Author Topic: [Total Conversion][WIP] oXc - War of Shadows  (Read 30029 times)

Offline jackstraw2323

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[Total Conversion][WIP] oXc - War of Shadows
« on: November 09, 2014, 05:54:40 am »
REPO opened on bitbucket
https://bitbucket.org/thridda/openxcom-war-of-shadows

Wanted to start a conversation about what I'm working on.

Background: It sort of bugged me that we never really got a sequel with decent continuity. I.E. you start off in TFTD with more junk equipment...So here's my take.

Overview: After the end of the First Alien War and the colonization of mars the alien forces are in disarray. There needs to be some kind of response but the amount of blood and treasure spent doesn't leave them with many options. Into this power vacuum steps an ethereal with a unique vision of how to proceed. Plasma based weapons will not be used due to their expense, and other alien races will not be flown in. A small team will establish a base on planet and begin building a new army from an array of local materials. There will be an entirely new set of races to contend with. In the interim without a direct threat, X-com will have had funding cut and materials scrapped or sold. Starting players will have 3 or 4 old plasma rifles and maybe 6 clips. Elerium has been mined almost to exhaustion on Mars and is available for purchase at very high rates. (My current estimate is something like 60,000 for 1 unit of Elerium as I'm trying to simulate the expense of mining and shipping a super rare energy source in a capitalist structure).

Status: I'm planning on setting up a public repo, possibly on bitbucket, maybe github. So far I've got the groundwork laid for 2 sets of aliens and their terror units. I think they are interesting enough conceptually and tactically to seem distinct from the previous game. Artwork assets are in progress for the aliens, and I've got the prelims done on a new HWP mech.

Clearly there's tons to do, outside of just aliens and weapons. I haven't even started looking at research trees, translation strings, or deployments. I'm trying to work in a modular way so that each piece can be used standalone for playtesting.

A quick Question
1. Is it possible to change the rewards for UFO capture? I's like to change the economy and keep elerium super rare, or even remove completely from the alien transports.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 03:37:41 am by jackstraw2323 »

Offline Warboy1982

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Re: [Total Conversion][WIP] oXc - War of Shadows
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2014, 10:32:05 am »
yes, easily. specific item spawning rules are available to map blocks in the ruleset, and these override any default "put elerium in engines" behaviour. see the alien base terrain in the ruleset for more info.

Offline new_civilian

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Re: [Total Conversion][WIP] oXc - War of Shadows
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2014, 02:56:26 pm »
I like the idea of the Ethereal taking over. I always wondered why the aliens with all their resources NEVER had any backup brain at all, I mean even ant queens aren't irreplacable (for their species, not their tribe).

Offline jackstraw2323

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Re: [Total Conversion][WIP] oXc - War of Shadows
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2014, 04:34:20 am »
It's possible there might be another brain in the network. But you would still need some primary prosecutor of the war with some new ideas, since clearly the old approach failed.

I'm working on multiple avenues right now, so progress is slow. I'm trying to lay out a planning document before I throw up the raw material to version control.

Sprites seem to be my current time sink. I'd debated on switching drawing routines for one unit to use Routine 4 (Ethreals, humans) since it's simpler, but because I might have units picking up other weapons it might be preferable to have all of the variations.

I've got a pallet swapped muton standing in for one alien, which may work okay in the context of the story, but I'd like to draw one up from scratch eventually. I'm hopeful that once I've got something more concrete I can attract some other people who want to contribute.

Offline jackstraw2323

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Re: [Total Conversion][WIP] oXc - War of Shadows
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2014, 05:20:40 am »
Current Graphics Progress
Race: Mechanoids
Infiltrator: Done. Very happy about the death animation.
Jarhead: 64 sprites remaining to finish. Mostly arms and aiming positions.
Will-o-Wisp: Done, but could be improved. Not sold on current animation rotation or color choices.
Items: a few odds and ends around the conventional weapons. Not happy with the tactical rifle. I want it to echo the first rifle, but look like a good upgrade. Just doesn't feel right yet. I suspect my rearranging of the barrel hood made it look skinnier, and that's translating into a less aggressive look, when I want something that is supposed to feel like a good upgrade to the conventional rifle, somewhere in early mid to mid game, with the possibility of being a late game option.
HWP Jaeger. Base graphics done, but I really need to recolor and add accent colors for contrast etc. Some of it could stand to get redrawn between facings, but it's a decent starting point.

