Author Topic: Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.  (Read 2207 times)

Offline zee_ra

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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.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2022, 08:12:02 am by zee_ra »

Offline krautbernd

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Re: Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2022, 10:50:45 am »
Remind me again what the research requirements and primary targets of the TORMENTOR are please, I must be misremembering them.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2022, 10:53:37 am by krautbernd »

Offline Juku121

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Re: Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2022, 12:31:03 pm »
Is this a trick question? Thunderstorm, Firestorm and Sentinel.

I personally don't like Zrbite being purchasable, but I can understand why it was made so. And if it is, making hybrid craft use Zrbite sounds quite reasonable.

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2022, 04:18:52 pm »
Hmm, it's a complex problem. I'll think it over during my upcoming holidays.

Offline krautbernd

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Re: Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2022, 05:07:40 pm »
Is this a trick question? Thunderstorm, Firestorm and Sentinel.

It was a rhetorical question, as the Tormentor has no connection to T'Leth related research topics or technologies. It is strictly related to the extraterrestial/UFO threat, and according to lore is also space-capable. On top of this Zrbite and Elerium are not equivalent and have different underlaying principles. The primary target of and motivation behind the interceptor reasearch chain are UFOs, not USOs.

I don't see at all how the Tormentor "fits the profile", or how this would even make sense progression wise, let alone why it should be needed. If anything Zrbite should be a finite resource like Elerium and not be purchasable.

Offline Juku121

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Re: Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2022, 08:33:58 pm »
That's how it is currently. But the Tormentor is a hybrid craft, and if Solarius were to decide Zrbite is an intermediate energy source for those and redid that part of the research tree, it wouldn't be all that strange.

Note that I'm not really on any 'side' here (excepting that I, too, dislike Zrbite being bought and sold), but zee_ra raises an interesting idea for a redesign. Personally, I'd rather if that energy went towards making UFOs more deadly instead, but that's off-topic now.

Offline krautbernd

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Re: Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2022, 10:37:16 pm »
That's how it is currently.
Yes, and that is my point. The TORMENTOR doesn't fit the profile. What OP is asking for is basically a new craft.

Offline Juku121

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Re: Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2022, 11:04:38 pm »
The Tormentor can be repurposed to fit the profile. It's not as if there's a great amount of lore behind its placement in the tech tree. And since both the Firestorm and the Sentinel have gotten a fair amount of criticism, I'd rather have one of them take the role of 'ultimate UFO-based interceptor' and move Tormentor to a different spot.

Perhaps there'd be a need for a proto-Firestorm to take the latter's place in the research tree as the first and most primitive UFO-based craft.


UFOs and air combat in general could use a moderate redesign to make more use of OXCE capabilities, so it'd be more varied and more dangerous. Piratez has a lot more interesting stuff than what we've got here. Doubt anything of the sort is going to happen soon, though.

« Last Edit: August 24, 2022, 06:30:43 am by Juku121 »

Offline zee_ra

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Re: Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2022, 07:48:29 am »
Hmm, it's a complex problem. I'll think it over during my upcoming holidays.

The reasoning is as follows.  Both Zrbite and E-115 could serve as a fuel and a catalyst.  In case of turbo-laser rifles, we see the latter usage of E-115.  Now, for propulsion, we have crafts that rely on gravitational waves -- a property of E-115 -- and on acceleration of matter -- something that Zrbite enables in ion-beam accelerator devices.  I think, it stands to reason that the latter type of craft (the ones relying on matter acceleration, which covers all atmospheric airplanes, and near space starships) should be able to take advantage of ion-beam acceleration technology.  The E-115 might as well serve as a power system catalyst powering these systems, and would be an ultimate case of hybrid technology.

