Author Topic: Alien Habitat and Reproduction  (Read 2107 times)

Offline The Reaver of Darkness

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Alien Habitat and Reproduction
« on: January 25, 2018, 04:21:42 am »
I've been doing some work to put these items into the game. Both had an MCD tile designation all along, and Alien Reproduction had a UFOPedia entry, but neither were assigned to any tiles, thus you could never obtain them in-game through normal play.

I made a fairly decent palette-convert image of the habitat from a screenshot:


Many thanks to Falko for his palette converter tool which made this image possible. Nonetheless, it took a few hours just to get the palette figured out. I wish I could save it but I don't see an option for it. I did manage to copy this:
Code: [Select]
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  maketrans: false
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I'm working on adding the Alien Reproduction unit from this post to the alien bases and maybe battleships.
edit: Added!




There's no mod being offered yet, it still needs a lot of work before it's playable in my latest mod. Let me know if you want a standalone copy.

This is part of a larger project in which I'm giving all of the UFO Components a use. I'm trying to fill in a few of the holes in the UFOPedia lore while also making all of the items have some use. To that end, I am also making a slight adjustment to component spawning. Food can be found in Harvesters and Supply Ships, while Entertainment can be found in Abductors and Terror Ships. Battleships carry both plus Alien Habitat. Most other ships can rarely carry Alien Habitat.

You research Food and Entertainment to research Alien Containment, however if you research Habitat you can bypass the other two. Research Alien Medic, Alien Abduction, and Examination Room to get Super Soldiers, genetically modified humans. I haven't come up with a use for Alien Surgery and Alien Reproduction yet. Let me know if you have any ideas!



- - - - - -

Here's my view on the lore of each item:


Alien Food: Storage containers and processing units all in one which can preserve organic matter (mostly humans and cattle) and gradually absorb it to produce a nutrient solution perfect to inject directly into the aliens' bloodstream. The aliens are more energy efficient and lighter because they remove "unnecessary" organs such as digestive systems. This makes them dependent on this foodstuff to survive, because they cannot eat on their own. Some of the aliens still have the ability to eat, but may have special care needs in other areas. All of the aliens are fed this nutrient solution at all times, however, so even those with intact digestive systems have lived their entire lives without eating. This means their body is not ready to accept food, and they may not survive without either these nutrients or under the care of a nurse who can administer specially prepared foodstuffs to get their digestive system prepared to handle normal eating. Since X-Com scientists don't know anything about raising these aliens, they would undoubtedly be unable to keep one alive without having access to the nutrient solution or the recipe.



Alien Entertainment: Mis-labeled by X-Com scientists who reasonably perceived it to be for entertainment, this device is actually intrinsically connected to alien health. Their connection to psionic control makes them dependent on regular psionic stimulation to survive and remain sane. The "entertainment" devices oversee their health and well-being, acting as a diagnostic tool while also providing mental exercise. It strengthens their overseer's psionic control over them while making them resistant to outside psionic influence. Their physical health is generally improved by this improved mental health, and the machine can remotely assist their bodies in fighting infection and disease.



Alien Habitat: The parts of alien bases with the plants are their habitat areas. These are special surgically or genetically modified or engineered "plants", alien organisms which can provide for the aliens' needs. They are symbiotic with the aliens. A habitat thrives when it has aliens to care for regularly. The habitat is more effective and more energy efficient than the machinery, aliens who live near these habitats are healthier and stronger. This difference is most noticeable in early developmental weeks after hatching. For this reason, controlled alien spawning is almost exclusively performed in facilities with habitats. The food and entertainment machinery is less effective but is more space efficient and doesn't rely on constant contact with aliens, making it ideal for placing in the medium ships for short-term deployments.

Luke83 added an Alien Habitat tile to several of his UFO variants. It looks like a piece of machinery containing a fluid. I imagine it is a fluid microbiome which provides some of the bonus functionality of the habitat while also being portable. The aliens would put these on ships that are going out for a longer mission.



Examination Room: This isn't a medical table, and the "alien medics" aren't medics. This is a special tool that can perform diagnostics on humans and interface with us to make surgery easier. The "medics" are aliens who specialize in the study of genetically modifying humans. The aliens are interested in incorporating us into their ranks as a servant race. They which to make changes to us in order to take advantage of our strong points while fixing up our weak points. They find us particularly useful because we are an agile high-gravity race with excellent manual dexterity and visual-spacial perception. We are effective as soldiers, particularly on high-gravity worlds, and we are intelligent enough to perform many skilled work functions. Undoubtedly the aliens wish to use us to conquer worlds which are currently out of their reach. That is the best reason we can think of that they would risk so much trying to control us.



