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Author Topic: Area 51 beta version 0.962 updated June 27th  (Read 14673 times)

Offline Hobbes

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Area 51 beta version 0.962 updated June 27th
« on: October 23, 2017, 05:10:28 am »
Download link: http://www.mediafire.com/file/fx0cykc1j81myho/Area%2051%20V0.962.zip

Requires latest Nightly openxcom_git_master_2018_05_10_2033 or more recent

Image gallery: https://imgur.com/a/J5yzV







List of changes:
* Several bugs fixed, including all those reported on the forums
* 10 new civilian units added
* Escape and Extraction missions now appear correctly as a mission success when evac occurs
* New starting mission added with new Area 51 Factory terrain - can be skipped without penalty, contains an item that unlocks Bluebook Research and also gives a random tech
« Last Edit: June 27, 2018, 04:54:13 pm by Hobbes »

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Area 51 beta version 0.95 released!
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2017, 03:41:42 am »
Bugfix added to the download version

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Area 51 beta version 0.95 released!
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2017, 03:33:11 pm »
My playtesting and feedback has revealed a number of shortcomings with the whole system of Bluebook reports and the Council missions where you recover research, namely they seemed to be mostly ignored and aren't really useful. And I failed to consider the effects when I added the Factory mission on the first month in version 0.95, by making it a requirement for unlocking the Bluebook research, which essentially broke down the system.

So there will be major changes to this system on upcoming version 0.95 to address this issue
* Reduction the number of possible Council missions from 48 to 36
* The research tree now has 6 additional topics: Weapons, Armor, HWPs, Facilities, Craft and Craft Weapons. These topics can only be unlocked by successfully completing the Council missions of Extraction/Recovery/Capture (specific missions unlock specific topics, or give a random topic).
* You can only research Plasma Pistol, Power Armor, Hovertanks, Firestorm, Plasma Beam/Fusion Launcher and the late game facilities by first completing the corresponding topic.
* The ingame justification is that XCom's scientists may be brilliant but it is impossible to them to fully understand the alien technological wonders by themselves due to limited resources, and that Earth's nations have initiated a mobilization effort to protect themselves when the aliens started aggressive raids on military and science facilities.
* There will still be 2 Council missions per month, currently they are separated into research (Data Extraction, Data Recovery and Capture) and non-research (Defense, Destroy, Assault) objectives. But from 0.951 the missionScript will randomly choose between both research/non-research objective when determining each of the two missions, from February onwards.
* Each research topic (Weapons, etc.) can be unlocked through two specific Council missions (Data Recovery/Extraction), which will always be in the same location and have a non-random terrain assigned. Once a topic is researched the corresponding missions will never appear again.
* Bluebook Reports/research have been completely removed since they served no practical propose.

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Area 51 beta version 0.95 released!
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2017, 09:17:32 pm »
My laptop crashing was actually the best thing to happen to this mod since it has given me time to play a campaign and fix/balance a number of issues.

