IMPORTANT! THAT '94 X-Com feel we're hungry for!

#11

It took me over a year to beat the game, with my little spare time for gaming. So it was literally Long War

Maybe I’ll beat all my other games first, to give myself small chunks of achievent :wink:

It is easy to use dynamic shadows, but they don’t give the same effect of light dispersion and fading into darkness.

It’s actually super easy. In the original, and very realistically, you only had this fading into the shadows effect during night missions. As you’ve seen in my Unity store link, you can implement a line of sight system in 3D. Then you need to combine this with very low ambient lighting that keeps everything in almost complete darkness (or just very dark) and add proper lighting that creates the same effect as in the original game. Something like this:


and this:

and this:

You obviously don’t want to reproduce the same thing during day missions. But if you wanted to, you occasionally could by creating a foggy environment, like in this clip: https://youtu.be/k6nzHjXHC_I?t=469

So your job is in fact easier in 3D than in a 2D isometric view and you can also add so much more realism and nuances.

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#12

Maybe it is lazy trick, but required

That’s your opinion and maybe preference. The fact is that in the original it wasn’t required and another fact is that a lot of players have been frustrated by the time constraint. Personally, it murders my enjoyment completely.
On the other hand, towards the very end of the game, when I’ve had all the fun experimenting with what the possibilities in the game are without being forced to do anything in a particular way/in a time limit, I wouldn’t mind a “final countdown” kind of thing. Like we’ve dealt such decisive blows to the aliens that they have brought their “Death Star” next to Earth and we have like 10 minutes to blow it up kind of thing :wink:

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#13

I would love to play sandbox, but time constraint is needed from lore perspective. We can’t prolong fight with the virus without end. Enemy here is not army of aliens counting 1000 units with some additional reinforcements send from other planet. It is mutating living environment consuming all in it’s way, and it can’t be stopped with regular weapons and methods.

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#14

It’s far from a judgement against those people who like to, let’s call it like this, “like to save and reload often”, code named “SC” :wink:

It’s that many people find that it has become a compulsive behavior that they’d rather let go of as they’ve realized it takes away from their immersion and butchers their sense of joy when they have reloaded the same save 10 times in a row because they didn’t get their specific desired outcome. When the game’s mechanics almost force you to SC, it’s worth becoming conscious of and remove the addictive elements that have been pulling our strings, so to speak. At least that’s my point of view :slight_smile:

I wish you a lot of fun playing the game however you want :slight_smile:

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#15

@Attila
I did not have to save and reload often in Ufo Unknown or Terror from the Deep. The game gave you the chance to recover.

This is the main Problem with XCOM from Firaxis. If you mess up a single mission you are most likely doomed and restart the game or reload.

I did not like this one bit. I really hoped that this game will be different but I am not going to find out soon :frowning:

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#16

I think playing any game can be addictive if you have that sort of personality. But one element can’t be blamed for that. One of the easiest solutions. I find, is the game difficulty setting. As I’ve got older and medical problems have effected me I’ve had to start playing games on the ‘easy’ setting. I still thoughly enjoy them, and if I can cope with it will push the setting up. But I do find there is a game snobbery (especially with certain pc gamers) that is toxic to less capable/able gamers. The ‘Save Scumming’ description and debate is a prime example. Let people play their games their way and with their own set achievements. And like you I hope you can play (this game eventually):wink: and enjoy it your way.:+1:

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#17

It would butcher YOUR sense of joy, and mine for that matter, as I find SaveScumming boring to the extreme beyond the first playthrough when you’re testing mechanics, but it’s the most natural thing to do for many other players, and the game certainly doesn’t force you to SC.

I’ve played Firaxcoms extensively, Vanilla and modded to hell and back, Ironman whenever possible and “honestman” (self imposed ironman, with the option of reloading previous saves if the current ones gets corrupted or encounter a game ending bug) the rest of the time, and don’t have to savescum because I normally setup backup plans and a broader roster than what appears necessary.

This forces you to allocate your resources differently and keep some reserves for when shit hits the fan, something the games does NOT teach you, but means you can recover from a loss.

As for most other points, I don’t want PP to be a remake of OGXCom. I have Xenonauts for that :slight_smile:

When you take off the rose tinted glasses, OGXCom had its flaws and tedious elements in the gameplay loop. Even if you discount these, games have evolved since these times and old school devs must account for this evolution beyond doing a remake of their past success with a shinier engine.

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#18

Eh, the interface was not mysterious, it was awful. I still remember the first time playing OGXCom, and thinking “what the hell is this? How do I… Wait, not like… Hmm, and to shoot, I want to kill that guy!”.

