Localized incendiary effect from smokes?


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#1 Tsathoggua

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 07:37 PM

Anybody know what the cause is of smoke grenades (vanilla x-com, DOS edition I think, running on linux via dosbox) starting fires when they go off?

Usually its localized to the tile the grenade goes off at, plus a handful of tiles within, roughly, by eye about 2 3rds to 3 5ths. Odd thing is, that the fires that start away from ground zero and don't radiate outwardly in a uniform manner, but  rather single tiles or isolated, separate groups of a few tiles on fire. It still smokes, usually at least, although often the smoke ends up somewhat in the wrong place.  There can be quite a few patches, all of them small, in a punctate patterning, although a handful of times they have gone and exploded in quite a fireball, one went off recently that blanketed the interior of a skyranger transport in an inferno

(had tossed a smoke grenade out of the transport at the bottom of the exit ramp to cover the troops, and another one just at the first tile above the ramp to cover airborne soldiers as best possible, to avoid anyone getting their face melted off by an opportunist with a plasma rifle, or snipers under cover in LOS, to say nothing of some of those damned robotic terror units with their lightening-fast quickdraw, powerful weapon mounts and bad attitude to match (dropping in uninvited on an undamaged battlecruiser crawling with ethereals, after it landed to start causing whatever grief they were on a mission to cause in order to kidnap some high-ranking ethereals, nab the UFO parts and scrap and send the rest of the buggers to perdition in a doggy bag. Pulled it off without casualties; at least no deaths, but it was still an intense, messy mission with lots of close quarters slugging it out with heavy plasma, rocket and stun launchers and blaster launchers, which are somewhat unnerving to have to loose off in a bunch of narrow corridors and rely on line of sight to curtail the shockwave, to say the very least)


Anyhow, the grenade thrown to the bottom of the exit ramp, on the ground went off in that petechiae-like pattern of small fires, whilst the first pretty much filled the transport with flame,  Unless X-com has taken to issuing soldiers with molotov cocktails, last I checked there were, unfortunately, no incendiary grenades even available, but it went off and blanketed all but the rearmost few tiles in flames. Little, if any damage done, luckily all bar the very rearmost few troops were wearing powered armor, flight suits whilst even the last couple of rows of soldiers wore personal armor.

#2 NKF

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 08:11 PM

While I don't particularly remember smoke grenades blanketing the blast area with fire before, it's worth pointing out that fire and smoke particles are stored and managed on the same table in memory. If something has glitched, then that would explain why smoke's been exchanged for fire, or vice versa.

Was this happening while you were playing in mountain terrain?

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#3 Tsathoggua

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 10:46 PM

Possibly it has done, can't remember for sure. Haven't been seeing much action in montane locations.

Last time it happened the setting was a rural farm type area. Happened several times within that mission, grenades seemed prone to starting fires.

Also something has been making me think..

Do smoke (possibly pre- or anteceeded by AP) form a kind of, well not sure how best to put it but they seem like the effects of smoke, HE, then flame; or possibly HE, smoke, then flame form a discrete series, of a kind?

What got me thinking was certain effects when heavy cannon go awry, and the way both HC, autocannon and rocket launchers autoload when there are ammunition constraints.

When bringing along HC or autocannons to a mission, if all three types of ammunition for the cannons are available onboard the transport, armor-piercing rounds are automatically loaded, if only AP and HE are loaded then AP comes first, likewise if AP/IC AP loads by default, but if HE and IC are the only types of round carried, then its HC-HE or AC-HE rounds get loaded. Likewise, if HE rockets of either size, and incendiary loadout are both available then ignoring the large vs small difference between HE rocket loadouts and concentrating solely on damage type, then its always explosive before incendiary.

It seems almost as if there is a progression series of different screwup damage types when rounds or grenades go off and effects other than intended.

Only snag is its difficult to figure out, since there are no smoke rounds available for the autocannon, heavy cannon or rocket launcher, and there are no incendiary grenades. I don't know how to install openXcom, I don't know what files to copy where (could anyone give me any pointers here? so I can't currently install add-ons through that route to test it.

But I've also noticed heavy cannon fire in particular (vastly more so for even single shots from a HC with HE loadout than with HE autocannon shells fired in volleys) being prone, when agents are standing in smoke and near stunned due to smoke inhalation wearing no armor or alloy armor to causing the agents currently standing in the smoke to suddenly drop, BEFORE ending the turn.

