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

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.

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:

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

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.

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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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.

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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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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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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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.