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Multi-sensory Agents


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#1 Hideo

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Posted 30 June 2003 - 09:40 AM

Hi everybody. A new boy here. Quick background: 6 years C++ and real-time algorithm development, in a industrial setting. Sample projects: Radar simulation, cricket/tennis tracking using computer vision. I'm interested in participating in this endeavour. If there's anything I can do, let me know. I'm probably best suited to a programming rather than art role.

1) I don't know if anyone's mooted this idea before, but one feature lacking in all of the Gollops' games is that only the sense of sight exists. Opportunity fire is only every triggered by sight. An agent is able to advance upon an enemy from behind with impunity. If enough TUs are available, why shouldn't a sound trigger off opportunity fire, with the object turning and firing? To counter this, perhaps there could be two walk/run modes, with associated TU/speed/sound qualities. To take this further, why shouldn't a sense of smell be available to certain creatures? Could a Reaper 'see' the track left by a human soldier? What about X-Com bringing tracking dogs along with them? It would be an easy matter to give different aliens differing sensual acuities. The sectoids could have a poor sense of hearing, for example.

2) Tile based or not?
I haven't seen any discussions of whether the Xenocide battlescape will be as overtly tile-based as the X-Com games. The tile-based nature gives a certain clarity to the tactical simulation, but doesn't lend itself to very realistic looking environments.

#2 GreatGold

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Posted 30 June 2003 - 10:16 AM

Hey -

I can only answer your first question with certainty. The idea of a dog unit, has been heavily discussed, and looks like it may be implemented shortly after v1.0 is released. Also, Night Vision and Thermal Vision have been discussed, but not to the point where I could give you a yes or no answer. I think eventually, once we have a finished product to tweak, sound and smell will be put in.

Welcome to Xenocide! If your serious about helping with coding, contact red knight by PM, and he can set you up.

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#3 mikker

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Posted 30 June 2003 - 10:41 AM

i know we talked about the square system, yes, i belive will still be squared, but not certainly 1 square at the size of a soldier, eg, a square could be a 10th of a soldier.

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#4 c4t

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 12:54 AM

good ideas hideo! although, the hearing thing, the xcom agent would turn around, and then based on reaction time fire or not. also, good idea with run/walk mode. i think there should be a button labbeled "sneak" or "creep"(sp?=creap?) and the unit walkes extremely slow but completely silenced. i guess by slow it uses more tu's so you cant walk as much as normal?
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#5 revenant4

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 01:27 AM

Hey -

I can only answer your first question with certainty.  The idea of a dog unit, has been heavily discussed, and looks like it may be implemented shortly after v1.0 is released.  Also, Night Vision and Thermal Vision have been discussed, but not to the point where I could give you a yes or no answer.  I think eventually, once we have a finished product to tweak, sound and smell will be put in.

Welcome to Xenocide!  If your serious about helping with coding, contact red knight by PM, and he can set you up.

Gold

Personally, I don't know if I'd want to smell them myself...probably don't bath like us earthlings (at least some of us)... :D ...another idea I brought up b4 but in the wrong category was lighting...you could shoot out a light to conceal yourself from the enemies view, or at least the enemy would have to get closer to see you....this would go hand in hand with the nightvision goggles as those would enhance the soldiers view at night or in the darkness

The only problem w/ all of this is that the aliens would be at a disadvantage w/ these arsenals on the humans side...you might give the aliens some flash grenades which will blind the soldier wearing the nightvision goggles or something to that degree...whatever we supply for the humans we need to have some kind of counterattack or a new weapon all it's own for the aliens to balance the game...

The reason you don't see the prior thread about the lighting was some Forum Admin., who I won't mention......*cough* Micah *cough*...accidentally deleted it and I was too lazy to put it back up... :D

#6 Breunor

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 06:55 AM

Yes, some good ideas there. Canine units have been mentioned, and it's possible they could be adapted as some sort of animal motion sensor. Perhaps they would 'point' towards the closest alien they can sense or something like that.

