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Thread: Jake Solomon, Lead Designer on XCOM:EU, answers fan questions

  1. #321
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    Quote Originally Posted by Being View Post
    I don't think we've claimed the system to be broken, just that it might be better with a TU system.
    Well, I did, or at least I opined that I thought it sounded broken, but I suppose if you want the hyperbole toned down I simply think the MA/MM system design as described is dull and stiff, and the game design in general sounds broken as an X-Com game (as its own thing, it might have been acceptable. It wouldn't appeal to me, but I'd bear it no ill will. But they're calling it X-Com, so as an X-Com game I judge it, based on what we're told, what we see, and eventually what I experience - unless what I'm told and what I see drives me to save my money :P).

    We (or at least I) are questioning whether the granularity of the TU system couldn't have been refined into modern standards. The difficulty of TUs seems to mostly have been in how to figure out what you can still do in the remainder of your turn and how it is displayed (it wasn't, just like TU costs for shooting your gun weren't displayed before you clicked on the guns).

    One example of how TU usage could have been shown in a better way was in Temple of Elemental Evil (2003). It didn't actually have a TU system but used what's basically the definition of a move-action system (With perks/feats and all): D&D 3.5. But the simple display of a hourglass showing how much of your turn any moveaction would take (and changing cursor shape/colour appropriately as well) just before you executed them goes a long way and would be pretty simple to fit with a TU system. If you add the ability to plan your entire turn ahead of time instead of a single action... ?
    Yeah, that's been put forward before. I also like the idea of greater visualisation of TU useage via things like path markers and boundary icons. Mind you, there also needs to be an option for automatic interrupt should your dude see an enemy while he's on the move. Someone mentioned another tactical game, I think, which apparently gave TU user-friendliness a big boost - Silent Storm, wasn't it?.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Damage View Post
    Yeah, that's been put forward before. I also like the idea of greater visualisation of TU useage via things like path markers and boundary icons. Mind you, there also needs to be an option for automatic interrupt should your dude see an enemy while he's on the move. Someone mentioned another tactical game, I think, which apparently gave TU user-friendliness a big boost - Silent Storm, wasn't it?.
    Well in case of Interface design simpler is better.
    The more markers and icons and bows and whistles you put on your interface the more cluttered and chaotic it gets and the harder it is to actually learn how to use it.

    Visual indications are always nice (for example the cover icons in the current XCom) but there is a limit to how much visual input a human can process without feeling lost. Trust me I was part of some user studies testing Graphical interfaces.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alucardex View Post
    Well in case of Interface design simpler is better.
    The more markers and icons and bows and whistles you put on your interface the more cluttered and chaotic it gets and the harder it is to actually learn how to use it.
    An opinion I don't necessarily share, at least not in all circumstances. I'm certainly not opposed to an information-rich UI, but then, the proposals put forth weren't that complex - merely icons over the movement cursor and a UFO After____ style waypoint path, and they already have something similar to the latter. Possibly they could even re-use their current ability and weapon icons where they are by greying them out as you extend the path. The issue is more likely to be a problem on consoles, I think, due to screen real estate and visible detail, for the same reason some of the GUI elements and a lot of the text on consoles tend to be quite a bit larger than on PC games - distance from the screen and all that.

    Visual indications are always nice (for example the cover icons in the current XCom) but there is a limit to how much visual input a human can process without feeling lost. Trust me I was part of some user studies testing Graphical interfaces.
    That's nice. Did you enjoy them? I got a job developing computer games on the strength of my GUI designs and programming (or at least that's what I was told. Personally I've always preferred implementing direct gameplay mechanics).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Damage View Post
    An opinion I don't necessarily share, at least not in all circumstances. I'm certainly not opposed to an information-rich UI, but then, the proposals put forth weren't that complex - merely icons over the movement cursor and a UFO After____ style waypoint path..
    I think the proposals put foth might end up very complex if combined with the new perk system.
    For example if a soldier has 5 perks and i wanted to check which one i could actually use on a given enemy I would have to cycle through them and look at each radius indication.

