Long, Thought Out Commentary

So I’ve been playing the Backer Build for about 10 days now, having a lot of fun with it. As a seasoned XCOM player I am very impressed and extremely happy with how combat works right now. It’s challenging, tactical, and forces more strategic thinking than FXCOM did, in my opinion.

The biggest thing I can note regarding combat system is that several options need to be added for soldiers. Since this game seeks to create a more realistic and brutal combat system than XCOM (as far as I can tell), there are certain fundamental actions that every soldier should be capable of. In my opinion…

  1. Rifle butt/melee attack. Especially with ammo being finite, all soldiers should be capable of using their rifle to melee attack, even if it wouldn’t be highly effective. Crabmen with claws should be capable of counter attacks like the Mutons from FXCOM, and non-clawed Crabmen should still be capable of less powerful melee attacks with whatever they have. This helps to remove basic ways to exploit non-melee capable Crabmen and forces more tactical decision making when engaging in flanking and close combat.

  2. Throw item. All soldiers should be able to throw things from their inventory to a space. This allows for a soldier to throw a clip to another soldier, etc. There could even be a RNG chance for the other soldier to catch it out of midair, otherwise he will have to take the time to pick it up from the ground.

  3. Crouch/prone. All soldiers should be able to shift their stance. Prone would allow soldiers to maximize their use of even low cover, but would also point their head at an enemy, making them vulnerable to a foe with a good angle. Soldiers with assault and sniper rifles should have enhanced accuracy when prone, thanks to the stability of such a position.

I also have some opinions on basic changes to the structure of the game/behavior of certain equipment.

  1. Pistols! It doesn’t take more time to pull the trigger on a pistol than an assault rifle. Why is the pistol not a reactive weapon? With its spread being disgusting but its penetration suggesting its some kind of hand cannon, the pistol already makes relatively little sense. A soldier wielding nothing else has no reason to be using a pistol one-handed as well. Why is he doing this and just leaving his other arm hanging off to the side, when two handing is a basic way to hold a gun more steadily? These are trained soldiers, they should understand first grade firearm handling. Pistols should have improved accuracy if the soldier has both arms still functional, and the pistol should act like an assault rifle for reactive fire. If it takes half the time to use the fire action as compared to an assault rifle, then it should follow that the gun should be reactive as well.

  2. Unclear how much time it takes to loot a crate. That should be more transparent. I’ve had soldiers loot a crate and randomly still be able to act, and I’ve had soldiers do so and not. It clearly has something to do with how much time remains and how much was looted (especially if weapons were looted), but since it is not apparent AND soldiers’ action bars still show having time left after looting, the system as is is very confusing.

  3. It should take time to switch to a new weapon AND keep that weapon equipped. Putting an assault rifle away to whip out your pistol takes more than 0.0 seconds. This also makes it disgustingly exploitable to say, have your Sniper equipped with an assault rifle and abuse the mechanics. He takes an awesome sniper shot, switches to his assault rifle, and gets senseless free reactive fire with no consequence despite the fact that he used most of his turn with a sniper rifle. Too exploitable, too senseless.

  4. All guns seem to come with one free clip beyond their starting ammo that isn’t marked anywhere. This makes no sense with how this game seems to be designed. Have it marked somewhere please. Just add a second clip to their inventory and remove the “floating clip”, each soldier will start with 3 clips still but all clips will be visibly accounted for.

I also just wanted to take a moment to thank the devs for specific features in more detail.

  1. Free aiming is amazing. This feature has been lacking from far too many games in this genre, and it removes the stupid RNG elements of “Oh I missed a 98% shot from an adjacent space… Wow.”

  2. Reactive fire. As I mentioned above it needs to be added to the Pistol, but even so it is an excellent feature that forces more decision making. Flanking is no longer the end all be all of combat. It must be done with a more strategic mindset. I really like reactive fire.

  3. Expanded inventories. Much more realistic than “I only have space to carry 1 grenade because… game design?” Excellent choice.

  4. Limb disabling. I know everyone loves being able to disable enemy limbs, and hates having their own disabled. Personally, I am not so angry about it. This is an excellent mechanic that forces you to choose your actions carefully and creates more thought for soldier management than just “you’re either useful or dead”. I don’t think limb disabling should be permanent; maybe in situations where the limb was disabled and then took a lot of additional damage, it should be harder to remove outside of the mission. But there should definitely be ways to overcome it outside of the mission. I’m sure that’s already the devs intention, and I applaud this system altogether.

  5. Seperate armor per body part. On a similar note to above, very smart and much more realistic. I love that shots can create weak points on myself or the foes.

  6. No enemy pods getting a free reactive turn. Because why should they? Thank you for not adding this bs feature from FXCOM. You guys are great.

