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Combat Tricks: Increasing Combat Challenge (OBS Mod and Guide)
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DrBullwinkle





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PostPosted: Sat, 21. Jan 12, 20:58    Post subject: Combat Tricks: Increasing Combat Challenge (OBS Mod and Guide) Reply with quote Print

Combat Tricks OBS and Guide
Scripts, Mods, and Guide

One of my earliest frustrations with TC was that combat is too easy. Even after I worked my fight rank up to the max, the enemies were just boring.

Here is my modified Opponent Balancing System (OBS), which will give you more challenging missions, as well as some tips that I have collected.



Combat Tricks OBS
==> Download: Combat Tricks OBS v4 <== Download Here
. . . . . . . . . Mirror 1
. . . . . . . . . Mirror 2




Description
Improves the Opponent Balancing System (OBS):
  • Increases combat challenge.
  • Reduces lag at higher levels. More big enemies; fewer fighters at high ranks.
  • Allows you to adjust the limits by changing values in the language (t) file.
  • Gives M8's to Xenon and Kha'ak, and M7M's to Xenons.



Background
My very first post on the Egosoft forums was in search of better combat "competition". Gazz was one of the few to respond, and he gave me the tip about OBS, the Opponent Balancing System. It is the tool that missions use to scale enemies to the player's fight rank. My very first mod to my game was a simple hack to OBS.

Since then, I have learned a lot about the game, and OBS continues to be the single most important thing that a player can change when looking for stronger enemies. By working with Eldyran on one of the missions for the Shady Business plot, I learned enough about the Mission Director (MD) to be able to refine my adjustements to OBS. Ketraar's video tutorials about MD helped, as well.

Dillpickle pointed me in the right direction for the finishing touches that make the Combat Tricks OBS finally ready for release to the public -- after more than a year and a half of working on it.


Install
Install with Plugin Manager or copy the contents of the scripts folder to your games scripts folder (addon\scripts for AP).

If this is your first time installing a script, then see Installation Tips for more information.



How to Use
Just play the game. Anything that uses OBS will become more challenging, depending on your fight rank and the settings in the language (t) file: t\8563-L0xx.xml.


History
v4 (2014-12-01)
* Better (quadratic) equation creates much gentler starting multipliers and smoother curve. A spreadsheet is included to assist in tuning for your game preferences.

v3 (2014-03-21)
* Further reduced generation of fighters above BigShipsOnlyThreshold (default is Fight Rank 7). (Tom5Cat)
* Lowered the default MaxMultiplier, to make things a bit easier for some players.
* Allow generation of M7M's.

v2 (2013-06-18 )
- Bug fix: Removed debug message. (nap_rz)

v1 (2013-06-13)
- Initial Release


Thanks to
---------
Eldyranx3, Gazz, Dillpickle, and Ketraar for their help and guidance.



Discussion Thread: Combat Tricks
More great scripts, mods, and info: Bullwinkle's List



More Combat Tricks (Guide)
1) For TC, consider Ulfius's Hard Mode and Xtreme Mode Jobs. These are listed on the CMOD3 thread. Scroll down to the section marked "Optional Difficulty Modes". For my tastes, Xtreme Mode is the most fun, but it spawns enemy invasions so frequently that there is not enough time to play the game (other than combat).

So here is how I do it:

    - Install Hard Mode Jobs and leave it installed.

    - When I feel like a challenge, I install Xtreme Mode. It installs as a fake patch, so it overrides the already-installed Hard Mode.

    - When I want to spend time trading or doing missions, I uninstall Xtreme Mode (which then leaves me with Hard Mode).


Sorry, I do not have a good alternative for AP. Sad (Should I create one?)
    (Note: XRM players already have the benefit of Ulfius's jobs, as well as Paul Wheelers enhancements.)




2) Use AP. It is intended to be more challenging than TC, and it is.



3) Give MARS Fire Control to all enemy capital ships. For player-owned ships, use the built-in Missile Defense turret scripts in AP or Missile Defense Mk2 (for TC only).



4) Boarding against MARS: Trying to use boarding pods against a MARS-equipped enemy can be *too* challenging, so here are some ways to balance that:
    6a) Lower enemy shields from the player ship (the ship that you pilot). Remotely launch marines from an M7M that is outside the range of the enemies guns (~10km). This trick works because enemies prioritize the player ship as a target.