#4 Tsathoggua

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 09:47 PM

Right, now I have a precise observation of the effect, the exact number of smoke grenades and incendiary shells, weapon type responsible for deployment of incendiary rounds, mission&ship type as well as alien species.

Just clocked the bugs starting swarming round an area and after first intercepting a smallish craft, engaging with twinlinked plasma cannons and completely evaporating the bugger, then sending the same aircraft to engage and shoot down a large ship, two or three more craft turned up, another large, which was blasted out of the sky somewhere to the NW of oz, on the mainland just to the NW of the cluster of small islands above australia, then there was the nasty task of the airborne phase of the extermination, the very large craft. Followed it, manually piloting the skyranger to force the aircraft to take the most expedient direct route, rather than trust the pilot, with his buggering about taking a stupidly long, curving flightpath instead of the shortest point to point routel So anyway, tailed the battleship, and launched a ground assault the moment the sons of bitches set down.

Jungle terrain, pretty dense in parts, send a SERIOUSLY well-armed heavy weapons assault team in, my very best handpicked troops drawn from the elite soldiers. These guys are the very cream of the best X-com has to offer, and the 'ranger is heavily loaded with heavy weapons, rocket launchers, stun launchers, HE demolition packs, a pair of blaster launchers and some 10 rounds, alien grenades, a HC, two autocannon, both with IC, IC and HE loadouts plus heavy plasma and plasma rifles, along with a pair of plasma pistols for the two rocket guys.

In short, this squad is not going to be messing around, and only the very highest value targets such as leaders and commanders are to be taken alive.

Within a handful of turns after catching the battlecruiser landing, having already sent the skyranger to the region the UFO swarm was congregating around and dropping in to go mess up their day, there was one smoke grenade tossed out of the skyranger, and being a jungle mission, an incendiary round (HC) fired to light up some cover, and on seeing an ethereal (just my luck, a battlecruiser full of ethereals and very little ammunition available for plasma weapons larger than pistols, many of the heavy plasma and plasma rifles on board were empty, so the crew are relying on the old laser rifles, heavy laser and the starting heavy weapons like rocket launchers (2 of) autocannon (2) and a heavy cannon with two incendiary clips and a HE mag for if they need to start killing stuff. Main use is marking targets, illumination and either temporarily blocking off corridors or driving the enemy into kill zones.

So one smoke let off, , ethereal spotted in the jungle, HC incendiary round fired off, starting a blaze, followed by hitting an ethereal with a three round burst of HE rounds, killing it, then another smoke grenade. The smoke however went off oddly, nearly evenly split in half, with a 50-50 distribution of flames and smoke, smoke on one side, fire on the other, along with two 3-tile diagonal columns of flames spreading in two lines one from each front wing of the 'ranger plus an additional pair of 3 tile straight lines of fire on the opposite side to the main body of the fire from the grenade effect close to each other, on the smoke-half of the yield.

#5 NKF

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 03:51 AM

Hmm - I haven't been successful in replicating this myself, but I have to say starting a new game (on beginner) and loading up the starting Skyranger with 8 Autocannons, 16 incendiary clips and 8 smoke grenades is both ridiculously silly, yet quite a fun way to play the first mission.

Left with a massacre of course, but to leave the battle with only two soldiers and a 'good' score isn't bad. :D

I'm still not sure what's causing this, but it does sound like the game's stumbling with the fire and smoke handling.

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#6 Tsathoggua

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 04:00 AM

Game isn't on beginner. Forget the difficulty level but I do remember it definitely was not on beginner, that is too easy when you've been at it since '94:D

Odd thing is it doesn't seem universal. Just wish it'd happen with something like the starting grenades instead, all the damn time, as the lack of incendiary grenades is a huge pain in the ass. I have quite the tendency to be a bit of an arsonist, to say the least, nothing like burning the bastards out when you have some damned sneak taking up a sniper position in a building then forcing them out of their hiding spot and straight into a wall of rocket launcher and autocannon gunners with a few bursts of incendiary autocannon rounds:D

#7 NKF

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 04:38 AM

Beginner's a good mode for testing or practising battlescape mechanics unless you need to specifically test aliens at their proper stat levels. Or if you want to try a lone gunslinger type challenge. Hmm. Normal play definitely needs to be on a higher level - it has better loot. ;)

But I have to say even on beginner, eight rookies with eight Autocannon with AC-I shells has its challenge by way of the incendiary/smoke table limit. You fill it up fast and end up firing dud rounds until the smoke or fire clears up.

