Author Topic: [Idea] New Alien and Alien Weaponry  (Read 6114 times)

Offline HelmetHair

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 350
  • He who laughs last thinks fastest.
    • View Profile
[Idea] New Alien and Alien Weaponry
« on: October 01, 2014, 06:15:03 pm »
Okay,

So I was playing last night and was taunting a Chryssalid by flying a dude over him and pretending I was the Chrysallid's kite. I found it hilarious, but made me consider that perhaps the most terrifying squad wipe alien could use a little love. Now I know that some of you are like me and are masochists in the sense that if you mod and give yourself a toy, you must balance it out somehow. I usually make things more expensive, or make an enemy tougher. etc etc etc.

I started playing around with harald_gray's Mechtoid mod and had an epiphany...well, TWO actually.

1. Cyberneticly enhanced Chryssalids. Cyberlids.

Yeah, I'm a terrible person. But, seriously giving a bug a built in plasma gun and armoring him up. Ugh... I dread it, so I bet many people would probably like it. Also, when it attacks, it doesn't spawn a Cyberlid but  a Chryssalid after the zombie thing. I'm not sure how the AI would work. If it would favor the Plasma gun too much and not do what it was intended for, which is spread bug love. Any insight on the AI? Anyone?

2. Implantation gun.

This one made me a little ill thinking about it... What if you had a weapon that the aliens would use to turn a civilian or soldier into a Zombie/Chryssalid from long distance. What if it was guided or even a small area effect weapon (3 square radius max)? What if it could be fired from a small launcher or even a blaster launcher? Ugh, I shudder to think about stepping off the Skyranger and having a dude zombied literally first step out the door or a guided bomb that turns three guys stacked up to breach into zombies.

3. Implantation grenade.
 
Carried by leaders/ medics etc. Blows up and throws Chryssalid eggs in stingers in every direction.


thoughts?

-HH   

Offline Arthanor

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 2490
  • XCom Armoury Quartermaster
    • View Profile
Re: [Idea] New Alien and Alien Weaponry
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2014, 07:36:36 pm »
You sir, are evil. We better make sure the aliens never get a hold of you..!

1- I'm not 100% convinced by the inbuilt gun for chryssalids. To me, they are more of a primitive/animal/predatorial creature, much like the Xenomorph in Alien.

To keep things more organic, maybe aliens have thinkered a bit with the chryssalid, made a variant specie which has a tougher shell (bio-alloys?) and can spit acid? Acid is a rather underutilized damage type, so it would be nice to have a change. Set the max distance to.. 5? So it can now engage flying targets but doesn't turn into a sniper (acid sniper is what a celatid is for).

Makes me think of doing something for the poor reapers...

Match them with bio-engineered Snakemen and you could get a new endgame combo, much like the mechtoids take over sectoids.

2- Chryssalid egg as an ammo for small launcher sounds good to me. I assume the egg is sizeable, so just a single shot could work. And it's already bad enough to have one soldier in the middle of a bunch turned into a zombie by enemy fire and then turning its comrades. Worse psychologically, maybe, then everyone turning at once. I'll look into that as a medic weapon.

3- Nasty! But I think the small launcher ammo is enough :P

Offline HelmetHair

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 350
  • He who laughs last thinks fastest.
    • View Profile
Re: [Idea] New Alien and Alien Weaponry
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2014, 07:59:06 pm »

OOOOOH!

I did not even consider the possibility of an acid spit weapon. That would be nasty! As long as it had a limited range like you said of 5-7 tiles, maybe as an arc weapon so they could spit over blind cover? ugh that would be terrifying. Imagine some poor squaddie hugging up to a fence to breach on the next turn to be liquefied on the Alien turn without seeing the spitter.... that's groovy.

also I was thinking if you upgraded the Chryssalids with armor and such, why not go for broke and let them fly?  :o A heavily armored, acid spitting, flying Cybernetic enhanced Chryssalid with a high resistance to Psi.  Yeah, no sleep for me tonight. **shudders** It would rape tanks, turn people into zombies, and be damn hard to put down with anything short of a nuke... Which is the only way to be sure :)

it would also push incendiary ammo forward for its "kills zombie no Chryssalid" bonus. I assume that mechanic is still intact.... I'll have to experiment. With mods like Ivan's upclose and personal Incendiary grenades would become a WHOLE lot more useful.

ugh, new combos of Mechtoids and Cyberlids....at night. Yeah, I'd probably just pack that one in.

thoughts?