The E-115 could be a requirement for constructing advanced matter-acceleration vessel.  The Zrbite might also be considered (in addition to E-115, so that advanced craft would e.g. require both Zrbite and E-115 investment for its construction).  However, E-115 needs not be its fuel, just like it is not required for turbo-laser rifles.  The Zrbite usage as a fuel could be justified by its role in the ion-beam acceleration designs.  I think, it should be understood, that it needs to be consumed to enable ion-beam accelerators to operate at the peak levels, while it might suffice as a catalyst for ion-beam accelerator operations at lower levels.  There's a difference in the energy levels required to achieve a speed of 4000 and of 7500.

It makes sense to see E-115 being consumable for the generation of gravity fields, but not so much for its use in the generation energy, whence its special properties could be utilized as having it as a catalyst in the fusion and fission designs (just as an example, to explain its usage in larger power plants).
« Last Edit: August 24, 2022, 07:54:27 am by zee_ra »

Offline Juku121

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Re: Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2022, 09:35:12 am »
It makes sense to see E-115 being consumable for the generation of gravity fields, but not so much for its use in the generation energy, whence its special properties could be utilized as having it as a catalyst in the fusion and fission designs (just as an example, to explain its usage in larger power plants).
I thought E-115 was used in a matter-antimatter reaction, and the special property of it was that you could induce said reaction via certain kinds of radiation, plus easily convert the resulting photons into other forms of EM radiation? Fusion is actually small potatoes compared to that.

Vanilla having fusion as something built upon AM was strange enough. Not sure how XCF changes this, if it does.

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2022, 10:41:20 am »
I thought E-115 was used in a matter-antimatter reaction, and the special property of it was that you could induce said reaction via certain kinds of radiation, plus easily convert the resulting photons into other forms of EM radiation? Fusion is actually small potatoes compared to that.

I am honestly unsure of how exactly it works in vanilla canon. But over the past years of modding and working with other modders, I gathered that E-115 can be used in two ways:
1) As power source: by "burning" it, you can achieve energy efficiency comparable to matter annihilation (like you mentioned);
2) As a battery: you can charge it with energy and then slowly release it, with no harm to the E-115 itself. This is obviously less canonical, but also X-Com doesn't know this method as it only barely can use E-115 in the simplest way.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2022, 04:47:59 pm by Solarius Scorch »

Offline krautbernd

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Re: Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2022, 01:21:14 pm »
At least according to "canon" lore (i.e. ufopedia), Elerium generates gravity waves "and other forms of energy" when bombarded with "certain particles" (whatever those are), with a conversion efficiency of 99%.

Zrbite, in contrast, only generates energy - but it's energy density it 10x that of "a nuclear unit" (at least that's my take regarding "[...]will generate more power than a nuclear unit of 10 times the size").

Zrbite itself is not used as a propulsion source, it is simply used for energy generation, while Elerium - inside of the UFO power source - is used to actually propel a craft via gravity manipulation.

According to lore, USOs/ion beam accelrators do not manipulate gravity at all, they work by propelling water (or any fluid, probably, given that they seem to work just fine in air).

Quote
The basis for their technology is the ION DISPLACER, utilising Zrbite as a catalyst, the engines displaces 100 times their own volume in water per second.

I am not entirely sure what the writers meant by "displacement" (does the engine "teleport" the water?), but to me this sounds more like some form of electrohydrodynamic drive (which would fit in with the "ion"-motive). Which, as you mind find, will not work all that well in space because space generally doesn't have all that much fluid in it to propel yourself with. And it probably would work worse in air than it would underwater.

Overall I don't think Zrbite has any actual advantages for air- or spacecraft, given that gravity manipulation means you can build reactionless drives and other funny stuff, something I'd argue is not at all what ion-beam accelerators do - they are based on far more "ordinary" principles if that can be said.

I think it would be a mistake to conflate Elerium and Zrbite and substitute one for the other in advanced craft, especially if they are - according to lore - space capable. Gravity manipulation (i.e. anti-gravity) would be hands down superior to any other form of propulsion, and Elerium is the only way to achieve that (outside of Ethereals and other PSI-shennanigans).

