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#51 sir_schwick

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 11:47 AM

I would still prefer a complete shift to a full Aeroscape instead of just choosing tactics for a few reasons. First, the battlescape does not simply anything to this degree, and the air was just as important and interesting. Second, there are still issues on how to handle multiple craft in the same area, while in an Aeroscape it seems intuitive to have multiple craft. This makes support and other rolles make sense. Also, I agree that you should have the three or four levels that you are commanding on:

4) Global Aeroscape - this is issuing orders to flight groups
3) Regional Aeroscape(optional) - might allow you to handle things on say a specific continent in a slightly more order or in space if various orbits are regions
2) Local Aeroscape - this is where the planes get down and dirty
1) Battlescape - this is where the soldiers get down and dirty

#52 Effigyofdoom

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 01:16 PM

I really like the idea of a completley turn based air combat system, id ton know how many of you have played any of the Master of Orion games, but they all have a turn based ship combat system. There is also a button in combat to have the computer play all of your moves for you. this would give players who want to skip lengthly air battles the chance to do so. Also after every turn Munitions that propelled themselves, such as missiles, moved, giving it a semi realistic approach to firing. i think it would be a great way to do it while still keeping the focus on the ground.

#53 Snakeman

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 10:30 PM

You have an interesting point Effigyofdoom. At least, when I think of the only MOO game I like that is (the first heh). Cheesyish execution perhaps, but I like what it did in terms of how ships both move and fire on an initiative basis.

Working only from memory for a second (as I think I may also be confusing this game with Stars! btw - I think they worked similarly here), if I had a ship with a good engine and a cloak onboard, that gave decent movement per turn even without factoring in weaponry initiative.

If it didn't have weapons at all, the ship would still move at its maximum per turn, only moving to avoid the enemy until it retreated on its own. This could add some additional merit to the Aeroscape idea if ship components played a role as well as hull types. Although, we can forego much of the tedium associated with too much component wrangling and just translate the intitiative stuff directly to pilots and their experience/longevitiy with a craft type.

Edited by Snakeman, 08 November 2005 - 10:31 PM.


#54 MirariNefas

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 02:36 AM

My vote goes to an apocalypse-like system. Your ships catch up to the UFO in the goescape and a random aerial-view map is generated where the apocalypse-type combat unfolds. The scale of the aeroscape should be larger than that of the cityscape in apocalypse, because here we're dealing with jets traveling at mach speeds. Also, the movement of the craft would have to include minimum speeds, because unlike in apocalypse your jets don't hover with antigravity. Some compromise in landscape scale, UFO/jet size and speeds would have to be reached that recognizes gameplay is more important that realism, though. When the UFO lands, the surrounding portion of the aeroscape is used to define gross geographical features when the battlescape is generated.

Edited by MirariNefas, 16 January 2006 - 03:33 AM.


#55 sir_schwick

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 11:51 AM

I was thinking that aeroscape should be turnbased, but different mechanics then battlescape. You are dealing with aircraft and air combat which has a different pace and considerations. Here are some of them....

Ammunition must often travel distances where it is in flight for several seconds. Of course I am guessing laser is the fastest speed while plasma and ballistic projectiles go behind. Missles are slightly slower, although I imagine alien missles are pretty darn fast. Additionally inertia and the fact terran aircraft cannot hover at high speeds requires different thoughts on movement.

On movement, I am thinking we could use the system Rollercoaster Tycoon does for rollercoaster construction for movement. On the 'maneuver selector' you could have the basic moves such as rolls, dives, etc. Add to that a slider for speed(maybe little incrimentation). Finally you would have a selector for special moves. LIke in RCT, special maneuvers and some regular maneuvers like barrel rolls, flips, or deep dives could only be done at certain speeds and orientations. This system allows for a few different levels of performance of craft and could give the aliens there true advantage, manuever power.

As for ammunition, I imagine that a WE-GO system makes more sense since ammunition does have to travel.

For targettting, I imagine having a squad sized or individual target would be better than redoing the battlescape system. Also, for flak or maybe cannon type weapons you could have sky areas you target rather than individual craft.

Another interesting side would now be ECM(maybe you wou,ldn't see your targets at far distance if they have good jamemrs) and counter-measures.

Of course this kind of system requires that more than a couple aircraft be up at once. This would rquire thinking of X-COM sorties as wings and squadrons of aircraft instead of one or two. Also, when you attack the battleship, it has escourts as well. Scout ships would now have weak weapons, but probably great manuever and ECM and countermeasures.

#56 dteviot

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 12:59 PM

I would VERY much like to see an aeroscape implemented, even before v1.0. (In fact, I'd like to see it implemented even before we implement the battlescape - with troops.) As I see it, this would give us two major advantages.
1. The aeroscape should be significantly simpler to implement than the battlescape (it's essentially a trimmed down battlescape) so it allows us to try out ideas more easily, and confirm that the basic framework (controls, AI, animation etc.) works.
2. It gives us a game that's playable (even if not exactly X-COM) a lot sooner.

And an aeroscape shouldn't cost us much time to make, as most of it's going to be needed for the battlescape anyway. In fact, if we do it right, it should speed up delivery, because we should be able to find and fix design errors in the aeroscape more cheaply than in the full blown battlescape.
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#57 MirariNefas

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 05:42 PM

I was thinking that aeroscape should be turnbased, but different mechanics then battlescape.


Have you ever played Space Empires IV or Master of Orion 2? This sounds like that. I'm not opposed to the idea, but I don't really see the incentive. Unless Apocalypse style real-time is very hard to code?

