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Psi Strain


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#1 Blehm 98

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 09:42 AM

I was thinking a little bit ago, 'How could i make it so that psi was not nearly as unbalanced for humans?'

Of course, now that it requires line of site its a lot more level, but i was thinking, using psi would put a tremendous amount of pressure on a single person's mind, so if perhaps morale going down a random amount for every psionic action used (MC would take more) were implemented, it could mean that your 100 psi strength soldier would with 100 psi skill would not be that uber. Perhaps a hidden stat such as mental stability could be added, or maybe even visible, and it would determine (among other things) how much your morale drops with psi attacks, how you 'snap' (ie do you beserk, panic and drop your weapons, run, or snap the other way and just rush forward and shoot everything that looks alien, and start tossing grenades around wildly), and perhaps it would increase your defense (perhaps) against psi panic. Or at least someone with higher mental stability wouldn't panic easily, but if he does, its harder to get him back up to stable again. It could also control a soldiers nerves, which would reflect firing accuracy, perception, and reactions, and soldiers with lower morale and/or weak mental stability would be less likely to get nervous (the affects could be like 'your reactions double, but you react may react to civilians and firing accuracy drops dow a bit)

That paragraph i guess is suggesting a new stat, mental stability, and the new psi attack i guess



I also think that if someone is MCed, they will eventually start resisting it better, at least against that particular mind. Mental stability, morale, and bravery could determine whether or not the soldier simply breaks and drops unconscious, or whether or not he start resisting and his morale jumps back up. This goes for aliens too, because although they probably aren't used to something controlling what they do, they could probably start resisting, save the mutons.

Now, what happens if the psi user uses psi too much?
1) he might panic, and do several actions
2) might lock up for a few turns
3) he might fall unconscious
4) His psi abilities drop into the realms of uselessness

Of course, number 4 would be gradual, but if he doesn't lapse into unconsciousness or panic, he is just too weak to use psionic powers, and his are gone for the rest of the mission (or they should take so long to recover that the mission should hopefully be over)

so what do you think?
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#2 Snakeman

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 11:46 AM

I was thinking about this not too long ago too, and an idea from a different game might make sense here with using Psi:

Have a small timer icon above the person using Psi, such that he can't use it again too quickly in combat. This gives a slightly bigger window for Psi aliens to retaliate on their turn.

This would be separate from time units in that even though you may have to wait x turns (or real time seconds/minutes) to use it again, you still have your time units afterwards to continue to do things in conventional combat.

To sum up here briefly:

1) If the game is played in real-time mode, the recharge for the next Psi attack takes seconds/minutes. Adjustable by the player's own options.

2) Turn-based: Each attack could have the same or varying numbers of turns for that attack to be recharged and usable again. Adjustable by player - either a blanket amount of turns across all attacks or each set separately.

Granted, the above assumes that the unit isn't in danger of losing his mind or going bezerk or anything. The points above presume that things are going smoothly relatively speaking.

Weaker resistant minds however could in addition to the above suffer other effects like you describe. Some might survive battle only to find that they have a bit of down time in the medlab for instance - just in Psi overusage perhaps?

-The best of the best may go several missions before having a small downtime of days in the lab.
-The middle-of-the road may go several missions before taking a week to recover.
-The weakest of the weak that survive several missions would occasionaly be out for weeks (perhaps not to exceed a month of downtime for mind stuff overall).
-Finally, if you had anyone in combat who didn't use Psi, but was resistant to attacks on it, they don't go through this recovery gauntlet.

Perhaps the speed of recovery of rattled minds could be further altered if there is both a Psi lab (or more than one) plus a medlab facility (or more than one). The idea being basically that the combination of bed rest, drugs, and continued Psi training would work hand in hand for best results.

Going back to talk now about the effects you listed:

1) he might panic, and do several actions
2) might lock up for a few turns
3) he might fall unconscious
4) His psi abilities drop into the realms of uselessness


I like the first, second and third the most. I don't know about the fourth just yet, although maybe it could just be a time to recovery issue between missions. I worry a little about repeating adnauseum the hiring/sacking issue the first game had (granted, would be made easier by a soldier template system the hire/sack algorithyms looked at - you get the soldiers that matter and the rest hit the bricks upon arrival).

1. Let's go into this further, what seemingly random actions could we have a panic unit perform?

-If he drops everything and runs around, have him interact with the obstacles in the battlescape:

----- Jumping fences, going into a building to squat in a corner, stand or lay prone, running in circles shouting at the top of his lungs, bowling over another trooper to have both fall flat on the ground, charge the enemy, or maybe a combination of all the above if he isn't stopped, then ungratiously knocks himself out of action by bumping his head into something.

