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#1 CyberMantiX

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Posted 19 May 2003 - 05:57 AM

One thing I always wanted to have was to be able to view more geographically-based info in the geoscape.

This abillity could become available with a more advanced radar or the Hyperwave Decoder.
Menu-wise it would be selectable through its own sub-meny, for instance "Sensor overlay" or something.
The sensor overlay could show hotspots of alien/X-COM activites, funding etc. Like in the statistics menu of the old X-Coms, but overlaying the geosphere, making things like placing new bases, searching for alien bases and such a cinch for those of us with lousy geograhpy knowledge.

It would also display the paths of tracked UFOs and your own craft selectable from a menu, either by codenames (UFO#1/Interceptor-1) or by time-frame, and when clicked upon, these paths would highlight (as well as related paths, such as intercepting aircraft) and show pop-up windows with the complete history of the UFO;
Type/size
Race
Mission
First tracked/Tracking lost
Ignored-Destroyed-downed-landed

It could also display old mission sites for instance; terror, landing and crash sites, alien base attacks, base attacs on X-Com etc. Also by category and timeframe. When clicked upon, you could be shown the mission score and a short summary, with for instance links to the related X-Net information and the soldiers used.

It would help in keeping the Geoscape window more central to the game, and avoid too many sub-menus...
Also making you more aware of the types of missions undertaken both by the aliens and by you.

Of course, all of this would be dependant on a detailed logging of most events and actions in the game, but I assume some of this would already be in place for score and funding purposes.

Just my thoughts...

#2 Breunor

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Posted 19 May 2003 - 07:34 AM

It might be easier to start off with the geosphere showing borders and country names like the original, and have those details listed in a screen like the original as well. Once that's all in place, it might be relatively easy to transfer the data to the geosphere using color codes for various areas, depending on what stat you're looking at. It might look like a weather forecaster display-"Looks like we're going to have a muton front moving in from the south west over the next few days, with scattered sectoid spottings expected later this evening". :D

#3 GreatGold

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Posted 19 May 2003 - 07:38 AM

Hey -

Also, a number of your suggestions about the flightpath have already been discussed, and will most likely be implemneted in some form in the final version. We are still throwing around ideas for it though, and no truly final concencus was made. I believe it is in the "Mouse Cursor" thread if you look for it.

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#4 Guus

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Posted 19 May 2003 - 08:10 AM

I like the sensor-overlay thingy

#5 GreatGold

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Posted 19 May 2003 - 10:28 AM

Hey -

I just want to add, I also really like the idea of a sensory overlay. Having your funding visualized by a color code on the geoscape would be a real nice addition. Could allow you to analyse and pick up patterns sooner. Likewise for other overlays. Good idea.

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#6 CyberMantiX

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Posted 20 May 2003 - 06:13 AM

I believe it is in the "Mouse Cursor" thread if you look for it.

Thanks, I've checked it out now.

I agree with several of the suggestions there, such as highligting the area the UFO is likely to land, and creating lines between the interceptors and their intended targets to better organize massive assaults.

Another thing the sensor overlay would show is the range of the different sensors on bases and ships. You wouldn't be able to see the sensor range on the UFOs before you've researched that particular UFO type (by capturing a Navigator) Also making base searching easier.
Of course, depending on how advanced Aircraft will become in Xenocide. You might be able to customize aircraft for recon missions (finding UFOs outside Base Range, spotting bases) thus sacrificing weapons for a more sensitive sensor array and plot a patrol path for it.

#7 Guus

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Posted 20 May 2003 - 08:23 AM

I really like the sensor-overlay thingy now :)

#8 Deimos

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Posted 20 May 2003 - 08:23 PM

I'm going to take the other view in that I can see the sensor overlay is would be a bad thing.

The graphs and stats were there because the player had to keep an eye on them to make real progress in the game. Too much information on the main screen is only going to give the player information overload. Too much info in one place defocusses the emphasis on it. Especially important stuff like the graphs. That was the reason they weren't visible on the main screen.

If this overlay just hands out all the info there'd be no point in having the graphs page.

The game is already too easy, if we go giving away this kind of info the geoscape would be not much more than a glorified video display only there to launch missions into battlescape. You'd be able to predict way too easily where an alien attack would be coming from and future locations of alien bases based on the data collected and you'd be waiting with your skyrangers and interceptors for the supply ships to turn up.

The fun came from keeping track of funding and monitoring the graphs for reported ufo sightings outside of your radar coverage and then sending an empty skyranger to the area to act as an extended radar. If it found somehting out came the interceptors. The biggest thrill was finding a new alien base from researching the graphs.


