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Bases In The New Age


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#1 DimmurWyrd

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 03:30 PM

I have been wondering... WHY continue to use the base model from such an antique game engine? Granted I LOVED the original trilogy even if the third installation was a rather comedic act in retro sci-fi hehe... mostly I am thinking we have the technology to create bases of nearly unlimited size first of all... AND we have the technology to create bases in truely unique style ala startopia or maybe evil genius style hehe.

For those that do not know those games allowed one to take an empty area and "paint" rooms into them that your workers dug out and added the toys for... i.e. you want a "lab" you paint a section near a corridor as type LAB and your workes go dig it out then you place machines in there and that determines how many scientists can work in there at a time hehe... same goes for armories and every other thing.

barring that however, there is still the ability to allow very large bases and ESPECIALLY corridors as a seperate object... for example make the scale something like 5:1 of the old so that an old 1x1 object is now 5x5 and a corridor is the only 1x1 object... then make the base instead of around 6x6 make it 250x250 so that you can make easily defendable bases which any rational base commander WOULD do.

Another thing... Why are aliens able to just walk into the base? don't intelligent people build hardened bases? what if I made the door 3' of titanium steel honeycomb set into 50' of metalled concrete? shouldn't the aliens start OUTSIDE the base and have to break in first all the while manned heavy weapon turrets set in bunkers surrounding the base get a chance ot knock a few off?

I mean as it stands x-coms bases are a total pushover for the most part ESPECIALLY if your squad is out on a terror mission LOL...of course alien bases would be just as well designed and hard to crack.

x-com is essentially a MILITARY organization... could you honestly see them just idling around in their bunks during a war? no guard posted at all, no external defensive measures, and heck not even ARMED when suddenly the enemy drops in for tea?

I know WHY the old games were that way so I wouldn't think to complain... they had to run in an environment with less than a meg of total ram... modern games have no such excuse ;) if your already going to use a 3Dfx engine without any real need too then why not take the same advantage to make things like the base a real element rather than just something that's there to hold your people while not doing anything important LOL... make the game CENTERED around bases mostly... the rest are just strategic or tactical elements to supplement the base instead ;)

#2 sir_schwick

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Posted 16 December 2004 - 10:21 AM

Limited base size seems silly. However I think flat levels works better than 3d levels for simplicity. Multiple stories and such underground makes sense, as does massvie(multiple Battleships) attacks on our bases. Corridors customizable makes sense if we can make it simple.

#3 mikker

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Posted 16 December 2004 - 01:01 PM

gameplay over realism. There is a reason for limiting bases. Like, you get super bases, and aliens won't stand a fair chance. Altho higher limit is O.K.

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#4 sir_schwick

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Posted 16 December 2004 - 01:09 PM

I say that humans should be able to do whatever they want b/c aliens will be sh**-your-pants powerful. Even the best base will have trouble against a couple dozen battleships full of Elite Mutons. Also, their bases should be the same way.

#5 DimmurWyrd

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Posted 16 December 2004 - 10:00 PM

I say that humans should be able to do whatever they want b/c aliens will be sh**-your-pants powerful.  Even the best base will have trouble against a couple dozen battleships full of Elite Mutons.  Also, their bases should be the same way.

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My thoughts exactly (or near nuff hehe)

As for game balance... realism will force a balance ;) (and I do NOT mean REALITY. Realism simply means self consistant rules that follow a reality based pattern... i.e. if you decide that gravity is a weaker force than in reality everything based on gravity in any way must be altered to follow that new rule. not that anyone goes THAT far into the physics of a game it's just an example that most people can understand.) One in-game example of how it would have balanced itself if done realistically was explosives in all 3 original games (although far less in #3) where a sufficiently powerful explosion trashes the heck out of things. In #3 they did a quasi-balance by making the owner of the building less friendly the more you destroyed of their building while fighting aliens but the lack of a realistic level of dissatisfaction made it a non problem. If they had gotten really pissed if you blew holes in their walls and floors and ESPECIALLY killed any civilians then it would have helped balance things... Alien damage would get them ticked at the aliens AND you (although less at you but still significant because it was YOUR job to stop em and you failed hehe) that balances making explosives realistically powerful. (basically if you have to pay half your weekly balance to repair damage done by casually thowing a grenade into every room before entering you'll likely save that tactic for when you REALLY think you need it won't you?

basically REALISM balances itself just as real life does... The TRICK to making it work in a game is to find the balance of the realism for the human side then stack the deck for the aliens ;) they don't CARE if they blow away entire cities let alone the office building you are trying to clear them out of... so they will use heavy weapons a lot more freely... The challenge doesn't so much become JUST defeating the aliens at all costs anymore... NOW it becomes beating the aliens with the least possible damage to civilian structures... (and if in-base rooms/machines/whatever can be damaged or destroyed and cost a REALISTIC amount to replace (in other words a cost based on the games economic model if a t.v. costs $500 then a supercomputer no doubt costs $5,000,000 at least.) then in defending your base it becomes VITAL to do as little damage as possible... and assaulting enemy bases becomes a little bit easier as both sides suddenly have reversed positions but aliens will be very numerous and VERY well armed/armored in their stronghold along with good static defenses and all sorts of other fun stuff if done realistically of course.

#6 Tuoppi

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 10:48 AM

There is a slight problem with massive base assaults... If attacking alien force is defeated, player gets about 50 heavy plasmas, 100 alien grenades and variable amounts of corpses and equipment. All worth N dollars. A player is likely to lose some soldiers, but defending is always easier than attacking. This would lead to a base attack being a very lucky coincidence.

Also moving 100 soldiers is pure pain in turnbased, no matter how good the interface is. Don't get me wrong, i would like to have much tougher base missions than original, but there are some problems.