Race: Sleepers
I have about 3 separate units based on CIVM or CIVF that I'd like to tweak. In particular the two Sympathizers need something more normal looking and more threatening than just bermuda shorts guy. I'm currently thinking something like swat gear for the higher level sympathizer. I still like the challenge of the graphics being the same as the CIV units for the lower level sympathizer as it adds an extra dimension of challenge to terror missions.

Race: Fungoids
Currently I've got a pallet swapped muton standing in for the main work horse of this group. I need to animate the terror unit using the DOGE.PCK as a model as it's a 4 legged creature. I've got a single facing done there and I think it's an interesting enough model.

Rules progress.
I've got a fair amount done for SLEEPERS and MECHANOID units/deployments. Almost ready for some reasonable play testing. Deployments are thinly written right now and I want to understand them a bit more to try and tailor the loadouts and units in the terror mission. It's unclear to me how units/weapons are chosen in the terror mission.

Question: Are there always 2 terror units? My last test I didn't see any of my designated terror units, but it's possible my rule wasn't correct.

Storyline progress.
Not much written down at the moment but some solid ideas I'm kicking around about the how and why of our particular conflict. I don't know if anyone here has gone back and watched the end of XCOM:UFO Defense, but the ending is sort of hilariously bad. The giant brain says "we should cooperate, it would be great" and then some trigger happy cowboy blasts it with hot plasma before it can finish the offer. I mean, yeah they were invading and killing lots of people, but hear the brain out first man. Find out where it hid the alien gold or whatever first. So our sympathizers most likely have at least some notion of what went down and don't agree with the outcome. What if we had joined forces? It's clear from the XCOM:EW game as well that the Ethereals have some need of human DNA if not human ideas.

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: [Total Conversion][WIP] oXc - War of Shadows
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2014, 08:09:16 am »
Can we please, please see some graphics?

Offline jackstraw2323

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Re: [Total Conversion][WIP] oXc - War of Shadows
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2014, 03:34:33 am »
Okay. Finished my sprite for the jarhead soldier so I've got the first leg of the Mechanoids finished. There's some bleed over with the Sleepers as the Infiltrator is in both groups at the moment. I'm attaching my Rules the mechanoids, Revised conventional weapons that includes updated artwork for my Tactical Rifle which is intended as a solid midgame option, 3 sets of ammo for the TAC rifle, a deployment set for the aliens that starts them off with standard weapons and alloy rounds, and something the german / japanese engineers cooked up that's a bit stronger than our standard tanks.

Mostly small scout and terror are all that's working as intended, but I just ran a terror mission with only tac rifles, no extra armor and only lost one or two team members and got a good rating. Probably still needs some balancing, esp since I haven't added in the other terror unit for the Mechanoids yet. After doing the sprites for the mechanoid I'd love to find someone to collaborate with as it's just very time consuming to make new drawingRoutine 4 units. I've got at least 2 of those to do still, and at least 2 or 3 routine 4's.

Have fun play testing and let me know what you find/think so far. Numbers are raw and subject to adjustment, but the intent is for jarheads to be pretty damage resistant.

Offline jackstraw2323

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Re: [Total Conversion][WIP] oXc - War of Shadows
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2014, 05:50:39 am »
Small launcher wont be a viable option. However there is this. It's a "tiny" bit bigger, but it beats stun batons for bringing down aliens for capture.

Offline jackstraw2323

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Re: [Total Conversion][WIP] oXc - War of Shadows
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2014, 04:04:03 am »
bit of a refinement on the artwork for the Jaeger MK I. Still thinking about trying to tie in  paint scheme, but the red and white always looked silly to me. Went with alien alloy base.