I was interested in the sound aspect as well, but it requires a complete rework of the line of sight system, so it's more like v2 or v3 IMO. It would incorporate a fog of war, where you arrive at the site witha complete map of the outdoor areas (which you could easily get coming in to land). Then each soldier has a 180 degree field of view with a variable distance, depending on the environmental effects. Clear daylight versus foggy night, etc. Each unit would also have a sound threshold, hearing enemy units within a certain distance. Each would also create a certain amount of noise, as a reaper is a bit noisier IMO than a sectoid. That noise levels drops with distance, so that as a reaper and a sectoid both approach, you'd hear the reaper first, etc. Weapon accuracy would also change, with the standard accuracy good for a fixed distance and then it starts dropping the further away you get. While a good sniper could hit anything in a typical battlescape, we'd have to put a limit on the possible range to prevent snipers from laying waste to everything. A sneaky walk could be used to reduce your noise output at the cost of double TU usage. Canine units get a much greater noise threshold, making them very useful. But what happens after a grenade goes off? You'd likely code in a system where your hearing is affected by weapon noise, etc. As you can see, it could get as detailed as you want and then some.

As to the tile system, there will be no visible tiles that fix the movement of the soldiers. Technically, there will be very small tiles that everything which is placed uses, but the movement will be much more granular. There will be an indicator which displays the TUs needed for a given action, similar to the Apoc system IIRC.

#7 Hideo

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 07:08 AM

As you can see, it could get as detailed as you want and then some


That's always the problem with this kind of thing. The temptation is to add everything you can think of, when actually a simpler model is more fun. (Observe Civ:CTP, which had lots and lots of new stuff, but lost the focus and clarity of Civ 2) The Xenocide team's plan of implementing a v1.0 which is functionally equal to X-Com is eminently sensible, I think.

#8 Breunor

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 08:54 AM

That's the beauty of the laboratory forums though, we can discuss various ideas like these as much as we like. The more details that are worked out the better, if members develop well balanced ideas that would add to the game, they stand a better chance of becoming a feature in a future version.

Things like the hearing/noise ranges is fairly balanced by default, since it limits/helps both sides. Things like night vision goggles I question a little, because there will almost always be light sources in a battlescape, and then you'd make the visible area extra bright in those spots, so an alien could just 'hide in the light' rather than in the dark. The main thing would be that the battlescape might need different textures or lighting sources coded for the effect to work. I think it might look cool for all night missions to be lit with a starlight green look, but that might not work without a lot of work. Once there's a working battlescape, a coder could play with lighting effects to see if things could be lit using a green tinted light source, but I think it would take more than that.

#9 warhamster

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 11:43 AM

personally, I'd like to see the tile system of movment kept, even if we decide to make the tiles graphically smaller. It simplifies game play and is actually key to getting that xcom feel. I guess this is one those times where reality takes a backseat to game play.

As for sound, it was actually implemented n Apocalypse. During the aliens/ opposing side's turn, you can actually here foot steps. Soldiers, unfortunately never seemed to react to this.


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#10 c4t

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Posted 02 July 2003 - 12:44 AM

yeah i noticed that too, i always heard these weird scrapping type noises, im like, errrr, then an alien woud come out and doo stuff and then i would kill it.
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#11 Nickisimo

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Posted 02 July 2003 - 05:53 AM

I like tile based too...I can't imagine X-com with free floating textures...the tiles should definitely be smaller, but the soliders will probably have to be confined to those large square blocks they walk in.

Music and better sound would be a nice touch. If somehow we could incorporate human sound effects, like radio comms or something without being repetitive or cheap, that could add some more intensity into the game. :happybanana:

#12 Breunor

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Posted 02 July 2003 - 06:49 AM

While the buildings and interiors are being built using a tile system for weapon damage, actual soldier movement is planned to use a gridless system. The tactical planning aspect shouldn't be affected, as you'll still have the TUs displayed for whatever action.

#13 Nickisimo

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Posted 02 July 2003 - 11:24 AM

Actually, the more I think about it(and I have plenty of time to think about this stuff while I punch numbers into a database here at work), a gridless system would be pretty sweet. Big realism boost, and then things would actually have a "blast radius" instead of a "blast box". Kinda nice that way. :D

#14 hippyjon

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Posted 02 July 2003 - 04:00 PM

just an idea, for when it gets implemented; the camera should swing round in the general directoin of a sounds source, wavering a bit so you dont get a precise fix where it is (being more precise the louder/closer the sound is). the camera would be placed just above the head of the agent who is closest to the sound source.
...or something

#15 warhamster

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Posted 02 July 2003 - 07:28 PM

yes, a free floating grid is a nice thing, but i'd still prefer the old system. when you think about it, it seems old and unrealistic, but combat is chaotic and there is really no way to represent it adequately in a turn based enviroment. So, unless we're doing a realtime type of game, i'm gonna stick to my opinion that the old grid system is the best in giving us that xcom feel.


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#16 sir_schwick

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 11:11 AM

Wouldn't the aliens already have Night Vision?