Here's the 0.951 change list at this stage

Features
* There are two monthly Council missions, each can happen anytime during the month. This kinda makes it very important to get a 2nd transport craft ready, since it is quite possible for them to spam near simultaneously, or one of them at the same time as a terror site.
* Council missions can be of two types, chosen randomly except for the first month: the ones with a cyan Geoscape marker can be Assault, Destroy or Defense objectives; and the green Geoscape marker can be Capture, Recovery or Extraction objectives, where you can gain free techs.
* On January 1999, the Council missions are scripted and one will be Assault/Defense/Destroy and the second will be a Recovery mission. Researching the data disk present on the recovery mission will randomly give either Alloy Vest, Combat Armor, Alloy Ammo, Gauss Weapons, Stormhawk Missions and Gauss Cannon.
* From February 1999 onwards, the 6 available techs that can be gained through the Capture/Recovery/Extraction missions are: Laser Weapons, Personal Armor, Improved HWPs, Laser Defense, Blackbird Transport and Laser Cannon. Gaining these techs through this method will require less research days and can allow to bypass some early techs.
* The objective of each Council mission type is determined randomly, but after January 1999 the geographic location of the site can be used by the player to figure out the terrain type and the tech that you can recover.
* The Capture/Recovery/Extraction missions will stop appearing as the 6 techs are researched. After research is complete in all of them, there will only 1 Council mission per month and it will have a Assault/Defense/Destroy objective.
* The two special missions (Biolab Recovery and the two part Cold Isle/Pyramid Assault) are now triggered by time (month) and lack of the progress of the player in capturing alien engineers, navigators and scientists and unlocking alien techs. If completely successfully Biolab unlocks UFO Navigation and UFO Power Source research, and Pyramid unlocks Elerium research. It is still required to capture and interrogate those ranks to gain access to other technologies though like Hyper-Wave Decoder.
* The Bluebook reports have been removed and some of their titles reused. There are 4 new UFOPaedia topics that are gained as some key research is completed: Down To Earth, The Growing Security Threat, Let Humanity Beware and Above Top Secret. Those cost nothing to gain and give some background story to the Council missions.
* The existing Alien Operations research topic has been renamed 'Inimical Forces'

Balance/Fixes
* Switched Alloy Vest and Combat Armor manufacture requirements and removed Vests being required to build Combat Armor
* Fixed bugs with several UFOs and terrains
* Mission timers reduced from 30 to 25

Offline BaburKhan

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Re: Area 51 beta version 0.95 released!
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2017, 10:22:04 am »
Hello, I'm getting a bug right as 1st of February 1999 rolls in. It states:

[01-11-2017_02-15-11]   [FATAL]   A fatal error has occurred: Region BLUEBOOKC not found
[01-11-2017_02-15-17]   [FATAL]   OpenXcom has crashed: Region BLUEBOOKC not found

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Area 51 beta version 0.95 released!
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2017, 01:10:11 pm »
Hello, I'm getting a bug right as 1st of February 1999 rolls in. It states:

[01-11-2017_02-15-11]   [FATAL]   A fatal error has occurred: Region BLUEBOOKC not found
[01-11-2017_02-15-17]   [FATAL]   OpenXcom has crashed: Region BLUEBOOKC not found

Hello,

Here's the fix: http://www.mediafire.com/file/bon8mmcyap6sr86/Area_51_v0.951.zip

Just unzip it and use it to replace the existing Area 51 folder. You should be able to continue your game

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Area 51 beta bug fix released - November 5th
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2017, 05:42:51 pm »
And another fix for some missing files: http://www.mediafire.com/file/f3wotsrcxcoc8oc/Area_51_v0.952.zip

I'm still working on the missions redo and it is looking pretty sharp plus it will be quite a change in game pace. Can't give an ETA yet but it should be the final version for the new missions

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Area 51 beta version 0.953 released - November 7th
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2017, 09:57:24 pm »
Version 0.953 has been released!

This should be the definitive missions/research structure since I've playtested it a few times already and I've been getting a good feeling, but more feedback would be appreciated.

Plotline

The main difference now from the original story is that Earth's countries have undertaken an emergency mobilization and research effort, in addition to funding XCom.  And the aliens have noticed this effort because of their infiltrators and are taking steps to neutralize the threat from the humans resisting their covert invasion. This scientific effort can help XCom in their own research, if certain missions are completed successfully.

As certain research is completed it will also give additional information to the player about the Council missions and the war effort. The old Bluebook Reports titles have been reused for this but their content has been completely replaced. All of the individual facility names have also been removed and replaced with more generic terms.

