[BackerBuild1] Cover system needs improvement

What if Overwatch (as in the actual, active action of watching for exposed enemies) could trigger before an enemy returned to cover while Return Fire will only take place after an enemy has returned to cover? From a logic stand-point, Return Fire feels more like you see/hear an ally/yourself getting shot at and once the firing stops, you poke out and hope to clip the bastard who took the shot. With Overwatch, you’re actively waiting for a great opportunity to fire. This would hopefully provide a difference between the Overwatch and Return Fire mechanics.


and once more you fail to grasp what is being argued here. Aside from you veering dangerously close to insult territory and assertions lacking foundation, you have yet to prove you even understand the point the OP is trying to convey. So I’ll try one last time to explain to you why return fire in it’s current incarnation does not work and actively punishes players for making good tactical decisions.

In a game like nuXCOM, there are no bullets. A soldier does not fire his gun. He pushes a button, a dice rolls in the background, and based on that roll the enemy magically takes some damage. It’s why in those games you can see soldiers fire straight through several buildings and still hit, or conversely notice the eternal bullet graphic take a 90 degree turn upon exiting the barrel and going into the ground. Or an instant before shooting the soldier suddenly jerks his aim in a random direction. Those games don’t have bullets. They have dice rolls behind the screen. What this means however, is that the position, stance and terrain between shooter and target is immaterial. It might as well not be represented, were it not for LoS rules. As far as shooting is concerned. the map is entirely flat, 2D and some squares have appended to them special properties that apply when an entity occupies that square. As such, if a soldier sits in heavy cover and fires, then he gets shot back due to upgraded over watch that some aliens feature and some mods expand upon, HE STILL BENEFITS from being in heavy cover. The enemy still gets the malus to the dice roll to hit him.

Phoenix Point does not work like that. In PP bullets exists in the game. When a soldier fires, a stream of bullets leaves the barrel, and the game calculates a ballistic trajectory for them to follow until they impact upon a terrain feature or enemy where they inflict their damage. Suddenly, the map is no longer a 2D featureless plain as far as shooting logic is concerned. Suddenly, everything from position, to stance, to movement to even the intervening terrain gains a huge importance, because any of those things can be hit by the ballistic trajectory. There are no dice rolls that magically apply damage. Suddenly a soldier standing in heavy cover who just stands up, and steps to the side outside cover to fire LOOSES all the benefits of his cover. The player taking the decision to move his soldier there, making logical tactical moves, is punished, because the animations dictate the soldier has now lost all his cover benefits, as the physical terrain between him and the shooters is gone due to his new location. Because there are no dice rolls, and no magical “you are in cover, therefor enemy gets -30% hit chance” approximations like those used in new xcom, soldier positioning and the animations matter. Freezing time and letting god knows how many crabmen return fire when a soldier who was previously in cover stepped out of it because the animations are not built with a simulation in mind thus becomes an active and unintentional punishment of the player that makes no logical sense. In terms of games you comprehend, it would be like in nuXCOM if when aliens overwatched and has the return fire perk that lets them react to attacks as well as movement, suddenly your soldier lost his heavy cover bonus against that particular shot. It’s arbitrary, insane, and it punishes the player for no reason. I appreciate return fire’s existence in the game, as with the way overwatch works, a pseudo-overwatch ability for some classes is needed, but it’s curent implementation due to the usage of animations simply does not interact well consistent or satisfying with the ballistics simulation the game does for the shooting part of it.

Also your description with “cover fire” and “cover me” is flat out wrong in it’s second half. Overwatch is “cover me” It’s a soldier actively taking time out and pre-aiming his rifle towards enemy positions so that if anyone tries to stop his friend from moving, he can instantly react and drive the enemy back into cover with his own fire. Return fire is a soldier reacting on the fly to enemy fire seeking to punish aggression after the fact. it’s in no way prepared or determined, it’s merely reactive and retaliatory. But at least you got the suppression part right so there’s still hope.

TL;DR: either the game gets simulation tier animations for soldier firing from cover, OR return fire triggers AFTER the soldier has returned to cover from his shooting animation as Phoenix7786 suggested. Otherwise might as well re-label the ability as “arbitrary punishment” because that is exactly how it behaves in it’s current iteration.

