Author Topic: Alien Psi Question  (Read 2579 times)

Offline Countdown

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Alien Psi Question
« on: May 26, 2016, 10:09:04 pm »
Spoiler:
So there was recently a bug fix in the nightlies fixing an issue with aliens not doing psi attacks, however, even after downloading the newest nightly the issue still exists for me. Anyone else still not getting alien psi attacks in most recent version of nighlties? (I tested with a supply ship mission with Ethereals.) UPDATE: Works in 5-27 version.

On a different, but related note. I have a question about how alien psi attacks function. I was under the impression that once one soldier is spotted in a mission, aliens can then psi attack any soldier, even if that soldier has not been spotted or moved from the skyranger. But in this ethereal mission testing at least, I'm finding this not to be the case. They only seem to use MC attacks at a soldier they've spotted. They don't need LOS, but they need to have at least spotted that soldier.

My tests involved:
Spoiler:
  • Instant battle mode, ethereal supply ship missions on superhuman
  • Take a relatively decent psi soldier out, get him spotted (but not killed) and then moving him away to safety.***
  • Upon ending turn, he will likely have some mind attacks thrown at him, but no other soldiers will (even with a bunch of extremely psi weak soldiers in the skyranger).
  • As long as no alien spots the other 13 soldiers in the skyranger, they will never be targeted for MC attacks before turn 20, even as the first soldier out in the field gets repeatedly spotted. At turn 20 (at which point the aliens automatically know where all your troops are), then they will start MCing people in the skyranger, but not until turn 20.
***NOTE: If you want to repeat this test, it works best with the skyranger in a corner facing the edge of the map (so no alien will casually walk by and look in the ranger to see everyone). Also, if you move your "spotted soldier" out and back in to the skyranger, and he does get mind controlled, then it is open season on everyone because he then "spots" the rest of your crew on the aliens' behalf. Also, if the soldier is too psi strong, he might not be targeted even after he is spotted.
So again, I was under the impression that alien MC should behave like it does at turn 20 from the start (once they spot one soldier, they can MC everyone even though they haven't seen them). Was I misunderstanding how alien psi functions, or could this discrepancy be related to the recent alien psi bug that was reported?
« Last Edit: June 19, 2016, 07:46:00 am by Countdown »

Offline Blank

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Re: Alien Psi Bug / Psi Question
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2016, 01:20:49 pm »
Important note: the effectiveness of psi attacks is also affect by distance so if your psi weaklings in the skyranger are too far away, your jedi master soldier can technically be the better target. That could be affecting your tests.

Offline Countdown

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Re: Alien Psi Bug / Psi Question
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2016, 06:04:19 pm »
Yeah I thought of that, but I observed the same thing even when moving the "spotted" soldier back into the skyranger, so he was actually farther away from the aliens than the "unspotted" soldiers in the back of the skyranger.

Offline Starving Poet

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Re: Alien Psi Bug / Psi Question
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2016, 06:13:10 am »
So again, I was under the impression that alien MC should behave like it does at turn 20 from the start (once they spot one soldier, they can MC everyone even though they haven't seen them). Was I misunderstanding how alien psi functions, or could this discrepancy be related to the recent alien psi bug that was reported?

I don't think the "spot one spot all" rule ever applied - from my tests they can PSI attack under two conditions:

1. They spot you or on of their mind controlled soldiers spot you.
2.  One of your soldiers makes a successful attack even if they attack from well outside visual range.

I think it's rule #2 that throws lots of people off and gives the feeling of omniescence.

Offline 7Saturn

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Re: Alien Psi Bug / Psi Question
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2016, 03:42:11 pm »
Well, I had a decent amount of missions, vanilla X-COM and OpenXcom, where absolutely completely unspottable soldiers (definitely not seen by anyone, not even my own men) were psi controlled. Aliens definitely do MC on every one, once they spot even one of your soldiers. But they always choose the most likely to be controlled target. Which is influenced by distance, psi strength and abilities. Not sure, if morale also goes into that.

Offline Countdown

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Re: Alien Psi Bug / Psi Question
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2016, 11:35:23 pm »
I don't think the "spot one spot all" rule ever applied - from my tests they can PSI attack under two conditions:

1. They spot you or on of their mind controlled soldiers spot you.
2.  One of your soldiers makes a successful attack even if they attack from well outside visual range.