-HH


Offline ivandogovich

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 2377
  • X-Com Afficionado
    • View Profile
    • Ivan Dogovich Youtube
Re: [Idea] New Alien and Alien Weaponry
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2014, 08:04:26 pm »
 :o Pure unadulterated evil... thats what this is!

Offline Arthanor

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 2490
  • XCom Armoury Quartermaster
    • View Profile
Re: [Idea] New Alien and Alien Weaponry
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2014, 08:55:36 pm »
Flying armored acid spitting Chryssalid?  :o You, sir, must hate your operatives! I'll stick with armored, acid spitting Chryssalid :P

I also think flying should be something special. It is the only thing floaters have going for them, cyberdisc fit as alien hovertanks and it works for Ethereals being masters of psychic powers. For a chryssalid, I don't know.. Having a "jump" mechanic, that allows it to go over fences and hedges would be awesome though. Sadly, not something that's doable for now. In fact, I think it would be really neat if reapers could destroy terrain on their way to their target and chryssalid just jump over it. Realistically, a fence shouldn't stop either of them. But that's the limitations of the engine.

Talking of limitations, incendiary damage is rather pathetic as it currently is, unfortunately. Over a few turns once a unit catches fire, it's not too bad, but as a way to kill anything, it is pretty bad. I wish there were a way to do actual damage with incendiary weapons. (Currently, the rating just dictates the blast radius, not the damage on impact).

So.. Snakemutants and Cyberlids? Any takers? That's modification of sprites, which I think I could do. I'm not yet confident enough to draw from scratch, but tweaking sprites and writing a ruleset, I should be able to do that!

Offline Dioxine

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 5285
  • punk not dead
    • View Profile
    • Nocturnal Productions
    • Email
Re: [Idea] New Alien and Alien Weaponry
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2014, 08:58:06 pm »
The acid spitting weapon should turn into zombies too, else you're *downgrading* the Chryssalid (it shouldn't be too accurate tho, evil needs some subtlety) :) If it can shoot, it'll also less frequently use its zombifying claws :)

Don't limit the range, AI is too stupid to check for maxRange and will try to snipe you from 20 tiles away, to no avail, then go "nyoron" and go back to patrol mode; just limit it to Snap fire mode and let people use XComUtil Accurracy Extender... or allow themselves to be sniped.

I'm not sure about tanks, Chryssalids already kill tanks pretty effectively, and acid spitter won't help (ground-based tanks are quite acid-resistant).

And don't slander Incendiary damage. This is the way to kill Cyberdiscs and Sectopods... if all else you have is an old AK rifle, a knife and a HE 50 grenade :)

Offline Harald_Gray

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 142
    • View Profile
Re: [Idea] New Alien and Alien Weaponry
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2014, 09:17:44 pm »
1. Cyberneticly enhanced Chryssalids. Cyberlids.

Yeah, I'm a terrible person. But, seriously giving a bug a built in plasma gun and armoring him up. Ugh... I dread it, so I bet many people would probably like it. Also, when it attacks, it doesn't spawn a Cyberlid but  a Chryssalid after the zombie thing. I'm not sure how the AI would work. If it would favor the Plasma gun too much and not do what it was intended for, which is spread bug love. Any insight on the AI? Anyone?

Okay, I'll confess. My first idea was to build my Weapondrones with plasma rifles for long-range work and egg-implanters for close-in work. But it turned out that terrorist units can only use *one* built-in weapon, at least as far as I know.

And you can't give an alien two regular weapons either. I *tried* giving them two weapons, say a rocket launcher and a plasma pistol. The game only places one into their inventory.

So the only option I can think of would be to create a weapon, let's call it Biospitter, and create two clips for it. One that simply causes damage, say acid. And another one that zombifies.