Mission Scripts
* The 6 previous Council Missions (Defense, Destroy, Assault, Recovery, Extraction and Capture) haven't been changed but their frequency has.
* On the starting month, two missions are scripted: the Facility Assault where you help the human defenders of the military base; and the Abandoned Factory, which contains a data disk that randomly gives 1 of the early techs
* Starting on February and going to June, a random number of Council missions is activated each month, drawn from a common pool of 18 missions, containing 3 missions of each type (Defense, etc.). Once a mission is run it is then discarded from the pool
* It is possible to have between 0 and 6 Council missions each month, depending on the number of missions left in the pool and RNG
* On July the pool is refilled with 18 more missions, 3 of each of the 6 types
* When the pool is empty or no missions were generated because of RNG, a Defense/Destroy/Assault mission will be generated from a secondary mission pool, until it is also empty
* In addition to all of those, there are also 3 special missions that can spawn during a campaign, if certain research conditions are met, and the facilities need to be detected by XCom craft on the Geoscape

Research
* The Recovery/Extraction/Capture missions of the first pool all give automatically specific techs: Laser Weapons, Personal Armor, Alloy HWPs, Laser Defense, Thunderstorm and Laser Cannon.
* Each individual Recovery/Extraction mission will contain a specific tech, and successfully performing the capture mission gives a random tech of the previous list.
* The Recovery/Extraction/Capture missions of the second poll can unlock (but not give automatically) the following techs: Plasma Pistol & Clip, Power Armor, Hovertank Plasma, Blackbird Transport, Plasma Defense and Plasma Cannon
* Successfully performing the capture mission gives a random tech of those: Stun Launcher, Mind Probe, Alloy Shotgun or Alloy Sword
* Each of the 3 special missions gives specific techs: UFO Power Source and Navigation; Elerium; and Advanced Plasma Weapons
« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 10:16:33 pm by Hobbes »

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Area 51 beta version 0.953 released - November 7th
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2017, 02:24:33 am »
First terror mission pics



The landing was going OK until a Puffer came down stairs and killed 2 soldiers, then on the next turn Spacefarers knocked out 2 soldiers unconscious and a Razordisc took out the HWP.



Last soldier goes down unconscious to the Spacefarer's 'psi stun'



Out of the 10 soldiers lost in the mission, 8 were unconscious at the end.

« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 02:35:24 am by Hobbes »

Offline Dwarmin

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Re: Area 51 beta version 0.953 released - November 7th
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2017, 06:20:35 pm »
Planning to run a mini-campaign, slowed down by the fact I can't seem it get it to work the latest version of OXCE.

Anyway, I approve of the changes. The previous use of bluebook reports to unlock those missions seemed to be a bit poorly explained to me-I actually ran through my first Area 51 playthrough completely blind to give it a through testing, and only got the laser weapons purely by accident, I think-I actually shot the scientist in my first mission of that type (Now I remember they wear Lab coats). Granted I was seriously falling behind in tech at that point (As my earlier post in Area 51 suggests, I was not very good at capturing aliens and missed vital info) and it was welcome, but I had plasma weapons developing simultaneously.

And that factory mission you were talking about a few posts ago was filled of phasers, so I ran away, lol.

...

Btw, is the basic design of missions intended to be...

Defense, Destroy, Assault=Extra Terror Mission basically? Lose big points if ignored?

Recovery, Extraction and Capture=Potentially ignorable, but lose out on vital techs?

Because it seems to me you will not be able to get all these missions done in some playthroughs, and will have to pick and choose which ones to handle. Tough choices make a memorable campaign tho!

Offline Dwarmin

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Re: Area 51 beta version 0.953 released - November 7th
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2017, 06:58:09 pm »
Feedback on the Factory Mission. Spoilered for those not wanting to accidentally get...spoiled.

Spoiler:
Enjoy the map design...very TFTD like in size and complexity, but there's more logic to it. Lots of crossfire and snipe spots from above. Enemies not too hard. Still lost 4/8 guys initially! And I couldn't actually find the last aliens and chose to bug out.

Love that you added an indicator arrow to the data disk. That helps a ton, I was worried it would be hard to see.

Unfortunately, the aliens I didn't find tossed a grenade at my team as they were about to retreat and destroyed the disc as it laid on the ground (I was facetiously trying to gather up fallen equipment), and all the rest of the squad save ome. Best laid plans and all that. :P The landing zone for the factory mission, in perfect snipe/nade range of elevated aliens with cover, seems to have Satanic inspiration.

