The Sky is Falling

by Kyzrati on 20110808 , under ,

It's been a little while since the last update as I wasted (spent?) a couple days fretting over how to code the interface windows. Eventually decided to put that off and continue with the mechanics--next on the list was gravity.

Gravity is optional for terrain, but obviously adds some fun tactical considerations.

Damage inflicted by/to falling objects is calculated based on mass, or relative mass in the case of multiple objects (obviously there are armor and other modifiers). Objects can displace each other as they fall, and most objects leave rubble if not completely destroyed--a battlefield littered with rubble is a little harder to traverse (higher TU cost). Terrain now also has a stability property which determines how likely it'll fall apart as it loses support from other connected terrain/objects (i.e., the more holes you shoot in a large section of wall/roof/floor, the more likely it is to come crashing down).

Here are the results of one test on a house (an exact replica of an actual X-COM house, btw),
where I opened up on it with my heavy plasma using unlimited TU and ammo :) At present, rubble is represented by semi-colons.

Apparently there were entities in that house after all! I only fired at the first floor walls, and you can see that half of the second floor collapsed, which brought down areas of the roof as well.

Next up: Explosions! Probably won't be so much rubble left after this next update...

Progress Report (copy of public changelog):
  • Units spurt blood when taking critical wounds, and may trail some blood while moving (color of blood, if any, set by race)
  • Added Material class to describe properties common among certain groups of terrain objects
  • Added system of terrain degredation to be followed when terrain objects are destroyed
  • Added terrain/object destruction handling
  • Added [optional] effects of gravity on terrain/objects which have insufficient support from connected terrain
  • Added mass property to units/terrain and relative damage calculations for impacts
  • Added projectile collision handling for all object types
  • Added dynamic updating for light/FOV maps due to terrain/obstruction changes
8 comments more...


  • Creepy

    Finally, a terror site will manage to look like a ruined warzone when we're done without the help of an entire team of rockets. Half-ruined buildings might be fun to use as part of the map construction, too.

  • Kyzrati

    Half-ruined buildings for a map... Yeah, perhaps among the many new battlescape locations there could be battlefields where X-COM is called in to support some local militia, or in some war-torn country the aliens are trying to infiltrate. Good thing about an ASCII game is you can easily add content without having to worry much about putting together associated resources. I intend to take advantage of that.

    The amount of property damage you can do even without explosives is significant, but I think there'll have to be some kind of penalty (perhaps better thought of as "less of a bonus") for gratuitous leveling of entire city blocks. Otherwise it may be too easy to clear maps by literally clearing them of everything out there. May also have to find some way to keep that from being a strategy the aliens would logically want to use.

  • Creepy

    The aliens wanted slaves, breeding stock, earth resources, and food. Their preferred method is through infiltration, not open warfare. Constant bombardment in the style of total warfare does not fit with their goal or methods; blasting until everything is flat destroys all the stuff they want, and would not convince the various governments that they can be bargained with.

    Open fighting like Terror Sites are more about general mayhem then demonstrations of overwhelming power, so they wouldn't just pound the area into submission; maybe a little pounding to soften it before dropping the terror troops to do their rape/pillage work, if the damage isn't just being caused by floaters throwing grenades at the family dog for giggles.

    The only actual mission where open bombardment would be useful is when raiding an X-COM base... except those are deep underground, too well protected for saturation bombing to help, which is why they have to go in with the stormtroopers.

    Yannow, just my two cents.

  • Kyzrati

    That seems to fit with the general consensus I've read elsewhere (I've pored through a huge number of forum posts and other writing about X-COM over the past couple months).

    And at the same time, X-COM essentially has free reign to level whatever it wants because the damage is relatively minimal in the grand scheme of things. Still need some checks on X-COM to keep the average tactical confrontation from evolving into a nukefest. It would be less an issue if the maps were larger, but they're 60x60 max... At least the UFO will be safer with its better armor and salvageable contents.

    It's a bit early to speculate on how much this will impact gameplay and balance; after all, X-COM and its remakes haven't done gravity before.

  • Creepy

    Apocalypse did it, but sometimes it was wonky. And even though they had buildings with a lot more than 4 stories, it usually took some serious doing to level a major building; not the kind of thing that happens by accident, even when you're playing fast and loose with explosives. Major damage yes, total collapse not as much.

    Though when you DID bring down a 6-8 story building and got to watch the entire thing collapse, killing everyone inside, it was a thing of beauty.

  • Kyzrati

    Wow, apocalypse had that?! I played it, and TFTD, but for some reason almost all of my memories are from the original :) and I remember very little about Apoc... Part of that could be because I've replayed the original several times since then, and haven't bothered with the others. I'd have to say the first has the most engaging setting, hands down, being so much "closer to home." I always liked the idea of being able to fight in my own backyard, per se, ever since I made a Doom 2 level of my house back in the day!

  • Creepy

    Yeah, Apocalypse was pretty forgettable compared to the original. Considering how well-regarded the original is, it's kind of a tough act to follow.

    Anyway, here's a video of someone dropping a building in Apocalypse so you can see what that's all about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWvmbFeHX1g

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