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Thread: The Great Big Thread of UI, Modding, and PC Optimization Discussion

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    The Great Big Thread of UI, Modding, and PC Optimization Discussion

    Ok, so since the "No Console Wars" thread has strayed away from its initial topic to start discussing matters of how XCOM: Enemy Unknown will be optimized for PC players I decided it was time for this discussion to have its own thread. So feel free to discuss issues about PC vs Console UI, mod support, and just general differences between playing on a console vs. playing on a PC.

    A word of caution, though, remember the established rules against console wars. It's fine to have an opinion and a preference, but as soon as derogatory comments and insults start coming out in regards to platforms and the people who play on them we're going to have problems. Stay respectful and you'll be fine.

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    It occurred to me recently that we'll probably see a mod with the graphics re-done in more or less the style of the original. I mean, I like the current style, or at least what I've seen of it so far (and I'm aware they seem to want to add the "Guile Do" as an option :P), but the original had its own slightly goofy comic book charm. Personally I'd also like to see a graphical mod done somewhat in the style of Arne Niklas Jensson's X-Com stuff.

    Also, if the weapons are particularly different this time around (ie: I suspect we're getting the LMG and Sniper Rifle instead of the Autocannon and Heavy Cannon, respectively), I think we'll see a "Classic Armaments" pack at some point, since once you add the missing ones you might as well re-do the rest graphically to match.

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    Some people might not like the idea of cutscenes every time you see a new alien, or worse every time you kill an alien. I reckon they'll be among the first things to be modded out, if they don't come with an off-switch that is.

    If the textures and physics can be modded, we'll see a TFTD TC at some point.

    By the way, since this thread is about modding overall and not just Xcom, I'd like to say that in the same PC Gamer issue where I found the Xcom preview, there are links to some much needed (apparently) mods for Skyrim. If you don't already know:

    Sky UI - a PC friendly UI for Skyrim: bit.ly/skyUI
    Tytanis - a content mod: bit.ly/tytanis
    Better sorting - improves the inventory: bit.ly/bettersort
    World Map in full 3D - Lets you zoom around the world's map in 3D. Apparently. bit.ly/sky3dmap

    Those 'bit' addresses are as printed in the magazine.

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    The PC_UI should exploit the rapid intuition "popups" (UFO detection and recommended Interception dispatch) on the Geoscape... every situations would need to be linked with swift optional access to some relevant details.

    Remember the graphs of "activities"?
    This feature has to expand on persistent tracking of Aliens presence but also on proper distribution of resources and assets. I need to know where and how any given optimal reactions impact the global issues such as research and financing by countries. It all has to be interactive enough and yet direct.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zyxpsilon View Post
    The PC_UI should exploit the rapid intuition "popups" (UFO detection and recommended Interception dispatch) on the Geoscape... every situations would need to be linked with swift optional access to some relevant details.

    Remember the graphs of "activities"?
    This feature has to expand on persistent tracking of Aliens presence but also on proper distribution of resources and assets. I need to know where and how any given optimal reactions impact the global issues such as research and financing by countries. It all has to be interactive enough and yet direct.
    By the sounds of it, it's all bundled together in the Situation Room. Instead of boring graphs, you get a map showing you what's happening and where. A much better system in my opinion.

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    Love that art style. Would look really good in a literal original remake game.
    Maybe a bit cute for most on here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SectoidSquisher View Post
    Some people might not like the idea of cutscenes every time you see a new alien, or worse every time you kill an alien. I reckon they'll be among the first things to be modded out, if they don't come with an off-switch that is.

    If the textures and physics can be modded, we'll see a TFTD TC at some point.

    By the way, since this thread is about modding overall and not just Xcom, I'd like to say that in the same PC Gamer issue where I found the Xcom preview, there are links to some much needed (apparently) mods for Skyrim. If you don't already know:

    Sky UI - a PC friendly UI for Skyrim: bit.ly/skyUI
    Tytanis - a content mod: bit.ly/tytanis
    Better sorting - improves the inventory: bit.ly/bettersort
    World Map in full 3D - Lets you zoom around the world's map in 3D. Apparently. bit.ly/sky3dmap

    Those 'bit' addresses are as printed in the magazine.
    Son, there is only one mod that Skyrim needs. And that is Space Core. Everything else, including Skyrim, becomes irrelevant after that.