"Elerium" or element 115 has a somewhat rich history in regards to it's purported properties in "real world" ufology lore (gravity manipulation etc.) - not that the actual element 115 has any of those properties (it doesn't even have cool name). Is there any sci-fi/conspiracy/etc analog to Zrbite? The closest I can think of is "Orichalcum", which - at least in "Indiana Jones and Fate of Atlantis" - has been given high-energy properties. But that's Orichalcum, not "Zrbite".
« Last Edit: August 24, 2022, 01:45:48 pm by krautbernd »

Offline zee_ra

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Re: Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2022, 12:28:15 am »
At least according to "canon" lore (i.e. ufopedia), Elerium generates gravity waves "and other forms of energy" when bombarded with "certain particles" (whatever those are), with a conversion efficiency of 99%.

Zrbite, in contrast, only generates energy - but it's energy density it 10x that of "a nuclear unit" (at least that's my take regarding "[...]will generate more power than a nuclear unit of 10 times the size").

Zrbite itself is not used as a propulsion source, it is simply used for energy generation, while Elerium - inside of the UFO power source - is used to actually propel a craft via gravity manipulation.

According to lore, USOs/ion beam accelrators do not manipulate gravity at all, they work by propelling water (or any fluid, probably, given that they seem to work just fine in air).

I am not entirely sure what the writers meant by "displacement" (does the engine "teleport" the water?), but to me this sounds more like some form of electrohydrodynamic drive (which would fit in with the "ion"-motive). Which, as you mind find, will not work all that well in space because space generally doesn't have all that much fluid in it to propel yourself with. And it probably would work worse in air than it would underwater.

Overall I don't think Zrbite has any actual advantages for air- or spacecraft, given that gravity manipulation means you can build reactionless drives and other funny stuff, something I'd argue is not at all what ion-beam accelerators do - they are based on far more "ordinary" principles if that can be said.

I think it would be a mistake to conflate Elerium and Zrbite and substitute one for the other in advanced craft, especially if they are - according to lore - space capable. Gravity manipulation (i.e. anti-gravity) would be hands down superior to any other form of propulsion, and Elerium is the only way to achieve that (outside of Ethereals and other PSI-shennanigans).

"Elerium" or element 115 has a somewhat rich history in regards to it's purported properties in "real world" ufology lore (gravity manipulation etc.) - not that the actual element 115 has any of those properties (it doesn't even have cool name). Is there any sci-fi/conspiracy/etc analog to Zrbite? The closest I can think of is "Orichalcum", which - at least in "Indiana Jones and Fate of Atlantis" - has been given high-energy properties. But that's Orichalcum, not "Zrbite".

Thank you for sharing this.

The essential distinction that I'm making between the types of crafts is that there are those that propel matter (hot gas, basically) to achieve motion, and there are those that utilize gravity manipulation effects to achieve propulsion.  The former ones (that propel matter) are along the lines of the subs, even flying subs in TFTD, which used ion-beam accelerators.  Cf. the article on the ion-beam accelerators at the https://www.ufopaedia.org/index.php/Ion-Beam_Accelerators.  Note that their basic physical effect is the generation of water jets by displacing 100 their volume per second.  In principle, it is conceivable that the substance being displaced could be gas, and the ion-beam accelerators could be operating as the highly advanced jet engine, where gas needs not burn even.  The role of Zrbite in those units is specifically as a catalyst.

Considering the capability of Zrbite to also be a power source proper, it's not inconceivable to see it being a source of power for the unit that confers additional acceleration to the gas, after it had gone through the ion-beam accelerators.

There are good reasons why atmospheric air is a good component of a propulsion -- the jet engines are much more energy-efficient than rockets.

The crafts like AVENGER, LIGHTNING, and FIRESTORM operate on a different principle -- the manipulation of gravitic fields -- and need special properties of elerium for propulsion.

The Zrbite is a much more terrestrial element in that regard, and it uses the resources of the planet (water or air) to achieve the propulsion.

