Author Topic: Shogg arc design  (Read 1345 times)

Offline krautbernd

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Shogg arc design
« on: April 12, 2019, 01:10:14 pm »
---split from Bugs, crashes, typos & bad taste ---

BTW, is the Shogg research tree supposed to be a mess right now? I unlocked the "reptoid ship ambush"-mission but got the scorpoid palace takeover beforehand which somehow got me a crated Viper without doing any of the actual viper research (phase drive, terramite etc.). I never got the actual ambush mission. I'm kind of confused as to how this should have actually have gone down.

Also, would you mind checking the radar range on the MIB coverup UFOs? As far as i can tell 0 and 2 have a range of 2000 while 1 has none. Is this intended? Are they supposed to attack xcom craft, seeing how easy they are to evade and destroy? 2000 also seems kind of high since it makes it kind of difficult to shadow them for a ground assault.

Could you also check the wall strengths on the server levels? This might have been fixed in the newest version, but apparently High Ex isn't strong enough to to blow up the walls of blocked doorways while laser rifle are apparently very effective at removing brickwork.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2019, 11:27:07 am by Solarius Scorch »

Offline krautbernd

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Re: Shogg arc design
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2019, 12:01:47 am »
I'll check all this, but WTF are "server levels"? I can't remember making IT farms. Is it about Cyberweb?
Sewers. I meant the sewer levels. High-Ex is kind of...random? at being able to break down walls. Throwing apparently works fine, but placing sometimes doesn't break down walls. I think i have to look into this a bit more.

EDIT: After some analysis, I don't understand what you mean by "reptoid ship ambush" - which mission is it?
Probably a misunderstanding on my part. I missed the 'scorpoid' part in the lore article and wasn't quite sure what to make of the palace takeover mission. I was under the impression that the reptoid ship ambush was a seperate mission.

Still kind of strange that the crated Viper can be assembled without researching Terramite or the phase drive.

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Shogg arc design
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2019, 02:43:04 pm »
Sewers. I meant the sewer levels. High-Ex is kind of...random? at being able to break down walls. Throwing apparently works fine, but placing sometimes doesn't break down walls. I think i have to look into this a bit more.

Ah, okay.
You mean the pinkish brick wall? It has 35 durability, which is pretty typical for human non-reinforced architecture. And the concrete inside has 60.

Probably a misunderstanding on my part. I missed the 'scorpoid' part in the lore article and wasn't quite sure what to make of the palace takeover mission. I was under the impression that the reptoid ship ambush was a seperate mission.

It kinda is, except you don't do it yourself, you outsource it to the Scorpion King in return for helping him to seize power.

Still kind of strange that the crated Viper can be assembled without researching Terramite or the phase drive.

You don't really assemble it, you just bring it to the base and turn it on.

Another odd mission. I downed a mix-race terror ship.
Spoiler:
I never saw Arthropods armed with Heavy Plasma, Reapers, Chtonites, etc. A odd combination.

The Anthropods are a bug, but the rest is normal, if rare.

Offline krautbernd

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Re: Shogg arc design
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2019, 03:44:53 pm »
You don't really assemble it, you just bring it to the base and turn it on.

Yeah, but how do my engineers refuel it? How do they repair it? How does this thing not blow up or re-materialize inside solid rock when X-Com doesn't even know how te underlaying tech works?

It's just kind of strange that we need to understand all of the science to be able to use Plasma weapons (i.e. pull the trigger), but that alien craft that works on friggin' magic? Yeah, just get in and take it for a ride, what's the worst thing that could happen?

Phasing into that experimental M.A.G.M.A reactor, for example.

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Shogg arc design
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2019, 03:51:42 am »
Yeah, but how do my engineers refuel it? How do they repair it? How does this thing not blow up or re-materialize inside solid rock when X-Com doesn't even know how te underlaying tech works?

I think we can assume the scorpions know enough about it to at least give you some hints.

It's just kind of strange that we need to understand all of the science to be able to use Plasma weapons (i.e. pull the trigger), but that alien craft that works on friggin' magic? Yeah, just get in and take it for a ride, what's the worst thing that could happen?

Plasmas aren't a fair comparison, as they need calibration.
Sure, you have a good point, but ultimately we don't have a choice... There are no real alternatives.

