Author Topic: Area 51 Version 0.9  (Read 21550 times)

Offline Hobbes

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Area 51 Version 0.9
« on: January 11, 2016, 05:11:31 am »
So, I'm currently designing 0.9 which should contain the last major change regarding design and I've come up with some interesting insights to share regarding missions.

Right now the missions have three issues: too many UFOs (unconfirmed bug), the scripted missions are changing the vanilla flow and there are a lot of new terrains/missions to balance regarding their appearances.

So I've decided to start with 2 major changes:
* Remove the specific Overseer missions, to reduce the number of UFOs (and solve the bug)
* Increase the number of possible UFO waves from 1 to 3 in the vanilla missions. On Alien Research, Abductions, Harvest, Supply and Base the additional waves contain 33% and 66% of the vanilla UFO wave, and most consist only of a couple UFOs. On Alien Terror, Infiltration and Retaliation one of the new waves will contain the Overseer UFO and a heavy escort. 

The smaller number of reduced UFOs will make it harder to detect UFOs or predict their behavior. It will also allow for the same mission to be repeated over a region, although at a low chance, and finally, it will reduce the recovered loot. And finally, the reduced number of UFO missions opens more space to a new regular monthly mission, but with no scripted missions and keeping the openness of the original regarding research.

Thus, there will also be major changes to the new missions:
* Reassign the Alien Hive and Colony terrains to the Alien Base Assault missions
* Consolidate all the new missions into a single new mission to be generated every month like terror sites
* Redesign and expand the new missions to balance the appearance of new terrains

I'm basically finishing this last part and the new missions can have 8 different objectives:
* Defense - hold a position against the aliens
* Assault - kill all aliens
* Attack - rescue civilians
* Extraction - escape carrying a specific item
* Recovery - assault to recover a specific item
* Destroy - specific map object
* Escape
* Capture

Each of those objectives will have 4 specific terrains assigned, for a total of 32 different missions.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2016, 05:04:02 am by Hobbes »

Offline hellrazor

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Re: Version 0.9
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2016, 01:08:56 pm »
I assume you are still using the same Version of the Area51 Base Terrain for those?

Since i was so far very hesitent to die into those specifically, since you changed loads of stuff with them.

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Version 0.9
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2016, 05:15:14 pm »
I assume you are still using the same Version of the Area51 Base Terrain for those?

Yes, Area 51 and all of the new terrains will be used for those missions, but their appearance will be more balanced - right now Area 51 terrains are used for roughly 1/2 the missions but with this new structure they'll be present only in 1/3.

Here's a breakdown of the terrains per missions (list incomplete - only 3 terrains assigned to a mission at the moment):
* Defense - Storm Mountain, Area 51 Defense, Siberia
* Assault - Area 51 Recovery, Area 51 Assault, Area 51 Base
* Attack - Slums, Polis, Airfield
* Extraction - Complex, Area 51 Research, Area 51 Extraction
* Recovery - HWP Factory, Skyranger Factory, Area51 Research
* Destroy - Storm Mountain, Area 51 Base, Cargo Ship
* Escape - Slums, Polis, Port Linership
* Capture - Linership, Complex, Airfield

I'll need to create a few new terrains, but nearly all the work to implement all of this will regard the ruleset. The existing terrains will be used as they are right now.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 06:09:32 pm by Hobbes »

niculinux

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Re: Version 0.9
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2016, 07:19:49 pm »
Interestin! Just out of curiosity,  shall we see any weapons/items ?

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Version 0.9
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2016, 07:36:12 pm »
Interestin! Just out of curiosity,  shall we see any weapons/items ?

If you mean new weapons/items/craft in addition to the ones already in Redux, yes it is likely as long as they don't make significant changes to the research tree or to game balance. I already got the Blackbird tagged for addition since  I'd like to at least see that craft on a map.

niculinux

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Re: Version 0.9
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2016, 11:18:36 am »
If you mean new weapons/items/craft in addition to the ones already in Redux, yes it is likely as long as they don't make significant changes to the research tree or to game balance. I already got the Blackbird tagged for addition since  I'd like to at least see that craft on a map.

yes, that i meant :) thanks.