    Also, if the weapons are particularly different this time around (ie: I suspect we're getting the LMG and Sniper Rifle instead of the Autocannon and Heavy Cannon, respectively), I think we'll see a "Classic Armaments" pack at some point, since once you add the missing ones you might as well re-do the rest graphically to match.
    I could care less about the Heavy Cannon, but...I need me an Autocannon just for epeen purposes, cuz chain guns are awesome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nosmirc View Post
    I could care less about the Heavy Cannon, but...I need me an Autocannon just for epeen purposes, cuz chain guns are awesome.
    Enh, I always saw it as more of a rotary autofiring grenade launcher, or possibly something like a gyrojet.

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    I don't mind if there's a cut scene the first time you encounter that breed of alien or you kill one fer the first time. If there's a cut scene or camera zoom every time that will get old very fast. Make it on the first encounter or have a toggle switch to turn it off would be good.

    On the PC version PLEASE have an advanced setting with all the usual things the PC can do. Rez, AA, AF, lighting, etc etc. I don't mind starting up a game and it has low console-ish graphics in the menu, as long as I can dumb them all up to look good. If we are stuck with standard TV HD settings its a real turn off.

    In the game and in the settings PLEASE do not have console references! When I enter any control setup to look at or change keys and there is a picture of a xbox controller, it is a dead give away that the game is a cheesy port and that minimal effort has been put it to the PC side. If they couldn't be bothered changing that picture to a keyboard and mouse then there will be allot in the game that is the same. On that same point, playing the game and press 'X', 'Y' or 'Z' pops up in a game it gives the exact same feeling. They are tiny changes to make but make a big difference.

    Make the console version what ever you want it to be... (I don't mind I won't be playing it ) but make the PC version at least look like it was made for PC

    Rant over!

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    A am totally with Nosmirc... GIVE US THE AUTO CANNON!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DazzD View Post
    I don't mind if there's a cut scene the first time you encounter that breed of alien or you kill one fer the first time. If there's a cut scene or camera zoom every time that will get old very fast. Make it on the first encounter or have a toggle switch to turn it off would be good.

    On the PC version PLEASE have an advanced setting with all the usual things the PC can do. Rez, AA, AF, lighting, etc etc. I don't mind starting up a game and it has low console-ish graphics in the menu, as long as I can dumb them all up to look good. If we are stuck with standard TV HD settings its a real turn off.

    In the game and in the settings PLEASE do not have console references! When I enter any control setup to look at or change keys and there is a picture of a xbox controller, it is a dead give away that the game is a cheesy port and that minimal effort has been put it to the PC side. If they couldn't be bothered changing that picture to a keyboard and mouse then there will be allot in the game that is the same. On that same point, playing the game and press 'X', 'Y' or 'Z' pops up in a game it gives the exact same feeling. They are tiny changes to make but make a big difference.

    Make the console version what ever you want it to be... (I don't mind I won't be playing it ) but make the PC version at least look like it was made for PC

    Rant over!
    I'm going to have to agree with you here. That's very important.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DazzD View Post
    On the PC version PLEASE have an advanced setting with all the usual things the PC can do.
    I agree, completely. Whereas a console has pre-set capabilities that are the same from unit to unit, PCs do not, and the user should be able to fine-tune the graphcis settings to their preferred balance between aesthetics and performance.

    In the game and in the settings PLEASE do not have console references! When I enter any control setup to look at or change keys and there is a picture of a xbox controller, it is a dead give away that the game is a cheesy port and that minimal effort has been put it to the PC side.
    You do realise, that the xbox controller works perfectly fine as a PC gamepad too, yes? There's a few games - largely shooters - that I prefer using my (wired) xbox 360 controller for, rather than KB&M.

    Better would be to set up the PC interface so you can TELL it what control device you want to use, and then see a picture of that device as you set each key or button.

    And for consoles? Just pre-set it to that specific console, and lock out the ability to change to a different input device.

