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JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Morons In A Timewarp – Let's Finish the UFO Trilogy!



So, here we are again. Aftershock and Afterlight. The final two games of the UFO Afterblank trilogy. One on Mars, one around and on Earth after the alien invasion (which, as far as we know at the beginning of Aftershock, was one big science experiment). And we're going to finish them, come hell or high water. Believe me, there's a lot of the former in both games, although for different reasons.

Ops for both games are below, and this time, we're benefitting from what we learned: In each OP, there's a RECRUITMENT LIST. Only put yourself down for one game (Afterlight's almost full, currently), and all those who got recruited last time we tried this are still recruited, although there's a few days grace to change your preferred loadout.

With that, let's get on with the game! You may notice the first posts are exactly the same as the last run, but there will be small differences (maybe Aridge will die this time instead of Perfidia) from then on. This is for two reasons:

1) With the old computer borked, the old saves are borked too...
2) ...But the tutorial might as well be identical, because it's difficult to die in either one, and so I'm assuming it went the same, regardless of how the RNG treats me. In Afterlight, it is actually nigh impossible to die (one of the robots never shoots, and the other two are pathetically easy to kill)

So, without further ado, let's hop right back in!

JamieTheD fucked around with this message at Jul 3, 2013 around 18:33

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JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Dirty Droning – UFO: Afterlight



Welcome, welcome, one and all, to the next chapter of the UFO Trilogy LP, UFO: Afterli-

Wait, Didn't Aftershock Come First... Second, Even?

Yes, yes it did. But Afterlight actually begins only slightly later than Aftershock does, and only because it got retconned. As such, we're starting with Light, although Shock will be running concurrently. It's also the second-hardest in the series, if only due to the sheer amount of crap you have to keep your eye on. Now, why don't we get into the plot, eh?

Okay, So What Happened?

Well, as we all know, the canon ending (pfah!) had humanity surrendering to the filthy Reticulans (referred to as Ripples before, but just Greys now, as they no longer have that raspberry coating...), and being exiled from Earth. One group (Aftershock) got sent to a repurposed alien mothership, the Laputa, to live out their lives. We'll see how well that went soon enough... It is, however, the other group that concerns us right now... See, the rest got sent to Mars, to terraform that into a new place for humanity to live. Aww, turns out the Ripples weren't all that bad... Except, y'know, the turning Earth into a giant psychic monster thing, and -

Get To The Point

Well, that sort of is the point. Our digital avatars are a bunch of colonists on Mars, and, as you'd expect from one of the “Afterblank” series, we're pretty boned... because aliens. Oh, and mechanics changes, not all of which are good news for us.

Wait, Mechanics Changes?

Yes, yes, just like last time, I'll be going into numbers and mechanics and stuff as we go along, with just a soupçon of In-Character stuff to spice it up. To sum up the obvious stuff, there's a resource mechanic, new training mechanics, notifications which will NEVER LEAVE YOU ALONE, GOD-DAMMIT, and all new traps and pitfalls for the unwary player.

As before, I'll be playing on Normal difficulty (Altar didn't screw around with difficulties for this outing), and Goons are welcome to sign up as respective digital avatars. Be aware, supplies are limited (another mechanical change, and not a welcome one!), and you sadly won't see your name in the screenshots, as names are pre-set in this game. Also of importance is the fact that research and skill/weapon loadouts are not open to voting, with a couple of exceptions. Believe me, this game isn't friendly to those who gently caress up. Keep in mind, this'll be a bit of an adventure for me too, because there's no FAQs for this game (or Aftershock), and I haven't gotten all that far in the -

You Mean This Is Blind, Right?

Not really. Seen one UFO game, and, apart from a few nasty traps that, fortunately, I already know about, you've seen them all. Also, thanks to Meeaov's VFS Viewer, I can look into the game files whenever the hell I want, and thus see the real armour and weapon figures. Not to mention some of the other fun stuff, as it were. So sit back, relax, and enjoy an informative LP with a hint of narration, to wet your whistle!

So How Do I Join This Ship... Er, Station of Fools?

All full up, big thanks, and we'll be asking again when certain people die, or we get more dudes!

It's very simple! We have a Recruitment Document! Fill a blank with your name, and you will be that individual! So, let's get this show back on the road! One game only for each goon recruit, I'm afraid...

EDIT: Clarification: That's one blank next to a name already there... Kinda important, that.

Updates

Chapter 1 – Jurgen, We Hardly Knew Ye
Chapter 2 - The Only Good Aliens Are Tame
Chapter 3 - Fifty Shades of Drone
Chapter 4 - The Plains... Of DEAAAATH!!!

Infodumps

Infodump 1 - The Tools That Use The Tools (People 1)

Numbercrunching

Bitching about mechanics and the gamefiles goes here.

Fanart

A man can dream, can't he?

FanFic

Dealing With Water Shortages by Scribbleykins

pre:
 *gasp*

 "Sylph! I just had the WORST dream ever! We-"

 "Hey, calm down! I'm trying not to spill my water ration here. What genius decided a base this size only needed a twenty gallon crewman water storage 
tank? We've still got -tonnes- for the cryo monument, but almost nothing for ourselves!"

 "I... I don't know! But... Oh! I know. We could go to the cryo pods and lick off the frost that keeps forming on the metal plates! That's still water, 
right?"

 "... Scribs, you're a regular old genius. I'll be there, just gotta... go get a camera."

 "Sam, I love you dearly and moments like these really shouldn't be missed, but..."

 "Don't worry. I'll make sure it stays between the three of us. Wouldn't want Scribs to lose his nickname to something silly like 'Lickitystuck'."

JamieTheD fucked around with this message at Jul 15, 2013 around 14:21

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

The Morons Are Gone, Long Live The Morons – Let's Play UFO: Aftershock!



So, Here We Are Then... Where's Here, Exactly?

Here is UFO: Aftershock, second in the game series, and (roughly) concurrent in the timeline with the third game, Afterlight. While many of the poor saps of the Earth's surrender monkeys (cf Ending 1) got sent to Mars to make a new Earth (or, more likely, die trying), the rest (including the Council of Earth)

: OOGA BALONG!

Yeah, remember them? Got sent to a floating mothership repurposed for humans called The Laputa. As the intro video you're gonna see shows, turns out the CoE weren't too good at maintennance, and nor were any of the other putzes sent up -

: SCREEE!

Shut up, you're dead... moving on... Well, since nobody could maintain anything, the first Laputa fell down, went boom. Surprisingly, the slightly smarter humans managed to find another one, and this group of (slightly) smarter people is who we're in control of, as we try to find out what happened to Earth in the 45 years (give or take six months) that preceded this game.

Have an intro as proof.

So, Er... That First Ending Was Canon?

Yes, the lovely first ending was canon. But so was the second. See, as far as I can tell, the human remnants managed to beat back the biomass after most of humanity surrendered. Then they formed communities, communities we're going to be dealing with as part of the new mechanics.

Wait, New Mechanics? Why Don't I Like The Sound of That?

Well, each game has different mechanics. Aftermath, of the three, is the simplest. But Afterlight and Aftershock thought they'd mix the formula up, in roughly the same ways. For example, stats got changed over the course of Aftershock and Afterlight (only sort of, in the case of Aftershock), skill training got introduced, resources got introduced (that's right, limited resources. Interestingly, Afterlight's is slightly less restrictive than Aftershock's.) Also, both have quick transportation, and limited ranges, each in their own way. There's other stuff, but I'll get to that when I get to it.

Oh, and both are talky as hell. I'll try and cover it all as best I can via the wonders of hybrid Lping...

Speaking of Which, What's Going Down Here?

Okay, this is going to be an informative LP with just a hint of narration, with goon-soldiers (some have already signed up, but other positions are nearly always open!), but no voting, except when I say there is. Trust me, you don't want to leave a game of Aftershock to the vagaries of goon-votes.

As mentioned, it's going to be hybrid, because there be a fair amount of talkiness. So expect some of the screenshots to have video linkies embedded (I'll helpfully mark those with “Video”). Otherwise, it's going to be similar in structure to the other two (Updates, Infodumps, Random Digressions, etc). So, without further ado, let's get this trainwreck on the road!

How Do I Sign Up To be a Meatshield

It's nice and easy this time around, we have a Recruitment Document (recruitment temporarily closed)! Just put your name on the form, and your preferred role, and I shall hopefully get around to making you exist within the game (to die horribly a few updates later, no doubt). All those who signed up last time are still signed up now, and, just like last time, one game only, folks!

Right, now...

Updates

Chapter 1 – They Burned It All...
Chapter 2 - Update 2: AAAAAAGH! … huff, huff,huff ...AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!
Chapter 3 - The Many Faces of Management
Chapter 4 - The Pathless
Chapter 4.5: How Things Can Go Horribly Wrong In The Early Game... (Alternate Universe)
Chapter 5: Someone Comes To Town, Someone Leaves Town

Infodumps

Infodump 1a - It's Raining Assholes (Enemies 1)
Infodump 1b - Weatherproofing for Beginners (Kit 1)

Numbercrunching

Numbercrunching 1: LEVEL UPPU! (Training)
Numbercrunching 2: But What Does It All Mean? (Stats and Skills)

Fanart

Let's pray.

JamieTheD fucked around with this message at Jul 13, 2013 around 22:25

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Chapter 1 – They Burned It All...


Video Link!


Meet Keith and Mark. Keith doesn't get a goon-name, because he doesn't exist outside of this tutorial. He's one of the lucky ones. Mark may appear as part of the engineering crew for later, but rest assured, his function here is to tell us what to do, and where to go. This appears to be the only piece of background he actually gives us. Which is a drat shame, because it seems like 45 years has really taken a toll on humankind's memory. Goes to show what a bunch of cowardly, conservative idiots running the show has done...



We can't see Mark's stats at all, because he's a deus ex machina (assume he has the highest stats of all space-humankind... So that's Average level for Intelligence), but we can see his skills. Already, we see that, wonder among wonders, Keith actually has stats that fit his weapon! He's good at close range, has more hit-points than you'll see for a long time (because tutorial, natch), and he even has a class (Gunman), which does... things. We'll get into it when it's actually important. What matters is that he is a god among men, and so almost completely unkillable unless we do something really stupid. He's also wearing armour that will mysteriously vanish from storage once we finish this tutorial.