Offline new_civilian

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Re: [Total Conversion][WIP] oXc - War of Shadows
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2014, 04:52:46 pm »
Sure looks cool  8)

Offline jackstraw2323

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Re: [Total Conversion][WIP] oXc - War of Shadows
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2014, 05:57:16 am »
Making decent progress on rule sets. Also some quick artwork in spots. Got a palletswapped xops armor for swat gear on my sympathizer soldiers. Some bigObs for assorted weapons, getting to them as I feel like it.

Was going to declare Mechanoids mostly finished for testing purposes, but decided to not have the Will-O-Wisp terror unit persist into their section. Instead looking at a Mechtoid Hybrid. Don't get too excited because there's a lot of art to create for this but at least one facing is partially baked.

Started on Puffer animations but ran into a snag as walk animation is 7 frames total and my unit has 4 legs, so I've got a weird gait going on. Not sure how noticeable it will be without more testing. I thought about converting to a floating unit to save some animation time but I really like the spidery version right now.

Really enjoying playing with shotgun style weapons at the moment, but trying to find a good balance as they get out of hand quickly and I don't want to feature too many of the same type of weapons. I'm considering changing the short range zombie weapon to use a spread just for randomness, but haven't decided yet. It's very short range and I don't have a sense yet of how it would play psychologically. I want scary and I want them to be a concern when the player sees the unit, but I also want it to not be cheap or unmanageable, particularly with virulant zombies being the result. I think I've just got to play test it.

Offline jackstraw2323

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Re: [Total Conversion][WIP] oXc - War of Shadows
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2014, 04:34:15 am »
This is all on repo, but thought getting my planning document up would be good. Should help keep me focused a bit. It's easy to go down the rabbit hole of drawing a bigOb when I should be doing something macro.

Additional thought. Should write a small mod that creates X-Com race / deployment with various arms / armor for testing new weapons with. Probably faster than giving the weapons to aliens and waiting for them to shoot me.

This is all in Markdown, so no idea if it's going to translate 100%

# TODO #
## GENERAL ##
* How to remove existing aliens?
* Rebalance Economy
* How to set final mission completion requirements / final message screen or movie
## UNITS ##
------
### XCOM ###
* JAEGER MK II Sprite and Rul
### Sleepers ###
* Sympathizer Sprite / Reskin Civ M and Update Civ M
* Priest Sprite
* Balance stats / deployments
### Mechanoids ###
* Mechtoid Sprite
* Balance stats / deployments
### Fungoids ###
* Improved Fungoid Sprite
* Puffer Sprite
* Balance stats / deployments
* Zombie Reskin to match new CIV M
### Chimeras ###
* Minotaur Sprite (Reuse cow from abduction?)
* Siphonophore Sprite
* Siphonophore Rul
* Drone Sprite
* Balance stats / deployments
### Cult of Cydonia ###
* High Priest Rul
* High Priest Sprite / Reskin of Priest
* Ethreal Cultist Rul
* Ethreal Cultist Reskin
* Ethreal Form 1 Rul - Final Leader
* Ethreal Form 2 Rul - Mutation
* Ethreal Form 3 Rul - Transcendence
* Ethreal Form 1 Sprite
* Ethreal Form 2 Sprite
* Ethreal Form 3 Sprite
## ITEMS ##
------
New Armor?
### BIGOB ###
* COMPACT BLASTER
* SPITTER
* SPORE VARIANTS
* ALIEN CORPSES
* SATCHEL CHARGE
### HANDOB ###
* TAC RIFLE
* RAILGUN
* SPITTER
* SPINEGUN
* SATCHEL CHARGE
* HYBRID PLASMA
* STORMGUN
* HEAVY RAILGUN
### FLOOROB ###
* TAC RIFLE
* RAILGUN
* SPITTER
* SPINEGUN
* SPORES
* SATCHEL CHARGE
* ALIEN CORPSES
* JAEGER CORPSE
### BULLETS ###
* COMPACT BLASTER
## VEHICLES ##
------
* Add a low end / mid range option. Alloy Fighter.
* Craft with Better HWP Storage / Exits.
## DEPLOYMENTS ##
------
* Balance equipment levels for deployments
## RESEARCH ##
------
* Develop ideal order - Compare to original and work backwards
* Price out research hours
* Some items researchable but don't produce direct usability. Mostly Organics.
## MANUFACTURE ##
------
* TIME / Price / Requirements for all new equipment
* Jaeger requires a soldier corpse. Possibly a Mechtoid Corpse.
## UFOPEDIA ##
------
* Identify necessary entries
* Write Entries for all items
## UFO TRAJECTORIES ##
------
* Come up with sleeper trajectories
## ALIEN MISSIONS ##
------
* Figure out which missions go with which aliens
## WAVES ##
------
* Decide on how to parcel out Waves to ensure Sleepers are the first engangement that then slides into mechtoids.
## ECONOMY ##
------
* Establish costs of all alien tech / corpses. Negative costs on some equipment for disposal? Spores, Zombies, Puffers.
* Reprice Elerium

