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Aliens Ranks Discussions


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#1 Blehm 98

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 10:52 PM

well, i always considered Soldier, Medic, Squad leader, Engineer, Navigator, commander rank system VERY BORING, so i thought there should be a few more of these

So everyone can put in any other alien ranks they think should be added

The following is the general order in status of the alien officer and their intelligence, but i may be slightly wrong in 1 or 2 places

Soldier
Medic
Squad Leader
Engineer
Navigator
Commander

Now, i always thought that an alien rank called Alien Elite would be extremely good. They would only be on certain missions(any of them involving a commander or infiltration missions)
they would be very intelligent, and extremely good soldiers along with having very high armor
They would be armed primarily with plasma rifles but also would bring a lot of stun launchers and blaster launchers too, just because they are variable, and those bring in a lot of flavor. It would also make medium Scout missions slightly tougher, instead of the piece of cake they always are. So what do you think about my lone extra alien rank? Comments? Want to add more? Post here, and i'll whip up a general intelligence scale and post them here and in the workshops when they look good (unless you think those would be mostly post version 1 stuff)

edit: changed topic title to something slightly more fitting, so that this topic can hold both suggestions for alien ranks and adding in new ones ;)

Edited by blehm, 18 August 2005 - 12:20 AM.

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#2 Snakeman

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 12:16 AM

I'm not sure how many more ranks would be good, but speaking in terms of roles here, I've always thought that with the inclusion of a few other items, roles in general would be given a chance to have more applied meaning in that context.

A few examples:

Medics would posses a medkit item that the AI ascribed to them, and would role the dice to see if they'd use said item or not. Meaning that X percent of the time, they might try to revive a downed comrade within X amount of radius to it. If there wasn't one in this radius, they'd continue to fight or what have you.

Another example, one which I'd definitely like to see, is an improved role for Engineers in a game like this. Give them a kit item that's not unlike how medkits function (i.e. 3 options: Repair, Salvage, or Computer Hacking or some such). Imagine if tank units you'd thought you'd killed could get partially or even fully resurrected in some form to continue to harass you. This thought alone makes me think how challenging some missions could become. For instance consider that we sometimes see more tanks on average on terror missions (at least I've seen this recently) and you see what I mean.

If you could sprinkle in 4-5 engineers on those missions that also have 3+ tank units, the possibility of increasing that challenge seems pretty cool. One way I can think of to make the kits useful would be if some of the weapons used to take down tanks probably dealt more stun damage than total destruction, then you open up the means for the enemy to make use of them too. Maybe they also gain the know how to revive yours as well that have taken hits (reprogramed to fight you now).

Now when we talk higher ranked aliens, I think they should have a range of possibilities with them. Not just in how they're armed, but what interactions within the battlescape they might do too. Some may have a blending of abilities across the board where some units appear to have specialty roles to perform when not trying to kill you.

#3 Blehm 98

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 12:18 AM

i actually like your idea about engineers, and i also agree with you in that Medics should actually do something other than tattle on their friends
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#4 Sporb

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 01:55 AM

i quite fancy the idea of Beserkers, Linebackers and storm troopers. Beserker would just be a regular alien like a toid with maxed health and a love of grenades, he would be sent to get in your agents faces while other aliens position themselves. Linebackers would be the aliens with the big guns who like to sit back and open up the whoopass from a distance. Not like those damned fool Xcom aliens who walk up to you and stun themselves to death on your men. The storm trooper would be like a beserker only they would take cover lots , IE push forward and nail a bunch of men , then cover themselves

#5 Blehm 98

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 09:03 AM

i can see those as valid variations of the Soldier alien rank actually... like sub-ranks. hmmmm, those are also good ideas sporb
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#6 Snakeman

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 05:44 PM

You could also split AI behavior also between units of same rank.