When thinking about the "displacement" in the description of the ion-beam accelerator, I'm thinking about its ability to confer acceleration to the matter.  Since it's an ion-beam, I assume that water is most likely turned into ionized gas.  (The colder version, of water being somehow "charged" becomes too much of a sci-fi stretch to me; but then again, why not consider that, if only for the sci-fi sake?).

Also, an good point of the tactics and strategy in this game is maximizing the use of terrestrial technology to match and even outmatch the alien technological edge.  The atmospheric flight is an innate feature of a terrestrial civilization, and when pushed to its limits, becomes competitive to the technology that the stellar civilization had brought with it, when played upon the terrestrial realm.  The terrestrial technologies have no to limited use in space (though, not really in the near space), and certainly in the stellar realm.  However, they excel particularly in their own realm.

Now, the Zrbite, being a much more terrestrial material, has one very distinct advantage.  It is accessible, in contrast to Elerium.  Zrbite has some justification in the realm of advanced fission concepts.  It is a much more near sci-fi, the 2096 perhaps, rather than the star-trek, and even post-star-trek era.  The Zrbite, therefore, is a viable fuel, being not cheap, but accessible, and by the time it becomes purchasable, certainly affordable (yet still not exactly cheap).

The Elerium is a stellar dream.  It is suitable for very few, very special crafts.  It could not be a mainstay of military, certainly not in the realm of propulsion.  It is the inaccessible dream, of which only shards could be had.  The Zrbite on the other hand, is a highly advanced material, a component of an advanced terrestrial industry.  It is a more chthonic and more real dream and an alien, oceanic, chthonic nightmare made to serve the x-com.

The Zrbite cannot compete with Elerium in the domain of maximum, ultimate performance.  Yet, it is certainly good enough, and could enable some very highly advanced designs and capabilities.  The Elerium is the stuff of olympic champions.  The Zrbite is the stuff of actual over-achievers.

Once again, the Zrbite enables not the long-range space crafts.  It enables excellent terrestrial (and perhaps even lunar, but that's a topic for another debate) fighter and interceptor designs.

Consider the following specs.  The most advanced terrestrial hybrid craft is TORMENTOR.
Code: [Select]
  - name: STR_TORMENTOR
    category: STR_CRAFT
    requires:
      - STR_ULTIMATE_HUNTER_CRAFT
    space: 40
    time: 28000
    cost: 2500000
    requiredItems:
      STR_ALIEN_ALLOYS: 120
      STR_AQUA_PLASTICS: 120
      STR_UFO_POWER_SOURCE: 4
      STR_UFO_NAVIGATION: 8
      STR_OPTRONIC_PARTS: 40
      STR_ALIEN_ELECTRONICS: 2
      STR_ION_ACCELERATION: 4
      STR_ELERIUM_115: 200
      STR_ZRBITE: 200
    requiresBaseFunc: [WORKS]
    listOrder: 7590
In principle, the requirements for Elerium are less tied to the lore of the craft than those of Zrbite.  However, I think it makes sense to add for the sake of good game setting, and they are also justifiable as being a part of some special and highly compact power sources.  Maybe Elerium serves as a source of radiation (high-energy gamma and neutron perhaps) to initiate the controlled fusion reaction in the fusion power cells, which are in turn used to power some stages of the jet acceleration process.  In fact, the Zrbite may itself be an element whose fission is initiated by some high-energy radiation.  I think, there are some notions of using 1-10 GeV neutron streams to initiate fission in a wider range of nuclear fuels, and enable advanced reactor designs.  So, the idea of combining unique properties of Elerium to generate high-energy particles to initiate the energy production in Zrbite, all in a very compact package, is actually pretty sound.

As a footnote.  Considering the use of Zrbite in sonic weapons.  We may assume, those uses are associated with a less efficient breakdown of Zrbite in such weapons.  The Elerium enables much higher energy efficiency.  Something along those lines.

