Author Topic: Pilots... for interceptors?  (Read 12407 times)

Offline kharille

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Pilots... for interceptors?
« on: March 25, 2014, 05:29:08 pm »
You know, apart from the firestorm and interceptors, every transport needs crew, and failure to put crew on them like when they're all dead means you lose the transport too. 

I know, this is a drastic departure from the original, but maybe you can crew em' with xcom soldiers...

Just a detail.  Pity, it would be nice to have an air combat stat.... 

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Pilots... for interceptors?
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2014, 05:47:07 pm »
While I'm not fond of drastic additions to the core game, this is something I've wanted since 1997, my first contact with X-Com. Since then I kind of forgot about it, but I never changed my mind; not having pilots seems too much like an oversimplification to me.
Therefore, while I won't comment if such a feature remains within boundaries of the OpenX-Com project, I would very much like this addition.

Offline kkmic

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Re: Pilots... for interceptors?
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2014, 06:19:25 pm »
I remember, back when I first managed to build the Manta in TFTD, I wonderes where should I get the pilot from, as the description stated that manta was a one-man interceptor craft.

Indeed, an air combat skill would be nice to have. Maybe for a pilot class of personnel?

Offline hszp

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Re: Pilots... for interceptors?
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2014, 08:13:33 pm »
These planes are so easy to fly, even a panicked rookie wounded to 1 TU could do it.  ;)

Offline yrizoud

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Re: Pilots... for interceptors?
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2014, 08:35:57 pm »
You don't want an entire skyranger to be lost after a successful mission because all "ace pilots" are disabled or killed. So it may be best to assume all XCOM soldiers have basic pilot training, enough to safely bring back the transport.
==> You already can install the mod from XComutil that allows all fighter ships to have crew , and then you can impose on yourself the restriction of always having at least one soldier in your fighter ships.
If somebody starts code modifications to handle piloting skills (perception, air combat), I think it's reasonable to assume the pilot is the "last" unit in the crew list : the way the ships are designed, all others will be quicker to deploy.

Offline shinr

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Re: Pilots... for interceptors?
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2014, 08:38:30 pm »
At the most simplest, we can have two stats: Piloting and Gunnery, for dodging enemy fire and for hitting UFOs respectively.

Offline Warboy1982

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Re: Pilots... for interceptors?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2014, 08:45:15 pm »
you could sub in firing and reactions for gunnery and piloting skills

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Pilots... for interceptors?
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2014, 08:50:02 pm »
You don't want an entire skyranger to be lost after a successful mission because all "ace pilots" are disabled or killed. So it may be best to assume all XCOM soldiers have basic pilot training, enough to safely bring back the transport.

The Skyranger doesn't need an ace pilot, any trained person will do (but soldiers are unlikely to be trained).

The problem is, Skyrangers are indestructible to hand weapons, even blaster bombs. Including a Skyranger pilot would require giving aliens the ability to destroy the cockpit, killing the person inside (I believe we don't need them walking around the battlescape, they may remain a static sprite in the cockpit). Otherwise a Skyranger would always get home safely, even if the squad is lost... Which might actually be as better design.

And IF the mission is won, but the pilot is killed, the soldiers shouldn't be lost. What would happen is: they are unavailable for a week or so (basically arrested by local forces until diplomacy pulls them out), and when they are finally released, they lose all equipment. Yep.

Offline Ran

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Re: Pilots... for interceptors?
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2014, 01:25:28 am »
Why not create pilots as a new class of personnel?
Maybe for the price of a scientist or even a little more. Crafts could need 1-2  of to them.
I would even make crafts vulnerable on the battlefield. This would require some sort of damage model but if it takes too much damage, your troops are going to have to hitchhike their way back to base.

Offline BlackLibrary

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Re: Pilots... for interceptors?
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2014, 04:17:16 am »
you could sub in firing and reactions for gunnery and piloting skills

This has my vote.  Although I would go with Reactions and Bravery, personally.  I think it makes a stat that is fundamentally useless become a bit more valuable.  But its not difficult to create an algorithm that requires a combo of firing, bravery and reactions. 

In any case, this is easiest to implement.  In the code, if a craft has any soldiers on board, find the soldier with highest rank to be the pilot.  If it does not, then the pilot is listed as DRONE.

Then modify intercept code  (as an option.cfg) to use the new calculus for hitting, speed, and avoiding enemy fire.  I include speed, because that would make it awesome!  Two interceptors racing...one is noticeably faster because the pilot is none other than Colonel Jack LaCross, or whomever, while the other has the "Drone Pilot".  Makes the Skyranger chase to a terror site, or a fight against a Battleship that much more memorable. 

The only UI change I could picture is on the Intercept Screen, should be a nice place to mention Pilots name in the interlude before you engage the target and the action begins

NOTE:  I state using the highest ranking soldier, in order for it to be easiest to know "who" the pilot will be with the gentlest amount of change to save files in play, as well as needing interface changes to "mark" a soldier as pilot.  I don't know the level of effort needed to do so, and since its configurable, my thought is to avoid ANY changes to the UI when possible.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2014, 04:23:45 am by BlackLibrary »

Offline Dioxine

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Re: Pilots... for interceptors?
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2014, 12:49:06 pm »
Man, the ability to use my Soldiers as pilots was one of my dreams when I was playing the game back in 1994 too! I mean, how cool is that!

About the placement: There is even an easier way to do this, the last person on board (the one placed farthest from the exit) is the pilot.

Now how I'd see this...
Craft weapon Accuracy = Accuracy - 8 + Reactions/5
So a soldier with 40 Reactions fires the guns at standard Accuracy, a soldier with 10 Reactions reduces Accuracy by 6%, and a soldier with 70 Reactions increases it by 6%

Bravery modifies the speed in Geoscape, say
Speed = Speed - Speed*0.02*(8 - Bravery/5) so again, 40 Bravery results in a unmodified speed, 10 Bravery decreases the speed by 12%, and 70 - increases it by 12%.

