Author Topic: Shogg arc design  (Read 677 times)

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Shogg arc design
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2019, 10:39:45 pm »
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.

You're definitely right, and I am aware of this, but it's not stone hard sci-fi. I've decided it was somewhat acceptable, considering how hard it is to actually get rats.

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).

All true, which why I can arbitrarily say rats are better suited for this role than other monsters because... they just happen to be. ;)

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 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.

Hmm... I don't really get your point. Not saying you're wrong, but I need to understand:
1) Why does it make no sense if it's a local community, but would make more sense if it was a big capital? I think it's nothing unusual if a foreign power strikes a deal with a small indigenous tribe in hope of forging an alliance with another, bigger tribe - this is pretty standard politics.
2) What do you mean as dossiers vs. as research? What is the difference? Do you mean having to get some random research? If yes, from whom?
Sorry, I'm just trying to get a better picture.

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.

I agree it's a big leap; something in-between would be good.

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

Not planning to scrap anything (despite some serious thoughts about it). ;)
I intend to go back to this when more pressing stuff is done.

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.
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.

I like the overall idea. I'll note it down, though I'm not sure in what form it would be best. Yet.

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.

The plan is to also make Shogg a requirement for Cydonia... But it's not that easy, the current two "keys to Cydonia" are already kinda shoehorned into the two respective arcs (T'leth and Dimension X respectively) - they have little to do with the basic plot for these arcs. I feel that I should improve it, so adding a third strained way to get another "key" is not something I'd be happy about.

(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.

I've had such ideas, but ultimately found them superfluous. Rats are rare enough and weak enough to ignore these issues IMO.

Offline Niewiem

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Re: Shogg arc design
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2019, 01:23:12 pm »
I think what he meant as dossiers vs research is that you get this information from interrogations of some Shoggs(as most of them give nothing currently if my memory serves right).

Offline justaround

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Re: Shogg arc design
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2019, 12:23:17 pm »
You're definitely right, and I am aware of this, but it's not stone hard sci-fi. I've decided it was somewhat acceptable, considering how hard it is to actually get rats.
Wait, you get rats normally in game? Huh, it must be hard since I don't recall stumbling upon that. Not that I'd use rats, anyway.

All true, which why I can arbitrarily say rats are better suited for this role than other monsters because... they just happen to be. ;)
Well, yes, we can say things but they don't make things true! but yeah, I know you wrote that cheekily and I think there's no point in continuing this. I'm glad you implement what you like as long as I don't have to indulge it to enjoy the mod :P

Hmm... I don't really get your point. Not saying you're wrong, but I need to understand:
1) Why does it make no sense if it's a local community, but would make more sense if it was a big capital?
If it's a small detached community then they're no threat in the first place deserving any serious X-Com response. If it's a small, but influential community with network and resources to pull big operations against humanity and it's not its capitol of its power you take over then taking it out is merely damaging, not stopping it and its plans. It's like cults/gangs we have now, except you don't take out HQ but some outpost.

I think it's nothing unusual if a foreign power strikes a deal with a small indigenous tribe in hope of forging an alliance with another, bigger tribe - this is pretty standard politics.
You're right there but it'd be unusual if the threat is if the tribes would pose a global threat (dunno, every village shaman has a nuclear ICBM silo under his hut or something) and said foreign power would pacify just hostiles in a single village and expect it would all solve the problem and let both groups interact in peace.

But anyway, whether it's capitol or not is a fluff detail. The important part is that if the whole thing is to be culminated and solved through some final mission, you need some sort of vital target on whom the threat depends. Like cult/gang HQs with alien-derived avatars managing them and my idea of 'local warlord with surface-conquering ambitions uniting the tribes to do just that' for Shoggs, which I am glad you like.

I do think that in general it's mostly fluff and we can easiyl solve the whole arc's problem just by doing quick fixes that and without having to mess with much else.

2) What do you mean as dossiers vs. as research? What is the difference? Do you mean having to get some random research? If yes, from whom?
Sorry, I'm just trying to get a better picture.
If I understand/recall correctly, the difference is that 'true' research you have to have prerequisites done and then spend longer time investigating while dossiers you get as kinda a bonus whenever you interrogate connected enemy unit. I mean, technically they're very similar but there's small distinction in that maybe making it just more topics one gets from interrogations rather than specific research tree the player would follow would make a difference.

The plan is to also make Shogg a requirement for Cydonia... But it's not that easy, the current two "keys to Cydonia" are already kinda shoehorned into the two respective arcs (T'leth and Dimension X respectively) - they have little to do with the basic plot for these arcs. I feel that I should improve it, so adding a third strained way to get another "key" is not something I'd be happy about.
If it's hard to do I'd be fine with making it a separate thing. In general, I'd like there to be few various threats to Earth rather than all of it connecting in some ultimate evil mastermind showdown, the same I'd like some misleading investigations and miniarcs that end up in "nope, no interdimensional demonic invasion threat - just some gullible occultists who nonetheless had the skill and resources to summon some paranormal creatures" kind of bogus. But it would be nice if we'd have acknowledgement and some nifty reward for all other arcs finished leading to that ultimate showdows and a mention of "congrats, you've defended the earth both from X and Y!".

Offline HinterDemGlas

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Re: Shogg arc design
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2019, 11:45:43 am »
Personally I welcome our new rat overlords

Offline DevFried

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Re: Shogg arc design
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2019, 01:57:01 pm »
True. Reminder to always buy more rat. BUY RAT

Offline justaround

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Re: Shogg arc design
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2019, 11:10:17 pm »
True. Reminder to always buy more rat. BUY RAT
Personally I welcome our new rat overlords
Very much understandable difference in taste, but not the right thread to discuss it. I only brought mine take on the whole thing after my first mere mention because Solarius Scorch asked about it.

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Shogg arc design
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2019, 01:07:48 pm »
Guys, many thanks for the feedback (especially justaround). Sorry I haven't checked here in a while, I am rally busy on other fronts right now. But this is a valuable thread, I will go back to it regularly.