#58 sir_schwick

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 11:02 PM

I was never a fan of the Apocalypse style of air-combat. It felt a bit jerky and fairly reflex based. In general at the level of combat we are talking about, it is very hard to keep real-time fighting from becoming reflex based. The battlescape was not at all based on the players click and command speed, and I do not feel aeroscape should take this departure. Air combat sets up ground combat often and needs to have the same kind of serious, tactical emphasis.

Also, in many ways it will be familiar to the MOO2 combat system, but hopefully designed so that bigger does not mean better.

#59 Guest_Azrael_*

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 11:08 PM

I would VERY much like to see an aeroscape implemented, even before v1.0.  (In fact, I'd like to see it implemented even before we implement the battlescape - with troops.)  As I see it, this would give us two major advantages.
1. The aeroscape should be significantly simpler to implement than the battlescape  (it's essentially a trimmed down battlescape) so it allows us to try out ideas more easily, and confirm that the basic framework (controls, AI, animation etc.) works.
2. It gives us a game that's playable (even if not exactly X-COM) a lot sooner.

And an aeroscape shouldn't cost us much time to make, as most of it's going to be needed for the battlescape anyway.  In fact, if we do it right, it should speed up delivery, because we should be able to find and fix design errors in the aeroscape more cheaply than in the full blown battlescape.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I like that idea, a lot, maybe suggest it to Red Knight? (he doesn't read the labs, or not a lot)

#60 UnFleshed One

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 08:37 PM

I was never a fan of the Apocalypse style of air-combat. It felt a bit jerky and fairly reflex based.


Reflex based? Well, that depends, I was usually concentrating fire a lot, so I spent more time giving who shoot what than watching the battle...

And yes I would like to see this too. We can always throw it away as a battlescape prototype, in case it will not work out.

Ok, now we wait for RK to come and veto the whole thing :)
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#61 Blue.Shark

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 11:08 AM

What about to make an expirience system for pilots? Total amount of expirience could enable...some trainings?

Note: I haven't read the discussion.

#62 sir_schwick

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 02:04 PM

LOL, or many of the threads on this forum apparently. ;)

#63 Blue.Shark

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 04:52 AM

Yeah :)

#64 sir_schwick

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 08:55 AM

Its always good to see fresh blood on the forums. Even if that thread exists, you probably saw that date on it and realized many of us have had time to get divorced and remarried since they were last posted in.

#65 Blue.Shark

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 04:37 AM

Now i finished reading the first page of discussion...this discussion only :D ...

Real-time simulator is good way to make the game more interesting. And now i have an idea. One team of game developers from my neighbour country :) had developed a game named Plane Arcade. Now they are working on Plane Arcade 2 ( You can download Plane Arcade here: by clicking "Stáhnout planearcade.exe (4.60 MB)" : ) . It's good flight simulator with nice graphics. Plane Arcade 1 is a freegame, but i have not many informations about Plane Arcade 2.

What about to implement real-time simulator based on Plane Arcade into Xenocide?

Edited by Blue.Shark, 04 June 2006 - 04:42 AM.


#66 sir_schwick

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 12:11 PM

Like people have been saying earlier, we want to be consistent with your role throughout the many sections of the game. If you handled ground combat as a soldier commander in the first person, real-time, I would be very inclined to use a flight simulator. The other issue is how to effectively command a squadron of planes in flight. Memory issues prevented the original game from handling a more realistic and interesting atmosphere war. However a good aeroscape or other air combat system could allow for important UFOs to have escourts and base assaults to be something to worry about. Also base defence would be more interesting then just watching a screen roll out numbers. If you can do all this in a simulator, that may be the way to go, but it would probably take something expensive to include the strategy part.

#67 Blue.Shark

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 04:49 PM

Probably the only way to command other planes is by form of command (go&kill ufo no.1) and by advanced UI.

I'll think over about it.

#68 Snakeman

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 01:54 AM

Like people have been saying earlier, we want to be consistent with your role throughout the many sections of the game.  If you handled ground combat as a soldier commander in the first person, real-time,  I would be very inclined to use a flight simulator.  The other issue is how to effectively command a squadron of planes in flight.  Memory issues prevented the original game from handling a more realistic and interesting atmosphere war.  However a good aeroscape or other air combat system could allow for important UFOs to have escourts and base assaults to be something to worry about.  Also base defence would be more interesting then just watching a screen roll out numbers.  If you can do all this in a simulator, that may be the way to go, but it would probably take something expensive to include the strategy part.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Well, for intereceptions, I certainly see the appeal to have it be simulated differently, but on something like orchestrating base defenses - when your firing base defenses, perhaps its better to go simpler here, but more interesting. (Ok, more arcady actually)

I hit on this example before earlier with regard to your last note:

Missile Command comes to mind as a cool way to handle this portion. Or Space Invaders even (or combo of both). You'd basically be doing the same thing as in this game, blocking their barrages or shooting ships, but something I'd throw in to be different from it would be that this is also the phase where your covering the evacuation of all your ships and non essential personnel.

An alternate key action, or maybe its right clicking (with left clicking firing the base being weapons) - would execute the evac order each time you tapped it and for how ever many ships you have leaving associated with an additional click. Right clicking here whether its slow or fast is probably your main strategic aspect to this, but probably also whether your also going after their landing craft. Some might right click more rapidly once you've openned up an escape corridor.

If you figure too, that if you had different base weapons, you add another layer of depth here if they also had different recharge/reload times between shots.

This is probably the only part of the game I could see being more arcadish in style and still be acceptable. Alternatively, if players chose to automate this portion's outcome, that'd be cool too if they were bored with this type of mini game.

#69 Blue.Shark

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 09:23 AM

Yes, of course there should be a chance to choose between Simulator and automatic battle ;)

#70 sir_schwick

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 10:39 AM

My main reservation about an arcady style of air combat or base defence is how much impact both those events have on what happens on the ground. Call me a whiner, but I still think it limits what could really be done with enhancing the air war.

