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#1 Wujubird

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 04:06 PM

The handling of the tech tree in all XCom 1,2 and Apoc has been extremely linear. In the case of XCom 1, all of the different weapon trees produce a progression of increasingly more powerful weapons, and have no purpose beyond that. Research into alien artifacts resulted in nothing more than being able to manufacture them.
(slight exception being the new craft)

I love the first three games, but this doesn't make much sense. You couldn't find a mysterious object (gun, computer, home rotisserie) and figure out how it works and how to recreate it without understanding the underlying principles. What metals does the barrel of the gun need to be made from to withstand the forces involved? What propellent is used in the bullets? How do the projectiles move through the air? In the case of a computer: What materials make the best conductor/semiconductor/insulator? How is information stored in RAM, or on a physical medium?

Given that these scientists (and remember we're talking about some of the best scientists in the world), they would certainly come up with ideas for combining those technologies in novel ways, or even developing them further than the aliens ever had.

e.g.: Research into plasma technology reveals that plasma weapons are powered by fusion of a certain element, which must be contained by an energy field when preparing to fire, to protect the user from harmful radiation and to enable efficient aiming of the projectile.

From this, your scientists could discover a way of harnessing the energy field in other applications. It could either be used as a defensive measure for troops, or incorporated into existing aircraft so that the body would require fewer conventional materials and hence be lighter, faster and have better fuel economy.

The scientists might also discover a way of incorporating the plasma technology into an explosive device, or discovering new tools that could be used by your engineers to make construction faster.

The creators had the right idea with the building of new craft in the first three, but again, the fact that the new craft existed had no bearing whatsoever on previously researched technology, and there were no equivalents to them in the tech tree.

Of the first three games, the aspect that kept me playing, and really distinguished the games from the competition, was the research. The missions were a huge amount of fun, but always made better by new equipment and new craft.

Why not make Xenocide even more research driven than the others?

Why not have divergent tech trees? Players could pick between researching fusion or transdimensional energy as basis for weapons and power, or they could pick between researching manufacture of alien alloys or growing bizarre organic compounds. e.g. assuming there is an ultimate craft that is instrumental to completion of the game, a purely metallic version could be researched or a purely organic version. There could also be a joint tech tree, fusing organic and metallic and producing an entirely different set of items

To sum up: the tech tree should be much more intrinsic to the gameplay, rather than just an accompaniment. Incorporating a much more intricate tech tree would require new graphics and descriptive text, and virtually no changes to the engine, but would add an enormous amount to the game.

#2 Otterboy

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 06:36 PM

I know i love tech trees and the idea of having a non liner tech tree would be a great addition IMHO. Such an idea though would require lots of effort for the creation of the actual weapons and balancing them within the game and with lots of extra stuff for us to write for each part of the tech tree.

However the pay off could be great if you get it right, if the tech tree is really large the it could be possible you couldnt research it all before the aliens mount attacks too large for you to defend against, so you have to decide where you want to go with your research.

New alloys or organics it is up to you :)

That would also mean we could combine all the techs from all the XCOM games into one with gauss, plasma, sonic, fusion and disruptor style guns available if you are willing to research them and a whole host of hybrid technology.

Like i said would need a lot of technologies and maybe even some more techs that are just gateways to other techs rather than alwys giving a direct pratical application.

Such a freeform style tree would also allow great replayability and would work even better if as suggested somewhere XCOM TTFD is incorporated to activate 2/3rds of the way through the origional xenocide gameplay.

That way the game lasts longer and more research can be undertaken.

The possobilities are massive but definately something for the future.

Edit[a few typos]

Edited by Otterboy, 11 March 2004 - 11:45 PM.


#3 Yaromir

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 03:15 PM

Make divergent schools of thought for weapons(i.e. plasma, laser, EM accelerated, explosive accelerated..)