Now, a lot of people, myself included, were a little confused as to what we're meant to be doing, but, if you faff around long enough, Mark may try and tell you. To save time (and another video of him nattering on about control schemes, breaking my precious fourth wall), I'm just going to show you. Behind where you start, and to the right, is a little green area. Green areas mark zone boundaries, teleport zones, if you will. If you see anything green on the map that isn't grass, it's probably going to be an objective. Now, the story so far: the old Laputa fell down, went boom. It got destroyed because nobody knew how to maintain it, and people like Keith and Mark here advocated violent, bloody, and rebellious running away because of that. They were the lucky ones. Now, they've found a new Laputa, but the exploration team is all scattered. Let's fix that by heading through this green.

One loading screen later, and...



Oh hey, here's Irene, our second player, and here to give Mark an excuse to yak at us about marquee dragging, multiple people movement, and all the things you should be familiar with if you've played any strategy game in the last 10 years. It's not actually explained (except maybe in the Objectives section), but we're assuming there are going to be hostiles, otherwise it's not going to be much of a tutorial. Let's see how up for it Irene must be... Killing, that is. Note that she is also wearing armour that we won't have at the beginning of the game.



Once again, she actually has some skill to back up that Reticulan Laser Rifle of hers! Beautiful! She's a medic, and if you can't guess what that class gives you... well, I sort of give up on you, really. Those two med-hypos in her backpack should be a clue. Either way, she's a valued addition to a team that... probably won't take enough damage by the end of the mission to justify a medkit. Well, this is Slightly Easy (Soldier) difficulty. I'd assume if it were harder, we'd actually have a reason to use her.



And oh, hey, here's our old buddies, the... RIDICULANS! :ROFLMAO!: drat, I love the stupid moments of this game so much. Yep, our old friends the Ripples have sadly ditched their raspberry coloured attachments for both this and Afterlight, and so we're going to have to call them Greys... I hate tired cliches, so any suggestions there would be welcomed, so long as it's not along the lines of rear end-probing, cow-fiddling, or woman-abducting. I think we'll have you covered for those by the end. The game also gives us one hell of a suggestion a bit later. Either way, there's also something else different about them, although it's not mentioned in the tutorial: They don't seem as intelligent, and they seem more psychotic than usual.



Case in point: That shot came from behind. We'll deal with that one in a minute, but our troops are in no danger of dying. They've killed two of the little Grey sods already, out of a massive four, and you can see how damaged they are, or rather, aren't. This tutorial is not representative of the game, I swear.



Now, you may ask “Mister TheD, why are you shooting those aliens on the ground? Unconscious or no, they're down, and they stay down, don't they?” Well... no, not anymore. Unconscious aliens, mutants, what have you, can and will get up if you give them half a chance (unless they're Bleeding Out). So don't. Anyways, I think it's time to tell you a little about interface changes. First off: multiple Z-Levels. Page-up and Page-down change what level you're viewing, and peeps can use ladders, teleporters, whatever works to get up and down... they exist, and you should be aware of this. Next Area, when it's needed, is just like Aftermath's... it moves you to the next area... Now, the fun stuff here includes LoS (shows Lines of Sight when you're paused), and Vision modes (those will come in useful later, but do what they say on the tin). Watch is Overwatch (beloved of Space Hulk fans everywhere), meaning that they stand there with weapons readied (but have to unready them to move), while... wait, we can go prone? Well, yes, we can, but it has certain problems. I'm probably not going to use it except when absolutely necessary, because, while it does indeed protect you from ranged a little, and makes you very stealthy... it makes things worse in melee. And there's nothing worse, as any shooter player knows, than going prone for a good snipe, then getting a knife/tentacle/other spiky protrusion rammed up your strap.



Now, with all that cleared, once again, we have a tellyporter... but this time, it's an actual, honest to goodness Reticulan Port-U-Like, not the generic zone boundary we saw before. Our goal (control of the station by murdering the current owners) is almost at hand.



And what a station it is. This is the central control area, the GeoScape made flesh, as it were. And with us is... yet another guy who's going to make this a cakewalk! Meet Jeremy, folks! Guess what he's wearing!



Jeremy is a Ranger (that's a Scout, to you or I), although we don't know if any of them are level 1, 2 or 3 in their chosen field (there are 3 levels to each class), so we don't know what abilities they have (each class level unlocks an ability, ranging from the mediocre to “drat Son, Gotta Get Me Summa Dat!”). Either way, this confirms that they're basically unkillable (they're not actually, if you're doofy enough, you can get at least one killed, but it means jack poo poo). In any case, there's nothing actually interesting here beyond a few Greys.



So, there's yer tutorial, and the beginning of the plot. The Laputa is taken, under the brave leadership of...

...Wait... Commander Keith? What's next, Vice-Space Admiral Kyle? Commando Commander Niggurath? Well, actually, all of these are possible. Except Commander Keith. He decided to change his name to Jimmy, because we all know who's running this show.

May God have mercy on your little digital souls, goon-soldiers. Next time, we actually deal with the Laputa, and the first real mission of the game.

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Chapter 1 – Jurgen, We Hardly Knew Ye



Welcome to Mars. Specifically, welcome to the Cydonian plain, where we meet our first tutorial lady, Gene (hereafter referred to as Elesthor). Elesthor is in big trouble, although she doesn't know it yet. She's unarmed, on Mars (supposedly a dead world, but we all know how that goes in Sci-Fi, don't we?) But relax, this is a tutorial in the strictest sense of the word, including sodding annoying popups that pause the action, and strict mission waypoints. Let's take a look at Elesthor's stats, shall we?



Supposedly, Gene's a Scientist, one of three main classes we're going to be seeing in this game. Unfortunately, she's not much of one, with weak Manipulation (the ability to pick stuff up, use it properly, etc, etc), and similarly Weak technical skills (luckily, these don't come into play this mission, as they have to do with repair and construction). She's also pissweak, but good at getting out of the way of various things that go boom, bang, or ZZAP in the night. Otherwise, she's pretty unremarkable... A perfect tutorial character. As with previous games in the series, stats go from Awful (nigh nonexistent abilities), to Super-Heroic (AMERICA, gently caress YEAH!), which, obviously, is what it says on the tin. Skills are an entirely different thing that we'll deal with... when we get to them.

You'll also notice the “UFO” in the corner, with a handy explanation of what it is. In case you're thinking “TL;DR” to a whole paragraph (what are you doing here again?), the UFO is much like the Blackhawk from the first game, in that it's our sole transport and means of nicking stuff from missions. It has its own cargo space, so you can guarantee that, at some point, we'll have more stuff than we can actually carry in the ship. Luckily, it moves like greased lightning, when it has the fuel to range further... more on that next update though. For now, there's something suspicious up ahead...



Oh, Jurgen, why?

Oh dear, that doesn't look promising, does it? Meet Jurgen, the only member of the Mars base we're never, ever going to play as... on account of him being the catalyst for this whole story (in a sense). Also, he's somewhat dead, which puts a damper on the control scheme, doesn't it? Speaking of which, let's talk about that a bit. You may have noticed that, while the UI is less cluttered for a single soldier (that'll change, don't worry), that's one heckuva lot of buttons, isn't it? Time to explain what some of them do...

Top left, we have our game-speed. Most of the time, this will be set to medium, unless you know there's nothing in the area (Fast), or, like me, you have a need to take screenshots, and don't want to bother with video recording (Slow). This is pretty much unchanged from Aftermath, as are the Objectives and Abort buttons (which both do what they say on the tin). The real humdingers, however, are the top right. Meet a few of our new additions to the game: Multiple Z-Levels (guaranteed a pain in the arse without frequent pausing), Vision Modes (guaranteed to hurt your eyes, but drat useful in a pinch... More on them as we get them), and Camera mode (set this to Manual ASAP, as Auto-Camera can and will adjust your view back to the same annoying viewpoint every now and again)

Next up is the portrait. Around the name, we have how many TU s (Time Units, generally seconds) it's going to take to finish whatever it is you're doing, a handy-dandy health bar (starts Green (Health), comes in Grey (Stun), Red (Bleed), and Black (WHOOPSIE!) flavours... once it's all black... you dead, bro), how many opponents you can spot (that little alien icon with the number next to it). Then, on the left, we have stances (Neutral, aggressive, so on, so forth), speeds (without training, you can't run in a space-suit), waiting, dropping... all those useful little things you might need for a good bit of micro. To the right? Well, the only non-obvious ones there are Watch (short for Overwatch, where you stand still and strain your eyes for incoming enemies), Swap (Swap weapons), and Reload (You can do this automatically, but when you know you need a full clip... this is helpful). Only Watch and Swap will actually be useful, as the rest is context sensitive to right click. Below the lovely, lovely picture, we have Plan (never use it), Clear (clears all the movement/combat plan), and Del (deletes the most recent plan waypoint). All very useful. But for now, we have more important things...



Ah, our friend Jurgen was holding... a Scientific Laser. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but scientific lasers (IE – for doing Science) aren't generally so... rifle-like, are they? That's because this is our first weapon, and what a weapon it is. You see, I have a bit of a shock for Aftermath players... you ready?

Lasers don't suck as hard as they did before. Well, situationally, anyway. Nonetheless, poor Jurgen was carrying our first weapon, and a fat lot of good it seemed to have done him! But why, if this is a tutorial, would you need to pick it up?



01000010010011110100111101000010010010010100010101010011

You... you killed him! DIE, YOU BASTARD!

Ah. That would be why. Meet our friend, Big Ugly Robot. Big Ugly Robot is normally a lot more aggressive (and deadly) than this, but this is a tutorial, so he doesn't seem to attack you. Nonetheless, we're going to attack him, because he oh-so-obviously killed our dead buddy Jurgen, by virtue of being the only suspect nearby. Oh, and because the tutorial won't continue until this helpless robot is made very, very dead. But before we do that, let's look at something else that's new and fun about this game. Oh, and the Scientific Laser (Pshaw!) itself...