However for base defence you could make a DefenceScape inspired by the Missle Command games of the 80s. Generally I support a more comprehensive and epic look at base defence, so this is a good step towards that. Use the side view as the basic look at DefenceScape. All your defence systems would have various options, depending on how they worked. The non-missle systems would probably have blast shields that come over them or they retreat into. The aliens would actually fire on your base at the risk of making their profiles more distinct. Also, there would be more than one alien ship involved. Your aircraft might have time to intercept as well if you caught the UFO on your radar. So you must command the various defence platforms, possibly assign troops to the surface defences and command aircraft.

For that it makes more sense for turn-based, although the amount that happens in a single turn would be much greater than in Battlescape. Also, as they land troops, you also take short reprises to handle that part as they try to disable your defence facilities. I figure each DefenceScape turn would be the equivalent of 10 turns in Battlescape. Could be exciting needing ot hold off those Mutons for just two more Battlescape turns so you can fire once more into the final Battleship so it falls out of the sky.

#71 sir_schwick

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 11:15 AM

I just also had a couple thoughts involving the AeroScape. One of the primary arguments against a Battlescape style AeroScape is the almost restrictive nature of a grid in the atmosphere. While it is functional, it does not feel right to be fighting air battles in a highly organized grid. Craft fly like birds, they do not run in straight lines or 45 degree angles like the ground pounders.

The other day I played a shareware game called "Critical Mass". You play the leader of a squadron of spacecraft on various missions. The entire game was played on a 2-D, top down perspective space background. In CM, you only command your ship by modifying the vector arrow that determines where and how your craft travels. You can only modify this to a certain extent determined by your craft properties. Your wing-mates would then try to follow you according to a few simple parameters that were set.

Getting this concept in mind, Aeroscape could be expanded in a few ways. First, add 'The Third Dimension'. The easiest way to do that would be, in addition to the arrow on the 2-D plane, add radio toggle for various degrees of climibing or diving, with vertical being the limit on either side. Of course their would be restrictions on how much you could dive or climb based on how you were and want to move. Avaliable 'pitch' options would be lit up and shown while the rest would not. IN addition, there woudl also be any 'advanced manuevers' that were possible with the correct combinations of current condition and desired arrow vector. When you select one of those, the appropraite elevation setting is shown and chosen.

Pilots are also donig other actions while manuevering. HOwever some manevers limit their ability to track a target or fire weapons. Reactions would determine how well pilots use counter-measures and evasive manuevers. Morale will limit some riskier moves and while excellent morale will allow some extremely gutsy moves. Also, munitions fire would travel during the turn, considering many fo the distances involved.

The other difference is that you *can* command the squadmates and the other squadrons that will invariably join you from the XCORPS base. However for more general maneuvers, you can also have the squad mates follow the leader or follow wingman partners in some kind of formation, possibly custom.

Also this kind of system would still allow for what is probably the most significant difference between UFOs and Terran craft: performance. After a few months you can equip your craft with their weapons. However it is still a fixed wing aircraft and that depends on thrust and lift to work properly. Alien craft are propelled by anti-gravity waves(?) and their aerodynamics are based on not burning up and landing easily. I am sure the manuever capabilities of UFOs is strikingly superior to that of Terran craft. All craft, based on damage, pilot, and inherent qualtiies, would have limits to speed, pitch changes, turning radius, and manuevers overall. Most alien craft would still be superior in manuever, making the airwar about good tactics eraly on as much as the ground war is.

#72 Blue.Shark

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 11:26 AM

I still cannot imagine how the Aeroscape should look, if it were turn-based.

And should it be 3D or 2D? If 3D, then you'll need to control height level of planes too...I still cannot imagine it :) ...

#73 Blue.Shark

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 11:36 AM

btw. try to play Plane Arcade :)

#74 sir_schwick

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 02:23 PM

Aeroscape would be 3D, but I'm not sure how camera angles and such would work. However the working board(which you don't really see) would be a series of vertically stacked, horizontal planes. Plane vectors of course would have a verrtical component as would their heading.

I'm d/l Plane Arcade now. If you want some ideas of some of the kinds of htings Aeroscape would 'look like', here are some suggestions:

Critical Mass - http://www.windowsga...k/critical.html - It will give you an idea of what I meant by the vector arrows and squad following. Of course Aeroscape woudl be more in depth, and ignore most of the combat system, except of course the fact that munitions take their turns at the same time.
Roller Coaster Tycoon - Yeah, I know this sounds strange. However, imagine while designing a roller coaster that instead of a track piece, that is your plane's overall movement being modified. Add, hypothetically, adjustments for speed and the fact you control the immediate direction. Also, the special options that are avaliable would be shown instead of being in that pop-down window.

There also used to be a good, old, windows based game about WWII with turn-based air combat. Of course it was single altitude, determined by how you choose to engage the enemy. It'll also give you some ideas for a new, truly 3D air combat system.

#75 sir_schwick

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 02:33 PM

Hope I do not need to know Slovakian to play. Is there an English translation of the manual anywhere? Or can you at least tell me the basic commands?

Edited by sir_schwick, 05 June 2006 - 02:34 PM.


#76 Blue.Shark

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 02:49 PM

I'm really sorry. English translation doesn't exist, but i found one page where it is translated. Here it is.

#77 sir_schwick

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 03:20 PM

Thank you. Unfortunately my USB ports are acting up and I do not have a functioning joystick. But when I finally get this solved, I will try out Plane Arcade.

