Battle 2 Mission 2: Ensnare Imperial Prototypes

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Battle 2 Mission 2: Ensnare Imperial Prototypes

Luke_Skywalker
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Post by Luke_Skywalker » Thu Sep 03, 2020 1:07 am

On Medium, the ETR transports are currently almost impossible to disable. They outright slaughter my wingmen and my shields are paper against them, just a couple of shots stripping an entire layer off, even when switched to double front. It makes it a bit of a problem if you manage to disable one, because the other flies around nearby taking potshots at whatever comes within range. Getting shot by the TIE EX/2s also seems to outright bypass my shields and do hull damage. It only takes two or three dual-linked shots to kill me. Without XWAUCP this mission is much easier.
When 900 years old you reach, look as good, you will not. Hmm?" -Yoda

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Will T
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Post by Will T » Thu Sep 03, 2020 9:53 am

I played this mission last night, as it happens, while testing something.

I do agree it's difficult, though I think it always has been. I was able to disable one of the ETRs without too much of a problem, it's just a slow process of making runs with lasers to strip away shields, running away and evading as soon as your shields drop below 100%, recharging to 200% and repeating until the ETR has no shields. Then you just have to get in close and dumbfire an ion pulse - one is all it takes.


That said, I did notice some of what you mentioned myself. The first time I played through, I wasn't really paying too much attention as I was just looking out for a change I'd made, but I got shredded in about two seconds by a pair of the TIE EX/2s. It did seem incredibly fast. I did wonder if the Z-95 was running with lower stats compared with vanilla, or if maybe the EX/2s have had their turbolasers upped somehow.

If you're finding it harder to disable the ETRs than normal, there might be some merit to the Z-95 somehow having lower stats. Obviously, the ETR hasn't been changed at all by the XWAU pack so there can't be any balance issues there.

I'll check through all the craft stats and the mission files and confirm.


Incidentally, I do wonder if TG intended the ETRs to be this hard. I suspect possibly not. They're a problem on both this mission and the attack on the Liberty later, and because of their firepower and coverage they're difficult for the AI to know what to do with, and difficult for the player to engage.

The thing is, there's actually another opt in the Flightmodels folder. These missions were supposed to use a modified Escort Transport (this is reflected in dialogue - both in mission and in the debrief). There's an unused model that replaces the cargo box on top with a pair of antennae. I would guess this wasn't included in the game because it was never finished - the opt is very barebones and doesn't have any hardpoints, for example. I've had a go at bringing that modified version back into the game using the mission object hook, however. This is what I was testing last night, as it happens. I've set the gun turret meshes as the rotarygunturrets they're supposed to be and added hardpoints, as well as splitting out the big mesh at the back into separate engine meshes. It works pretty well in game, but the mission is noticeably easier. The modified version is missing the two gun turret meshes on the top side of the ship that are present on the cargo box of the standard model. Without those, the modified version has no weapons coverage above it, and it becomes way easier for the both the player and the AI to attack.

Was this the intended behaviour? Were those meshes left off the modified version so that they would be slightly easier than the stock ETR? It's hard to say, but if you're interested in both making the mission a little easier and a little more plot consistent, I can share my enabled ETRmod opt and the mission ini files to get them in game.


In the meantime, I'll go back to the vanilla mission and do some testing there too - see if I can figure out why you might be finding the XWAU version of this mission harder.
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Will T
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Post by Will T » Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:31 am

Okay, I've had a bit of time to check this out.

Firstly, the Z-95's stats are exactly the same between XWAU and vanilla. This isn't exactly unexpected, there's no reason the XWAU install would have touched stats, but it's good to check.

This probably means the difficulty with the ETRs is going to be the same as in vanilla, though. Like I said, personally I've always found that side of the mission difficult.


On the TIE X/2s, you might be on to something.

The XWAU has a weapon slot defined in the craft stats. The vanilla version doesn't, and just uses the opt default. In theory, these are the same weapons. The weapon slot in the stats is for a SuperEmpireLaser, and the hardpoints on the opt are SuperEmpireLasers as well.

The difference I think comes from the fact that the weapon slot has a link value. This means that the XWAU TIE X/2 can link its turbolaser fire, while the vanilla version (I believe, anyway) can't. This would probably explain why you're taking so much damage from each hit. It's interesting that you said the fire seems to bypass shields and do hull damage. In theory, at least with how I understand the game engine, that's not possible. But I did notice the same when I played it. I got tagged by a TIE X/2 and went straight to yellow single shields and yellow hull. I guess that must mean that shield bleed through is possible under the right situations - probably some ratio of damage against max shields/hull. Either way, it's probably a sign that taking dual turbolaser fire is bad.

Are you familiar with editing ship stats through MXvTED? If not, it's actually a tricky thing for me to provide a file that might fix the TIE X/2s and I might have to walk you through this process in more detail.

If you are, then try going to going to the weaponry tab for the TIE X/2 and replacing the 289 Green Superlaser in the Weapon 1 row with 0 None Set / Opt default, as well as changing all the numbers in the corresponding boxes to zero. See if that makes the mission's difficulty closer to vanilla's.
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Jaeven
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Post by Jaeven » Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:22 am

The other Z-95s won't engage the ETRs until all the fighters are disabled. Once that happens, order your squad to focus on only one of the ETRs. When they engage, dumbfire your Ion Pulses into the first transport. Then, order the squad to attack the last ETR and either use your remaining ion pulses to disable it or just outright destroy it.

As far as I remember, the mission still plays out the same as it did in vanilla.

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Post by Luke_Skywalker » Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:43 pm

Will T wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:31 am
Okay, I've had a bit of time to check this out.