And just a friendly advice mister “I am a telepath who lives in Julian Golop’s head and know all his thoughts and intentions”: drop the arrogance. I played apocalypse. I know it’s merits. I also know a thing or two about staying on topic and understanding what people are saying before coming in on my high horse of telepathy and telling people they are wrong because I hold the sacred knowledge of what the developer intends. You don’t. nobody but Julian and his team knows that. So stop trying to make your opinions who are no more or less worthy than the opinions of anyone else in this forum (as long as you can stay on topic and prove you understand what is being communicated) seem more important with ridiculous proclamations.


Absolutely agree! The best thing would be a turn based version of Bohemia Interactives “ARMA”. Ballistic simulations + simulation grade animations (stances: kneeling, leaning etc.):

In this case return fire would “automatically” work perfectly, because ballistics simulation, destructible (“penetrable”) environment and vulnerable body parts are already in PP. If the devs choose a “simulation approach” they have to be universal or they will come into troubles. Everything from the new XCOMs has to be avoided like the plague. They are just shallow board-games with a nice, but gameplay wise detached graphical layer above. The old X-Coms on the other hand are “simulations”, the BattleScape and the GeoScape. Combat works great in those old games and allows for interesting, emergent gameplay.


Yeah; leaving cover completely to shoot doesn’t really make sense. The original poster’s solution would impose the least development overhead . . . but having smarter cover animations would be ideal.

Actually, while we’re on it, it’d be nice if soldiers could use cover that they aren’t sucked up against. For example, crouching when there is low cover between them and bad guy.


@Avenger93 I know what the point is and as I mentioned before, you have problems with yourself. Because you’re looking for a needle in a haystack. How will this affect the playability and how much time and effort it is required to invest in this is not in your interest.

My opinion I have already told in this contribution:

Then you talked about UFU franchise, how well it was arranged (although critics humiliated it because it was a “poor copy” of the original X-COM franchise).

Original X-COM franchise she had overwatch ability already in basic.

It was called Reaction Fire or Opportunity Fire. Your soldiers had two stats, which affected it (Accuracy in Reactions), as well as time units (how many shots you can made).
In Phoenix Point you have a little different approach and I like it.

Your telepathic features are the go, because the current “RETURN FIRE” has remained unchanged from the Phoenix Point Pre-Alpha Demo showed on the PC Gamer Weekender in February, until now (3 months to repair one bug, impossible).

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@Lobsterman I also agree with you that it would be nice to see such diversity. But at the expense of what?
The answer is expense on time to make, funds are used and how will the gameplay of the game change.

Let’s make a short analysis:

  1. Here you have 9 different animations. We have only 4 human groups and each will have X their weapons and X different armor styles. You have to animate it all and see how well they work with each other. Then we have X different options for changing weapons and armor (arm, leg, torso and head).
  2. We will have X different enemies and again with X different weapons and X different style of armor. Only for the current Crabman has a lot of possible combinations: Weapons are 4, for each arm there are 4 possible weapons to have and for head, legs and torso are currently possible two types of armor. Of course, then the enemies will also have the same number of animations as you.
  3. Probably the gameplay would change greatly, especially since the enemy would use the same (similar) animations. If we assume that our soldiers will use the same animations in the attack and in the defense that they will try to be smallest possible target for the enemy. The enemy will do the same thing as we do and it will show us as the smallest possible target.

Now, consider whether it’s worth it or not?

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The “production values” needed for implementing some different stances for human soldiers alone wouldn’t be that high. The “mutant” enemy units wouldn’t need those additional animations; they are monstrosity’s and IMO it wouldn’t make sense if they moved as carefully and detailed as a trained human soldier…

For me the main problem is:

Combining the original X-Coms simulation approach (ballistics, environmental cover etc.) with the board-game or card-game approach of the new XComs (the cover-bonus system, hight bonus etc.)

In PP a tile with no cover symbol at all can be better cover (for example a high wall 2 tiles away) than a tile with the new XCom style cover symbols and the corresponding (new XCom style) cover animations (crouching, jumping out of cover). The old system of X-Com was good enough - we would only need some stances. Xenonauts shows how great the old X-Com mechanics still are…


I would hope that these icons for covers can be click-able so the solider can snap towards that side.


I agree with Avenger that the system as such does punish, although surely an easy fix would be to assign the ballistic as it is, but that the cover provides a flat bonus like FXcom behind the scenes.

Therefore, you can leave the animation behind to save time, and, don’t need “kneel, prone, etc.” as it’ll just “assume” that each soldier will take full value of the cover and work that into the person being shots cover bonus or armor (from cover).

Too simplistic?