Offline Arthanor

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 2490
  • XCom Armoury Quartermaster
    • View Profile
Re: [Idea] New Alien and Alien Weaponry
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2014, 09:29:49 pm »
@Dioxine:
hum.. I wish there were a way to say: "If it can't melee, only them does it try to shoot", so it is more a backup weapon than a replacement.. I hadn't thought of the reduced frequency of zombifying if it can also shoot. Making it turn units into zombies could be worked in the spitting attack as well.

Does the AI take shot accuracy into account when it chooses its action? Something like: "If likelihood to hit < X, it's a waste of TUs so move closer instead" ? The alien deciding to stand and shoot instead of getting closer, with a low % to hit any ways, would also defeat the purpose. We need the Chryssalid to get close (and melee). It seems like having both a melee and ranged attack may be more complicated that it is worth :/

Regarding incendiary weapons, I've never tried taking cyberdiscs and sectopods out with that. You set them on fire and hide/take potshots while waiting for them to burn? My solution has always been large rockets for cyberdiscs, and lots of heavy lasers for sectopods. My comment was mostly regarding the initial damage of incendiary weapons, which if I remember well is about 10, making it difficult to finish off a zombie with it unless you autoshoot with AC-In ammo, maybe. But I'm not an XCom battlescape veteran, so there may well be stuff I don't know of.

@Harald_Gray:
Actually, I do remember that being mentioned before. Aliens can only make use of one weapon, they don't know how to choose... That's still the case? Actually, your idea of different clips could work:

New weapon: Cyberlid Strike
Clip1: Acid spit (snap range ~7, clipSize: 2)
Clip2: Bite (range 1, hit animation melee, zombifies, clipsize -1)

Give the Cyberlid its one weapon, one clip of acid spit (give it in such a way that the acid spit is loaded in at the beginning of the game), one bite clip (which would then be used after the acid spit runs out). This way, upon first engaging, the Cyberlid would be able to spit, but afterwards resort to biting.

Offline HelmetHair

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 350
  • He who laughs last thinks fastest.
    • View Profile
Re: [Idea] New Alien and Alien Weaponry
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2014, 10:02:36 pm »
The only thing that I think would be worse is actually an enemy I've been thinking about recently. The idea has come into refinement after playing through a few Alien Hive missions from Hobbes' mission and terrain extension, and my recent kite experiences. So ill sum up what I've been thinking.

Zombie
Just like the original, only with more health and a higher armor rating.
When killed spawns a Chryssalid unless killed with incendiary weapons.

Chryssalid
Works just the same as in the original by making zombies, but when it dies splashes acid in a 4 square radius

Cyberlid
Like a Chryssalid but heavily armored, can fly, and has a ranged acid spit attack that is arcing. When it dies is splashes acid in a 3 square radius.


Infectralisk

A four square alien terror weapon that answers where Chryssalids come from. A big, mean, nasty MONSTER that is tough as hell. An Infectralisk gets dropped off with a few guards and allowed to go to work. All it really is in fact is a Biomechatronic engineered being for building a stronghold of alien terrorists as the first step to colonization. It has two weapons, an improved Implantation gun loaded with 8 infection bombs that converts any humans in a 4 sqaure radius into a Cyberlid and a Heavy Plasma. Doesn't fly though... But is as tough as a Sectopod roughly. So it infects and then protects it's offspring while it's offspring go and infect more, thus adding to the problem. When you finally kill it, a Cyberlid emerges from the carcass being nano-mechanically assembled from the parts not destroyed... unless you use Incendiary weaponry.

Implantation gun
Shoots a single bomb that turns a human into a zombie, reloadable :)

Seeing the listed crew on the hyper wave would make you shoot down the UFO and leaving it.  :D

But on terror sites...Oh god the amount of pure hell a player would face. This would be the type of mission you would only send tanks on, ones loaded with copious amounts of incendiary and High Explosive. I'd flatten the entire map and then say "There was a gas leak... ignore the strange ichor and bug pieces".

Yeah, so you can have a whole life cycle of shit to deal with where each one is more deadly and meaner where you have the distinct possibility of half your team getting zombied/eaten  where you gleefully press the abort button to avoid a total wipe.

Oh and also different styles of armors researched from Cyberlid and Chryssalid autopsies that protect against infection... you are grateful that they just die instead becoming zombies.