I kind of enjoyed the process of discovering which button did what. It was a good thing to me that the interface was so complex because I had no previous experience with complex strategy games and using only the buttons I could understand was more than enough to get me started and hooked on the gameplay and explore all the little nooks and crannies of the UI later.

Scott T Jones, the developer of XcomUtil says something similar: “I never use strategy guides, because discovery is one of the best parts of the game.”
To those of us who loved the sense of discovery it gave us, we loved it. Others could feel their confusion and lack of control about the UI first and foremost, because we’re different :slight_smile:
But today this UI would not be feasible, not without a built-in great tutorial. Those self-sufficient ways of olde seem to be gone.

The intro feels so out of place from the rest of the game, that we could remove it entirely and not miss a thing. Cool soldiers with shiny armours and huge weapons jumping from their ultra high tech airplanes and spreading chaos and panic amongst the enemy! And then you started the game and there was no ubermensch, just frail panicked soldiers.

I’m wondering if you’ve played the original years after it was released? I played it on release and my experience with the intro and the game’s corresponding graphics were as I’ve described in the original post. Moreover, my best soldiers’ stats would eventually overflow and restart from 1 and they could wipe the floor on their own with an entire map of aliens (just before stats overflowing). Notice that their armor in the video is yet to be researched, which implies that they could be veterans. They certainly act more confident than a rookie would :wink: Everything was perfectly in place in that video to me at the time.

Tunes that the best bit cartoonish imprints itself in the viewers minds and sticks there.

This makes great sense with games like Warcraft, WoW and Starcraft that don’t have horror music and sinister lighting. The original I don’t think was meant to look cartoonish (except in the intro maybe, but it looked more manga than traditional cute cartoonish to me). The game seemed hyper realistic to me as I’ve mentioned and a remake might want to look very realistic too to be true to the horror feel of the original.

This is the area where where I don’t have any issues: just from reading the Briefings we can sense the huge effort the lore team has been making in building a structured, reasonable, well thought, world building. Things like the centuries in which Phoenix Project has been existing, and all the factors behind the growth of factions and why they came to be, are outstanding.

I’m very glad to hear that.

was the introduction of Earth as your main character. It really sold the idea this was a huge fight for the fate of everybody and everyone you have ever met,

Yes, and it’s the ultimate example of a cornered beast. If you lose, there’s nowhere to retreat. It’s like the Roman commanders burning their boats on the enemy shores so there was no turning back. An invasion of the Earth is always going to evoke peak emotions! (Until we’re an interplanetary species)

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#19

I would say it is like that because now we have greater pace of life. Everyone expect quick solutions and guidance in more complex world. :wink:

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#20

Yes, and I’d say probably the majority of players save scum, because there is so much uncertainty in the world today and people often grow up in broken families, which contribute to wanting to feel safer even in games. It’s completely natural and I never meant to say it should be “banned” or something :slight_smile: (I know you didn’t mean I meant that, just sayin’) But it irritates many players that they feel compelled to save scum.

and the game certainly doesn’t force you to SC

Maybe you didn’t feel it forced YOU, but I definitely felt it forced me to. The frequent scripted events on the battlescape were not even funny. I expected the combat to go unscripted and even after adapting to the random enemy spawns through positioning and opportunity fire, it still felt unfair, like losses were forced on me (whether due to my lack of skills or not, didn’t matter) and that the game cheated. So did I.

I hope we can try to understand and appreciate each other’s experience of the game without ever falling into dogmatizing.

There’s enough horror survival in OGXcom :smiley:

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#21

And we’ve been spoiled by developers who have been focusing on improving the UI (their next big thing) over the decades, instead of remaining passionate about making legendary games that stand the test of time.

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#22

Maybe. But easy to use UI is integral part of game and essential to have great experience. It is perfect when you don’t even have to think that there is an UI and you still use the program with great proficiency. So in other words devs had to work over the UI as it was part of competition to improve consumer experience. :wink:

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#23

Talking about UI…how the hell to you set angle of view in the battle game?:wink: More senoir moments here​:man_facepalming:t3:

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#24

The thing with the whole save scumming debate is that individual elements of any given game don’t run in isolation from one another, instead they’re combined and balanced as a whole.

To that end, when people argue for the option to save and load anywhere on the basis that them being able to do that doesn’t affect anyone else’s game play experience, the assertion being made isn’t quite true.

A game that allows save and load anywhere can on any mission basis and/or as a whole be made more difficult by developers as they take into account the fact that players have been given the tool of reloading and retaking actions whenever they wish as a counter to that higher level of difficulty.