#78 Blue.Shark

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 06:11 AM

You can play it with keyboard too :)

#79 The Master Maniac

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 02:09 PM

I do remember responding to a topic very similar to this some time ago. It's clear this is a very important subject. How do we make aerial interceptions exciting - because, you know...they really should be. Let's get the obvious out of the way: NKF is an X-Com genius. We all know that. However, I've got to do the unthinkable and...disagree with him. *braces for attack*

You see, I'm a fan of all things turn-based. I've got X-Com to thank for that. But even on paper, the idea of turn-based air combat sounds... I dunno... a little shifty. All things considered, I can't get the idea of maneuvering fighter planes on a grid out of my head. Ugh. Maybe waypoint-based turns within a 3D space, kinda like a turn-based Homeworld, where "turns" are measured in a certain amount of seconds? I hate to sound so contrary, but the alternative of arcade-style engagements sounds a little too distracting, too far away from the source material.

But initial doubts aside, I'm definitely intrigued by the possibility of adding a level of interactivity to the interceptor sections, beyond ROE selections as seen in X-Com, of course. When I think about it, it's more a question of the LEVEL of interactivity we need than it is the KIND of interactivity. Think about it: you're the commander of this international agency. You coordinate ground missions. You handle economic decisions. You tell your air units where to go and when. Should you really be in the cockpit?

I rarely watch movies or TV, so there may well be better examples than this, but I remember seeing this animated movie called Patlabor, I think, in which there's a scene where an interceptor group is trying to chase down a "phantom" fighter squadron in the skies above Japan. It was really well-done, I think, with the coordination between controllers, pilots, etc. Now, think of that within the context of a real-time strategy game. You're the commander, the controller, and your pilots are your link to the combat. Homeworld again: another thing I love about the second game is the voice comms - short dialog snippets that frequently pop up during the game, relative to what's going on. A strike group moves to engage an enemy, so you're going to hear about it. A capital ship's being torn apart by fighter-bombers, so you'll hear the plight of the ship's commanding officer. What if we had an interactive element in which constant communication is the prime highlight? Bear with me here...

I think the geoscape should play a big part. Say you send an interceptor or two to catch up with an enemy UFO: the geoscape "zooms in" if possible, and you see your units appear with superimposed, glowing icons as they approach the target - say, a big red dot. You hear radio chatter - the important kind, not the "filler" kind. And from there, you should be able to issue specific commands, battle strategy of sorts. Say, you can tell your guys where to go at that point on the globe, set up ambushes from different units, organize squadrons and formations - but when you're actually in combat, you can try to take out individual systems with different weapons. Say you want to splash the enemy craft from the get-go: go for the engines. Want to thin out the crew? Use an armor-piercing missile on the personnel quarters. Trying to preserve loot for the ground missions? Use smaller guns on "weak spots." Of course, there should be some way to do this beyond a "target *blank*" button.

I remember talking about this very subject here, a year or so ago. I'm sure as X-Com fans, we all know that interceptor battles are very, very common. It's also not very uncommon to be fighting one battle, then immediately going to another one, then another one to finish it all up before we finally get to the ground combat. Do we really want to switch to a tedious top-down turn-based minigame every time we have to take down an enemy craft? Or worse, do we want to finish a ground mission, only to have to do ANOTHER top-down minigame right after? It's a matter of doing something that integrates seamlessly with the geoscape, I think. It shouldn't feel like you're being taken from the geoscape at all. Thoughts?

#80 sir_schwick

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 07:34 PM

I do agree there is a possiblity for tedium, one that certainly was present with 'obvious results' ground missions, with the number of missions you end up taking. However many of the extra missions would disappear into more exciting, consolidated missions, because often a swath of craft would actually come to each others aid rather than just continue on their merry. Often, nonsensical groupings of several UFOs would turn into deadly(more interesting), single(less battles) sorties rather than a half dozen seperate, and predictable sorties.

#81 UnFleshed One

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 10:01 PM

Think about it: you're the commander of this international agency. You coordinate ground missions. You handle economic decisions. You tell your air units where to go and when. Should you really be in the cockpit?


Well, ground force commanders don't make global economic decisions anyway, so we aren't loosing any realism here :).

About not moving gamer away from the globe, that will mean battles must be able to resolve themselves without gamer's interaction. That leaves us with AI doing battles just a little bit worse than an average gamer (fine balance here). So if you don't want to personally supervise the hundredth taking out of some scout, you can still give it to AI and be sure that your patrol wing with ten times more firepower will not take unacceptable (or, and that is even worse, standard) loses.

One of the implications is that AI battle should be calculated by exactly the same rules as gamer-driven one. No simplified formula, and performance shortcuts can be taken only on expence of rendering.
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#82 sir_schwick

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 11:54 PM

And even better then, you might even choose to just let the AI command the battle for you and still watch. Suppose its a rather standard sweep of an Insertation Sorties with a few medium scouts and escourts versus your wing. You're guys are much more qualified to fight, but you still want to watch the AI woop arse and just treat it like a really cool cutscene. Just food for thought. After that, you decide to just auto-calc, skip watching and not even worry about auto-command.

#83 Blue.Shark

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 01:18 PM

Agree with The Master Maniac. :D

#84 sir_schwick

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 02:24 PM

Actually I am starting to see what Maniac means. It is intuitive because you never leave the geosphere, assumbaly just the entire atmospher and map of ground battles. Also, you get the feel of commanding an air squadron instead of flying one(important distinction). If you aren't limiteed to a specific sphere of action, you can also allow for more interesting mehtods of engagment.

