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#1 jtgibson

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 10:04 PM

One of the features I didn't like from the original X-COM was the pure randomness of the soldiers you get. When you request a soldier, the only thing you're told about them is their name... and when they arrive 72 hours later as a jumpy, inaccurate weakling, you curse silently and fire them out loud.

So a post V1 feature that would be nice would be "Dossiers" that appear on the Recruitment screen:

Instead of just hitting the button next to Soldiers and increasing the number of soldiers desired to a level of 8 or 10 or so, a number of randomly-generated soldier bios are presented within the recruitment screen (more on this below). You can regard the bios and then decide which soldiers you want to recruit specifically.

With a dossier-based recruitment system, players are also not forced to go against whatever prejudices they have, though in a perfect world they wouldn't have any. Naturally, of course, there should be no programmatical differences between any of the people in the dossiers (though I could respect females having lower strengths and higher speeds). Soldier generation returns to the international model, rather than being based more specifically on the country of base origin.

Every single day, 1-3 new dossiers are generated. Each time dossiers are generated, a number of dossiers are also discarded to bring the total to 10 dossiers including the new ones. This is because the soldiers aren't always free agents; everyone needs money and if they don't get hired into X-Corps soon, they'll eventually give up and apply for some other job.


Guided example:

PURCHASE/RECRUIT:
Samuel Caddington [View] [Recruit]
Gunter Richtof [View] [Recruit]
Akira Ichiwara [View] [Recruit]
Jeanne Steary [View] [Recruit]
Michael Artin [View] [Recruit]
Stephanie Lorrie [View] [Recruit]
John Camber [View] [Recruit]
Paige Gardner [View] [Recruit]
Steve Massey [View] [Recruit]
Greg Welch [View] [Recruit]

I'm looking for a heavy weapons specialist. Akira Ichiwara fits the bill nicely, so I recruit him.

Samuel Caddington [View] [Recruit]
Gunter Richtof [View] [Recruit]
Jeanne Steary [View] [Recruit]
Michael Artin [View] [Recruit]
Stephanie Lorrie [View] [Recruit]
John Camber [View] [Recruit]
Paige Gardner [View] [Recruit]
Steve Massey [View] [Recruit]
Greg Welch [View] [Recruit]

I don't like the other potentials, so I wait another 24 hours and some new dossiers are generated. In this case, 2. I check the list again:

Samuel Caddington [View] [Recruit]
Gunter Richtof [View] [Recruit]
Jeanne Steary [View] [Recruit]
Stephanie Lorrie [View] [Recruit]
John Camber [View] [Recruit]
Paige Gardner [View] [Recruit]
Steve Massey [View] [Recruit]
Greg Welch [View] [Recruit]
Eduardo Cruz [View] [Recruit]
Hans Oberlander [View] [Recruit]

Uh oh. Looks as though Michael Artin was dropped from recommendation. But what's this? Eduardo Cruz and Hans Oberlander are new. And wow! Both are sharpshooters! I'll hire them. Oh, and since Paige Gardner isn't bad, I guess I'll hire her, even though I passed over her before.

Samuel Caddington [View] [Recruit]
Gunter Richtof [View] [Recruit]
Jeanne Steary [View] [Recruit]
Stephanie Lorrie [View] [Recruit]
John Camber [View] [Recruit]
Steve Massey [View] [Recruit]
Greg Welch [View] [Recruit]

I decide to wait another 24 hours to see who else pops up. Only 1 person is generated today.

Samuel Caddington [View] [Recruit]
Gunter Richtof [View] [Recruit]
Jeanne Steary [View] [Recruit]
Stephanie Lorrie [View] [Recruit]
John Camber [View] [Recruit]
Steve Massey [View] [Recruit]
Greg Welch [View] [Recruit]
Mark Davis [View] [Recruit]

I take a look at Mark's file, but he's nothing spectacular. I'll consider him if one of my new Rookies die, perhaps...


And so on.

#2 Sporb

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 12:18 AM

Meh , i dint really care , i always manage to train them up well enough before i get them killed <_< damn aliens

#3 Blehm 98

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 12:41 AM

That is like XCOM 3, in XCOM you got everything you wanted, i don't care about their stats, either they die or they don't die in combat, and that determines if they will be good soldiers. Besides, there must be like 10 other threads about this one idea
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#4 UnFleshed One

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 02:06 AM

Strange the ways you are playing your games are :).

I finished all 3 Xcoms on superhuman with 8 (or whatever the initial number) soldiers (+2-4 additional sometimes). In the end they had 100 accuracy and health and high enough other stats. In Apocalypse I ended up going on missions with one, sometimes two agents, who could blow aliens to pieces from 2 screens away. [Edit: Yeah, and they did autofire without any drop of accuracy].

