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New Idea--modular Hwp's!


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#1 seabass

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 05:18 AM

I just found out about Project Xenocide, and I have to say I'm excited! I've been a fan of the X-Com series from the beginning, and it's good to see some new life breathed back in the genre.

As I was reading through some of the many great ideas on this forum, a thought popped into my head...why not make the HWP's customizable like interceptors and transports?

In XCom Apocalypse, all vehicles had hardpoints for various subsystems. There was a slot(s) for weapons, engines, and cargo/crew/alien storage. Why not take a similar approach in designing the HWP's in Xeno?

Think about the possiblities! Initially, only a few options will be available to the player via the normal purchase screen. Here, he can buy a Tracked HWP base, a Flying HWP base, or a Wheeled HWP base. The tracked base can support more armor and weapons but with a loss in TU's, whereas the Wheeled base is better suited for fast-moving recon units (although it may still be possible to mount a heavy weapon on it) The flying base offers the ultimate in manueverability, but at the cost of armor and weapon capacity.

The armor ratings for these bases may be pre-set (like the Constitution rating of the various craft in XCOMA) or perhaps the armor may be limited by the weight limit of the chassis. Either way, each base would have a set of weapon slots available, with the size of the slots similar to those in XCOMA as well.

The Tracked chassis might have a 2x2 square main turret slot that supports a cannon, rocket launcher, or a Laser Plasma, or Blaster Turret (requires research). The Tracked chassis might also have a 1x2 square slot for smaller weapons modules, such as a mounted machine gun, laser/plasma defense array (requires research-similar to the LDA's from XCOMA), or other small type weapon. In addition, there might also be a slot for "optional" equipment, such as a laser range finder (improves accuracy), target acquistion computer (improves reactions), fire control system (decreases TU cost for firing), extra ammo capacity (extra ammo storage for normal weapons), Improved Energy Capacitors (more ammo/damage for energy weapons...requires research) armor repair drone (automatic repair kit), an IR scanner(improved nightvision) Cloaking Device(alien research-Takes up 2 slots maybe) Smoke grenade discharger(to help screen the HWP if fired on), or even a radar scanner (which would display hidden movement on the screen similar to the motion scanner). Finally, each chassis would also have an engine slot of variable size, to power the HWP. The tracked chassis would have maybe a 2x3 engine slot for more power to carry the extra weight, while a flying chassis might have only a 1x2. This engine option might be unnecessary if the amount of armor cannot be changed (i.e. the MechWarrior series) although the better engines might grant more TU's to the HWP.

The Wheeled Chassis might only have a 1x2 and a 1x3 slot for small/medium weapons, but may have more "Optional" slots. Also, the Wheeled chassis would have the most TU's of the HWP's but little armor.

The Flying Chassis would have a few small weapon slots and lots of Option slots. Perhaps a machine gun turret and a rocket or missile pylon (of lesser strength than the one use on the Tracked frame...this one fits in a 1x2 slot) It would be very cool to have a mobile flyer with an Air-to-surface missile laucher supporting the ground troops. Of course there would be many other weapon options. One could make the flyer into a scout as well. The flyer would have more TU's than the Tracked, but less than the Wheeled, and be the least armored of the three.

The bottom-line limit to the amount of features could be the total weight of the HWP and the ability of the transporter craft to carry it in addition to ground troops.

All these ideas would apply to Alien HWP's as well (i.e. CyberDisks or Sectopods) When destoyed, the equipment they possess would be available as researchable artifacts, and when researched, equipable on compatible HWP slots, although I would imagine the layouts for the Alien tanks would all be identical for each type. (Cyberdisks all have Plasma turrets and maybe Alien Targeting Array or Alien Self-Destruct Module, for example)

Finally, one last idea would be to allow for a "CPU" slot for each chassis. The CPU's would start out crappy and gradually get better (as more research was done) You could even have CPU's that had their own advantages/weaknesses, such as a CPU which devotes more processing time to targeting and thus has more Firing accuracy, or one that recognizes targets faster and has better Reactions, or even a chip that handles manuevers better and allows the tank to move at 1 less TU per square (perfect for scouts). Eventually you could research Alien Photon Computer Technology and have the ultimate processor for your HWP. Of course, many of these improvements could just be handled by Optional equipment instead and make the CPU's unnecessary. Just another idea to make the HWP a "kit" that can be tailored to suit each individual's playing style.

Edited by seabass, 28 December 2005 - 05:28 AM.