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Area 51 beta version 0.953 released - November 7th
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2017, 07:46:16 pm »
Planning to run a mini-campaign, slowed down by the fact I can't seem it get it to work the latest version of OXCE.

It's likely that Yankes hasn't pushed in the latest changes to the nightly

Quote
Anyway, I approve of the changes. The previous use of bluebook reports to unlock those missions seemed to be a bit poorly explained to me-I actually ran through my first Area 51 playthrough completely blind to give it a through testing, and only got the laser weapons purely by accident, I think-I actually shot the scientist in my first mission of that type (Now I remember they wear Lab coats).

That's what I also felt to be a major flaw with the Council missions - they weren't properly explained and having to conduct useless research to unlock them made them nearly irrelevant.

Quote
Btw, is the basic design of missions intended to be...

Defense, Destroy, Assault=Extra Terror Mission basically? Lose big points if ignored?

Recovery, Extraction and Capture=Potentially ignorable, but lose out on vital techs?

Mostly correct. The penalty for ignoring any Council site is the same as Terror sites (1000 points) - I thought of reducing it for the missions that give research but for now decided to keep it the same. You don't lose out on vital techs by ignoring those missions - you can still get them if you follow the research tree, and capture the required alien ranks - but you can use them to partially bypass research bottlenecks, like the Elerium one, or get an unexpected boost (like getting Laser Weapons even before you complete research on Alloy Ammo)

Quote
Because it seems to me you will not be able to get all these missions done in some playthroughs, and will have to pick and choose which ones to handle. Tough choices make a memorable campaign tho!

On February you'll need to get at least 2nd Skyranger ASAP and enough soldiers to be able to send 2 teams at the same time. You'll definitely have to pick and choose because RNG might drop you 6 missions on a single month, if you're really unlucky, and you'll need to carefully manage your score. But you're also informed of the mission type and terrain on Geoscape, which can great affect a mission's difficulty. And, if you pay attention to the location of the sites you'll know which tech is available

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Area 51 beta version 0.953 released - November 7th
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2017, 07:50:02 pm »
Feedback on the Factory Mission. Spoilered for those not wanting to accidentally get...spoiled.

Spoiler:
Enjoy the map design...very TFTD like in size and complexity, but there's more logic to it. Lots of crossfire and snipe spots from above. Enemies not too hard. Still lost 4/8 guys initially! And I couldn't actually find the last aliens and chose to bug out.

Love that you added an indicator arrow to the data disk. That helps a ton, I was worried it would be hard to see.

Unfortunately, the aliens I didn't find tossed a grenade at my team as they were about to retreat and destroyed the disc as it laid on the ground (I was facetiously trying to gather up fallen equipment), and all the rest of the squad save ome. Best laid plans and all that. :P The landing zone for the factory mission, in perfect snipe/nade range of elevated aliens with cover, seems to have Satanic inspiration.

Yesterday I lost an entire 14 soldier squad while playtesting it on Superhuman ;)

Offline Dwarmin

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Re: Area 51 beta version 0.953 released - November 7th
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2017, 09:14:20 pm »
More attempts.

Spoiler:
Attempt 2. Everybody died. :P Those launchers are nasty. Ground floor is really not the place to invade.

Attempt 3. Figured a better way into the factory, intercepting multiple high points and staying off the ground-logically, the enemies seem arrayed to defend against Xcom barging in through the front door. But couldn't find the disc at all, even after checking seemingly all the place. Perhaps should have checked bodies...it was possible it was destroyed in an explosion-again-I saw a whole little lab go up early on from stray rookie plasma fire. Would it be possible to tell the player if the data disc was destroyed somehow? A sort of 'MIB communications indicate critical data was lost! Mission failed!". Same thing if you accidentally blow up the scientist with a rocket launcher (she looked shifty). Or maybe some indicator on the score screen, like a minor penalty for 'valuable data destroyed by thoughtless XCOM rookies'

Also I dunno if it was you, but good job on making the aliens super aggressive after so many turns-they really come after you with a vengeance, lol.

