Unit suggestions?

gnome

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With the news of the new release there was mention of using pre-designed units for now, instead of a unit workshop.

I've been a fan of this idea anyway because it allows for a unique appearance of the units instead of cookie-cutter chassis, weapons, and armor.

But I would also think that the units should seem familiar to those who played the game a lot. Maybe we could use this thread to describe units we ALWAYS made in AC... or some more successful unusual ones from the past.
 

Anon Zytose

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The obvious first choices would be the Scout Patrol, Colony Pod, Terraformer, Probe Team, Transport Foil, and all the native life units.

In addition, I would like to see pretty much every weapon and armor component in the game, even if it means placing them in predesigned units. For example: Plasma Garrisons, Missile Squads, Fusion Rovers, Singularity Deathspheres, and Stasis Sentinels. I suppose if a type of weapon and type of armor are likely to become available at the same time, there might be additionally a unit with both tech prerequisites.

But yeah... in the game, I tend to just go with first choosing the type of unit I need, then going with the best weapon/defense I can for whatever. And it changes all the time. I do tend to rely more often than not on trance units, though.
 

Maniac

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With the news of the new release there was mention of using pre-designed units for now, instead of a unit workshop.

Scrap the "for now". ;)

One consequence of predesigned units, is that using combinations of chassis and weapons as the basis of units becomes unworkable. That many variations would be a nightmate to put in XML. Also it isn't good to have all units concentrated in a few techs. Units should be spread all over the tech tree.

So naming units after weapons, eg Laser Infantry, Laser Rover, Laser Foil... won't work. Unless you can come up with some reason why a weapon only works on a specific chassis. Eg a Mass Driver gives heavy recoil,therefore it can only be used as heavy artillery, not for an infantry unit.

Another option is naming units after special abilities/promotions. The Drop Trooper is an example. It also saves the trouble of coding in the ability for promotions to increase drop range.
The question then becomes which abilities to keep as promotions, and which one to turn into a full unit. Eg should there be a Marines unit with inherent amphibious ability? Depends on the tech tree I suppose, whether or not there are already enough units enabled in that part of the tech tree.

Anyway, here are some preliminary thoughts I've been having. There still needs to be much more ideas for certain domains, eg naval units.

Impact Squad/Gauss Riflemen
Scout Patrol->Infantry->Marines->Drop Troops->Skinsuit Trooper/Mobile Infantry


This line of infantry could get increasing special abilities. Marine get amphibious. Drop Troops marine *and* drop ability...

Flame Thrower->Plasma Thrower

These could get a bonus against mind worms and other infantry. But what after Plasma Thrower? This line needs some more tiers to fill the entire tech tree. Antimatter Thrower is kinda stretching believability. A single soldier carrying an antimatter producer?

Armor->?
Unity Rover->Recon Rover->Rover/Speeder->Hovertank
Chopper->Gravship


Perhaps the Hovertank could further upgrade into a Gravship. This line would have a logical evolution to more speed and abilities (hovertank ignores terrain movement cost, gravship can in addition cross water).

Penetrator->Solar Power Transmitter->Gravity Lens
Interceptor


Not really happy with this one. I'd kinda miss my needlejets. But perhaps needlejets could simply be the first air unit. To be replaced by stuff like Solar Power Transmitters which, instead of throwing bombs on you, simply shoot laser rays from space.

Coastal Guard->Foil
Cruiser
Submarine


Naval unit ideas lacking.

Artillery->Mass Driver

Land Artillery. Needs some more tiers to fill the entire tech tree.

Cyborg->Gravebringer

Perhaps, being robotic units, these could not cause war exhaustion? Cyborg wasn't a combat unit in SMAC, but they are of course a part of the SMAC universe. Re Gravebringer, it would be a waste not to use their graphics somehow. Could be renamed to something more SMACish of course.