#2 Blood Angel

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 05:31 AM

I like this idea. Kitting out your HWPs properly could be just as important as kitting out your men properly.

#3 Moriarty

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 07:01 AM

I think as far as weapons are concerned, this has been discussed before. :) as for all the other customization options... wow, that would be a lot of micromanagement, and some people won't like that. also, the HWPs would become almost as versatile as human soldiers, which I wouldn't like... I've always seen the HWPs as something that can be used when your own soldiers are either not good enough or too valuable to be sacrificed. but as they say, never send a machine to do a human's job: if the HWPs become so good that they replace human soldiers, that feels wrong to me.

as long as the customizing system for HWPs is kept reasonably simple, though, I'm all for it. interchangeable turrets would certainly be nice, and maybe one "special" slot that can accomodate one of four or five "special" systems (like long-range sensors, extra ammo or an energy shield generator)
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#4 sir_schwick

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 09:16 AM

The other issue I personally have is that any HWP is an extremely miniaturized system. It is many, highly technical components that must work reasonably well with each other. That is something that is very hard to just gimmy-rig in a laboratory. It is more likely you would have to have a design of some kind before that would work, so.....

One of your research options is 'Design HWP'. There a screen comes up where you can make a new design. I say it has more possibilities than what was discussed before because you are only doing it once per HWP you design. Also they could be more than soldiers as well or a variety or purposes for which robots are currently used in combat if designed that way....
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Maybe we should also think of this kind of stuff when designing aircraft, especially if an aeroscape model is eventaully developed.

#5 seabass

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 02:50 PM

I think as far as weapons are concerned, this has been discussed before. :) as for all the other customization options... wow, that would be a lot of micromanagement, and some people won't like that. also, the HWPs would become almost as versatile as human soldiers, which I wouldn't like... I've always seen the HWPs as something that can be used when your own soldiers are either not good enough or too valuable to be sacrificed. but as they say, never send a machine to do a human's job: if the HWPs become so good that they replace human soldiers, that feels wrong to me.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Remember, the tank takes up 4 slots onboard the transport. Usually, in past games, by the time you had Flying suits and soldiers with 90+ firing accuracy, having 1 tank was way less powerful than having 4 armor-clad foot soldiers. The upgrades could be a way for the HWP to keep up with improving troops, and not all of the upgrade options would be able to be used all at once (the basic HWP chassis might have at most 4 option slots) Also, many of the options would be research-only, and wouldn't be available till later in the game. Even on advanced Alien-research HWP chassis with more option and weapon ports, the modules may only add a modererate boost to their respective stats (i.e. laser range finder improves accuracy by maybe 5-10%, and you can only have one, etc.)

Here's another idea...make the HWP's require a driver or pilot so that one of your squad members would have to sit in the tank and operate it, and would gain experience for kills he makes. Usually, the biggest concern I had when using HWP's was that they were taking too many kills away from my developing soldiers. This way, at least one man is still getting kills and improving. Could be a way to help weaker soldiers "catch up" to stronger ones. Kills made driving HWP's might also only develop certain soldier stats, such as reactions and firing accuracy, but not stamina, TU's, bravery, or throwing.

And finally, the weapon and misc options would indeed make the HWP more versatile, but not necessarily killing machines. A wheeled chassis might be equipped with only a machine gun turret but have lots of optional equipment to help it scout out and detect enemies. The ground troops would then be able to move in and eliminate the aliens themselves. In the case of a heavily-armed tracked chassis, its main role could be to blow open holes in houses or to engage Alien HWP's. That Cyberdisk that just slaughtered 3 of your men out in the open with killer reactions could be taken out by your tank (which has limited ammo, so would have to select targets wisely) Also, if a driver is required, the pilot could drive a flyer to a roof, get out, scout that house for snipers, and get back in, since he could not have done that in a big 2x2 vehicle. Which brings up yet another idea...make a tracked chassis able to carry 4 (or 2) regular soldiers instead of having a big turret weapon. You end up with an APC with lots of TU's and armor but only a machine gun, for carrying wounded out of action or heavily-loaded guys to the front. Of course, this is just an idea. Remember that using HWP's is EXPENSIVE and losing them constantly would drain your budget, so you would be making a major investment by using them, in any case. The customizeable tank would be nearly as valued to the player as a normal troop.

