Feedback on the most recently implemented Free Aiming feature

That is all. :sunglasses:

Well, not quite – I really do love that feature, as it finally brings back something so extremely obvious and logical that it is quite hard to fathom why it was ever abandoned/not implemented in the first place in other games of this kind: soldiers are highly trained and highly skilled warriors, yet for some magical mystical reason, they are utterly unable to freely choose their targets, to employ flexible strategies and “think outside the box”, even though their entire training arguably was to prepare them as well as can be for the unexpected?

Thank you, Snapshot devs, for figuring out just how ridiculously nonsensical that kind of approach to combat for XCOM-style games of late really was!
This one solitary feature, the small change of me now being able to freely target light cover because I know there’s an enemy hiding behind it; being now able to freely choose the impact zone of my fire, as a trained and skilled shooter, that’s such a huge immersion and logic boost, that alone makes this game infinitely better than the other competitors to me! :heart_eyes:


The original x-com game from 1994 had a similar idea, however it used sections of the grid to fire to and didn’t really tell you anything about the shot. I think the idea of the aiming circle is good rather than the “% to hit” explicit RNG-ness of the Firaxis XCOMs.
I hope they keep it in


Agreed. Will also be key for strategies involving destroying walls either for running through or targeting what is behind them - used to do this in the original xcom all the time.

I also like the aiming circles - makes a lot more sense, because a trained soldier will miss but should at least be shooting fairly close to the target. The dudes in the demo have fairly tight aiming circles, so I am hoping they are representative of a more intermediate-level trooper and you start off with some less-accurate scrubs.


Adds important tactical element. I think it is a keeper.

  1. At some point my sniper was stuck in between floors. Shot a hole in wall with pistol and sniped things.
  2. Outflank shield bearers with a guy, shoot off shield arm, mow them down with rest of team. A gunslinger with enough will can get off 3-4 shots reliably knocking of 2 shields if the crabmen are bunched up.
  3. Shoot off weapon arms, prioritise other targets, let them roam the map bleeding to death.

I concur. It lets you do pretty much whatever you want, but is still simple and easy to understand.


Yes, but even light cover should not be so easily destroyed: normal shots should just penetrate the surface and damage whatever is behind and not completely destroy the cover…


I have few situations when enemy was behind thin wall. Tried to free-aim blindly on this enemy (who was spotted by my other soldier) but it was difficult because camera instantly switches to third person. In this case you see nothing except that wall. It would be nice to have few possible points of view while free-aiming :slightly_smiling_face:


Since the feature is an innovation, I’d like to see where it goes, before judgement.


Yeah it is early days, I think it will be fleshed out into something really good. Obviously everything camera related in the game needs a lot of work, this will help make free-aim a smoother feature. The dynamic camera shifts are way too disorientating to.

Mostly I like the concept of free-aim because it has been utilised so well in other tactical games, the current implementation of free-aim in this game is still sketchy, it isn’t quite right yet.

Firstly the controls for it could be a lot better, once you are locked in AimDownSights mode it would feel better to WASD the reticle around the screen rather than drag-scroll a mouse pointer. Also when you switch to this scoped/turret view you half expect the controls to invert (so when you pull down you look up, pull up look down etc) but they don’t.

Obviously the creatures swaying idling animations also mess with the free-aim feature a bit to.

I don’t like the way information is conveyed, I think in general a lot of the UI needs rethinking.

It could be more interesting/skill based… after a while I lose interest with the simple binary tactical decision making of choosing which body part to target (it’s basically like clicking a box which says ‘target head yes/no?’), I need to see more info on %chance to hit parts based on numerous factors.

I really like how free-aim places extra emphasis on gaining the optimal LoS on targets.


You’re not the only one. It’s instinctive and adds depth, without complicating the experience – whether to keep any such feature is a no-brainer, in my opinon :slight_smile:

I have one suggestion for improvement: the expected damage varies considerably between subsequent computations for exactly the same spot – I’ve seen it go from 1 possible damage to 6 expected and 2 possible.
I have no problems with this uncertainty, but I’m convinced a number of players will find it frustrating, and complain about it.