The basic terrestrial jet engine (not yet the ion-beam accelerator) craft:
Code: [Select]
  - name: STR_THUNDERSTORM
    category: STR_CRAFT
    requires:
      - STR_THUNDERSTORM_INTERCEPTOR
    space: 33
    time: 12000
    cost: 1700000
    requiredItems:
      STR_ALIEN_ALLOYS: 50
      STR_UFO_NAVIGATION: 2
    requiresBaseFunc: [WORKS]
    listOrder: 7530

I left the design of Dropship as a more conservatively TFTD one, but then again, it might as well be modified to require Elerium too.  I wonder, if the Dropship should rely on a combination of aqua plastics and tritanium, just like the Tormentor is.  Perhaps not, given their different operational domain.
Code: [Select]
  - name: STR_DROPSHIP
    category: STR_CRAFT
    requires:
      - STR_HEAVY_TRANSPORTER
    space: 45
    time: 7000
    cost: 1200000
    requiredItems:
      STR_AQUA_PLASTICS: 240
      STR_UFO_NAVIGATION: 4
      STR_ION_ACCELERATION: 4
      STR_ZRBITE: 200
    requiresBaseFunc: [WORKS]
    listOrder: 7610

The crafts that rely on gravitic field control are kept intact.
Code: [Select]
  - name: STR_AVENGER
    category: STR_CRAFT
    requires:
      - STR_ULTIMATE_CRAFT
    space: 45
    time: 34000
    cost: 4500000
    requiredItems:
      STR_ALIEN_ALLOYS: 120
      STR_UFO_POWER_SOURCE: 2
      STR_UFO_NAVIGATION: 1
      STR_ALIEN_ELECTRONICS: 1
    requiresBaseFunc: [WORKS]
    listOrder: 7700

Code: [Select]
  - name: STR_LIGHTNING
    category: STR_CRAFT
    requires:
      - STR_NEW_FIGHTER_TRANSPORTER
    space: 34
    time: 18000
    cost: 1500000
    requiredItems:
      STR_ALIEN_ALLOYS: 85
      STR_UFO_POWER_SOURCE: 1
      STR_UFO_NAVIGATION: 1
    requiresBaseFunc: [WORKS]
    listOrder: 7650

Code: [Select]
  - name: STR_FIRESTORM
    category: STR_CRAFT
    requires:
      - STR_NEW_FIGHTER_CRAFT
    space: 30
    time: 14000
    cost: 1200000
    requiredItems:
      STR_ALIEN_ALLOYS: 65
      STR_UFO_POWER_SOURCE: 1
      STR_UFO_NAVIGATION: 1
      STR_OPTRONIC_PARTS: 3
    requiresBaseFunc: [WORKS]
    listOrder: 7680

I would appreciate the feedback on the use of Alien Electronics vs the Optronic Parts.  With the former (the alien electronics) being an irreplaceable resource, while with sectopod corpses providing a good supply of it, the situation looks rather interesting.

The UFO navigation blocks provide an ample supply of optronic parts.  So ample, that I increased the requirements for those in certain weapons from 1 and 2 to 8 and 20, and for hyperwave decoder to 40.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2022, 12:47:31 am by zee_ra »

Offline zee_ra

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Re: Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2022, 03:19:49 am »
The Tormentor can be repurposed to fit the profile. It's not as if there's a great amount of lore behind its placement in the tech tree. And since both the Firestorm and the Sentinel have gotten a fair amount of criticism, I'd rather have one of them take the role of 'ultimate UFO-based interceptor' and move Tormentor to a different spot.

Perhaps there'd be a need for a proto-Firestorm to take the latter's place in the research tree as the first and most primitive UFO-based craft.


UFOs and air combat in general could use a moderate redesign to make more use of OXCE capabilities, so it'd be more varied and more dangerous. Piratez has a lot more interesting stuff than what we've got here. Doubt anything of the sort is going to happen soon, though.