Offline justaround

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Re: Shogg arc design
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2019, 12:27:08 pm »
Sure, you have a good point, but ultimately we don't have a choice... There are no real alternatives.
Of course we do. Incorporating some additional research topics before Viper can be used or allowing alternatives to the Viper so it's one of the ways to progress but at the same time just an optional reward that can be used but is still under requirements that'd be believable. Hell, it'd be nice to even have an option of either keeping it mothballed till one has a scientific background to use it or to disassemble it to get these new scientific leads that way.

I missed the 'scorpoid' part in the lore article and wasn't quite sure what to make of the palace takeover mission. I was under the impression that the reptoid ship ambush was a seperate mission.
I must agree, there's almost no buildup. There may be a few lines of lore there to wing an explanation but in practice, the whole arc for me was basically just a couple of missions of killing and capturing some new enemies, then interrogating them and suddenly being thrust into a revolution, helping one bunch of them overthrow the other. A few missions where one does establish relations, gets allied bugmen in operations where footholds and supplies are acquired before attack on the palace itself can be commenced and so on would be very useful and plug what looks like kinda a plothole.

I mean, I am not even sure if coups like that are what X-com should be dealing with. Shouldn't it be a job for actual diplomats representing humanity, rather than some random official with a bunch of gun-ho crazies reordering a civilization? Sounds a bit silly. Could be worse, like X-com turning incompetent and funneling taxpayers dime into training pet rats but still, it's silly (yes, a tiny bit of a stab, sorry, couldn't help myself) :P

Having a bit about X-com being merely authorized by council and their respective nations as supporting force in internal politics or otherwise underlining that it's not solely X-com-decided operation but it has some human civilization's general interest and backing would help here as well.

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Shogg arc design
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2019, 08:14:20 pm »
Of course we do. Incorporating some additional research topics before Viper can be used or allowing alternatives to the Viper so it's one of the ways to progress but at the same time just an optional reward that can be used but is still under requirements that'd be believable. Hell, it'd be nice to even have an option of either keeping it mothballed till one has a scientific background to use it or to disassemble it to get these new scientific leads that way.

By "we" I meant us X-Com, not us designers. But please see the next part.

I must agree, there's almost no buildup. There may be a few lines of lore there to wing an explanation but in practice, the whole arc for me was basically just a couple of missions of killing and capturing some new enemies, then interrogating them and suddenly being thrust into a revolution, helping one bunch of them overthrow the other. A few missions where one does establish relations, gets allied bugmen in operations where footholds and supplies are acquired before attack on the palace itself can be commenced and so on would be very useful and plug what looks like kinda a plothole.

I could say a lot about it, but it all boils down to the fact that it's a humongous job, so I am taking many shortcuts to have a complete and acceptable arc. I've already been developing this for 5 years (including the Final Mod Pack) and the end is still far away. Yes, some things are glossed over, but that's just the reality of modding: either you accept certain simplifications or you have nothing to play.
Of course it does not mean that I am intentionally releasing half-assed stuff. Everything must meet certain quality standards. But these standards aren't pure perfection.
Now, things won't necessarily stay like this forever. I am working on old, "finished" arcs as well; for example the underwater arc is being expanded periodically. But it will take time.

I mean, I am not even sure if coups like that are what X-com should be dealing with. Shouldn't it be a job for actual diplomats representing humanity, rather than some random official with a bunch of gun-ho crazies reordering a civilization? Sounds a bit silly.

You're absolutely right, X-Com shouldn't do this. But it would be really complex to involve the Council (story-wise), so I made it Commander's little game behind the Council's back. The Council isn't overly concerned with underground savages, so it works somehow. It's a bit like colonial politics.

Could be worse, like X-com turning incompetent and funneling taxpayers dime into training pet rats but still, it's silly (yes, a tiny bit of a stab, sorry, couldn't help myself) :P

Hey, rats are cheap and profitable :P

Having a bit about X-com being merely authorized by council and their respective nations as supporting force in internal politics or otherwise underlining that it's not solely X-com-decided operation but it has some human civilization's general interest and backing would help here as well.

I am not averse to this, in fact I would be interested in expanding this part. Help would be nice.