On top of that, make it so from game to game same weapon will do slightly different ammounts of damage (randomize by a %). I found that in most games, once I learned the tech tree, I simply shot for the most powerful weapon/armor/whatever else. Randomize it a little, and replayability factor goes up two notches.

Let me know if you are confused yet :D

#4 Otterboy

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 08:14 PM

Hmmm randomising the weapons damage seems a bit silly to me, but maybe if in each game the oppositon could counter a particular weapon more efffectively.

Say in one game the aliens role out some anti laser armour that decreases laser damage a bit (15-20%)

You would find it and know what they were up to, would make different weapons more important instead of gunning for the big guins like you said.

Of course maybe you could just extend the vulnerability of some weapons concept so that certain weapons are required throughout the game, like sectopods and their plasma strength.

Say something really strong against plasma (silibrate) and something strong against it (sectopod)
Do the same for lasers and maybe even make something that requires a normal tech gun to take down effectively because the enrgy based forms of lasers and plasma are absorbed easily (energy based being?)
That way guns with bullets would be useful throughout the game to take down a certain class of alien.

#5 Robo Dojo 58

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 06:11 AM

I don't think guns with bullets should ever be useful. They're no where as strong as LASERs(1/2 as strong) or plasma(1/4 as strong). Even if aliens were weak against bullets, it'd be much better to just bring more lasers or plasma.

Instead of making aliens weak to bullets, how about explosives? Every explosive weapon has a decent strength, so they wouldn't be totally usless in most situations. Not many aliens would like Incendiary ammunition, either.
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#6 Otterboy

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 08:16 AM

Why shouldnt bullets be useful?
You assume that because lasers would theoretically work better on us (and plasma) that they would do so for all aliens.

If one type of alien was resistant then it would give a new lease of life to the guns you quickly discard, perhaps even research to improve the normal kinetci form of attack such as guass technology?
I just feel it is shem to put something in the game that is quicky discarded, why not give it a use later? You dont have to use it, but those aliens will go down faster with it.

#7 j'ordos

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 08:19 AM

Just use Heavy or Auto cannon with AP ammo, and voilą, still (fairly) powerful bullets :)
+ you get great versatility, if aliens don't like HE or IC either, too bad for them :naughty:
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#8 Yaromir

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 10:04 AM

Different alliens having different resistances to different weapons sounds like a good alternative. This difference would have to be big enough to be noticeble.

I really hated linear progression of weapons use in X-Com and TFTD. And research system of TFTD had me clenching my teeth in frustration. :)

Maybe I'll re-play X-Com 1 soon (it's been close to 6 years...)

#9 Jonaleth Irenicus

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 02:12 PM

When I read the topic "Tech Web" I went thought you were asking for trouble (like, the tech tree would be more complicated than it was in TFTD, thus more bugs/holes).

Alternate ways of teching up is really good though, but I think it would be hard to manage even if you had two possible ways to tech up. I mean, you have to keep the game balanced while making sure the tech trees remain different enough to make them insteresting.

I think this wasn't even planned in X-Com Apoc (it loks like they had planned an alternate ending -the "One way to Win" entry) so it is original.
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#10 mikker

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 02:28 PM

it would be hard to balance. BUT:

If we combine UFO and TFTD tech trees (sorta), we would be able to produce EITHER (and i mean either) Lasers, or gauss. You later find out about Plasma AND Sonic (aliens would have BOTH, giving them an edge), but you would only be able to research one of them.

Each could have diffrent adventages, like:

laser: unlimmited ammo, faster shots, not so powerfull, unaccurate.

Gauss; high acc., higher damage, slower shots, low ammo.

--

plasma: Medicore ammo, VERY heavy, quite slow, autofire

sonic: Low ammo, low weight, medicore TUs, no autofire

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#11 Otterboy

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 02:02 AM

Mikker, if the tech tree was constructed in such a way that it would take too long to reseasrch eveything them the constraints of time would mean that effectively the situation you bring up would happen.

The initial research on the weapon type could be researched quickly say, giving you a quick run down on the possobilities of the weapon type and if you wish then you can commence the research of that weapon type.