    ^_^

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    Quote Originally Posted by SectoidSquisher View Post
    By the sounds of it, it's all bundled together in the Situation Room. Instead of boring graphs, you get a map showing you what's happening and where. A much better system in my opinion.
    As long as the graphs (and other materials and statistic tools) are available as well. They may be boring to some, but they can really help to get a clear picture of what is going on. As long as you can superimpose both the alien activity and the XCOM activity together to see how they compare (where you are handling business and where you need to step up your game).

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    @ _Pax_, I do realise that the xbox controller works on the PC... but if I ever wanted to use one I would buy a 360 Always been a PC man I am afraid

    You are right about the consoles though. Just set them to the controller mode and lock them in. There have been a few games around that detect a controller is plugged into the PC and set it as the default. I wouldn't mind seeing that. Chances are if you have it plugged in you want to use it. I have no hassles if there is a setting for the controller on PC etc but I just dont want to see it unless I am using one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DazzD View Post
    @ _Pax_, I do realise that the xbox controller works on the PC... but if I ever wanted to use one I would buy a 360 Always been a PC man I am afraid
    I bought my wired Xbox 360 controller FOR my PC.

    For my actual xbox 360, I use wireless controllers.

    Even on PC, IMO, some games just play better with a gamepad than with keyboard-and-mouse. Also, I have issues with arthritis in my shoulders; cradling a controller or gamepad in my lap lets me play for about twice as long before needing an Advil (or whatever), compared to playing with KB&M.

    I have no hassles if there is a setting for the controller on PC etc but I just dont want to see it unless I am using one.
    That's cool, then.

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    Well I've had the Heavy Plasma modeled for quite some time now, it is a bit different from the original because I added a few touch's of my own. All it needs now is some textures. I wonder if it can be used in a conversion mod?

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    Hey, I got one o' them, too. 'cept I interpreted one of the lines as a blast shield. I've got a few of these... I was actually considering having a go at putting them in a Fallout: NV mod.

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    Quote Originally Posted by _Pax_ View Post
    I bought my wired Xbox 360 controller FOR my PC.

    For my actual xbox 360, I use wireless controllers.

    Even on PC, IMO, some games just play better with a gamepad than with keyboard-and-mouse. Also, I have issues with arthritis in my shoulders; cradling a controller or gamepad in my lap lets me play for about twice as long before needing an Advil (or whatever), compared to playing with KB&M.
    Fair enough in that situation it totally makes sense to use one. I could never get used to using one. All the FPS games that I can play with no hassles on PC KB+M I am totally useless on a mates console with the controller. I guess it is what you get used to. Like I was saying I have no problems with the game supporting all that gear (more the better) but on the PC version just don't make it default!

    I hate starting the tutorial in a game and the first thing that pops up is press 'x' to jump and a picture of a controller in front of me... Usually ends with me pressing 'del' to delete the directory

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    Preference of KB&M versus Gamepad/Controller is IMO purely a matter of individual taste.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DazzD View Post
    I don't mind if there's a cut scene the first time you encounter that breed of alien or you kill one fer the first time. If there's a cut scene or camera zoom every time that will get old very fast. Make it on the first encounter or have a toggle switch to turn it off would be good.

    On the PC version PLEASE have an advanced setting with all the usual things the PC can do. Rez, AA, AF, lighting, etc etc. I don't mind starting up a game and it has low console-ish graphics in the menu, as long as I can dumb them all up to look good. If we are stuck with standard TV HD settings its a real turn off.

    In the game and in the settings PLEASE do not have console references! When I enter any control setup to look at or change keys and there is a picture of a xbox controller, it is a dead give away that the game is a cheesy port and that minimal effort has been put it to the PC side. If they couldn't be bothered changing that picture to a keyboard and mouse then there will be allot in the game that is the same. On that same point, playing the game and press 'X', 'Y' or 'Z' pops up in a game it gives the exact same feeling. They are tiny changes to make but make a big difference.

    Make the console version what ever you want it to be... (I don't mind I won't be playing it ) but make the PC version at least look like it was made for PC

    Rant over!
    I would be shocked if Firaxis made a game where x y and z is popping up on your pc game. All of January's exclusive was in gameinformer, a console mag, so they were showing their console UI. C'mon, its Firaxis we are talking about...Sid Meiers man.....