It's not made clear in this screenshot, but weapons only show their stats when they're in the hands of soldiers now, and thus are supposed to show different levels of damage, reload times, etc, based on the soldier. This has one benefit (you now know what weapon does the most damage in whose hands, and get a slightly better feel for the combat stats), and one massive drawback (you can't actually tell if anything's going to be any good until you slap it on someone.) For now, Elesthor is average at the required skill for this gun (Aiming, obviously!), and, not having anything that will specifically boost the damage, it does... 15 base damage... Well, blow me down with a feather, aren't we the terror of the stars? It has other stats, but we'll save those for the first info-dump.

Yes, lasers don't actually suck as much in this game. That much was true. However, I was lying with all of my black little heart when I said this laser didn't suck massive donkey bollocks. Nonetheless, this is Babby's First Energy Weapon (bless!), and, since this is a tutorial, Scribbleykins shall be able to properly murder the poo poo out of our mechanical chum with it.



THIS IS FOR JURGEN, YOU PIECE OF JUNK!

One shot, and... yes, it is actually downed with a single shot from a distinctly unimpressive gun. This is a tutorial, definitely don't expect it to be that easy next time. As we'll see in quite a few updates, these particular murder machines are actually right bastards. So we're incredibly lucky. Not.



Hrm, the “locked” light is on that door. Logically, that must mean that a) That robot scum is still alive, and b) It's interfering with the locking mechanism somehow...

Well, actually, while you can't see the “Can't open this” dialogue that came about five seconds after this screenshot, the tutorial is also here to show first time players the new and wonderful thing about their equally new and wonderful playmates... the door won't open until Big Ugly there is truly down for the count...

...”But wait”, I hear you cry “, Big Ugly took a lasering to... whatever he took a lasering to... and he fell down, surely?”. Yes. Yes, he did. What the game expects you to realise, however, is that so long as there is any Bleed-Out (Red) damage on their bars, Martian Drones, of all shapes and sizes, will slowly repair themselves up to that level of health, and then get back up again, fully as ready to party as they were five minutes ago. So while Scribbleykins will oh-so-helpfully stop shooting once its bar no longer has any yellow in it, you'll have to shoot it again until it's dead. For real. Otherwise, in the tutorial, it won't let you continue (it will, however, helpfully repair the beastie for your second go, if you faff around long enough), or, in missions, you'll get shot by forces you really thought you'd handled. Just a fair warning.



NOW STAY DOWN, YOU FERSHLUGGINER FRANKENSTEIN!

01010011010010000100100101010100001000000100111001001111001000000100001001000101 01010111010000100101001100001010

With that successfully dealt with, we can continue. And, in case you had any funny ideas that this rather dull exercise (complete with about twenty or thirty popups that pause the game and annoy you, much like the first screenshot's) wasn't mandatory, it happens every time you start a new game, and the only linear path to success is the way I'm showing to you right now. Moving on...



Scribbleykins, what the hell are you doing here?

That thing took apart Jurgen, and, 'shamed as I am to say it... I chickened out, GOONNAME. I fricking blew it! AND DON'T CALL ME SCRIBBLEYKINS, YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I HATE IT!

Relax... there was nothing you could have done, even with that scientific laser. Jurgen must have wasted a whole battery getting to the point where I could waste it with two shots.

Two... shots? Good job, “Lord Elesthor”...

Let's just... move on, yeah?

Ah yes, Diego, aka Scribbleykins, the second member of the tutorial, and the guy who actually is on the combat squad when the game begins properly. It's not explained why he's there, in a locked building, between Big Ugly and something that'll come later in the tutorial, but rest assured, there's no Ellery Queen Murder Mysteries crap here, he's there because... well, it's the tutorial, and it's time you learned how to control two peeps at once. The same way, funnily enough, you did it in Aftermath, or Starcraft, or pretty much any strategy game you know of... hold LMB, marquee drag 'em. There are keyboard shortcuts, but time is one thing you have plenty of in the UFO games... until your plans gently caress up and then you don't have any. Let's look at Scribbleykins, who, like Elesthor, will earn absolutely no experience from this sorry mess.



Ol' Big and Chunky here, as you can tell, is better than Elesthor in every conceivable way. Makes you wonder, considering, why he's second fiddle here. The answer, as you'd expect, is: Tutorial. Apart from Jurgen's Drone induced death, don't expect a drat thing to make sense here... even though it should. As much as I hate to say it, this is some poor writing on the part of Altar Games, but, at this point, my expectations are pretty low. Why? Wait until Aftershock. You'll see soon enough.



Wait... movement, up ahead!

I hear it too. Plan?

Well, nobody's meant to be here except you, me, and Jurgen, and Ol' Clunky up there was decidedly unfriendly, so... what do you think?

KACHUNK

How in the hell did you cock a sci-laser?

Aftermarket option. Jurgen (sob!) always liked action movies...

Now, here is one of the nicer features introduced from Aftershock: Sound (or other senses) cluing you into an enemy's position before sight does. You don't know what you're up against, but you know it's there. And sometimes, the only clue is how far you heard it from. Is it another big ugly?



Nope. This is the enemy you're going to be seeing for most of the early game, and, to be fair, a portion of the midgame too: The Crawling Drone. Normally, these guys would spit lightning at you, come in groups of at least three, and be Babby's First Enemy. Because this is a tutorial, however, it dies incredibly easily. One thing to note, however, is that you can no longer shoot past, or, more importantly, through team-mates anymore, so poor Scribbleykins has to move around a little to get off his (more accurate) shots at this quadrupedal mechanical misanthrope. You can see the health-bar more clearly on this one, and so can see the red. What generally happens is shots do a certain amount of damage, taking from red first, then yellow, until the whole bar is black. This time, they properly shoot the drat thing, and hightail it to...



...The Reticulan UFO, Coupe Edition. Or possibly Estate, who knows... either way, this is what you're going to be coming back to with many missions, nobody's going to have the bright idea of destroying this to screw you over, and, apart from the occasional waypoint in missions, it will have about as much use as a chocolate teapot. Just getting to the marked portion in front after both Big Ugly and Little Darling are dead immediately ends the tutorial, and kicks off a mission report. I've helpfully recorded this, because there's a lot of talking, and it helps establish what's going on. Sort of. Note that we're right next to Cydonia... because that's not going to be important at any point in the game at all, is it?

JamieTheD fucked around with this message at Jun 15, 2013 around 21:29

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Right, signups are back open, the next update will be wednesday, so yak and sign up until then! Apologies for the delay in getting back on the road (and indeed, for having to restart), but computers can be bitches sometimes... and then they explode.

ImmovableSquid
May 1, 2011


What?!? JamieTheD is finishing the X-Com series and I'm the first poster!?! Sign me right up! I can't wait to see what the RNG sets up for the team! This is going to be a blast!

Or at least it would be if this google document was editable...

Also, I know I'm going to be in the minority with this game, but I really liked the shift that it took. I had a lot of fun with the changes, such as they were. That is to say that while it seemed like the engine stayed the same, much of the interface and options were different. But I don't know if it was being on an alien planet (granted, not so distant from Earth) or the change in tech fluff, but I really liked the feel of this one. Maybe because it didn't seem as desperate as the last one. Aftermath really gave me Eastern-European depression feelings. At least at the start. Those chilling cut-scenes.

ImmovableSquid fucked around with this message at Jun 15, 2013 around 22:12

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Oops! Edited so's people can self-recruit now!

As to that last para, it's a common misconception that this is in the X-Com series (not helped by Jade Star using the X-Com mod for the game. Sorry, bro, but it's true...), but the shift in tone toward a... well, I would say more hopeful, but that's not entirely true... still, despite the games being more hopeless than the first (in the sense that there are some serious dick-moves ahead!), the last two games are basically "Okay, Earth is hosed, let's win it back and rebuild our race!"

Which is cool. Whether they succeed, of course, will be up to us... God help the human race!

Xenoborg
Mar 10, 2007



Good to see this back.

Koboje
Sep 20, 2005

Quack

I liked all three games, altough it took some time. They really felt way too punishing at times, now i just use mods to make them more comfortable.

Bloodly
Nov 3, 2008

Not as strong as you'd expect.

Well.

I was interested in this the first time you did it, then it dropped off the map for whatever reason. Hope this one works out.

Scribbleykins
Apr 29, 2010

Any scientist with the right background can brew his own booze.

...

What do you mean electrolytes aren't used for brewing booze? That's silly!

...

Well when all you have are chunks of TNE and an overly large water ration, all the world looks like a still!

Oh, hey, back in the saddle? Excellent!

You know my place.

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

*chuckles* always, Scribbleykins... the guy who used the last pack of crayons from Earth.

So, a few things to mention, a few (well, one) implied question to answer. First off, Xenoborg already signed up for Afterlight, so he gets to pick which character he's actually going to be: Benat 'XenoBorg' Haradze, Demo-Nutter, or whatever 'XenoBorg' whatever, more sedate tech-head.

I can certainly understand people using mods to make the game more comfortable, for, as I mentioned last time, and will do again, the last two games of the trilogy pull off some choice dick moves (along with having the Aftershock equivalent of Prestige Classes of dubious use). Indeed, Aftershock sort of relies a bit on luck to play well (resources are largely random, and many a game has been killed because of poor resources, or the necessity to expand somewhere painful, although there are "tendencies" for certain resources to be in certain territories)

Finally, the implied question: What The Hell Happened Last Time?

In short, first the graphics card went from old age. Then the PSU died because it's impossible to remove dust from those bastards, and I smoke. Then I was dumb, and got an under-rated PSU, which killed the mobo. Obviously, I got a telling off for that, and it won't happen again. So that's what happened to the last LP... The LP Curse, spiced with some liberal stupidity.

Xenoborg
Mar 10, 2007



JamieTheD posted:

*chuckles* always, Scribbleykins... the guy who used the last pack of crayons from Earth.