    4b) Suppress enemy weapons with the Ion Shard Railgun (ISR) -- the best pirate weapon in the game. It reduces enemy laser power, which reduces flak that destroys your boarding pods.


    4c) Capital ships have "dead" spots in their turret coverage; usually above or below the ship. Get in close (less than 1km) and find the dead spot, then launch pods from short range.


    4d) If all else fails, then use X3 Editor 2 to change the Boarding Pod "type" to "fragmentation" in TMissiles. This has the effect of increasing the number of targets for the enemy so that more of your pods will "get through". You may still lose marines to enemy flak, but most of your marines will land on the target, so it is a nice balance.



5) Kha'ak in AP:
    Improved Kha'ak 2: The Revenge Return of the classic by 7ate9in11s. Note: You may want to turn down the default settings. Probably. Wink

    Kha'ak in UFJD sectors Re-Adds Kha'ak to Undefined Space, thus restoring the challenge that made Nividium mining "entertaining" in TC.

    Return of the Khaak - Adds roaming Kha'ak (no missions or Undefined Space).

    Roguey's UFJD Mod - Adds Kha'ak and Xenon to Undefined Space, as well as some other features. This is a mod rather than a script, although I don't know of anything that conflicts with it.

    Kha'ak Invasions (Maybe. I have had several emails about invasions but have not seen one yet... maybe I just have not stumbled onto the correct sector?).


6) Karma by 7ate9in11s Provides "consequences" for your actions.


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Last edited by DrBullwinkle on Tue, 3. Nov 15, 23:42; edited 42 times in total
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Gazz





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PostPosted: Sat, 21. Jan 12, 22:06    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Are you using the strafe drive?


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DrBullwinkle





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PostPosted: Sat, 21. Jan 12, 22:12    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Sometimes. I strafe more often when boarding than in combat.

Why do you ask?


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Gazz





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PostPosted: Sun, 22. Jan 12, 02:19    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Because the AI cannot strafe. It's about the biggest exploit the player can use in X3.
So if you're looking for ways to make combat harder - clear those 4 keys from the keymap! =)


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PRiME2007





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PostPosted: Sun, 22. Jan 12, 02:50    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

You could also mount weaker weapons, or blindfold yourself Smile

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Idea





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PostPosted: Sun, 22. Jan 12, 03:01    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Well you can use Phantom corporation ho will steel your trade opportunities, and enable MARS for AI ships.Also instal Pirat Guild and Yaki armada together with MMBR and Anarkis Defense.Now all that combine with XRM and you will have the TIME OF YOUR LIFE Wink

Edit: O yes also instal TC Stock Exchange and you can earn or lose miliones Twisted Evil


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DrBullwinkle





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PostPosted: Sun, 22. Jan 12, 03:31    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Gazz wrote:
Because the AI cannot strafe. It's about the biggest exploit the player can use in X3.
So if you're looking for ways to make combat harder - clear those 4 keys from the keymap! =)


Wow, I did not expect *that* answer!

X3's strafing feels more like a limitation than an exploit. Smile Perhaps I am spoiled by space sims that have Newtonian physics. Flying sideways and backwards feels normal in a star fighter.

No matter -- strafing is not a major factor. The only evasive maneuver that I normally use against capital ships is to slowly move the stick up and down. That is sufficient to avoid 80% of big gun "bullets".

Since it was you, Gazz, who responded, I did have a thought about trying to use your scripts to improve combat. If I had more cpu surplus, I would consider giving MARS to the enemy ships and use Missile Defense 2 for my own. However, big fights already produce too much lag, so I have not tried MARS. And, if I understand correctly, Missile Defense 2 already improves enemy turrets.

Is there an easy way to increase enemy numbers during missions?

I cannot be the only person who has ever had this question... how do the rest of you deal with making combat challenging?

Idea wrote:
instal Pirat Guild and Yaki armada together with MMBR and Anarkis Defense... and XRM...


What is MMBR? The others appear to only add numbers of opposing races... do they change combat difficulty?

XRM is the one mod that I have tried that does make combat fun. But I am not fond of the changes in trading, ships, and wares since I just learned the vanilla names. Is that all there is?