(It did involve some heavy reloading sometimes, though :))

Imagine my surprise when I read somewhere on this forum about 100-150 soldiers per base :)

Where did I stop? Ah, yes. The feature must be, for I won't hire somebody with reaction 3, not if I can help it.

And segregation is good thing too. Make chineese beter with blades and give them better average reaction and good production capabilities, russians better at heavy weapons and research and so on :) (or something like that)

Edited by UnFleshed One, 04 August 2005 - 02:09 AM.

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#5 jtgibson

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 02:52 PM

Besides, there must be like 10 other threads about this one idea

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


If there are, I can't find them. I did look before I leapt, though obviously I haven't read every post out there.

I've never seen dossier-based recruiting in any game except for the Jagged Alliance series, either. It's one of the features I've been planning for my FFE-like spacesim. =)


I finished all 3 Xcoms on superhuman with 8[...](It did involve some heavy reloading sometimes, though :))


Savescumming is considered cheating, you know. I usually only save before I go into a battle, and only reload if the mission went totally through the floor for some craptacular reason. ;-)

Edited by jtgibson, 04 August 2005 - 02:54 PM.


#6 jtgibson

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 02:59 PM

And segregation is good thing too. Make chineese beter with blades and give them better average reaction and good production capabilities, russians better at heavy weapons and research and so on :) (or something like that)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Segregation is never a good thing. Dossier based recruiting only tangentially allows players to do whatever they want with their game, including their freedom to believe whatever they want to believe, which is usually the fundamental concept behind games.

I hate racism. I'm just saying that not forcing people to go against their beliefs is a very humble thing to do.

#7 UnFleshed One

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 03:33 PM

It is not rasism (at least I think so :huh:), it is different set of additional skills for every region. Something to make you consider placement of next base not only due to alien activity or geography.

Edit:
PS Do you really think somebody will choose soldiers according to their "nationality" or whatever? :blink:

Edited by UnFleshed One, 05 August 2005 - 12:26 AM.

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#8 Guest_Azrael_*

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 04:36 PM

I finished all 3 Xcoms on superhuman with 8[...](It did involve some heavy reloading sometimes, though :))


Savescumming is considered cheating, you know. I usually only save before I go into a battle, and only reload if the mission went totally through the floor for some craptacular reason. ;-)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

AFAIK, it's not cheating as long as the game allows it, different people play games in
different ways, it's all about having fun.

And segregation is good thing too. Make chineese beter with blades and give them better average reaction and good production capabilities, russians better at heavy weapons and research and so on :) (or something like that)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Segregation is never a good thing. Dossier based recruiting only tangentially allows players to do whatever they want with their game, including their freedom to believe whatever they want to believe, which is usually the fundamental concept behind games.

I hate racism. I'm just saying that not forcing people to go against their beliefs is a very humble thing to do.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Chill, jtgibson, he didn't mean it like that, he just likes to set weapon or skill specialisation to certain countries, that's no racism, just a way of playing.

#9 Blehm 98

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 07:12 PM

Actually, that special skills depending on races could be a toggleable option actually, because it makes sense that Chinese and Japanese people(small and maneuverable) would be better at close combat than taller and heavier built people.
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#10 Snakeman

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 08:03 PM

While having a way to see more details on these dossiers or whatever would be sorta neat (hey, if some additional story/history element is injected into soldiers to make you care about them a bit more, who am I to argue? :)), I think creating your own soldier templates would be better in terms of streamlining the recruitment process overall.

Besides, once you've set the templates up initially, its far fewer screens you'd have to view/click on. This aspect aside thouigh, that's not at all to say that dossiers wouldn't have a place or be neat to have. However, by this point, it would probably be pointless in terms of using them as the sole reason your recruiting in the first place.

Instead one would probably view the dossiers of the ones that the game hired to meet your templates, and you'd check 'em out after they'd arrived rather than beforehand. It certainly helps in terms of double checking the effectiveness of the template systems you've set forth - to see if you might need to alter a template configuration or two.

In any case, if you needed 10 guys, you just purchase 10 guys. If only 2 of the 10 in a particular batch met your template requirements, you get those two men and their dossiers/stat sheets to review. And each time there is new blood on the rosters, it can continue to purchase 8 more, but over time depending on how long it takes the purchase system to see soldiers meeting your templates.

It makes for way less stuff to review & cuts down on micromanagement in my opinion, that is, after you've done your initial soldier tempate setups. So dossiers would be neat, but at least your only looking at the ones that ought to matter most without looking at all the ones for the candidates currently available at any given moment in the hiring pool.