-Herd<towards/away> to/from <area x> - When enemy is not in the predator role, your tactics can be sorted towards forcing the UFOs a certain way(preferablly into a trap) versus another.
-Lead <"/"> "/" <"> - When enemy can be predator role, you try to direct them someway. Useful for whenever your recon or fight craft need to get to a better position or bait an ambush.
-Engage to Kill - Obvious, but means htey will not be really concerned about where they run if they run. However you could have some craft trying to kill while others herd for the same effect.
-Engage to Knock Down - This is mroe along hte lines of 'hit the engine/force a crash'
-Engage to Force Landing - When you want the darn thing intact
-Harrasment - Basically become the target on the enemies reticle. Useful for distracting escourts or allowing more vital craft through a tough situation. Would be very useful if landing more troops at a site with lots of air support or maybe a base.
-Wild Weasal - Variation of Harrasment for anything on the ground, including UFOs.
-Ground Support - Use with some caution, as smart ammunition still depends on who is aiming it on the ground. The ammunition recognizes the lasers, not the little figures on the ground which is your scout to far in a barn or a sectoid.

Using basic command slike this for sorties, you can have interesting battels with similair aline groups, who may even try sneaky things themselves. So, I second Maniac.

#85 Snakeman

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 03:23 PM

I knew why I missed Maniac's input :)

Your right of course, and that's the real balance issue. What perspective do you have this part of the game become? It needs to share similarities with how battlescape actions are handled. It becomes hard when you think about what it might become and whether its fun in that traditional gameplay sense or not.

Also whether or not there are some circumstances in the gameplay that shouldn't be over managed. There's talk on other threads here about incorporation of a real time mode similar to Apoc, and maybe there's something to a game with it included that could liven up this part of interception.

One of the things I liked reading in those three articles with Dave Ellis was his thoughts on where they might have gone with Genesis. The idea of being able to pause time and do all your equipping and issuing of orders and waypoints before you let time resume is pretty attractive. It may have openned up potentially more tactical options (especially if you could pause at anytime thereafter and change orders).

I don't think it would work here though being just a turn based affair. Primarily I think because it would mean very different looks to the interception portion (at least in the GUI for it).

What I like most about your points above is one of sound ques to alert you of a situation you might want to address. That sounds very much like something you would be doing as Commander anyway and is a very cool atmospheric touch as well to the action that would be unfolding.

I still think fundamentally though, any outgrowth of the interception portion of the game should come from the root idea of the original. It was informational in appearance, and interactive by way of orders to pilots.

"Useful Pilot Chatter"™ would certainly be one of the top 5 ideas I'd lump into such an interception phase improvement. In line with this concept, I think besides the general attack orders the original game had, I think it would be prudent to inlay some manuevering commands alongside these attack options.

I consider these first two, attacks & maneuvering, to be a necessity in order to make pilot chatter about the situation have more meaning so that you can change up attacks as the battle progresses.

A while back in a similar thread, was the idea of utilizing arial plane camera footage as a way to update the previous older game's UFO visual button selection. I thought this idea was also very cool in that it is very much also in line with whatever your Commander might see besides just radar blips. I've always thought that this screen could also add some depth to your interceptions by illuminating - over time - UFO characteristics that can be targetted (once the class has been researched and better understood and/or linked somehow with pilot experience to relay you this tactical data).

Then, possibly is the added benefit of combining several attacks and manuevers in assocation with specific targetting opportunities rather than or instead of basic or more general attack options you might only see in the very beginning.

#86 The Master Maniac

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 04:28 PM

Well, ground force commanders don't make global economic decisions anyway, so we aren't loosing any realism here :).


Good point and well made. ^_^

And Schwick's idea of context-specific orders in real-time was just what I had in mind. We could even go farther with that. You see, it'd be great to feel as though you, the "big boss," are right in the thick of the air combat, and every decision you make affects whether your pilots live or die, but at the same time you're limited to a slightly hands-off approach - hence, being able to bark out commands, but stuck watching the view screen and hoping things turn out the way you want them to. A good mix of solid decision-making and split-second tension would make such a "mini-game" fun every time, especially if it were crafted so as not to disrupt the actual geoscape itself to the point of becoming "cookie-cutter" filler.

Oh, yeah - the idea of ground support sounds oh-so-intriguing too... Yes, I think we're on to something here!

And I forgot to address one of Snakeman's points: pilot experience. That's one heck of a great idea. Not only would it make for a great incentive (outside of economics) not to send your flyboys off on suicide missions, that also opens up a lot of tactical doors, too. You'd be able to send rookies off after little guys, and let your veterans handle the big boys, with variables like accuracy, maneuverability skills, et cetera factored in. Skilled pilots are more likely to be able to evade fire and target critical systems. Maybe UFO research could be factored in, too? For example, it's only after you research a medium-class UFO and understand the workings of its engine configuration that your guys know where to aim to take them out.

As for pilot chatter, the dialog snippets should ideally be short and to-the-point, with little humor or fluff indispersed between them. Immediate and intelligent appraisal should be, in my opinion, the key point.

Edited by The Master Maniac, 07 June 2006 - 04:35 PM.


#87 Snakeman

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 03:41 AM

I would hope, just to say again about pilot experience, that if they can narrow their target objects better over time, that there then can be somewhat more predictable UFO wreckage in the subsequent Battlescape view of it down on the ground.

Examples on the UFO view at intercept and what you might see on the ground:

1. If alien bridge node is hit, very few to no alien leader ranking units alive.
2. If alien engine room hit, no engineer ranked aliens alive or very few - same with the power sources.
3. If various weapons nodes hit, reduce the total number of soldier ranked foot soldiers etc.
4. If major living or storage sections hit, further reduce alien as well as terror unit opposition you'd face from the total etc.

These are only the basic important ones I can think of that would be worth going for, but maybe there could be smaller subsystems of value that could also be targettable (I figure, the bigger the UFO - in the viewscreen especially here - might as well have more tidbits you could go after).

i.e Communications equipment to name one. Could make the difference if they had begun from a standpoint of a coordinated attack or defense in a scenario, to a brief bit of time confused then readjusting tactics. Then again, with Psi races involved, probably won't work so well against them.