    You have to realize that they are targeting a very broad audience with this game. The typical casual gamer won't bother to play a game when he cant understand the basic mechanic and the interface in about 5 minutes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alucardex View Post
    I think the proposals put foth might end up very complex if combined with the new perk system.
    For example if a soldier has 5 perks and i wanted to check which one i could actually use on a given enemy I would have to cycle through them and look at each radius indication.
    Then the perk icons just need to either not be arranged in a scrolling bar (and there aren't so many perks available to each soldier, even, I suspect, with the abilities from item slots mixed in, that I can't imagine them being placed in a non-scrolling hotbar, especially in the PC version of the UI. The bar in the screenshots, for instance, looks like it could easily be expanded and the "wings" removed to let the icons take up the whole of one side). Then you can just move your cursor around and set your waypoints, seeing which icons flash on and off as you extend your path (ideally I'd auto-arrange them in order of TU cost to activate, so the general peripheral vision effect would be of a bar emptying).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Damage View Post
    Then the perk icons just need to either not be arranged in a scrolling bar (and there aren't so many perks available to each soldier, even, I suspect, with the abilities from item slots mixed in, that I can't imagine them being placed in a non-scrolling hotbar, especially in the PC version of the UI. The bar in the screenshots, for instance, looks like it could easily be expanded and the "wings" removed to let the icons take up the whole of one side).
    I guessed that number based on the new gameplay footage from Pax.
    On the sniper character screen it looks like there will be 6 promotions with a perk at each promotion(allthough some might be passive perks).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alucardex View Post
    You have to realize that they are targeting a very broad audience with this game. The typical casual gamer won't bother to play a game when he cant understand the basic mechanic and the interface in about 5 minutes.
    Yes, I know, and I've outlined my irritations with (and glum acceptance) of that element of the current situation elsewhere. I still think a TU system could be made reasonably intuitive, though. If such a system weren't chosen (by, say, a hypothetical modder), there's always my favourite alternative of a chunkier AP system with semi-fixed shot and ability costs that might serve as an acceptable compromise, and which they're already about a third of the way to anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alucardex View Post
    I guessed that number based on the new gameplay footage from Pax.
    On the sniper character screen it looks like there will be 6 promotions with a perk at each promotion(allthough some might be passive perks).
    Yeah, I guessed you guessed it based on that :P. We don't know the max item slots yet, do we? Might have to put the icons at the top and move the alien heads down to the side.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Damage View Post
    Yes, I know, and I've outlined my irritations with (and glum acceptance) of that fact elsewhere.
    Yeah, I guessed you guessed it based on that :P. We don't know the max item slots yet, do we? Might have to put the icons at the top and move the alien heads down to the side.
    Wow nice mindreading there.
    I'm not really implying a TU system would be too complicated to pull off.
    It's just not something a casual gamer would accept even if guided with visual indicators.
    If they had designed that game for the hardcore gamer crowd(and pc only) a TU based system with an enhanced interface would work fine, but unfortunately the vast majority of the more casual gamers wouldn't even try to understand the mechanics.

    It's a shame really, but with such a big budget production I can understand why they would try to make it as accesible as possible even if they have to cut back on some gameplay depth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alucardex View Post
    Wow nice mindreading there.
    I'm not really implying a TU system would be too complicated to pull off.
    It's just not something a casual gamer would accept even if guided with visual indicators.
    If they had designed that game for the hardcore gamer crowd(and pc only) a TU based system with an enhanced interface would work fine, but unfortunately the vast majority of the more casual gamers wouldn't even try to understand the mechanics.
    Yes, but since I have issues with the project from the target market upwards anyway, that doesn't really stop me from saying I don't think this is how an X-Com game should be built. Additionally, I personally give "casual" gamers more credit than that. On the other hand, I'd also suspect that any gamer who really is that casual is going to have trouble with this game anyway, even with the "streamlining".

    Also, as a side note, I often wonder how many supposedly casual gamers have a hardcore gamer inside of them waiting to find their niche. I don't accept that the lines are always so distinct. You should have seen my grandad and his old golf games.

    It's a shame really, but with such a big budget production I can understand why they would try to make it as accesible as possible even if they have to cut back on some gameplay depth.
    I'll certainly agree that it's a shame. I'd gladly have taken a lower-budgeted game to keep more of the original gameplay. Fortunately, it seems such things may be more common going into the future with systems like Desura and Kickstarter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Damage View Post
    Yes, but since I have issues with the project from the target market upwards anyway, that doesn't really stop me from saying I don't think this is how an X-Com game should be built. Additionally, I personally give "casual" gamers more credit than that. On the other hand, I'd also suspect that any gamer who really is that casual is going to have trouble with this game anyway, even with the "streamlining".

    Also, as a side note, I often wonder how many supposedly casual gamers have a hardcore gamer inside of them waiting to find their niche. I don't accept that the lines are always so distinct. You should have seen my grandad and his old golf games.



    I'll certainly agree that it's a shame. I'd gladly have taken a lower-budgeted game to keep more of the original gameplay. Fortunately, it seems such things may be more common going into the future with systems like Desura and Kickstarter.
    Personally I think people expect too much from those kickstarter projects and interest will die down when the first few kickstarter games come out and get mixed reviews, allthough I really hope I'm wrong.

    Have you looked at Xenonauts, yet? That game looks like it is exactly what you want.
    I'm still thinking about pre-ordering it, allthough it looks pretty ugly(maybe I'm just spoiled by big budget graphics).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alucardex View Post
    Personally I think people expect too much from those kickstarter projects and interest will die down when the first few kickstarter games come out and get mixed reviews, allthough I really hope I'm wrong.
    I'll see your hope and raise you a double hope. Or even better, a Double Fine :P.

