Author Topic: the 80 item limit  (Read 27459 times)

Offline osunightfall

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the 80 item limit
« on: June 17, 2014, 08:57:26 pm »
Guys, it's been a long, long ride. I think I never really believed this project would be finished. I've seen it here and there over the years, always in progress, with completion always a long way off. And now, out of the blue, I see that it's complete. Congratulations! I just...I couldn't be happier. This project means a lot to a great many people, and I'm one of them. I'll be hitting up the donate button later today. You all deserve it.

While I'm at it though, I do have two small pieces of feedback. Other than the feedback of "I absolutely love practically everything you've done, and it's amazing."

1. If I understand the differences page correctly, the blaster launcher and other waypoint based weapons that may be created no longer have limited waypoints. I'm curious about the rationale behind this decision. The blaster launcher was by far the most powerful and perhaps even broken weapon in the game. The only tiny, tiny balancing factor other than weight was that it only had 9 waypoints. Was it really necessary to make it even more capable of completing missions on its own?

2. I notice that the 80 item limit has been removed from the equipment slots on transports. This is good...to a point. But it seems a little silly and kind of broken that I can literally bring hundreds of weapons and pieces of equipment on board and always pick the best stuff immediately before and during missions. I realize that since this is a change to the classic game, opinions will differ on how much gear is too much, but perhaps a configurable item limit could be implemented? And perhaps it could default back to 80 items, as in the original? Bug or not, it was an important factor in how the balance of the game played out.

Other than that, OpenXCom seems utterly fantastic. This project proves that dreams can come true.

Offline clownagent

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Re: What you have done here is a work of art
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2014, 11:17:54 pm »
Why should there be an implemented item limit?

If you only want to take 80 items on your missions, just do it. No mechanism is forcing you to take more items with you.

Offline osunightfall

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Re: What you have done here is a work of art
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2014, 11:31:55 pm »
Simply for two reasons, in my opinion. First, because it was a condition present in the original game. Regardless of the reason for its being in the game, it was an engine limitation, not a bug per se. There is even an in-game message that will tell you that you can only carry 80 items on the plane. This is not like the 'Paying for Dirt' bug or 'Firestorm fuel calculation' bug where it's just something that slipped by the developers. If the objective is to be true to the original game whilst fixing bugs, then at the very least the 80 item limit exists in a grey area between bug and "intended because of memory limitations." I hope you will at least grant me that if memory limitations had not restricted the items carried to 80, that the limit the developers chose would not have been "infinity."

Secondly, while I agree that I could manually restrict myself to an arbitrary limit of items, it would get rather tedious trying to manually count items every time I try to alter loadouts or resupply the planes. I agree wholeheartedly with any number of bug-fixes. However, my argument is that this falls into a somewhat different category. Purists might prefer to leave it alone, and even in my case, where I think 80 is a little too stringent, I would prefer a configurable hard limit.

Please keep in mind however, that I am only talking about restricting the amount of items available in UFO capture missions. I do not think that base defense missions should be affected by any limit at all. Base defense being restricted to 80 items was certainly the 80 item limitation rearing its head in another fashion. Even then, it would've probably been acceptable if you'd had any control over what those 80 items were. The fact that you didn't was either a legitimately overlooked bug or a compromise made for time or budget reasons.

I hope this has answered your question.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2014, 11:38:21 pm by osunightfall »

Offline pmprog

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Re: What you have done here is a work of art
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2014, 11:39:24 pm »
2. I notice that the 80 item limit has been removed from the equipment slots on transports. This is good...to a point. But it seems a little silly and kind of broken that I can literally bring hundreds of weapons and pieces of equipment on board and always pick the best stuff immediately before and during missions. I realize that since this is a change to the classic game, opinions will differ on how much gear is too much, but perhaps a configurable item limit could be implemented? And perhaps it could default back to 80 items, as in the original? Bug or not, it was an important factor in how the balance of the game played out.
https://openxcom.org/forum/index.php?topic=340.msg2615#msg2615
https://openxcom.org/forum/index.php?topic=1659.0

