Proposals/Alien Bestiary

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Alien Bestiary

Originally ported from a forum post by BTAxis:,5828.msg46636.html

  • First we need to determine what kind of enemies we want to have in the game, in terms of what the role of the enemies is in tactical engagements, what sort of hazard they represent to the player (and by extension, what sort of tactics they entice from the player), how they behave and how they complement the other enemy types.
  • Second, we have to fill in the details for the enemies. Once we know what an enemy is supposed to do in the game, we can talk about what it should look like, what sort of innate abilities it should have, etc.

What we have

This section lists the aliens that are either already ingame or are in an advanced stage of planning. What you read here should be considered set in stone.


  • Role: Physically weak enemy with somewhat sub-average combat abilities, but with lots of mental capacity. Serves as a weak enemy for the early game, and a dangerous psionic foe for the later game.
  • Implementation: Done.


  • Role: Tough and strong, this enemy is a foot soldier fighting at the front. It should be used by the AI as a shock troop, preferring a direct assault over careful tactics.
  • Implementation: Done.


  • Role: The Shevaar is the aliens' secondary infantry combatant. It is meant to be fast, with a lot of TUs available for moving and firing. It should also have different inherent armour than the Ortnok, so different weaponry works well on it.
  • Implementation: Done.


  • Role: The Bloodspider is more or less to UFO:AI what brainsuckers were to X-COM Apocalypse: small, fast and highly dangerous if you let them get too close. They don't have ranged weaponry, but are dangerous in melee. Their primary role is to harvest organic material though, so they aren't meant for combat.
  • Implementation: Done.

Combat Bloodspider

  • Role: An upgrade of sorts for the Bloodspider. The Bloodspider is a harvesting tool with offensive abilities, but this version is a straight up combat droid. It should be faster, tougher and deadlier than the regular bloodspider, and it should appear somewhere in the mid game.
  • Implementation: Done.
    • Note: Current implementation has it at same speed as original bloodspider and it only appears on XVI/Harvesting missions.
  • Campaign usage: Mid-game unit. Appears frequently.
  • AI Concept: Should try to catch the soldiers in alleyways, inside buildings, etc. When near, it should rush at the soldiers.


  • Role: Hovernets are flying, mechanical units. They have limited firepower compared to ground based units, and they serve mainly as scouts and air support for other aliens.
  • Implementation: Done.

Combat Hovernet

  • Role: Another aerial unit for the aliens but this one is built for combat.
  • Implementation: Done.
    • Note: Current implentation is just a stronger Hovernet, but we may some day want an entirely different alien.
  • Campaign usage: Mid- to late-game unit. Very common in all missions except harvesting and XVI.
  • AI Concept: Prefers outdoors. Default attack/defense.

Alien wormhole device

  • Role: It's not an alien as such, but it behaves like one in base missions. The wormhole device channels the psionic abilities of the hive mind on the other side of the wormhole, so while it can't move or attack normally, it can use psionic attacks in tactical combat.
  • Implementation: Artwork done and in alien base, but no psionic effects.

What is planned

This is my personal idea of how the bestiary could be extended. The goal is to provide a number of enemies that require different approaches to beat, without going overboard and making too many similar types.


  • Role: Breeders are half-organic, half-mechanical vehicles meant to infuse victims with XVI. In battle their primary role is to find civilians and turn them into alien drones, but when attacked they can retaliate with strong psionic attacks as well.
  • Implementation: Rough sketch. Open to improvement or complete redesign. Note: 2x2 unit!

Alien tank

  • Role: The purpose of this unit would be to be very tough and heavily armed. It's an enemy to attack from cover, because a direct engagement would result in almost certain death. It should be a 2x2 unit, so it can't enter confined spaces. It should also be mechanical. Mode of movement could be tracked, wheeled or legged, whatever works. Think ground-based, alien UGV.
  • Implementation: None.
  • Campaign usage: Mid- to late-game unit. Base attacks, terror attacks.
  • AI Concept: Prefers outdoors. Should be very dangerous to attack directly. Perhaps it has limited peripheral vision or turning requires a lot more movement points than it would for a typical unit. Default attack/defense.


  • Role: A unit which amplifies the psionic powers of other units but is very weak itself. One idea is to have a floating, gaseous creature which might have a brain but little ability to hurt anyone.
  • Implementation: None.
  • Campaign usage: Late-game unit. Common at terror attacks and in bases.
  • AI Concept: Should run from enemies and try to stay away if possible. Player must "corner" them.