I love it, and I love the idea of it, and I really enjoy playing with it.

I would kind of like to see more circles, though… and also, I’d personally order the colours in such a way
as to look intuitive–at least for me–with purples, reds, and oranges, denoting the inner-most areas, which would hopefully represent higher damage, along with possible bleeds.

I don’t think that the current scheme is quite user-friendly enough, and. I think that more circles would help
me to line up shots, a little better.

I’d like to see circles like the current “bullseye” configuration, only with more circles, going–from innermost colour to outermost: Purple, Orange, Red, Yellow, Green, Blue. (With Magenta reserved for possible “bulls-eye” shots, which I’d only have appear, in certain cases where the accuracy of the shot was unusually high.

With each circle denoting an approximate chance of a number of bullets hitting within that area–everything being equal–this would give approximately an approximately 15% chance, per circle, with 10% left over, representing bullets going wide of the mark.

Perhaps with high accuracy, close range, and/or the right (sniper rifle, etc.) weapon, a percent-chance of scoring a Bullseye (Magenta!), would appear, with each off-colour (starting again from Purple to Blue), representing a percentage to miss the bullseye, but still hit that particular colour-denoted portion of the target.

The different colours could then be used to represent Criticals–which I think would be very cool.

The colours could also be used to progressively scale up the damage that certain weapons did, The “higher” the colour that an individual bullet hits, the more damage that individual bullet could then do, both minimally and maximally, and this could be directly linked to the specific type of weapon, and the specific type of ammunition that it was firing.

I think that you could get some very unique and interesting tactical choices and results out of such a system–and also, that someone smarter about firearms than I am, could use that to model a bunch of interesting guns, that all felt and operated differently from one-another.

As far as Criticals: Scoring a hit in the “Green” or “Blue” range, could represent a glancing shot, for only a small amount of damage. Yellow would represent standard damage, Orange would give you a small chance for a Crit, while Red would give you a higher chance for a Crit, and hitting Purple would give you an automatic Critical.

Finally, weapons that could hit Magenta, would give you an automatic Crit, with a chance for a Super-Crit, with maybe the added possibility of an automatic part-disablement on non-Boss enemies, and maybe even the chance of an automatic kill, on weaker “Crab-man”-level mobs.

Critical hits could then also be elaborated on, with some only representing maximum damage, while others might do an increased range of damage (regular shots might do 1-3 points of damage, while crits might do 2-4 or 3-5 or 1-6, for instance–again, depending on weapon and ammunition types), while some weapons might have a chance to do unusual types of damage, like cause Stunning or other afflictions.

Some weapons might also have a chance of causing specific types of Crits, to specific body-parts. For example: A shotgun that shoots lead shot might have a 25% chance to cause Blindness, on a critical head-shot, while the same gun, shooting dragons-breath rounds, might increase that chance to 75%, and maybe add a chance to set the target on fire, but have that chance vary, depending on which part of the body is Critted.

The current binary scheme…I’m glad to have it, but it just doesn’t seem like it’s quite enough…

We don’t use crits in Phoenix Point. Crits add another element of RNG which we are trying to avoid. Each projectile does a fixed amount of damage if it hits. As the number of projectiles fired from a burst that actually hit will vary, this removes the need for crits and grazes.


Why would it be another element of RNG if you’ve got a physics based projectile system?

I’ve always thought that crits and grazes represent where on a target a projectile hits. A crit represents a hit on a vital organ, whereas a graze is just that, it’s a nick or a flesh wound.

In a projectile based system if each projectile hits a specific area of a target then you’ve already got your crits and grazes there, you don’t need a second RNG role to determine them.

(In general each projectile doing a variable amount of damage feels a whole lot more realistic than them doing a fixed amount every single time).


Yes! Funnily enough, the aiming system was the reason that made me buy the game earlier. For as much as I love the XCom (both new and rhe originals), I’m on a tight financial situation, and gaming is the first thing to suffer because of that. But seeing the aiming system just made so much sense to a game like this that I couldn’t resist. It’s even strange to play FiraxisCom and not having free aim.