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Gen_Pho View Post
    I would be shocked if Firaxis made a game where x y and z is popping up on your pc game. All of January's exclusive was in gameinformer, a console mag, so they were showing their console UI. C'mon, its Firaxis we are talking about...Sid Meiers man.....
    Perhaps, but people are also scared of Civ Rev.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Visko View Post
    Perhaps, but people are also scared of Civ Rev.
    The intended audience and platform of Civ Rev was quite different than this game though, right? I don't really know much about Civ Rev honestly, but wasn't that a game for the tablet with the stated intent to be a lite version of civ?

    The studio has said the opposite for xcom, it is a serious game with years of intense development behind it. This is from a studio that has focused heavily on satisfying a pc audience.

    I'm not saying it must be awesome because it is Firaxis, but it won't have pictures of xbox controllers in the pc UI.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gen_Pho View Post
    I would be shocked if Firaxis made a game where x y and z is popping up on your pc game. All of January's exclusive was in gameinformer, a console mag, so they were showing their console UI. C'mon, its Firaxis we are talking about...Sid Meiers man.....
    Firaxis confirmed in PC Gamer that the PC UI will be completely different from the console's. Relax.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SectoidSquisher View Post
    Firaxis confirmed in PC Gamer that the PC UI will be completely different from the console's. Relax.
    Yeah I'm relaxed...I was responding to someone else

  25. #25
    Lol i wouldn't expect it to have pictures of xbox controllers. But see Skyrims default UI. Something lik that might be more plausible and equally as scary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gen_Pho View Post
    Yeah I'm relaxed...I was responding to someone else
    Sorry - I quoted the wrong person.

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    Lots of discussion on the UI here. I don't really know how much the PC UI will differ from the Console UI but I would still like the entire interface to be customizable. World of Warcraft has a great approach to this with superb support of XML/Lua scripting.

    While I am quite certain there will be support for tweaking stats, I would love there to be even more support for mods. StarCraft 2's editor is pristine in this.

    Also I would like there to be some kind of editor for maps & missions.


    Just me dreaming. ^^

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    so what can anyone predict on modding for this game? some already said graphics change.
    -i see a possibility on a muton change to make them look more like the origonal.
    -some people are saying there is no invantory, so if there not then thats's a possibility.
    -weapon mods had been said
    -squad size is a definite
    -maybe missons, if they are not balanced enough or whatever.
    -some people are saying there's only 1 base (not been officially announced yet to my knowledge) but a base limit/unlimited mod is a possibility
    what do you guys think would be future mod subjects?
    that being said i too would like to have a map/ufo editors but i dont see them being made.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chibi-chan View Post
    that being said i too would like to have a map/ufo editors but i dont see them being made.
    Considering it's a UE3 game fan-maps will probably be the thing we're most likely to see.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Damage View Post
    Considering it's a UE3 game fan-maps will probably be the thing we're most likely to see.
    Not too knowledgeable about UE3. Curious if you'd have any idea how much versatility there would be on custom map sizes. I wouldn't expect a certain size to be locked in, but like I said, not too knowledgeable on the subject.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b15h09 View Post
    Not too knowledgeable about UE3. Curious if you'd have any idea how much versatility there would be on custom map sizes. I wouldn't expect a certain size to be locked in, but like I said, not too knowledgeable on the subject.
    As you say, unless they've hard-coded limits on the map size, I doubt there'll be any apart from hardware-based limits or any limits intrinsic to the engine. UE3 can do pretty big levels - check out Borderlands, for instance.

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    If we can add new 3D assets, extra weapons, haircuts, all sorts are possible, as well as re-skins.

    If game rules, like weapon characteristics, are nice and modular and moddable, we can see changes to how weapons work, extra weapons using original graphics (or new graphics if we can add new art assets)

    Depending on the architecture, new base facilities may be possible, but it depends how they are producing the 'ant farm' animations.

    I hope they go for a modding architecture like CivV's (albeit maybe a little better executed), allowing easy use of multiple mini-mods, so people can add in the odd extra haircut, map, weapon as they like, mix-and-match to make the game play as they want.

    Adding TUs or inventory are unlikely to be possible unless they allow *really* deep modding.