Alien Surgery: This is a tool the aliens use to quickly and precisely chop food animals (usually cows and humans) into portions which can be placed into food chambers. The tool uses little tractor beams to immobilize the animal and hoist it into the air while a laser cuts the animal into several pieces. These animals are cut up while alive and placed into storage while fresh. They are so well preserved that the flesh remains alive for months in storage, slowly being absorbed by the machine to feed aliens. The aliens primarily eat cows because they are abundant and provide for all of the aliens' nutritional needs, plus they are usually kept in abundance near human settlements. Humans aren't the best food source for the aliens, however we are both convenient and a nutritionally balanced source of food. They don't hunt us specifically for food, but rather spend a lot of time abducting us for other reasons, and simply eat the humans when they are done with them. They also frequently operate in populated areas and will gather humans simply out of opportunity. While we're inefficient as a farm animal, the aliens have no need to farm us as we greatly outnumber them already.

The aliens don't have any actual medics for each other. When an alien is damaged beyond their ability to recover naturally, they are killed and eaten.

This is the only mention of aliens using laser technology that I'm aware of. I've long held the idea that our own laser weapons technology is in part from alien technology. I expect the aliens to be able to craft sophisticated laser tools and even laser weapons if they wanted to. Perhaps studying iterations of alien laser technology will improve our own lasers. Maybe studying Alien Surgery will improve our engineers or scientists, or perhaps it could lead to a humanitarian breakthrough which can yield a lot of points.



Alien Reproduction: Most of the aliens have their genitals surgically removed. Sectoids don't even grow genitals. This equipment can combine alien DNA and produce an artificial fertilized egg which can grow in one of these chambers until the alien is large enough to "hatch" and be removed from the chamber. Alternatively, the chamber can produce aliens by copying saved DNA and making clones. Many if not most of the aliens we meet are clones, but the sexual reproduction (DNA combining) method is also commonly used in order to get genetic drift which can patch over cloning defects and potentially reveal new beneficial traits.

The UFOPedia article says the chamber can easily be used by us. I haven't yet thought of a good use but I'm sure we could find one.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2018, 08:58:25 am by The Reaver of Darkness »

Offline Hyper2Snyper

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Re: Alien Habitat and Reproduction
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2018, 07:26:19 am »
Cool :)

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Alien Habitat and Reproduction
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2018, 04:40:35 pm »
Very interesting. If you don't mind, I would gladly steal some of these concepts.
I wonder why Snakemen are allowed to reproduce while all other vanilla types aren't. Do you think it's a necessity resulting from their biology, or a deliberate strategy?

Offline The Reaver of Darkness

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Re: Alien Habitat and Reproduction
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2018, 06:59:21 am »
"The skin is extremely tough and heat resistant.
The cardio-vascular system is part of the muscular system which uses the hydraulic principle to create motion. The only true muscle is the "heart".
The reproductive system appears to be very efficient. Reproduction is asexual, with each snakeman carrying up to fifty eggs inside its body at any one time.
Left to its own devices this species would be a severe threat to life on earth."



I think that the scientists make the assumption that Snakemen could reproduce like crazy on Earth and become a serious threat. Perhaps the alien command has much better control over their reproduction. The creature they originally were before they were enslaved was able to reproduce very rapidly, and the aliens have harnessed this capacity for their own purposes. But they don't want an infestation, they want to conquer. So perhaps the best thing about Snakemen is that they're a cheap soldier unit, and useful for expanding military capabilities quickly after they have colonized an area.

If Snakemen were altered to be able to operate on their own and without control, they probably could multiply and infest an area pretty rapidly. But then those snakemen would be somewhat useless to the aliens, as they wouldn't be already incorporated into the psionic control scheme. It would be a lot of effort to try and assimilate them all after they had already created nests across the planet. They might also threaten human survival, and could thus become a threat to the aliens' new pet (us).
« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 07:01:13 am by The Reaver of Darkness »

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Alien Habitat and Reproduction
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2018, 05:38:46 pm »
Yeah, I have a similar idea.