Walker->Spider->Battle Ogre

This line would be the biggest deviation from SMAC. But Battle Ogres are part of SMAC of course, so one can imagine some earlier technology which culminates in them. Perhaps only as unique Progenitor units. In any case, real reason for including the Walker unit, is because it's a perfect fit for the Mind/Machine Interface technology, which has been kinda a useless tech until now.

Force Field ->Photon Wall-> Tachyon Field

Tachyon Field is a base facility of course, but perhaps it could also be a mobile shield generator unit. This unit line could have air interception ability.
Perhaps an 'AAA Garrison' or SAM Infantry could preceed a Force Field unit.

psi adept ->empath->archon->transcend

Could be a line of 'spellcasters'.

Unity Foil->Transport Foil->Transport cruiser

We need transport ships of course. But the transport cruiser is already available relatively early in the tech tree of course. I'm not sure if there need to be further transport upgrades. There are only so many variations of the word 'transport' one can think of. :hmm:


Further units. These don't need upgrades:

Carrier
Cloudbase
Planet Buster
Leviathan
Fungal Tower
Mind Worms
Spore Launcher
Locust
IoD
Sealurk


Here are some SMAC names from alphax.txt which could be used for unit names. But of course there needs to be some reason to connect a unit to a certain technology.

Sentinels, Garrison, Speeder, Skirmisher, Dragon, Enforcer, Skimmer,
Behemoth, Guardian, Skimship, Hoverboat, Coastal, Destroyer, Cutter,
Gunboat, Battleship, Monitor, Thunderbolt, Sovereign, Rotor, Lifter,
Gunship, Warbird, Deathsphere, Doomwall
 

GeoModder

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Flame Thrower->Plasma Thrower

These could get a bonus against mind worms and other infantry. But what after Plasma Thrower? This line needs some more tiers to fill the entire tech tree. Antimatter Thrower is kinda stretching believability. A single soldier carrying an antimatter producer?

Firing antimatter would be more of a kinetic weapon anyway. I had thought of "exoplasm" but can't find a realistic technobabble background for it. Another possibility is nanotube/nanite thrower. It fires a stream of nanites at the target programmed to, well, your imagination is the limit. The background story here could be that in order to let this weapon work quickly in a destructive way it needs quite a high amount of nanites.

Armor->?
Unity Rover->Recon Rover->Rover/Speeder->Hovertank
Chopper->Gravship


Perhaps the Hovertank could further upgrade into a Gravship. This line would have a logical evolution to more speed and abilities (hovertank ignores terrain movement cost, gravship can in addition cross water).

Do it the other way around here. Start with "protected" before going to "armored". Protected meaning the most critical parts are covered by an additional layer of armor, while armored goes for the whole vehicle. Then you have 3 layers: normal (no armor at all), protected, and armored.

Penetrator->Solar Power Transmitter->Gravity Lens
Interceptor


Not really happy with this one. I'd kinda miss my needlejets. But perhaps needlejets could simply be the first air unit. To be replaced by stuff like Solar Power Transmitters which, instead of throwing bombs on you, simply shoot laser rays from space.

I can't buy the Gravity Lens Interceptor. Gravity Lensing IRL is quite the passive system. Gravity Focus Interceptor would sound better. Contracting/compressing the target anyone? ;)

Coastal Guard->Foil
Cruiser
Submarine


Naval unit ideas lacking.

Do you want more hull-types, or just other labels for warships?

Unity Foil->Transport Foil->Transport cruiser

We need transport ships of course. But the transport cruiser is already available relatively early in the tech tree of course. I'm not sure if there need to be further transport upgrades. There are only so many variations of the word 'transport' one can think of.

You could initially make the transport and air group carrier vessels separate, and join them in the mid/late techtree to represent a combined class.
You could even subdivide carriers to copter carriers and needlejet carriers.
Say foils are always to small to carry needlejets.
 

Maniac

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Firing antimatter would be more of a kinetic weapon anyway.

Wouldn't it dissolve right after being launched, just like fire and I assume plasma? :confused: Meaning the only possible delivery system is a missile with some containment system or antimatter creation only shortly before reaching its target?

