I have not played this game since before the Titanium release despite the fact that I own all dlc content

My reasons for discontinuing:

  1. Game was tedious, forcing my attention to a constant barrage of incoming invasions of little consequence other than to consume time, and a screen of creeping red death that I could only ameliorate by carefully avoiding overt success…

  2. Skills and talents were of a magical origin far better suited to a superhero rpg, than a game purporting to be scifi… as an example, the ability to teleport about the battlefield in zero time… think ‘The Flash’ only better…

  3. The game had little vision, and struggled to come up with an engaging story… a story that was obviously pinned on after the fact… ie first they made a game, then they needed some kind of attached justification for playing it…

  4. The world itself was bizarre… with human factions doing what they could to destroy one another while a cornucopia of seafood waddled onto shore to feed…

  5. Needless to say, in the midst of this chaos the balance was missing…

Other than fixing balance issues… which, so far as I can tell from the periodic perusal of this discussion group has been the primary thrust of development… have any of these other issues been dealt with ?

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Point 4 is actually good, its called “negative distopia” like Mad Max, Fallout series or my favourite movie “Brazil” 1985 movie with evil bureaucracy :slight_smile: Or strange movie Soylent Green 1973 where food is scarce resource in future …(or “We Happy Few” survival adventure). I like that, future might not be so bright.
I do understand all other points, a lot has been done since.

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The way that could make sense from a story line is if the human factions actually had a chance of aligning themselves with the invaders… there is actual historical precedent for that…

From my point of view:

A lot has changed in general and in a lot of different ways, but it’s still a long way to go to make this a really good game for me.

In detail on the points mentioned:

  1. It’s still tedious, too many missions in too short time in my opinion. In order to be successful very quickly, you should undertake even more missions against the factions, which makes everything even more tedious and, above a certain number, also boring. A lot has happened in this area too, but for me it is still far from a good shape especially at the strategic level.

  2. Almost the same as above, some magical things are gone like Dash for 0 AP, but others are still in there as Rapid Clearance to gain theoretically endless AP. They are going forward on this and reducing the ‘magic’ with almost any patch, but slowly and piece for piece.

  3. I can’t complain too much at this point, I like their vision and the story they tell me, and I never had the feeling that the story was attached on afterwards. But I think that’s a very personal opinion at this point. Some will find it appropriate and consistent and others may not.

  4. Sounds like the reality in where we live :thinking:
    But not a big point for me to complain about.

  5. It is going better and better, but as with 1. and 2. and especially in combination with these points, they could do some more to get it in an even better shape. For me the actual balance is somewhat OK.

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:thinking: :thinking:

Maybe this should be on Reddit, or some other game-zine?

Do you think that a little independent company like Snapshot would do something like that? Surely it would never work and no one would buy the game???

Hang on a minute… :earth_africa: :earth_americas: :earth_asia: :alarm_clock:

History of UFO Enemy Unknown (also released as X-Com: UFO Defence in North America)

Well apparently you can and start a whole new gaming genre! Well who would have thought that?

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It’s a systemic strategy game - it doesn’t need super involved narrative.

I don’t think PP handles narrative poorly, but I don’t love it either. I find that games with “themes” attached to mechanics work better if the theme is relatable - Civ series, historical Paradox strategies, Stellaris -those are things that are easy to grasp and connect with. Even UFO had immediately compelling premise - aliens attack earth as you know.

PP is more alien, and as such is a bit cold without proper narrative exploration. I found FiraXCOM2 had a similar problem, compared to FiraXCOM1 being immediately compelling.

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Gentlemen…

I appreciate the input… I know you guys have been working hard on this project… your investment of blood far exceeds mine of treasure…

Let’s hope these folks finally nail this thing…

It’s all pretty much the same. There where a lot of balancing and fixes but all of them have a very small localized effect.

  1. It’s still the same. Even extended more with the latest DLC, if you bother diving into it.
  2. The meta of building a team of super heroes is still there. Their magical abilities are way more important than anything else. They keep nerfing to remove exploits but again, it’s nothing of a scale where gameplay would seriously change.
  3. That got worse with DLC, it’s even more spread all over the place. It’s almost like none of the factions want your help in fighting Pandorians, they need your help with killing some humans to get something that benefits their goal of killing more humans.
  4. Still the same. The economics of the game, actively encourages you to raid and pillage human settlements to “save” them. Even worse with latest DLC where everyone is obsessed with a magic muckgafin unobtanium mineral.
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Its possible to substitute it with trading a lot, but needs additional ship. If trading method would change, (taking valuable time of resting-training-doing real missions) it would balance one aspect.