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    Yep, I can't see TUs being modded in - we're talking about a core gameplay mechanic here and those aren't usually moddable - at least not to that extent.

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    That would only be true if it were hard-coded into the engine. Since it's UE3, it's almost certainly in the UnrealScript, and the game has previously gone through a TU phase so there's been TU code in there before and can be again. It'll take work, all coding does, but it won't be impossible if they release the scripts as Solomon seems to want to.

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    Hullo everyone, Dark0ne from Nexus Mods here. Just wondering if there is any centralised information on the modding opportunities for the game. I've read in a few places that Firaxis are contemplating providing modding tools but that they'd probably be an after thought to be considered a few months after the release of the game. Do we have anything else to go on yet?

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    Hmmm... XCOM Nexus. I like the sound of that :P. Maybe you should see if you can get in touch with the Community Managers, see if you can get a direct-ish line to the devs?

    Anyway, not much that I'm aware of. I suspect the most important thing will be the UDK, or some variation on it, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark0ne View Post
    Hullo everyone, Dark0ne from Nexus Mods here. Just wondering if there is any centralised information on the modding opportunities for the game. I've read in a few places that Firaxis are contemplating providing modding tools but that they'd probably be an after thought to be considered a few months after the release of the game. Do we have anything else to go on yet?
    Nexus - you mean the Elder Scrolls guys? Keep up the good work, if that is you.

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    Yup, that Nexus I'm a massive X-COM fan (much bigger than the Elder Scrolls, in fact) and would love nothing more than to honour the games with supporting a great modding community for the game.

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    Excellent stuff, I'm sure you'll come up with some cracking mods.

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    Hmmm... I wonder, should we have a separate "mod wishlist" thread? I mean, we've already got the obvious ones of some kind of comprehensive TU/AP system, an expanded battle-available inventory, and metered and discrete ammo, but what about things like armed civilians (which I don't think we've heard about officially, yet), the repeated wish for airstrikes or gunships (don't share it and don't think it'll be part of the game, but fair enough for modding), or even total conversions (crazy example: A remake of JA2 using the basic framework of UFO:EU)?

    Also, the base: I keep getting the feeling that base defense is either going to be cut due to having one base or limited to a static map of the top layer. Now, I'm not sure what kind of portalling capabilities the Unreal Engine has, but maybe we could do something along those lines for a mod?

    Each room is modeled and arbitrarily positioned once in the level map as hard geometry, and all of its connection points are portals that show, and move you to, a different instance of a room depending on how you built your base. Each "instance" of a room uses the same geometry but affects the visibility and interactivity of things within it. For instance, you could have two workshops next to each other - both are technically the same model, but looking into workshop B from workshop A you only see the entities/actors that are marked as being visible in B rendered in the portal, and looking back into workshop A while standing there you can only see and shoot at the things marked as visible in that same workshop. Firing at things through doorways from one room to another could simply be a matter of intersecting the firing vector with the portal and extending it out the other "side" to get the usual distance and LoS info. Moving would probably be similar. Who knows, maybe the Firaxis dudes are already doing something like that (though I doubt it because the ant farm doesn't look like it's able to be defensively designed)? getting a top down view of something like this could be tricky, but then, it could perhaps be done via careful control of viewpoints and rendering.

    [EDIT]: And I'm not sure if I've brought this one up before, but what would you guys think of a system that almost completely decoupled movement from actions, effectively separating arms and legs? The distance you'd move would be based on a speed stat, the number of APs would be based on your manual dexterity or something similar, and there's no direct trade between them, except that if you don't fire you can move further (you're sprinting with your head down and your gun against your chest), and if you don't move before you fire you have higher accuracy? It's somewhat like Firaxis' system and should be largely compatible with it, but retains the flexibility of movement of TUs, especially since it allows APs to be focused on as an action-trading system to the point of having larger numbers of them to cope with different shot costs - you can fire multiple times, or fire a snapshot once with medium accuracy, run around a corner and come up against an alien, then plug him from close range with another, less accurate snapshot, or move a long way then try for an aimed shot with an accuracy penalty, or whatever.
    Last edited by Brian Damage; 02-27-2012 at 10:52 PM.

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