#11 jtgibson

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Posted 05 August 2005 - 10:52 PM

Chill, jtgibson, he didn't mean it like that, he just likes to set weapon or skill specialisation to certain countries, that's no racism, just a way of playing.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Entirely chilled when I said that, actually. My interpretation was that he said segregation was a good thing, which I interpreted that he was implying that he thought I thought it was a good thing, not that he thought it was a good thing. Which I don't. I was covering my own butt, not accusing him of anything. =)

I don't see why nationalities should be any different in terms of race or skills. Stereotypes like Russian mercenaries and Japanese fighter pilots just bug me. I've never found any reasonable incentive, in terms of game design, for people from other countries to be any different than someone from any other country.


As for Snakeman's idea... I actually like that a bit more that my original proposition, though it'd be tough for newbies to get the hang of it. Maybe some default templates could be provided for newbie use -- Heavy Weapons Specialist (high Strength, high Firing Accuracy, moderate Bravery), Sharpshooter (massive Firing Accuracy, high Reactions), Basic Recruit (no limits), Scout (high Reactions, high TUs), etc. -- and experts could opt for the "Custom" template.

Edited by jtgibson, 05 August 2005 - 10:56 PM.


#12 mikker

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 02:44 AM

I don't really like the idea of area based recruiting. Any country should have same rights for good soldiers in the diffrent stats then anyone else. I would actually consider this racism at some point, or at least someone will think og it that way. The national idea for soldiers are just for identification, and for selecting their names. It would both be wrong and too complicated to generate upon areas, NO WAY.

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#13 bpuk

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 09:10 AM

It is not rasism (at least I think so :huh:), it is different set of additional skills for every region. Something to make you consider placement of next base not only due to alien activity or geography.

Edit:
PS Do you really think somebody will choose soldiers according to their "nationality" or whatever? :blink:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


2 comments
1) Racism is defined as

1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

2) Race, conceptually, is ridiculous. Claiming that a simple (largely visible) genetic variation - which is largely due to environmental factors in the first place - makes any fundamental difference is just... bizarre. This of course does not refer to the differences between species - sectoids are fundamentally different from snakemen, and will have different physical characteristics. Theres no reason they won't have similar mental patterns - depending on the length of thier co-existance.

Claiming that an additional set of skills based on region fits definition 1 pretty well.

In response to your postscript - Yes, some people will choose soldiers based on thier nationality, I see no reason to give these individuals further reason (beyond thier own bigotry) to do so.

I don't really like the idea of area based recruiting. Any country should have same rights for good soldiers in the diffrent stats then anyone else. I would actually consider this racism at some point, or at least someone will think og it that way. The national idea for soldiers are just for identification, and for selecting their names. It would both be wrong and too complicated to generate upon areas, NO WAY.

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Well said.
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#14 UnFleshed One

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 12:10 PM

Well maybe you are right... But I still like to give base placement more meaning. Probably base in mountains is better protecded from airborne attack, but base in desert can hold more hangars. Something like that.
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#15 jtgibson

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 02:26 PM

Location-based properties would be great. Definitely the subject for another thread, though. =)

#16 bpuk

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 02:38 PM

Well maybe you are right... But I still like to give base placement more meaning. Probably base in mountains is better protecded from airborne attack, but base in desert can hold more hangars. Something like that.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Sounds like the right lines to discuss it on :)

Not sure how the more hangars would work, given (so far) we are still using a 9x9(?) grid

Location-based properties would be great.  Definitely the subject for another thread, though. =)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Better interaction with the country/region placed in - for example funding bonuses, assistance with radar or something like that would be good

You're right - Another thread though :D

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#17 red knight

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 02:57 PM

Ok, even though I like the Dossier Idea, that is considered in the Experimental Gameplay dynamics up to now in the planning.

About specialist, countries doesnt have anything to do with it, it doesnt exists the idea of countries or regions that are better than other... In cases like Russia where they have a lot of athletes is more about quantity of people and competition (you only see the good ones) than a country skills, traditions have a lot to do with that too; and btw strategic planning of countries can change those perceptions (ex. more money to train or discover promising students would sonner or later bring you a great mind that wouldnt have been discovered otherwise).

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#18 jtgibson

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Posted 07 August 2005 - 06:25 PM

Whether it's nationalism or racism, whether it's because of quality of life or not, it doesn't change the fact that it's discriminatory to claim that certain countries possess skills that make them noticeably different than other countries -- especially if the skills aren't balanced extremely meticulously.

It's a much better idea (and considerably safer to boot) to sidestep the whole issue and make everyone equally skilled, and just have an equal chance for specialists from any country in the world. The only legitimate, justifiable difference between the nations is the associated names of the population and the language they use... in my opinion, anyway. By my thinking, a Canadian sharpshooter needn't be any different than a Danish sharpshooter or a Vietnamese sharpshooter. An American weapons specialist is just as skilled as a South African weapons specialist or a Sri Lankan weapons specialist as well.