Offline silencer_pl

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Re: Version 0.9
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2016, 11:15:40 pm »
In my humble opinion you need to see something for X-COM Armour. I personally don't like that many aliens can one shot kill you in Flying Suit, while some of your anti specific alien guns have hard time in one shot killing them - exclude Blaster Launcher as anti specific alien gun.

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Version 0.9
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2016, 05:46:53 am »
In my humble opinion you need to see something for X-COM Armour. I personally don't like that many aliens can one shot kill you in Flying Suit, while some of your anti specific alien guns have hard time in one shot killing them - exclude Blaster Launcher as anti specific alien gun.

The Overlords weapon has 100 power, which is even less than the damage output of a Heavy Plasma, and the Solarite weapon is 140 but it is melee. The Hybrid and Armored Sectopod have a weapon of 150 power but they only face them in certain missions and they are supposed to be tough aliens to defeat.

If I add an a better armor than Flying Suit, then the Heavy Plasma gets less useful for the AI and fighting the early races (Sectoid, Floater, etc.) during the late game becomes even easier. So those aliens might need a better gun against that advanced armor to have a chance, so I'd have to give another weapon to the aliens to keep them at least as efficient in vanilla in killing XCOM troops, which brings back the issue you first mentioned that XCOM soldiers are being killed in one shots, and all of this doesn't really solve the issue.

But, about the anti-specific alien weapons, one thing I want to do is to increase the Gauss weapons' stats to the same ones as Lasers, which will represent a 10-15% increase in their power. Lasers will still have unlimited ammo, making them slightly superior. One thing I noticed also from your playthrough is that you haven't really used either the Alloy Shotgun and the new ammo rounds for the Small Launcher, which can also be useful against those aliens with increased Plasma/Laser resistance.

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Version 0.9
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2016, 06:25:23 am »
OK, here's my current draft of the new monthly mission structure. The top of the sheet lists the terrains and what types of missions can be reasonably played on them. The bottom of the sheet is the selection I made of attributing 4 terrains to each mission, using several criteria: same probability for each terrain to be chosen, etc.



Each of the 32 missions will have its specific alienDeployment, giving it unique alert messages and site locations, and some will feature the human collaborators instead of aliens. A few more specific details about each mission type:
* Capture - an alien Scientist/Commander (chosen randomly) will be present during the mission
* Recovery/Extraction - both involve recovering a Data Disk, first mission you'll need to discover its location, second you'll start already with it and have to move to the exit. Each data disk will unlock a specific tech when researched, allowing to skip all research requirements for that topic. Techs will all be human, like Gauss and Laser weapons, armors up to Personal Armor, advanced crafts and HWPs. 

Offline silencer_pl

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Re: Version 0.9
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2016, 12:22:50 pm »
The Overlords weapon has 100 power, which is even less than the damage output of a Heavy Plasma, and the Solarite weapon is 140 but it is melee. The Hybrid and Armored Sectopod have a weapon of 150 power but they only face them in certain missions and they are supposed to be tough aliens to defeat.

If I add an a better armor than Flying Suit, then the Heavy Plasma gets less useful for the AI and fighting the early races (Sectoid, Floater, etc.) during the late game becomes even easier. So those aliens might need a better gun against that advanced armor to have a chance, so I'd have to give another weapon to the aliens to keep them at least as efficient in vanilla in killing XCOM troops, which brings back the issue you first mentioned that XCOM soldiers are being killed in one shots, and all of this doesn't really solve the issue.

But, about the anti-specific alien weapons, one thing I want to do is to increase the Gauss weapons' stats to the same ones as Lasers, which will represent a 10-15% increase in their power. Lasers will still have unlimited ammo, making them slightly superior. One thing I noticed also from your playthrough is that you haven't really used either the Alloy Shotgun and the new ammo rounds for the Small Launcher, which can also be useful against those aliens with increased Plasma/Laser resistance.

Today will be the day I will use Alloy Shotguns and I'm not very satisfied with them (as mentioned in feedback thread). The spread is too wild, although overall they should be perfect for Overlords. I don't know I think when Nook played in 0.54 version Alloy Shotguns were more reliable. Auto Cannons are also questionable because it takes from 1-5 shots. Sometimes I have a feeling that aliens are invurnerable, because in some cases I need to land 5 heavy plasma shots. But I know this is the fault of 0-200% damage range.

