AJS Review of the Game

Can you then prepare a mod to decrease explosive damage done to weapons? It looks like still broken feature despite increse in HP pool of weapons.

If so, this is genius! :slight_smile: The ability to save-scum has been the bane of balancing within the TBS genre for years.

I don’t know about that, but I might well be sending one or two guys out who are slightly unequipped in the armour department. :wink:

(I was already planning to only shoot Pandorans in the legs)

It’s nothing genius, it’s since the 70’s there are games with forced ironman and permadeath, no way this is explaining this system.

It’s nothing genius, let say in simple words what would be such system, if you play well the game becomes harder. Try sell that, lol.

I did a test and I don’t believe what is explained in this thread, that the code is here doesn’t mean it is activated. Killed half of roster among highest soldiers generated no clear changes, after like 6 sites search, for a scavenging mission. But ok it was a quick test, get a Chiron at start of this mission is perhaps not enough significant.

@Zzzz it’s the average over a number of battles and it’ll trend over time. It’s not going to immediately swing in your favor because you had one bad battle, and it’s not going to immediately crush you just because you dominated one mission.

Also, the code is definitely called and in use.

1 Like

The real funny part here is that I would not save scum if the game did not have absurdly high recruiting costs - a few too many high level soldier losses and its game over anyway.

It’s a bit of a viscous circle.

1 Like

It is not about save scumming. It is about how your soldiers look after battle. You can use as many saves as you want but when you will come from battle unscratched then difficulty will go up.

Agreed. We’ve got a bit of a weird balance right now where it’s trivially easy to get a soldier to max rank without them even seeing combat, but it’s incredibly expensive to recruit new soldiers.

So it’s very hard on you to lose men, even new rookies, but their veterancy and experience doesn’t really count for much.

I think we could do with a step towards XCOMs “Rookies can’t hit the broad side of a barn and are a dime a dozen” approach, drastically slow down the leveling rate and increase the impact of higher ranks.

1 Like

Ok the effect of difficulty auto scaling is on time, it’s a lot more difficult to test then.

This lead to a question, how many soldiers death per day is required to have a normal difficulty scaling along progression? :slight_smile:

In the game current context where confidence in dev game tuning is very low (obviously it’s a team overloaded here, if they can’t clean an UI how could they for difficulty setting), this system is a rather unfortunate choice. It’s not necessarily a bad design when it will work properly but I continue believe it shouldn’t be forced to players, automatically harder if you perform better isn’t an obviously great feature.

1 Like

I didn’t mean literal time. It updates whenever you finish a tactical battle.

At a high level it works like this:

  1. Start Mission
  2. Predict Outcome - Lets say it expects a score of 100
  3. – Fight the Mission –
  4. Calculate Score - Lets say you get 110
  5. Add the score difference to a log of the last few battles. In our case you’d have a score of 10
  6. Now lets say your last few battles in the log have difference results of {10, 15, 2, -5, 4}. Average of 5.2
  7. The game now uses this modifier (and some tuning values) to move the deployment value a fraction either up or down (depending on whether your average is positive or negative), the exact amount depends on the magnitude of the average.

So this means you’ll have to do badly for a protracted time before it start to trend downwards. When you first start losing your average of the past few battles will still be positive, so for a while the game will keep getting incrementally harder.

Ok so roster of 16, 6 among the higher level soldiers dead, even if in one battle, should have a significant consequence, or the history weight is excessive. It’s also possible my test was too superficial, that is next combat should have been finished to get a complete feeling.

Ouch. :scream:
I dug further into it and the aliens completely ignore the deployment value for everything but reinforcements. Everybody else does seem to obey it.

Instead the aliens use their evolution points / 2000. This value never goes down and gets increases from several factors, so the longer you drag out the campaign the worse it’s going to get.

As far as I can tell (and I’ve looked thoroughly this time), they evolve from time (per-day), per-mission loss and per-base destruction.