Offline osunightfall

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Re: What you have done here is a work of art
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2014, 11:50:39 pm »
https://openxcom.org/forum/index.php?topic=340.msg2615#msg2615
https://openxcom.org/forum/index.php?topic=1659.0

If they have already considered these issues and rejected a configurable limit, that is fine. I would still maintain however, that this falls too far into the territory of "mod" rather than "bug fix". Even other XCom launchers that removed the 80 item limit generally only extended it. Also, having the plane add to base stores does not fix the opposite problem. If I load every single man of my 24 man squad down with two weapons, multiple clips, flares, several grenades apiece, 40 or 50 blaster bombs, and so forth, my squad is now far more powerful than it could ever have been in the original game. This is not simply a matter of convenience as with so many of OpenXCom's fixes. Rather, it changes in a very serious way some of the fundamental balance of the game. That is the reason I asked for a hard limit.

If someone in authority rejects my reasoning, I'll accept that, but I still believe my reasoning is correct. While it is certainly possible to self-police, due to the fiddly nature of equipping transports it is far from optimal. I agree with one of the posters in the quoted threads. Some kind of limit, even if decided by the user, increases strategy and reins in the power of squads. One would have to decide for example: Is it worth giving up our proximity grenades to take flares for a night mission? Similarly, as mods begin to become more common, having a hard limit increases options for design. To cite an example, You might have a very powerful weapon with bulky clips, each of which is worth only one shot. Then you have a choice to make. How many of these is it worth it for me to take, and what am I giving up in return? To a degree we already see this behavior in the base game with rockets and blaster bombs. In a game that is largely about management, I would hate to lose this sort of strategic problem entirely, even if I do agree that 80 items is a bit too low, and that its effects on base defense missions were crippling.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 12:48:32 am by osunightfall »

Offline osunightfall

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Re: What you have done here is a work of art
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2014, 12:06:37 am »
And, as I think about it, more possibilities occur to me. For example, one of the great things about the hyperwave decoder is that it tells you what kinds of aliens inhabit a certain craft. This could also sometimes influence what you might bring on a mission, especially early on. For example, bringing extra proximity grenades and incendiaries for a Chrysalid mission, or extra AP rockets against Mutons. There are many other examples as well. The point being, that knowing what you were going to face with the hyperwave decoder was a noticeable, though often under-used advantage of that device. Now, I can carry every weapon that could possibly be useful against every enemy, and know ahead of time that I'll always have exactly the right weapon for the job, even when I have no idea of what I'm facing.

Offline Aldorn

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Re: What you have done here is a work of art
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2014, 12:24:45 am »
2. I notice that the 80 item limit has been removed from the equipment slots on transports. This is good...to a point. But it seems a little silly and kind of broken that I can literally bring hundreds of weapons and pieces of equipment on board and always pick the best stuff immediately before and during missions. I realize that since this is a change to the classic game, opinions will differ on how much gear is too much, but perhaps a configurable item limit could be implemented? And perhaps it could default back to 80 items, as in the original? Bug or not, it was an important factor in how the balance of the game played out.
I am personally happy with this "no limit" as I considered in the past this 80-limit was a nonsense
Especially when I tried to load 20 pistol clips and 60 rifle clips, and had also no free place anymore to take any other weapon : this is not as if I was trying to load 80 rocket-launchers...

But I agree this was a constraint that was part of the game and you are right to say removing this limit changes the game balancing

Would it be not more logical to implement a limit in terms of storage capacity (I mean taking item size into account) instead of number of items ?

https://openxcom.org/forum/index.php?topic=340.msg2615#msg2615
https://openxcom.org/forum/index.php?topic=1659.0

Right, question already discussed
« Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 12:28:19 am by Aldorn »

Offline osunightfall

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Re: What you have done here is a work of art
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2014, 12:41:10 am »
I am personally happy with this "no limit" as I considered in the past this 80-limit was a nonsense
Especially when I tried to load 20 pistol clips and 60 rifle clips, and had also no free place anymore to take any other weapon : this is not as if I was trying to load 80 rocket-launchers...

