How to improve base-building and base defense missions

I really miss defense part of old xcom - in PP you can completely neglect it. Here’s how I would improve it while keeping it in line with PP mechanics and without xcom tedium.

  • Base attacks come with no warning, as it should be - resources spent on defense will improve the outcome
  • In order to avoid unit transport which is a pain, you can buy up to x defenders from single living quarters and they cost food to maintain. These guys are cannon fodder, I don’t want to equip them or deal with them - give them rookie class/basic equipment or similar
  • Introduce Armory facility so I can buy/control what equipment they get and what level they will be (idea is easy resource management on base level) - better Armory better equipment & level
  • Introduce facility blast door (explained below)

Enemy units spawn in both access lift and hangar with strong preference for one. Your defenders spawn around base with slight preference to ie living quarters. If you have your proper forces stationed, they spawn too. The objective of the mission is to separate your forces from the enemies by closing the blast doors or kill all enemies (easy at beginning, hard later). Mission is finished when all your soldiers are in a separate base “graph” with no living enemies there. If you fail, base is lost (generates a difficult “reclaim base” mission). If you succeed, you have set time to get your proper forces there and clean up the base of enemies. While timer is running, enemies are slowly destroying parts of the base they have access to.

Additional mechanics:

  • As PP bases are randomly generated, some rooms need to be “exchangeable” - so ability to swap 2 rooms for small cost
  • Having stronger preference for one point of entry gives player more choice in where to put blast doors as Hangars would hardly be swappable (especially early in the game when building/demolishing costs are too much). So if you can isolate both - great. Else isolate main point of entry if you’re on a budget.
  • I suppose energy generators would be critical to protect as without them there is no power for the blast doors
  • Perhaps the introduction of Corridor facility would not be bad to make defensive planning more interesting. Cheap to build but expensive to remove (what has been dug stays dug). Also would make room transfer cheaper/faster (dig a corridor, move lab there, the room lab was in becomes corridor)

Some great ideas to consider. We all know PP Base Defence missions have their own problems. Thanks for posting.

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These are some fine ideas. I, personally, don’t think the blast door part is doable or even considerable, as the sheer complexity magnitude this change brings would deserve its own DLC.

Consider writing it down on . Best would be to split it to different ideas, I guess, but it is up to you (but in case of “all-or-nothing”, I think “nothing” is a bit more realistic outcome :stuck_out_tongue:).

DLC probably, I agree. As for complexity (from programming standpoint) it’s not - I don’t suggest something I couldn’t relatively easy implement myself. Air combat currently developed is several times more complex and time consuming that this (in terms of coding, UI, mechanics etc)

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This is never a programming challenge, that is the easiest part. :wink: Doing research on how it would affect fun factor, balance (:roll_eyes:), cost (:exclamation:), how many work-hours for devs and QA, is it safe in current architecture, risk & reward, sales and shitload of other things not related to coding is a challenge a company most likely will never release as an “improvement”. You are talking about base management refactor - we had to wait few months just to get PP bases in non-totally-random locations. :stuck_out_tongue:

But it was planned months (actually years) ahead and all the stuff mentioned above were, most likely, considered. If you don’t mind waiting for such feature year or two (if ever, because it is still just a forum idea no one agreed on yet), sure, go for it. :slight_smile:

Valid points - standard dev blind spot. I find it funny how one person was enough 20 years ago for solidly thought out mechanics and today it’s not (even with insane amount of historical work to draw on).
I would argue that years of planning could come up with something better than a tack-on, but that’s just me.
Anyway, doubt I’ll wait 2+ years, life goes on and priorities change. It’s just a weak point I have to try to find better solution when I see a bad one.

Sometimes you can be really dumbfounded what one can build in their own basement. Guys working 8-15 for someone else can’t pull most of these things off. And when you put enough of those guys together you get into a situation where the more of them you add the more mess you have. Rising costs, people not knowing what’s going on, command strutctures etc. and product not getting any better than at the start but worse. And you have like dozens of people who have their own opinion what’s wrong. Usual problems with big projects.