That way you could reasearch say plasma and gauss all the way to the top and have powerful versions of those weapons.

But you could reasearch gauss, lasers and sonic weapons to rifle size instead. It would all be down to the player. Such a system would add replayability into the game and would also move some of the battles decisions from tactics alone to startegy.
Where are you going to allocate your research resources? the effects would stick with you throughout.

One problem would be people researching all the weapons and then leaving other research laggin so that near the end they have lots of guns but no way to ge tto cydonia or soemthing similar.
That would be big problem.

#12 awof

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 10:50 AM

Halo..!
I like this idea being toseed around. Hope it gets implemented.
pros.
extemely variable gameplay methods/tactics
extreme replayability (what if I chose laser instead of gauss..?)
increases value of soldier (say if everyone is laser user specialist, and only one plasma specialist, he would be valuable)

cons.
work..!! weapon models,
ctd texts,
weapon function concepts,
balancing of weapon damage etc.
proper design of the tech tree, (improper design leads to bugs,loopholes!)
design of new personal armours.

#13 Breunor

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 11:49 AM

Didn't Master of Orion (MoO) have a research system where there were several fields of study, and each level cost more points than the last? Perhaps a system like that would work here, where each level of research costs at least twice as much as the previous level, so it makes sense to get the basics of everything and specialize to some extend in a few areas, rather than master just 1 or 2 and be weaker elsewhere. If every alien has a weakness and a resistence, and ALL aliens are a threat in some form, then getting the blaster bomb in 1 area could leave you weak to resistent aliens. In other words, there's no single ultimate weapon to kill everything with one shot. And saturation shooting will run you out of ammo, so you need at least 2 weapon types to suceed.

#14 Otterboy

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Posted 27 May 2004 - 05:33 PM

Aye it did.
The beauty of a system like this is that you could tech up like you want.
You could get the basics of everything and so have a weapon for everything.
But then again you could get really good with 1 or 2 types and just have to fill the resistant types with more shots, it would be your choice and as long as the players knew the consequences of their actions then it would make the game replayable and generally better.

#15 awof

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 12:14 PM

But would it be workable? Are our programmers ok with the idea?

#16 Melker

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 09:05 AM

A reply to awof: Do programmers ever get enough threes and dynamic lists and graphs and whatnot: NO. We love em! At leas I do.

Anyway I totally agree with Wujubird. Researching technology really makes a good game better. One example is Age of Empires.

Research is a means by which you improve your gameplay - it's the same principle incorporated in RPGs. Constantly wanting to improve yourself in the game is like a drug to the gamer. Hence research is a big deal for Xenocide.

One thing I've always missed in the X-Com series is the capability of upgrades.

#17 floater medic

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 01:02 PM

the best tech tree i have encountered so far was probably the one for the old pc game asendency
either that or the sid miers alien crossfire one
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#18 Blehm 98

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 04:49 PM

civ 3 wasn't too bad of a tech tree either
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#19 54x

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 11:10 AM

Ascendancy's 3D tech tree was cool. It would be awesome to see something similar in Xenocide... :)

#20 Paladin

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 11:44 AM

it would be hard to balance. BUT:

If we combine UFO and TFTD tech trees (sorta), we would be able to produce EITHER (and i mean either) Lasers, or gauss. You later find out about Plasma AND Sonic (aliens would have BOTH, giving them an edge), but you would only be able to research one of them.

Each could have diffrent adventages, like:

laser: unlimmited ammo, faster shots, not so powerfull, unaccurate.

Gauss; high acc., higher damage, slower shots, low ammo.