For instance:

Navigator/Pilot- If there is only one and its a map with its ship in it, the Navigator/Pilot will be working towards repowering the craft (if it was shot down, or was landed) after so many turns. If a second Navigator/Pilot was present, he'd behave like those Stormtrooper units Sporb mentioned...It will seek out X-COM units, performing hit and run (and hiding) tactics unless or until the other Navigator/Pilot unit got killed or incapacitated, then it will try to take its place picking up wherever it left off (assuming that the equipment in the room they work in is still functioning i.e. Bridge stations).

Now if all the enemies Navigator/Pilot units were killed and there's still a Leader or higher present, those units also have a chance to step into their role, or whichever role needs filling at the time - from medics to engineers to navigators/pilots. They've also got the option to forego that and either continue to fight to the death, get the craft into the air again (ending/aborting their mission), or setting their self destruct (which also ends/aborts their mission - and yours probably:))

However there may be an inforseen problem when it comes to tactics. For instance if a medic unit was needed and you were staking out a unconscious unit of theirs to ambush them when they come. It might then be prudent that another factor be presented into the AI, and that would be something like:

-If x objective fails x many times - do not send another medic/engineer unit. Send soldier or tank units or surround the objective (the unconsious unit but also hopefully your units who are laying in wait). Basically some kind of circumventive behavior gets instilled in the enemy which affects their pathfinding routine to tweak it enough that it'll seem like they're going to break that sort of stalemate. This presumes there are alternate ways of getting to an area.

If there isn't, maybe it can be a 50/50 coin toss whether they'll "make" a way via blasterbombs or plasma to wall sections.

#7 sir_schwick

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 03:39 PM

It seems as though the species were desgined with specialities and an overall doctrine in mind. This means that ships should be multi-special. Also, many times they should know they are in trouble with a serious fight and just try to leave. That said, here are details:


Troopers - These guys do provide some muscle and firepower, but they are not as skilled and tend to act defensively rather than offensively. Common species are Sectoids, Floaters, and Snakemen. Uncommon species are Mutons.

Soldiers - These guys are those who do the attacking and are trained for serious firefights and war. They have better equipment, much better skills and tend to try and annihilate you. Common species include Mutons ,Snakemen, and Ethereals. Uncommon species include Floaters.

Engineers/Scientists/Navigators - These guys are there to do specific duties and not really fight. They are armed but that is usually a last resort. Usually they try and either get out of the way or pack everything up so they can leave. Sometimes Engineers will be brought along on base assaults to handle your fixed defenses. Combat skills suck, although movement and evasion are allright and psi tends to be higher. Common species include Sectoids and Ethereals. Uncommon species include Snakemen and Floaters.

Medics - They are either a Trooper or Soldier medic, which determines abilities and doctrine. In general they will try to drag comrades to cover before operating. Weapons are lighter and desinged for suppression rather than lethality.

Leaders - The leader, not necessarily Leader, is based upon the mission being played out. Offensive missions tend to have Soldier types, while others have Scientific, Engineering, Navigation, and even Trooper leaders. This helps determine overall tactics of all aliens in battle.


Mission Specific Behavior:

Recon - These guys were not equipped for a full fight and will try to get out of there. Aliens will venture out enough for recon but be ready to get out quickly. If they crashed, then they might blow the ship and try and find a defensible position till a rescue crew comes.

Scientific Missions - They will usually try to not leave anything behind and avoid search and destroy. However their might be a hutning party and ship security party. Crashed ships tend to use their ship as cover and fight more defensively.

Assult/Terror Missions - The ship is lightyly defended, but many teams go and hunt for the enemy or civilians. Expect a lot more guided munitions and spotters for them. Crashed aliens will attempt to steal your ship.

#8 crazy_higer

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Posted 21 August 2005 - 07:00 AM

Reading Snakeman's post, I just couldn't not have asked myself (offtopic, as usual):

If the X-Com troops can get back into the craft and abort the mission at any given time, why can't the aliens do likewise, if the AI considers the chances overwhelming? I mean, if the craft is operational, and all aliens are in, why not? After so many turns, of course, or else the "landed craft" missions would become illogical. Say, they have to give it some time to power up or do an oil-check, or something. :)

That could give some extra spice to the missions. I mean, not only you're confronting a supperior force (a Large or V.Large), also you have only that much time to finish them off.