I was thinking of a more specialized armour. Also why aliens armour have protection against certain weapons, and human armour only against smoke, stun and fire? I understand that in vanilla resistances were non-existent and TFTD made strong use of it.  One time you made example against armour comparing tank armour vs shell types. So why only aliens use this?

Offline yrizoud

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Re: Version 0.9
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2016, 01:08:44 pm »
XCOM soldiers are being killed in one shots
An idea to consider is to make higher tier armors start reducing damage by a percentage, rather than increase the flat amount.
This helps avoid situations where a shot has 45% chance of leaving soldier unharmed, 10% chance of wounding him, and 45% chance of killing him outright - such randomness is not fun for a strategy game.

I've toyed with the idea of making "unarmored" humans pretty vulnerable to plasma damage (150%), and each new armor reduces this weakness a little. The early plasma weapons' damage is scaled down accordingly, so that when XCOM starts using them against aliens, they are not as devastating.

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Version 0.9
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2016, 05:53:46 pm »
I was thinking of a more specialized armour. Also why aliens armour have protection against certain weapons, and human armour only against smoke, stun and fire? I understand that in vanilla resistances were non-existent and TFTD made strong use of it.  One time you made example against armour comparing tank armour vs shell types. So why only aliens use this?

You have a good memory (because of the tank armor/shells) :)

Specialized armor sounds a lot more interesting, but against what? Aliens don't use AP or Lasers so those two are out (actually a couple of the new terror units use it, like the Holodrone). HE might be useful but giving a modifier to plasma is the same as increasing the armor value. Melee might be another option but it isn't that used.

An idea to consider is to make higher tier armors start reducing damage by a percentage, rather than increase the flat amount.
This helps avoid situations where a shot has 45% chance of leaving soldier unharmed, 10% chance of wounding him, and 45% chance of killing him outright - such randomness is not fun for a strategy game.

I've toyed with the idea of making "unarmored" humans pretty vulnerable to plasma damage (150%), and each new armor reduces this weakness a little. The early plasma weapons' damage is scaled down accordingly, so that when XCOM starts using them against aliens, they are not as devastating.

And when the humans start deploying advanced armors the effectiveness of the alien shots drop as well when using the early plasma weapons. This is an interesting idea for another mod but here it involves too many changes from the original.

But when I mentioned the issue of 'one kill shots', to me it isn't really an issue but one of the key features of the original UFO and TFTD (less here with its damage variation model) for several reasons. The most important of those is how the AI depends on those shots to be effective, since it can't coordinate attacks with several units as well as the player.

In any case, there is already one vanilla feature that allow players to reduce the one shot kills, which are the HWPs. The Hovertanks have 130 armor and 90 health which allows them to absorb most shots since only a shot with 220 power (and max Heavy Plasma damage is 115) can kill an intact Hovertank.


Offline silencer_pl

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Re: Version 0.9
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2016, 06:44:55 pm »
Erm max heavy plasma damage is 230, 115 is average damage. And in my whole experience hovertanks are just tiny bit more resistant and can die a plenty vs heavy plasma, cyberdisc, sectopod.

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Version 0.9
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2016, 07:01:07 pm »
Erm max heavy plasma damage is 230, 115 is average damage. And in my whole experience hovertanks are just tiny bit more resistant and can die a plenty vs heavy plasma, cyberdisc, sectopod.

Correct, 230 max damage is what I wanted to write.

The big difference between HWPs and soldiers is health, which HWPs have nearly the double of a veteran soldier, and which allows them to survive longer. To kill an undamaged Hovertank with a shot to the front of its armor requires a RNG result of 220 or higher, which corresponds to even less than 5% of the possible results for a Heavy Plasma shot. To kill a flying suit with 50 health requires a RNG result of 160 or higher, which corresponds to ~30% of all possible RNG results. So the chance of a Hovertank dying from a Heavy Plasma is 5-6 times lower than a Flying Suit, which is a lot.

Offline silencer_pl

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Re: Version 0.9
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2016, 08:14:10 pm »
By the way, I've noticed that there is no alloy ammo for tanks. Maybe with improved tanks armour there should also be better bullets / rockets ?