    Have you looked at Xenonauts, yet? That game looks like it is exactly what you want.
    I'm still thinking about pre-ordering it, allthough it looks pretty ugly(maybe I'm just spoiled by big budget graphics).
    It's pretty good even in its rough state, and no, I don't mind the graphics, in fact I find them kind of charming. Have you looked at it recently? The graphics have received several upgrades since their original versions. Not entirely happy with certain elements like the flat out removal of human psionics and any blaster launcher equivalent, but it, too, is moddable, or so I'm told.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alucardex View Post
    Wow nice mindreading there.
    I'm not really implying a TU system would be too complicated to pull off.
    It's just not something a casual gamer would accept even if guided with visual indicators.
    If they had designed that game for the hardcore gamer crowd(and pc only) a TU based system with an enhanced interface would work fine, but unfortunately the vast majority of the more casual gamers wouldn't even try to understand the mechanics.

    It's a shame really, but with such a big budget production I can understand why they would try to make it as accesible as possible even if they have to cut back on some gameplay depth.
    In interviews, they've said they were quite relaxed about the TU system from a user-friendliness point of view, just that they thought the new system worked better. I suppose we have to take them at their word until we get a chance to play it. Personally, I usually found myself using the TUs in a move/action way in 90% of cases, so I can see why simplifying it might make sense from a design elegance point of view, even at the risk of losing a bit of flexibility in the other 10% of cases. It's maybe just a call that had to be made.

    It's quite probable that the new game won't be as good as the original, but as they seem to be adding more complexity in other areas (I'm struggling to get my head around the rather fiddly-sounding perks and classes system!) I'm not worried that the game will be too streamlined or dumbed down.

    The danger as I see it is that the original X-Com had a very rare chemistry to it that made it my favourite game. It won't take much tweaking (or modding) to upset that chemistry. And they've changed quite a lot. We just have to hope that the new systems (which they've spent three years experimenting with) are also great in ways that we can't really understand until we get our hands on the game.

    And let's face it, even if the new game is objectively better in every way, nostalgia will mean the original will always be the best!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Damage View Post
    Well, I did, or at least I opined that I thought it sounded broken, but I suppose if you want the hyperbole toned down I simply think the MA/MM system design as described is dull and stiff
    And Time Units weren't?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SectoidSquisher View Post
    And Time Units weren't?
    Oh no,those are thrilling, dynamic, and completely clear and easily presented and understood.

    Ultimately, the TU system has its focus in the individual and MA benefits the team. Look at D&D, the focus has always been on the party dynamics. Managing the TUs, stats, and loadout of six individuals is hard enough by the time I got ready to make a move with ten people I was bored. It's got nothing to do with making the move. I play Civ, I'm used to twenty minute turns, but when my strategy falls apart because I don't have one TU I just get frustrated.

    I think if they do the MA system and the perk system correctly then you will have greater team flexibility than the greater individual power of the one unit.

    In a tactical game I'll take the team.

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    I guess it's the human nature to want things to stay the same. We, humans, are creatures that feels more safe in sameness (I won't go too much on details about that, there's a lot of good and boring theory books about the subject lol).

    So, I guess this explains why people are refractory to new elements introduced in the game by 2K, more so because the original game was a so big success. Truth is, if 2K were only re-releasing the exact same game with better graphics, I'm not sure the game would have as much success. Sure, those who played and loved the first version of the game would probably still love it but, like dannysquid said, it would probably be more out of nostalgia than anything. Also, let's face it, I'm not sure those people (that includes me) are a very high percentage of the player's mass.

    Personally, I welcome novelty and changes with open arms and, as of yet, everything I've seen of the game pleases me. I understand the devs choices to modify some game mechanics and keep an open mind about them. I don't believe it's possible to juge most of them from a few screenshots and videos we've seen yet and I trust them because I know they played the game bazillions time and are more apt to make wise assessments about mechanics playing good or not.