Yes. Snapping to cover won’t replace old stance system. There is no need to implement every stance to the game but it’s better to have more control in many aspects: also by things like that.
Besides, it’s always cool to see your soldiers have many moves and animations. Nothing too fancy on my mind: kneeling, turning(!), strafing, crawling. Even snapping to the covers could be button-related instead of being automatic!
Not sure how some of stances could work with present environments, though.


I was moreso thinking that if the realistic bullet trajectory system is in, but, that it might prevent the game’s release to add these stances AND the physics behind cover for them, that it might be a stop gap that at least would aid until such a thing could be implemented.

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Yes, yes and yes! :slight_smile:

At the moment PP feels like some kind of tablet game. Most of the control we had over soldiers in the original X-Com is gone. Entering a room or building is extremely tense in X-Com (especially in TFTD with the separate door-open action). In PP on the other hand its not interesting at all to enter a building…

To make it short: If they wanted to streamline the movement controls, they have gone to far - now we have almost no control…


I feel as though the compromise here comes to buffing units of the game with cover. Does this mean that shots that hit a unit should be more lethal?

I wonder if a stance system like jagged alliance 2 mixed with a lean out of cover would work in this game…It’d make sniping on a roof top more feasible (being able to prone over the ledge) The stances would simply cost extra action points to move each step.

Otherwise, opportunity fire could become a bigger part of the game, shots which use left over action points could be spent firing at units that cross a cone of fire (based on facing) and overwatch could be used to fire at those who’d use opportunistic firing (lowering their accuracy as well as possibly getting hit)

Suppressing fire could be a sort of buffed overwatch but at the cost of wasting shots if they decide not to spring up. (unlike xcom 2, were supressing fire animation fires off throughout the enemy’s turn, it could either activate upon triggering via enemy movement/firing or it can play out at the beginning of the player’s next turn.

The game could make taking cover a more crucial part of the game whilst making each hit more lethal. This could really play to the strength of the simulation aspect of the game and be more suitable to squad’s containing up to 16 units.

I suppose making cover just a little bit more resilient to shots might work in favor of a dynamic like this as losing cover so easily could be a little too punishing.

Another thing to note is that you don’t have to necessarily have as many fire fights in this game. Perhaps changing the dynamic from xcom 2 to were it’s guns vs tentacles/spiky appendages/close range acid spraying/etc. could dictate more of the alien vs phoenix point encounters, while fire fights could mainly be shared with pheonix point and the other human factions in the game. (have the rare alien holding a gun)

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I always loved JA2s gameplay mechanics, but somehow I like X-Coms mechanics more - JA2 can get really tedious, while the original X-Com seems like the perfect balance. X-Com is complex, but not complicated - PP seems to have lower complexity (stats, movement etc.) but somehow feels more complicated (all the abilities, overwatch and return fire vs. the elegant reaction shots of X-Com)… Stances would be great in PP (but I don’t need a prone position for example).

I think this will be implemented soon. At the moment almost everything explodes the moment a single bullet “touches” it…

Great idea! It could be really interesting if the “aliens” would be mostly melee oriented. But in that case limited viewing/spotting angles would be necessary. At the moment overwatch covers 360". If a horde of aliens is approaching, the player should have to make decisions which direction every soldier is covering…

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Completely agree with your opinion, and I think that it is not difficult to implement, because we already see how a soldier standing or kneeling in the game. And why this player could not choose for himself.
I already mentioned this in the post: [BackerBuild1] Things which I think are missing

But nobody commented on this post.

But I do not agree with this, because then the game itself would look strange and not realistic if the Mutants would behave like some zombies.
To be realistic, “Mutants” are set out from 3 types of genes: alien, animal and human. That’s why they are intelligent creatures.

  1. They destroyed most of the population of the earth.
  2. They know how to use different weapons.
  3. They know how to use different cower for their own benefit.

If you just look at the animals, how do they use things from the environment to their advantage (they are intelligent creatures):

  1. Cats when hunting use a high grass and crawl to make them less visible.
  2. Birds build nests with branches.
  3. Beaver and otter set up dams to have bigger hunting grounds and to be more protected against enemies.

Do not get me wrong. I’m thinking more logically. You as human have several different weapons and have different ways to use them. Mutants are limited to one or two weapons. This is your advantage over them.

Well, the mutants mutate over the course of the game in response to your tactics, so they would be less used to their bodies than humans with more ‘fixed’ anatomy.

the individual mutants don’t mutate over time, the class does

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