I had thought of "exoplasm" but can't find a realistic technobabble background for it. Another possibility is nanotube/nanite thrower. It fires a stream of nanites at the target programmed to, well, your imagination is the limit. The background story here could be that in order to let this weapon work quickly in a destructive way it needs quite a high amount of nanites.

Sounds like the Grey Goozer.

Hmm, perhaps Plasma Thrower->Cyborg->Gravebringer is a sensible upgrade path. Cyborgs could also have a bonus against mind worms, due to their cybernetic nature being less vulnerable to psi.

Do it the other way around here. Start with "protected" before going to "armored". Protected meaning the most critical parts are covered by an additional layer of armor, while armored goes for the whole vehicle. Then you have 3 layers: normal (no armor at all), protected, and armored.

Armor refers to a tank here, as in Civ2.

I can't buy the Gravity Lens Interceptor. Gravity Lensing IRL is quite the passive system. Gravity Focus Interceptor would sound better. Contracting/compressing the target anyone? ;)

Intended name was Gravity Lens. Hmm, didn't know there already was something called Gravitational Lensing. :mischief:

Do you want more hull-types, or just other labels for warships?

Are there other hulltypes thinkable besides the usual submarine and cruiser types? :expect: Would be great of course.

Names for warships are indeed needed.

Destroyer->Cruiser->Battleship for cruiser hulls is of course always possible. Though it would of course be even more preferable to find some sensible reason to connect them to a certain technology.
 

GeoModder

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Intended name was Gravity Lens. Hmm, didn't know there already was something called Gravitational Lensing. :mischief:

It's a passive method for finding exoplanets. ;)

Are there other hulltypes thinkable besides the usual submarine and cruiser types? :expect: Would be great of course.

Well, next to foils/hovercraft (luchtkussenvaartuig) there are still hydrofoils (draagvleugelboten). At least, I assume the foils depicted in SMAC were hovercraft... but I think that's the gist of it.
IIRC, the Russians have a sort of "flying boat". It's a heavy transport craft which "flies" a meter or so above the water.

Names for warships are indeed needed.

Destroyer->Cruiser->Battleship for cruiser hulls is of course always possible. Though it would of course be even more preferable to find some sensible reason to connect them to a certain technology.

There must be hundreds of shipnames in history. Just pick your choice. Frigate, Corvette, Sloop, Patrolboat, torpedoboat, bulk carrier... ;)
 

gnome

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I would like to see duplicated the sort of rock-paper-scissors dynamic of some of the Civ4 units of each era...

Is there a prototype tech tree posted somewhere? I could generate possible examples i'm thinking of based on that.
 

Slaughter

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I wonder if there are going to have unique unit in the game...

Some cool names I thought, use them if you like 'em:

Thought Police (Hive troops with non-lethal methods hability?)
Hoplites
Centurions
Myrmidons (Spartan names)
Mental-Combat Squad (Troops with Psi Weapons, Psi Armor, and greater strength in both defense and atack when it comes to psi combat)
Anti-Human Squad (Progenitors with weapons made and tailored to kill humans?)
# Newton's Army (University troops with Gravity Guns, the # signal means number?)
Sonic Devastators (Anti-Progenitor troops, I remember they used sonic weapons against aliens, I think)
The Lord's Lightbringers (Believer's Laser troops?)
Alpha (the first kind of Spartan Planetbusters with fission reactors?)
Omega (Singularity Planetbusters of the Spartans?)
Tsar Bomba (maybe Zak homaged his country's biggest bomb ever when making Planetbusters and called the first planetbuster ever or the Singularity Buster?)
Impact Peacemakers (Spartan infantry with impact weapons. They are "peacekeepers". In the spartan way of peacekeeping.)
 

Maniac

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Is there a prototype tech tree posted somewhere? I could generate possible examples i'm thinking of based on that.

Not sure what you mean with prototype tech tree. You can see the current tech tree in-game using the F6-screen. There's also a TechTreeManiac.xls file included in the Planetfall download.

