Author Topic: Observations: UFO activity and zombies  (Read 5189 times)

Offline Shadow

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Observations: UFO activity and zombies
« on: October 11, 2013, 02:20:12 am »
I started a campaign on Veteran using a nightly build from a couple of days ago, and updated to the latest nightly (2013_10_10_2011) just now, to tackle a nocturnal Snakeman/Chrysalid terror mission in Australia.

Problem 1: There was something strange about the Chrysalids and the civilians in the aforementioned terror mission. I killed a lot of Snakemen and a good bunch of Chrysalids, but only a single zombie I saw wandering down the street. This is the thing: I heard a lot of bwarghjhbl noises from zombifications coming from the fog of war, but barely saw any zombies (nor civilians) with my men's eyes. After a while, the town fell dead silent, and alien turns became very short. There was this Snakeman panicking and berserking sometimes, somewhere, and the mission ended when I found and shot it.

I got an Excellent rating, and I should've taken a screenshot of the results screen, but I can't remember seeing mentions of civilians besides reporting two had been killed by aliens. No "civilians saved" line that I can recall. The only explanation I can guess for that is that there were a bunch of zombies largely inactive in the shadows, and that they were considered neither alien nor civilian. So killing that last Snakeman ended the mission potentially before the surviving zombies had been dealt with.

Problem 2: I set up my initial base in Europe, and haven't expanded yet. I have one small and one large radar system operational. It's early May and I really haven't seen more than 5 or 6 UFOs, while I've already "attended" 4 terror sites. I made some mistakes, and allowed my interceptors to engage a significant portion of those UFOs over water, so I've really only recovered a couple. Russia whined a couple of times, and Australia once, so there's the possibility I'm just unlucky, and that the aliens are having fun elsewhere on the planet.

This is actually my first time playing on Veteran ever, so I hesitated to report this low activity as a potential bug. Maybe it's normal, but it doesn't feel like it. Graphs show considerable spikes of activity in Siberia, Australasia and Southern Africa to a lesser extent, which is mostly coherent with the whining I've gotten from the funding council. But are they really pouring everything in there? Shouldn't activity be higher across the globe? This is just my first OpenXcom game, but I remember much higher UFO traffic in the original game. On Beginner at least, but...

Anyway, I've attached my current savegame, and config file, just in case. Feedback would be greatly appreciated.


EDIT: Reading around the wiki, I found the following quote from Julian Gollop:

Quoting from Julian Gollop's at 'Classic Games Postmortem - XCOM: UFO Defense' at Game Developers Conference 2013:
"The way this worked was very simple. Basically, if you did very well on the last three previous tactical missions and you absolutely trounced the aliens, the aliens would ramp up their end technology level and deployments more quickly. If, on the other hand, conversely you did very badly, the aliens wouldn't throw in some extra stuff. It kinda adjusted the difficulty as you went along."


That might be related to the low activity I'm seeing. When I played the original on Beginner, it was easy to thrill the council, and I consistently got Excellent monthly ratings. Maybe I'm used to unusually high activity levels because of that, because the aliens ramped up their appearances, being affected by my performance. In my current, Veteran, OpenXcom game, my monthly evaluations have been average, barely positive, which is something I'm not familiar with. It's possible my lack of resounding success is considerably impacting UFO activity. And I think it's making the game even harder (not to mention less enjoyable, admittedly), since I don't get much chances to acquire UFO technology. To give an example, I think this is the first time ever I've been forced to actually manufacture alien alloys.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 03:07:28 am by Shadow »

Offline Warboy1982

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Re: Observations: UFO activity and zombies
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2013, 01:18:56 am »
i'd guess that the civilians were killed by snakemen, not chryssalids. if you didn't see the zombies, they didn't get zombified. zombies DO count as live aliens and would prevent you from otherwise completing the mission. the "bwarghjhbl" noises from the chryssalids was their "aggression" sound that only plays when they have a valid melee target to charge (this needs some tweaking however, as the calculations are now all made in potentia).

as for the frequency of alien missions, this is a totally random thing, apart from the FIRST mission that gets generated, which is guaranteed to be in the same region as your initial base. the game is telling you to set up a base in russia.

as for the scalable difficulty that Julian describes...