    Now, once the game is released and people played a lot of hours, they'll be more prone to make judgment of their own. Those comments will be relevant for the most part but there'll always be people who will stuck with their initial opinion, even if unfounded, no matter what. On the end, can we blame them for being so humanly?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SectoidSquisher View Post
    And Time Units weren't?
    Not to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Damage View Post
    Not to me.
    Honestly, if you look at all the examples of a move action system over a TU system which has more, which is used more often. I know from my experience TUs are something I endure because I love the sstrategic and tactical meatiness of XCOM. I don't like all the number crunching for that extra five-percent effectiveness, and I'm sure most people just end up wasting it nine times out of ten anyway. Believe it or not most of it boils down to a move and act anyway. Sure sometimes you get a little extra motion, or move but unless the unit in question is high level it rarely means little more than moving them one space to the right so someone else can shoot. If the new system gets rid of that waste I'm happy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inkidu View Post
    Honestly, if you look at all the examples of a move action system over a TU system which has more, which is used more often. I know from my experience TUs are something I endure because I love the sstrategic and tactical meatiness of XCOM. I don't like all the number crunching for that extra five-percent effectiveness, and I'm sure most people just end up wasting it nine times out of ten anyway. Believe it or not most of it boils down to a move and act anyway. Sure sometimes you get a little extra motion, or move but unless the unit in question is high level it rarely means little more than moving them one space to the right so someone else can shoot. If the new system gets rid of that waste I'm happy.
    Yes, yes. I'm pretty sure we've been through all this before. Not bothered by the extra complication, think the number crunching can even be smoothly replaced by proper visualisation, prefer to keep the ability to deal with all movement/shooting cases by default, class-locked perks + MM/MA is not my optimal preference for addressing said cases so I still prefer TU's for the flexibility plus I prefer shot costs that have more than two values and so forth, waiting for a mod, etc etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Damage View Post
    Yes, yes. I'm pretty sure we've been through all this before. Not bothered by the extra complication, think the number crunching can even be smoothly replaced by proper visualisation, prefer to keep the ability to deal with all movement/shooting cases by default, class-locked perks + MM/MA is not my optimal preference for addressing said cases so I still prefer TU's for the flexibility plus I prefer shot costs that have more than two values and so forth, waiting for a mod, etc etc.
    It would be some pretty awesome irony (for me) if no one ever decided to make that mod, or if it wsn't modable to that degree.

    I get sick of mods. They've done a lot for the community. Team Fortress, Elder Scrolls, yadda yadda, but 90% are crap, five of the remaining percent are at least well crafted nude skins and XXX mod (Sturgeon's Law and Rule 34 respectively).

    What I don't like about the modding community is that it's created a group of spoiled gamers. When people start talking about modding Skyrim or XCOM before they even play it I get really irked. It's pretty damn rude to think that a game needs fixing right out of the box because you don't agree with a system. I mean it's not a mod to fix a bug, it's not a mod to provide something new. It's a mod to add a fix that may or may not need to be in their, but presumption is king.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inkidu View Post
    It would be some pretty awesome irony (for me) if no one ever decided to make that mod, or if it wsn't modable to that degree.
    Well, I doubt it won't be moddable to that degree, considering the degree of moddability they've spoken about and the fact that, according to Solomon, "most of the game code is in the scripts", which he wants to give modders access to, so I think we're good unless something legal comes up. The only other reason I can think of that such a mod wouldn't appear is that the game was somehow judged by all who would try to be not worth modding, and even as much as I disagree with the direction I can't imagine they'd do that badly.

    I get sick of mods. They've done a lot for the community. Team Fortress, Elder Scrolls, yadda yadda, but 90% are crap, five of the remaining percent are at least well crafted nude skins and XXX mod (Sturgeon's Law and Rule 34 respectively).

    What I don't like about the modding community is that it's created a group of spoiled gamers. When people start talking about modding Skyrim or XCOM before they even play it I get really irked. It's pretty damn rude to think that a game needs fixing right out of the box because you don't agree with a system. I mean it's not a mod to fix a bug, it's not a mod to provide something new. It's a mod to add a fix that may or may not need to be in their, but presumption is king.
    Really? Fair enough. I'm glad mods exist. They allow the players to alter a game to suit their tastes (potentially expanding the market and in some cases even ensuring sales because players find the possibility of modding reassuring, both things which, opinions on widening appeal aside, I'm sure mod-inclined publishers see as pros), they provide experience at games design, they can provide hints to developers about the direction to take sequels and they can even, at their most extreme, give rise to completely new games.

    Heck, Solomon's reaction to the idea of a mod with elements explicitly referred to as "fixes" ("I'll probably play it") makes me think he's quite keen to see what the community comes up with, and I must admit it made me wonder if there are aspects of the game he accepts as having to be "streamlined" due to the say so of his bosses, with him being resigned to make the most of the design within the limits set, but happy to see the modders expand beyond those limits. I don't agree with his design, but I certainly agree with his modding philosophy and I'm more than willing to give him a thumbs up for that.
    Last edited by Brian Damage; 04-15-2012 at 06:26 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inkidu View Post
    When people start talking about modding Skyrim or XCOM before they even play it I get really irked. It's pretty damn rude to think that a game needs fixing right out of the box because you don't agree with a system.
    You don't understand the modder's mindset at all.
    You think of a game as something that has to be played.
    To the modder, playing is far less important than the modding itself - in some cases even irrelevant.
    Think of them as aliens that can not be understood. =)

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    That's a pretty cynical view of mods. Yes, 75% are crap. But some of the biggest games in the history of gaming have been mods ! Team Fortress, CounterStrike, heck, even some of the Quake stuff. Portal. Day of Defeat. Battlefield 2. Defense of the Ancients.

