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Road Cars need to not fail

Discussion in 'Game Mods' started by The Reaver of Darkness, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. Solarius Scorch

    Solarius Scorch Call to Power modder Global Moderator

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    Bobucles, excellent point on all points. :)

    As you said, weapons should not be divided between ground and air vehicles, as their shape is defining enough. This has already been discussed and is a good direction IMO.

    How hard, mathematically, would be to make weapons aim at where the target will be at the moment of hit instead of where it is now? I think many games use this mechanics, so probably not overly so.

    And, of course, off-road movement should be allowed! :)
     
  2. bobucles

    bobucles Registered

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    I am moderately confident that vanilla targeting aims for the TILE location where the vehicle is at. You can test this by hitting a hoverbike with the stasis missile. If most of the shots whiff by it (I am fairly confident this happens), then enemies are targeting the tile. If they still hit dead on, they're targeting ship coordinates. It may take a few attempts to make sure.

    Properly leading a target requires a bit more math to get right. As the difficulty of math increases you get diminishing returns on accuracy. So starting from the strongest and easiest:
    - Calculate the projectile time required to hit the target. Take the target's current vector. Add that amount of time to the vector. Shoot there. Simple and mostly effective, where small deviations in weapon accuracy can probably do the rest.
    - Do everything as above, except also include the NEW time required to hit the target at its new location. Adjust target accordingly. Some calculus may be involved. Required for long range shots to have ANY hope.
    - Do everything as above, except also include the known acceleration for the vehicle to predict its final location. Lots of calculus is involved.
    - Do everything as above, except literally read the pilot's mind and know exactly what crazy stunt he's going to pull so you know exactly where to shoot every single time. You dirty cheater.

    Is proper aiming something that targeting modules should deal with? I've never seen any value in using vanilla modules because of how faulty ship aiming is. But let's say these modules give a CHANCE to properly lead the target or something like that. I dunno. It might be cool. Hitting open air with 100% accuracy just doesn't do anything useful.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    If weapon targeting is dramatically improved, this could pose MAJOR problems for XCOM. The vanilla experience depends on waves of hoverbikes and hovercars for the bulk of your fleet. These guys depend on awful aiming to get their job done. Fleets are fairly expensive and extremely limited on the market, so if they get blowed up you'll lose most of your ability to fight UFOs. The Valkyrie and Air Hawk are not viable air combatants because they're like 10 times more expensive for hardly any extra firepower. XCOM's next best option is to use lots of ground vehicles, which have their own problems to address. Fortunately Apocalypse has LOTS of leeway between "what you need to win" and "kill everything that flies", so you can still beat the game with the added challenge.

    (Hybrid vehicles are flying doom fortresses. They already get hit most of the time so fixing aim doesn't really hurt them.)

    I'd say that fixing aim and reworking the fleet game is best done as a singular package. The extra challenge from fixing aim can get addressed with ground bonuses. XCOM gets to be about as capable as before, just with a different spin. Overall it's about as involved as making a moderate mod.
     
  3. The Reaver of Darkness

    The Reaver of Darkness Registered

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    Fixing aim doesn't have to break the game. It already seems broken based on how easily some city damage will ruin your reputation, or maybe that has more to do with how easily the city falls apart from weak shots that don't blow up small cars in any reasonable amount of time. But if aim was only set to lead the target for player-type craft with accuracy modules, then it wouldn't affect your ability to defend against alien craft. Slow shots would continue to miss hoverbikes because they can begin to move out of the way after the shot is fired and still have time to get away.

    It's actually difficult in real life to build a multi-floor building that is both capable of standing up on its own and can be knocked down by one stray shot from a weapon that does anything short of leveling a house. I think it makes sense for Mega Primus buildings to be structurally secure, and stray shots should not often destroy a grid chunk of building but when they do, the rest should remain standing most of the time. Only when you blow out a large amount of foundation should a building come crumbling down. People tubes should likewise be better reinforced.
     
  4. Solarius Scorch

    Solarius Scorch Call to Power modder Global Moderator

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    Thanks for the answer and explanation; it's not like it was dramatically new to me, but it sums up the issue nicely.