----- In combination with the above, if armed with a gun he could fire randomly at friend or foe. If he has a grenade he could arm it and throw it at friend or foe, or keep it on him and sacrafice himself charging either side's units (or possibly any strategic element on the battlescape its self - these could be things that help you or hinder you in a mission that aren't combat units).

Slapstick stuff always gets me, this should be a great opportunity to be creative with outcomes and visuals (and that's not even thinking about just now how aliens might react to a unit they themselves paniced and now have to deal with it charging their positions).

2. Freezing up is less entertaining than the first, but makes perfect sense as one type of outcome.

3. Going unconscious is similar to the second one, however I think that units suffering as in these first three could be helped somewhat by a stim/painkiller combo from a medkit. Stims to revive unconscious soldiers, painkillers to boost effects of morale loss. For these kinds of Psi users, their Psi attack timer(s) only resume once they're conscious - meaning it takes longer to Psi attack with this unit again if it had passed out.

4) Again, I'd be open to this idea if it meant an easier time of getting replacements later on in the game (i.e. when the soldier templates can then take into consideration Psi defense value after going through one session of training - the soldier is otherwise a good fighting candidate based on the other stats you've set minus the Psi). Finally attached to this idea should be a prompt at the end of the training cycle to confirm/deny the sacking of this unit.

It would make managing soldier fodder a little easier as well.

Edited by Snakeman, 20 February 2006 - 01:16 PM.


#3 Dover

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 04:10 PM

I think that two main issues are all we need to balence psi:
- Line of sight (Or at least, if you can shoot at it, you can psi it)
- Making psi attacks a percentage of TUs, as opposed to the flat rate 25 TUs XCOM had.

The rest of the stuff you guys suggested, although probably realistic, actually UNbalences psi, because I'm sure ethereal commanderss wouldn't start banging their heads against fences...

The line of sight requirement is scary enough. In UFO I fired/hired massive amounts of rookies to get psi-capable individuals. To have to put them in the line of fire to use their abilities? The though itself is making me turn away from psi

The other issue I had was that once my men hit 75 or more TUs, they could perform up to 3 psi attacks each. With 4 psi troopers (Not unreasonable in 26-man avenger), that's 12 MCs. Far too much, I think. Psi attacks should take up 50% of the TUs (Same as mind probe), allowing the user to do at most 2 attacks, if he doesn't move or turn at all.

If those two features were implemented (For aliens as well), I think the psi in game would be as fair as possible.

#4 Oldblue153

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 07:39 PM

I like that Idea Blehm.

As it is I handicap myself when using MC somewhat Similiar to your "Line of Sight"
except instead of line of sight i use a personal handicap of 6 tiles which means that in order for a PSI soldier to use his PSI skills the Alien he wants to attack MUST be close (within 6 tiles of his present position) and once MC'd I cannot move the alien beyond the 6 Tileset either ( up and down a level counts as 1 tile)

Basically this makes PSI Much more difficult to abuse cause if your that close why not just kill the alien instead...course you can still use an Alien to scout etc but again you gotta follow it very closely with your PSI soldier cause of the 6 tile limit which puts your PSI guy in constant danger of being spotted and shot.

I hadn't considered the passing out idea or the loss of moral and panicking.

In any case PSI MUST be reworked cause as it stands now its just way too powerful.

#5 Dover

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 07:56 PM

That wouldn't work, oldblue. If a 6-tile limit were enforced, etherals would be a lot less scary, don't you think?

I think Line of sight is good enough. It'll keep the ethereals scary, while balencing psi for xcom agents.

Perhaps the whole panicing/passing out/going crazy thing would work only with unsucessful psi attacks, and only for xcom agents (I can't imagine psyhic juggernauts like etherals going flipping out over a mere human).


Part of me always wanted to add other kinds of psi attacks, like a telekenetic ability which would allow to open doors at a distance, or guide projectile weapons for incresed accuracy or cause a drop in health. maybe a "Psi sense" that would find for enemys in a 5x5x3 cube of tiles. In XCOM1 I always used MC just to stop from getting shot at, so maybe a "Psi suppression" kind of attack? Maybe the ability to levetate, like ethereals. Pyrokenesis would be cool and useful in dark levels. The list goes on and on...

Edited by Dover, 20 February 2006 - 07:57 PM.