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#8 Tsathoggua

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 05:59 AM

It fills up TOO fast, it seems like it can only take a burst of autocannon shells and a HC-IC round or two before it no longer produces any flame. Do different difficulty levels have different limits on how much one can go about torching farmer's fields, burning civvie's homes to the ground and doing what I and a certain friend of mine once accidentally-(sort-of-ish), did to a certain college and a considerable distance behind it when we were about 9-10, maybe a bit younger (although not with a heavy automatic-firing high caliber handheld anti-armor weapon loaded with incendiaries and HE shells.....although one of us MAY have had a home-made semi-auto grenade launcher involved:P...oops). are larger limits imposed on the amount of smoke and flame coverage on say, advanced, veteran, expert and superhuman in an increasing series?

This commander had always been under the impression it was more down to what the game mechanics could handle and was an absolute.

Haven't had time to test it though as all my save file spots are taken up and I only relatively recently got the game running under linux. So I've been rather busy rebuilding up my trophy collection of skinned, polished ethereal skull and dismembered chryssalid claws

Got one other thing I have been wondering too.

When the limit, whatever the mechanics of that limit be reached, what happens exactly when those shells go off nearby an enemy? they still seem to explode. Turn into first HE and then if no smoke coverage available for use to be kicked up by the 'HE' shell/s going off, do they then become HE without smoke? or act like AP rounds? And what about for direct hits on an enemy unit, when it doesn't just go off at their feet but smack, bang right between the eyes (assuming of course the enemy being targeted actually HAS any such organ)

If anyone already knows, then I'd sooner be told than have to fart around trying to test it with the combination of a mind probe plus agents with autocannons, HC and different ammo loadouts, plus varying levels of smoke from grenade and HE round use.

Partly because it'd be a nuisance but more down to the fact that most of the craft landing and being shot down of late have been ethereals, ethereals are just too dangerous to use for testing given what they are capable of doing with their psyker abilities, as everyone knows, the best practice where ethereals are concerned is to put them down HARD the moment one spots one. And make damn sure the only way they ever move again is when the clean-up crews arrive and scrape them into a jar.

#9 NKF

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 07:00 AM

The smoke/fire table's the same size on all difficulty levels.

When the table fills up, all the happens is that the incendiary round will stop creating fire. Completely defeating its purpose. It will still function normally and do the initial impact damage of about 5 - 10 points of damage on a direct hit. I think armour effects this so a well protected target may not feel anything.

The secondary damage that incendiary rounds deal to units standing in smoke or fire will still apply even if the fire starting effect has been disabled.

When standing in smoke, X-Com controlled units will sustain stun damage. The same effect as smoke inhalation when ending the turn in a smoke cloud while wearing no armour.

In fire, alien and X-Com units will sustain fire damage as if they were standing in fire at the end of the turn.

The problem with these secondary effects though is that they apply to the entire map rather than just what's within the blast radius. This is what breaks incendiary damage in the original UFO and TFTD. Both effects will activate for every incendiary round pop on the map - doesn't matter if you hit the target or have someone on the other side of the map fire the round at a nearby wall.

All this doesn't explain the original issue though. ;)

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#10 Tsathoggua

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Posted 28 September 2016 - 01:43 PM

Do bugs sustain smoke inhalation stun damage?

And when the memory allocated to flame effects is filled, and an incendiary shell or rocket is let off, it seems to produce a volume of smoke equal to a small explosion, like a grenade (regular, x-com hand grenade) or AC-HE round rather than a smoke grenade's large area coverage..what happens to the shell after, on impact? does it then inflict either HE or AP damage (more so than the small amount inflicted by the incendiary rounds normally?)

#11 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 04:15 AM

View PostTsathoggua, on 28 September 2016 - 01:43 PM, said:

Do bugs sustain smoke inhalation stun damage?

Most aliens do, but only when under your control. Some are immune either way, but everything is immune when under alien control.

So in practise, stun from smoke is typically only a concern for your own unarmoured troopers.

View PostTsathoggua, on 28 September 2016 - 01:43 PM, said:

what happens to the shell after, on impact? does it then inflict either HE or AP damage (more so than the small amount inflicted by the incendiary rounds normally?)