    I have to object to this though:

    If this was your strategy, fine, but I've never used it. I was happy with my Hawks and Valkyries, thank you very much (OK, with an occasional Phoenix to fill in the gaps), and ground vehicles. I found Hoverbikes waaaaay to troublesome to use, and come on, shooting UFOs with essentially hand weapons? :p
     
  5. bobucles

    bobucles Registered

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    How were your results? With a fleet of bikes and cars, I can wipe out the entire enemy UFO mission like half of the time and deal severe damage the rest of the time. They're pretty good.

    The ONLY combat advantage you get from the 1x4 slot is the ability to use Lancer lasers. Every other flying weapon is 1x3. So getting the most firepower means cramming as many 1x3 weapons as cheaply as possible. Hoverbikes get you one gun for $5K. Hovercars get 2 weapons for $12K. Valkyries get 2 lancers for $75K, while Air Hawks get an extra medium disruptor for an extra $25K.

    The stats don't lie. Air Hawks and Valkyries are NOT your main combat vessels. They may have decent combat ability, but their price tag is simply outrageous for the job. Their main utility is to be your troop transport, a role no other conventional craft can do.

    I'm not doing raids or worrying about getting millions of credits. I don't even sell alien artifacts beyond the brainsucker launcher. What XCOM gets paid I use, and after a tight first week there is more than enough money to win. When it comes to budget, a pile of cheap vehicles do the fighting while ONE big ship is the troop transport. That is more than enough to beat the aliens, even on Superhuman.

    I could probably use more ground vehicles for sure. The GLM array seems pretty good, and Plasma Cannons can put a serious dent in huge UFOs. But flying vehicles seem to just work better than ground ones, even for cost, even including the regular loss of bikes and cars. I've already placed my 2 cents on ground combat much earlier in the thread.

    Sorry if I sound kinda high and mighty on the point. I've had my fun tearing through Apoc on every difficulty, often more than once. This is just the strategy I found to work the best for the least money.
     
  6. Solarius Scorch

    Solarius Scorch Call to Power modder Global Moderator

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    No problem, I was merely pointing out that your strategy is certainly not automatic as you suggested.
    And I'm still not going to use it, because:
    1) It's painful to manage (yes, even compared with ground tanks),
    2) It looks fucking ridiculous. :p (Waging a war on bikes when you have military vehicles? Seriously?)
    These two points, especially the latter, are an insurmountable barrier to me personally. I just have way more fun managing a real combat fleet, ordering the craft to withdraw as needed, replacing them with new ones when necessary etc. It's effective enough.
     
  7. bobucles

    bobucles Registered

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    What's ridiculous about fighting with swarm craft? A janitor missile on a bike is just as effective as janitor missiles on a Valkyrie. Actually it's even more effective because the same cost gets you nearly a dozen janitor bikes vs. one dual janitor Valkyrie. The viability does go down late game because of alien missiles, but even then you can comfortably crush the mid game with conventional craft.

    I still LIKE the Valkyrie and bring it into battle. But the best it ever gets is lancers to use the 1x4, or plasma because of its good health. I never put plasma on a bike. ;D

    It's cool that you find good use with ground vehicles. Personally it's something I keep telling myself to try out more, but I can never seem to find the funds for it. Do you manage to use the cannon guns or go pure missiles? Stormdogs or APCs or tanks? In my experience every single machine gun turret (including the air one) is almost entirely useless. The bullets are too slow to hit anything, the damage is too low vs. armor, and ground vehicles are too far away to ever score a hit. I've only found the tank/plasma to have a late game niche use for me. But one of these days, I have to try out the GLM. I NEVER have enough missiles.

    Okay, I'll give you that one. Apoc isn't very good with managing fleets of ships. There are no vehicle groupings and selecting your ships means lots of ctrl-clicking on the vehicle tab. But when the swarm goes to town it is truly a thing of beauty.
     
  8. Solarius Scorch

    Solarius Scorch Call to Power modder Global Moderator

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    OK, I might try it finally. :)

    Plasma. Plasma only. :)
    (Especially Lineage on Hawks. Yeah, I'm wasteful like that.)