#6 PaladinWOL

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 12:09 AM

My thoughts on Psi include,

psi abilities:

levitate = enables a human/alien target to levitate in mid-air, however, this leaves the psi user vulnerable as he/she/it must concentrate to hold the target suspended in mid-air for the duration of the turn.

mind blast = enables user to attack the targets psi strength directly. The stronger the user, the more the targets strength will be depleted. This can be deadly if targets psi defense is low as it can/will result in instant death.

mind read = reads the targets mind and stats.

mind control = gains control of target if successful.

morale stike = makes target panic and react by either going beserk, etc.

also,
aliens should be able to use psi from anywhere on the battlescape since theyre probably more adept at using it, and humans must use the line-of-sight tactic since, though we may have strong minds, aren't psi masters like ethreals.

#7 Oldblue153

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 07:13 AM

That wouldn't work, oldblue. If a 6-tile limit were enforced, etherals would be a lot less scary, don't you think?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Dover,

It does work cause I implement it on my personal game now as a Self-Imposed Handicap.

And I don't use MC near as much because of it..its hard to MC an alien I gotta get that PSI agent real close but it does come in handy when we got a mexican standoff where both me and a trapped alien can see each other but got no line of fire and if either of us tries to get into position we will be killed via reactionary fire.
Thats most often when I'll pull one of my 2 PSI boys nice n close and "take him"

No-one said anything about dummying down the Aliens (Ethereals etc) capabilities the problem isnt that Aliens use MC its that once Humans get MC the game becomes boring to the point of unplayability, No I don't want to make the Aliens easier I want to make it tougher for Humans to Use MC.

You've got a saved game Dover sure its one where you have awesome capabilities (**note - its really hard to trian my MC guys too cause they don't use it near as much they dont get near as much "bonus MC points" making a well trained MC specialist all the more valuable)..try it out on a couple Missions as a Self-Imposed Handicap and get back to me :)

#8 Snakeman

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 10:52 AM

I never implied aliens should necessarily flip out or have the same vulnerabilities their Psi attacks have on us when we use it on them, or that they should have downtimes (asssuming for the outside possibility you can play the aliens as a faction yourself).

What I was referring to was how to make X-COM units who've succumbed do different things, and that might include too how aliens react to their own efforts after they'd paniced you via Psi - or even through the course of normal combat..

i.e. Muton sees a bezerked human soldier coming at him, what does he do?

A. He could blast him and be done with him
B. He could unceremoniously bash him with his weapon
C. Pick him up and swing him around like a rag doll etc.

What might the bezerked soldier do vs said Muton?

A. If Muton's back happened to be turned from him at the time, the soldier could bowl him over too like in my first example with the other X-COM trooper.
B. If soldier was armed, he could fire wildly at Muton or hit him with his weapon up close.
C. Maybe does some kind of <instert your own> hit-and-run type of crazy behavior, then charges his Ethereal handler etc.

Just throwing out other possibilities with respect to what can happen from a Psi attack of some sort. Or being paniced in general.

Naturally a full blown mind control would probably not have these whacky outcomes, but this is an example of why mind control should be an expensive attack to use, and panic less.

Now about aliens being paniced...

The rest of the stuff you guys suggested, although probably realistic, actually UNbalences psi, because I'm sure ethereal commanderss wouldn't start banging their heads against fences...


I don't understand how this unbalances Psi to suggest that a successful panic attack on an Ethereal or any alien unit might not have them do something equally as silly as what might happen to a human soldier. Its not full blown mind control after all - which ought to be more predictable to manage vs simply tickling the enemy's mind some other way.

I believe that the guts of this thread should be about hindering when you can use Psi against the enemy vs when the enemy should have adequate windows to use same methods on you.

If all your men are souped up Psi Corp ™, line of sight is of course important to use it, however I think we'd still need something like a recharge time (in time units, turns and/or real time) to Psi attack again with the same unit. This way Psi isn't taking out the role of conventional combat entirely.

The other stuff about recovery times back at the base was just something extra off the top of my head...To kind of force the player to draw from hiring pools and mix up their rosters on missions a bit more.

#9 Dover

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 12:50 PM

oldblue, since human psi technology is based of alien psi technology, there's no way that Xcom Psi Badass (100 psi strength 150 psi skill) is going to be weaker than Sectiod Leader (30 psi strength, 40 psi skill).

If you're going to have humans be psi capable at all (Which any remake of XCOM will), the psi abilities (Or, rather, any abilities) of a human and an alien with the same stats will be the same. There's no reason that a psi master human should have some restriction that a weakling Sectiod doesn't.

If you want to self-impose restrictions, that's fine. Personally, I like to play a game the way the makers wanted it to be played, psi or not.