As an example of what I mean about too much info, here's the above post again but this time its all given in one place.

I'mgoingtotaketheotherviewinthatIcanseethesensoroverlaywouldbeabadthing.Thegra
hsandstatswerethere
becausetheplayerhadtokeepaneyeonthemtomakerealprogressinthegame.Toomuchinformati
nonthemainscreen
isonlygoingtogivetheplayerinformationoverload.Toomuchinfoinoneplacedefocussesthe
mphasisonit.Especially
importantstufflikethegraphs.Thatwasthereasontheyweren'tvisibleonthemainscreen.Ifthisoverlayjusthandsoutall
theinfothere'dbenopointinhavingthegraphspage.Thegameisalreadytooeasy,ifwegogivingawaythis
indofinfothe
geoscapewouldbenotmuchmorethanaglorifiedvideodisplayonlytheretolaunchmissionsint
battlescape.You'dbeable
topredictwaytooeasilywhereanalienattackwouldbecomingfromandfuturelocationsofalie
bases,basedonthedata
collectedandyou'dbewaitingwithyourskyrangersandinterceptorsforthesupplyshipstoturnup.Thefunc
mefrom
keepingtrackoffundingandmonitoringthegraphsforreportedufosightingsoutsideofyourr
darcoverageandthen
sendinganemptyskyrangertotheareatoactasanextendedradar.Ifitfoundsomehtingoutcame
heinterceptors.Thebig
gestthrillwasfindinganewalienbasefromresearchingthegraphs.

Same info, just much more difficult to interpret. :D

Edited by Deimos, 20 May 2003 - 08:24 PM.


#9 Guus

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Posted 20 May 2003 - 11:51 PM

Haha, you have a curious way of explaining your point, but you do have a point. Hmm... I don't fully agree with you though.

Ufo's only show up on your sensors when and if you have placed enough radar systems, same as in the old game. Even then, when you had enough bases so you could cover enough ground with your radar, you could clearly see the building of a alien base, for example. You'd see a couple of big ships landing on or near the same spot - there's not that much difference.

Maybe we could find a solution in the middle? Don't have something shown up on radar the minute it enters the radar's scope, but have some calculation first. Size of the craft times its speed, height and range from the radar-base, for example, to see if it shows up on the screen. Maybe ufo's could have some sort of jamming device (quite like the mind-shield facility).

#10 CyberMantiX

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 02:56 AM

Deimos;
Yes I do see some of your points.
But all this informations would not be visible at once, they would be broken into "layers" for each category, like the different graphs in the "Graphs" page.
Some of these layers would be able to be combined, others not, and some would be exclude the use of other layers.

In my opinion going into the "graph" page always slowed down the game.
Being able to customize the sensor overlay in a similar manner to the graphs would help more to bring focus into the geoscape, not reducing its importance, but increasing it!

In my opinion, the original X-COM:UFO and TFTD divided you too much between the screens, and in my case I found myself too rarely checking out the graphs.
If we could combine a fleshed-out sensor overlay with the relevant events/messages we could simply enhance the gameplay. (could be customizable by the player?)
Examples:
When sending out a craft for any kind of mission, the sensor overlay could automatically change to combine the layers "Sensor range" and "flight-paths".

When you click on "Build new base", you get the "Sensor range" (so you can better judge how to maximize your base position) and either "Alien activity in countries" or "Funding by countries" so as to be more able to position your base so you can protect important funders.

On the end-of month funding reports the view could automatically show the "funding by countries" layer.

Of course: I have no experience in game design, and I only spill out what I would like to see.

Guus;
You also make some good points.
The HyperWave Decoder in the original was perhaps too powerful, always detecting all ships is somewhat unbalancing, perhaps making in only detect 50-60% of incoming ships(small radars did 5%, large 10%?) And making the different vessels have different "sensor profiles" so that Aliens might have "Stealth" vessels which are extremely hard to detect.
Jamming device... hmm: what about an EW-ship (Electronic Warfare) that would jam sensors, thus hiding other ships in its effect area, but be highly visible itself; after all it's pumping out a lot of electronic noise.

Think of it: an EW ship jams your radar, so you dispatch a interceptor and shoot it down. When the jammer is destroyed; suddenly you can see tons other UFOs converging on your base *panic*

#11 XcomVic

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 03:54 AM

The HyperWave Decoder in the original was perhaps too powerful, always detecting all ships is somewhat unbalancing, perhaps making in only detect 50-60% of incoming ships(small radars did 5%, large 10%?)


This is from my UFOpedia
Alien communications rely on a supra-dimensional wave which travels almost instantaneously. The decoder facility intercepts UFO transmissions and decodes the information. This will show the type of UFO, the alien race and the type of activity.

