[BackerBuild1] We need percentages of possible damage

I like numbers too, and when I saw Phoenix Point’s free aiming system, I was a bit torn at first, and it made me wonder if I liked numbers because of numbers or because that’s the best (and only way) we had to do things before and free aiming was taking me out of my comfort zone.

Percentages have been the way to go for decades, they are practical and remind player of board games, from which the genre also borrows the turn based system and tiles based positioning (and probably others), but don’t have to be the ultimate gameplay prop.

Free aiming introduces a new component in player skill, the ability to identify the best spot to aim for to maximize effect. One could argue that this is more immersive/realistic than percentages and that a soldier aiming won’t have hit chances displayed anywhere.

In any case, I’m not convinced anymore that hit chances are needed on top of free aim and that some players may cling to it more for old times’ sake than real gameplay driven need.


That’s the point that worries me, I don’t want a % for the sake of having it or because I like numbers, what I want is any kind of UI input that tells the player what are his options (of hitting, dealing damage, whatever measure you like) against visible enemies without the necessity of going into the freeaim mode everytime I want to take a shot.
What I don´t want is spend half of a minute aiming because I need to find that sweet spot in my enemy, and then wait another ten seconds because the crabman needs to end his animation to show me the spot I was aiming for. Keep in mind that now we only have 4 soldiers, repeating this process with 16 would become tedious, and that’s what concerns me.

It’s similar to the overwatch creep, may not be fun but if it’s the optimal way to play we’re goingo to overwatch creep, in this case freeaim is the optimal way to aim, and now it’s new and cool and it’s very inmersive, I’m not going to argue it, I love to use that mode to look around the enviorement and even my guys, but I fear wanting to speed the game in some “trivial” scenarios, and because if I want to do the optimal play, then I have to do the pixelhunt in the freeaim mode slowing the pace.

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I agree, looking at the bullet spread circles is very informative, I often switch into manual aim mode simply to check the aim rather than adjust it. With that in mind, how about having a small schematic render of an enemy silhouette with circles covering it as they would in the manual aim as a way to visualize the chance to hit without going for manual aiming?

So if manual aim will give you this view:

Autoaim will show something this(enemy should be colour-coded to highlight armour levels and destroyed body parts):

Of course the actual layout can be completely different, my point is, having a quick preview of the autoaim’s bullet spread circles can give a very easy to understand and, more importantly, accurate estimation of the attack’s outcome.


I agree that we need quick “AI aimed shots”, but since AI already takes shots on his own (reaction shots and enemy shots), it has to have a targeting routine (for instance, trying to maximize the area under reticule) that could be used for quick shots where you don’t want to spend time pixel hunting.

A couple of very good points here. Firstly, autoaim targeting should pick targets a bit more intelligently. In my opinion it should even be tied to some kind of marksmanship skill. That way a more experienced soldier will pick a better target than a rookie.

Your other point, waiting for animation, is a more serious issue. The main cause of this issue is the ambiguity of the nature of turn-based combat in PP. Allow me to shamelessly quote my post from another thread:

What this means, is the enemies are sort-of moving around during player’s turn and, more to the point, during manual aim mode. If you are just observing the enemy that’s not a problem but when you are directly picking a target and enemy movement may directly affect which targets are available, idle animation, intended as a purely cosmetic feature, actively interferes with a core game mechanic(LoS aiming).

I am not sure if there is a simple way of dealing with this outside of pausing the animation during manual aim and setting the enemy pose to some kind of “average” pose it is supposed to have at that time. It is a bit of a workaround but I don’t think that current state of affairs(spending real time to wait for the game to present you with a target you want or sometimes even being screwed out of your chosen target because your enemy twitched right before you confirmed the shot) is something that should be in the final game.


As for the manual aiming - now I can’t remember for sure, but along the Fig campaign there was some idea that manual aiming or “body part aiming” would be reserved for all soldiers on boss enemies (and snipers for all enemies).
I really like the manual aiming and don’t want it to be class-locked away, but I can agree that for the player it may feel like the auto aiming is only “average lucky shot” and the careful manual aiming should result in better hit chance. So it becomes sort of mandatory, not optional, and slows the gameplay as mentioned by other players.

Right, I miss the “snap shot”, “auto shot” and “aimed shot” too.
How about this mutation: If the alternate firing modes will be introduced, perhaps the manual aiming should be restricted to the “aimed shot”, so the speedy players could easily use low cost snap shot by default, or auto shot for more damage, and the aiming perfectionists would spend more TUs for aimed shot with manual aiming?
True to the spirit of original X-Com, and both parties are happy =)


Also, it would be cool if we had a system which allows to save preffered conditions(Aiming and firing modes) as a quick shot setting without going through all soldiers and manually switch to a preffered default mode.


Yeah, one thing I would like is for time to “stop” while we’re aiming and shooting, so we don’t have to wait for the enemy to stop twitching or doing its idle animation to get a good bead on its part we want to hit.


