Author Topic: [TFTD]More USO Variants  (Read 22539 times)

Offline Blank

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[TFTD]More USO Variants
« on: April 12, 2016, 01:00:23 pm »
Standing on the shoulders of what led to the Darkened UFO Vanilla Variants mods and the variant USOs by Civilian, I started work on making extra variety for TFTD.

Starting off I have two experimental variations on the fleet supply cruiser. UFO08b1 is meant to be vanilla balanced and I'm pretty happy with it as long as no bugs crop up. UFO08b2 won't make the final version in it's current form - it has a very nasty killzone right by the entrance which I think disrupts the vanilla flow too much. A few such nasty surprises might have their place though.

My questions are:
-What common map bugs should I be looking out for? This is my first attempt using the map editor
-Opinions on acceptable breaks from the vanilla layout? External entrances in different places?

Update:
Download link available and mod is ready for actual release after some more testing to make sure the latest changes haven't broken anything.

Features:
      -Interior variations for all vanilla USOs (38 new maps)
      -13 new original USOs (45 new maps)


Changelog:
0.9 - All maps for vanilla subs are now blastproof
      - All mods have been merged into one with all the new features for ease of installation. Advanced options have been left to help those with some modding experience to change what they like
1.0 - Fixed interception images for all new USOs
      - Fixed LOS issues with hunter variants (UFO05B.map, UFO05BL1.map, UFO05BL2.map, UFO05BL3.map

Usage:
      - B variants (UFO01b UFO03b UFO04b UFO05b UFO06b UFO07b UFO08b) created by new_civilian, with some modifications
      - Everything that represents my own work is free to use, distribute, and modify
      - This explicitly includes: Modification, Combining in your own megamod, bug fixing (please do), converting to UFO, hosting elsewhere as long as it public and free to download
« Last Edit: November 26, 2022, 02:50:47 am by Blank »

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: [TFTD][WIP]More USO Variants
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2016, 01:41:08 pm »
It's a great idea! Good to see your mod in progress.
Asking for tips making maps? Well, you already seem experienced, having made several maps. From the top of my head:
1) Be careful about putting times on the right position, for example don't put objects into wall slots (some walls are technically objects, just impassable). Having said that, there are moments where it's actually correct to do such a trick, but they're very rare.
2) Routes tend to cause more problems than the map itself. Make sure that:
- All routes are two-way.
- No nodes outside the map (can happen when you're shrinking the map).
- No big units spawning in places they won't be able to leave.
- Not sure if it's essential, but if a route is only suitable for small units, mark it as Small (both ways).
3) The entire terrain can have 256 total, including dead tiles and so on. Don't go overboard with this, or you'll have bugs.
4) Are you making new tilesets? If so, the maximum size of the .pck file is 64 kilobytes or so, if you're going over this limit split your tileset.

I'm not sure if it's still useful to you, but that's a good start for every map n00b, I guess.

Offline harre

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Re: [TFTD][WIP]More USO Variants
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2016, 02:06:20 pm »
looks cool, alot of nasty ambush places :)

Offline Blank

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Re: [TFTD][WIP]More USO Variants
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2016, 03:53:55 pm »
looks cool, alot of nasty ambush places :)
And one of my mini-mod ideas is to add terror units (i.e. tentaculats) to supply ships too

@Solarius: A lot of it does seem down to the interface. I did come across a wish list while I was searching about. Copying what I'm seeing on the vanilla tfdt maps may or may not be helping, they seem to have enough bugs of their own.

Made another variant. This one has a more drastic layout change from the first one but I tried to reuse 'design language' from the original. I think of it as a floor swap. I'm focusing on the supply cruiser first because it's a USO I've raided lots so a) I know its tactical design well and b) it gets tedious and most in need of variety.

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: [TFTD][WIP]More USO Variants
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2016, 04:03:27 pm »
That swap is interesting, though I'm not sure if deliberate deconstruction of a ship plan by swapping two levels with no other changes doesn't impact on the integrity of the ship's image... I mean, a new different variant would be an addition to how the player perceives this particular ship, while yours is more of to distort this perception by confusing the player. I'm not saying it's bad, I'm just wondering if it's OK. (Probably overthinking it a lot.)

And yeah, my advice was on the interface, because that's IMHO the only real problem: once you can make maps easily, just do what you think is right. I can see you're a pretty disciplined mapmaker, so I'm sure you'll be fine. I know it's not much of an advice, but I'll gladly explain any questions I can (and I'm not really that good).

Offline Blank

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Re: [TFTD][WIP]More USO Variants
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2016, 05:09:52 pm »
I could probably do away with the copy-pasted patterns of alien entertainment and reanimation true. What I was hoping was a player would recognise the layout of the cargo hold of the original, and immediately check upwards for the overlooking balconies. They should expect a long range fire fight with enemies on different floors just like in the original. Confusion is something I want to avoid. Familiar but different more what I'm going for.

But yeah, I want to experiment with the right kind of design and play testing these before I go and tackle a bunch more designs. Next step is seeing if I use the nodes to encourage the aliens to use sniper and ambush points more often.