One point I honestly don't buy is the total lack of healthcare. Even with cheap cloning and overefficient teaching methods, it still seems inefficient to send every Floater with a broken arm to the grinder. You can't make a live soldier as quickly as a robot, because they must be cloned, then catered for, fed, taught, conditoned, hooked up to all the systems (like the psi net), etc.
The basic problem here is that live brain, even artificial, is not a code machine. A brain is analogue, and it is made from ultra complex electromagnetic fields generated by electrical impulses from neurons. Laws of physics directly forbid total control over particle states (because Heisenberg). In other words, a brain cannot be programmed; it must be taught and raised to some degree. (At least if you want something more intellectually advanced than ants, and the aliens obviously are.)
All this ties to something I wanted to say since your first post: that I am really torn regarding your vision. On one hand, I really appreciate how coherent it is in denying any similarities between the aliens and us; they are a hive, not individuals. It's really cool. But on the other hand, I think it goes a bit too far, so the entire vision of alien society loses some credibility - again, they're not mindless insects, but sapients.
I personally think it would be most interesting to use both perspectives at once. On one hand, the Ethereals do what they can to create this bee-like society. On the other, they are working with organisms modified from various sentient species they found. So they must compromise. They must constantly keep their subjects in check through pharmacology, surgery and social engineering. Although North Korea is an oasis of personal freedom in comparison, the aliens are not mindless drones after all; or at least, not completely.
Is this the only way? Perhaps not. But I find it most compelling, from a storytelling point of view. It allows to explore the conflict between aliens' society and individual characteristics. It allows deeper understanding of what the aliens have planned for us humans. And of course, it explores the theme of individualism vs. collectivism, perhaps the most prevalent subject in fiction.

I really recommend reading W.J. Williams' Angel Station. It's a pretty cool book, and quite relevant to this conversation.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 05:40:25 pm by Solarius Scorch »

Offline The Reaver of Darkness

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Re: Alien Habitat and Reproduction
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2018, 10:20:40 pm »
You're right, but it doesn't mean I need to abandon my idea. Rather, your input is very useful in tweaking it. I haven't thought of everything, and you pointed out some flaws in the idea about healthcare and control. The aliens might have medical personnel who can mend broken bones or perform other surgical operations on their own people. It would be useful to be able to repair rather than throw away, and it would separately be useful to know the anatomy and physiology of their own races when they try to surgically or genetically modify us while using their own races' features to assist. But on the other hand, they wouldn't have nearly as strong a need to hang onto an individual as we would, also they probably don't have very many accidents in the workplace due to their rigid society and mind control. Some of those races would probably hurt themselves when left to their own devices, but I figure the majority of major injuries happen when they're venturing into new territory, such as working with humans or cattle and something goes wrong. Maybe they have put extra emphasis on making cloning as cheap as possible. Here's what I have come up with so far:
1.) Their main purpose for "medics" is fringe surgery and discovery, however since they have the knowledge and skill, they COULD mend each other if the opportunity arose.
2.) Unlike us, they are both easier to create and easier to destroy. They also probably live less dangerously under normal working conditions. It would be less wasteful for them to throw away the broken ones than to have anyone specialized as a surgeon just to repair their own people.
I suggest a compromise between your view and mine: their "medics" will take care of a wounded unit when it's convenient, but they will abandon the unit when it isn't convenient to care for them. But more importantly, many injuries we think would require medical care, they might leave it up to the body's healing ability. Maybe if a floater broke its arm, it would pause work and go to the "entertainment" unit to receive instruction on setting the limb, and nutritional assistance to make up for lost blood. Then the body does the rest, and the floater takes lighter work until it is ready to go back to normal activities.




You're right about psionic limitations. I've always felt that the psionics were a bit too much like magic, and the humans are way too adept at it. We should never be able to best an Ethereal Commander at psionic influence. It makes sense that the aliens would use it to maintain control over their society, but I've always worried people would critique my ideas as not giving them enough control. I'm glad you said that, I think we agree that it's not a perfect system. There are flaws in the psionic control network that can work against the aliens' so they probably put a lot of effort into minimizing these problems, but the system can never be perfect. It takes time and effort to raise a skilled worker or even a good soldier, just because they need to actually learn skills. They can probably reach adulthood much faster than we do (our bodies actually slow the process on purpose to make time for learning), but a fresh adult isn't nearly as valuable as one that has been working for a few decades.