    Tanks. They're cheap and tough as hell, so why settle for less? (Some roles for other cars is something I'd like to see BTW.)

    And I don't really use ground-to-air missiles. Plasma Cannons are just cooler. B)

    Yeah. It also allows you to control a bigger part of the city.
     
  9. bobucles

    bobucles Registered

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    Okay. There's no way in hell you are using Plasma Cannons AND Lineage as your primary killing weapons. Solmine does not sell enough Elerium to do that.

    Unless you're stealing it. Which is okay. I LIKE how if XCOM doesn't have enough of a thing, Apoc lets you go out and "find" some more. That's a cool feature of the game. I don't like the exploits of how easy and not punishing it is to steal stuff, but that's a matter for another day.

    On a completely unrelated note, how much city damage do you typically deal against UFOs? In my experience Elerium weapons deal more damage against the city than the aliens do. They really require careful management to keep the whole city from being turned against XCOM.

    I definitely agree on modding the ground vehicles. I think ground vehicles can have viable options the entire game using tools that already exist in vanilla. They just need to be allowed.
     
  10. Solarius Scorch

    Solarius Scorch Call to Power modder Global Moderator

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    Well, it's true that I always struggle, but I also use plenty of air-to-air missiles, which are responsible for most of damage.

    Yep!

    I tend to fly high (to my pilots' horror) to minimize the damage. But I am not overly fussy about it... :)
     
  11. The Reaver of Darkness

    The Reaver of Darkness Registered

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    I've always been able to use Lineage plasma as the main killing weapon for all of the heavy-armored UFOs. Since most of what you fight (especially early on) dies easily to weaker weapons, I save my Elerium for later. I usually have well over 1000 stored up by the time I even buy my first Lineage Plasma Cannon.
     
  12. Grimagor

    Grimagor Registered

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    Totally agree! the lineage Plasma cannon should be a 1x4 weapon.

    The stats don't lie. Air Hawks and Valkyries are NOT your main combat vessels. They may have decent combat ability, but their price tag is simply outrageous for the job. Their main utility is to be your troop transport, a role no other conventional craft can do.

    I'm not doing raids or worrying about getting millions of credits. I don't even sell alien artifacts beyond the brainsucker launcher. What XCOM gets paid I use, and after a tight first week there is more than enough money to win. When it comes to budget, a pile of cheap vehicles do the fighting while ONE big ship is the troop transport. That is more than enough to beat the aliens, even on Superhuman.

    I could probably use more ground vehicles for sure. The GLM array seems pretty good, and Plasma Cannons can put a serious dent in huge UFOs. But flying vehicles seem to just work better than ground ones, even for cost, even including the regular loss of bikes and cars. I've already placed my 2 cents on ground combat much earlier in the thread.

    Sorry if I sound kinda high and mighty on the point. I've had my fun tearing through Apoc on every difficulty, often more than once. This is just the strategy I found to work the best for the least money.

    I remember the aliens using anti-swarm weapons, but only in the late state of the invasion. Maybe the UFO need some anti-swarm earlier or/and limit the hoverbike's weapon's slot to a 1x2 instead of a 1x3 (they can use rendor plasma gun but not Janitor or Prophet).

    Speaking of ground craft, they need better weapons, allow them to use small disruptor cannon is useless IMO, the dimensional probe can equip it and is stronger and quicker than many ground craft.
     
  13. The Reaver of Darkness

    The Reaver of Darkness Registered

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    You can research your first small disruptor beam early on, much earlier than you could have possibly have developed a Dimension Probe. Being able to fit them to cheap road vehicles would be useful.
     
  14. bobucles

    bobucles Registered

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    Giving hoverbikes 1x2 weapons would make them nearly useless. They already compete with Hovercars for utility, they have no endgame potential, and they are very much a feast or famine option. If luck is on your side they're great in the early game. But a few lucky alien hits will wipe them out.

