Arcainite

The 'Copter thread

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The place to discuss 'copters in Alpha Centauri.

 

Well, I just got a Unity Scout Chopper and because it's out of range of ANY bases (friendly, enemy, or neutral), I have questions:

1) If I don't move the 'copter at all does the game think it's flying and burn fuel or crash?

2) Can you land a 'copter on a sea foil or even a ground transport unit?

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The place to discuss 'copters in Alpha Centauri.

 

Well, I just got a Unity Scout Chopper and because it's out of range of ANY bases (friendly, enemy, or neutral), I have questions:

1) If I don't move the 'copter at all does the game think it's flying and burn fuel or crash?

 

I think that it will try to fly to the nearest base. IIRC, it can crash 3 or 4 times before destructing.

2) Can you land a 'copter on a sea foil or even a ground transport unit?

 

It can land on a foil only if the foil has the Carrier Deck ability. It can't land on a ground transport. It might be able to land on an air transport, but I'm not positive about that. It can definitely land on an airbase.

 

Petek

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If you tell the copter to hold or skip turn while in the open, will it move?

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To add to my previous comment, a chopper cannot load onto an air transport. Also, brief testing in the scenario editor suggests that if a chopper is ordered to skip its turn, it will try to fly to the nearest base. If told to hold, it will not move, but will sustain damage as if it had crashed.

 

Petek

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I don't think I have ever built an air transport.

 

Can copters be used as air transports? Can they only load/unload in city squares, or also on airfields, or anywhere?

 

It would be kind of cool to have a Vietnam-like situation of using copters to ferry units deep into fungal areas, or use drop pod formers to get some formers there, clear out fungus with the formers, build an airbase, and ferry in more troops and aircraft for a forward operating base.

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I don't think I ever succeeded in making an air transport work.

Should it be copter or plane?

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I remember making colony pod needlejets, they were cool. I can't remember whether I ever used air transports. I remember being a bit annoyed that land transports are so bad.

 

Though if you got enough of them you could use them as a very expensive magtube... I think. Load a troop at one end and move the transport forward one and switch which transport the troop is in, move the new transport forward one square, rinse/repeat.

 

Someone should test that.

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I think air transports have a max cargo of one and you can only load/unload in bases and airfields.

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I remember reading that, actually. Copters should be allowed to load/unload anywhere, IMO.

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I am looking at alphax.txt and it seems copters have a "cost" factor of 8, compared to a rover's "cost factor" of 2, yet when I load a scenario and test it they cost the same to build with the same weapon as a rover. Does the game ignore the "cost factor" parameter?

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Maybe it doesn't apply to weapons. I've noticed that armour costs change drastically across chassis type, from practically free on naval units to godawful expensive on rovers and 'jets. Weapon costs don't seem to show the same variation.

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I tried giving the best armor and weapon to a copter and a rover and got the same cost - 80 - which was double the cost for an infantry with the same equipment, 40. The rover has a "cost" of 2 while the copter should have one of 8, but it doesn't seem to work. I wonder if this is why airpower and copters are so abused in the game - they are one quarter the cost they should be!

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I just tried it in a higher level game and the hovertanks were significantly more expensive than the copters and needlejets with the same armor and weapon. Something strange going on here. I wonder what that "cost" thing is in alphax.txt before the tech required.

 

Hovertank,M1, Tank,M1, Skimmer,M1, Evasive,M1, 3, 0, 0, 0, 1, 3, NanoMin, Behemoth,M1, Guardian,M1,

 

Copter,M1, Chopper,M1, Rotor,M1, Lifter,M1, 8, 2, 1, 0, 1, 8, MindMac, Gunship,M1, Warbird,M1,

 

If it is intended to make airpower very pricey, it isn't working.

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I tried giving the best armor and weapon to a copter and a rover and got the same cost - 80 - which was double the cost for an infantry with the same equipment, 40. The rover has a "cost" of 2 while the copter should have one of 8, but it doesn't seem to work. I wonder if this is why airpower and copters are so abused in the game - they are one quarter the cost they should be!

