldiers, armored in heavy tactical suits or basic tritanium vests, such missions are far easier, with only 4 common mortars being sufficient, and 2 high explosive, or even dynamic packages per each rifleman.

I think, OSPREY becomes virtually a requirement for most early missions that involve at least a cult base (not even a mansion) at the earlier tech level (i.e. no heavy tritanium suit and no automated mortars).  While the SKYRANGER and SKYMARSHALL could be skipped, and reasonably so, in favor of both Kitsune and Dropshit, the OSPREY appears to be an unskippable requirement for a completionist player (who completes all missions).

177
The X-Com Files / Re: Sonic munitions disassembly for Zrbite.
« on: August 23, 2022, 07:25:28 am »
A really good idea, I'm doing this.

Thank you for taking this into consideration.

Please allow me to share some notes, after a most recent playthrough.  I find that the only viable costs for Zrbite extraction are around 400-600.  Otherwise, even with two large workshops, the extraction becomes so time-consuming that it hardly ever finds use until the Zrbite becomes available for regular purchase.

I also found that the presence of the reasonably priced (time-wise) extraction options enables an advantageous use of both X-Com sonic weapons (actually, sonic cannon mostly) and the dropship vessel.

I also did a further experiment with replacing Elerium with Zrbite for the TORMENTOR vessel, and found that the general mission Zrbite usage had still been reasonable even then, and the 400-600 Zrbite extraction operations had provided just enough compensation, until the finding of Hydro Dynamics.

I also found that editing heavy sonic cannon focused charge to contain 10 shots, even if it costs 40 Zrbite to produce (scaled from the original 4 Zrbite per shot) still fits within this economics, though perhaps just barely enough, if the cannon gets used regularly on the then-common Lobsterman missions.  I think, it would be more reasonable to have the focus module use 1 Zrbite per shot.  This is more consistent with how Elerium is treated (e.g. in case of a plasma cannon).

Finally, replacing the Elerium guided rocket with Zrbite powered guided rocket (same explosive damage type, with type 3 uniform distribution), costing 3 aqua plastics plus 1 Zrbite yields a very useful result.  Now, I'm thinking that a 3 aqua plastic plus 3 tritanium plus 1 Zrbite shrapnel guided rocket, at 200 damage, would be a great addition.  In general, guided rockets are indispensable for base defense and other general offensives.

I would like to experiment with a gas rocket.  It should cost 3 aqua plastics, but I'm not sure if it should also include any Zrbite costs.

178
The X-Com Files / Re: Any special requirements to make gauss weapons?
« on: July 31, 2022, 05:49:08 am »
Oof, that was a trip. Sent a crew to a hybrid embassy base, snatched an engineer and ran away. Engineer led me to UFO power, which gives me Mass Drivers... and I presume once that is complete I'll finally be on to Gauss! My goal is to have a crew outfitted with Gauss before the alien invasion proper, which is certainly looking possible right now.

On the subject of esoteric weapons having special effects - Lasers should blind the targets similar to a flashbang. (Yeah, in real life the blindness would be permanent but Aliens I guess.)

You could explore the tech tree by middle-clicking on a tech, and also by pressing 'qq' on the main screen.  Also, by using https://xcf.trigramreactor.net.  With respect to gauss technology, you may find that there's a lot of research to be accomplished, and a lot of aliens to capture.  In general, when you don't have advanced equipment, you are only able to capture in the final stages of the battle, when about 10 enemies are left on the card.  The best sites for early capture are the hybrid embassies and UFOs between small and medium (e.g. harvester) size.

179
This is more of a problem of the Kitsune being available so early, not an issue with the Sky... craft.

The SKYRANGER, SKYMARSHALL, and DRAGONFLY are too weak to be a main troop carrier.  In a sense, they're hardly different from OSPREY.  They are too easy to intercept by even a very basic enemy, which is a source of major disability.


You also get a speed boost from the aircraft itself 'carrying' the bullets.

That may be so in case of head-on course, but the situation is reverse for the intercept course.

The cannon confers additional relative speed to the projectiles, so we may assume the crafts to be stationary, if their speeds are matched.  When maneuvering comes into play, the situation becomes quite distinct, though.

I disagree when it comes do hypervelocity cannons like Gauss/MD. These must already have that problem solved to even work. I suppose making the autocannons a separate weapon type and removing that would work better.

This speed of beam propagation is still negligible compared to the speed of light, or a large fraction of thereof (even e.g. 10%).  Note that even in the case of plasma, the beam consists of particles contained by a gravitic field.

For all practical purposes, the beams are instantaneous.

RL autocannons already can be carried internally, even if in many cases they aren't. F-35A has its GAU-12 within the fuselage, for example, while F-35B and Harriers carry theirs externally.

You also get a speed boost from the aircraft itself 'carrying' the bullets.

I almost forgot, but it's something that might have been implemented since 70s in military fighters by the major powers.  Thank you for mentioning that.

That should apply for beam weapons as well, though.

Consider the description of a plasma beam.  It is mentioned that the beam is shaped with the aid of gravitic field.  Hence, the greater range.

Considering the laser, it's easier to shape the flow of photons inside the cannon than it is to e.g. orient a whole cannon (which would be necessary in case of a kinetic weapon, like gauss cannon).

180
Let me adjust my original suggestion to the following one.

  • Replace the cannon slot on any craft faster than RAVEN (or perhaps, another pre-defined number, sufficiently below the 4000 corresponding to THUNDERSTORM in particular, and hyper-sonic threshold in general) with the beam slot.  This represents the cost of fighting at the hypersonic velocities: the use of cannon simply becomes impractical at that point.
  • Make PIKE missiles available in heavy slots, with 50% greater magazine, as opposed to 100% greater magazine capacity as had been the case for STORMLANCE and STINGRAY.  This represents a practical replacement of GAUSS CANNON capabilities available on lower speed tier crafts with similar, but albeit more limited, capabilities on higher speed tier crafts.

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