Yes, hate among fraction is quite high and building up through the game, but you can do it just occasionally to improve one fraction reputation and mend it with destroying 3 nests or defending hurt fraction heaven.

Yes you can but that it’s not the bright side of the design. Doing something non-nonsensical in terms of common logic and intuition to get a guarantied positive effect is just a meta-gaming. The problem with meta-gaming is that it’s based on something that player has to just know. They might discover it themselves but it’s not something that organically grows from a gameplay, nor it’s something that a common person would expect to happen. The game had this problem since BB4 or 5 when a bunch of magical abilities where introduced. In that spirit, nothing changed so far.

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Well, its modern over-simplification in trade, cargo *items shifting etc. I agree once you do it too much its unrepairable or hard to repair (e.g. minus 50 fraction reputation) but you are offered a chance in next game. Its “learning the hard way”. I now tend to be good with all fractions. In earlier games I raided one or two for everything to gain boosts like ships, tech and resources earlier, but now anyway I see its a long, long battle and all things good will come to patient ones.

Maybe tutorial should be expanded to other aspects then combat, if that is what you propose.

Always try to proposle solutions, detecting problems is just a start.

You are making my point… or at least a point that I made many moons ago, when I was still an active player…

That is, the lack of organic design… nothing seems to derive from natural consequence… and this is, again, an example of lack of vision at the on set…

Only cure I know is to create a vision, and then start over and rebuild…

But perhaps I am wrong, and this can be accomplished patchwork style…

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Yeah but that’s exactly the point. What you should “learn the hard way” from a game like this is researching too much into a single branch, focusing too much strategic resources in a single area, not developing enough coverage for geoscape and etc. - things that are obvious that they can go wrong but you take a risk. What we have instead is following: you get grenade launcher from autopsy of a crab, arguably the easiest way to get 2nd ship is to steal it, you need to discover new bases so you can super stack production or training, stacking multiple training facilities per person somehow actually works, the best use for heavy till you unlock new weapon is to jump to enemy and bash them. I can keep going with these. None of these makes sense in terms of intuition and common logic, these are just arbitrary game rules, as arbitrary as abilities in the game.
Then we get to the lore in which somehow, a melee faction makes sense. An organization consisting of 4 soldiers and a single facility, is allowed to roam around and raid factions that have hundreds of soldiers, how are you not nuked into oblivion by NJ just as precaution from the start? Why are you able to make a team out of let say sinderion troops and then send it to raid and pillage sinderion without your merc saying anything about it? Why your weapons are so inefficient in killing both men and padoras? Who would ever manufacture and use grenades that barely do anything?
The amount of meta mechanics in this game, gives me a nausea.

The solution is to scrap most of what is there and rebuild.

  • Draft a clear goal of what this game should be starting from strategic level. Is it a war of attrition? Is it about balancing technological and productional advancements in various areas against ever growing enemy? Is it about nuances and diplomacy to form a coalition of humanity against a threat? Are you bent of defeating enemy alone and other factions are just means of resources and research or you are a highly skilled and best equipped special ops unit?

  • Organize tactical missions around actually achieving something for the said strategic goals. Raiding a faction to get a random research makes 0 sense (that’s what spies and defectors are for). Your missions can be specific to capturing certain species for studies. Actively locating crab spawner and running cleansing operations. Locating and securing old material caches. Intercepting and ambushing crab groups before they form a horde that can attack a human settlement. Help factions to establish and defend forward observer bases to notify early of possible enemy attack. Do missions specific to pushing research of how this menace can be combated. Like retrieving some specific samples from alien hives, locating old research materials, conducting tests of weapons and measures.

  • Make research tree which guides you through what can be done in the game, showing what options you have, not just +10% attack against some specific version of slug. The game already sort of does it with few things but undoes it with others. Instead of getting all research results from just being friends with someone, those should be separate research trees that require completing missions for factions. Missions that allow you to retrieve some mackgaffins that are crucial for research.