How are Piratez different?  What do you have in mind w.r.t. the redesign?  The combat is already not entirely trivial, with piloting skill playing a major role.

Offline krautbernd

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Re: Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2022, 03:54:32 am »
The crafts like AVENGER, LIGHTNING, and FIRESTORM operate on a different principle -- the manipulation of gravitic fields -- and need special properties of elerium for propulsion.

So does the TORMENTOR.

Also, an good point of the tactics and strategy in this game is maximizing the use of terrestrial technology to match and even outmatch the alien technological edge.  The atmospheric flight is an innate feature of a terrestrial civilization, and when pushed to its limits, becomes competitive to the technology that the stellar civilization had brought with it, when played upon the terrestrial realm.

None of X-COMs "terrestial" craft are in any way competetive or comparable. All craft that are remotely competetive rely on alien technology. The best "human technology" can do is the Interceptor which can be outrun by even the smallest UFO.

Now, the Zrbite, being a much more terrestrial material

Zrbite is of alien origin, it's as "terrestrial" as Elerium.

The Elerium is a stellar dream.  It is suitable for very few, very special crafts.  It could not be a mainstay of military, certainly not in the realm of propulsion.

You will find that X-COM only operates "very few, very special crafts". X-COM isn't "the military", nor are any of it's craft the mainstay of such.

It is the inaccessible dream, of which only shards could be had.

Fortunately the space aliens seme to have no problems in supplying X-COM with those shards on a regular basis, just as the underwater-aliens seem to have no problem suppyling Zrbite to Hydrospace Dynamics which in turn supply X-COM with it. Two sides of the same coin, really.
Elerium isn't "an inaccessible dream". MAGMA seems to have no trouble acquiring that stuff, nor do the MIB and probably OSIRON as well.

The Zrbite on the other hand, is a highly advanced material, a component of an advanced terrestrial industry.

Yeah no, that's an outright lie. "The Zrbite" is, so far as we know, not part of any "advanced terrestial industry", nor is it a highly advanced terrestial material, on the other hand, Elerium is already part of the "terrestial industry", one way or another:

a) Zrbite is of alien origin, just like Elerium. The ufopedia article outright states this.
b) No lore states anything regarding Zrbite being "a component of terrestial industry", nor can X-COM buy any Zrbite-based weapons or equipment (please correct if I should have missed this).
c) MIB use "terrestial" Elerium-based weapons and power-armor and MAGMA will provide X-COM with Elerium-powered exoskeletons (if you share elerium battery technology). OSIRON seems to have access to elerium-based technology as well (->Magneto-Plasma Gun).

Curiously enough there seems to be quite a bit of "terrestial" elerium-based technolgy apart from X-COM's. How many "terrestial industry" examples for Zrbite can you point to?


EDIT: just noticed your "specs":
Consider the following specs.  The most advanced terrestrial hybrid craft is TORMENTOR.
Code: [Select]
  - name: STR_TORMENTOR
    category: STR_CRAFT
    requires:
      - STR_ULTIMATE_HUNTER_CRAFT
    space: 40
    time: 28000
    cost: 2500000
    requiredItems:
      STR_ALIEN_ALLOYS: 120
      STR_AQUA_PLASTICS: 120
      STR_UFO_POWER_SOURCE: 4
      STR_UFO_NAVIGATION: 8
      STR_OPTRONIC_PARTS: 40
      STR_ALIEN_ELECTRONICS: 2
      STR_ION_ACCELERATION: 4
      STR_ELERIUM_115: 200
      STR_ZRBITE: 200
    requiresBaseFunc: [WORKS]
    listOrder: 7590

lol no, that's not how that works at all, unless you want the TORMENTOR to not use Elerium OR Zrbite as a fuel. Might I suggest shelving the idea instead? Because this entirely pointless. How are those material costs even balanced in regards to any other craft?
« Last Edit: August 25, 2022, 04:15:52 am by krautbernd »