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It’s another element of RNG because it’s RNG on top of the RNG of if/how many shots hit the target. Given how things work it would also be potentially OP, or at the very least extremely hard to reasonably balance.

Let’s use the Assault Rifle for the example. A standard shot is six rounds with each being three damage for a max damage of 18. If it could crit you just upped the potential damage to 24 even if it would take a bunch of RNG to hit that (or not depending on gear/abilities that would undoubtedly influence crit).

Now what do you balance the game around, the 0-18 damage or the 0-24 possible? If you go with 18 as the max of the AR then enemies might be too easy with crits. You balance it around 24 and enemies could be too hard if you don’t get enough crits (much like when a heavy fails to shred even a single point of armor off the queen with his gun).

And then what happens when we start branching this out to other guns? The Sniper Rifle already does a lot of damage and has good accuracy. Thus if the crit adds a reasonable amount of damage it basically turns into an RNG 1HKO weapon unless you buff health. Or think about how much more powerful the minigun would potentially be at close range where most/all shots are already hitting.

Compare this to FiraXCOM. In FiraXCOM it’s a simple hit/miss system with an equally simple minor damage spread. Sure the AR shows a burst of fire but if it hits it will always do 3-5 damage. The crit could be viewed as more of those shots landing. But even then that game has all sorts of issues stemming from too much damage (the whole Alpha Strike problem) and crits aren’t helping.

As for the “realism” bit, well there comes a point where one needs to draw the line between real life and a game. X2 saw much complaining about it’s Dodge/graze system. IRL a grazing shot could still hit the femoral artery and kill someone before medical attention could be given (or even with it). So while I’m not against making things reasonably realistic, I think for a game like this crits risk too much in regards to balance.

But I’m not a Dev so maybe they have a different take on this.


While I don’t think we need crit/graze, couldn’t they be implemented like the “limbs”?

You make “even more” areas with different amount of armor, and you will have “graze” hits on highly-armored parts and “crits” on lowly-armored parts (with “unrealistic” negative armor-parts for crits, so armor-destroying will not get out of hands).

If you place these areas intuitively. you will get low-damage hits on “seemingly” grazing shots and high-damage on hitting vitals.

That said, I’m not sure it would add much fun to the game, I don’t really see more fun in it than targeting limbs, maybe with really accurate weapons it could make a difference (where exactly are you targeting, not just simply “head” or “leg”), but for me, it seems as too much investment for the few times it will actually alter your decision.


Yeah, that’s pretty much what I’m imagining Potkeny. You’d just roll once, work out trajectory and the point of impact would determine whether it’s a normal hit, graze, or crit.

In non physics game model you’d need to have a 2nd dice roll, hence ‘more RNG’ but with a physics model you don’t, it’s just the initial roll to calculate trajectory.

Re balance, I don’t think this is an issue. 0-18 or 0-24 is just a question of scale, you’d still be balancing at the end of game development based on a number of factors, damage range being just one of them, TBS games have been factoring in crits since Adam was a lad, and I feel pretty certain that given the team’s previous experience in the industry that they’ll be pretty tight on balance regardless how the damage model works.

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Isn’t the femoral artery deep within the tissue of the leg? - That’s me wearing tougher trousers from now on… :worried:

the femoral artery is on the inside of the thigh and is fairly close to the surface

I’m no doctor so I could be wrong but I’ve heard it runs relatively close to the surface at certain areas on the inner thigh. If you wanted you could use it as an example of an RNG crit with cutting one’s jugular as RNG grazing.

Regardless the point is that these things don’t really add much to the gameplay while potentially negatively affecting balance. Imagine having your mission scuttled because the enemy hit one of these points at a critical time (bonus points if it’s a game critical mission like base defense) and how infuriated most people would be. Or imagine how anti-climatic it would be hitting this on an enemy for what’s supposed to be a hard fight (repeaters in X2 anyone?).

So I’m not against the potential idea and brainstorming it, I just don’t see how it could be added into the game in a reasonable way (to include time spent developing it) that also improves the gameplay. These sorts of things realistically can’t be aimed or planned for and have too much potential to swing a mission one way or the other which imo is a balance nightmare.