As I was reading through some of the many great ideas on this forum, a thought popped into my head...why not make the HWP's customizable like interceptors and transports?
In XCom Apocalypse, all vehicles had hardpoints for various subsystems. There was a slot(s) for weapons, engines, and cargo/crew/alien storage. Why not take a similar approach in designing the HWP's in Xeno?
Think about the possiblities! Initially, only a few options will be available to the player via the normal purchase screen. Here, he can buy a Tracked HWP base, a Flying HWP base, or a Wheeled HWP base. The tracked base can support more armor and weapons but with a loss in TU's, whereas the Wheeled base is better suited for fast-moving recon units (although it may still be possible to mount a heavy weapon on it) The flying base offers the ultimate in manueverability, but at the cost of armor and weapon capacity.
The armor ratings for these bases may be pre-set (like the Constitution rating of the various craft in XCOMA) or perhaps the armor may be limited by the weight limit of the chassis. Either way, each base would have a set of weapon slots available, with the size of the slots similar to those in XCOMA as well.
The Tracked chassis might have a 2x2 square main turret slot that supports a cannon, rocket launcher, or a Laser Plasma, or Blaster Turret (requires research). The Tracked chassis might also have a 1x2 square slot for smaller weapons modules, such as a mounted machine gun, laser/plasma defense array (requires research-similar to the LDA's from XCOMA), or other small type weapon. In addition, there might also be a slot for "optional" equipment, such as a laser range finder (improves accuracy), target acquistion computer (improves reactions), fire control system (decreases TU cost for firing), extra ammo capacity (extra ammo storage for normal weapons), Improved Energy Capacitors (more ammo/damage for energy weapons...requires research) armor repair drone (automatic repair kit), an IR scanner(improved nightvision) Cloaking Device(alien research-Takes up 2 slots maybe) Smoke grenade discharger(to help screen the HWP if fired on), or even a radar scanner (which would display hidden movement on the screen similar to the motion scanner). Finally, each chassis would also have an engine slot of variable size, to power the HWP. The tracked chassis would have maybe a 2x3 engine slot for more power to carry the extra weight, while a flying chassis might have only a 1x2. This engine option might be unnecessary if the amount of armor cannot be changed (i.e. the MechWarrior series) although the better engines might grant more TU's to the HWP.
The Wheeled Chassis might only have a 1x2 and a 1x3 slot for small/medium weapons, but may have more "Optional" slots. Also, the Wheeled chassis would have the most TU's of the HWP's but little armor.
The Flying Chassis would have a few small weapon slots and lots of Option slots. Perhaps a machine gun turret and a rocket or missile pylon (of lesser strength than the one use on the Tracked frame...this one fits in a 1x2 slot) It would be very cool to have a mobile flyer with an Air-to-surface missile laucher supporting the ground troops. Of course there would be many other weapon options. One could make the flyer into a scout as well. The flyer would have more TU's than the Tracked, but less than the Wheeled, and be the least armored of the three.
The bottom-line limit to the amount of features could be the total weight of the HWP and the ability of the transporter craft to carry it in addition to ground troops.
All these ideas would apply to Alien HWP's as well (i.e. CyberDisks or Sectopods) When destoyed, the equipment they possess would be available as researchable artifacts, and when researched, equipable on compatible HWP slots, although I would imagine the layouts for the Alien tanks would all be identical for each type. (Cyberdisks all have Plasma turrets and maybe Alien Targeting Array or Alien Self-Destruct Module, for example)
Finally, one last idea would be to allow for a "CPU" slot for each chassis. The CPU's would start out crappy and gradually get better (as more research was done) You could even have CPU's that had their own advantages/weaknesses, such as a CPU which devotes more processing time to targeting and thus has more Firing accuracy, or one that recognizes targets faster and has better Reactions, or even a chip that handles manuevers better and allows the tank to move at 1 less TU per square (perfect for scouts). Eventually you could research Alien Photon Computer Technology and have the ultimate processor for your HWP. Of course, many of these improvements could just be handled by Optional equipment instead and make the CPU's unnecessary. Just another idea to make the HWP a "kit" that can be tailored to suit each individual's playing style.
Edited by seabass, 28 December 2005 - 05:28 AM.