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BETA: Inside the Overspawn and Craft Stun Weapons

Discussion in 'Data' started by FilmBoy84, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. FilmBoy84

    FilmBoy84 Administrator Administrator Tester Researcher

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    I promised this article a while back but have sadly been left unable to fact check and source to the usual degree i hope to achieve for my articles on cut features

    With this in mind i present my knowledge of the Overspawn, why the Final Release of the game has a UFOPedia entry for capture of a live one, and how this was meant to be implemented

    A big thanks also to Skin36 for identifying some of these damage effects in the code some time ago

    As with a lot of these features, there were several different directions at various points of development; I'll try to cover them all.

    SPOILERS AHEAD

    08VRSPWN.png

    The Overspawn is a late game craft dropped by the aliens once they realise that X-COM has the upper hand and instead of infiltrating organisations and generally trying to survive in the city long enough to set up their own nests as the Micronoids move from their home-dimension (see "One Way to Win" thread for their plans to move buildings into MegaPrimus) they instead decide to start destroying the city.

    In it's vanilla implementation, the Overspawn simply walks around aimlessly knocking down buildings with it's two large claws until X-COM destroys it, or it collapses a building on itself

    The overspawn was not always this useless - it presented a much larger threat to X-COM

    From looking around the game files we can find it's UFOPedia entry in the "Live" form to compliment the picture above:

    Most players will note in addition to the two large claws, the Overspawn has four toothed mouths on it's chest, like the Megaspawn, from which we learn in the original game autopsy for the Overspawn is it's genetic sibling, these would have originally given the capacity for the overspawn to fire biological missiles at buildings and craft. Although because this was included in the final game, where ranged attacks were removed from the Overspawn, an extra sentence is added to say that it fortunately has no ranged capacity.

    The types of biological missile the overspawn could fire varied; it could fire
    * Disruptor Bombs
    * Disruptor Multi-Bombs
    * Stasis Bombs
    * Entropy Bombs (Cut weapon)​

    Yes; the aliens once had a larger version of the dreaded entropy missile attached to a craft, thankfully it (as far as i'm aware) was only ever intended to be used on the Overspawn where it would melt through building tiles with ease via use of a splash and burn damage effect. Once a building was hit with such a thing, the overspawn would turn and target the next building

    The overspawn would also use it's missiles as defence against X-COM craft that were attacking it, as X-COM by the point in the game that Overspawn appear would typically be able to mob the overspawn, the addition of the entropy missile that could cover several craft in burning toxins and acids as well as bypass their shields was incredibly destructive, forcing X-COM players to try and deal with the overspawn from afar (Evasive stance) or manual control by the player.

    Effectively, the Overspawn was a "boss" craft; slower than the mothership, only capable of moving on foot, but requiring extremely careful tactics to minimise risk to X-COM craft and agents, but also the city, it's organisations and buildings.

    Thankfully, as shown in the Original Game, as soon as the overspawn attacked a building, the parent organisation would also assist in trying to bring down the overspawn, so despite it's horrific range of weaponry, there was a great amount of "human shield" craft flying around having been generated by it's presence.

    Finally, X-COM would also have, by this point in the game, access to a range of craft weapons developed from the stun, web (itself a cut tech) and toxin lines of equipment. Whilst the strings for their names are long lost to time in the vanilla release, remnants to these damage types for craft can be found in Beta2.

    * A beam weapon for craft with a "stun" damage effect; it did not cause damage to the city or metallic craft, it damaged shields massively and forced biological craft to crash once they were stunned enough. This was a weapon needed to bring down an overspawn for capture.
    * A short range "force web" missile that had a stun effect on craft of all types and could force them to crash for later recovery... This included human craft for the cut missions involving heists and cargo interception. It was useful also for bringing down overspawn as it's stun effect was greater than the beam weapon above, but did not penetrate shields as easily. It operated differently to the alien stasis bomb by not freezing craft but slowing them until they crashed. This was a weapon needed to bring down an overspawn for capture.
    * A missile fitted with a "toxic" biological agent, effective only against craft without shielding and made of biological material... In effect, X-COM's answer to the entropy launcher. It caused a minimal amount of damage to city tiles.
    * A rapid firing, projectile based, Gatling cannon firing toxin rounds. It's unclear if this may have also been an alternate ammo for the Auto-Cannon giving hoverbikes a late game boost. In either case, the toxin rounds were incredibly damaging to alien craft due to their rapid fire and only caused very minimal damage (if any at all) to city tiles.
    * A "Sonic Cannon" firing a curious sonic damage effect. It is unclear what this weapon did, but it is possibly a precursor to the stasis bomb effect, covering a middle ground between stunning and freezing a craft. It was most likely developed by X-COM following information being gathered from the cut "sonic beast" creature. Indeed, all of the sonic weaponry in Apocalypse is cut out with virtually nothing on it's purpose.​

    OVERSPAWN MISSIONs


    If X-COM managed to use the stun beam or force web missiles to bring down the overspawn it would fall forwards to kneel and "crash" on the ground. This animation is still used in the game though followed by an immediate explosion.

    X-COM could then send a craft to "recover" the overspawn, much like a UFO recovery mission. However, due to the Overspawn's MASSIVE size, the mission would take place INSIDE the overspawn, much like an alien building.

    As with the cut alien building "scout" missions (These are still present in Beta2 for those who have copies) the Overspawn recovery mission was about moving around the map to discover most of the tiles whilst fending off alien attacks. There was explicit instruction to retreat if things got too hot and losses too great. As the Overspawn itself was a massive alien, threats were predominantly from the smaller alien life forms; micronoids (who controlled the overspawn, so these are present in vast numbers), brainsuckers, hyperworms, multiworms, poppers, sonic beasts (cut), and rarely, a lone psimorph in a suitably large organ "room". Anthropods, Skeletoids, Demonoids (cut), Spitters, alien wolves (cut), MegaSpawn and the other larger units were absent entirely as these could not really exist within the organs of the creature

    Once X-COM had enough of the map identified, a prompt to leave the combat area was given, X-COM could then retreat to the edges of the map and escape or choose to assault a key organ disovered on the map.

    The organ varied from mission to mission, it could be heart-like, a synapse, critical nerve or some other alien thing. It would often be guarded by the lone psimorph mentioned above and be absolutely brimming with micronoids; in effect, this made overspawn missions really only achievable in their complete form with ANDROID agents. The sheer wave of psi-attacks capable of wiping out most biological squads. Hence X-COM having the option to simply retreat from the overspawn but still get their research data IN BOTH CASES.

    Depending on the chosen means to complete the mission one of the following happened

    * If X-COM chose to retreat, the Overspawn self-destructs, the creatures within move into the city and infiltrate (this most certainly releases micronoids into organisations many of which could come under alien control soon afterwards unless X-COM identified the buildings that they moved to and mopped up first). All necessary data for the "live alien" capture is still obtained.
    * X-COM stays, destroys the offending organ, kills the overspawn and all aliens within, no creatures escape into the city. All data required for the "live alien" capture is still obtained.​

    So there you have it, all we know about the original vision of the Overspawn and how it played in game.

    If i find any more, I'll add it to this article.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2018
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  2. makus

    makus Designer, forum admin Administrator Designer/Artist

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    Highly detailed article. Great job @FilmBoy84
     

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