Anyway, I agree with the both of you in terms of trying to keep things context based. If not always mission specific.

As to what the pilot's sheets would look like, I figure they should basically have everything your foot soldiers have (assuming that sometimes you would use them on the ground - though probably in the rear with the gear, but useable nontheless). The only other stats I would add might be supplimental to their page with just their %s of experience with each kind of craft. The longer they're with a craft, the greater that craft experience % would get. Change their assignments around alot and they'd just be average, but in either case, I would expect it to matter the most when they actually go on sorties.

And even then, mattering more if they hit alien ships.

Hardpoint targetting would ease into the picture after I would think investigating a class that was downed, then researching it. Then it becomes a matter of not just a pilot's longevity with his craft, weapons use, or general abilities at flying, but also one of how many times this pilot took on a particular UFO class.

#88 Blue.Shark

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 09:58 AM

Hmm...

I'll write something about pilots.

I like expirience system.

I like "Each craft expirience system" too. :)

And there is my idea : Shooting to individual... nodes?... could be able after researching the specific UFO type. For example I'll shot down a ...scout. I'll win the mission and i'll capture the UFO. When i'll finish researching, a special training will be allowed...something like sharpshootering :) :D . And then i'll be able to target engines, bridge, fuel tanks etc.

What do you think about it?

Ps: Sorry for mistakes in text... :D

#89 sir_schwick

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 10:42 AM

You could also add, if deemed necessary, EXP for vs. based on either class(reconaissance, superiority, cruiser, ground), size(small, medium, large, huge, ground) or speed(slow, moderate, fast). Obviously assignments in sorties could go to whoever is best at something. Wild Weasal's would then get really get at taking out grounded UFOs(if you like doing that :evil: ) or base defences, etc.

Alien research and actual pilot units could lead to......capturing working UFOs. If you know how to use a psionic interface brought an extra pilot(you know, in case the first one has a heart attack), then you go home with an extra ship and the pride of leaving the rest of the alines on the ground and preferably target practice for your escourt craft.

Then there is also the possibility of AWACS. Why was it always your Skyrangers, very critical craft, being used for reconaissance and observing an area. Dedicated AWACS craft could be upgraded with Hyperwave Scramblers(increases time till worried alien flightgroups get reinforcements), Psionic Noisemakers(requires a good psionic soldier, but creates all kinds of confusion), mobile Hyperwave Decoder, etc. Refueling craft would also make sense.

#90 Snakeman

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 11:27 AM

You have a good point Shwick about there being a kind of legend screen (I just defragged recently and the term struck me as I was staring at the pretty colors) for a pilot unit's achievements - enough to sort of assign them to what they're better at.

i.e. maybe right clicking on the ship in the intercept menu for all your parked ships from the Geoscape, lets you see an additional graph based on all the pilot's shoot downs of the various UFO classes.

I suggested to put it there because well, I think their standard sheets might get too bloated the more stuff you include. Though you could always also have there a "more info" offshoot page about them.

I just think it helps me more to know that, if I'm strictly just screening soldiers for a ground mission, I'm more likely to want to see before anything else, if the pilot unit has enough skill to hold his own where I want him to, nearest the ship. I'll worry about his additional abilities later if I change his craft mission role around.

We're in agreement on the issue of late game UFO capture and use. I would think that between all the researches needed between the UFO class its self, all the doohickies associated with it, plus how many times X class has been taken out, including sim time, a pilot can attempt to fly it. As you can see, it should take a decent amout of game time to be able to get a pilot unit to this state so use effectively.

One of the issues I also have is increasing the worth of pilots, both in price tags, but also as stated above (if it goes in as a module) training space. Cut the classroom space down drastically for their sim stuff, then it won't help you as well if you over hired pilots instead of making the ones you have work better for you. Though I suppose just as with soldiers, maybe a commander does want pilot fodder on occasion. Use the fodder to distract, use the veteran to make the kill.

In addition, it might be a good idea to balance the number of pilots needed per craft, with this module training capacity number.

i.e. If you had 4 pilots (2 per transport, 1 in each interceptor/fighter class), and your training module could only hold 2 at a time. I think this would add greatly to the base module managment portion. I know I like to build bases, so this would be fun for me at least.

And there is my idea : Shooting to individual... nodes?... could be able after researching the specific UFO type. For example I'll shot down a ...scout. I'll win the mission and i'll capture the UFO. When i'll finish researching, a special training will be allowed...something like sharpshootering smile.gif biggrin.gif . And then i'll be able to target engines, bridge, fuel tanks etc.

What do you think about it?


Rather than a "special training" sub category within the simultor classroom, I think it should just be more general than that. The same way psi training was handled insofar as that, you can still use the unit while its in training. And like it was done with evaluating psi skill (since you wouldn't need to run a unit through the guantlet just to see about basic flying of your ships), use it to determine pilotability of the UFO classes.

Basically a mish mosh of anything related to flight characteristics is handled, with the results broken down afterward on his sheet - being UFO craft handling potential (piloting and weapons can be lumped together here I guess into one bar graph), capabilities with his crafts (piloting stat) and craft weapons (same thing).

So really, you only add on their main stat page, two additional bar graph lines (2 Piloting bars - the second one for UFOs isn't revealed until much later), with the other stuff on a supplimentary page - since most of what dominates the first is all his capabilites on the ground that mirrors your soldiers. The scecond one would break down things in more detail, by craft perhaps, in both piloting and in his ability to deal with each class in combat.