Quoting from Warboy at OpenXCom forums 2013:
"The way this worked was very simple: it didn't. it was a nice idea that they thought about implementing, but never really got around to, and the end result was the infamous bug that set the difficulty to beginner after the first mission"

Offline Shadow

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Re: Observations: UFO activity and zombies
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2013, 02:07:36 am »
Thing is, the mission results only reported two civilians being killed by aliens, and there was no mention of civilians saved. Could it be that somehow the terror site generated with two civilians? Or well, three, since I did kill one zombie.

Another issue, you might want to revise the Chrysalid sounds a bit, in a different way. I'm pretty sure they made the same "bwarghjhbl" noise on death, and I remember them having a particular death sound in the original game. Possibly the same one the Ethereal has, but I can't remember for certain. I'll submit a bug report if need be.

Anyway, about UFO activity, I guess I'm just being unlucky if the alien behaviour has been correctly reproduced compared to the original game. Does the difficulty level have any impact on it? It is my first time ever playing Veteran, after all. I only did Beginner in the past, and was used to much higher UFO traffic.

Offline Warboy1982

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Re: Observations: UFO activity and zombies
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2013, 02:16:20 am »
difficulty level is only really a factor in retaliation missions.

terror sites generate with 0-16 civilians, if you killed one zombie, that one was killed by chryssalids, and i assume the other was shot by snakemen. zombified citizens DO count as casualties, we don't replace the original, we just make it dead with no corpse, and spawn an alien where it was standing.

Offline Shadow

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Re: Observations: UFO activity and zombies
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2013, 02:21:53 am »
difficulty level is only really a factor in retaliation missions.

terror sites generate with 0-16 civilians, if you killed one zombie, that one was killed by chryssalids, and i assume the other was shot by snakemen. zombified citizens DO count as casualties, we don't replace the original, we just make it dead with no corpse, and spawn an alien where it was standing.

That explains a number of things. Must've been lucky with that terror mission: minimal danger of collateral damage, and minimal zombifications.

Thanks for your feedback! ;)

Offline Wild Penguin

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Re: Observations: UFO activity and zombies
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2013, 10:49:38 am »
terror sites generate with 0-16 civilians, --
I thought this was a bug, but it is intentional?

I don't recall ever havin a terror mission with so few civilians in the original as I sometimes get in OpenXCom (I've had several with only 2-3 civilians). IMHO I think terror missions are a lot more fun when there are some actual civilians to protect ;-)

Offline Sharp

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Re: Observations: UFO activity and zombies
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2013, 09:26:31 pm »
EDIT: Reading around the wiki, I found the following quote from Julian Gollop:

Quoting from Julian Gollop's at 'Classic Games Postmortem - XCOM: UFO Defense' at Game Developers Conference 2013:
"The way this worked was very simple. Basically, if you did very well on the last three previous tactical missions and you absolutely trounced the aliens, the aliens would ramp up their end technology level and deployments more quickly. If, on the other hand, conversely you did very badly, the aliens wouldn't throw in some extra stuff. It kinda adjusted the difficulty as you went along."


Uhh, this is wrong for UFO:EU/XCOM:UD - It is right for XCOM Apocalypse though where scoring lots means aliens come back with huge toys while there aren't even better weapons in stock to buy.

Offline redv

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Re: Observations: UFO activity and zombies
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2013, 09:38:22 pm »
Does anyone know, how increase the frequency of appearance of UFOs via ruleset?

Offline redv

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Re: Observations: UFO activity and zombies
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2013, 07:33:48 pm »
So, UFO activity does not depend on difficulty level.
Now works next algorithm of the wave of missions generator (missions combined into waves):
 1. Each month generated one terror mission and one random missions.
 2. If monthsPassed > 5, then generated 2 terror mission and 2 random missions.
 Quantity of missions does not depend on difficulty level.

I believe, this is wrong. Quantity of missions should depend on the difficulty level.
In vanilla Xcom, the difficulty level affected on number of missions.

I suggest next algorithm of generator:
Each month will generate one terror mission and several random missions.
 Beginner: 1 terror + 1 random.
 Experienced: 1 terror + 2 random.
 Veteran: 1 terror + 3 random.
 Genius: 1 terror + 4 random.
 Superhuman: 1 terror + 5 random.

After 5 passed months, quantity of missions will be doubled.
Real quantity will be less, because duplicated waves in each region is removed.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2013, 07:35:50 pm by redv »