  7. I love the feel of each class. They all feel like realistic soldiers with believable abilities, rather than ridiculous concepts where any class feels like an entirely different being than any other. The ability for every soldier to use every weapon is excellent. I remember the devs saying they intended classes to be more broad ability paths than hard-coded class progressions, a choice I fully support and appreciate.

  8. I appreciate the difficulty. Clearly the Backer Build is designed with seasoned XCOM players in mind, as they are probably the majority who pre-ordered the game. I think the soldiers are intentionally under-equipped for the mission. Clearly, if you have a choice, for a random mission where you may fight a dozen+ enemies, bringing only 4 soldiers with no backup weapons, 1 grenade each, and 3 clips total of ammo each would be a subpar choice. They have done this here so you can feel the full intensity and brutality of the combat system.

TLDR; I put a lot of thought into this post and I’m DEEPLY passionate about where this game is going. Go up and read it, or find a two-liner thread to drop your comment on.


In addition to game design changes I suggested, please add a way to see how much armor is left on each body part, rather than the average armor remaining overall. This can easily be added to the body chart that shows which limbs are damaged and disabled.


it’s bugged. Normally it should take 25% of AP when you move items out of crate. But first use has a bug that ends soldier actions (even if it shows that he has more AP left). Next uses of that crate work as intended (even for next soldiers)

They have two magazines. One already loaded and one in backpack. There is no 3rd unseen at the start of the mission.

Other than that, I like and support your ideas. :wink:

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Strange I swear that there was a hidden clip, but perhaps I’m simply getting so into the game that I forget how many times I’ve reloaded and overestimate it. I think overwatch and reactive fire firing half a “blip” worth of shots instead of a full is tricking me into thinking I’m using more ammo than I am.

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If I understand correctly, it’s a 1-handed weapon so it has the base animation for 1-handed weapons. Given this is a small team compared to most AAA titles they haven’t had time to flesh out the animations and extra details. Bear in mind this type of pre-alpha would normally never leave the hands of the internal dev team.

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That’s understandable, but I hope they consider these details in the Development build, even if we only are seeing extremely limited things in the pre-alpha. Having two free hands should allow you to aim a one-handed firearm more accurately… Just like a longsword may take one hand to use, but you can clearly use it with more strength and coordination if you use both hands. It’s just a basic component of the way all weapons work period, with the exception of things that are literally not designed to be gripped with two hands, like a throwing knife.

In general I think the pistol at least needs an accuracy buff. It’s virtually worthless if the enemy is more than what appears to be 30 feet away. Alternatively, maybe because its such a quiick weapon it should not provoke reactive fire off every shot. If you fire your pistol 4 times in a round, using all of your allotted actions, every enemy in sight wielding a rifle gets 4 reactive fire bursts. That’s… Honestly just terrible. It makes the Pistol a terrible weapon. It also creates inconsistency, because even if an enemy used their entire turn, they would not be able to take 4 fire actions with their assault rifles. Why does firing a pistol 4 times provoke twice as much reactive fire as firing an assault rifle 2 times, when an assault rifle supposedly takes twice as long to aim and fire off a burst as a pistol takes to fire off 1 round?

As a note, I am very happy with all 3 of the other weapons we have gotten to see, four if you include grenades.

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As an aside, all of my suggestions are made with the knowledge that this is an incredibly early release pre-alpha that is nowhere near complete. I simply offer all these suggestions because I think each one of them has merit, the potential to improve depth or complexity of gameplay, and I have no clue what the dev team is or isn’t actually working with in the development build.

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Let’s face the various points about pistols, trying to bear in mind that for me, gameplay trumps realism.

We can flat out agree that most RL pistols are better used with two hands but one-handed use is possible, if impractical, or even dangerous depending on the model.

However, being one handed weapons in PP is one of their perks. You can still use them if you get an arm crippled. While you could have a toggle option to use them two handed if the situation allows, I simply think that would be too much, add needless complication to the game and very little benefits. Therefore, I accept that pistols are one handed weapons for balance’s sake.

For better or worse, pistol logic is consistent with you average video game gun physics (the weird subset of physics were shotguns aren’t useful beyond the 10m range or where armor piercing bullets will go through five goons but be stopped by a potted plant) and uses a one handed animation for this very reason.

Other stats, accuracy, and the extreme reaction fire they trigger are valid points, but we know return fire in the alpha isn’t representative. I’m not too sure about accuracy, but this can also be tweaked easily

I liked your argument about instant switching of rifles in the quick items and this may need addressing. It wouldn’t be unrealistic to limit the quick items to one two handed weapon.