 

I just tried it in a higher level game and the hovertanks were significantly more expensive than the copters and needlejets with the same armor and weapon. Something strange going on here. I wonder what that "cost" thing is in alphax.txt before the tech required.

 

Hovertank,M1, Tank,M1, Skimmer,M1, Evasive,M1, 3, 0, 0, 0, 1, 3, NanoMin, Behemoth,M1, Guardian,M1,

 

Copter,M1, Chopper,M1, Rotor,M1, Lifter,M1, 8, 2, 1, 0, 1, 8, MindMac, Gunship,M1, Warbird,M1,

 

If it is intended to make airpower very pricey, it isn't working.

I am not sure the exact mechanics behind cost calculations. However, some balance can be found in reactor types effecting the cost of ground units more than air units. Add a better reactor to your rover and hover tank and it will cost the same or in most cases less than the copter. If your game runs all the way to singularity engines this difference is extremely in favor of the rover/hover tank. (a 24attack 10def singularity reactor hover tank/rover costs 120, whereas a chopper with the same setup costs 310)

 

The only problem with the cost calculations I have is when the designs do not include armor. A chopper costs less than a rover or hover without armor no matter what the weapon is. Only exceptions I know of is with quantum or singularity engines where they will cost the same depending on the weapon used.

 

IMO no one would be calling it imbalanced if copters worked the way they did in Civ II. Where they get one attack and their turn ends where they are.

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If you change the alphax.txt file do the changes take effect immediately? If so we can do some experiments easily.

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If you change the alphax.txt file do the changes take effect immediately? If so we can do some experiments easily.

 

No they do not. Game rules unlike graphics seem to be made part of the saved game somehow.

 

"Imagine A Cool Name" is right, the better the reactor, the cheaper the hovertank/the more expensive the copter, given the same weapons and heavy armor. Strange.

 

costs.jpg

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Perhaps because reactors have a much greater affect on air units (affecting fuel as well as health).

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If you change the alphax.txt file do the changes take effect immediately? If so we can do some experiments easily.

 

You would have to start a new game for each attempted change to the text files. It would be an extreme annoyance to test different cost settings.

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I would much rather find a way to limit copters to 1 attack/turn similar to the way needle jets behave, or still restrict them to 1 attack but still give them the ability to use the remaining movement points to return to a friendly colony, airfield, or carrier

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One of these

 

75928253.jpg

 

Will have one hell of a time trying to kill one of these though.

 

88965616.jpg

 

 

There is balance to be found in armor, defense, and abilities no matter what units you use. The problem IMO is that copters can attack sooooo many units in 1 turn.

That was my reasoning for the 1 attack per turn limitation. Though I doubt such a thing is even possible without modifying the actual game code.

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That's odd, I wonder why your copter has red landing gear and a 50 cost instead of green landing gear and a 60 cost like mine.

 

I don't think there's any way to reduce the number of copter attacks without changing the code.

 

Yes, it is possible to build AAA units which just sit around and hope to be attacked, but the copter has the initiative here. Worst comes to worst it can always use nerve gas. :D

 

I think I am going to try out the following rules in alphax.txt:

 

- Needlejets and copters have had their base range lowered from 8 to 4.

- Airbase terraform improvements now only take 5 turns to build instead of 10.

- Artillery ability now normal cost, instead of going up with armor+speed, so self-propelled (speeder) armored artillery is now cost effective.

- Artillery can now be added to air units (carpet bombing instead of close air support).

- AAA Tracking is now a "0" cost ability, like Deep Radar.

- Armor costs have been reduced across the board.

 

I think the game would be cooler if there were more heavy tanks and self-propelled artillery in the fission and fusion phases. Heavy tanks seem prohibitively expensive; even without airpower they are likely to be killed by enemy rovers with no armor but the same weapon system. Hmm.

 

(Edit) I am lowering armor costs across the board to make the game more defense-friendly in general and encourage heavier armor units.

Edited by chuft

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That's odd, I wonder why your copter has red landing gear and a 50 cost instead of green landing gear and a 60 cost like mine.

 

Hm I noticed the color but didn't think anything of it figured it was faction related or something. I didn't notice the price difference though until you just said something. Maybe different industry social ratings?

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