I would suspect, after all is said and done and a pilot has hit his stride, that the class he kills the most, this same UFO class type pilot ranking would almost go hand in hand % wise. So in retrospect, I think you could have your sharpshooter, but it wouldn't be Sharpshooting 101 in the simulator, it'd just be an "in training" marker next to his name. He might actually only be superb at at going after one type, so it really would take longer to make him an all around sharp shooter (since he has to do it a lot but now with each ship to make that a reality).

This is why its a greator help later to be able to both rename soldiers like before but now also with ships to help you streamline assignments further.

Edited by Snakeman, 08 June 2006 - 12:21 PM.


#91 sir_schwick

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 01:58 PM

I figure the potential for subsystem targetting and fancy flying with Terran craft would be inherent to the kind of pilots hired by XCORPS. As soon as you have research on what to hit and how on a craft, your pilots would receive the necessary cross-training to deal with specific craft.

However no pilot on Earth has flown Xenium-propulsion spacecraft before. That is the kind of thing that would require specialized training and facilities. Like Psionic Training, UFO Simulators would train(10 ppl just to stick to the old model) a month in how to interface and use Alien Navigation, and Alien Propulsion as well as the other systems. Once they passed training, they have stats that determine how quickly and well they interface with Alien Navigation and its terran reproductions. Some pilots will have a natural affinity for psionic control mechanisms while others will be kind of doofy at it. Once you have the training, you can attempt to start the thing up and steal it. However do not expect much the first time you try to steal a craft besides flying it in a bad line stragiht back to the hangar.

Also, if we institute this more in depth air model, the number of craft involved should raise. I could imagine that you need about 10 pilots per 40-50 soldiers. That would be enough for a flight group of 2 Troop carriers, and 3-6 air superiority craft. For added bonus, if you capture Cruiser(BS, those size craft) sized craft, they require 3-6 pilots to fly. Of course hangars would hold more.

#92 Snakeman

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 07:04 AM

I agree, the bigger the ship being flown, the bigger the flight crew.

But yea, all those subsystems you listed are exactly what I mean in terms of researches required. However, I think there should maybe only be one upgrade to the pilot simulator. Both should help you with your stock stuff for your Earth based ships, with the newest one (presumably further enhanced by your advances in understanding of things like UFO Navigation or even the Entertainment psi ball things) being the only one to help you with the UFO classes. Additionally, I'd probably only increase the classroom space for the new module by 1 or 2 desks.

Thing is, there are probably going to be pilots you keep assigned to Earth ships while you shift some over to use UFOs, with the exception of one or two bases with the new one in it, you probably won't need this new one in each base unless it offered you more classroom space or something. Plus, base building should I feel offer the commander different options. Besides, you'd probably place such a module in the same base your captured ship class resides.

The reason you might be limited in hanger capactiy for it is also probably because it necessitated a new hanger layout as well.

It would probably also be a good idea to withold the plans for the UFO/Earth hybrid pilot training module until way down in the tech tree. For one thing, gaining the facility as a research option is a great visual information que to the player that he's essentially graduated to a new strategic level of sorts.

A good subcategory in research to follow that could be the theories associated with the engineering topics (UFO and not) which help your pilots to limp a working one back if intact. An example could be as simple in manefistation as an update to a repair kit item or something that lets you carry out that first initial (and subsequent) capture(s).

That topic could be researched while your first batch of pilots are in the new pilot facility being evaluated on UFOs for the first time. Perhaps it could be timed right, but then again, not all of us always rushed through the tree that quickly anyway. That's player freedom for you though and should be encouraged. Make the game as hard or easy as you prefer (regardless of actual game difficulty setting).

Another note, I think the pilot facilities should basically work the way Apoc had done it with the combat facility, where it helps a little, but you get much more mileage with pilot experience if they were both using the facility between missions, but going on missions and performing actions in the first place too (for max growth potential).

Anyway, I know it got sidetracked a bit, but its hard to separate an idea like interceptions without also talking about related subjects, like base building for instance.

Edited by Snakeman, 09 June 2006 - 07:11 AM.


#93 The Master Maniac

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 12:47 PM

Wow - there are some really great ideas coming together here. But there is one thing: ship-capturing sounds like a nifty idea and all, but I can't help wondering how many times you'd be able to do it before successfully pulling it off starts to feel a bit gimmicky. It's hard to imagine an international organization turning into the military equivalent of a chop-shop. ;) What's to stop the player from amassing an unstoppable fleet, just after a few good ground missions?

#94 sir_schwick

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 01:43 PM

You no longer face just one UFO at a time. If you capture a UFO, it is likely the aliens will realize it and try to prevent that aquisition. They seem to have a limitless supply, so blasting you from the sky is not out of the question. That means aquisition involves you being able to:

1) Force a working UFO to land on the ground.
2) Capture that UFO while it is on the ground.
3) Make sure no surviving UFOs in the air in the area can blast it while its on the ground, same goes for your Skyranger.
4) Make sure that a UFO recovery task force does not shoot the thing out of the sky.

When you first start aquiring ships, the aliens are completely baffled and respond with very weak fleets. However after aquiring a couple worthwhile crafts(the recon crafts are weaker then yours, in fact), they will be ready with more sizeable forces. This includes BS task forces with appropriate escourt and possibly attacking the base where you are taking the captured craft. So craft aquisition is very risky, but rewarding and epic if you pull it off.

#95 UnFleshed One

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 07:31 PM

Yeah, don't forget that some UFOs have a little telltale beacon that stops transmitting only when piloted by a geniune alien pilot.

That is, of course, known by aliens only. They start releasing such honey sausers after you successfully capture a first couple.

And even your best scientists start to suspect only after you survive a massive retailation :sgrin:
Darkness is under the candle.