Attempt 4. Success! Only six rookies dead, a damn good op! It's interesting how hard this mission seemed considering the relatively few enemies, which I credit to the map design. And me not being that great of a player. I ended up getting the alloy vest 'blueprint', which would have def given me armor research earlier than I could have achieved it on my own. Given Alloy research gives a significant bottleneck in the early game, this is most helpful.

Further experimentation led to a data extraction mission which was more hectic than difficult-I had to escape a base-and most of the guys who died here were the ones who spawned badly lol. Got some HWP tech. I like to use those. Note to self-do not bring an abundance of equipment on the skyranger when doing council missions...it has a tendency to get left behind.

So to sum up, One terror mission, one 'council' terror mission and one data mission on the first month. Two council 'terror' missions, one extraction mission, and one terror mission on the 2nd month. Would have been a rough go!

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Area 51 beta version 0.953 released - November 7th
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2017, 10:04:21 pm »
More attempts.

Spoiler:
Attempt 2. Everybody died. :P Those launchers are nasty. Ground floor is really not the place to invade.

Attempt 3. Figured a better way into the factory, intercepting multiple high points and staying off the ground-logically, the enemies seem arrayed to defend against Xcom barging in through the front door. But couldn't find the disc at all, even after checking seemingly all the place. Perhaps should have checked bodies...it was possible it was destroyed in an explosion-again-I saw a whole little lab go up early on from stray rookie plasma fire. Would it be possible to tell the player if the data disc was destroyed somehow? A sort of 'MIB communications indicate critical data was lost! Mission failed!". Same thing if you accidentally blow up the scientist with a rocket launcher (she looked shifty). Or maybe some indicator on the score screen, like a minor penalty for 'valuable data destroyed by thoughtless XCOM rookies'

Also I dunno if it was you, but good job on making the aliens super aggressive after so many turns-they really come after you with a vengeance, lol.

Attempt 4. Success! Only six rookies dead, a damn good op! It's interesting how hard this mission seemed considering the relatively few enemies, which I credit to the map design. And me not being that great of a player. I ended up getting the alloy vest 'blueprint', which would have def given me armor research earlier than I could have achieved it on my own. Given Alloy research gives a significant bottleneck in the early game, this is most helpful.

Further experimentation led to a data extraction mission which was more hectic than difficult-I had to escape a base-and most of the guys who died here were the ones who spawned badly lol. Got some HWP tech. I like to use those. Note to self-do not bring an abundance of equipment on the skyranger when doing council missions...it has a tendency to get left behind.

So to sum up, One terror mission, one 'council' terror mission and one data mission on the first month. Two council 'terror' missions, one extraction mission, and one terror mission on the 2nd month. Would have been a rough go!

Spoiler:
I'm thinking of completely removing the Stun Launchers from the Thin Men on that initial mission

Most of the ground level entries can become traps very easily (notably the large doors in both sides of the building) but there are a couple locations more or less 'safe'. Entering from up is usually safer, but then you're limited to certain routes around the building.

The data disk can randomly spawn in 3 different locations - that might explain why you didn't see it where you expected. I've already suggested to the developers about adding an objective flag to specific items (such as data disks) to be properly displayed on the end mission score as you suggested, but no ETAs there.

After turn 20 the AI automatically knows the location of all your soldiers, so it will usually aggressively attack you - this is a feature from the original game for all missions, in order to speed up battles (and help avoid the 'hunting for the last alien'). On the Council missions this timer can change - in some missions like Defense the AI knows from turn 0 the location of all your units, and in Extraction it knows from turn 10

There's a mod included with OpenXCom called 'Limit Craft Item Abilities'. It reproduces the 80 item per craft limit that existed on the original game and I recommend using it, to avoid loading up the Skyranger with hundreds of items and risk losing them when you start a mission outside the craft.

1 Terror + 3 Council missions should be around average, just be prepared for 2 or even 3 sites becoming active within days or hours of each other