Okay i see the 100% thing maybe, but it STILL has limited range. It doesn't show how many aliens there are, where the ufo is going and what type of weapons. Now that would be an all-powerful radar.

Maybe if it was 90% that would be good. But I personallty think that that piece of junk didnt give me the info i REALLY wanted to know, other than the Suppliers....

As to the ECMs (Electronic Counter Measures), I can see that as a thing for both us and the aliens. Used differently, we would use it to increase our evasion points during interceptor mode, but for them it may be used for the stealth mode while traveling like Cyber mentioned.
...just a thought...

#12 Breunor

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 07:00 AM

Even if you have 100% coverage with radar, tha large radar gave you a 10% chance to detect every 10 minutes or so. So chances are high that you'll eventaully see them, just not right away. As to countries and activity levels, couldn't the compromize be that the geoscape has the country borders visible, and then you know where they all are?

#13 XcomVic

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 07:06 AM

i just hada little idea pop into my head... a new research, but this would be towards the very end... use of GPS sats around the world to track the UFOs, these woud be upgrade to allow 100% coverage, 100%accuracy all around the world, also with this the UFOs would increase all around the world. this might just be cool to look at seeing 100 red dots flying around doing whatever...
...just a thought...

#14 Guest_drewid_*

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 07:31 AM

I like the overlay idea. but Diemos is right about overload. You would have only one or maybe two types of overlay showing at any time. It would have to auto switch back to an intercept overlay on detecting a UFO.

I think as long as the overlay is showing essentially the same info as the graphs then we aren't changing the core gameplay too much. so it might be feasable for a v1 feature, though that would need some further discussion.
Don't be dissappointed if it's a v1+.

We also need to be clear that not all info will work well in this format. The funding graph may be clearer as a graph, though it could colour code to global areas in some way, just to give a rough idea. Again we would need to study the graph screens to see what would work best in which format.

Detection rates would probably be one of the things that changes with difficulty level. BUT Those tweaks are often very hard, changing more than a couple of variables can have really unpredictable results. Ideally you change one thing then test for a good long time.


A couple of other things worth noting:
1) It's probably easier to debug underlying stats and figures from graphs, so as a first pass, to get things working, I would guess we'd get graphs in anyhow. (just to keep it easier for the coders)
2) It is a -lot- more work for coding.

#15 XcomVic

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 07:36 AM

i have no problem with the regular graphs anyhow, they give you all the info you need. there might be too much clutter on the geoscape if you want those overlays...
...just a thought...

#16 LordT

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 08:22 AM

i have no problem with the regular graphs anyhow, they give you all the info you need. there might be too much clutter on the geoscape if you want those overlays...

Bah, a simple on/off should fix that :)
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#17 Breunor

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 10:51 AM

Yes, you could have a button that cycles through the overlays, like going from one graph to another. So at any one time there'd only be 1 layer of info on the geoscape. You could also have a popup window that shows the dollar amounts or anything that doesn't translate well to the color coding. One thing the graphs have over the color coded sphere is the historical evidence. I can look at the last several months on each graph, but I only get the last month on the sphere.

#18 GreatGold

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 04:02 PM

Hey -

I like Breuners compromise. One thing I do know, however, is that if Xenocide doesnt implement some form of lay-over data on the geoscape, some one will. Back in the old days, when I was playing the orginal, I used to amuse myself by putting a tack on an old globe whereever a mission took place. After a year of game time, the patterns were obvious (as they should be). I found this type of data gathering and anaylsis a heck of a lot of fun, and I didnt even think to ask about having it implemented when I came to this forum. But now that someone has said it, I do like the idea.

If not in the game, I'm sure some coder could make a stand alone geoscape that allows users to mark missions, suspected bases, and any data they would want to keep track of in a graphic, as apposed to graphed, way. I figure, this isnt really making the game easier, as the data must be mannually entered. Therefore, what you determine from the data is only as good as you put in. Perhaps something like this could be implemented in the game eventually. The player then becomes X-Com's intelligence officer...

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#19 Cubik

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Posted 23 May 2003 - 01:07 AM

Let's use automatic overlays for those information areas that can be easily explained that way, and lets use the graphs for everything piece of information. A on/off option seems to be perfectly reasonable, since you can turn information on/off in the graph window.

#20 CyberMantiX

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Posted 23 May 2003 - 05:14 AM

Drewid;
Auto-switching would be nice. ^_^

Breunor;
Sure you should be able to limit the amount of layers displayed (I thought i mentioned it, but I obviously wasn't very clear).
If it should be restricted to a single layer og perhaps 2 should be dependent on the kind of data displayed.