All of the aliens probably have psionic implants in their heads. We don't have the implants, which should give us a huge advantage in resisting the influence, but it comes at the cost that we can't generate any psionic influence. That's why X-Com scientists develop the psi-amp, and they have to use psionic implants to make it work. Maybe if the aliens were able to train their psionic users to use portable psionic amplifiers, and not give them implants, they would become an extremely efficient psionic agent. The drawback is that they wouldn't be as easy to maintain control over, and that's why the aliens will never try that. And that's one of their biggest weaknesses. They probably never expected us to actually successfully take advantage of it.

--- posts merged. Sorry, it's my job ---

Added Alien Reproduction! It now shows up only in alien bases, but I might add it to Battleships. See OP for image.


Here's the occurrence of items as I have them currently:

Alien Grenade: every ship has one
Mind Probe: always available on scout ships
Elerium-115: always available on landed ships (except small scout), Alien Base (usually)
Alien Food: Harvester, Supply Ship, Battleship, Alien Base (usually)
Alien Entertainment: Abductor, Terror Ship, Battleship, Alien Base (always)
Alien Habitat: small through large ships (rare), Battleship, Alien Base (almost always)
Alien Surgery: Harvester, Supply Ship
Examination Room: Abductor
Alien Reproduction: Alien Base (always)

I want these components to become available gradually throughout play to extend gameplay as much as possible, providing the player with new things to research as the game moves forward. I want some to come easily and others to come more gradually. Nothing should be too rare, but some things shouldn't be too common or the player will gather them all up too quickly. I'm thinking if they have to go to one mission of each UFO type to unlock everything, that would be a good pace. So I'm considering removing Alien Surgery from the supply ship. Maybe I could add Alien Reproduction to the supply ship. Then I need something special for the Terror Ship--but I guess it's already a good place to get terrorists live or dead.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2018, 12:13:53 pm by Solarius Scorch »

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Alien Habitat and Reproduction
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2018, 01:07:38 pm »
You're right, but it doesn't mean I need to abandon my idea. Rather, your input is very useful in tweaking it.

Why in the name of the Solar Governor would I want you to abandon your idea!? :O I told you it was very cool! :)

The aliens might have medical personnel who can mend broken bones or perform other surgical operations on their own people. It would be useful to be able to repair rather than throw away, and it would separately be useful to know the anatomy and physiology of their own races when they try to surgically or genetically modify us while using their own races' features to assist. But on the other hand, they wouldn't have nearly as strong a need to hang onto an individual as we would, also they probably don't have very many accidents in the workplace due to their rigid society and mind control. Some of those races would probably hurt themselves when left to their own devices, but I figure the majority of major injuries happen when they're venturing into new territory, such as working with humans or cattle and something goes wrong. Maybe they have put extra emphasis on making cloning as cheap as possible.

Yes, I feel the same. Medical services are necessary like here on Earth, just noticeably less so. Besides, thanks to total control over genes, aliens are unlikely to suffer from most diseases.

Here's what I have come up with so far:
1.) Their main purpose for "medics" is fringe surgery and discovery, however since they have the knowledge and skill, they COULD mend each other if the opportunity arose.

Yeah, but if genetic manipulation, cloning, cybersurgery etc. play such a huge role in the alien society, then the medical staff must be huge.

2.) Unlike us, they are both easier to create and easier to destroy. They also probably live less dangerously under normal working conditions. It would be less wasteful for them to throw away the broken ones than to have anyone specialized as a surgeon just to repair their own people.

It's a fuzzy choice. I mean, yeah, in case of really complicated injuries, it's true; but how complicated depends on their economy settings. It's exactly like in human healthcare: deciding whether a therapy should be funded depends on calculating the QALY against treatment costs. It's not really that different and depends on economy more than anything.
Of course the alien overlords can allow themselves to be much more careless with their subjects, since they can't be voted out. :P

I suggest a compromise between your view and mine: their "medics" will take care of a wounded unit when it's convenient, but they will abandon the unit when it isn't convenient to care for them. But more importantly, many injuries we think would require medical care, they might leave it up to the body's healing ability. Maybe if a floater broke its arm, it would pause work and go to the "entertainment" unit to receive instruction on setting the limb, and nutritional assistance to make up for lost blood. Then the body does the rest, and the floater takes lighter work until it is ready to go back to normal activities.