So, a few things to mention, a few (well, one) implied question to answer. First off, Xenoborg already signed up for Afterlight, so he gets to pick which character he's actually going to be: Benat 'XenoBorg' Haradze, Demo-Nutter, or whatever 'XenoBorg' whatever, more sedate tech-head.
Benat is great.

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Because you're such lovely people, have an update now!

Update 2: AAAAAAGH! … huff, huff,huff ...AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!



So, we're given a brief update on what's going on with the Laputa (video here), and dumped from there straight into the Geoscape, where we plan what missions to take, find out what our resources are, and how much of them we're getting. Right now, we have what we looted from the Laputa (which won't last us long), and... sweet FA in terms of territory. After all, we haven't even landed yet!


Video Link


Howdy there, I'm Bob, Human Leader, and... HEY! You're one of them space humans we've heard about! You're a big bag of dicks! But still, only you can save us from these mutants, we kinda need you.

But it's no problem, as we almost immediately receive a message from the last purestrain humans on the planet! Humans (Purestrain) are the first faction you're going to meet in the game, and, at first, they're going to be passive aggressive at you. Aren't they always? (You actually get the message by actually taking the first, mandatory mission). Still, we have a... squad of people who are... talented?



Aridge02 is our pistolier meatshield, and I will not be terribly sad if he dies horribly in the early game. Still, despite his abysmal stats, there's hope for him yet, as when he does hit things with his pistols, his high Enemy skill means he does more damage. But the fact that he can literally use short range weapons and nothing else right now is going to hurt him in the long run..



Perfidia, meanwhile, is our most observant member, and thus one of the few people who can spot a certain enemy at a decent range right now. And by “decent range”, I mean “not about to kill us”. Despite her long-range skills, we're planning to make Perfidia one of the most difficult, yet potentially rewarding advancement paths in the game. I'll be extremely surprised if she lives very long, but if she does, she's going to be an asset.



Wow... Whereas Aridge02 got the short end of the stick, stat-wise, PurpleXVI can easily go a lot of ways, advancement wise. He can throw stuff well, shoot poo poo alright, dodge gunfire and melee pretty well, and is equally adept at spotting poo poo... and not being spotted. Unfortunately, he will never, ever achieve the lofty status of “guy that carries the big guns”, due to his godawful Strength. He'll also never be good at close combat, which is sort of a shame.



Finally, we have Vadoc, whose excellent Long Range skill means he's pretty much going to be the Gun-Guy. Unfortunately for us, though, he can't spot anything for poo poo, so putting him on his own will be a very bad idea. Basically, if we can get him to snipe stuff that other people have spotted later on, we'll be very happy bunnies indeed. After all, his low speed and dodge skills mean he'll never really be a close combat monkey, despite his high HP. Bit of a mixed bag, this team, and it'll be interesting to see where, if anywhere, they go.



Well, we're here... I hear the Earth used to be a nasty place... Mutants, aliens, communists... yep, we might be in for some hard times ahead.

Don't worry, man! We got lasers, knives, sharp sticks, a big honkin' station in the sky... We are the ultimate badasses!

Stow it, Purple, and remember why you're Purple the Sixteenth. Okay guys, form up, we head toward that factory... if these mutants have any brains between them, we'll find them attacking the means of production.



So we land right in the middle of the map, and immediately head north. While the map itself is nearly always exactly the same for this first mission, the enemy placement is sometimes off, but they can usually be reliably found in the north half of the map. Speaking of which, let's have a look at the map!

...Which is nigh useless. While it will show enemy positions once they've been spotted, you'll rarely, if ever, need to look at it beyond the deployment. You can deploy from multiple locations, but in the basic, killey-dey-rear end missions, there's almost no point in deploying anywhere but the middle. Soon enough we'll come to missions where deployment matters, but that's later.



Uh... drat it!

What's up, Perfidia?

I just feel like someone walked on my grave... It's... It's nothing... Let's move on.

For those who saw my last attempt at this game, this is where Perfidia died due to a Morelman, and the other side of this building is where I've generally seen the most reloads (including my first reload of this LP, where one Morelman and a Flatster TPKed the whole group!). We'll see the Morelman later this mission, but thankfully, we won't see the reason he is one of the biggest dick moves of the early game.



What the... What is that thing?

Only thing we need to know is how to kill it, man! Let's try a little pulse or three, see how it fries!

Still, shortly after we round the corner, we see our first enemy, the Muckstar. The Muckstar isn't a big threat, but it is an annoyance, with a fairly long range attack, and the ability to run away faster than a Flatster!



PURPLE! 2'O'CLOCK!

WHAT THE... AWWWWH, poo poo! IT'S NOT FEELIN' MY SHOTS MAN! GAME OVER, MAN, GAME OVER!

Speaking of the Flatster, we almost immediately get ambushed by one! Flatsters are fast, hard to hit with ranged weapons, and can attack multiple times for each shot your guys take, in general. To see one this close is a definite “Oh, poo poo!” moment... It doesn't help that they're the only thing on this map that has laser resistance (dropping damage by a quarter), and Perfidia's speciality, melee, will lose three quarters of its effectiveness. We have literally nothing that will do anything near full damage to them right now.



Perfidia, I recognise that one! It's a Morelman!

But historical records said they were slow and ineffective, and this one's... poo poo, FIRE AT WILL! TAKE IT DOWN BEFORE IT GETS CLOSE, IT'S HIGHLY EVOLVED!

The appearance of a Morelman while Purple's occupied with a Flatster is definitely bad news: Morelmen will be the bane of your early game existence, because they have a natural acid attack that's guaranteed death (800 damage over 8 seconds, it stacks, and they can spit 5 times a second in the worst case scenario), and they will almost immediately start spawning with fun stuff like combat shotguns. It doesn't help that Aridge isn't very good with pistols, that a second Flatster decided to join the fun, and that nobody can really help PurpleXVI until the Morelman is dealt with...



AAIEEEE!

DAMMIT! Little sods are everywhere... Aridge, help Purple!

Little busy here!

ASAP!

...Which has the predictable result. The potential of between 200 and 1000 melee damage will sort of do that to you. Luckily, although the AI generally focuses on single enemies (IE – your soldiers) until dead, the Flatster decides this time to attack someone else. The status icon in the corner of his portrait shows he's bleeding out, which means the combat is on a definite time limit. This is definite trouble...



MORE INCOMING!

KEEP FIRING! PRIORITISE BY SPEED, THREAT, AND WHETHER IT'S A MORELMAN OR NOT!

...Which is nothing compared to the shitstorm that almost immediately hits us. I genuinely wasn't joking when I said you can usually find everything at the north end of the map. Yes, everything. So, time to explain the other monster: The Brainman. For now, Brainmen aren't really a threat: They're slow, they melee slow, but they do hit hard when they hit, so it's good to get them at range. The two Flatsters nearby will potentially gently caress us up too, so this was one of the most tense starts I've had.



Grrrr.... Rrrrrr! GRAAAAAAAAGH!

Holy... poo poo...

Don't look, man, keep firing! Jesus, I did not want to see that... who knew those things had an rear end in a top hat to stab repeatedly?

And Perfidia changes the game once she's knocked the Flatster out with her Reticulan weapon. While the knife doesn't do a whole lot of damage, it's faster at killing most things than every other weapon we possess (all two of them!) It also saves on ammo, as monsters stop regenerating while they're being hit, and so, despite the awful damage against Flatsters, she can still quickly murder them in their (induced) sleep. Dual wielding isn't really implemented in this game, so it was a bit pointless for me to give her two knives, but hell, it's good flavour, and introduces some extra tactical funsies for me.



UNH!

Get up, man! We're not done yet!

Did you get the number of that speeding shuttle?

Another new mechanic in Aftershock is shown here, although the cause (the Muckstar's shot) is sadly not. There is a chance, when you're attacked by some things, that said attack will knock your soldier on their tuschus, which, in a heated combat like this, is potentially deadly. Take a look at his action timer in the next screenshot... that, and the time difference between shots, makes around 4 and a half, maybe five seconds of... getting up. Before you can do anything. That's just over four laser rifle shots with an average guy. And it has a high chance of happening anytime a crit is scored, or explosives are used.



RAH! HAH! AGH! HAH! HIIIIII-YAAAAAGH!

Jesus, she's gone crazy!

Hey, at least she's distracting that mutant so I can get Purple back... Now let's see... coagulant here, here, here, here, here, and here, and combat stimulants here!

WHU-EEYOW!

Sorry, man, needle slipped a bit... here's your gun, there's your target.

Uhhhh... thanks, man...

Yeaaaahhh... the Brainman is almost on top of Perfidia, but it really doesn't matter, as she's well covered, and PurpleXVI is going to get up any minute now to add the focus fire to what is almost the last enemy of the map. This, gents, is the Aftershock experience... what was a shitstorm can, if you focus fire right and adapt well, be cut down with almost no difficulty, while at any time, the reverse can suddenly become true with a single ambush. So far, she's saved us something like ten or twelve shots (it would be more, but the Morelman briefly got back up), and, before the end of the mission, she'll save us another six or so. Having someone to murder the sleeping mutants is always a good idea, and will help you in the long-term. But try and keep them safe, and do as I say, not as I do.



KIIIIIII-

Oh, gently caress's sake, just kill it so she'll calm down guys. It's the last one, and it deserves some mercy from whatever she's gonna do to it...

The rest is just mopping up, although sadly, I didn't get to demonstrate Perfidia's excellent melee skills against the final Brainman before Vadoc and Purple put it down. Still, it is a wonderful image to end the update on, and not even the “Oh, hey, you actually saved us!” message from the Human leader (video here) is going to dampen our enthusiasm.

Next time, we start resource managing, and explore the Geoscape UI!

JamieTheD fucked around with this message at Jun 17, 2013 around 08:11

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Remember the "Good Old Days", when glitches or bad designs could lead to missions that aren't winnable? Well, guess who found one in his non-LP run! Take a look at the screenshot below, and tell me what's wrong with this picture?



The answer? Reticulans cannot climb ladders, have no climb animation, there's no knockback in the game, and the only exit from the ship is only reachable by ladder.