The tech tree is far from final. It is built around a few general themes/b-lines/specializations though which I would like to always maintain. You can see those colour-coded in the Excel file. I'm thinking of adding a couple more Commerce-themed techs, but for the rest I think the themes are at least pretty much set.
 

SJN

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Hi.

The first rule of newbieness is to shut up and listen for a while....

Well, I'm breaking that rule. I apologize in advance for anything stupid I say. I just love the mod idea to much to not express myself :)

So, I have a couple of suggestions for how to handle units. I know that what I'm about to suggest is pretty different from what is currently in place, and I recognize that there might be some implementation challenges, but here goes:

I suggest that the "design factory" be handled purely through the "upgrade" system. Here is what I imagine:

* Chassis is the "unit". This would mean that there are only a dozen units, give or take, in the entire game.
* A city can build components: shields, weapons, etc.. I'm guessing that if the code has a "goodie hut" that provide experience, and quests that can provide specific promotions, then it seems possible that you could have some kind of "object" that provides a unit with a specific "promotion" (upgrade). So, you would build "Chassis + armor + weapon + special ability". You can already build in a queue, so that wouldn't be too bad....
* How the components would be put together is something I'm not sure about. Don't know if the player would have to do this manually or if the code could figure it out....
* Upgrades would be purely money based (as in the mod Broken Star) so that if you could upgrade specific elements of a unit as money allows.
* These "promotions" would be completely XP-less (obviously).
* I think that combat strength upgrades should be the result of barracks/faction-bonuses, instead of (or along with) morale bonuses, but that's just me.

My .02$

-- SJN
 

Pfeffersack

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Thread necromancy, as this specific issue was once discussed here and now came up in German forum again...

Maniac said:
Armor->?
Unity Rover->Recon Rover->Rover/Speeder->Hovertank
Chopper->Gravship

GeoModder said:
Do it the other way around here. Start with "protected" before going to "armored". Protected meaning the most critical parts are covered by an additional layer of armor, while armored goes for the whole vehicle. Then you have 3 layers: normal (no armor at all), protected, and armored.

Armor refers to a tank here, as in Civ2.

The name "armor" (in German "Panzer(fahrzeug)") for a piece artillery is at least vague (even the long translation variant with "vehicle" does not imply any relation to artillery!), for civplayers rather confusing. Moreover that PF features "true tanks" later, which fall under a different unit category, the icon for the Armor is the standard BTS tank unit and the currently used graphic looks like a very light tank with what SMAC calls "Hand Weapons".

Reading the datalinks entry, I understand where the name is coming from (limited ressources right after the colonization lead to restricting armoured vehicles to Artillery)
I wonder though why the SMAC naming wasn't just taken over - artillery units were called "X Battery", so you call the unit just "Armoured (X) Battery" X would be whatever the weapon of the armor is, if needed at all.
 

Maniac

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I don't understand what you're saying.
1) Armor doesn't need to be considered artillery. Or only if you give it the range promotions.
2) What other true tanks does Planetfall feature? I don't consider Hovertanks tanks in the way they're usually thought of - rather light skirmishers instead.
3) I'm not happy with the Armor graphics.
4) Armor is shorter than Armoured X Battery
 

Pfeffersack

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I don't understand what you're saying.
1) Armor doesn't need to be considered artillery. Or only if you give it the range promotions.

I refer to the CD it does. The confusion in the German forum was about that the "Panzer" is weaker then the (former) Infantry. My explanation was that this is because the major purpose of the Armor is causing CD (or to make it a true Planetfall artillery with a special ability). In Civ4, artillery has to special skills - it can bombard city defenses and it does CD, so especially people new to PF won't expect a unit called "Armor/Panzer" having its main purpose there. Of course I realize know that a name change could lead then to confusion with PFs true artillery units.


2) What other true tanks does Planetfall feature? I don't consider Hovertanks tanks in the way they're usually thought of - rather light skirmishers instead.