Offline davide

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Re: [TFTD][WIP]More USO Variants
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2016, 12:09:22 am »
Thanks

Free your mind to design unvanilla USOs too

Offline Blank

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Re: [TFTD][WIP]More USO Variants
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2016, 04:46:08 pm »
Good news! I've worked out how to create tentaculat camping spots, just like in alien activity sites!

And worked out the cause some of the odd behavior that was causing aliens to abandon ship and rush out at maximum TU. Nodes set to type: Large or rank:Civ-scout seem to cause these problems.

Offline hellrazor

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Re: [TFTD][WIP]More USO Variants
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2016, 10:17:35 am »
I advise to take a look at the Importence Setting for Route Nodes.
If you have the time take a look at one of my Excavator Maps.
I am leading aliens towards the roof exit via route node importences, its very cool.
You can also "trap" alien within a room with some high importance nodes and still leave them able the move around as they pleasee.

rank:Civ-Scout can spawn any units, also Terrorunits, if no Size alignment is set even 2x2 Terrorunits.
The Size alignment of a Route is important for aliens in patrol behaviour, which they are most of the time until they spot you or know your location somehow. Its important that the size of doors and route node size aligments do match.
If you have a section of a UFO is only accessible for 1x1 units (which matches Route Size Small) by a 1 field door, then all nodes in this section need to be given Route Size small.

I strongly advise to take a look at vanilla nodes. If you have any specific questions what setting does what you can also PM me or try to catch me on the IRC, iam always happy to help answer questions.

Constructing walls and sections of UFO's/USO's maybe tricky and for some configurations the vanilla wall parts may not be sufficient take a look at the UFOL83.MCD file delivered with the Darkened UFO Vanilla Variants Mods, it contains some new tiles which i use in most of the maps i modified.

Also test your maps in debug mode. You will quickly spot any wrong constructed walls and section, if alien walk literally throu the walls.

EDIT: Alien tend to patrol towards nodes with higher importences (if aviable and if they decide to do so). use this to your advantage.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2016, 10:20:34 am by hellrazor »

Offline Blank

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Re: [TFTD][WIP]More USO Variants
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2016, 03:59:29 pm »
I have been checking the maps in debug mode to observe their behavior and check line of sight (reset visibility and have a soldier with unlimited TU run around checking things. Sometimes I'll shoot an alien with cheaty powers)

So far I've been using node importance to point out some of the nice ambush points I've been putting in my ships and keep someone in the command centre. I think I've got it so they'll pop their head out of doors and duck back in if no one's there, but it's not certain. Been looking at UFO's large scout and supply ship in particular for that. I set up separate test mod just to see how some of the AI behavior works. Had a look at the Excavator, that's pretty neat. I'll have to experiment more to see what I can do and take a look at.

So far I have four Fleet Supply Cruiser Variants and four Cruiser variants... plus mirrored versions of all the Cruiser plus vanilla! I'll have to look them all again more closely, especially as I learn more node stuff.


Offline hellrazor

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Re: [TFTD][WIP]More USO Variants
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2016, 08:14:23 pm »
I have been checking the maps in debug mode to observe their behavior and check line of sight (reset visibility and have a soldier with unlimited TU run around checking things. Sometimes I'll shoot an alien with cheaty powers)

So far I've been using node importance to point out some of the nice ambush points I've been putting in my ships and keep someone in the command centre. I think I've got it so they'll pop their head out of doors and duck back in if no one's there, but it's not certain. Been looking at UFO's large scout and supply ship in particular for that. I set up separate test mod just to see how some of the AI behavior works. Had a look at the Excavator, that's pretty neat. I'll have to experiment more to see what I can do and take a look at.

So far I have four Fleet Supply Cruiser Variants and four Cruiser variants... plus mirrored versions of all the Cruiser plus vanilla! I'll have to look them all again more closely, especially as I learn more node stuff.

Well once you figured out how to build the walls properly no more wallshots ;)
I think you are on a good way to go. If you have any questions or need specific help, do not hesitate to ask!
I can even check a Map for you or modify it in a way which should prevent LOS LOF stuff (your cheaty wall  shoots) if you can't figure it out yourself at all. :)

Offline hellrazor

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Re: [TFTD][WIP]More USO Variants
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2016, 12:04:02 pm »
Answering your PM publically:

So what I don't understand at the moment is if the rank of nodes affects AI patrol behavior? Do the navigators and leaders stick to their own nodes? Or is that only done through importance?



Section 1 Node Information:
Indexinfo and basic commands for copying nodes.

Section 2 Patrol Information:
Unit Type: What kind of unit is allowed to patrol along this node.
Possible Values:
Any, Flying, Flying Large, Large, Small
Any refers to all units.
Flying are 1x1 sized units which can fly.
Flying Large are 2x2 units which can fly.
Large refers to 2x2 sized units (usually Terrorunits)
Small refers to all 1x1 sized Units.

Importance:
Possible Values: One - Ten
Indicates how strategically important this node is for aliens, which means they are more likely to walk into its direction and or stay near it.
Can be used to direct Aliens into specific sections of a Map module and "guard" it.