Offline Arthanor

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Re: [Total Conversion][WIP] oXc - War of Shadows
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2014, 04:42:42 am »
Lots of interesting stuff coming up! I am looking forward to this. I also had the idea of a human cult/alien sympathizers for early enemies but no will to do the sprites yet.

Regarding how to remove existing aliens: Have you tried setting raceWeights to 0? It should do it for most of them. The only problem is with the first mission in the game. It is hard coded to be a sectoid research mission in the same region as the player's first base and I don't think you can change that (although you might work around that by redefining what it is to be a sectoid!).

Offline jackstraw2323

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Re: [Total Conversion][WIP] oXc - War of Shadows
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2014, 05:02:35 am »
Lots of interesting stuff coming up! I am looking forward to this. I also had the idea of a human cult/alien sympathizers for early enemies but no will to do the sprites yet.

Regarding how to remove existing aliens: Have you tried setting raceWeights to 0? It should do it for most of them. The only problem is with the first mission in the game. It is hard coded to be a sectoid research mission in the same region as the player's first base and I don't think you can change that (although you might work around that by redefining what it is to be a sectoid!).

Hadn't really looked at it yet as I've been deep in other pieces, but was wondering if I was going to have to redefine the existing races as a hack. I'll ook at the suggestion once I'm a bit closer to doing more than tactical simulations.

Offline jackstraw2323

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Re: [Total Conversion][WIP] oXc - War of Shadows
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2014, 05:56:58 am »
Added sprites for low level sympathizers/civM. Basically Exalt style dress or bankers. Took a smuggler sprite from the Piratez mod and redid the hair, took off the armored vest and added a tie. Swanky. Also finished sprite for fungoid terror unit. Need to reskin my beta-zombie and swap out civM with something that doesn't look like a kid in shorts. Possibly reuse the civm_2.

Fungoids and their weapons are probably complete enough that I can start play testing them. Organic weapon stats seem out of whack at the moment, but I'm not fielding armored soldiers, and I think I gave fungoids pretty heavy resistance to damage, particularly plasma. Took me a little bit to figure out that terror units were rank 6 and 7 in deployments. Looks like they have no gear by default, which most of the time is good, but wonder if something's going to break if I throw in something like a story item that's research only? Or if I add plasma rifles and the unit is a living weapon will it still equip? I've definitely seen my terror units pick up guns even though they are living weapons.

Once I've got a Priest sprite I can probably wrap up the basics for the Sleeper Cells. Still lots of other work to be done like the deployments and supplementary graphics. but they would at least be ready for full play testing to tweak arms/armor/stats vs. various levels of arms.

Need to take some time to look at research trees and plan out progression. It feels like I've got some alien tech holes as far as weapon progression, and I want it to feel like the aliens are responding to your escalation as well, rather than just swapping out heavy plasma for plasma rifles.