Even if they are in the Vanguard Unit Category, they are quite strong for that purpose.
A Hoover Tank has Strength 7, the Helion has 7 as well, the Mobile Infantery has 8.
I don't critisize that values, but since mobility is so important I'm often willing to sacrifice one point of strength for 2 extra moves. That may seem seem to contradict at first what I say under 1) and 4), where I claim that the difference between 2 and 3 (Armor vs. Impact Trooper) makes the former unattractive - but the way combat works, 7:8 is a lot less difference then 2:3, not counting the other advantages of a Hoovertank over Mobile Infantry for the same mineral cost.


3) I'm not happy with the Armor graphics.

I agree, but I wonder how it should look then as multi-purpose-unit? Somehow a tank classic tank looks quite different compared to an artillery unit... Maybe a candidate for choosen-special-ability-alters-graphic thing? Actually, I think that's a great feature (experienced that lately, when making use of the snow camouflage ability the first time)


4) Armor is shorter than Armoured X Battery

Yes, but also less clear (though I agree that this depends on 1), but I'm still not convinced that PF Armor gets often used in tank-style. 2 as strength is just too low for that purpose...)
 

Maniac

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I refer to the CD it does.

Collateral Damage? Don't Modern Tanks in Civ4 also do that by the way?

Another option is of course "Siege Tank", as in StarCraft. That's where the idea of combining heavy tanks and artillery into one unit line comes from anyway. ;)

Armor has the same strength 3 as Impact Troopers.

The confusion in the German forum was about that the "Panzer" is weaker then the (former) Infantry.

What post was that?

I agree, but I wonder how it should look then as multi-purpose-unit? Somehow a tank classic tank looks quite different compared to an artillery unit... Maybe a candidate for choosen-special-ability-alters-graphic thing? Actually, I think that's a great feature (experienced that lately, when making use of the snow camouflage ability the first time)

I agree of course, but I don't know of additional good futuristic tank graphics.
 

Pfeffersack

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Collateral Damage? Don't Modern Tanks in Civ4 also do that by the way?

Never by default and since patch 3.17, the barrage promotion line is disabled as well.


Another option is of course "Siege Tank", as in StarCraft. That's where the idea of combining heavy tanks and artillery into one unit line comes from anyway. ;)

Better then plain "Armor" for me :goodjob:


Armor has the same strength 3 as Impact Troopers.

Yes, I was wrong here. Though I still think that using Armors as regular combat unit is a kind of waste - no defense bonus, reduced combat strength in fungus/hybrid forest...and they soon will face tougher foot soldiers - then only CD is valuable and a conventionally promoted armor will no longer be that useful.


What post was that?

http://www.civforum.de/showthread.php?t=48082&page=83 (#1244, also #1245 and #1248)

That thread is actually about small modding questions in general, but Monaldinios PF mod-modding derailed it slightly :D
 

Pickly

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Siege tank sounds fine to me as well. (Sounds a bit cooler and more powerful than just plain "armor" actually. :) )

Also, on the datalinks, the description can be pretty easily adapted to explain a different unit role or different unit name. Since I seem to be the main person writing them before editing, I would probably come up with a sensible explanation for several unit role or name changes, so that isn't anything to worry about.
 

Lord Tirian

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...then only CD is valuable and a conventionally promoted armor will no longer be that useful.
The problem with armours (and subsequent upgrades) is for me that they have huge penalties. Penalties are something that should be avoided in game design in general from my point of view, after all, you're paying an opportunity cost already! It's not really a balance thing, more of a psychological thing.

I do like "Siege Tank" a lot (though I'd like to see the name "battery" worked into some Planetfall unit... perhaps a new name for the behemoth? It kind of breaks the progression siege tank->mass driver->behemoth - intuitively, I'd say a more "technical" name would fit better, something like land cruiser?).

Cheers, LT.
 

Lord Tirian

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Mobile Battery?
Now I have to think of a battery for a mobile... *shrug* I guess "battery" doesn't really work, unless you make really clear that it shoots stuff. :(

Cheers, LT.
 
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