Author Topic: Does XCOM need to manufacture *everything*?  (Read 1107 times)

Offline MKSheppard

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Does XCOM need to manufacture *everything*?
« on: June 16, 2023, 04:14:43 am »
I grabbed ChatGPT and asked it to do some basic math for me:

1. Calculate for me the surface area (all four walls, roof and floor) of a typical US trailer park home. It's about 252 m2.

2.) Assuming that the surfaces (all four walls, roof and floor) of the trailer park home are 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick; and the material has a density of 1700 kg/m3 (about the same density as Magnesium)... a medium scout recovery would get you 10,700 kg of alien alloys.

Given that a Medium Scout gets you 11 alien alloys; one unit of alien alloys is about 1000~ kg roughly if we are going by magnesium density.

3.) Doing some rough volume/mass calculations on various items:

0.00388793 kg per 5.56mm bullet @ 11,340 kg/m3 density of lead = 0.00000034 m3 volume
0.00971984 kg per 7.62mm bullet @ 11,340 kg/m3 density of lead = 0.00000086 m3 volume
0.0647989 kg per 14.5mm bullet @ 11,340 kg/m3 density of lead = 0.00000571 m3 volume

For body armor; the typical SAPI plate insert is about 0.001875 m3 in volume.

1 unit (about 1000 kg) of alien alloys (at 1700 kg/m3) would get me:

1.7~ million 5.56mm rounds
686,000 x 7.62mm rounds
100,000 x 14.5mm rounds
150 x Body Armor Plate Sets

So realistically; you shouldn't really have to manufacture "simple" stuff like ammunition and body armor -- even if we go to a fully enclosed suit of body armor -- the surface area of a human is about 2 square meters. At 1700 kg/m3 and 1.5 cm thickness; you're only consuming about 50~ kilograms of alien alloy for a power suit; or about 20 suits per 1 unit (1000 kg) of alien alloy.

Even if there's a lot of "losses" in manufacturing alien alloy stuff to specification; you'd still be able to get plenty of "simple" things per alien alloy.

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Does XCOM need to manufacture *everything*?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2023, 02:33:12 pm »
Even if the math is correct (I haven't checked), there are some assumptions here which may be disputable:
1) The walls are no less than 1 inch thick (not necessarily true).
2) They are made of 100% pure alien alloys (may or may not be true).
3) 100% of this material can be recovered and reused (unlikely).
4) Alien Alloys weigh as much as magnesium (debatable, even though magnesium is light).

And all this plain ignores the fact that the from an alien base you only recover 1/15th (if I remember correctly) of what you would get from a UFO of the same size... Which is a huge question mark and indicates that the problem is MUCH more complicated than that.

Offline MKSheppard

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Re: Does XCOM need to manufacture *everything*?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2023, 11:13:16 pm »
I know that there's a lot of uncertainty bars here about just how much you recover from an UFO/Alien Base as you point out.

But even with an order of magnitude difference in our estimates, "small stuff" like bullets or suits of personal armor shouldn't be that hard to find the material for as an afterthought in the tons of the stuff you seize (all the more so since you can manufacture alien alloys yourself once you research them).

A little bit more abstraction would be nice in UFO/TFTD, because a lot is already abstracted -- i.e. you don't personally wheel and deal for personnel -- the game abstracts the "behind the scenes" maneuvering during which US Army Green Berets are "sheep dipped" and read into XCOM as new squaddies -- you just order new soldiers and they arrive a few days later.

More mods IMHO need to abstract more of the X-COM economy --  realistically, XCOM shouldn't have to manufacture every single thing -- they can "sub" a lot out to trusted "black project" tier 1 contractors (Lockheed Martin Skunkworks, etc); but as the "wow!" potential of the item goes up, the more X-COM would need to do "in house" -- i.e. man portable energy (laser) weapons or plasma weapons are such a huge leap that while random components could be made through contractors -- final assembly would have to be in XCOM labs to maintain control of the technology.

Offline SuperCaffeineDude

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Re: Does XCOM need to manufacture *everything*?
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2023, 10:40:45 am »
I think high yield isn't really an argument to bypass manufacture.

I believe xcom is a top secret service agency, it has its own R&D on-site in-game, you would imagine it doesn't really want to involve large companies out there that know about Xcom, or with their own agenders. Xcom is a small force at the bleeding-edge, less so a large multi-national army like the UN or simply a spec-ops department (like SEALs/SAS/etc.), everything is played close to their chests.

I believe there are some mods available where there are consequences & rewards to releasing tech, I'm not sure if they tie it to the market, and I think some mods have advancing technology dates; where civilian soldiers get lasers and the black-market options expand simply by nations/companies own R&D.

The game mostly operates around the salvage & conservation of resources against a technologically superior foe, you'd take a lot of the fun out of the game if you feel uninvested in the equipment on your grunts.