With IN, the actual damage hinges on fire - fire is spread, and then the fire/smoke routine that usually runs between turns executes in order to do the actual damage.

That routine deals burning / stun damage to everything standing in fire / smoke, and it doesn't care where the actual shot was fired - this is why shooting IN at the ground can kill units standing in fire on the other side of the map.

So if you peg an IN shot at a unit and the main smoke / fire table is full, then anyone who was already standing in flame or who was on fire takes damage (and any of your unarmoured units who're standing in smoke furthermore take stun damage) - but the shot won't generate any fresh flames around the actual target, so if they weren't already standing in fire they may well simply get away scott free.

If it directly hits a unit it may still set that unit on fire, in which case it'll hit it for 5-10 points of damage per round (or per additional IN shots fired...) until the fire goes out. Though it may be impossible to ignite units who don't end up standing in flames. I'm not sure on that one.

Unlike the limitation on the number of tiles you can set on fire, there's no limit to the number of units you can set on fire, though.

http://www.ufopaedia...cendiary#Damage
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#12 Tsathoggua

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 06:03 AM

Yes, I was just about to post, that I had noticed that it was possible after the fire table is full, still to set other units on fire. Had it happen a few times to the recent plague of ethereals I've been having to send shrieking back to mars for a change of under-robes. And again just earlier after taking careful aim with an autocannon and popping one (an ethereal) right in the head with an incendiary shell. After already having deployed a fair inferno with HC shells and the odd WP-tipped rocket, to flush hostiles out of buildings and into the sights of a pair of snipers crouched on top of the skyranger wings.

Shot at the ethereal, hit a bullseye and whilst the area surrounding it didn't get carpeted with fire the alien itself was indeed set ablaze; which I doubt it was particularly chuffed about:P

One or two other questions-does the game treat fire that has been started directly by an incendiary round or smoke grenade differently than that which takes hold from a neighboring source of fire already ignited (such as a spreading blaze in a wheat field after setting a fire in the middle with an IC round then simply kicking back and allowing it to spread)?  and can aliens on fire if the fire allocation table is already full, having been hit directly with incendiaries, set fire to sources of fuel, like fields?

#13 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 07:30 AM

View PostTsathoggua, on 29 September 2016 - 06:03 AM, said:

does the game treat fire that has been started directly by an incendiary round or smoke grenade differently than that which takes hold from a neighboring source of fire already ignited (such as a spreading blaze in a wheat field after setting a fire in the middle with an IC round then simply kicking back and allowing it to spread)?

In terms of how damage is dealt and so on, burning / smoggy terrain is all treated the same regardless as to how it got that way.

It's possible that fire / smoke which has already spread is treated slightly different when it comes to determining whether it'll spread again, but I've seen nothing concrete to suggest that.

View PostTsathoggua, on 29 September 2016 - 06:03 AM, said:

can aliens on fire if the fire allocation table is already full, having been hit directly with incendiaries, set fire to sources of fuel, like fields?

At least to my memory they can't do it at all, regardless as to whether the table is full or not. Terrain can set fire to units but not vice versa.
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#14 Tsathoggua

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 12:32 PM

Spreading is what I meant really, such as whether say, one tile of burning wheat fild, when the fire allocatioh table is full, spreading to another ajacent tile of the same kind.

#15 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 11:12 PM

If the table is full then fire won't spread to new terrain. It may still ignite units that're standing in it, but that's all.
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#16 magic9mushroom

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 05:39 AM

View PostTsathoggua, on 29 September 2016 - 12:32 PM, said:

Spreading is what I meant really, such as whether say, one tile of burning wheat fild, when the fire allocatioh table is full, spreading to another ajacent tile of the same kind.
If the table is full, additional fire and smoke will not be recorded by the engine. Thus, additional fire and smoke on terrain cannot be created by any means. There is no way around this limit.

I suspect something's corrupted in your game, to be honest. This behaviour is totally unlike anything I've ever heard of.

#17 Tsathoggua

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 02:25 PM

Its the copy available from myabandonware.com, if anyone wants to poke about with that.

I must confess, its been behaving pretty nutty at times.

#18 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 02:44 AM

View Postmagic9mushroom, on 30 September 2016 - 05:39 AM, said:

Thus, additional fire and smoke on terrain cannot be created by any means. There is no way around this limit.

There's one exception to this, sorta - you can still create smoke so long as fire still exists in the table, as smoke clouds will replace fire even if the table is otherwise full.
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