    I could go on.. but why? Mods CAN be awesome extensions of the game. And as Gazz said, modders look at the potential of the game environment more than the game itself.. hence, they may talk about modding it immediately.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Damage View Post
    It's pretty good even in its rough state, and no, I don't mind the graphics, in fact I find them kind of charming. Have you looked at it recently? The graphics have received several upgrades since their original versions. Not entirely happy with certain elements like the flat out removal of human psionics and any blaster launcher equivalent, but it, too, is moddable, or so I'm told.
    Xenonauts looks pretty good and I am not bothered by the lack of psionics, because they had two solutions: Nerf it so it didn't even feel the same or just remove it. Removing it entirely isn't the best option, but honestly for me psionics in the original is the only thing that determines win or loss for me now. If I get psionics before Ethereals, I win. If I fail to get Psionics before Ethereals, it's an incredible uphill battle that is very very very difficult to win. Psionics make a joke of the original games difficulty, destroying all relevant tactics or interest in the game for me. I try not to use them, but they are a rather essential aspect research wise to winning on high difficulty: So it's just very difficult not to plan for them ASAP. At the very least you need psi-labs up and running quickly, so that you can weed out the doofus with the low psionic defense.

    Personally if Xenonauts and XCOM:EU remove psionics I don't think that's the best idea, but it has to have the crap whacked out of it with the nerf stick. An "I win" button is just not great, as other than Ethereals, most aliens are more or less helpless once you develop psionics. It needs to be so much better thought out and balanced than the original.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aegeri View Post
    Xenonauts looks pretty good and I am not bothered by the lack of psionics, because they had two solutions: Nerf it so it didn't even feel the same or just remove it. Removing it entirely isn't the best option, but honestly for me psionics in the original is the only thing that determines win or loss for me now. If I get psionics before Ethereals, I win. If I fail to get Psionics before Ethereals, it's an incredible uphill battle that is very very very difficult to win. Psionics make a joke of the original games difficulty, destroying all relevant tactics or interest in the game for me. I try not to use them, but they are a rather essential aspect research wise to winning on high difficulty: So it's just very difficult not to plan for them ASAP. At the very least you need psi-labs up and running quickly, so that you can weed out the doofus with the low psionic defense.

    Personally if Xenonauts and XCOM:EU remove psionics I don't think that's the best idea, but it has to have the crap whacked out of it with the nerf stick. An "I win" button is just not great, as other than Ethereals, most aliens are more or less helpless once you develop psionics. It needs to be so much better thought out and balanced than the original.
    Fair enough, I agree it could be balanced better. I think I liked the psi in Apoc better, for instance. Did more or less the same things, but harder to use, useful when you got it to work, and not a game breaker because it was energy intensive so you couldn't just puppet aliens all the time.

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    Personally I have no problem seeing both psionics and blaster launchers either be removed or greatly changed (especially since I hear you can't destroy floors/ceilings in the new EU). Psionics in the original were just retardedly OP and about the only time I would use them was when I wanted to disarm aliens and then use them for reaction training. If I used psionics for more than that then the game became a joke (the first time I beat the game I actually had a daisy chain of like 6+ ethereals until I found the final room).

    And then there's the original blaster launchers. Another extremely OP aspect that I tried to severely limit my use of (unless I just wanted to have fun and level a house or something). The ability to effectively call in a tactical nuke and level sections of the map was too powerful. Especially with it's 9 point aiming system. I personally restricted my use of this weapon to making tactical entries of things like a UFO where most other weapons couldn't punch through the metal. Let me tell you, it's a lot easier/fun to punch a hole in a UFO and enter from a non-standard area than to use the deathtrap doors that you have to walk through to open.

    I think that Apoc had the best psi and end-game launchers out of the XCOM games as they felt the most balanced. But then again I feel that from a game-play perspective Apoc was the best out of the original XCOM games.

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    Lets be honest - if you just remade Xcom like the original, you limit marketability on consoles (and their corresponding genre of fps minded gamers). Consoles don't have the ram to handle a squad with a dozen or more soldiers. Consoles use controllers - not mouses. A TU based system might be difficult to implement for use with a controller. (I'm not suggesting that PC's are better than consoles - just a different market) At the end of the day, this is a business venture not a NPO. It has to generate as much revenue as possible.

    Having said that, I'd imagine there's a good size group willing to pay extra for a "professional" pc version of the game (add in TU's, etc). I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that those people who played the original version would have access to a great deal more disposable income than the typical console game player. Sell the pro version exclusively online. I'd buy it. It would be some work, but it would be profitable.