--

plasma: Medicore ammo, VERY heavy, quite slow, autofire

sonic: Low ammo, low weight, medicore TUs, no autofire

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I like that idea, it makes it possible to choose a lot of alternatives...
Then again, all basic pistol designs should be easy to research, at least in how to USE them... It's would normally not take more than a day or two to figure how to point and pull the trigger...
On the other hand, DESIGNING whole new weapons takes more time, and building ALIEN weapons would take a heck of a longer time... So you'd better want it badly... Even if only for the Amno...
:idea: The two reaserch projects we have in XCOM (Weapon+Amno) could instead be : Weapon Principle (takes a while) Weapon USE (fast research) and weapon Manufacture (far longer)


On the topic of XCOM1 and XCOM2 weapons, as this is post V1+, plasma weapons would make absolutely NO sense underwater... they'd have a few cm range... Likewise, Laser would have reduced damage underwater, and sonci would be greatly reduced on the surface, air does not propagate shockwaves as well as water...
It would balance then anyway... (such as greandes having a one or two square range...)
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#21 Blehm 98

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 04:53 PM

actually, couldn't the water focus the laser? And, the laser wouldn't be weaker, but it would be distorted, and it would miss alot more
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#22 Paladin

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 09:09 PM

actually, couldn't the water focus the laser?  And, the laser wouldn't be weaker, but it would be distorted, and it would miss alot more

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Light is not distorted underwater, only refracted, ie: given a stronger incident angle, upon changing a medium in wich the speed of light is slower...

To make a long story short, the problem with water is that there's a LOT of debris (organic or else) that rapidly saps the effect of the laser ... :laser:
Hence, it's practically useless underwater...
Explosions would be terrific, though, because of the water pressure... Depth charge are ten times more efficient than their explosive yield suggests...
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#23 Altair

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 10:09 PM

Lasers wouldn't cut it underwater.

Unpropelled projectiles like bullets and harpoons won't travel very far because of the vicousity of water.

Self-propelled projectiles have range (like a torpedo for instance), but the speed is limited by turbulance which creates a large drag on the projectile.

Sonic weapons would be good underwater (1483m/s at 20 decrees celsius :D ). However sound waves by nature tend to be omnidirectional...

Sorta like how dolphins stun their prey with a loud click.

#24 Blehm 98

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 10:23 PM

and sonic could be distorted by sound waves too, couldn't it?
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#25 azmodean

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 12:54 PM

Interesting thoughts in here, I'd like to point out the thoughts I like then add a few.
Different aliens being resistant to some of the weapons
Weapons having different effectiveness in different environments (air, vacum, underwater, smoke)
These are great as far as making different weapons useful throughout the game, but makes it where you want to research and deploy everything, which is somewhat prohibitive.
The environmental adds a good bit without making it two difficult to manage, you'd probably just have different teams for above/under water and another for space ops (if any) For instance almost everything except sonic weapons would work much better in a vacum. (no air resistance for projectiles, no scattering for lasers) On the other hand, if your armor is penetrated, you die of explosive decompression!
On the other hand, I think it'd be a bit difficult to manage different aliens having different vulnerabilities, unless you know which type you are going to be fighting even before you launch the mission.

Opposing this tendency to research everything, you have the cost of doing so. One thing that would add to this is making the more advanced items ever more costly to research. If it is needed, you could influence the player further to specialise by giving a slight discount to the cost of researching within a given area. (for example, every item that you research within the field of "plasma" reduces the cost to research everything else that involves plasma.)

I really like the idea of having seperate research for "weapon manufacture" and "weapon use". It's always frustrating when you have 50 plasma rifles lying around and you have to wait nearly a month before you can start using them, just doesn't seem to make sense.

#26 T-1

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 09:21 AM

Don't forget the "piercerguns" discussed in the revitalizing firearms thread (hybrid alien/human guns that fire bullets at VERY high velocity). I'd take them over plasma any day. The aliens already had different vulnerabilities in the original. For example, laser was better against the sectopods.

#27 Steelion

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 09:07 PM

They (The military) have special audio systems that project sound in one, solid beam. You stand outside the area of effect, and you can't hear a thing. You step in, and BAM. Pretty loud. So that pould solve the sonic gun's omnidirectional problem.
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