I think the slow motion movement of the enemy are a pretty clever representation of the aiming in real life. It’s the few seconds when a soldier takes aim, holds the breath, adjusts crosshairs and pulls the trigger. The bullet can hit, but it also can miss because of the last split-second movement of the target or shooter’s muscles.
Yes, it may be a bit frustrating, as it adds some uncertainty element, but in my opinion the alternative of aiming at the still target with frozen time and pixel-perfect accuracy would be rather boring and unrealistic.


There is no pixel-perfect aiming. Bullet spread circles are there for a reason, they represent how well a soldier can actually aim after “deciding” to go for a particular target. That last part is what player’s manual aim means in the game: giving soldier an idea of what to try and aim for.

BTW, I should remind you that PP is turn-based game, not real time game. So during player’s turn when the aiming takes place, game world time is actually frozen; all idle animations are only there for cosmetic reasons.

That is one of the reasons why such animations do not work well with LoS shooting simulation BTW. Pass of the real world time should not affect the in-game situation while the game is “on pause” during the player action selection phase. However currently is does affect the game specifically due to players being able to pick the moment in the enemy’s idle animation when it is most exposed to attack.


Why not just show the percentage chance to hit for each bullet multiplied by the number of bullets fired in a burst?

i.e. Shot accuracy = 67% x 3

You could apply the same method for damage estimations.

Damage = 0-3 x 3


I can see your point, I might not explained myself properly.

For me the bullet spread and size of the aiming circles is tied only with the weapon properties like the weapon quality, effective range, bullets fired per shot, recoil etc. and the soldier (or the player) has not much control over the results after hitting “fire”.

On the other hand, the act of aiming, as placing the aiming circles onto the enemy and adjusting the crosshairs for the desired point of impact, represents the soldier’s (or player) effort in order to do the actual shooting, with holding breath, pulling the trigger etc.

And in my opinion this is an interesting solution and a good place for such simulation, including the pros and cons - you can always use the quick shot which auto-tracks the target’s movement, but using “superior” manual aim with huge zoom is bundled with the need for manual tracking the slow-moving enemy.

Clicking on the freeze frame of an enemy - where the crosshairs could be adjusted accurate up to the pixel - just seems less immersive and fun than observing the target in slow motion and waiting for the “probably best” moment to shoot.

Yes, I got it. But seeing only the idle animations with auto-tracking makes me think of FiraXCOM, and the slow-motion manual aiming feels like the fresh, distinctive PP-specific feature. Anyway, this is only my reception of the game.

Interesting thoughts, I think I agree with most of that. A couple of points of my own though. Firstly, while size of the bullet spread circles are definitely depend on weapon type, I think they should be tied to soldier’s skills as well, the higher the accuracy, the smaller the spread. Heck, maybe soldier’s state(tiered, panicking, wounded) as well as environment(low light, fog, severe wind etc) should affect spread as well, representing lower accuracy caused by such conditions.

As for freeze-frame aiming, I was thinking about something like modern fallout’s VATS aiming as an inspiration. It’s not like I’m against more interactive aiming, but in its current state, hunting for a favourable frame of the idle animation feels more like a chore than a challenge. Enemy is not going anywhere, it is looping through the same idle animation over and over so it’s not that much of a minigame.

Here’s a fresh idea BTW: what if we split this conundrum into two firing modes? So snap shot will show you a freeze frame and you will have to pick a spot out of what’s available, to represent a shot soldier spent less time to prepare for(inner spread circle will be wider to represent wider spread for less accurate firing). Aimed shot on the other hand, will give player an option to pick a specific moment of enemy’s idle animation to represent how soldier is patiently waits for the enemy to open up for a good shot. A QoL option here will be to provide player a way to FF/Rewind through idle animation to pick a better frame. In this case, better aiming options will be balanced by higher TU cost of the aimed shot.


Cool, I like the idea with the alternate firing modes that would directly influence the aiming process. Let’s hope the devs will accept it :slight_smile:

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I also agree that “no numbers” system works fine. And I’d even say… it is more intriguing. People just need to get used to it. And don’t forget that people will still whine if they miss 90% chance to hit shots .) Psychology here is “I will hit” instead of “maybe I will”. But current system’s circles show them that there are still spaces around the monster, and so they can hit those spaces too.


Hi @JulianG
Just chiming in: you probably already know and have tested it, but @JMPicard idea of having a fixed “stencil” (he was suggesting a sunflower shape) rather than actual Monte Carlo simulation is a good one, to the best of my judgement.

You could weight each (fixed) point by its probability value, because you have access to the probability density/mass function: that would give you a much better estimate than using Monte Carlo simulation (assuming the same number of samples/points), and it would take into account more accurately the effect of cover.

Bursts can be taken into account by just multiplying the weight of each point (the probability) by the number of bullets: that would allow to compute tje expected value of the damage for each stencil point. The nice part is that with this trick you need to check for occlusions (I suspect this is the most expensive step) only once per stencil point. With a little bit of extra math effort it may even be possible to compute quantiles (and hence a damage range).

Just my two pence, though.

Best regards (and great work so far!),


P.s. a while ago I tried to reverse-engineer your sampling strategy in this post. In this reply I am assuming that you are doing something similar, which would allow you to pre-compute the probability of each point in the stencil before a mission starts. I am also assuming there is no mechanic that changes the trajectory probability between bullets in the same burst (e.g. no recoil)

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