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Explosions And A Scatter Phase

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#1 Morken



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Posted 29 August 2005 - 01:07 AM

No doubt Xenocide will include a higher item limit and be capable of containing more fire/smoke squares than UFO.

This could trigger a side effect: Grenade overusage.

Grenades and high explosive were too effective in UFO.

They cost fewer TU's to throw, hardly ever missed, and still killed when they did.

The only reason guns prevailed was the 80 item limit (which will surely be raised)

I can foresee a Xenocide map covered in smoke (isnt it odd the aliens are from another planet but still choke on smoke while your powered troops dont?) with soldiers taking taking pot shots all over the place with explosive.

Anyway, here is my proposed implementation,


Each turn will have, just before the grenade explosion phase, 'Scatter phase'.

Combatants within 3 squares of a grenade/explosive about to blow
and also have enough time units, get a Y/N option to scatter.
If chosen, the computer will move that combatant 1 (or maybe up to 2) squares away from the bomb location.
This movement can trigger reaction fire.
-(No I cant justify how soldiers can tell that grenade is gonna blow this turn, let's just say they CAN)

If you are implementing the prone sprites, then maybe, instead, combatants 'dive for cover' and end up prone a square or 2 away.
A kneeling or prone humanoid SHOULD take less explosive damage.

This phase SHOULD help a bit versus grenade madness.

#2 NKF



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Posted 29 August 2005 - 02:34 AM

Let's simplify it a bit, by expanding the range of possible actions the reaction skill can allow your soldiers to make.

Reactions, as we know, in the originals was simply a way of determining who has what prescedence in making the current move. On your turn, it's defensive and is used mainly to avoid reaction fire while you make your move. During the off turn, when the other side takes their move, it's used on the offensive for automatically reacting and taking a few potshots at the defender if your score is higher.

Add a few extra defensive abilities in there. A few such ability mentioned in other threads include dodging and deflecting attacks with a shield. Dodging or evading explosives might as well be added to the list.

If, for example, the reaction score of the defender is greater than the attacker by several levels of magnitude, different actions could take place. If it's really high and you are really good, it could invoke a reaction shot during mid-throw, and if it connects, will result in the grenade dropping at the feet of the attacker. If that fails or you take a more defensive posture, you could do an automatic leap or roll away from the point of the explosion by comparing the attacker and the defender's reaction levels before the throw. If the defender fails the check due to having a much lower score (or in other words, wasn't quick enough or failed to notice the grenade), the defender will not attempt to scatter and will stay standing near the grenade.

This could lead to the horrible side effect of forcing several units to jump off, say, a ledge (or worse, a bridge), or they'd roll right into the path of enemy units with with full time units. And not just with an armed grenade, just tossing an unarmed grenade could have this effect. Of course, if it fails and it doesn't concuss the target, it would be all for nought. Hah, a feint attack. Psychological warfare. Love it.

To stop this, perhaps your soldiers and the enemy can have several levels of self preservation settings. Something along the line of X-Com: Apocalypse's disposition modifiers. This would be a good excuse to not stick your soldiers on agressive all the time.

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#3 sir_schwick



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Posted 15 May 2006 - 12:59 PM

How about during the Scatter Phase you get that choice with anyone who is in sight of an enemy or other threat(grenade in sight or in memory, etc.). 'Scattering' would take a large amount of MP, maybe even 50%(panic, recovery from shock, etc.). Scattering woudl work as described above, they dive a couple squares away from the bomb or towards cover/away from the enemy. The advantage of this system is that you do not know whether or not the grenade will blow or the enemy will shoot. It is possible your guy dives and the grenade does not go off(unlikely with grenade strategies) and he is in a bad position, with low MP.

#4 The Master Maniac

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 04:08 PM

I'm not too clear on the direction Xenocide's combat component's bound to take - some are dead-set on the classic turn-based engine, while others want more real-time gameplay. I've been out of the loop for so long, I don't know if there's been any radical conceptual changes in my absence.

Anyway, I'm behind the idea of adding an "duck-and-cover" aspect of the combat engine, and NKF makes it sound as though it could really work. Though a potential issue seems to be having your troops suicidally diving off bridges (that'd be a sight), I think that, rather than issuing random movement vectors, a soldier's response to an incoming grenade should be AI-controlled - as in, individual troop AI should determine the direction a unit goes when he spots a grenade, and has the Reactions and TU's required to move out of the way in time. Of course, this window should be magnified or narrowed accordingly depending upon the grenade's actual timer. A shorter fuse means a soldier needs a higher reaction rating to evade in time, for example. And while the idea of reactions scores affecting what type of action a soldier can take sounds great, I don't think a reaction shot would make too much sense - after all, the idea, I think, is the reaction to the grenade itself, not so much the fact that the grenade's being thrown. What do you think?