Offline justaround

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Re: Shogg arc design
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2019, 07:44:40 am »
Silly things like rats aside (well, to be honest I am concerned a bit about that feature but it seems optional so I will be fine simply ignoring the existence of pet rats in the game), I understand and don't think it'd be too hard.

Of course it does not mean that I am intentionally releasing half-assed stuff. Everything must meet certain quality standards. But these standards aren't pure perfection.
Now, things won't necessarily stay like this forever. I am working on old, "finished" arcs as well; for example the underwater arc is being expanded periodically. But it will take time.
Obviously. I understand that the mod you worked on since years may tire at some point, just know that it is the stuff people care about the most currently and for some, a reason to get at OpenXcom in general. Quite some expectations. I just hope the whole coup thing will keep the overall level you've mentioned and am just concerned as currently it doesn't with the quick cut from regular day of tazing cryptids for interrogation to helping a group of them in overthrowing rulers of their civilization.

You're absolutely right, X-Com shouldn't do this. But it would be really complex to involve the Council (story-wise), so I made it Commander's little game behind the Council's back. The Council isn't overly concerned with underground savages, so it works somehow. It's a bit like colonial politics.
I am not averse to this, in fact I would be interested in expanding this part. Help would be nice.

See, I think it's a matter of how it'd be done. For example, stretching that plot point a bit and putting a few more lines of lore in an obvious place would be enough to make a noticeable change. Even things like new research that just concentrates on explaining the political situation of "we now know that most of the race is in fact peaceful, however their rulers, allied with this or that enemy group, rally the population against their protests yadda yadda" more thoroughly and, later after researching informs that "the council realizes the opportunity the situation presents in establishing beneficial relations with underground dwellers and both authorizes and recommends for you to step temporarily out of usual boundaries of your duties to covertly support dissidents in their attempt to stage a coup and if succesful - establishing safe passage for council-employeed diplomats to negotiate further relations which things should at the very least neutralize their race as an immediate threat."

Then just adding a couple of missions where X-com does the regular shooting/looting, just with some allied bugmen dropped onto a map (and with player warned that they're friendly, having them described etc) and lore claiming one helps them take over key locations that'd be good places for rallying the troops for the final attack, procurement of supplies, safe place for human dignitaries etc - and after that letting the player go for the whole palace coup would be enough.

Basically, a couple of paragraphs of lore in just a couple of new research/ufopedia summaries and a couple of missions that'd be slightly modified copypasta of other missions with a few allied units thrown in would help the whole matter tremendously without being too much of additional work.

Though I still hold you to your promise that you'll keep on looking at making tiny, lightly equipped teams that'd have hauntings/artifact procurement/hordes of weak crazies-stomping/other such small missions to investigate and train rookies at thorough the whole game rather than just a necessity at the beginning of it - a thing.  :P

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Shogg arc design
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2019, 11:25:28 am »
Silly things like rats aside (well, to be honest I am concerned a bit about that feature but it seems optional so I will be fine simply ignoring the existence of pet rats in the game), I understand and don't think it'd be too hard.

I honestly fail to see what's so silly about that. Considering they're giant rats, why would it be sillier than using dogs? I require explanations.

Obviously. I understand that the mod you worked on since years may tire at some point, just know that it is the stuff people care about the most currently and for some, a reason to get at OpenXcom in general. Quite some expectations. I just hope the whole coup thing will keep the overall level you've mentioned and am just concerned as currently it doesn't with the quick cut from regular day of tazing cryptids for interrogation to helping a group of them in overthrowing rulers of their civilization.

It's just one settlement, man. Not a "civilization", lol.
If it was as you presented it, then indeed it would be crap.

See, I think it's a matter of how it'd be done. For example, stretching that plot point a bit and putting a few more lines of lore in an obvious place would be enough to make a noticeable change. Even things like new research that just concentrates on explaining the political situation of "we now know that most of the race is in fact peaceful, however their rulers, allied with this or that enemy group, rally the population against their protests yadda yadda" more thoroughly and, later after researching informs that "the council realizes the opportunity the situation presents in establishing beneficial relations with underground dwellers and both authorizes and recommends for you to step temporarily out of usual boundaries of your duties to covertly support dissidents in their attempt to stage a coup and if succesful - establishing safe passage for council-employeed diplomats to negotiate further relations which things should at the very least neutralize their race as an immediate threat."