Attack Base:
Possible Values: One - Ten
Indicates to Aliens that this tile needs to be destroyed only be used for X-Com Base Defense Mission in Vanilla. (Hobbes uses these settings to guide Aliens towards X-Com position in his Defense Missions).

Section 3 Node Spawn Information:
Spawn:
Possible Values: 0: No Spawn - 10:Spawn
Indicates how high percentagewise this Node will be considered when aliens attempt to spawn.
10:Spawn Node garantees a alien will spawn on it (if enough aliens of the proper rank are avaible).
1:Spawn Node gives a 10 percent chance a alien of the proper Rank will spawn on it.
Higher Numbers are populated first.

Rank:
Possible Values:
0:Civ-Scout - allows any Rank to spawn as long as it fits the Size setting
1:X-Com - will only spawn X-Com Units of appropriate Size
2:Soldier - will only spawn Alien of Soldier Rank
3:Navigator - will only spawn Alien of Navigator Rank
4:Leader/Commander - will only spawn a Alien of either Leader or Commander Rank
5:Engineer - Will only spawn a Alien of Engineer Rank
6:Misc1 - Terrorunit Spawn Slot, make sure you provide spawnpoints with proper Size settings and do  not let 2x2 units spawn were they can not move from
7:Medic - will only spawn a Alien of Medic Rank
8:Misc2 - Terrorunit Spawn Slot, make sure you provide spawnpoints with proper Size settings and do  not let 2x2 units spawn were they can not move from

Section 4 Node Link Information:
Maximum of 5 links to other nodes per node (so plan ahead, if in doubt add a additional node for e.g. going up/down etc..)
Link Description:
Use:
Possible Values:
All nodes on node index by numerical index number
Exit East - Links node to East Exit
Exit North - Links node to North Exit
Exit South - Links node to South Exit
Exit West - Links node to West Exit
Not Used

Linking a node towards a exit makes sure Alien find proper directions towards adjacent Map tiles and can do whatever they please there.

Info:
Possible Values:
Any, Flying, Flying Large, Large, Small
Indicates which size setting does the linked Node have. It is important that these match or aliens will never attempt to patrol correctly!

Dist: (Distance)
Holds the value for the calculated distance between 2 linked Nodes (usually gets filled automatically).
Probably used for calculating paths.

I hope this clears all questions in this regard :)

What's the cheaty wall shooting btw? Is that the rocket blast bug on corner sections I've heard about? Never actually used them before.

If you are referring towards this effect. no that is not what i mean.
LOS LOFerrors also can happen if you have holes in your walls.

Offline Blank

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Re: [TFTD][WIP]More USO Variants
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2016, 02:05:47 pm »
Thanks for the info! Honestly even with this knowledge though I still have a hard time predicting how the aliens are going to behave. Often I find the aliens following node importance too well and becoming too predictable. I've found having a single high importance node with lots of links to less important ones works well.

Just to check, as long as the LOS (fog of war isn't revealed) is good, LOF should be good too? Because I can check to see if visibility is leaking through walls easily enough, but if there's a bug that let's someone shoot through walls without revealing the tiles, that seems harder to catch.

Offline Blank

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Re: [TFTD][WIP]More USO Variants
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2016, 08:40:29 pm »
So my current design plans are to keep the outer hull completely identical to the original ships so you shouldn't be able to tell which variant you're up against until you open the doors. The inside should keep to the general design patterns such as having the bridge near the top (removed an earlier pattern with a lower bridge). Apart from that, I usually gut the interior and start fresh, going for new tactical challenges rather than balance. There's a cruiser variant for example that opens up into a large chamber right away which is a different challenge from the tight corridors and blind corners of the default set up. Whether that's easier or harder is going to depend on your set up. This is different from my original plan which was to balance the same kinds of tactical challenges so that progress through the USO 'feels the same'.

The dreadnaughts are currently giving me the most trouble because they're large, but not for the reason you'd think. While play testing them they often feel empty, especially on lower difficulties (I got one case where only 10 aliens spawned on Veteran!). I want to play with the nodes to try to get more clustering at certain points and I might have to make aliens ignore some of the side rooms to avoid the 'find the last alien' game.

I'm also making some entirely new sub designs which do a few things different: The gunboat is a small USO (cruiser/large scout sized) designed to act as a fire base while you have to fight your way across the top of the Battlecruiser before you can even get inside. Made a new MCD with mirrored sub components too although I haven't used them yet.

Survey: 3
Escort: 3 (plus 4 mirrors)
Cruiser: 4 (plus 5 mirrors)
Heavy Cruiser: 4
Hunter: 3
Battleship: 3
Dreadnaught: 3
Fleet Supply: 4

1 New small USO class
2 New medium USO classes
1 New Large USO class

To do:
1 New small USO
1 New Large USO
2 New very large USO
UFOpedia and interception images for new subs
1 More dreadnaught variation
Improve fleet supply designs
Tweak the nodes for the dreadnaught designs
Re-check all the earlier designs
Release

Offline davide

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Re: [TFTD][WIP]More USO Variants
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2016, 01:07:15 am »
very interesting work  :P