    I loved JA2. One of the best things about JA2 was when you started the game, you were badly outgunned by the enemy. It was very rewarding the first time you picked up a rifle. I think limiting the squad at the beginning of xcom eliminates the sense of facing much superior alien tech. (obviously you have to make the early part of the game winnable with 4 soldiers) At the same time, as I progressed in JA2, I'd try and fight each battle just using 2 of my favorite soldiers. It was more challenging.

    Despite all my quibbles about this game, I'm eagerly anticipating it's release. In fact I'm rebuilding my old sandy bridge pc that's been gathering dust for the past 8 months.

    /first post
    Last edited by yakapo; 04-16-2012 at 06:37 PM.

  27. #347
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    Quote Originally Posted by yakapo View Post
    Lets be honest - if you just remade Xcom like the original, you limit marketability on consoles (and their corresponding genre of fps minded gamers). Consoles don't have the ram to handle a squad with a dozen or more soldiers. Consoles use controllers - not mouses. A TU based system might be difficult to implement for use with a controller. (I'm not suggesting that PC's are better than consoles - just a different market) At the end of the day, this is a business venture not a NPO. It has to generate as much revenue as possible.
    I'm getting so tired of this crap. I really, truly am. It's not even true. XCOM original ran on PS1. You can run RTSs with dozens of individual troops onscreen at once in Halo Wars, or Command & Conquer 3 for that matter, and I beat C&C 3 on consoles. You lose a lot of the more esoteric hotkeys but it's called a learning curve. The three sixty could easily run twenty people on screen at a time, but it's a pain no matter what platform you're running it on. It's why Apocalypse moved to squad grouping mechanics, just to make them easier to manage. No the real reason the devs went with six is that all the new perks they implemented means it's way too easy to impress your will on the battlefield. OH, I also take offense at the generalization that console player's are FPS minded. I play console, I like FPSs, but you know what I really like? Games. As soon as I scrape together the money you'd better believe I'm getting Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition for 360.

    Having said that, I'd imagine there's a good size group willing to pay extra for a "professional" pc version of the game (add in TU's, etc). I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that those people who played the original version would have access to a great deal more disposable income than the typical console game player. Sell the pro version exclusively online. I'd buy it. It would be some work, but it would be profitable.
    Care to actually support that? As I see it the number one reason among the people I've asked is that consoles are just easier to use. Still that's neither here nor there, because it's not in the developer's design goals. If they wanted to recreate the old game they could have, they don't. Also, I find it arrogant to call some version for the PC a "pro version", if only because you invite certain inferences to be made.

    I loved JA2. One of the best things about JA2 was when you started the game, you were badly outgunned by the enemy. It was very rewarding the first time you picked up a rifle. I think limiting the squad at the beginning of xcom eliminates the sense of facing much superior alien tech. (obviously you have to make the early part of the game winnable with 4 soldiers) At the same time, as I progressed in JA2, I'd try and fight each battle just using 2 of my favorite soldiers. It was more challenging.
    Ad hoc fallacy, we meet again. I've won engagements in original XCOM with three people. I've had my squad Normandy'd off the boat and gone on to kill every one of the aliens with those people. I still got the same feeling, if not more of it. Assuming that the opposite of something is as true for being the inverse is a logical mistake.

    Despite all my quibbles about this game, I'm eagerly anticipating it's release. In fact I'm rebuilding my old sandy bridge pc that's been gathering dust for the past 8 months.

    /first post
    I wish I could say this was going to be the last time I was going to have to type all this, but it's not.

  28. #348
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    Spot on Inkidu. There's no reason that a larger force XCOM couldn't be run on a platform and people need to quit generalizing console gamers and FPS kiddies who don't care about anything else.

  29. #349
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    To be honest I do feel that the squad of 4 and auto-disembark is an experience limiting factor.

    The landing and storming out phase was at times a very challanging factor.

    Having a Skyranger with a tank and 10 soldiers was my standard load out early game.

    Tank was obviously going out first, doing the scan of nearest surrounding and getting shot at, if the drop ship was surrounded by 2-3 aliens.

    After that it was a quick disembark and an attempt to clear the nearest surrounding of the hostile aliens with the first 4 soldiers (usually grenades were involved). It still ended up at times with a casualty or two, cause of a stray shot or an alien surviving/hiding unspotted. The worst case scenario was when that one remaining alien had a grenade armed, just after you put your first 3-4 soldeirs on the first sweep duty... That usually meant 4 guys dead.. almost half of the squad...

    With just 4 guys in the squad and auto-disembark you don't get those challanges anymore. You don't have 4x4 mobile shield, and you don't have to care for the disembarking phase... I'd also hate if our soldiers were always starting in a corner of a map, as that limits the threat radious significantly.