Sounds reasonable to me.

You're right about psionic limitations. I've always felt that the psionics were a bit too much like magic, and the humans are way too adept at it. We should never be able to best an Ethereal Commander at psionic influence.

Yeah, unless there is something that we don't know. Like, we were specifically designed to be superpsionics or something. Or we really won the superpower lottery as a species. The canon seems to suggest the latter, but who knows?

It makes sense that the aliens would use it to maintain control over their society, but I've always worried people would critique my ideas as not giving them enough control. I'm glad you said that, I think we agree that it's not a perfect system. There are flaws in the psionic control network that can work against the aliens' so they probably put a lot of effort into minimizing these problems, but the system can never be perfect. It takes time and effort to raise a skilled worker or even a good soldier, just because they need to actually learn skills. They can probably reach adulthood much faster than we do (our bodies actually slow the process on purpose to make time for learning), but a fresh adult isn't nearly as valuable as one that has been working for a few decades.

Very generally speaking, yes. Even if a species doesn't grow up as fast naturally, I'm sure the aliens have ways to speed up the process. It wouldn't be free of side consequences (child soldiers lol), but I think it would be acceptable, and there are ways to balance it out (Alien Entertainment again).

Speaking of the Alien Entertainment: I agree with your vision of it acting as a psi regulator of sorts, but I also think it really is entertainment of sorts in the same time. Aliens seem to have little physical activity, social life, or other fulfillment of their desires. This means they must be getting positive feedback from somewhere else, to keep their brains functioning correctly (since I think you can't really remove them from their psychology completely and still have acceptable servants). So these things seem complementary.

All of the aliens probably have psionic implants in their heads.

Some of them yes (Mutons, Floaters), but others don't (Sectoids, Snakemen). I think this is too much of a canon to dispute.

We don't have the implants, which should give us a huge advantage in resisting the influence, but it comes at the cost that we can't generate any psionic influence. That's why X-Com scientists develop the psi-amp, and they have to use psionic implants to make it work. Maybe if the aliens were able to train their psionic users to use portable psionic amplifiers, and not give them implants, they would become an extremely efficient psionic agent. The drawback is that they wouldn't be as easy to maintain control over, and that's why the aliens will never try that. And that's one of their biggest weaknesses. They probably never expected us to actually successfully take advantage of it.

Makes sense. However, a machine is a machine; it doesn't matter is a psionic circuit is produced in a workshop or grown naturally as a tissue, because you were born an Ethereal.
One could theorize (according to various popular tropes) that humans are able to develop such brain structures naturally (whence human psions coime from), but it's going a bit too far in the context of this conversation.

Offline Duke_Falcon

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Re: Alien Habitat and Reproduction
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2018, 08:19:24 pm »
   I read through this topic here. Interesting both aspects. But game-lore-wise there are certain black-areas what puzzled me since I played Xcom the first time. Well, OXC and the tons of mods, while nice, just did not helped to clarify things absolutely. So please let me share a few of my thoughts...
   Aliens MUST HAVE a superb medical- and health-care system. Yes, cloning and such, mentioned billion times and could be buy for the first few times... But! Aliens on Mars have very limited resources and thus they can not let themselves the luxury to waste - both items and personnels alike. Why I think this? If they have access such vast amount of resources where they may handle all low- and med-ranked aliens as utterly expendable and replacable there will be a proper invasion. You know: Thousands of ships deploy full armies. Not just send small raiding parties to harass locals and cobble resources. Their main forces clearly fight somewhere else, against another inter-stellar - or more than one simultanously - empire and since that (those?) are worthy and more serious foes they concentrate their resources there. Not here, as Earth is interesting them only because they may achieve another combat-thrall specie and that is all. So the best they have here is a small research-outpost with vastly limited resources. They need to recover as much of their soldiers as possible. Why vaste resources to train rookies - apart from clone, raise, alter and train them - when they may save veterans? Sectoids maybe not as precious. But I think they closely related genetically to the Ethereals so they send other troops to risk their lifes. So, Floaters are precious and not really expendable. Why? Clone a race, raise it then surgically alter it is far from cost-effective mass-production methods. Floaters and Mutons work that way, resource-costly troops designed to fullfill specific military roles. Snakemen could be expendable mass-assault troops but I doubt that a tid-bit...
   It is mentioned that snakeys carry eggs. And? A fresh-borned female baby carry thousands of gametes but how many children a female may give birth during her life? 2-15? Just because Snakemen carry 50-50 eggs per members it not means they give birth 50 offsprings. And consider that offsprings could be harshly cannibalistic and not all offsprings may reach adulthood. So a snake-infestation is not as immenent as the pedia entry may implies. And is it sure they are asexual? Or only female specimens ever encountered? They called Snakeman because of Snake-Human - where human also mean both male and female sexes! Mayhaps aliens just keep females while rare male snakemen may kept only to up-keep the breeding-program. That is a good kind of controll their population. Or Snakemen may behave like Polistes-wasps: All member of a Polistes-hive is fertile (no female drones like in case of more developed wasps) but only one lay eggs and propagate her genetic heritage.
   That much for now. Sorry for my hard and harsh english!