Btw. Reality is anything but balanced, and it is not bad to reflect this. No-one would use a melee weapon if a gun is an option, and defence just is easier than attack.

#7 sir_schwick

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 03:08 PM

I did not think about the PITA of managing that many troops. Good point. A good system to make larger operations easier would be to have little programs of action you could give auxillary guys. Basically you could plot waypoints/stance/etc like in Rainbow Six. THis way you could give the guys you want to just move around or gaurd an area a plan for a few turns rather than manage them directly. This could be turned off an any soldier when you needed manual control again.
This would not be a perfect solution, but might help ease the pain.

I really liked the gravity example of rule adjustment. The only problem with charging for damage is who do plaintiffs charge? This is a secret organization. Maybe if you ever have to go public one of your first problems is a massive bill for damages. :bash:


Melee is a useful option even when guns are around, but that is indoors. However that is a moot point to do with the combat system and not this. However you are right that people will use what helps them, even if this is a game.

#8 Snakeman

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 06:06 PM

Managing more than 25-30 soldiers I agree would get combersome. Instead I'd propose dividing up the base defense into dealing with waves of badguys. In other words, if your talking about dealing with the crew compliment of a Battleship here (on average 14-16 baddies w/tank units), and your base just got hit by 2-3 Battleships, expect to fight 2-3 waves of bad guys.

Just institute a bit of a pause between waves and keep the waves themselves reasonable. So basically, if you got fairly hammered by the first wave, when you reach the pause in the waves before the second one, you should get an option to bug out, or take your chances.

edit: What this could also do is help the programmers manage the field so it doesn't get too saturated with units all at once.

Edited by Snakeman, 22 December 2004 - 06:07 PM.


#9 Durandal

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 08:46 PM

I always thought base defense was way too easy. First up, yes the defense should start outside. Second, damage to the base should mean downtime while repairs are made. This downtime should not exceed the time it takes to build a new facility, but if you use enough explosives it should be close. Third, bases should be hit WAY harder. It always annoyed me that the Aliens would find your base so that would mean being hit with an attack force of 10 to 20 aliens every few days to few weeks. They should keep increasing their attacks until your defenses crack (and I don't mean 10, then 15 then 20, I mean they send in 20, and if you toast them in less than 3 turns, then they send in 100.) Also the aliens should be able to dig other ways into your base.

If all this sounds unfair, it should be. When the Aliens find your bases and start attacking them, that should be the beginning of the end. Some people don't even bother making mind shields because base attacks are so weak. I would even be happy if aliens used nukes on your bases (but you can't on theirs) just to give the aliens an edge.

#10 sir_schwick

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 10:17 PM

I did see a good point in another thread. The aliens are not going to use up the resources and give you free guns if it requires 20 BS to take out your base. It would be easier just to direct missions away from the base and increase escourts with missions(the aliens should try to shoot you down instead of response firing only).

Also, I think they should hit you really hard the first time, and based on how badly you maul them, decide on future policy. Once they locate the general area of your base, a few scouts come by and find the entrance(provided they aren't shot down) and then 5 or 6 BS lands and assaults. It would be hectic, but if you do decent, they will just sidestep the base rather than try to attack again. If they lose, but seem to get pretty far into your base, they will try the same thing again very quickly.

I say no nukes b/c Earth governments would not cooperate with them. Also, underground facilities are very good for resisting firepower and digging would reveal attacker locations too easily. They bash their way in.

Another thought as well is 'Trojan Horse' missions. The alien trojan horse is one of the supply aircraft that bring in new stuff. As a part of protocall, all your troops are on combat standby whenever one of these aircraft lands. However an elite squad of <Ehtereal>, <Mutons>, and <Sectopods>, might be able to penetrate far enough into the base to hurt your defense grid. Then the other aliens can land more troops.

Your 'trojan horse' mission is to assault a ship heading to a base, but they cannot have the oppurtunity to radio in what is happening. Basically you have to make sure no one is alive around the comm equipment in the UFO. THis mission requires stealth, quiet take-downs, and possibly some psi-goodness. If you manage to get a silent hijacking, then you can prepare an operation to do the same. You land in their base, try to shut down or damage the defense grid(very strong to aircraft) and then a few Carriers with troops you put on standby will land and take the aliens down.

#11 azmodean

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 09:31 AM

Adressing the idea of making base construction "evil genius" style, the focus of the game is squad-based tactical combat, not base management. Every bit of complexity you add to base building, or interceptor screens, etc, takes valuable time away from the focus of the game. And while technology is up to the level of doing an evil-genius style game with full-scale base assaults, I don't think the project members have the time to create something that involved. Also, I'd be a bit unhappy with an x-com like game where I have to spend the same amount of time designing the base as I did in Evil Genius.

With handling base assaults, I'd be very happy if they just avoided the x-com bugs so that you can go about your base defense the way it was intended. Once that is done, chosing your deployment locations for your troops would be sweet, and a turn of set-up would be even better. This of course assumes that they can make an AI that can be challenging even if your troops are in place for them :)

#12 Snakeman

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Posted 25 June 2005 - 12:43 PM

For me, both fighting with my troops and base building were the fun parts of the games.

The problem I feel with the originals obviously layed with its memory restrictions and AI abilities such as they were.

I think to be able to find a way to correct for the lousy AI pathfinding routines could actually facilitate us being able to have more meaningful base design opportunities.

Rereading the first post in the thread, something caught my eye, and that's about base corridors being used as actual base "objects" besides the facilities themselves.

Perhaps if some of the enemy AI's programming is tied to these "corridor objects" as well, they could be used to help lead them around more effectively. Not to mention as well, any break in the design, such as a door or bend could lead them to always check out rooms, or turn in that bend up ahead.

Maybe some would hide in storage areas for a few turns if it came across one, then move allowing for ambushes.