Better? worse?

thoughts gentlemen?

-HH

Offline Arthanor

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 2490
  • XCom Armoury Quartermaster
    • View Profile
Re: [Idea] New Alien and Alien Weaponry
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2014, 10:37:05 pm »
I thought about the infection protection too. I think it would make sense. Currently would be useable in OpenXCom Expanded but is not supported in the main build. We'd have to get the "Zombifiable" or something option added into the main build, which would also solve the issue of 1 tile robots getting zombified too.

Thinking back about my idea of clips, I remembered that range is defined on the weapon, not the ammo, so it is in fact not possible to do it with one weapon. I think the FMP has aliens with two weapons (gun + fixed bite) which might be useable though. Balancing the weapons and the behavior would be tricky but may be doable. I'm thinking of a weapon with no handob (or rather, fully invisible ones) called "Acid gland" with a few shots. It would disappear after use much like single shot rocket launchers, and not be recoverable. So for all intent and purposes it would be a built in weapon. Once the weapon is gone, the alien has no choice but to melee.

I don't personally want to tweak the original Chryssalid, since I like to keep vanilla things vanilla. The acid explosion sounds good for the Cyberlid though, but I don't think it is possible to do an acid explosion in vanilla code. Again, might be possible to do in OpenXCom Expanded. A normal explosion could be explained as a critical reaction occurring upon death, where the acids interact with some implant in the Cyberlid and cause it to blow up. Killing it with explosives disperses the acid fast enough that the explosion doesn't occur, so it behaves like a Cyberdisc in that manner.

Infectralisk: I don't generally like 2x2 AI units, they tend to get stuck and not do much, unless they are cyberdiscs and can fly. Also, a radius 4 infection bomb is kinda crazy. That's an automatic kill (or multiple) since you would rarely miss enough to not hit anything.

Implantation gun: I will work on that as a small launcher ammo used by medics. I like weapons being given depending on ranks and medics would be perfect for wielding bioweapons.

Offline Dioxine

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 5285
  • punk not dead
    • View Profile
    • Nocturnal Productions
    • Email
Re: [Idea] New Alien and Alien Weaponry
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2014, 01:45:43 am »
- Good idea with the limited ammo weapon... in theory at least. In practice, the alien's logic is often: try to shoot -> no ammo -> nyoron, back to patroling. They do CAN effectively dualwield since Warboy introduced this a few weeks ago, but they would still only meelee if they'd think "I'd rather melee than shoot", NOT "I have no ammo, I must melee". Disappearing weapon might be the solution but I'd avoid making it right-hand weapon, hell knows what happens when the alien is bereft of main weapon but still has secondary. Do not ever try to use logic when dealing with alien behaviour, their AI lacks a proper all-encompassing logical flowchart, as it was built bit by bit by various people (and the guy who wrote most of it is no longer on the team). I don't blame the devs, it just is what it is and we should adapt.

- Acid explosions are indeed (only) possible in Extended.

- Incendiary ammo: they might be weak but they *ignore armor*. You don't need this effect if you can break armor by sheer brute force (Rocket Launcher, Heavy Plasma, even Heavy Laser or massed Laser Rifle fire, it's easy to forget how powerful laser rifles are), so in vanilla they're mostly useless. However, in mods that make the game harder and take away "point at something and it dies" weapons... but like I said, when facing a Sectopod with only a trusty AK rifle and a knife, you HAVE to start being creative about your tactics. Vanilla rarely forces you to think outside the box, as you can always simply saturate the area with heavy firepower :) (the exceptions being getting out of Coffinranger, I mean, securing the LZ, and UFO breaching... hence the popularity of mods that allow you to smash/cut UFOs as it saves the pain of coming up with creative breaching tactics, I guess. I'm still somewhat iffy that Warboy broke the vanilla rules and disallowed aliens to use area-effect weapons till turn 3 after his whole crew was blasted with such weapon while they were crowding inside the Skyranger. Weak :) ).