Offline The Reaver of Darkness

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Re: Alien Habitat and Reproduction
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2018, 02:32:30 pm »
I'm sure the scientists confirmed that the snakemen can reproduce asexually. Just the same, it doesn't mean that is the ONLY way they reproduce. Aphids can reproduce asexually through budding, but only for 10-20 generations or so before they need sexual reproduction.


About medics: it does seem very strange that the aliens have so few medics. They have fewer medics than leaders. In fact, the only rank more scarce than medics is commanders. This doesn't seem right given how much they specialize in genetic and surgical manipulation.

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edit 29 Jan 18:22 GMT

Yeah, unless there is something that we don't know. Like, we were specifically designed to be superpsionics or something. Or we really won the superpower lottery as a species. The canon seems to suggest the latter, but who knows?
You might be right. Maybe I'm banking too much on real-world physics on our side, and handing over all the fiction to the aliens. Just because psionics doesn't make much sense doesn't mean humans can't do it. This is a game in which the UFO sightings are real. But I'm the kind of person who will tell you that if aliens really are visiting us, the sightings are still fake and we haven't actually seen them yet. So maybe in the lore, the numerous reports of human psychics are popping up because human psychic powers exist. Most of us would still need something to really bring out the power, but perhaps the very strongest human psychics could operate without a psi-amp.

I haven't read much in the lore as to why the aliens are interested in us, but I always got the feeling that the various authors from all the games never cared to answer that question. It always seemed the anthrocentric answer: they are coming to us because we are making the game. I came up with the solution that we are a high-G race. If you compare us to what the aliens bring, it makes sense: they are our size but likely come from smaller planets. The Sectoids are likely designed to thrive on Mars specifically. A truly strong high-G race would be smaller than us--a being the size of a housecat could potentially thrive in more G-force than you'll find on a habitable world and could still be sapient and use plasma weapons--but I wouldn't put it past us to handle more Gs than these aliens can. With a bit of modification, we could have half of our weight removed without reducing our physical strength. With their tech, a human could withstand 3 Gs easily, much as a Sectoid can withstand 1 G easily.



Speaking of the Alien Entertainment: I agree with your vision of it acting as a psi regulator of sorts, but I also think it really is entertainment of sorts in the same time. Aliens seem to have little physical activity, social life, or other fulfillment of their desires. This means they must be getting positive feedback from somewhere else, to keep their brains functioning correctly (since I think you can't really remove them from their psychology completely and still have acceptable servants). So these things seem complementary.
Maybe it's a matter of perspective. To the alien command, it's a machine that keeps the people healthy and useful. To the individual alien, it's a machine that makes me happy and helps to give my life meaning. Maybe some of the aliens believe the machines to be interfaces of a great mother being whom they seek to protect and nurture--when in reality this "mother" is but an illusion. To some of us, that's a bit of fridge horror much like this game loves to toss at us. To others it's a fascinating thing to speculate. To me, it makes the aliens less scary and I like it that way.

All of the aliens probably have psionic implants in their heads.
Some of them yes (Mutons, Floaters), but others don't (Sectoids, Snakemen). I think this is too much of a canon to dispute.
You're right. I read up in the UFOPaedia research topics to freshen my knowledge of the original lore. Some races are clearly stated to have implants (example: Mutons), and for various purposes, but in some there is no mention of implants and I don't think the scientists would have just left that out. None are stated to have psionic implants, while some (Mutons in particular) are said to be under control of some other alien force. Based on the lore, it isn't clear how psionics works but it seems to hint at a biological rather than technological function.