GreatGold;
I like the Idea that you should be able to manually mark points on the map, but I think it should be an addition to the automatic one, not replacing it.

XcomVic;
About tracking UFOs by GPS. GPS dosen't work that way(to my knowledge), it's a navigational aid and requires a transmitter to give you an location. You would first have to detect an UFO by other means (radar, etc) and then perhaps you could "Tag" it with a GPS tracking device. Perhaps fired from a craft.
An ideal mission for unmanned X-COM stealth craft ^_^
Of course, the concept of satelite-based radar systems is not a bad idea, and after what I've read, there is a project under research by the U.S. Military.
But I suppose it would probably be very expensive, and vunerable to alien attacks.

#21 Guest_drewid_*

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Posted 23 May 2003 - 06:28 AM

You know that would be great on the backstory.

"That was the first clue that something bigger was wrong, satellite-based systems, so beloved of the Military experts, started failing. One by one the birds fell silent, weapons platforms, communications, radar, all snuffed out, leaving the world blind, deaf and dumb

The last picture from the Hubble space telescope was of a grey shadow looming over the sun, a hideous eclipse, a dark omen.

Mankind's dependance high technology, the trust in our scientific strength, was exposed as our greatest weakness. We were virtually helpless when they came..."

#22 Breunor

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Posted 23 May 2003 - 07:03 AM

I really like the idea of the satellites falling, it was my concern with a satellite tracking system. Aliens could shoot them all down in a day without resistence. The loss of most long range communications would occur, another reason why x-corps is created as a centralized defence force with specialized radar systems.

#23 XcomVic

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Posted 23 May 2003 - 05:40 PM

then again taht is why the star wars program was developed.. in case of alien incursions and missile defense from other countries. basically satelites were used to deflect lasers to their intended targets, they each had there own laser and defense system capable to take down most craft, alien or terran.
...just a thought...

#24 Guest_drewid_*

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Posted 24 May 2003 - 03:35 AM

I like that. The Star Wars policy is a response to the Rosswell legacy. Sold to the public as a missile defence system, but really there to stop the aliens.

#25 XcomVic

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Posted 24 May 2003 - 05:38 AM

that is correct, sadly in real world, the Star Wars program was "cancelled". hehe.... there are a few that say this isn't so... that Aliens due exist and still posess a real threat to our society and have begun to reactivate the system under black budget operations...
...just a thought...

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Posted 24 May 2003 - 07:28 AM

and I'll bet there are web pages to prove it too.
Black budget operations. hmmmm

I have a theory that goes something like this.
Someone who is going to be recruited gets "abducted" or sent out on a solo mission then picked up. He or she is given a quick medical, and is shown all the evidence of alien incursion and they have some time to decide.
If they decide to join then they go MIA, or KIA or just plain dissappear from the real world. If they decide 'no' then they get a dose of a powerful rohypnol variant, and wake up in the woods with an almightly hangover and vague memories of abduction, and experimentation and UFOs.

This is in the wrong forum really so I hope someone from the creative writing team should be taking notes. . We're heading for x-files territory as full speed. :D Anyone out there?

Edited by drewid, 24 May 2003 - 07:28 AM.


#27 mikker

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Posted 24 May 2003 - 08:38 AM

you have seen too much matrix drewid.


about satelites failing.......this could be the same thing that happened at NASAS mars probes ^_^

"Aliens shooting it from mars....? No way.....erh......we just screwed up navigation....yeah, that right! navigation! You know, centimeters, and inches..."

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the truth about scientology

#28 Guest_drewid_*

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Posted 24 May 2003 - 08:44 AM

it gets better, nice one Mikker :D

The truth is out there

#29 Deimos

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Posted 24 May 2003 - 10:20 AM

After Roswell, the black projects thought they had caught the aliens off guard as the alien abductions stopped for a while. Until we went to the moon. Apollo 11 and 12 landed normally but the alien caught wind of the 13th launch and tried to put a stop to it. They almost suceeded. Records were doctored and acounts falsified and officially it was an accident. But some know the truth behind Apollo 13's real mission.

The following Moon missions had their objectives changed, hence the moon rover with it's 'scientific' equipment and greater range. The secret projects leaders were looking for the aliens base of operations.

Heh, if we're not careful we'll be getting visits from the black helicopters :)

We should get this stuff up on the xenocide website as a pre story. The history of project xenocide ;)

#30 Breunor

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Posted 24 May 2003 - 01:01 PM

I've copied all the story ideas posted here and will add them into the creative text threads for record keeping. Let's return this thread to the display overlay topic if there's anything else to discuss regarding it. Story ideas should follow the other thread please.