#96 sir_schwick

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 01:57 AM

I imagine it would show up on Terran AWACS. However the system is designed so that it is integral to the operation of the entire UFO. No emissions without the proper base codes means no working UFO. Only a powerful jammer or psionically extracting the working codes will counteract this(very unlikely for either).

#97 Snakeman

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 03:50 PM

Damn, lost my earlier post.

About beacons, I think its a good idea to have it be an item that's tied to everything in order to make it function, but is also a self destruct. I figure the aliens won't come calling for a few days, so this should allow some research to be done (the final touches to the software in the new sim so to speak) before the scouts, then retaliation fleets come calling.

To add more risk to this late game fun, let the aliens have the chance now to instead of just assaulting your base, decide instead once they find it, the opportunity to remote detonate the ship you stole. So it'd be a race against the clock to a degree. However the commander could still turn the beacon off easily enough, at the expense of halting this final puzzle piece item research.

This would make the aliens forget a bit where it was, but that won't stop 'em from sending scout parties on patrol to rediscover the exact spot.

Anyway, I see the commander having a couple more options to go forward here.

1. Find another intact beacon to bring back to your base to plug back into the captured ship to continue the final steps (with the same risk as above - plugged in and power on, bullseye returns while you finish the research). Another inherent risk to your activities here is that, when the beacon was previously disabled, the ship now at your base cannot be moved (at least, not intact, and if so should take time it'd be a dismantle/ship by truck/and rebuild to that state kind of affair).

2. When research is finished, the final kinks to pilot evaluation in the sims takes a more stable upturn in terms of finding out results of their capabilities. Between having the breakthrough and finalizing the training module, the old beacon can either be turned off then, or you continue to keep aliens at bay longer. The drawback here is that you may have to reinvent the beacon so it won't alert the aliens and kill you. This substep can be going forward while your first pilot crew to use UFOs goes through the first simulator class. Bascially all your doing is reinventing the beacon/car key item. The old one has to be deactivated to confound the aliens.

3 Stay in this old base, or rebuild your operations at another. The aliens now know at least where to scout, if not retaliate, so it might be wise to move unless you've got crack interceptor pilots to throw at them at this point.

3. Reinvent (or reuse if possible) every interior UFO subsystem (remember, the idea is not to change its outside look, but to blend in. Hybrids are cool and all, but still stick out like sore thumbs) including the beacon. This option takes longer, but I thought I should throw it in for those of us who like dragging our experiences out longer.

4. (Granted after the fact here) Knowing what the commander can expect preceding all of this, he could have a sister base being built that mirrors what you need at such a base (to make moving after the breakthrough less complicated) - hanger for UFO, UFO pilot sims, research lab, and some manufacturing capacity (among the other modules like living area and stores).

Dragging myself kicking and screaming back to the topic :)

I'd like to talk more about what we had in other threads regarding squadrons. The first game let you coordinate up to 4 ships attacking a target (or if you got lucky, 4 separate interceptions took place simultanously) where their radar blip screens came up. I think this is a perfect size because this can mean you can assign each squadron from a single base rather than having them spread out at different bases. Not that you couldn't, but it means they have to meet the same target at the same time. I figure ship pathfinding here if this is the case should take that into account (your pilots here, while in a squadron are not based at the same location - but they time it to arrive together).

I just don't like all that window minimizing/maximizing buisness for when they each arrive separately. Just blow it up the moment all 4 meet where they need to and fill the screen with their 4 radar boxes. The battles can still happen as before where even if you had a group intercepting one, with other units going after their own, just hit each separate battle and deal with it one at a time. The Geoscape, if working like the old one, will zoom you into it anyway, so I don't think there needs to be a battle priority thing happening here.

We also talked here about enhancing the View UFO selection from the interceptor window. I was thinking that, as long as one pilot can start to (either make an educated guess, takes a lucky shot, or positively) identify hardpoints, you now have an incentive to form squadrons in the first place. The target identifier would target and fire first, now the others know where to send their missiles.

Attack postures are important here too. Maybe you might prefer a set-it-and-forget-it thing where you've already given each pilot in the group a default attack posture of their own. One might be cautious, two might be standard and the fourth could be agressive (taking manuevering into account as well for what each posture would mean in flying behavior). In this way, your probably mainly paying attention to the attack potential of the guy who can actually see a prime system to hit. So I can see that there might be another weapon firing ability too that let's you have all your squad mates fire when the lead one does. Otherwise the outcome of the shotdown target takes on a random damage result.

But even that too would be a learning experience for a pilot prior to being capable of identifying hardpoints himself. Taking into account the results of the crashed UFO by the troops you sent to investigate (plus scientists who later confirm them). So what you might see by a pilot gaining in his awareness, is gradual appearance of hardpoints to hit (he might not get every single one right away, its probably going to be a 1-2 at a time thing for his View UFO view).

In this way, you could have anyone within your squadron (regardless of actual rank or capability) able to take the lead on a hardpoint position (cause face it, they might all have some visible hardpoints in theirs, but maybe not all can see what the other does yet), and have everyone try hit the same one. Note that I'm not advocating that you have to have each one in the group have the same hardpoint visible in their View UFO view then subsequently click it for them, just that it only takes one, and the rest do their best on it. Besides, that's a lot of extra clickage happening, so I think its prudent to reduce that, but prebably also assign some functions to hotkeys here. I was thinking that the TAB key or SHIFT + Whatever could be the hotkey for having wingman fire at what the lead had fired at.

Whew that was long winded eh? :)

Edited by Snakeman, 10 June 2006 - 04:02 PM.


#98 Blue.Shark

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 08:35 AM

Interesting B)

Edited by Blue.Shark, 14 June 2006 - 06:41 AM.