    There are already several ways to address hoverbike utility that doesn't involve a direct nerf:
    1) Any potential fix to aiming formulas will DESTROY hoverbikes. I'm not kidding. The vanilla aim formula is the ONLY reason Hoverbikes have any utility at all.
    2) An improvement to ground vehicles will make them better by comparison and allow more chances for mixed fleets.
    3) UFO fleets do not scale with difficulty. Superhuman missions have the exact same number and type of UFOs as beginner. Addressing this in any way will make the air game more deadly and bikes are usually the first craft to die.
    4) Hostile corporations can easily wipe out hoverbikes using conventional missiles. Any hostile interference can cost XCOM dearly.
    5) Nerfing the lineage plasma to a 1x4 size will give big craft some much needed love, and keep this top tier weapon out of hovercar/bike hands.

    The alternative options will improve the APOC experience. They should be tried out BEFORE playing with weapon slots. Leave the 1x2 slots for civilians to deal with.
    Yep. The small disruptor beam spends most of Apocalypse sitting in your inventory basically being useless. Ground cars are an ideal choice for giving this tragically defunct weapon a real use, and it will give a much needed boost to XCOM's midgame fleet power.
     
  15. Grimagor

    Grimagor Registered

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    And could be possible for some ground crafts two 2x2 slot weapons? (small disrupt isn't bad but can match the medium/large)
     
  16. bobucles

    bobucles Registered

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    Do ground vehicles really NEED extra gun bays? They are fairly cheap, their missiles have decent firepower, and any single one is an easy target. So just like buy more of them. I know there are dozens of ground vehicles I never buy off the market, so there should be no problem loading up every single light disruptor XCOM picks up.

    New vehicles of any type is diving into mod territory. It's not a terribly important problem though. XCOM has a pretty diverse mix of heavy and light vehicles for both the air and ground. By removing the arbitrary air/ground weapon restriction, they will each get their turn to shine. IMO it is a vastly superior and more fair solution than adding a new vehicle to take care of everything.
     
  17. Grimagor

    Grimagor Registered

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    I wasn't thinking in new vehicles but I think that all ground craft (not the Griffon) have only one 2x2 Weapon slot. Is only a suggestion for giving more options (sinces ground craft have few options)
     
  18. bobucles

    bobucles Registered

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    Changing weapon loadouts might be an option to give some difference between the Stormdog and Wolfhound. Currently both vehicles are pretty much the same in battle. But I was thinking of a different solution.

    In Apoc, every single building has a flying tube. This is used to move goods across the city and house the structure's air defense fleet. What if tubes weren't available to every structure? Now you will NEED a ground based transport to hit the more remote locations of the city. It would take a custom map to create buildings without aircraft access, but it is an option.

    Alternatively, the APC could have enough armor to survive crashing off road, while the Stormdog doesn't (a 50 damage accident will do the trick). This gives some survival power to the heavier vehicle and a reason to use its cargo space for shields. Of course, a vehicle with two shields that doesn't insta die off road will last a lot longer than the cheaper one.

    I just realized that the blazer turbo bike doesn't actually have a weapon mount. How about giving it one? A 1x2 weapon would give ground bikes the tiniest of utility as a road assault vehicle(there's always a few on the road so hostile ones would shoot ya), instead of being completely 100% useless for every point of the game. I personally think it'd be cooler if you could use them as armored units in battles, but that's getting WAY off topic.
     
  19. Grimagor

    Grimagor Registered

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    I like that idea :D

    Did anybody use the Blazer turbo bike?
    Did we really use them if they'll have a 1x2 weapon slot?
    I'd like to see a bike in the slums but... inside an apartment? or a clinic? :eek:
     
  20. Solarius Scorch

    Solarius Scorch Call to Power modder Global Moderator

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    While we can talk vehicle balance, I don't think any solution will make the game any more sensible if it doesn't address the "no road, you die" problem. I just can't accept this mechanic, it's so obviously fake that it kills the immersion for me. A car that leaves a road blows up? Come on!

    Therefore, I will once again state that ground vehicles should be able to survive destruction of their road tile. Some (civilian) may get stuck until towed away (hey, some use for these flying city construction vehicles maybe?), but military vehicles should just be able to travel across such land, though perhaps really slowly in comparison.

    It's a good idea, but why would Hoverbikes have a bigger slot, if they're roughly the same size?
     

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