  30. #350
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    I don't agree. Giving the game free shots at you is just computer is a cheating bastard material. Besides, so you don't die right off the skyranger, you could still bite it moving forward initially. They knew they were there, but in the demo you saw some quick encounter. I agree more with the developers. With exception the occasional D-day reenactment it was really just a boring two or three turns getting the people off the boat.
    I also disagree, 10 and a tank is not ever a quick disembarking. Want to try quick, try six. Besides in a real-life encounter I would shoot my pilot once we were back to base for being an alien sympathizer if he landed me in the middle of any field of engagement. That's movie crap. You never go into the hot area of an LZ.

    It's not like you don't have rolling cover anymore either. It's called the SHIV. You have to give up a man, but hey. it's a tank. I don't think getting rid of an opportunistic computer move is a bad thing. If you lose half your squad trying to get into the actual engagement it's frustrating. If you lose half your squad on the field it's your fault. The skyranger is a very "scripted event" certain people having to move first, two by two, in the early game being unable to move very far especially the back guys. Having to put more people on a mission because you might lose a large number of them to stepping off a craft is not tactical, it's not challenging... well maybe if you consider the fish's job a challenge and not slaughter when someone starts shooting his barrel.

  31. #351
    Oh yeah, disembarking and deploying my troops and securing a perimeter was one of my favorite part of xcom. There's a real sense of rush and danger. That first step out the door could be so dangerous, and the trick was to file out and secure a strong perimeter before I can begin my sweep. Lots great battles were fought and heroes were made on and near that skyranger ramp.

    Note, this is mostly on harder difficulties. Normal was pretty easy and the disembarking phase was a non-factor. I think that's why so many remakes don't even do it anymore. And why the gaming trend is to have faster pace battle with more action: blow up the aliens asap and collect loot. They are all designed with the normal difficulty in mind where its mostly run and gun the aliens down. Harder mode was more about careful advancing and cover and scouting and focus fire..

    I still remember the first time i played on superhuman, it was like wow, my assault rifles were peashooters. And my pistol might as well be shooting nerf darts. I had to totally play the game a totally different way... I started to have more unusal tactics like using incindery rockets a lot from a safe distance. Rockets were great early on but they lose their effectiveness later on. Also used a lot of explosives, there's no opening doors for me, doors were made to be blown up. And smoke grenades became my best friend. Used that everywhere all over the place. But even so, superhuman got easy once I researched power armor + heavy plasma rifles. After that it just got easier and easier.

    Anyways, the best time I ever had in xcom was playing superhuman early on when the humans are weak, and there's a real need to bring a full squad. The game got so tactical and you just cannot pew pew pew. I'm thinking with a 4 squad limit, we probably won't enjoy that aspect of the game anymore.

  32. #352
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inkidu View Post
    I wish I could say this was going to be the last time I was going to have to type all this, but it's not.
    Everything has already been said, just not yet by everyone. - Karl Valentin (translated)

  33. #353
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazz View Post
    Everything has already been said, just not yet by everyone. - Karl Valentin (translated)
    I'm sure that started out as a well-meaning and optimistic comment, too...

  34. #354
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inkidu View Post
    I'm getting so tired of this crap. I really, truly am. It's not even true. XCOM original ran on PS1. You can run RTSs with dozens of individual troops onscreen at once in Halo Wars, or Command & Conquer 3 for that matter, and I beat C&C 3 on consoles. You lose a lot of the more esoteric hotkeys but it's called a learning curve. The three sixty could easily run twenty people on screen at a time, but it's a pain no matter what platform you're running it on. It's why Apocalypse moved to squad grouping mechanics, just to make them easier to manage. No the real reason the devs went with six is that all the new perks they implemented means it's way too easy to impress your will on the battlefield. OH, I also take offense at the generalization that console player's are FPS minded. I play console, I like FPSs, but you know what I really like? Games. As soon as I scrape together the money you'd better believe I'm getting Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition for 360.
    X-COM on PS1, while great, wasn't exactly groundbreaking. The platform had lots of strategy games, rpgs, puzzle games, ect. FPS gaming was still pretty much in it's infancy, and the market hadn't discovered their selling power, yet. Now, devs make them because they sell. We wouldn't see them if they didn't. So yes, there is a certain favor towards FPS games on console. Thankfully, the trend seems to be on something of a decline.

    As far as console hardware, yes, they are the reason why elder scroll games have had flight removed since Oblivion. They're the reason why BF3 maps and squad sizes were made smaller. They're the reason why most games run 720p. While they may not be directly responsible for the 6 man squad decision, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they're responsible for smaller map sizes, lower quality textures, and design philosophy of avoiding complexity. Console players are generally more casual, and they want to play a game, not learn to play a game. Not saying that that philosophy is without merit, but it's the games that I have to wrap my head around that really suck me in.