I’m pretty familiar with that (working for a big bank) - but even in that soul-crushing environment solid core of people who actually care keeps it running.
Not holding my hopes up much for PP - DLC approach can’t work when people are afraid of breaking things, and I don’t really see this.

I agree. Someone posted before that PP was not made in mind with changeable mechanics. And they don’t want to touch anything that was set in stone without any solid reason. I find ,building this so, odd in the first place. But maybe there was reason for that.

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That reason eludes me (well, as long as I try not to be a jerk it does). I mean, I understand game dev is insanely risky and expensive and DLCs are a way to help alleviate those issues. Getting all the mechanics right in the first try is pure lottery (with lousy chance of winning).
So you play the game with that in mind, you see what they got right (battlescape is really solid), you see where it’s lacking (geoscape) and you understand the reason why. And then what gets “improved” - battlescape (hey, new enemies, hey, new class…)
And it’s not just PP - I see this pattern all over the place (ie Battletech).

Maybe I misunderstood DLC model. What sells it for me is the potential I see in the game. Maybe it’s due to existance of half-baked mechanics - for FiraXcom, right from the first minute you were playing, it was clear that any DLC is going to be a tack-on.

I think this is a more broader problem which is overfocusing on graphics: what can we show instead of well-thought gameplay. It’s not only games but movies that were massively polutted by improvement in last decades. You diverting so many resources to making graphics so later you are extremely biased to not mess with anything that would introduce the need to remake them. That’s why 20 years ago you had more thought out mechanics because those mechanics were like “the main game”. And graphics was secondary only there to present those mechanics. Nowadays those gameplay mechanics are only to allow graphics to be presented and graphics designers rule the game companies.


Keep i mind: you can’t monetize improvements. There are plenty of reasons why it is done this way, you (as an existing player and customer) are not aware of them or consider them not important. This isn’t “fair” for us, but the fact is player acquisition will always be the top priority.

I for one would just appreciate some animated images instead of the terrible room cards.


I think it’s safe to assume that any change to base defense isn’t going to imbalance it or ruin it beyond its disappointingly imbalanced and uninteresting point it’s already at. (player’s favor to the point of it not even needing to exist. Just slap an “I win button” on it and it’d be an improvement)

I’d argue that improving the game in very basic ways (free especially) would do more to get them more players and more revenue than charging for cheap DLC that messes the game up more. (Decided not to completely derail topic)

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I agree with facilities, but so far dev team has come up with training gyms (sound familiar from Faxis background?).

Too bad you are not one.

Training Gyms


Kevin Hill

The problems we want to resolve:

•Different damage types aren’t explained to the player.

•The differences between weapons aren’t explained to the player.

•The differences between enemy and mutation types aren’t always obvious.

Our broad solution:

•Present the player with more detailed tutorials/onboarding of concrete mechanics.

•Allow players to get the feeling of weapons, skills, and enemies in isolation.

•Allow players to engage in mindless fun (since ammo & health are no issue).

A training Gym represents a simplified playable level which contains ONE single key element.

The entire environment is white (“VR look”) with only the focused characters and items (chests) in-game textures.

Player characters have endless ammo and cannot get their health under 30%. Player WP and AP are restored to full at the start of every player turn.

Explanation texts are displayed on the side of the map, explaining the actions/mechanics/items similar to the tutorial display.

Players can go to the next and previous parts of the explanation texts, or close (or open) the window entirely.

Each training Gym is triggered by an event (new technology researched/new item seen) after which it can be accessed from the PHOENIXPEDIA (TBD).

The player must manually choose to leave the gym (there are no loss conditions) (TBD).


•The player can use any equipment that is currently researched or unlocked).

•The gym can have any enemy the player has encountered.

•The player can manually reset the simulation.

March 13, 2020