But I agree this was a constraint that was part of the game and you are right to say removing this limit changes the game balancing

Would it be not more logical to implement a limit in terms of storage capacity (I mean taking item size into account) instead of number of items ?

Right, question already discussed

It surely would be more logical, but this strays ever farther into the territory of "modding."

Another scenario that occurred to me was, with some kind of limit, and the 80 item limit in the main game, there was another strategic decision that came up. With a squad of 24 men, it was generally the case that you knew those 24 men would be spread thin in terms of equipment. You might get, say, a plasma weapon, one clip, and a grenade, with a few more items for spice. However! If you decided you wanted better armed, more elite troops, now there are more decisions to be made. You might purposefully take less men in total in order to better equip those that did come along. This gives the player another reason to use the sometimes maligned HWPs. Or, perhaps you might decide to switch to laser weaponry, specifically to save yourself another 24 items on clips. Now, you've traded some firepower in order to be more versatile. Or you might combine the two, both replacing some men with HWPs, and also choosing to use laser weaponry. Now, you have soldiers that are equipped for a wide variety of situations, but you've sacrificed both pure firepower and boots on the ground (keeping in mind that trained soldiers own HPWs) in order to bring along more secondary equipment. These are the types of decisions you'd expect to see in a game of this type; it's merely happenstance that in X-Com they exist because of an oddly implemented limit on total carried items. I would argue however, that if the nature of the decisions is correct to the game, it doesn't matter that the reason you're making them is to avoid an arbitrary item limit. Really the absurdities only reveal themselves when you start trying to carry 150 rifle clips into battle or give every soldier a half-dozen grenades, three clips, a stun prod, and flares.

The point I'm trying to make in general is, simply removing the item limit wholesale rather than making it more configurable is not quite so obvious a choice as it might seem at first. The item limit had many effects on the game that affected the way one played, and similarly, removing it also has many effects on gameplay, both good and bad.

However, if adding a configurable item limit to transports is too difficult or otherwise not worth the time, perhaps a compromise? A simple counter of total items on the plane in the equip transport screen. This would make it easier on those of us who would like to preserve the kinds of strategic decisions discussed above, whilst not putting entirely on us the responsibility of self-policing item count by manually adding up line-items on the equip screen.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 01:06:23 am by osunightfall »

Offline Aldorn

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Re: What you have done here is a work of art
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2014, 03:11:50 am »
Your point is interesting

A work around I am using is to raise item weights up (Pistol 10, Rifle 20, Clip 5, Rocket Launcher 30, Rocket 10, ...) and down raise clip sizes (Pistol 6, Rifle 8, Sniper Rifle 2, ...)

This way :
- soldiers have no possibility to carry many weapons nor ammunition. They have to make a choice on which weapon/ammunition to carry on, and wait for their strength to increase to be able to use more powerful weapons
- some Medics have to be appointed, and one or two units reserved for logistic purposes (carry/bring rockets etc)
- material on board is also usable, but units have to go back to craft

But I agree with you, from a pure strategic point of view, it is not exactly the same, and possibility to set a limit (-1 for no limit) would be a nice to have

Offline Falko

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Re: What you have done here is a work of art
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2014, 03:15:58 am »
if such thing is implemented i would prefer an OPTIONAL weight/size limit instead of an itemlimit
and have a ruleset parameter to create small lightweight transporter and big (slower?) ones

Offline Warboy1982

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Re: What you have done here is a work of art
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2014, 04:41:57 am »
you make a compelling argument, but perhaps a WEIGHT limit would be better than a "number of items" limit?
also, don't worry too much about the blaster launcher, the AI has limits imposed on the number of waypoints it is allowed to use based on difficulty