If you see a capture mission with this layout in your game... just reload and refuse.

EDIT: Also, if you see a badass weapon in this screenshot... No, you didn't. Move along, folks, you saw nothing, you hear me? Nothing.

JamieTheD fucked around with this message at Jun 18, 2013 around 14:27

Last Transmission
Aug 10, 2011


It's back! And I'll probably even make an appearance till the end of the year!

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Right, it's a Wednesday, and all the guys and gals who've been following the thread know what Wednesday means (generally!)

Infodump 1a – It's Raining Assholes (Enemies 1)

Yep, it's Infodump time, ladies and gents, and it's time to meet our first contestants in the “Biggest Asshat In Aftershock” competition! Statblock will basically be actual armour, attacks, base hit points, then what the armour values (should) say in-game... because they lie like a used-car salesman. First up, we have a comeback contender, the Muckstar!

Muckstar



pre:
ARMOUR                           ATTACKS
Soft: Nope                       Ranged: Shock attack (Base range 35ft, 250 plasma damage, .8s aimed,
Hard: 10%                                         .2s snapshot)
Laser: Nope
Plasma: Nope                     BASE HP: 300
Warp: Nope
Sonic: 75%                       ARMOUR (GROUPS)
Blade: Nope                      Projectile: 5%
Burn: 80%                        Energy: 0%
Explosive: Nope                  Mechanical: 25%
EMP: Nope                        Burn: 40%
Psi: 50%                         Psi: 50%
Muckstars aren't actually very tough, but they are quite mobile (they like to move a lot), and they have a shocking psi-lightning attack. They're pretty low priority, even with their high firing speed. They're most likely the first enemy you'll meet with resistances, Burn, Sonic. and Psi being an especially bad idea. The little bastards are fast, and they like to run away to plague you another day...

Brainman



pre:
ARMOUR                             ATTACKS
Soft: Nope                         Melee: Bite, Claw (both close, both base 1000 Blade, both 1.5s ready, 
Hard: 10%                                 1.2s between attacks)
Laser: Nope                        Ranged: Psi attack (base range 12m, 5 seconds unknown effect)
Sonic: Nope
Plasma: Nope                       BASE HP: 1250
Warp: Nope
Blade: Nope                        ARMOUR (GROUPS)
Burn: 20%                          Projectile: 5%
Explosive: Nope                    Energy: 0%
EMP: Nope                          Mechanical: 0%
Psi: 20%                           Burn: 10%
                                   Psi: 20%
A new contender, the Brainman will become a right arse later on, but for now, he's merely a melee combatant who keeps forgetting that melee exists. This is because Melee isn't his primary thing. Why do you think he's called Brainman? It's certainly not his boyish good looks. Being an early game enemy, it's not that well armoured, but burning or psi-stunning it isn't the best idea in the world.

Morelman



pre:
ARMOUR                       ATTACKS
Soft: Nope                   Melee: Punch (400 base Blade damage, 0.3s swing, 0.2 ready)
Hard: 10%                    Ranged: Acid Spit (base range 10, 800 Burn damage for 8 seconds, .8s 
Laser: Nope                          aimed, .2s snapshot), Whatever Gun They Carry
Plasma: Nope                 BASE HP:  2400
Warp: Nope
Sonic: Nope                  ARMOUR (GROUPS)
Blade: Nope                  Projectile: 5%
Burn: Nope                   Energy: 0%
Explosive: Nope              Mechanical: 0%
EMP: Nope                    Burn: 0%
Psi: Nope                    Psi: 0%
And then we have our comeback king: The Morelman. Faster, stronger, more intelligent, these dickbags can not only wield guns, just like last time, they have an acid spit attack that you have no defence against in the early game! That's right, stay the hell away from them, or they'll literally kill you with the contents of their stomach! In the gamefiles, they're known as Rostya, and their only armour is for Hard rounds. If it weren't for their acid spit, their speed, the fact that they can carry guns, and their melee attacks, they'd be a joke. As it is, they're the biggest dicks you're going to see in the early game.

Flatster



pre:
ARMOUR                  ATTACKS
Soft: Nope              Melee: Bite (200 base Blade damage, .2s ready and swing)
Hard: 65%               Ranged: Shock (base range 5m, 250 base Laser Damage, radius 2m, .8s 
Laser: 25%                      aimed, .2s snapshot)
Plasma: 20%             BASE HP: 750
Warp: 10%
Sonic: 70%              ARMOUR (GROUPS)
Blade: 75%              Projectile: 32.5%
Burn: 10%               Energy: 13.75%
Explosive: 40%          Mechanical: 61.67%
EMP: Nope               Burn: 15%
Psi: Immune             Psi: 100% (Immune)
Another new entry for Aftershock, the Flatster is a speedy melee combatant who will bite your ankles off if you don't spot him first... which is difficult, because the bugger permanently counts as prone, which gives you stealth bonuses. If it weren't for the fact the only “flat” thing in the game-files is “flatworm”, I wouldn't believe the armour values of these little shits... but the electric attack, the bite attack... it all fits. It has a distance attack it will occasionally use, and, for an early game enemy, its armour values are unreal: It's resistant to nearly everything, especially AP bullets. It's also immune to psychic powers, and is a drat good showcase for why the armour system they show you lies like it's going out of fashion.

"Wild" Reticulan (Basic, no armour)



pre:
ARMOUR                      ATTACKS
Soft: Nope                  Ranged: Whatever gun they carry
Hard: 10%                      
Laser: Nope                    
Plasma: Nope                BASE HP:  600
Warp: Nope
Sonic: Nope                 ARMOUR (GROUPS)
Blade: Nope                 Projectile: 5%
Burn: Nope                  Energy: 0%
Explosive: Nope             Mechanical: 0%
EMP: Nope                   Burn: 0%
Psi: Nope                   Psi: 0%
Reticulans, Ripples, Greys... there's a lot of names, and they all translate to “mook”. While they were pretty fearsome in their way in the first game, and may be later on, right now they're the equivalent of the first game's Cudgels: None too bright, none too quick, the only benefit to them is that they hold guns. They're also one of the first enemies to have resistances and different armours (yep, we're going to be seeing different ripples again! VERY different Ripples!)

JamieTheD fucked around with this message at Jun 19, 2013 around 13:34

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Infodump 1b - Weatherproofing For Beginners (Kit 1)

Like Aftermath, we begin with a limited amount of equipment. And by limited, I mean very limited. Specifically, we start with no armour, some reticulan pistols and rifles, ammo therein, three medkits, several knives, and nothing else. Considering that humans have next to no resistances, this is obviously a Bad Thing. But still, let's go over our basic equipment. All stats are based on Veteran difficulty.

Laser Pistol (Reticulan)





pre:
Base Range: 20m (says 18 in game)
Base Damage (Single): 175
Damage Type: Laser
Rounds Per Second: 1 per 2/3s single, 1.43/s snap
Skill: Close Range
Weight: 12 units
Recoil: 2 (unsure how this is modelled)
Reload Time: 1.5s
Clip: 1
Oh look, it's a massive pile of horse-puckey. Generally, lots of things are resistant to lasers, so they are as crap as they always were. Seems quick until you realise it takes an extra 1.5s between shots. As such, despite it doing better damage overall against Flatsters, the knife is better for killing them. Sad, isn't it? However, that "difficult to come by" line? Complete bullshit. We'll have more than we'll ever want by around update 12.

Laser Rifle (Reticulan)





pre:
Base Range: 30m (says 27 in game)
Base Damage (Single): 250 
Damage Type: Laser
Rounds Per Second: 0.56/s single, 1.25/s snap
Skill: Rifles
Weight: 25 units
Recoil: 2 (why do laser guns even have recoil?!?)
Reload Time: 2s
Clip: 1
Once again, not much use, but it has a decent range (50% accuracy at 30 meters), and does slightly more damage. This is generally going to be our preferred method of murder until we get something along the lines of a bangtube. It's still slow as hell, though, as every shot needs a reload.

Medkit, Basic





pre:
Base Strength: 100 HP.
Clip size: 10.
Weight: 11.9 units
Hey, guess what? They're still pretty useless, still have limited charges, and to make things more fun, you can't build any more until you've done some research with a specific building, and built a factory just for them! Sucks to be you, don't it? Despite not being refillable in mission, medkits are refilled at base, even though we don't know how to make them, so keep them on you, even if they are relatively useless! Unlike the first game, where it was a quick jab, now medkits take a long time for each use, and so they've become even more useless than they were originally.

Browning Knife





pre:
Base Range (Thrown): 10m (no contradiction from game)
Damage (Thrown/Slash): 150/300
Damage Type: Blade
Attacks Per Second: Somewhere between 3 and 5
Skill: Close Range (or Throwing, if you're desperate/stupid)
Weight: 3.4 units
Your basic melee weapon. Doesn't do an amazing amount of damage, but it saves ammo on trying to murder things that are lying down, and can at least murder smaller enemies! It does 300 base damage (more than a laser pistol), although it isn't very accurate (because dodge counts more in melee), but equip everyone with one, so as to save ammo for murder. Sadly, we can't dual wield these puppies, as melee dual wield isn't implemented in this game.

Desert Eagle (Loot from first real mission, 9mm ammo type)





pre:
Base Range: 20m (no contradiction this time)
Base Damage (Single): 500
Damage Type: Soft (with 9mm ammo)
Attacks Per Second: 0.63/s
Skill: Close Range
Weight: 17 units
Recoil: 6
Reload Time: 1.5s
Clip: 7
The Deagle is nearly always going to be one of your first pickups, and while it's drat slow, it's a definite upgrade on the laser pistol. For the early game, you're going to have a lot of soft targets, and 9mm bullets are cheaper than they would be at Ahnold's Pizza Pahlour to make, so there's really no reason not to switch someone over... unless you count capture missions, in which case they add to your chance of having a boo-boo (read: MISSION FAILED, BITCH!)

JamieTheD fucked around with this message at Jun 19, 2013 around 13:32

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Right, a Number Crunching about training this evening, so, to kick off some discussion, let's have your perspectives on favourite skill sets (each soldier can train three skills). You don't even have to have played the game, just say what sort of builds you like in games like this, and laugh (or cry) as you realise that some of them just aren't workable!