#10 Oldblue153

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 01:33 PM

Again Dover its about handicapping the Human race so that MC is more balanced ...because as it is its UNBALANCED.

How come you dont get this?

#11 Dover

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 01:47 PM

I get it. What I'm saying is you can't have two different sets of rules for aliens and humans. It's the same tech. That's like weakening the Heavy Plasma when a human is using it, or taking off the waypoint feature of the blaster launcher, but only for humans. It makes no sense at all.

The only way you can handicap the humans only is to set a lower psi strenght/psi skill max. Other than that it's illogical how a human with 6 months of training still can't do what a sectiod is born into doing.

How come you don't get this?

Edited by Dover, 21 February 2006 - 01:48 PM.


#12 Oldblue153

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 02:52 PM

Why can't you have two different sets of rules regarding MC Capabilities and Strengths?.

Because right now theres no Difference and thats what the problem is...When you've played 10 years worth of X-Com you'll understand much better.

I am in no way the only person who handicaps himself regarding PSI or doesn't use it at all because of the way it unbalances the game.

I get your way ..I've played that way..I didn't complete the Campaign because after taking out 8 bases in one month without firing off a single round it got Very Very Boring.

#13 MaaZeus

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 12:52 PM

I get it. What I'm saying is you can't have two different sets of rules for aliens and humans. It's the same tech. That's like weakening the Heavy Plasma when a human is using it, or taking off the waypoint feature of the blaster launcher, but only for humans. It makes no sense at all.

The only way you can handicap the humans only is to set a lower psi strenght/psi skill max. Other than that it's illogical how a human with 6 months of training still can't do what a sectiod is born into doing.

How come you don't get this?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Lets take it in realism POV.

Its not about strenght, its about finesse. Who knows how many centuries or millenia sectoids and ethreals have used psionics? We humans who have just discovered the art of psionics, dont even have change to master all of its aspects in few months and so, compared to aliens who had studied it and honed their ways for several generations. We may surpass most alien races in raw power, but for example mind control, our soldier just doesnt go and say "your arse is mine!" and alien immidietly goes "yesssss masssster....", its a battle of minds. Its not about technology either: Aliens dont use Psi-amps! They can focus their mind powers naturally, yet we have to use techonolgy to unlock the powers of mind and use them in the first place! Our raw power of mind (which is only enhanced by the individual will of live and hope of survival, The feat which aliens lack since they in hive-like society or so i understood. Individuality and personal will to live matter little there) might make us more powerfull than sectoids in psi-powers, but our lack of skill and finesse has limits. Much like berserk warrior vs. swordmaster.

So therefore, humans should have heavy limits in Psi. We could be more powerfull, but could have penalties if used too much or miserably fail in psi-control, like a huuge morale drop or panic. (or very bad migraine headache! :D )

Edited by MaaZeus, 07 July 2006 - 01:05 PM.


#14 Blehm 98

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 02:11 PM

well, that could be balanced by making so that aliens have a much larger mental strength, so they'd be much more adept at using psi a lot, and they would be able to keep their mental strength up longer. Of course, aliens two would have to tire eventually though. That ethereal that keeps popping out and psying you would eventually get too tired to psi you, and if you're shooting at him it'd probably drop even faster.
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#15 kashyyk

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 02:26 PM

Wat is MC i hav not got to the psionic bit yet i only just met crysalids :Blush:

but could you do a sycic attack wer you could actually kill someone but it would tak ages?

Edited by kashyyk, 03 August 2006 - 02:27 PM.


#16 sir_schwick

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 03:07 PM

There are some good points that have been made:

- A percentage fire system should be used for consistency and to prevent spamming.
- There should be some kind of 'reloading' required.
- That much mental exertion has to hurt at some point.
- I assume everyone has seen the Commander Tommy cartoon where the sectoid revereses the mind control.

Here is something that combines a lot of those ideas and one more. A single new stat is introduced called Psionic Energy(PE). It is the mental equivalent of a combined Stamina and Time Units. Every time you use a psionic attack, a small amount of TUs(speed of thought) and some amount of PE is used. Also, whenever you are psionically attacked you 'defend' to a certain degree, and at least lose PE along with other effects. This also opens up the idea of 'psi reaction', i.e. you or the aliens trying to fight off the voice in their head.

The rate at which PE recharges each turn is somehow related to your current morale. Also, as PE starts getting lower it affects all your other stats, morale first. Continuous blasting will tire your little guys out. Aliens would probably have much higher PE than humans, although you can still be MCed with most of your PE left, its just harder. Even non-psionic users have a PE, but just for defense calculations.