The connection between Ethereals and Mutons is particularly strong. I was right to mesh them together in my mod. But the Ethereals apparently don't have any implants at all, and simply naturally have such powerful psychotelekinetic prowess that we can assume they stand, fly, move, and perform nearly all physiological functions other than blood circulation with the power of their mind. If I could inject some realism here: the extreme atrophy and functional multitasking suggests dozens of millions of years of evolution in which they already had the telekinesis but didn't have "sapientism"--they were simple animals trying to get by in the wild. When they developed a society--or were captured into one, they would have had a brain highly organized to take advantage of their telekinetic power. I think it's likely that the Ethereals are the originators of alien society, likely behind the Great Brain and possibly even behind the Cthulhu alien in TFTD. The Ethereals and the Cthulhu alien are vying for top spot on my list of likely choices, with the Great Brain on Cydonia taking third place. I feel like the Brain is more likely a construct by the original alien society than a member of the originators itself.

Mutons have cybernetic implants which improve their physical capabilities. Realism injection: they probably aren't as intelligent as sectoids or humans. Their bodies suggest tool-user evolution but they likely need brain implants to make the best use of their physical strength and dexterity. Maybe they aren't easy to train by nature, having a short attention span, but perhaps breeding for larger brains and some implant mind control turns them into teachable subjects. Mutons are what bonobos would be like if they had spent a few more million years on the plains and walked upright.

So I think I need to re-evaluate how psionics and the alien control scheme works. Likely we cannot harvest psionic implants from ethereals. Maybe the psi-amp is a cybertronic device with a piece of brain inside it. What else is that fluid-filled orb supposed to be? Maybe we use parts from a mind probe or alien entertainment to get the machine-to-person psionic transfer interface and a piece of ethereal brain to generate the really powerful psionic influence. It would still take a skilled user to operate the device to get the desired result. And it could explain why psionics suck in later games: this is an inherently dangerous way to do psionics. In the first war, X-Com scientists were desperate and abandoned ethical considerations. But after the war, all captured ethereals were probably killed and psionic technology had to be re-developed to operate without their biological matter. That's why we don't have the tech available in the second war, and only the altered humans can do decent psionics WITH a psi-amp in Apocalypse.

X-COM: Enemy Unknown lore seems to want psionics to be a rare trait in humans but something we can turn into an extremely powerful weapon, with psionic agents becoming sorcerers like an Ethereal might if it was creative enough to use its extreme psychotelekinetic ability as a physical weapon. I can only explain Ethereals not doing this sort of sorcery in the original game by saying they use their powers instinctively and that wasn't a useful way to use them through their evolution. Here's a thought: all energy expenditures come directly from the Ethereal's body. They became small and light to escape predators, but would only fly to flee danger. Fed nutritional assistance regularly, they fly in combat because they are more afraid of us than they are of starving. Their heavily-armored yet flexible and probably lightweight cloaks must be extremely expensive and speak to this fear, just as them working behind the scenes at first and using mutons as meat shields shows how afraid they are. We must have threatened their very home to have brought them out of hiding like this.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 03:32:59 pm by The Reaver of Darkness »

Offline predator1286

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Re: Alien Habitat and Reproduction
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2019, 01:00:54 pm »
Good afternoon, commanders, I have sprites building a base of aliens from the UFO game two sides. which was never completed. But we can try to finish it mod to OXE. Make the playable side of strangers. I'm from Russ is a big fan of this game. Excuse me for my English use transliteration. 

Offline predator1286

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Re: Alien Habitat and Reproduction
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2019, 01:03:14 pm »
Look, maybe someone out to do the second side or point, we need AI for x-com, I think its monostat from in front and slightly to remake for x-com , I'm current learning how to do mods((
« Last Edit: February 02, 2019, 01:06:09 pm by predator1286 »

Offline predator1286

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Re: Alien Habitat and Reproduction
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2019, 01:09:48 pm »
 :) :) :) :)

Offline predator1286

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Re: Alien Habitat and Reproduction
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2019, 01:23:50 pm »
Then someone brought it to 1.0 yet the man does not respond. but there's still a lot of work. but you can play on the grid. :) :)