Koboje
Sep 20, 2005

Quack

Grenade chucking was always amusing, since skill levels start so low, the grenades usually ended up to the sides or even behind my guys rather than anywhere close to the enemy (sometimes they just fumbled completely and dropped the primed grenade and blew themselves up).

Having some melee dudes going around with nothing but a sword challenging aliens to honourable single combat could be amusing to see.

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Number Crunching 1: Level Uppu!

Now, the XP system for the game isn't entirely clear (it doesn't appear to correlate to enemies killed by soldiers, perhaps it's difficulty based, as in, how hard the mission is going to be?), but, thankfully, the levelling system is very clear once you realise that the in-game glossary contains all the classes you can train in, and how to get them.

Every time you level, you get 1 stat increase. The stats go from Poor to Superhuman, to Superhuman +4 (You will most likely never see this stat in my LP, because it's horrifically specific). Each stat, in turn, contributes a certain amount to your skill levels. I'll go into more detail in the next Number Crunching for the series, but for now, we're concentrating on Training Options, because, this way, we'll get an accurate picture of what I can do with the characters, and what I'm trying to do with the characters. Now, let's begin by detailing what this poo poo is, what its levels cost, and what the hell everything does.

Training Options are basically perks. You can only get them by spending something like a day and a half of that soldier's life, during which they can't fight. You can get three of them, and, as far as I'm aware, train them all to level 3. But 3 options is your limit. Some of the options are very similar, so it's quite easy to have certain types of soldiers, while other ones require godly stats to begin with if you want to have a hope in hell of reaching level 3 in all of them. And remember, XP levels rarely equal new Option choices, as it often requires multiple stat-ups to get where you want to be for each level. To make things even more fun, soldiers you hire from other Factions (we'll get to that when we get to it) will sometimes be trained in something already, which may or may not gently caress your plans up. And if they do gently caress your plans up, you're not doing it right.

So, in order of appearance, let's deal with those Options!

Commando

The Commando is one of the two main “Melee Bastard” options of the game, and it's pretty easy to get both, as their first level requirements are pretty similar. The first level appears to be nothing special, just allowing you to use Commando weapons, which are... Katanas, Blowpipes, Shuriken. Huh. Somebody's been confusing Commandos with Ninjas, then... However, Katanas are drat good early game melee weapons, and your Commando is already going to be fast enough to close with no problem once you've levelled them up. Second level is an extra two levels of Dodge, which again, doesn't seem awesome until you realise this will probably take it from Good or Very Good, to Excellent or the level I like to call “gently caress ME!”. The third level, however, is the kicker. See, getting a Commando close enough to murder someone is a problem as is... but that final 5 meters is an absolute cock that will probably get them murdered. The 3rd ability is the solution: Every time you want to melee someone, and you get within five meters, they dash the last five meters, and almost immediately get an attack in. For an enemy weak to Blades, this will most likely be the last thing they see.

Cyborg

Only available to Cyborgs, the first level is pretty easy to get (most Cyborgs have it by default), and allows them to use Level 1 Cyber-Implants. These are generally stat-up kit. Levels 2 and 3, predictably, allow the other two levels of implants. This seems like a chump thing to level, until you realise that this is one of the few ways to get a stat to Superhuman +4. Which is bloody scary.

Gunman

Gunmen are... well, they're going to be your endgame heavies, really, as they begin with the ability to use superheavy weapons and armour. If you don't have a Gunman by the midgame... you've probably got problems. The second level beefs up the Hit Points skill (yes, it's a skill, shut up), which, as we've discussed with the Commando, is better than it sounds, and the 3rd ability, again, only sounds amazing when you've experienced the situation for yourself: Knock-Back resistance. Luckily for me, we've already seen an example of knock-back, so you know how bad it is, and how good it is your chosen war-bastards can avoid it. Gunman and Trooper often go together, for reasons which will become blindingly obvious.

Leader

The Leader is a bit of a weirdie, but still fairly useful if you level him up right. His first ability, Inspiration, is useful from the mid-early game onwards, as it adds a level of Psi Defence to anyone near him. The second ability, Group Attack, allows nearby soldiers to use his Enemy skill for the purposes of damaging enemies if it's higher than theirs (a godsend for piss-poor recruits), while the final level gives him not one, but two shiny abilities! Specifically, he gets three free skill points, two in HP (for obvious reasons), and one in Observation. This option often pairs with the Medic, which works well, because the Leader has to be near everyone to be used effectively. Still, it does introduce potential tactical limitations...

Medic

Ah, the Medic... One of the first types you're going to train if you have two brain cells to bang together. His abilities are useful pretty much from the get-go, unlike a lot of others, starting with being able to heal Stun damage with his medkit or hypo-spray, and the ability to use medkits (which you can get in the first week (although this is unlikely.)) For his second trick, he gets an extra level of Medical, and, when he medkits someone, he can cure Paralysis or Blindness! This will prove bloody useful by the midgame, so make sure you have it. Finally, he can heal Permanent damage (bring plenty of medkits, though!), and even Reanimate the dead! Of course, this has some limitations, but more on that when we get to it in-game... and we will, I promise you!

Psionic

Much like the Cyborg, this sounds boring, allowing level 1, 2, or 3 Psi equipment to be equipped on said character, and is only available to the Psions. But Psi equipment, as we'll see, can be bloody useful. It can also be a bloody waste of time, but hey, that's Aftershock for ya!

Ranger

Want your close combat monkey to be a jack-of-all-trades? Look no further than the Ranger, and, while you're at it, get some Commando levels on them too, for maximum close range carnage! The first level is a straight level in Close Range weaponry. Remember that that means not just melee weapons, but pistols, SMGs, and, most importantly, shotguns. Providing they survive long enough, we will be seeing this in action. Secondly, they suddenly learn how to be Ambidextrous, which allows you to use two of the same pistols or SMGs in each hand, for maximum carnage. Considering you can mod either or both of them differently, this can be a useful talent. Finally, Perseverance is basically Jesse Ventura's immortal “I ain't got time to bleed”, allowing a soldier to continue fighting until they are basically dead. For obvious reasons, fully levelled Commando/Rangers are utter murder-freaks at close range engagements.

Scout

The Scout is, at first, seemingly useless. Cloaks? Scanners? Who needs such gibberish, I want to kill things! Hear me out, however. Stealth is actually kind of useful in this game, done right, and knowing where enemies are is drat useful, once you have the kit. Unfortunately, that's the first level, which isn't useful until you achieve the means of making Cloaks and Scanners, somewhere around the mid-game. But don't worry, there's more to come. Second level, even with the skills had at the time, is kinda blah, adding 1 each to Observation and Stealth, but level 3 is where the magic happens...

...How do you feel about three abilities (five, technically, but still)? Specifically, how do you feel about not having to zoom in on a bastard to see what he has (armour or weapons), or seeing an actual health bar instead of “Guhhh, he's Injured. Sorta.”? Or perhaps deployables, which we had so much fun with last time? If none of that floats your boat, how about a natural complement to the Ranger or Stalker with the ability to see the enemy's LOS as well as your own? It's potentially extremely powerful, and the deployables alone make it useful.

There is, however, a typo somewhere, or a removed feature, because seeing enemy health is specifically noted as Enemy Health Two. This is actually because Enemy Health One is slightly less useful, and so Scouts don't get it.

Sniper

Never leave home without one. Obviously, the first ability is to be able to use Sniper rifles, which make a lot of the midgame easier. Second level gives 1 each to Long Range and Observation, which is nice, while third level? Target Body Parts. Pull a Roy Rogers, and disarm the enemy! A Carlos the Jackal, and make their heads go kersplode (auto crit if it hits!) Or maybe a … I dunno, John Woo, maybe, and shoot their legs out from under them for auto knockback! Of course, each shot is harder than a straight body shot, but all three have good reasons to try them (especially disarm and knockdown!)

And really? At the engagement ranges you generally have right up to the midgame, called shots are easily an option.

Stalker

Stalkers are... a bit poo poo, really. They're the icing on the cake of the Commando/Ranger grouping, but have little use outside of that, and, to be honest, you could probably give them something better with a little work. First level is a Stealth bonus of one (yawn), second is a Throwing bonus of 1 (YAWN!) and Commando Equipment (got it already!), while third is... if you use Commando equipment, you have a chance of causing knockdown. This is why it's icing on the cake, but... there are probably better ways of achieving knockdown, to be honest. We might see it in-game, we might not. I don't particularly care either way.

Technician

What's that you say? Deployables out of the bag? Shame we can't get them until the mid to late game! This is why getting levels in Technician early isn't a great idea, despite the other two levels. Second level allows heavy stuff, like a Gunman (woo), rockets like a Trooper (woo), and Drone Repair. Again, not gonna see it till much later. Finally, 1 extra Mechanical skill, and 2 in Carrying Capacity... which is useful by that point, as your Technician will be loaded with all sorts of crap, but still... it's often a better idea to get the stat levels beforehand, then give them a longish hiatus so they get all three levels at once. Then you send them out to be the bringers of death and suffering they so long to be. Basically, this is a good way to get extra heavy backup late in the game.

Trooper

Finally, we have the Trooper. He's nothing special, but he's also easy to level. Able to use Rockets at first (won't get them till the mid-early game), 1 in Rifles and Throwing, along with Enemy Health I (see health bar of an enemy this specific soldier can see) at second, and, finally, 2 in Dodge and the ability to Heal Stun. Of course, by this point, you should already have a medic, and Stun won't be so much of a problem anymore (because Death is a bigger one), so it's very meh.

Before we finish up, I'd like to talk about a couple of the best combos. Psionic/Leader/Medic is a good one, but requires you keep them in the middle of your squad, sadly. Commando/Ranger/Stalker is basically the ultimate melee badass, while Commando/Ranger/Scout is good for knowing exactly how broken the Katana can be (plus, your Commando/Rangers will have hideous speed, and be ideally suited to the Scout class). Technician/Gunman/Trooper basically covers your ranged warbastard, while Sniper/Commando for the dodge, while difficult to arrange properly, leaves you with some Snipers that are less likely to be harassed or interrupted (because attack interrupts are a thing in this game).