- The AI never checks for hit chances. Their default firing mode is Snap, although they favor autofire from close by and aimed shot from long distances. It will, however, use non-favored firing modes if the weapon lacks them. Although it WILL happily shoot even if hit chances are 0%; such bad scenario naturally happens quite rarely as aliens can't shoot at targets spotted by other aliens (I am quite sure they COULD do that in vanilla) so they never fire from further than 20 tiles away (their sight range); most weapons retain good hit chances at that range. (This pattern is only broken for Psi and Blaster Launchers. Or so they say, sixth OXCom campaign in and still nobody ever shot me with a Blaster).

- The AI never checks for limited weapon range. If the weapon has a range of say, 7, the aliens will still try to snipe you from 20 tiles away, find that impossible, but won't consciously close distance *to fire*. They can close distance only per their general behaviour OR to charge.

- The AI heavily favors ranged combat. If you give a ranged weapon to a Chryssalid, it will rarely charge with its claws, mostly choosing to shoot. Even when standing 5 tiles away. And it certainly won't agressively try to close the range - only when it thinks it is safe to do so, getting into some cover, reserving TU for reaction fire... As Warboy put it (strange as it may sound), "[Aliens think that] melee is a risky maneuver". They DO sometimes charge, I've checked this in practice, but there's maybe 25% chance of them doing so if they have both ranged and melee weapons, even when standing as close as 5-8 tiles away.

- Side note: remember you can CUSTOMIZE the thing a weapons turns someone into. It doesn't have to be vanilla zombie (although it will always fight on Alien side). I have for example made an (unpublished) weapon that turns enemies into chickens... the chickens are still out to kill you, but they're not very good at it :)
« Last Edit: October 02, 2014, 01:54:25 am by Dioxine »

Offline Arthanor

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 2490
  • XCom Armoury Quartermaster
    • View Profile
Re: [Idea] New Alien and Alien Weaponry
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2014, 02:07:30 am »
Lots of good info! Thanks Dioxine.

I'm not sure I understand your comment about "right hand weapon" though. How is that determined? If I give them a fixed weapon for the bite (presumably as a right hand weapon) and a ranged weapon as a secondary, will they shoot?

Trying to wrap my head around how to make the best use of the AI for what we want to do.. That'll be tricky it looks like. But I will try. Ethereals effectively use two weapons, their rifle and the alien psi weapon, so I am hoping it could work. I'm ok with a "shoot twice first, then charge" behavior if that's what I can get out of the AI and disappearing weapon. Too bad about the AI not considering hit chances. I guess in the vanilla game it's not as important as with the Accuracy Extender.

Especially, I'd like to keep my mod for 1.0 since that's what I use (I don't like the risk of nightlies bugging things and then wasting hours trying to find what's happening thinking it was my fault) and I want my mods to be used by everyone, including the people who just go on the website and download the "release version", but that might not be possible. I guess I can release a strictly melee version for 1.0, and a dual-wielding one for nightlies, if needed.

Changing what a weapon turns things into is nice, yes. Although I don't know if it is needed here. If a Cyberlid is a cyborg-Chryssalid, then it can't really spawn an already cyborged thing, so it would just do the same as a normal Chryssalid. That weapon of yours sounds cool. Reminds me of the Warcraft II polymorph spell.

So much to think about! And that's not talking about graphics..!

Offline HelmetHair

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 350
  • He who laughs last thinks fastest.
    • View Profile
Re: [Idea] New Alien and Alien Weaponry
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2014, 03:37:28 am »
Yes, all for HelmetHair 8)

I do agree, acid weapon spit should zombie or you would be downgrading the terror of facing a Chryssalid.


-HH

Offline Arthanor

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 2490
  • XCom Armoury Quartermaster
    • View Profile
Re: [Idea] New Alien and Alien Weaponry
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2014, 04:29:48 am »
You guys are so keen on egg shooting.. Maybe I'll make the sprites starting from this:



Jokes aside, it sounds really interesting. And it's not just for you, HH, I'm sure many would enjoy more endgame variety. And it's still very much in the planning phase..

Offline HelmetHair

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 350
  • He who laughs last thinks fastest.
    • View Profile
Re: [Idea] New Alien and Alien Weaponry
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2014, 05:25:09 am »
Sweet, check out my |337 ps skiilz... no need to do any .GEFs  8)


-HH