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Last edited by DrBullwinkle on Mon, 23. Jan 12, 05:10; edited 2 times in total
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Gazz





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PostPosted: Sun, 22. Jan 12, 03:42    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

DrBullwinkle wrote:
Is there an easy way to increase enemy numbers during missions?

There is a mission director script that determines the enemy force and composition in missions.
Some 3 letter name. Has an O somewhere in it.
(I do not speak MD)


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Gotis





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PostPosted: Sun, 22. Jan 12, 04:04    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Did you check out combat mod 4?
It with the optional missile rebalance pack sounds like what you're looking for. Increased projectile speed, ships able to sustain fire longer, plenty more.

CMOD4
http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=288835

Read through it and version 3 which it is based on for the full changes.
http://www.thexuniverse.com/threads/13553-Combat-Mod-Terran-Conflict


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DrBullwinkle





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PostPosted: Sun, 22. Jan 12, 04:41    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Gazz wrote:
There is a mission director script that determines the enemy force and composition in missions.
Some 3 letter name. Has an O somewhere in it.


OBS? That sounds promising! The header says:

Code:
<content reference="OBS" name="Mission Director Opponent Balancing System" description=-"The OBS is a system to balance how many enemy ships will be created in a mission"/>


It appears that OBS uses two scores to set difficulty, OBSMissionRank and OBSDifficultyRank.

Around line 681, there is a table of ranges for OBSDifficultyRank, ranging from 5 to 100. Is 100 a maximum, or can I change the range from, say, 10 to 200?

More importantly, line 711 combines the difficulty and mission ranks. I can either add a (5-25x) multiplier there.

EDIT: After some experimentation, I found that a 5x multiplier is good early in the game, increasing up to about 25x by the time I have a carrier fleet. More than that tends to generate hundreds of enemies, but most of them spend their time trying to avoid each other rather than shooting at the player. In other words, more than 25x adds lag without adding challenge.

@Gotis, Idea, Prime... thanks, guys. CMOD4 and XRM are nice but not for me.


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DrBullwinkle





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PostPosted: Mon, 23. Jan 12, 05:34    Post subject: OBS.xml Reply with quote Print

Update: I had success with modifying OBS.xml. I changed Line 711 to:

Code:
<set_value name="this.PointPoolModification" exact="({value@this.PointPool}+1)*{value@this.RandomNumber}*4"/>


(The "*4" is my addition) (This is in X3TC v3.2)

The result was that my next patrol mission spawned 6 Q's (plus escorts) against my Deimos + fighter wing; 38 total Xenons. Also, the Q's had much stronger shields than I have seen in the past, so changing OBS definitely did something good.

That was a better fight than most. I lost a fighter to a Q (and another to the autopillok *sigh*). Smile

Oh, and I guess that I do tend to strafe when things get hot. It's a reflex *shrug*. It's more fun that way when outnumbered anyway.

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, Gazz!


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Sn4kemaster



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PostPosted: Mon, 23. Jan 12, 07:23    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

As pointed out before....CMOD 4

It rebalances all the weapons to XRM values but that's it, so you will get a combat experience something similar to the XRM that you liked but not any changes elsewhere!


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DrBullwinkle





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PostPosted: Mon, 23. Jan 12, 07:30    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Sn4kemaster wrote:
As pointed out before....CMOD 4


Yep. Got it... And, as I pointed out before, it's not for me. CMOD4 has much of the same balance as XRM. Both are fine mods... they just are not what I prefer.

DrBullwinkle wrote:
EDIT: However, CMOD4 does not re-balance trading. I will take another look at it.


Thanks for the tip, I will try it. Smile

Do you use SRM with CMOD4? How about the hulls pack? If so, which pack? Am I correct in thinking that stronger hulls increase difficulty?


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PostPosted: Mon, 23. Jan 12, 07:58    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Yes I used SRM with CMOD 4.....if u use both then it's a softer version of XRM, I think you just need to experiment to find out what you like.

The hull packs make combat harder, I found low (or medium) to be the best.....high just creates battles that never end you just always end up taking hull damage yourself and running out of laser juice all the time.


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DrBullwinkle





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PostPosted: Mon, 23. Jan 12, 08:05    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

OK, I will try one thing at a time then.

Thanks. Smile


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