Next time we do NumberCrunching, we'll talk about stats and skills, and then tracks and other fun bullshit.

Pierzak
Oct 30, 2010

It is enough to make a bird go insane


It's back! Watching it till it inevitably succumbs to lazinessthe LP Curse and disappears again.

Pierzak fucked around with this message at Jun 20, 2013 around 01:01

Scribbleykins
Apr 29, 2010

Any scientist with the right background can brew his own booze.

...

What do you mean electrolytes aren't used for brewing booze? That's silly!

...

Well when all you have are chunks of TNE and an overly large water ration, all the world looks like a still!

As far as I recall, I never really went the Commando/Ranger route.

But I did have plenty of use for Psionics, and MAN could the Cyborgs become literal walking tanks with the right build.

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Scribbleykins posted:

As far as I recall, I never really went the Commando/Ranger route.

But I did have plenty of use for Psionics, and MAN could the Cyborgs become literal walking tanks with the right build.

Yeah, I'll get more to Psionics and Cyborgs when we get some, but basically, Psionics are often better than Leaders for buffing your soldiers, and, as Scribbleykins mentions, Cyborgs can get a lot of good stats with the right build. However, this often requires the right start... Which is the tricky bit!

Neddy Seagoon
Oct 12, 2012

It's Super Effective!


Oh hey, this is back . Signed up for Aftershock and eagerly awaiting an inevitable goony demise .

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Neddy Seagoon posted:

Oh hey, this is back . Signed up for Aftershock and eagerly awaiting an inevitable goony demise .

I believe this sums up the situation, Neddy, old chum...

Neddy Seagoon, I note that you have signed here on both the Aftershock Ramblers and Afterlight Walkers courses, both of which happen at the same time. This just won't do.

Would it help if I gave you a portrait of the queen or two, Moriarty?

I don't know, do you have any?

Only in crayon.

Very well, hand them over [FX: TILL REGISTER]. In answer to your question, no, no it won't help at all.

drat and blast! Now I shall have to use my charming witticisms to -

Good-day [FX: DOOR SLAM]

Whatwhatwhatwhatwhat?!? Foiled by the BBC Sound Effects Department!

Update later today/tomorrow for you USA types!

Ben Kasack
Dec 27, 2010


Hell yes! I was just starting to wonder where this got off to and lo and behold, I see the new thread. Double checked the recruitment doc just to make sure I was there and I was so I will be watching this once again.

Neddy Seagoon
Oct 12, 2012

It's Super Effective!


JamieTheD posted:

I believe this sums up the situation, Neddy, old chum...

Whoops, didn't see I was listed under "Seagoon" in the other one.

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Sorry for the delay, folks, been reviewing again. So, without further ado, let's do this update, then later on, I'll post the first proper Afterlight update... then we can (hopefully) resume normal schedule.

Chapter 3 – The Many Faces of Management



So, after that mission, as usual, we get a little table showing us what we stole (One Deagle, plus ammo), the worst casualty (Poor Purple!), and other general stats. In the main, I won't bother showing this screen, because there's not a lot we need to see here that we can't anywhere else. So, back to the Geoscape we go, and...



...Oooh, two shiny territories! As the game progresses, we'll find these aren't shiny at all, and in fact represent the fact that the first faction we've met are literally the god-drat hicks of the game (as if the accent, combined with Altar's “enlightened” views didn't give it away...) Both these provinces produce only Low-Tech resources, representing lovely earth tech. This will be a component of most things we make or build in the game, but we're rarely, if ever, going to get low on it, and its main use is for trading to up diplomacy with the other two factions. We'll meet them when we meet them, it's kind of random. Anyway, time for a whistle stop tour of what we can and can't do!



Our first stop, which should always be your first stop, is the Research panel. At the moment, we only have one lab (the Laputa itself), but since this is the beginning from which most other labs and factories come from, I'm not complaining. The research order I've put in here isn't always the most efficient, but until better stuff comes along (and it will), it works for now. Research goes at set paces, only modified by two things: Boosters (things we know or have that help the research) and Prerequisites (obviously, poo poo we need before we can do other poo poo). Finally, most of the lab research text is hella boring and formulaic, so only important (or interesting) researches will be screenshotted in this LP! So, with that out of the way, let's move on to our most necessary, yet most boring screen.



The Overview. This is important because of the right hand side. See that “Tracks” thing? Resource tracks are an important, and painful mechanic in this game. I'll explain it better later on, but the two important things to know for now are:

1) NEVER put a track down without having saved the god-drat game first. Mothballed tracks are never actually destroyed, which means one misclick can lead to a lot of “Fun”. As in “You suddenly lose lots of resources and the whole track network shuts down” kind of “Fun.” I'm exaggerating. But not by a whole lot.
2) You'll notice we're only pulling in 25 Lo-Tech. That's because resources don't count until you've tracked them up. And, since costs for tracks rise the more sections you do (each track between two territories counts as a segment), it's a race.

There are other mechanics, but they won't apply for another couple of updates.



Next up we have our Squad screen. We may have seen it before, but this is where you're going to spend your time pre-mission, and a lot of the time in general from the mid-early game onwards (training and the like). You'll also notice that poor Purple XVI is really FUBAR, and doing missions with three guys is just no fun. It's do-able, but a lot of them are more painful. Four is generally your optimal in the early game, because of some missions we'll deal with later. So let's move on to another important screen.



Diplomacy. Right now, it's looking pretty anaemic, but here's where you send resources to help factions like you more (like I'm doing right now, for reasons which will shortly become clear), ask for resources when you inevitably get low on them (which zeroes your rep), and ask for people (which gives a small rep hit, but gets progressively more necessary and useful as the game goes on). This is pretty much your only means of reinforcing, so it pays not to gently caress people about. There's also a few important things here, but the main two you need to know for now are that you can't favour one faction over another, because the others will start to hate you, and...



...The reason why I sent materials before we even got started. This, ladies and gentlegoons, is the “Ask for Peeps” screen, and, if we hadn't sent materials, we'd have gotten the truly godawful guy at the top as our only choice. Instead, we get two choices, both relatively bad, but we need the manpower, and besides, early levels come fast in this game.



So, meet Night 10194. She's an ex-murderer, and the Humans were glad to be shot of her. As such, she's going to be trained to be our second melee murder-freak. Before you ask, no, it's not deliberate I'm making all the melee-nuts female, it just happened that way. She's got a long way to go (about six levels) before she can take the Ranger class, but it's better than the other poor bastard, and she has a good Rifle skill to boot, which makes her useful now.



The Base and Manufacturing screens are, right now, unimportant. All you need to know is that we can't manufacture anything without building factories (which is laughably pointless at this moment in time), and we can't manufacture anything good without building labs. Which in turn need other buildings to help support them at higher power levels. So for now, know that this base is where our 25 Lo-Tech comes from (yay), and we're building a Basic Weapons Lab there, because it's an expected and necessary first move.

Instead, let's talk about expanding. Right now, we can do things in precisely no territories without exploring first. How do we explore? By clicking a territory on our borders, and hitting the “Mission” button. This can have one of three results. First, you could get a mission which might allow us to raise our rep with a group, meet a new group, or take some more territory because the group we've helped are soooo grateful. Second, we could get a Transgenant/Reticulan mission, which is basically free territory (so long as you murder all the current tenants). Thirdly, we could get the “No missions here, but you could forcibly take this territory if you want!”

That last one is a horrible idea, by the way. It may become necessary somewhere down the line, but don't do this. It'll tank your rep with that group, thus loving you in the long-term. Also, not taking a mission for a group once it's offered will also tank your rep (much more than it goes up if you succeed).



Which is why this made me groan. In the early game, group escort missions are either a total cakewalk, or save-scum city. We'll find out which in a fortnight!

JamieTheD fucked around with this message at Jun 30, 2013 around 18:04

Scribbleykins
Apr 29, 2010

Any scientist with the right background can brew his own booze.

...

What do you mean electrolytes aren't used for brewing booze? That's silly!

...

Well when all you have are chunks of TNE and an overly large water ration, all the world looks like a still!

First real mission is an escort mission. Something tells me this game will be glorious to behold, if not to play.

Bloodly
Nov 3, 2008

Not as strong as you'd expect.

quote:

If it weren't for their acid spit, their speed, the fact that they can carry guns, and their melee attacks, they'd be a joke.

This description amuses me. "Oh, if it wasn't for EVERYTHING THEY HAVE, they'd be worthless!"

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.


Man, the first mission after tutorial nearly wiped the party, what the hell is an actual escort mission going to do to them?

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Bloodly posted:

This description amuses me. "Oh, if it wasn't for EVERYTHING THEY HAVE, they'd be worthless!"

Yes, well... If you go back to the old Aftermath LP, you'll notice... Well, they didn't have speed, they didn't have acid spit (and it would have been worthless anyway if they did), and... Yeah, they had guns, but Morelman deaths were pretty much the second most demeaning type of death in the game (Balloonfish going KABOOM as soon as you open a door being the first.)

Glazius posted:

Man, the first mission after tutorial nearly wiped the party, what the hell is an actual escort mission going to do to them?

You'll find out in a fortnight, but, as I said, Escort missions are either a cakewalk, or a death trap. The only thing I will say here is the newbie trap that group escorts represent, in that, right at the beginning of the mission, it is guaranteed they will screw up the pathing of at least one of your units, and if you don't notice (say, if you turned "pause for can't move" off, like a moron), you've got one guy way back. Even as it is, at least one person will be a little ways back, because otherwise, the mission will just keep pausing, and pausing, and pausing, and... It's sodding annoying, but I'll explain more when we get to it.

Also, little PSA about why the Afterlight update hasn't materialised yet. It comes in the form of "Good News, Bad News"

GOOD NEWS: I have actually played and recorded the update.
BAD NEWS: I had to do it twice because I missed a vital conversation.