#9 Blehm 98

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Posted 21 August 2005 - 11:15 AM

that would give you a good reason to rush the command center actually... or to kill the navigator and repair soldiers
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#10 Snakeman

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Posted 21 August 2005 - 03:46 PM

That could be one of the tactics blehm. Another would be to find the engine room, take everyone out that's in there, then crack open the power scources to steal the xenium within. Even if there are spares in the ship, and the power sources could be repairable by the enemy, they've still got to retake the engine room to do it.

In examining the potential usefulness of this tactic by the enemy, I think they ought to be given more stun weaponry. This way the AI could better disseminate what areas are critical for their objectives in order to employ stun weapons or not.

Bridges, Command Centers, Engineering areas come to mind off the top of my head. I would say too that it priorities of retaking an area should have a correlation in some way with the type of mission - how serious it is to the Overmind to get done. Otherwise the AI could resort to the standard destructive stuff if it isn't (goes back to the fight to the death stuff).

In addition, perhaps the AI priorites of specialty units, like engineers for example in this circumstance - if there are downed but recoverable tank units, they will not supercede retaking areas that need repairing over a repairable tank.

An exception to this might be dependent on how many engineering units they've got employed but also where they are in the map at the time. If there's more than one in the ship, at least one engineering unit must stay in the ship and on task.

However, since we're also discussing giving leaders and above more robust capabilities apart from their combat talents, its likely the programming would probably allow for every special unit that isn't a leader and above to act in essence, like the troopers mentioned (most of these would be hit and run units in behavior).

Anyway, other main point about downed or damaged UFOs - There should be some way that the AI can prioritize what it needs to do, or if they will simply just try to wipe you out and wait for pickup after the fact. I like the thought that some of these missions would be timed not only by how many "turns" you might need to get it done, but perhaps too, by how many "on task" aliens they've got with them. Taking one or two out can extend your turn deadline so to speak.

#11 Brick-To-Face

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 12:02 AM

I love the alien dust-off idea, especially for grounded ufos, what would be MOST awesome, is if you had a soldier on board, it would be the mission would end (getting score for everything you killed and the corpse, and weapons) but there would be an immediate mid-air mission where you are being hunted by the remaining aliens, AND I MEAN HUNTED! There should be an extra good AI for this, since it can be specialized for each ship. If you manage to take out all the non-navigators (they are auto-killed after you kill everyone else) then IF you have researched Alien Navigation there's a good chance that the soldier lands the UFO and you get another mission complete. Or there's a crash site with a random human corpse in there, (no you can't sell it). I know this is a big jump from the original, but maybe v2.0?
Anyway, another idea I have is the Ethereal Tactician or Squad Leader, NKF also talked about this, I believe there's a post about it, but basically it's an etereal that comes along with the mutons, It doesn't psi, and uses very few tus to wander around the UFO, it greatly increases the mutons' intelligence, and the more of them you kill the more it concentrates on the remeining ones, making them smarter and smarter. If you can sneak past this hellhole and kill the Ethereal, they revert to their notmal stupidity and wander around like regular idiots. If you manage to kill the last one the Ethereal becomes mobile again and reverts to an uber-AI similar to the hunters I mentioned before, and kicks yours.
My last idea regards a rank. The sectoid leader should have a suicide pill. To protect the secrets of psi, it uses the pill once everyone else is dead and it sees a human soldier. So either you sneak past an alien to get to the leader, or you stun the alien on the same turn as it notices you, if it sees one of your guys, it takes the pill. You don't need to research it, and it's a collectible, meaning you can't manufacture or buy it (OR get it out of the sectoid) your guys can use it too, better than a chryssalid death.

#12 dteviot

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 02:30 AM

The following is the general order in status of the alien officer and their intelligence, but i may be slightly wrong in 1 or 2 places

Soldier
Medic
Squad Leader
Engineer
Navigator
Commander

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