A game that only allows saves between missions requires balancing at a more forgiving difficulty level, both for missions and as a whole, than a save and load anywhere game as this game’s developers must take into account the fact that players have less opportunity to retake actions, and instead must be given opportunities within main game play itself to recover from their mistakes.

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#25

An alternative way of doing things, and one that could be interesting to see, could be to grade a player’s mission performance based on, amongst over things, the number of saves made by the player during that mission.

This way players may save and load where they wish, but have an incentive not to which would create tension and turn the act of saving game play into a tactical decision rather than an automatic response.

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#26

I would agree if single players had only one difficulty mode, but all single games worth their salt come with multiple levels of difficulty to be chosen by the user, which makes balancing them totally different from multiplayer games. It usually pays to balance the game around your second hardest difficulty, as it’s easier to make a game easier by tweaking hp and damage values, while doing this to make a game harder can turn it into a bullet-sponge fest very easily.

One thing I tend to see more and more these days are mentions such as “this is the intended difficulty level” when you select it at the start of the game.

When it comes to XCOM-like games, design is almost always balanced around an ironman approach, as it’s a simple baseline to adhere to, and the game is also supposed to let you experience the loss of your soldiers.

If you account for save scumming, where do you draw the line? The player who only reloads entire missions? the one who only reloads on soldier death? the one who reloads every missed shot?

You need a specific lore to allow for such things, something like Edge of tomorrow’s time control. By the way, I recommend this movie as an example of how Hollywood sees save scumming, aka. “Starship Trooper meets Groundhog Day”.

Outside of this, it’s better to treat the game like it should be played in ironman as it’s the less immersion breaking approach.

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#27

As a matter of fact, yes :slight_smile: I didn’t had a good enough system to play the game when it was released, so had to resort to replaying Dune II. Later, in my brother’s house, and later still, with DosBOX, I was able to get my hands in it, but never finished it. It’s a demanding game, it doesn’t give you a hand in anything, and it’s off the charts complex. But, I could understand all the ideas behind it, and they were uber cool, and that’s why I backed Phoenix Point.

In this I agree so much! I really liked the early concept arts, with body horror parts that seemed to come from a Cronenberg movie. I still like the new designs, though, more Starship Troopers, but the first ones really tingled that irrational, superstitious, reptilian section of the brain.

There are still really passionate game designers. FiraXCom’s Jake Solomon is one of them, even for those who don’t like the 2012’s remake, just seeing an interview with the guy really shines his love for games and OGXCom in particular. And only with the love for the game could he stand the ordeal that was the remake’s development:

My most recent favorite game is Dead Cells, made by a small team of eight to ten people, went on to sell more than a million copies. There is still lots of space for those developers, but yes, things like loot boxes and microtransactions don’t make them any favors.

And as for Save Scum… I really liked Nintendo’s idea for Fire Emblem in that regard: you can’t save, but you can restart a tactical mission if anything goes wrong. Of course, when you have invested more than one hour in that mission, you really give second thoughts about restarting all over again. It’s either that or carry on without the precious unit you just lost.

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#28

I know what you’re saying, and yes certainly there should be a range of difficulty options available to players, ideally a range of toggles that allows a player to have fine customisation over the their person game experience based on what they decide to turn on and off. - More Long War, less vanilla modern Xcom.

You still have that core balance within a game to determine however, and it’s not just these turn-off-and-on-able options usually, there’s AI ‘intelligence’, AI abilities, map design, player character abilities, weapon hit chances, and set piece mission timings, to name but a few. Save game options can determine and be influenced by all of these factors and they come together, with others, to set the standard game balance and feel… and then you can add in a range of difficulties around that core balance via things such as enemy HPs and spawn rates.

The type of save system in use can also be reflected, in modern games, by the potential (steam) achievements. As an example, imagine attempting a ‘Kill the Crab Queen with a 1% kill chance shot’ achievement in a system with no reloads, vs attempting that same achievement when you can infinitely reload and take the same shot.

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#29

Yeah, I’ve seen it, it’s a cool film :slight_smile:

You could argue that you need to introduce a specific lore just to explain the fact that a player is able to reload an earlier game state in the first place - Grading a mission based on how often a player reloads would just be an extension of what that core lore might be.

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#30

Honestly, I think that those who want “that '94 X-COM feel” will never be better served than they will by just playing the original '94 X-COM (with OpenXCom).

The most interesting things about Phoenix Point are the new things it can bring to the table, not how well it can adher to and execute what was done decades ago.

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