You'll note that I didn't at all condone the act of discrimination in my first thread -- I simply mentioned that any misguided person who wanted to discriminate would be able to as an emergent side effect. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is easily subject to debate, but at the very least it wouldn't force people to adopt a specific worldview in order to play the game.

#19 Snakeman

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 07:22 PM

Ditto what you just said jtgibson. I view what was said in terms of the possibility to discriminate by nationality to be more along the lines of a playstyle with regard to recruitment. and, as you'd aptly pointed out, a side effect of the system. It wouldn't be the system's fault you could do this. It wouldn't be as though you gain anything by having done this, since all skills are spread out across the board.

In any case, with the ability to rename soldiers, who cares really if someone forced some sort of questionable pattern to how they play if you'll never know how they play a single player game? Additonally, if/when it becomes a multiplay environment, people showing up with offensive avatars or inappropriate naming conventions would probably quickly find themselves booted from others on their servers in that respect.

Anyway, back to what I really wanted to post about :)

As for Snakeman's idea... I actually like that a bit more that my original proposition, though it'd be tough for newbies to get the hang of it. Maybe some default templates could be provided for newbie use -- Heavy Weapons Specialist (high Strength, high Firing Accuracy, moderate Bravery), Sharpshooter (massive Firing Accuracy, high Reactions), Basic Recruit (no limits), Scout (high Reactions, high TUs), etc. -- and experts could opt for the "Custom" template


This is actually a good idea as well. Having a few example templates would be excellent. To take it a little further though, an ingame tutorial of sorts wouldn't be that bad either to coincide with this. For me personally, I tend to learn new things easier if I have an easy way to either visualize it or can work off some decent and easily presented examples.

To be able to follow along with it in the game environment its self though would go that much further I feel. The way I was picturing this step in my head as I'm typing this now, is off of what could be the menu...

Start A New Game
---Language, Beginner, Veteran, etc. submenus
Options
---Save/Load, system/gfx submenus etc.
Tutorials
---Base Building, Unit Construction, & Unit Template submenus
Skirmish
---Try out what you've done/made in a self contained battlscape map environment (ok, this one needs shortening :)) w/alien of choice opposition selections. You could also simulate what these would feel like by playing these on the different difficulties.

Sorta like that. Granted, I may have missed a few areas that might also fit nicely in these submenus, but you get the idea. My favorite is the ability to test them out on the difficulties, plus playing against any alien foe the game offered up, and the fact its in a self contained senario type of dealy as well so if one didn't want to invest time in a campaign right away, this is one way to wet their appetites.

Edit: Additionally, by playing in a Skirmish mode type thing, you could allow for the full range of items and weapons to be useable without having trudged through research first. That makes more sense for the campaign part.

Edited by Snakeman, 08 August 2005 - 07:28 PM.


#20 sir_schwick

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 08:44 PM

Instead of skill dispositions being based on nationality, let them be based upon what unit/organization the soldier came from. Also, the best templates would be those based upon stat filters.

Lets say the total pool of applicants at any time is roughly 40,000. Each one has a randomly generated dossier with a short, ad-lib bio and unit history. You then set the minimum/maximum you want on all stats and they are filtered out. You can also set unit filters if you want rangers or whatnot.

#21 Blehm 98

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 10:25 PM

the problem is even Special Operations divisions have different skills though, so i don't think that would work
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#22 UnFleshed One

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 10:32 PM

But their skill will slightly differentiate from some "Guerilla's Liberation Inc" (demolition experts :)) or "Black and White Magic limited" (where you'll hire psionics :)) recruits. And if there will be some troubles to get recruits from particular organisation -- that's for better. It is politics again, you can't escape Apocalypse...
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#23 Snakeman

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 05:09 PM

Well, the way I was thinking of this, I was imagining that X-COM could care less where the recruit comes from, just that it can recruit, and the skill stats meet what you've specified. The rest is filler material with regard to the bios themselves.

I'm not adverse however, to the kind of sources of recruitment if it were akin to Apoc, since, in a way, that game was fun from the perspective of potentially losing some of those sources of recruitment that would then affect the quantities and qualities of candidates on the hiring pool. That was one of the few dynamics to Apoc I liked actually.

#24 sir_schwick

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Posted 10 August 2005 - 08:28 AM

Also, I was suggesting unit background be a factor to counter the Chinese Kung-fu suggestions. It would be a nice touch if when you recruited a gal, she was a commando for the IDF(don't know units). Something nice in the dossier which does not matter since you saw the potential list based ons kill filters rather than hoping not to recruit Gomer Pyle.