Offline Hobbes

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Re: What you have done here is a work of art
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2014, 06:38:16 am »
Another scenario that occurred to me was, with some kind of limit, and the 80 item limit in the main game, there was another strategic decision that came up. With a squad of 24 men, it was generally the case that you knew those 24 men would be spread thin in terms of equipment. You might get, say, a plasma weapon, one clip, and a grenade, with a few more items for spice. However! If you decided you wanted better armed, more elite troops, now there are more decisions to be made. You might purposefully take less men in total in order to better equip those that did come along. This gives the player another reason to use the sometimes maligned HWPs. Or, perhaps you might decide to switch to laser weaponry, specifically to save yourself another 24 items on clips. Now, you've traded some firepower in order to be more versatile. Or you might combine the two, both replacing some men with HWPs, and also choosing to use laser weaponry. Now, you have soldiers that are equipped for a wide variety of situations, but you've sacrificed both pure firepower and boots on the ground (keeping in mind that trained soldiers own HPWs) in order to bring along more secondary equipment. These are the types of decisions you'd expect to see in a game of this type; it's merely happenstance that in X-Com they exist because of an oddly implemented limit on total carried items. I would argue however, that if the nature of the decisions is correct to the game, it doesn't matter that the reason you're making them is to avoid an arbitrary item limit. Really the absurdities only reveal themselves when you start trying to carry 150 rifle clips into battle or give every soldier a half-dozen grenades, three clips, a stun prod, and flares.

The point I'm trying to make in general is, simply removing the item limit wholesale rather than making it more configurable is not quite so obvious a choice as it might seem at first. The item limit had many effects on the game that affected the way one played, and similarly, removing it also has many effects on gameplay, both good and bad.

However, if adding a configurable item limit to transports is too difficult or otherwise not worth the time, perhaps a compromise? A simple counter of total items on the plane in the equip transport screen. This would make it easier on those of us who would like to preserve the kinds of strategic decisions discussed above, whilst not putting entirely on us the responsibility of self-policing item count by manually adding up line-items on the equip screen.

I completely agree with everything said up here.

Yes, the item limit could be annoying, specially during base defense missions where you could end up equipped with only Stun Rods and Flares and I'd say to remove it on that kind of mission since it's nonsense.

But having to choose between 80 items when equipping the Skyranger/Lightning/Avenger is a different matter since it forces you to make hard choices (extra rocket or sidearm? Flares or ammo? HWP or items for 4 soldiers?).

But to me the issue could be solved by adding an option to choose between:
a) Having no 80 items limit
b) Limit applies only to craft
c) Limit applies to craft and base defense

And you can even add more options:
d) Limit for the Skyranger is 80 items, 100 for the Lightning and 120 for the Avenger.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 06:41:53 am by Hobbes »

Offline davide

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Re: What you have done here is a work of art
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2014, 07:36:28 am »
and all setting should be customizable at least in a ruleset so all people will be happy ;)

Offline osunightfall

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Re: What you have done here is a work of art
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2014, 07:58:56 am »
you make a compelling argument, but perhaps a WEIGHT limit would be better than a "number of items" limit?
also, don't worry too much about the blaster launcher, the AI has limits imposed on the number of waypoints it is allowed to use based on difficulty

I certainly agree that were I designing the game today from the ground up, a weight limit would be by far the better option. The reason I propose an (optional) return of the item limit is simply to adhere more closely to the original game whilst also preserving certain strategic decisions. A weight limit also imposes another problem, in that one would have to re-examine the weights for all carryable items. I've heard that a lot of the weights don't make a lot of sense, but I admit I haven't looked at it myself.

My comments with regards to the blaster launcher weren't because I was afraid of misuse by the AI. Rather, it was already an incredibly powerful tool in the hands in the player, certainly the most powerful in the game. My concern is that giving it more waypoints merely boosts its power further, though I admit that on most maps, 9 waypoints was enough to do practically anything already.

Thanks to everyone in the thread for your consideration of my points. And if I haven't said it enough already, thank you especially to the entire team of OpenXCom. After playing for a while, this recreation of X-Com is better than I could ever have hoped. Everyone involved deserves the most sincere thanks of X-Com fans everywhere.

« Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 08:04:31 am by osunightfall »

Offline pmprog

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Re: What you have done here is a work of art
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2014, 09:37:04 am »
you make a compelling argument, but perhaps a WEIGHT limit would be better than a "number of items" limit?
Isn't there already a weight limit - soldiers can only carry so much, and the skyranger can only contain a certain amount too. Or have I missed something?