I think it's rule #2 that throws lots of people off and gives the feeling of omniescence.
Starving Poet, thanks for the reply. Yes, I think you are right that this is how psi always worked. I have observed the same thing recently when I was testing the vanilla game in DOSbox. I haven't done extensive testing in DOSbox, but what you say seems to be the case. I've seen the "spot one spot all" rule posted on many online forums, but it may have been a common misconception.

The UFOpaedia says:
Spoiler:
"If any of your squad members, even a HWP, is visible to any alien during the Alien Turn, every member of your squad is at risk of attack from any psionic aliens, regardless of whether the spotter is psionic."

... But it should probably say, "If any of your squad members, even a HWP, is visible to any alien during the Alien Turn, every member of your squad who has been spotted is at risk of attack from any psionic aliens, regardless of whether the spotter is psionic."
Maybe people feel this is a trivial distinction, but I think it's an important game mechanic to understand as it affects my decisions. For example, in a recent campaign I had a psi weak commander. On non-psi missions I'd have him priming explosives and throwing them up the line to others, but on sectoid/Ethereal missions I wouldn't let him touch explosives out of fear he'd get MCed. Now I know if he stays out of sight in the skyranger that isn't an issue. So I'm glad I understand now.

Well, I had a decent amount of missions, vanilla X-COM and OpenXcom, where absolutely completely unspottable soldiers (definitely not seen by anyone, not even my own men) were psi controlled. Aliens definitely do MC on every one, once they spot even one of your soldiers. But they always choose the most likely to be controlled target. Which is influenced by distance, psi strength and abilities. Not sure, if morale also goes into that.
7Saturn, if this is the case please post a save file where this happens. (If save scumming is turned off, reloading the save should yield the same result every time.)

I've now done dozens of tests on this in OXC actively trying to get what you are saying to happen, but it hasn't happened once. Check out the attached Ethereal mission save. I edited the file so that 12 soldiers have psi strength 0 and the other two have psi strength of 50. Move those two (Soldiers A and B) out and about the map getting them spotted. Even better, move them out, get them spotted and move them back into the skyranger.

What you will observe is that the Ethereals only use psi attacks against soldiers A and B and leave all the psi strength 0 soldiers alone.

To prove the point further, go in and edit the save file and change one of the psi weak soldiers' "turnsSinceSpotted" value from 255 to 0. Now the Ethereals will go crazy with psi attacks as they will mind control that man and he will spot more of your men on their behalf. However, any soldiers standing behind the initial guy will not be psi attacked because they still haven't been spotted.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2016, 06:40:45 am by Countdown »

Offline 7Saturn

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Re: Alien Psi Bug / Psi Question
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2016, 12:26:39 am »
I can't accommodate you with a save there. But one example, I remember: You know those small compartments in alien bases, 5x5 in size, one door, three windows, one elevator to the second level. When standing there on the second level, they can psi control you, even when there's no one in the vicinity, near enough, to have a LOS, to spot him. And you know how far you have to be, to have a LOS at all...

Offline R1dO

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Re: Alien Psi Bug / Psi Question
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2016, 02:53:52 am »
,,,
 they can psi control you, even when there's no one in the vicinity, near enough, to have a LOS, to spot him.
...

There is always the possibility that soldier was spotted in one of the previous turns. Depending on the difficulty level the AI 'remembers' the current location of your solder for a certain amount of turns after it was spotted.

Offline Countdown

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Re: Alien Psi Bug / Psi Question
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2016, 06:53:30 am »
There is always the possibility that soldier was spotted in one of the previous turns. Depending on the difficulty level the AI 'remembers' the current location of your solder for a certain amount of turns after it was spotted.

Yup, exactly. 7Saturn, I wasn't saying the aliens needed LOS or to even have seen the soldier on that turn. They just need to have seen them at some point.

According to the UFOpaedia, different alien races/ranks remember troop locations for a certain number of turns between 2-8.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2016, 07:49:18 am by Countdown »

Offline 7Saturn

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Re: Alien Psi Question
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2016, 12:15:06 pm »
OK, that could be it.