[Backer Build 1] Information displayed when targeting; overwatch inflexibility; misleading decorative items

After playing the backer build a couple of times today, I think that there are 4 areas which could benefit from some improvements: 1)information displayed when snap-targeting an enemy; 2) information displayed when using free aim; 3)inflexibility of overwatch; 4)“confusing” decorative environmental items.

  1. I do not think that the player is provided clear enough information when targeting an enemy. In particular, what do “likely” and “possible” exactly mean in the “likely” and “possible damage” indications? Clear percentages would be much more informative.

  2. I am definitely happy that free aim is included - I believe it is a great feature - but it is very rough as of now. I think there are 3 main issues:

  • In some cases free targeting does not acknowledge enemies which were clearly visible (i.e., they do not “glow orange” when placed within the aiming circles). This may just be a bug.
  • The enemies move their bodies while being targeted - if you want to maximise your likelihood to hit a certain body part, you may need to wait and “time” your shot right. It seems odd that better reflexes or timing give you an advantage in a tactical game. This also slows pacing down.
  • I find it hard to exactly understand how likely I am to hit an enemy just by looking at the two circles shown. It would be great to have an indicator showing the shares of the red circle and of the yellow circle which are occupied by the enemy (e.g., an indicator telling you that the enemy occupies 2/3 of the orange circle and 1/3 of the red one). I think this might allow to assess the likelihood of hitting the enemy a bit more precisely . Still, I have no idea if it would be practical or even possible to implement.
  1. Overwatch is a bit inflexible - the unit simply attacks the first enemy which moves. In some cases, this clearly makes no sense - for instance, when a gunner activates overwatch against a fully armoured alien queen, with 0 chance of damaging it. I think this was less of an issue in the Firaxis XCOMs because armour was much less relevant in them.
  • It would be great to be able to set up some conditions for overwatch - e.g., activate overwatch only if the chance of hitting is 50%, or only if an enemy is within 1 tile of an allied unit. Still, I do not know if this would be practical to implement. At least, however, I think that overwatch should not be activated if there is no chance of damaging the target.
  1. This is a minor remark, but at first I thought that the guns shown in the environment (e.g., the ones in the gun racks of the buildings, or close to the dead soldiers already present in Fort Freiheit) could be picked up. I discovered that this is actually not possible - I understand that only the green glowy boxes provide items (right?). This was not super clear at first - still, not sure anything has to be done about this.

Anyhow, I had a very good experience with the build! I think it already has a couple of improvements over the Firaxis XCOM2. First, the design and tone of the world is much more unique and more internally consistent. I also love how limited ammo forces you to reach supply points across the map - it is much more tense and strategic than XCOM2. Furthermore, the mission already has a better flow - it fells much more “continuous”, rather than made up of stages in which I activate and defeat 1-2 pods of enemies. So, I am quite happy with my early purchase so far!

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I don’t think point 1 will work with how they are simulating shooting - my understanding is that each bullet trajectory is calculated seperately, and will fall within the circle. Since some guns shoot multiple rounds, and the circle of many soldiers will probably overlap multiple body parts with varying degrees of armor, trying to come up with a hit percentage that accurately conveys damage potential would be very difficult and prone to errors. It would probably end up with people complaining that their 80% hit chance consistently results in minimal effect. I like the current schema, seems more realistic.

I like the idea of options for overwatch - it is one of my biggest criticisms of the newer XCom games. I think of some of the settings in Xcom Apocalypse, which allowed you to set thresholds for accuracy required before engaging a target, that way you don’t waste ammo or action points shooting at something rustling around at the edge of the map, while ignoring the critter charging at you from 10 feet away. I would actually love to see an overwatch system where you set bounds on the area you are looking at, and then maybe have prioritization criteria based on chance to do damage, etc.

It’s possible that the guns on the floor will be made into inventory items at a later date- It’s certainly in keeping with the themes of the game to find a dead new jericho soldier and take his boots.

I think enemy idle animations are semi-random, so it’s less about timing and more about just accepting that sometimes right after you line up a perfect headshot, your enemy will bend over to grab a lucky penny

Agreed on the idle animations. Since the bullets are simulated, they are going to be subject to the idle animations at the point of firing, so leaving idle animations active while aiming makes sense.

I agree that showing hit percentages as in the Firaxis XCom games would not be possible, given the different system. However, the game presently tells the player that a certain amount of damage is “possible” and that a certain is “likely”. I understand it must be doing some computation under the hood, based on the possible shot distribution, to find an “expected value” of the damage (or something akin to that).
My issue is that is unclear what “likely” means for the game - ultimately, the “likely” amount of damages must have been computed in some way, and there must be a numerical percentage threshold which the game uses to determine such “likeliness”. I would like the UI to be transparent about what this percentage is (not sure if what I mean is clear, is it?)

I see what you mean. I do not like idle animations because I think that they add an unneeded second layer of randomness, and one for which we cannot assess likelihood levels. This is because:

  1. We already have an element of randomness in the spread of the bullets.
  2. While we have a tool to assess likelihoods for bullet spreads (the aiming circles), we do not have any tool to understand how much the enemy’s movement may affect our chance to hit.

For these two reasons, I would prefer not to have idle animations. Still, I understand that having completely still enemies would look at least “odd”.

IMO the two circles are the best and most elegant way for a realistic ballistics system. I love them and I see no need for any further info: They are perfect (although the circle lines could be a little thinner) :smile:

And I think the solution of slowing down enemy movement while manually targeting is also very elegant and great from a gameplay perspective. Sometimes you have to wait for a body part to be fully exposed, but I like it, its immersive and PPs BattleScape is complex, you have to accept some kind of slow pacing…

I also quite like the two circles. I would just like some additional info on top of them. What I was thinking about (and I have no idea to whether it is possible or convenient to implement) is the following: add a tool-tip indicating the (approximate) share of the circles which is occupied by the target. I would probably use it as a rough numerical estimate for the chance to it. For instance, if an enemy occupies half of the area within the red circle, I should have around 50% of possibility to hit it.

I guess that the probability distribution of the shots is more “dense” close to the centre of the circle, so this would not be an exact estimate, but it would still be informative (it would probably be a useful lower bound to the chance to hit). Idle animations would also be a problem to compute this possible indicator, obviously.

I would find this helpful especially because enemies have very irregular forms. For instance, it is hard for me to understand my chance to hit if the aiming circle includes two or three of the alien queen’s legs.

Do you think adding such info would give any problems? I see no reason why more aiming information should not added, if it is feasible to do so.

Closed at request of OP.