Here’s some info that I dumped from the game:

Info Dump
Evolution Per Day: 10
Evolution Per Loss: 50

=== Base Type Info ===
ID: Citadel_GeoAlienBaseTypeDef Name: PANDORAN CITADEL Evo Points on Destruction: 225
ID: Lair_GeoAlienBaseTypeDef Name: PANDORAN LAIR Evo Points on Destruction: 75
ID: Nest_GeoAlienBaseTypeDef Name: PANDORAN NEST Evo Points on Destruction: 25
ID: Palace_GeoAlienBaseTypeDef Name: PANDORAN PALACE Evo Points on Destruction: 5

Little bit more info. It uses this to generate enemies that sit inside bases, then when you get attacked it gets all of the enemies from the nearby bases and throws them at you with various budgets depending on the threat level. Scripted missions are special, and all of the rules get bent or broken for them.

I should probably put up a separate thread for reverse engineering this stuff.

Mmm so my test wasn’t that bad, I just didn’t played enough the mission to see probable effects on reinforcement.

That said for most missions involving the aliens, most enemies are reinforcement.

Only speaking for myself, but I’d snap their hands off. Too many games, IMHO, have either a fake scaling method to simulate progression (you’re given something that provides the chance to get strong in someway, then the enemy is given something, then you are, then they are, then you both are…) you’re not getting better at the game, you’re given the illusion of that by finding new shiny equipment and perks. It’s why, for me, AIs will never replace the fun of the right human opponent, even setting the level of an AI just right doesn’t quite do it, as you’ll still learn how to play a better as you go along, whereas it usually won’t. I put a lot of games down in the final 3rd as I feel I’ve outstripped them and become bored.

With scaling difficulty, I think it’s a thing that depending on the genre can work well or badly. I wouldn’t want to experience it in a casual game where I’m just trying to relax. But in a TBS game I think the game lives or dies based on whether your opponent gives an equivalent level of challenge or not. Chess and Scrabble are two good examples here, they’re both cracking games if you’re playing against someone who you have a fair chance to win or lose against, but border on torture if you’ve got an opponent who is stronger or weaker.

The fact that PP is using a scaling difficulty is something that I find really encouraging. It’s still not a human opponent, but it brings the experience of playing against an AI one step closer to it. I can imagine that it is a tough challenge to balance, but if Snapshot can get it right then once everything is patched up I’ll be really looking forward to playing through PP in a natural way.

Funny. The lair he was playing (when was was being mind controlled all the time) was the exact same I was talking about in Lairs are a boresome slog, needs reinforcements either removed or curbed. You climb the ladder, you see far and have a clear view of the surroundings. Everything’s fine. But a Siren was hidden beneath the ledge and screams.

So if you ever go on this map, just explode the rocks on the side to make your own path and avoid going on top. It’s a trap !!

Other than that, I find his review well made and accurate with how I feel. But I so would have liked to see Angry Joe doing the review like he had done for both FiraXCOM.

I don’t disagree that auto scaling on player recent results in a campaign is a good option, I’m saying that it’s probably difficult to sell well, and that there should be an option to disable it.

Face it they sold the tactical adaptation but not this and this is quite different.

EDIT:
If I knew there was such mechanism I would have start a campaign at minimum difficult for first play.

To be honest, I don’t know if the difficulty scaling is good or bad - having enemy scale up or down is strategy game sounds like a bad idea. That said, for what I have seen I wouldn’t call PP a strategy game. And if the goal is to keep difficulty go up and down in individual tactical engagements it sounds like a fair system, as long as one isn’t aware of its existence.

Zero Punctuation:

Nice :slight_smile:

He’s doing a live let’s play of it at the mo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7ieQjWoAFM

1 Like

With more thought on that auto scaling, if it was well done, save and reload often should not change much, ok the game evaluate for like a better player, except this player will continue save and reload so is really better.

If then the difficulty scaling lost players it’s because of a bad design of the curve not because of the auto scaling principle and use save and reload.

It’s possible that this auto scaling isn’t well tuned for example, but save and load shouldn’t change much.

For playing with true scam loading, which is totally boring, that’s different, I doubt many players do that.