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X-corps Craft Economics


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#1 jtgibson

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 04:13 PM

Rentals

Somehow all of my posts are starting this way, but one of the features I disliked about X-COM was the rental fee for Interceptors and Skyrangers, with no other associated costs.

Realistically, a craft like the Interceptor or the Skyranger would cost in the multiples of billions of dollars. This is the most likely reason for the game designer's concept of rental that I can think of -- the Council isn't willing to shell out 35 billion dollars so X-COM can purchase two Interceptors outright.

However, that doesn't necessarily require that the vessel cost that much in Xenocide. Using cost cutting measures and having the Gryphons as unproven technology designed as prototypes (i.e., an investment, rather than an outright purchase), I can see X-Corps craft being purchased for multiple millions rather than multiple billions, with only a small return when sold (the investor earns money from the proven technology, and X-Corps gets a share of the profits since they were the pilots who tested it out). This is opposed to the relatively small initial acquisition cost and relatively large continuing rental fee, with absolutely no return for "selling" the craft.

This acts as a win-win type of situation: the aircraft manufacturers of the Gryphon and the Condor get a platform for testing out their lastest technologies in actual combat situations, and X-Corps gets high-performance aircraft.

Of course, outright purchases of investments would eliminate a large portion of the monthly maintenance costs normally associated with the craft rentals ($1.1M if I remember correctly). To counter this, base maintenance costs as a whole would be increased.

Note that this would also vastly increase the score loss if a Gryphon or Condor is lost in action, however -- if I was an aircraft company and X-Corps entirely ruined my prototype, I'd go after Project Xenocide with a hot poker.


Fuel

The second aspect I was considering was fuel drums, also done in order to compensate for the drop of monthly rental costs. Instead of assuming that fuel is a commodity in ready supply, X-Corps would buy fuel by the barrel, just like any other aircraft equipment. In addition to adding another element of logistical strategy (made more meaningful if shipments could be intercepted by aliens, suffer delays, ship incorrectly, etc.), it would require a tactical decision in terms of how much patrolling you want to be doing versus how much money you want to save.

Fuel barrels would be stored in the hangar, adding a tactical element to base invasion: if you carry too many fuel barrels, an alien could innocently decide to drop a blaster bomb there and cause huge amounts of base damage. Damage from a multiple barrel explosion would naturally be logarithmic, since multiple explosions often serve to producing interfering concussion waves, but logarithmic damage is still increasing damage based on input. The logarithm's base would be relatively small, something in the range of 1.1 to 1.2, in order to make multiple barrels clearly more destructive.

I'm not sure how much a single barrel of fuel should cost, nor how many barrels of fuel will be needed to fill a vessel, but if this is implemented, both Gryphons and Condors should use the same type of fuel. My interpretation is that Gryphons would use one barrel and Condors use two barrels to entirely fill the tank -- that way, you only need to keep about 10 to 15 barrels of fuel in your hangar at a time. If a Condor had used less than 50% of its fuel supply, it would only require one barrel to be refueled.

#2 GARAK

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 04:37 PM

Good ideas. This is "good" realism, as in, I like it and it serves a purpose. I had wondered about the cost of fuel in xcom before myself.

#3 Snakeman

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 05:37 PM

I like the fuel-barrels-as-another-thing-to-purchase thing. I don't think there should be much more than 3 different types though. Jet fuel, <insert other fuel here> & xenium seem about right. I've also liked the logistics involved in making sure you got something or have a way to store it.

With fuel, since its something that doesn't get put into general stores but in hangers, it makes for planning interceptor bases easier in a way. You'll decide that you'll want x many crafts present and of how ever many types, so I think to simplify the base module placement somewhat here, I think that when you place a hanger you should get a prompt for what fuel types you want stored there. Perhaps also showing what its entire fuel storage capacity is as well as you plan your purchases.

With xenium/elerium though, the old game had it placed in your regular general stores and its quantity was monitored. I actually think this should change to where all the types of fuel are kept in hangers or all in general stores. Thing is, if its something that needs kept track of so you'll know you'll need more of it, you need a quick way to reference that data.

One way, if its hangers, is to click on the hanger module its self and a window could popup (the 'destroy structure'/'cancel' window for example) can show you this. Otherwise if general stores is used, clicking on that module again, as a kind of shortcut, can show you everything you've got there. So basically incorporating some of these storage monitoring functions and tying them to the baseview structure to save time screen toggling.

#4 Tuoppi

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 01:46 AM

Actually any reasonable airbase would have its fuel supply in several separate underground tanks. Only a fueling hose comes out and system has multiple shields against leaks and fires. And good old kerosene fits all. Only piston engines use avgas.

#5 Blehm 98

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 01:52 AM

A xenium pod would have around 25 units in it, and that would be rather well protected, i don't think 20 blasters bombs going off at once would be very nice

edit: the point is that xenium would not be stored somewhere easily accessible

Edited by blehm, 16 August 2005 - 01:55 AM.

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#6 UnFleshed One

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 02:00 AM

And if I understand correctly, xenium unit is that coin-size piece of stuff, which can run an Avenger for couple hours. No reason to store all your half a shoe box of the stuff in a hangar :).

Edited by UnFleshed One, 16 August 2005 - 02:01 AM.

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#7 Snakeman

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 07:31 AM

I recognize the value in the storage system here, don't get me wrong :) Despite where you'd put the more precious stuff, perhaps hangers though could be a good augmentation to general stores allowing you options that aren't limited to just fuel storage.

#8 Blood Angel

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 07:42 AM

Perhaps having a seperate section in the hangar, with blast-proof doors? I mean, only really visible in base defence, but still significant.

Also, with regard to aircraft rental, perhaps an option to buy or to rent would be prudent, if you planned to upgrade your craft soon. Obviously, you would need to implement an up-front fee on rentals, otherwise people will rent, cancel the rental at the end of the month, and re-rent it the next day.

Edited by Blood Angel, 16 August 2005 - 07:44 AM.


#9 sir_schwick

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 08:16 AM

Also, with regard to aircraft rental, perhaps an option to buy or to rent would be prudent, if you planned to upgrade your craft soon. Obviously, you would need to implement an up-front fee on rentals, otherwise people will rent, cancel the rental at the end of the month, and re-rent it the next day.


I imagine with today's computers there is no reason everything has to be calculated at the end of the month. Many exploits, such as the scientists transfer bug, will not be a problem since expensives could be calculated on a weekly or daily basis.

Also here is another way X-COM could deal with the issue. Renting the latest in experimental technology sounds cool, but expensive. There are thousands of surplas military aircraft sitting on the ground around the globe. Many of these fleets have been grounded so I imagine rental or even aquisition costs would be ridiculously low. You engineers could use Alien technology to give these old dogs a few new tricks. Shouldn't it be what your engineers do anyway while the companies make new and better Terran UFOs?

Also, any new inventory items and requirements only make sense if inventory management is easier. If you can set up autmatic refill thresholds, then fuel does not become another item to remember.

#10 Blood Angel

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 08:43 AM

Sweet, I'd love an interceptor coated in alien alloy and with plasma beams... mwaha.

#11 Snakeman

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 03:32 PM

This was one of my thoughts too shwick. Inventory management shortcuts like we've already discussed in other threads. Its just a few more inventory items, so I don't mind lumping fuel in that category. If you can set thresholds for your stocks, an autobuy can stay ahead of the game for you a bit there.