Maybe somrthing like that, yes. But my main concern is adding multiple intermediate researches, people don't like them and they slow things down. I'm a bit torn on this.

Then just adding a couple of missions where X-com does the regular shooting/looting, just with some allied bugmen dropped onto a map (and with player warned that they're friendly, having them described etc) and lore claiming one helps them take over key locations that'd be good places for rallying the troops for the final attack, procurement of supplies, safe place for human dignitaries etc - and after that letting the player go for the whole palace coup would be enough.

So make a whole mini-arc to do the coup? It's an idea, but wouldn't it detract from actual X-Com things?
Maybe it would work if we somehow moved the entire Shogg arc to some earlier stage by relaxing the initial research requirements. What do you think?

Though I still hold you to your promise that you'll keep on looking at making tiny, lightly equipped teams that'd have hauntings/artifact procurement/hordes of weak crazies-stomping/other such small missions to investigate and train rookies at thorough the whole game rather than just a necessity at the beginning of it - a thing.  :P

That's a given. :)

Online Meridian

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Re: Bugs, crashes, typos & bad taste
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2019, 11:30:07 am »
Maybe somrthing like that, yes. But my main concern is adding multiple intermediate researches, people don't like them and they slow things down. I'm a bit torn on this.

Or split the mod into 3-5 smaller mods?

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Bugs, crashes, typos & bad taste
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2019, 11:31:15 am »
Or split the mod into 3-5 smaller mods?

I fail to see how this is even relevant.

Online Meridian

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Re: Bugs, crashes, typos & bad taste
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2019, 11:37:50 am »
Maybe somrthing like that, yes. But my main concern is adding multiple intermediate researches, people don't like them and they slow things down. I'm a bit torn on this.

I fail to see how this is even relevant.


Then you can add more research (or anything) and it will not slow people down.

Playing three mods, 200 hours each (600 together) is much more pleasant than playing one 500 hour mod.

Not to mention people can choose if they want to start "early game", "mid game" or "late game" if you would split it like that.
The mods get smaller and easier to maintain (for you).
The lists (items, manufacture, etc.) get shorter improving user-friendliness.
The highest level chronological order of things doesn't get completely screwed by RNG, improving overall satisfaction.
I could go on forever...

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Shogg arc design
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2019, 04:47:29 pm »
Yes, I get your point now... Not to say I disagree, but I'm not going to rebuild everything after five years. I don't think it's that bad, though there's room for improvement, and improvement happens regularly.
My next mod probably won't be that big. I don't have enough life left. :)

Offline justaround

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Re: Shogg arc design
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2019, 10:59:56 pm »
Or split the mod into 3-5 smaller mods?
I'd be very reluctant about dividing content of the mod into several sub-mods. I mean, if the whole X-Com Files would be severely modular from the get-go, with various arcs being somewhat customizable, inerchangeable or whatnot - then maybe. But now when we have relatively interconnected whole, I'd rather settle on some relatively working-for-everyone way of handling that content than exiling it elsewhere.

I honestly fail to see what's so silly about that. Considering they're giant rats, why would it be sillier than using dogs? I require explanations.
Well, like I've said, it's not a big deal and I complained about it half-jokingly but if you really want to know why I dislike it, it's because there is a huge difference between rats, no matter how giant - and dogs. Rats may be trained, but they aren't as versatile and prepared for regular interaction and handling by humans as dogs are. Dogs came to be thorough many, many years of proper wolf breeding and domestication, giant rats seem to be absolutely wild mutants and there's no way they could be trained and managed as easily as dogs, not without considerable investment of funds, infrastructure, dedicated personnel and time - none of which should be even considered by X-com. There's a reason why humans IRL having access to many animals of intelligence and physique similar to that of dogs still use dogs explicitly for many tasks instead of switching them with those other animals in a flight of fancy.

Additionally, let's be honest, there are creatures in the game which would seem a far more effective choice for what X-com normally uses animals for. But all those would suffer from similar issues, possibly to even greater extent. Dogs already seem to be questionable investment realism-wise given scope of X-com work (and normally, using attack dogs on the battlefield would be a PR mess all on its own) but they don't clash with my sensibilities as much because in theory they can be used for regular investigation or a mopup when one sends agents to, say, take down some hoodlums (it's just, in practice, we all know they are used to charge armored aliens and chew on their superarmors, but that's where believability backs down for the sake of the gameplay).