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Nha, I like this feature. Removing it would make managing your equipped items a bit too complex. And I think later features would make this thing a lot less exploitable: weight penalties (I don’t think you can equip two “main” weapons on the weel without penalties in more complete builds) and class penalties, for example: accuracy bonuses for a sniper using a sniper rifle and the lack of it/slight penalties for an assault using it and the same for the assault rifle and for the return fire per se (I think it would be reasonable to find a few skills that are aimed to improve the return fire mechanic).

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Talking about one handed weapons, in ufo aftershock one of the classes can get the perk to dual wield one hand guns, that increases his DPS by a lot in close quarter combat, it was a nice perk, maybe a class in PP could get something similar regarding handguns.

And talking about close range, someone asked in reddit if there will be shotguns in PP, I’m curious how the ballistics would be impleemnted in that.

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regarding the shotgun, it would probably model all the shot at once and track where they all go. In other words, rather than model model one bullet being fired at a time like the pistol, or three in a row like the assault rifle, the shotgun would create nine paths from the end of the barrel and track where they go all at once (assuming 00-buck).

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I really don’t think giving a two-hand toggle for pistols would be too unweldy, and it would make pistols a more rewarding firearm choice. That way, the pistol could function mostly as is now but with two hands function as a better weapon. Pistols have much better accuracy than this game gives them, EVEN when it’s scaled down with the considerations that this is a game (IE the sniper is not able to hit someone half a mile away with consistency, even when they aren’t moving).

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or, your soldiers could automatically use both hands with a pistol until an arm is injured, then they go to one handed.

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Isn’t the 1h/2h wielding of pistols usually represented by the choice of shot type in most games?

Snapshot - 1h
Normal - 2h
Aim - 2h with the time taken to aim at a target.

That’s how I’ve always imagined it happening…

You could say the same with other weapon types too, i.e. a shotgun fired from the hip would be a snap shot, whereas with a normal shot you’re holding the stock against your shoulder.


This to me seems like the optimal solution. I would like to see snap shot and aim mechanics as well, tbh.

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Sounds like a reasonable head canon to make up for the lack of varied animations when using weapons. That said, I’m wondering if PP’s animators would have enough time to implement different animations for different kinds of shots.

While I kinda doubt it and certainly won’t complain if it doesn’t happen, it would definitely bring a nice touch.


I simply don’t know enough about animating to say anything with certainty, but it doesn’t seem like it would be over the top, considering the plethora of other combinations they’ll be animated and the modular design of their animations. If nothing else, I still feel pistols deserve some form of buff. I just thought this would be an excellent way to handle it. Because right now the pistol’s accuracy suggests to me the way a trained soldier one-handing it on the fly really would aim, but certainly not a trained soldier who understands he has two functional hands. xD

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lets wait and see what developers will prepare in next builds. Maybe there will be some other action like ‘aimed shot’ with pistol which will consume more AP but will have better accuracy. Now you shoot 4(!) times in single turn - this can’t be accurate. :wink: And I think that hand gun was given to sniper just to increase his dpt (damage per turn :wink: ). Because one shot with sniper rifle will do maximum of 7 damage when enemy has no or 1 armour and it goes only down with every armour point. Assault can do up to 18 damage shooting in soft spot, 12 with 1 armour and 6 with 2 armour (and here he equals the sniper), BUT he has two attacks (and maybe some move with use of will points). And heavy? You can figure it out. :slight_smile: Hand gun can save the sniper when enemy is closing in (20 dmg vs 0-1 armour, 16 vs 2 armour etc.) not counting Gunslinger. In this build I think it is well balanced. And later we will see. :wink:

EDIT: Developers were asking if two shots per turn are not too much and they mentioned that shots will probably take more AP than now. So Assault will have to use Exertion to shoot two times, hand gun won’t allow for so many shots etc. But again, we will see. Maybe they have changed their mind.

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That’s the first thing that comes to my mind regarding animation challenges here. I like animation so I’ve spent time talking to animators in various companies I worked for or interacted with in the past, and they tend to be quite busy.

I agree that a two handed pistol shot animation probably isn’t a major technical challenge, but it’s still one more task on a list that’s probably daunting atm. The plethora of mutable aliens we’ve been shown in concept arts is another matter entirely, and I’d expect quite a few challenges here in terms of rigging and modularity. Then there is vehicles, since the stretch goal has been achieved, and other monstrosities that bleong to the strategic layer and may need work to (the behemoth thingies)

Don’t get me wrong, I’d like it too and I don’t want to be a party pooper, but my bet at the moment is on other priorities.


Fully agreed with very nice observations and summary of so far-so good and things that could be better. Next BB is moved towards November, few months to go, so we will see how much is implemented. Initially, in BB delay announcement, @Jullian called on taking time to implement the feedback (I suppose feedback here).