GOOD NEWS: It's ready for uploading from my main computer.
BAD NEWS: Because I'm actually at a relative's, sleeping over for my dental appointment in the morning, I don't have my main computer anywhere to hand until tomorrow evening.

GOOD NEWS: This gives me more time to check the game files for infodump info again, because I have that, at least, on the laptop.
BAD NEWS: It's still nigh incomprehensible.

So yeah, bit of a mixed bag. Thankfully the dentist won't be too bad.

Deceitful Penguin
Feb 16, 2011

All I wanted to do was tell women how to be feminists and compliment them on their great tits.

Then those self righteous shits called me white >:|

Now all I can hope is that this picture of a smiling xbox with awesome tits will console me.


Nice to see you continue this. This is one of those series I'm dreadfully interested in but don't think I'd ever be able to play, for one reason or another.
So having these LPs is neat as heck!

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Deceitful Penguin posted:

Nice to see you continue this. This is one of those series I'm dreadfully interested in but don't think I'd ever be able to play, for one reason or another.
So having these LPs is neat as heck!

It's always lovely to... Wait, you're the only guy so far to enlist as a Psychic? MUAHAHAHAAHAAAAAAA, YESSSSS! I thank you, dear Goonsire, from the bottom of my black little heart! Anyways, editing crap together for the update now, then immediately moving in to edit... every single person currently on base into the first Infodump. It's going to be a bit special. So it'll be late tonight, because there's a lot of images there... The main update's just making a few videos of every single interesting conversation that the game throws at you in the first... [checks]... four days. Wow, four days without a fight, that's almost unprecedented, and I'll make sure it doesn't happen again!

We've only got one or two open slots on the Afterlight crew right now, but the quicker that's finished up, the quicker the first infodump will be 100% accurate (After all, this is a Goon-Reality, and we have to have proper Goon-Histories!)

EDIT: Big thanks to Kitan for taking one of the most under-appreciated characters, you shall have your chance to shine in an infodump or two! Seriously, that woman is loving terrifying, and I'm glad I didn't find the Glossary until last week

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Chapter 2 – The Only Good Aliens Are Tame!



Our first proper day (April 21st, 2053) dawns on Mars, and we already have a lot to set up. So, let's watch a video, and then follow Overseer JimmyTheD as he wanders round wondering -

What the HELL is going on? I've got somebody dead here, and you two are claiming it was Robots?!?

Yes, sir. Robots. Not human built, and, as we know, sir, Reticulans use biotech, so it couldn't be them.

Right. Fine. So we've just had one of our best scientists murdered by robots... On the plains of Cydonia... Where we've unearthed some kind of ancient artefact. In the middle of our attempt to terraform this planet, which we haven't even started yet...

Er... Sir? Your face is turning re-

I KNOWWWWWW! [Sigh]... Well, let's hope everyone else has better news. You two carry on, and assemble the squad. We had two more reports of those drones elsewhere, but we're going to need to load up the UFO with petrol to get that far, and we need to dig a well there. We'll also need more wells to get further.

Ummm... About that, sir... I know I'm just a security officer, but... How the hell is there petrol on Mars, and why does our UFO run on it, instead of, say, radioactives?

That's a drat good question, Ramirez... And I wish I knew.

Yes, that's actually a canonical piece of information, which will totally never become a plot point ever again... We have... A gas-guzzling UFO. Still, it's got amazing speed, and it does god knows how many miles to the gallon!



Our first stop, as it should always be in a UFO game, is to visit the lab. Proper research management, as in any of the series, is the key to victory. We'll have the team explain why this is a relatively good setup for the very beginning...

Ah, Kasack, how are you doing?

Er... Kasack? There's nobody here by that... Ahhh, just kidding. We both know I forged my papers to get here, but still... What would you do without me, eh?

Honestly? Have a head of research who isn't slightly insane. But still, what's R&D's current plan?

Well, our main priorities right now have changed slightly, due to the presence of... Er... Hostiles on Mars. As such, we've pushed Terraforming back a bit, and are mainly concentrating on finishing the Survival Simulator to improve our suits, the creation of portable medical kits like we used to have, and training facilities for our security. After that, we'll work on better guns, and then we'll move on to Terraforming. Although...

Although... ?

… Well... Biscuit has other ideas. She says (Here's a transcription, sir) we need to re-establish communications with Earth... Despite, you know... Last time...

You know what, Ben? You go ahead with that plan, it sounds great. Let's let Biscuit stew for a...

Hey, Gu-uyyys! Have I got news for You! Have a video of it!

[facepalm]





So, the news is pretty simple. We've expanded to the south very quickly, because if we hadn't done so, the greys would have snaffled up some useful resources, and we'd actually have to use the trading mechanic to get good stuff. Since you're trading access to entire levels of materials, taking this option can seriously screw you over, and it's not recommended. Better to predict where you need to expand quickly, otherwise you're in trouble. Still, once the Reticulan Offer comes through, unlike in Aftermath, there's literally no reason not to take it: Instead of a war with the Reticulans, we get two free dudes, some more guns, and some Metal, which we'll need to build the Training Facility.

For the next stop on our tour, we take a look at our overview



Now, a little explanation of the various things that are going on. For a start, we have very limited resources, people wise, and we can only train so many people at once. We also have limited base space, which is also problematic. This game, more than any other in the trilogy, requires you keep as many people alive and cool as possible. It also requires you to manage where they are, whether training, planting Geosondes (claiming territory), or building improvements. We'll take a proper look at our squad next update, but for now, know that we're training our scientists (and one of the aliens Only four people can train at once without building another training building) as soon as they get back from the first round of land-grabbing, and we'll be training our soldiers as and when we can afford to. We can also -

Your scientists have increased in levels.... There are more training facilities... There are new training options available... Nobody loves me... Your technicians have increased in levels...

Listen to Inge “Crassus” Heinmann annoy the hell out of us. But the thing is, you can ignore her, for the most part. She'll still occasionally pop up and annoy the hell out of us (well, me.)

Nonetheless, moving on in our tour, now that we've traded materials, grabbed a bit of land, and set up some resource extraction, let's have a look at our overview. Overall, it's looking pretty good. But the good is definitely not to last. We have two missions right -



Hey boss, the toilets are all low! And it ain't my fault this time!

That's because some bastards are wrecking the god-drat pipes! Look at this! Mechs, why do you betray me, even when I didn't build you?!?

If it's any consolation, Mecha Rick, they're not big, stompy, and liable to kill station crew just by transforming...

...Well, poo poo. Nope, make that three missions. Until you start terraforming, two problems will regularly present themselves. This is the first: Martian drones will randomly cut off our water supply, and we have three days to fix the situation. We also have to take a technical team member with us on this mission, preferably one with combat experience. Only problem is, all our combat mechanics are currently out mining, which means we have no choice but to wait. There's also a second potential problem, which you'll notice when you look at the screenshot. See that Hostility Rating? That's basically how hosed the atmosphere/weather is in the area, and if our suits aren't strong enough, they'll pretty much auto-puncture, and that means a rapid death in the cold and dusty hills. Not preferable in the slightest, but, thankfully, this mission doesn't have a bad rating, even at night. Still, the waiting is decidedly tense, and sometimes, you'll have to recall techs mid mining-op to ensure you have someone able to fix the problem.



Still, not all's grim, as Neil is hard at work directing people to build two of the buildings we've unlocked through research, and Jackie's building our final research unlock for this update, the medkits (and associated “ammo”... Yes, they have ammo boxes now, and researching medkits is bloody easy.) We'd already had her build some suit repair tools and technical kits, but if you know what the hell you're doing, you'll never need the suit repair kit. I just built them to get pretty pictures of them, and for absolute emergencies.



Oh, you're back from work, sweetie! But sadly, I have to go to mine. You don't mind if I take the Xenoborg with me, do you?

No, pookie, it's fine... But, er, I hear they're wanting to talk to the Laputa again, do you think maybe I -

Oh, darling, you know what happened last time! Let's just forget about Earth, right? Our home is here!

The dangerous Sylphosaurus is right, my friend. Did they not call you “Last Transmission” because of the foolishness last time?

Yeah, ummm... Well, have fun blasting robots, darling, and come back safe, alright?

Ahhhh, such romance, it reminds me of gay paree! Nee dee dahhh, lah ti dah dee dah!

Seagoon, you are crazy.

Which is why I use Dobbiroids, the horse rejuvenator of the century! Dobbiroids, for all your -

Oy... let's just kill some things, yes?

A night mission at that hostility won't screw us over at this stage, so, since we only have something like half a day left, we send out our squad in the UFO. We'll see how that goes next update, but, apart from the “Need a techie” aspect, it's basically going to be our first “Killey Dey rear end” mission. See you for the infodump, and then for the mission!

JamieTheD fucked around with this message at Jul 3, 2013 around 16:37

Scribbleykins
Apr 29, 2010

Any scientist with the right background can brew his own booze.

...

What do you mean electrolytes aren't used for brewing booze? That's silly!

...

Well when all you have are chunks of TNE and an overly large water ration, all the world looks like a still!

Ah, Killey Dey rear end missions, the staple of any UFO game. Tedious, yet fun, fun, yet tedious. Depending how the killey goes, at any rate.

(I did -not- realize anything about environment hostility the first time I played this game, with predictable results. Only Ute survived long enough to get back inside the UFO.)

Last Transmission
Aug 10, 2011


I already said I'm sorry! Geez, guys can't you ever let me live it down?

(This is basically a few sane people crammed inside a tiny base together with a bunch of crazies. And we have to cooperate to survive the external threats stay sane enough to not murder all our colleagues in a Dwarf Fortressesque temper tantrum!)

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M.Ciaster
Feb 28, 2013

Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?

I lied.


Man, we really need to get this thread to the second page, this one's taking ages to load.

Anyway, I really like how the game at least tries to make you feel like you're running an actual base on another planet that needs utilities and so on, as opposed to only having to gather materials for research and weapon/armor production (what happens if you go a few days without doing that water pipe mission? Is it just a regular game over, or...?) I don't think any other UFO game did that (then again, I only played the first one and read LPs of the others)

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