Again, no problem. As long as I myself can absolutely ignore the feature and it has no big impact on the rest of the game - if you want to do it, I am sure there will be others who'll enjoy it.

It's just one settlement, man. Not a "civilization", lol.
If it was as you presented it, then indeed it would be crap.
Yes, but that settlement either is the center of political power of much of the civilization or there'd be no point in dealing with it, since no matter X-com actions, it's not a coup if you cannot take down those in power and if you cannot do that then the bugfolks' revolt won't lead them anywhere, the cause for attacking the surface will still be there and the whole thing will make no sense from the standpoint of X-com's fight.. and suddenly the arc makes little sense, so I've assumed it is a major center of governing the race and the culprit pushing said race into warfare with surface-dwellers, humans.

Maybe somrthing like that, yes. But my main concern is adding multiple intermediate researches, people don't like them and they slow things down. I'm a bit torn on this.
Maybe they can be presented not as separate research topics but similar to dossiers? It's just that you'd have to gather the dossiers about the race, political climate and a way to stop the invasion through interrogations of Shoggs, sharkmen etc to activate those few missions of helping the rebels.

So make a whole mini-arc to do the coup? It's an idea, but wouldn't it detract from actual X-Com things?

I mean it's already a mini-arc, nearly the whole point of Shogg fight and the culmination of it, or at the very least culmination of a big part of it. I just suggest a few missions and some visible fluff to string it together better and avoid the issue that brought about this conversation - the fact that one moment the player is just shooting/looting/interrogating the creatures and the next moment is heavily involved in their domestic politics, seemingly with nothing between those two points.

As for detracting from X-com duties, I already agreed - hell yeah it detracts! It's nothing X-com should deal with in the first place, but since we already have the content and it's fun, I just suggest involving the council/human political apparatus fluff-wise so we can wing an explanation for why is X-com dealing with this as I'd rather see no content scrapped :P

Though alternatively, if it'll turn out to be a problem, some already existing fluff can be changed, rebels taken out from said fluff and mission and the whole palace attack being about destroying a warlord who dug up some alien tech, organized himself a kingdom and united undergrounders in his ambition to invade the surface - and defeating them will make them break apart again into various tribes who will be content staying underground.

Maybe it would work if we somehow moved the entire Shogg arc to some earlier stage by relaxing the initial research requirements. What do you think?
That's actually a pretty nice idea. Would require some balancing and reordering things though, probably make Shogg units and equipment much weaker, too - but that, frankly, would be a pretty good change making things more believable all on its own because it is weird that their chitinous shell stops heavy machinegun rounds easily and that their primitive weaponry rivals advanced human armaments in terms of combat utility.

It would also add the impression that there's a lot going on in the world beside just cults/gangs (which early game, aside from random cryptids seem to be main X-com investigation interest and also why I've requested more tiny non-arc missions about unaffiliated crazies, technology smugglers, conspiracy theorists) and add that new 'dimension' of underwater fighting.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2019, 11:11:33 pm by justaround »

Offline Alex_D

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Re: Shogg arc design
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2019, 11:52:18 am »
I believe the only two arcs required to complete a campaign are Dimension X and Atlantis. I finished a campaign just recently and I never had to face reptoids, the scorpion king, or any of the high tier mummies. Only the occasional shogg settlement battle.
I suppose any side-arc would be to provide something that benefits the player to achieve a larger advantage with regard to the big battle on Cydonia.

(I don't know the level of advancement of this feature in the mod, so I may be far out wrong) IMHO, rats as units, as it was said, rat domestication alas dog's might not be believable, unless there is some sort of additional work, like adding a chip for neural control of the rat. Add just enough carrying capacity to transport a pre-primed grenade or similar, sense or some other reaching power (akin to cats of Piratez), (near) immunity to panic, and the unit can be useful in battle. The chip can be implanted in the workshop into captured or bred rats. Breeding of a litter of baby rats may require two rats, whom arrive into the base with the kennel (cages) after a few days or so, to simulate maturity.