#6 Snakeman

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 03:50 AM

Here's another idea...make the HWP's require a driver or pilot so that one of your squad members would have to sit in the tank and operate it, and would gain experience for kills he makes. Usually, the biggest concern I had when using HWP's was that they were taking too many kills away from my developing soldiers. This way, at least one man is still getting kills and improving. Could be a way to help weaker soldiers "catch up" to stronger ones. Kills made driving HWP's might also only develop certain soldier stats, such as reactions and firing accuracy, but not stamina, TU's, bravery, or throwing.


I agree with your last assessment that a soldier using a "ride-on" HWP shouldn't gain experience at such things as stamina, strength etc. if all he's doing is driving and shooting. In all honesty, probably not shooting in the traditional sense with firearms at any rate.

Remember, he'd be operating a vehicle while using that vehicle's weapons, so really something like this should probably be boiled down to a much simpler stat that accompanies his normal ones i.e. HWP Operations. So really, anything done on the tank by way of skill just gets folded over into his overall HWP Operations skill. Meaning that, his FA with his rifle has no bearing in that assessment with his FA with the HWP's weapon.

If he has to get off the platform to do a task then get back on, then yea, he's going back to improving his normal stats like stamina, strength and whatever else.

The only other questions I have with this idea is how big this crewed HWP version should be. I'm thinking it ought to take 6-8 squares myself. It needs to be just large enough to carry an operator and perhaps 1-2 unconscious buddies. This could leave room for 2 of these crewed HWPs + one other 4 square HWP and 10 men in an Avenger class, or two of those with 14 men or some other preferred combination.

Although, no matter the loadout, there possibly could be additonal spots depending on whether the HWP has got a man in it from the start. i.e. You choose the 2 crewed HWPs + 1 regular HWP in the Avenger with 10 men. But you get 12 because the operators are already in them ready to deploy (you wouldn't have to position them in it on the first turn).

Edited by Snakeman, 11 January 2006 - 03:53 AM.


#7 NKF

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 01:56 AM

Snakeman: Regarding the size of a rideable HWP, how about something the size of an ATV quad? Heh, the simplest form of HWP could very well be a quad with remote control or an AI controller, plus a light machine gun controlled by an AI subsystem.

Mmm, quads.

If anyone doesn't know, quads are a bit like a motorbike with 4 wheels. They're quite heavier than your average bike. Commonly used on farms as a mechanical replacements for the horse, and as the name implies, are All Terrain Vehicles.

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#8 Engy

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 08:51 AM

hmm.... Like Xcom Apoc. but let you use vecs in missions.....

Diffentally cool.

And a whole new class of soilders is born and hired. Pilots.

Why even have to carry them around in the transport.... I always found thought it was silly that when you shot down a UFO right next to your base you couldn't just walk there and let your transport keep getting repaired....

Now of course Earth is big and walking; even driving a lightly armored hover bike is going to be really slow compared to flying there... but.... If a UFO crashes it really isn't going to be going anywhere....

...Of course the surivors are going to be destorying vital parts right and left... but if its your 20th scout ufo you really just need the rare elements...

Very intresting....
...I'm sure I'll think of one later.

#9 Snakeman

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 12:03 AM

Snakeman:  Regarding the size of a rideable HWP, how about something the size of an ATV quad? Heh, the simplest form of HWP could very well be a quad with remote control or an AI controller, plus a light machine gun controlled by an AI subsystem.

Mmm, quads.

If anyone doesn't know, quads are a bit like a motorbike with 4 wheels. They're quite heavier than your average bike. Commonly used on farms as a mechanical replacements for the horse, and as the name implies, are All Terrain Vehicles.

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P. S: Oi Mods, could you please shunt this thread into the proper sub forum? Ta.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yea, the ATV its self could be the same as what a HWP takes up, or possibly extended in length a bit (2 width like HWPs but 3 long). The one I had in my head while reading your description was the one nicknamed 'mule' in the Firefly show. Its big enough to hold 4 people with some extra gear. Even the hovercraft variant from the Serenity movie looks like a good HWP-type of evolution - something a little cheaper to cook up that's between the wheeled/tracked ones but just before ones using just about all alien derived stuff.

A gun turret - whether AI controlled or a manned version would be nice add-ons and fits in with the idea of modular designs. I like the idea too of sacraficing personnel spaces on it because you'd made more room for supplies, tools, or for the weapons. If there was to be an item limit to transports similar to the old game, it would be cool of HWP storage space let you add that little bit more.

#10 Blehm 98

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 12:15 AM

P. S: Oi Mods, could you please shunt this thread into the proper sub forum? Ta.

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moved it to the hwp/craft forum
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#11 sir_schwick

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 09:52 AM

"Griff, get the Puma."
"Don't you mean Warthog."
"Whatever."