#5 sir_schwick



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Posted 15 May 2006 - 05:21 PM

If a guy stands up to throw the grenade and someone else sees him, they will try to shoot. That would be about the only way that works.

In general I would like to see the player be able to have more control over the 'reaction' of the soldier. Commandos of this high level would be mentally checking for cover with every step they took and have a reaction in mind for when the shooting starts. So, while this does clutter the interface slightly, as you go along there would be some toggles and such to define various reactions.

One of these reactions is 'scatter reaction'. THat means they have their decisions on the decision tree made when certain things happen. First, if they see and mentally, or electronically, that the greande will be near they have to decide whether to scatter or stand firm. If mental, then the 'perceived fatal' radius will be beyond the actual fatal radius. After that they have a path of scatter planned out. Actually you can set that manually, and someone will think of an easy way to do that on the fly. This way no need to program anti-suicide protocalls since you decide where and how they dodge. Now reactions determine how much of a lead and chance to use the scatter protocalls they have. High reactions means that they can survive even if they only see the grenade once it plops down.

#6 Snakeman



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Posted 21 May 2006 - 08:35 AM

Maybe things could be different here that sort of uses this idea of having more control versus letting reactions do some of the work randomly. In other words, maybe this is a squad maneuvering bonus or something that incorporates this reaction thing with text book sort of orders a squad leader might shout out to those units which are closely positioned to him.

i.e. Without cluttering up the battlescape interface too much, use the soldier screen here (or an offshoot of it) that lets you select what you could call (for lact of a better term) text book actions of your soldiers.

This 'scatter reaction' thing could be a box you check off or something among others. It could simply translate over that if there's more than one soldier thats moving together a little too closely has a way of using leftover reactions to move out of the way of grenades, gunfire, whatever, but the thing is, they move together at the same time (despite whether one goes prone and the other might kneel at the end of the action - could also be a supplemental checkbox underneath the scatter selection for the end stance you want it to be).

Think of it like a sight or communication bonus or something but the result is that it uses reactions to have it perform as desired. Only one soldier in such a tightly packed formation needs to have the situational awareness for it to help his small band that then lets them move together during this scatter phase.

It just sounds better suited to me that its some kind of squad manuevering type of deal that you wouldn't otherwise have for a soldier acting alone (or its ability to warn others farther away that are traveling too closely is hindered).

Or, rather than have too many supplimental doohickies to check off just to follow NKF's train of thought here, just imbed this maneuver as something that's always a possibility to use every time you move soldiers, but in tightly packed formations. Maybe all you need to do is have the checkbox for final destination stances. Kneel, Go Prone, Curl up into a ball etc.

The last I threw in just for the danger of if the unit has no place to 'scatter' to. Although, just to add some ideas around this, if the unit was on a rooftop or bridge structure, if there were things like dumpsters full of garbage or a lake or something, there's still that chance of survival. If not, a default stance like curling up into a ball might be something you'd have them do despite whether their checked default was to be kneeling.

In other words, a situation might dictate a better stance than what you might have given the unit originally and should be used instead. I mean, unless we don't want our units to "seem" like they're smart :)

#7 sir_schwick



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Posted 22 May 2006 - 10:43 AM

That last part is the main reason I was suggesting it was a toggle selection like the reaction fire savers.

Also I would imagine information such as that is mostly transmitted electronically and through microphone like a lot of special forces. XCORPS is the best of the best in technology and men, not regular infantry who shout and use hand signals all the time.

I am liking this idea of close groups could have common reaction orders. If one guy says scatter or take cover, the rest do it instinctually, trusting the caller.

Edited by sir_schwick, 22 May 2006 - 10:43 AM.




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Posted 19 June 2006 - 05:31 PM

If the soldier has TUs left and a grenade is thrown at him a window should come up with the suggestions:
Dive for cover?
Jump on grenade? (to protect friends, reduces explosion radius)
Kick or throw grenade?

Each one should require different amount of TUs and have a chance for success or failure. Aliens should get the dive or kick option. An auto responce option could also be selected if the player is lazy or doesn't care.

#9 sir_schwick



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Posted 19 June 2006 - 06:40 PM

Althought I like the throwback option, I would imagine you could design grenades that explode if picked up with alien technology. It would be a foolproof way of keeping your own explosive from coming back to bite you in the arse.




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Posted 19 June 2006 - 06:54 PM

Yeah that is only logical.