  • Re-balance regular pandorians to be a horde, an enemy that is weak but attacks in mass. Put GL and MG to a crowd control role. Have most missions have a notion of enemy horde coming to get you, not just 1-2 crab reinforcement as it is right now.

  • Remove all magic abilities. Remove willpower as manna resource, use it just for mental state evaluation (your soldiers can’t fight endlessly, they require experience to go through stress of the battle). Add stamina that is a resource for using simple down to earth abilities like burst fire, aimed fire, running, continuous overwatch, setting up position for heavy weapons and snipers, carrying all the supplies and ammunition they need to fight horde, giving inspirational speeches to improve morale, be able to carry wounded soldier out of a danger.

  • Add tactical utilities such as smoke grenades, movable ballistic cover, mines and explosives.

  • Make vehicles an essential utility on battle - we never see our drop ship anywhere close, so it makes sense if we would be using something that can drive a short distance to deploy troops and assist them in battle. We have technology on our side, it’s silly that we can’t make airplanes large enough to transport an APC with a dozen troops.

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I agree with most of your proposals. and I really miss realistic tech tree, as old Xcoms used to have.
I really miss I feel PP has (beside driving a bit of story) no tech tree of its own at all, which makes to much of fraction dependency on everything.

Create proposal tickets, maybe it can be added later. This “magics” are just easy workarounds players are used to nowadays.

For example, I would opt out in base training but offer 2 planes and more soldiers at start, and more aliens, arguably. Exploring map faster and giving more freedom and no 9 base dependancy, maybe some refuel and rest pods. More hordes of enemies too. Make it more paced and explorative and not driven by fraction diplomacy and certain keypoint missions.

Reward soldiers in battle in more ways - with more equipment found to be reversed, more unique abilities and not just generalized classess (keep em but not to these level of determination) - like I like soldiers that got shot nowadays got more in mission xp. They experienced more.

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To design an engaging game, one first designs the world. Only after this does one create the mechanics to bring said world to life.

A game, thus properly constructed starting with the ground floor, yields its own solutions to problems as they grow organically from the world itself. Balancing becomes much less of an issue, as players understand the reasons for the fights, are engaged at a personal level, and are far more forgiving of an array of outcomes… ie, this fight was easy… the next fight extraordinarily difficult, etc…

Games designed in this way can offer a plethora of game impacting content without the worries that such content will break the game in some new way, as the world is a solid base.

This game feels very much as though the mechanics were designed first… and the world built around the mechanics almost as an after thought… This would explain the abundance of issues the devs now face in their attempt to build a platform that can actually work, as solutions to problems are contrived, and patched on in much the way that the world itself was patched on after the fact…

Too bad actually… I loved the heck out of the original game built years ago on a dos platform… given the limitations of the time it was an extraordinary achievement…

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I am yet to see a game designed that way - you think backwards - from the perspective of the consumer rather then maker.

So far pretty much every dev I have seen an interview with, states that they start with mechanics - finding a core gameplay loop is the key - then you build theme and the rest around it.

In games narrative team supports the game, not other way around - even narratively driven games like RPG think first of how the game will play.

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Posted by mistake…

Over the course of my life I have designed many games (in my youth, as I left gaming behind for a career in the hard sciences). In my retirement I have turned to writing epic fantasy (currently editing a five hundred page book for publication). I know a great deal concerning the elements of both game design and great story telling.

Many games come with prescripted worlds… think Hearts of Iron, built around the events of WW2…
Otherwise it is essential to build a believable world from scratch. Unless the player is personally invested in their world they have little incentive to care.

Additionally, a world that is derivative from its mechanics, rather than the other way around, is not organic. As a result, the mechanics become patchwork leading to one unforeseen problem after another…

The exception to the above are games of abstraction such as chess… not my favorite category of games, btw, despite having been a rated A player in my youth… but you can hardly argue that PP falls into this later category…

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If you read the copious fiction on the PP website, you’ll see that the world is anything but derivative. I think the problem is more that the realization of the flavor of the world within the strategic layer is pretty crude, which I attribute to Snapshot’s ambitious gameplay goals but limited resources.

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