#12 Blehm 98

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 06:20 PM

hahaha LOL

actually, the HWP is a little bit shorter, and a little bit fatter than the warthog to give you a general size. So i can see fitting a chain gun onto one...

or even better, an entire research tree for HWPs

Do i mount a heavy plasma on, or do i research the HWP Heavy Laser gun to get a slightly weaker, but more accurate and infinite ammo laser... and then on and on

it'd have to be after the craft variants though, and it'd have to take a while to do because miniaturization takes a while to do

... that can't be spelled right, but i don't feel like figuring out how to spell it correctly
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#13 SpaceBoy2000

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Posted 01 April 2006 - 08:42 PM

hahaha LOL

actually, the HWP is a little bit shorter, and a little bit fatter than the warthog to give you a general size.  So i can see fitting a chain gun onto one...

or even better, an entire research tree for HWPs

Do i mount a heavy plasma on, or do i research the HWP Heavy Laser gun to get a slightly weaker, but more accurate and infinite ammo laser...  and then on and on

it'd have to be after the craft variants though, and it'd have to take a while to do because miniaturization takes a while to do

...  that can't be spelled right, but i don't feel like figuring out how to spell it correctly

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Actually, a HWP is probably much smaller than a Warthog. Remember, these are small robots to help you, not mini tanks. I'd say, about the size of a Ghost.

#14 NKF

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Posted 01 April 2006 - 10:03 PM

A shorter lengthed Ghost, I'd imagine.

The quads I mentioned would be much smaller than a Warthog. The Warthog has enough seats for two in the front and a gunner at the back (or two at the back if we took away the turret). Basically the size of a jeep. A quad only has a seat for one person (but that doesn't stop some from carrying a passenger on the back).

If I were to give a size for the Warthog in X-com terms, I'd probably go with something like 3 x 4 or 2.5 x 3 tiles in size. The Ghost would be 2 x 3. A HWP is 2x2. A quad wouldn't even need that. Maybe 1.5 x 1.5 at least. I'm sure my proportions are a bit off.

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Edited by NKF, 01 April 2006 - 10:06 PM.

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#15 SpaceBoy2000

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 09:19 AM

Well, one way to judge is to assume each tile is about 1 meter across or 3 feet across, which seems like a reasonable guess to me. So, a humvee would be about 2x5 tiles big (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humvee).

#16 Snakeman

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 04:54 AM

Ooh, something else I just thought about along the lines of non-HWP-ish modules. What about supply trains?

Think of those luggage cars they use at airports, with several cars linked together with a driver in the front (and/or one in the back too - like those long ladder fire trucks have to steer the back end).

Maybe this idea could further help along the supply mission such that, its not relying on behind the scenes Geoscape tradeish ship destinations, but one too where you actually have to perform an objective on the battlescape.

In this context I was thinking of something not unlike a Terror Site Mission - except you have to bring the vehicle to one border of the map to win it (theoretically, you could still lose all your men and ships and stilll win if the car got where it was going).

It may also help the idea too of having more than one ship land at a battlescape - i.e. go in with all troops and weapons first, when you think its clear - calll in the mission objective ship to land.

Back to what the train car setups could be - its modular in that you can decide how many supply cars you'll use, but maybe too you could substitue any one of them, in any order arrangement you choose, to have a HWP vehicle hooked up to it as well for extra protection.

On the flip side, maybe there's missions where you have to form one up after the fact, to bring it back with you. A basic mission objective success could just mean that at least one supply car has to make it if you had more than one.

Future research could unlock the same kind of technology your going to create for your HWPs (as far as hovering, wheels, tracks or leg varieties goes) and extend these to your supply car concepts. A mixed arrangement of propulsion types may work together while linked up, but be the most time prohibitive getting there unless you separate the cars to arrive at different times, or all of one type like hovering to gain more maneuvering ability if not speed (like with wheels presumbably).

Missions I can think of besides supply which might be fun for these:

- Raids against aliens or human institutions
- Evacuation of troops or civilians

Anyway, it sounds to me like a neat late game kind of thing to use. When straight up trading would matter more after the collapse of a paper money system or the black market. Not to mention recruitment. Where before they'd come to you, you may actually need to go and get them physically (with greater chance of success), than say, if you'd assigned the train to a ship, and had the outcome once you got there automated from the Geoscape.

Edited by Snakeman, 03 April 2006 - 04:57 AM.