Firstly, the Z-95's stats are exactly the same between XWAU and vanilla. This isn't exactly unexpected, there's no reason the XWAU install would have touched stats, but it's good to check.

This probably means the difficulty with the ETRs is going to be the same as in vanilla, though. Like I said, personally I've always found that side of the mission difficult.


On the TIE X/2s, you might be on to something.

The XWAU has a weapon slot defined in the craft stats. The vanilla version doesn't, and just uses the opt default. In theory, these are the same weapons. The weapon slot in the stats is for a SuperEmpireLaser, and the hardpoints on the opt are SuperEmpireLasers as well.

The difference I think comes from the fact that the weapon slot has a link value. This means that the XWAU TIE X/2 can link its turbolaser fire, while the vanilla version (I believe, anyway) can't. This would probably explain why you're taking so much damage from each hit. It's interesting that you said the fire seems to bypass shields and do hull damage. In theory, at least with how I understand the game engine, that's not possible. But I did notice the same when I played it. I got tagged by a TIE X/2 and went straight to yellow single shields and yellow hull. I guess that must mean that shield bleed through is possible under the right situations - probably some ratio of damage against max shields/hull. Either way, it's probably a sign that taking dual turbolaser fire is bad.

Are you familiar with editing ship stats through MXvTED? If not, it's actually a tricky thing for me to provide a file that might fix the TIE X/2s and I might have to walk you through this process in more detail.

If you are, then try going to going to the weaponry tab for the TIE X/2 and replacing the 289 Green Superlaser in the Weapon 1 row with 0 None Set / Opt default, as well as changing all the numbers in the corresponding boxes to zero. See if that makes the mission's difficulty closer to vanilla's.
Do the TIE Boosters do the same thing? They're ripping me a new one in Liberty Ambush, too. I know nothing of MXvTED, but I have no idea how to actually save ship changes.
Jaeven wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:22 am
The other Z-95s won't engage the ETRs until all the fighters are disabled. Once that happens, order your squad to focus on only one of the ETRs. When they engage, dumbfire your Ion Pulses into the first transport. Then, order the squad to attack the last ETR and either use your remaining ion pulses to disable it or just outright destroy it.

As far as I remember, the mission still plays out the same as it did in vanilla.
This is after the fighters are disabled.
When 900 years old you reach, look as good, you will not. Hmm?" -Yoda

Luke_Skywalker
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Post by Luke_Skywalker » Sat Sep 05, 2020 4:00 pm

Sweet baby Jesus. Somehow taking out that weapon led to the Big Guns one-shotting me and my wingmen, or at least it was extremely close.

[EDIT] Three hits are enough to kill me, it seems, and they're definitely not using the weapons in Slot 1. If I set it to Green Laser they fire the overpowered wing-mounted lasers anyway. And wasn't the T/X1 supposed to have the "super" laser, not the T/X2? I seem to remember the X1 slaughtering Calico in vanilla, but that mission is, again, much easier than I remember in vanilla.
When 900 years old you reach, look as good, you will not. Hmm?" -Yoda

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Will T
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Post by Will T » Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:49 pm

Are you sure the issue isn't just that the Z-95 is an inherently fragile ship?

The TIE/X2 is supposed to have the 'superlaser', yes. Those big guns on each wing are set as SuperEmpireLaser on the original TG opt. The TIE/X1 has it too. I'm not sure why the X1 needed a whole extra pod just to fire one turbolaser, while the X2 gets away with mounting two of them on a regular TIE, but that's something you'd have to take up with the TG designers.

I just tried the mission in vanilla. I flew straight at the X2s and didn't fire at them. I died very quickly in about 3 or 4 hits. They were definitely making the turbolaser sound too. I really don't think XWAU has changed much about how these fighters behave. Like I said before, the only think that might be an issue is if they can link fire those cannons.

The X2 is skirmish flyable. I just did some tests with it. I think I might be convinced when you said removing that weapon slot made them one shot you. With that slot removed, even as a player ship something really weird happens to the guns. Even set to single fire mode, they fire a burst of what looks like at least four shots. It's easily enough to kill a Z-95 instantly if it hits.

I'm not sure what drives that behaviour, but yeah. Keep the weapon slot in there for now.

It's strange that this isn't present for the TG version.

The only other things I can think of that are different are the fact that the XWAU model has an exterior opt (which would be used for the player flyable version) and that the mesh type for the guns is set to 'small gun' for the XWAU version and 'reactor' for the TG one.



Okay. I just did one more test of the mission. I kept the weaponry slot present in MXvTED, but set the Lnk value to 1. While this didn't stop me linking the cannons together when I was flying an X2 in Skirmish, it may have affected the AI.

I flew right at the X2s in B2M2, but evaded their fire. I didn't attack, and instead let my wingmates take over. They successfully disabled all TIE/X2s without taking any damage and with no instruction at all from me. The TIEs that attacked me only seemed to do so by alternating cannon fire. I didn't see any instances of a linked turbolaser shot coming at me. Not sure if this is due to the change, or if it's like that anyway. But either way, nothing particularly difficult about dealing with the TIEs here.

Try changing that Lnk value to 1 and see if that makes any difference.
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Post by Luke_Skywalker » Tue Sep 08, 2020 6:07 am

Fun fact, eliminating the weapon slot from the XWAU version of the X5 causes its laser cannons to shoot in near-360 degree arcs. There's definitely some funny business going on with these models.

Setting the link value to 1 results in some of the fighters shooting in single-fire, some linked. I wonder if the link value affects the AI?
When 900 years old you reach, look as good, you will not. Hmm?" -Yoda

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