In addition, both values could modify the dogfight engagement speed - a soldier with higher values would approach the UFO or  disengage quicker, say:
Dogspeed = Dogspeed - Dogspeed*0.03*(16 - Reactions/5 - Bravery/5), so 10/10 would result in -36% speed, and 70/70 in +36%, substantially increasing the chances for survival.

Additional notes:
- Hitting UFOs trains Bravery and Reactions (very slowly), and any UFO kills give an extra boost.
- All these accuracy, speed and training formulas increase the comparative usefulness of the Cannon and, to a lesser degree, the Laser Cannon, while the effect on Missiles is the least one;
- If the interceptor takes any damage in excess 65% HP, the soldier takes 1 HP damage for every extra 1% of interceptor damage (this cannot exceed max damage capacity, ex. if an Interceptor took 150 damage in a single hit, the soldier still only takes 35). If it causes the soldier to die in his cockpit, you lose the craft.
- If the interceptor is downed, the pilot takes extra 0-20 random damage (this might be reduced if he was downed close to a city, and increased if over sea/ice/desert). If he STILL survives, he is placed in the Transit queue to his base of origin. 72 hours later, he lands in the hospital ward, with many tales to thrill the nurses with while he recovers...
- Interceptions (if the UFO was engaged) count towards Mission totals, and UFO kills count towards kills total.
- The engine must check if the craft has any Battlescape map; if it doesn't the craft can't engage a tactical mission.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2014, 12:54:08 pm by Dioxine »

Offline kharille

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Re: Pilots... for interceptors?
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2014, 03:18:56 pm »
Seriously, a basic game feature, if I remember correctly.  If everyone is outside the skyranger and you 'take off', you lose everything.  So its basically cancel mission.  I'm not sure how xcom util fixed up the single pilot on a crash site, whether they did a good model for landing near the crashed ufo, but you really need at least one soldier to move it.

I like that, exchange gunnery and reactions for those features.  Maybe its an optional thing we can include.  Maybe you'll have soldiers who are good for nothing else but piloting.... 

This would be good, you can conserve ammo with the right pilot....

Offline blackwolf

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Re: Pilots... for interceptors?
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2014, 10:25:47 pm »
well this look interesting...but if i can say my opinion...why not get far away?...i imagine this, you recruit a special class of personal called pilots...all of them with a simple sprite (i mean..the normal sprite but instead a normal coverall, a "pilot suit" (you know...that pilot uses...top gun? ok) and maybe they only are trained for using pistols...make them ACTIVE in the battlescape moddifing the floorplans of the skyranger (i think just adding a little room with a door or something and the pilot start standing there...if the things become nasty and you need retreat from the battlescape it would be awesome getting in the soldiers when a pilot gives you (patethic) cover fire with his pistol in the ramp...and also...why not a special mission?...do you never asked yourself...what happens to the pilots when their plane get down?...i mean...they never eject?, it would be awesome a mission (maybe ramdonly...not always because not all pilots get a chance to eject) with a "behind enemy lines" style,
-your interceptor get down
-you cry because you lost your ace Lt. Badass McKnight...but wait...he miraculously is alive and are down(if the pilots stats are implement i would do whatever i can to save my top ace pilots...if i only have a chance, so...well this is the chance)
-the mission maybe could consist on..that you are alone..behind lines...the enemy ufo saw you parachute so they land to capture or just kill you...but you have a chance..move from whenever you start...point A to point B... if you get that extraction point (so this would become more a escape mission that a kill them all mission) you have a chance to ! but there are enemies everywhere and you are by your own........

it could add some projects like advanced pilot suits who increase the possibilities of ejecting(or even surviving the crashing, i mean i bet that if you use a power armour...you maybe could survive a crashing) and obviously when you are andvancing your campaing you equip your pilots with better pistols and stuff (so this make the laser pistol and the plasma pistols to actually becomes usefull and whorthing to investigate) and you could think:
 "a pilot with a plasma pistol and a stormtrooper pilot kind of suit would make the escape mission too easy"
well remember that when you get more powerfull goodies...more powerfull your enemies get, how much you will long with a plasma pistol,againts a heavier ufo(harverster or even the nightmare battleship for example) crew?

i know this sound sooooooo much dreamfull but,hey...dreaming is free right xD?
« Last Edit: March 26, 2014, 10:31:55 pm by blackwolf »

Offline yrizoud

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Re: Pilots... for interceptors?
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2014, 12:18:54 pm »
For a surviving pilot, a scenario that's easier to code would be that the UFO has dropped a few soldiers in pursuit of the pilot. A "XCOM crash site" appears on the map, and the player has 24 hours to set up a rescue mission (when it expires, the pilot is lost). The battle layout has a normal terrain except that there's no UFO, instead there's this additional unarmed pilot. You can either clear the area from enemies, or just run like hell to the transport and lift off.

Offline hszp

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Re: Pilots... for interceptors?
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2014, 04:19:45 pm »
For a surviving pilot, a scenario that's easier to code would be that the UFO has dropped a few soldiers in pursuit of the pilot. A "XCOM crash site" appears on the map, and the player has 24 hours to set up a rescue mission (when it expires, the pilot is lost). The battle layout has a normal terrain except that there's no UFO, instead there's this additional unarmed pilot. You can either clear the area from enemies, or just run like hell to the transport and lift off.

A much as I'm against the pilot soldier concept, I really like this rescue mission idea. Although I have the feeling that you would have your to-be-rescued pilot either killed or saved all the time - it would be very difficult to create a map where the odds of his survival are actually interesting.