  35. #355
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    @Inkidu

    Sorry I can't agree...

    Hot LZ scenarios are in the military book, but just rarely on the table.

    One of main reasons is that it is usually the better equipped and superior force doing the drops.

    To follow on your RL scenarios, do you really think that ANY commander would send a group of 4 soldiers against unknown threat into the briefly scanned area, and most likely superior firepower?

    They would most likely use not 1 dropship of 6 men, but at least 2 + they would have an UAV air recon and once on the ground they would set up an UGV for unkown territory/interior breaching.

    While UFO downed could be reastically approached as a Green LZ and trek operation, the terror mission, especially in the urban area, could not be in any case considered a fully safe LZ operation, and certainly not an operation for a single squad of four men.

    Usually you would have at least a few squads of 4-6 operating in such an enviroment.

    As for the Hot LZ drops. I'd like to refer you to Vietnam conflict or WW2 operations.

    The thing is, that the game wants us to treat our team as a usual Spec Ops team, which usually has an upper hand in equipment, training and on top, the surprise factor. That's a highly unlikely scenario vs an enemy which mastered a space flight and plasma guns...

    The one thing I would see the benefit of move and action type vs TU, is the fact, that disembarking could be easier to implement.

    PS. 10 + HWP was a terror mission must have, with all the ineteriors and long open spaces. For UFO inflitration a drop of 6 + HWP was enough.

  36. #356
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    Honestly I never bothered with a tank until I could make the plasma tank. To me they just aren't that mandatory. Also if you're having issues leaving the skyranger then you throw a smoke bomb at the bottom of the stairs and end your turn. This way the aliens are far less likely to see you and they are going to move around and thus not have a TU loadout for reaction fire.

  37. #357
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    The one concern I have is the low squad size. Not in itself, just what it implies... I'm used to playing a hard game where your people die. A lot. That cinematic sense of fighting against truly horrific odds is what makes this game different from most others. I just finished a TFTD mission where I went in with 8, got knocked down to 4, thought I had it pretty well done, but one last gillman in a ?-shaped one-wide hallway reaction-fire-killed 3 aquanauts in a row before I finally managed to finish him off and escape with my last guy. As the transport took him back to my base, I replayed all their deaths in my head, movie style. I name my squadmembers after actors & actresses, because it all plays out like a movie in my head. So Bruce Willis blew apart in a grenade blast, low-bravery Steve Buscemi got reaction-fire-killed when he nervously poked his head around a corner, and Sigourney Weaver is now the only veteran I have. I'm recruiting new people and constantly bugging my wife with questions like "what's that guy's name, the one in Pulp Fiction that cut off that dude's ear.." because I'm running out of actor & actress names to use. The point being, I burn through a LOT of squadmembers. But eventually the alien invasion is repulsed. At GREAT cost. I don't want a 4 man team of specialists that each wipe out 30 aliens and then blow up a spaceship factory. That's other video games.

  38. #358
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    Quote Originally Posted by indesignkat View Post
    The one concern I have is the low squad size. Not in itself, just what it implies... I'm used to playing a hard game where your people die. A lot. That cinematic sense of fighting against truly horrific odds is what makes this game different from most others. I just finished a TFTD mission where I went in with 8, got knocked down to 4, thought I had it pretty well done, but one last gillman in a ?-shaped one-wide hallway reaction-fire-killed 3 aquanauts in a row before I finally managed to finish him off and escape with my last guy. As the transport took him back to my base, I replayed all their deaths in my head, movie style. I name my squadmembers after actors & actresses, because it all plays out like a movie in my head. So Bruce Willis blew apart in a grenade blast, low-bravery Steve Buscemi got reaction-fire-killed when he nervously poked his head around a corner, and Sigourney Weaver is now the only veteran I have. I'm recruiting new people and constantly bugging my wife with questions like "what's that guy's name, the one in Pulp Fiction that cut off that dude's ear.." because I'm running out of actor & actress names to use. The point being, I burn through a LOT of squadmembers. But eventually the alien invasion is repulsed. At GREAT cost. I don't want a 4 man team of specialists that each wipe out 30 aliens and then blow up a spaceship factory. That's other video games.
    your men would probably live longer if you fought with soldiers, and not actors.

  39. #359
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schuesseled View Post
    your men would probably live longer if you fought with soldiers, and not actors.
    One name - Rambo...

    or god have mercy over aliens

    Chuck Norris...

  40. #360
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    Most of these answers/decisions in the OP seemed reasonable.

    I don't mind loosing TUs because i enjoyed Apocalypse and if it's going to be something similar to that i'll like it.

    As for health bars...just make it an early research item that scans aliens, thus making it believable and still have the same impact as originally intended. Easy solution.

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