UFO: Cydonia's Fall Interview

by on 21st Jan 2008

In December 2007 we sent a slew of questions over to the team at Nightbird games about their project - UFO: Cydonia's Fall. The response from the five team members involved was extremely interesting and we hope you enjoy reading this lengthy interview!

The team members involved are:

  • Jacob "FreeLanZer" Østergaard - Project Leader/Artist/Webmaster
  • Michael Romer - Lead Programmer
  • Laurent "Lorcán" Hosch - Music Design Lead
  • Graeme Patrick - Concept Artist
  • Darelius - Nightbird Games Webmaster?

 

Introduction, Interfaces & Storyline

Pete: Hi guys. Could you tell us a bit about yourselves and what your involvement is with UFO: CF?

Jacob: My name is Jacob Østergaard, I’m 21 years old and people on the Internet might know me as FreeLanZer. I live in Holstebro in Denmark where I currently am studying for what we in Denmark refer to as a Higher Technical eXam, hence the name HTX. After that I will either take a course in multimedia design or go right at the game development industry which has been my primary goal since I was little.

I started the UFOCF project after my first year at HTX. A friend of mine from HTX and I was currently toying around with simple games programmed in JavaScript and Dark Basic, one of those games is Cola Island which I would like to return to and finish at some point. I had great ideas for various games we should create, many which got started up but later went to sleep again because we started turning towards a larger and more advance game development project. We wanted to recreate the original spirit of UFO: Enemy Unknown because we both adored the intriguing spirit it had but also because we at that point just needed a game project which we both felt we liked working on. I was more or less the guy who laid out the plans for the project and the one who made most of the artwork in the beginning while my friend, Heine Stokholm, was coding and Nod Bukashka, who is known for some X-Com 3d models in the past, was creating 3d models for us. But things didn’t go as well as we anticipated. Quite early development we realised we would need more people to not only finish this project but also just starting it up. I then turned to Gamedev.net where I made my first post for recruitments for UFOCF, at that point we had named our "team" Frozencrescent Studios. We later dumped that name more or less because it just didn’t sound right. Shortly after the announcement at Gamedev.net, the first reply was received. It was from Michael Romer who wanted to help us with programming and advise us how to organize things and seriously, if it wasn’t for Romer the project wouldn’t have survived.

Today there are a fairly large amount of content and information to organize and I am still the one who works as the Project Leader, and I hope I am doing it ok guys ^_^.

Michael: I'm Michael Romer, and I currently live in Austin, TX, USA, where I'm studying computer sciences at the university and finishing up my degree this year. I'm the lead programmer on the UFO: CF project, and I basically design and write a lot of the code that goes into the game. My main focus right now is the game engine itself; when school and work aren't eating up all my free time, I'm basically writing code that will make the other developers' jobs easier. However, in the coming months my focus will shift towards primarily making the first playable demo using the game engine we've developed.

Laurent: Hi there! My name is Laurent (aka "Lorcán"), I'm 27 and I live in Brussels (Belgium). I'm performing the game soundtrack, arranging the original themes and composing some new stuff. Music has always been my most favourite hobby. I listen to many styles of music (electronic/new age like Enigma, Delerium, Enya, Lisa Gerrard, Mike Oldfield, Vangelis, JM Jarre,... progressive rock, post rock, symphonic metal, movie soundtracks, ...and classical music!). You can recognize all these influences in my music. I like combining several styles in a single song. I've learned music by myself like many artists. I used to play keyboards (piano, synthesizer and church organ) before starting with MIDI about 10 years ago. Now I use music software programs controlled by MIDI devices. In addition to music, I also spend my spare time coding applications, going for a walk or just enjoying family life.

I'm very pleased to work as member of Nightbird team. I know I can talk about anything with the project leader (Jacob) like friends. He always takes my ideas and suggestions into account. It's a real pleasure working under these conditions.

Graham: Hi – I’m Graeme and I’m one of the newer members to the CF team. I’m a Sculptor/Model maker and have become a bit of a jack of all trades over the years working on various art projects. I’ve been involved in CF for a few months creating artists impressions and concepts for the art department to work from, it’s the cutting room floor for others to piece together and it can be a really expressive and interesting role.

Darelius: About Me in Short: Male, German, 33 Years old and Living in Lübeck. I dont know, how much I could be involved, because I'm not very good in anything, but i start to help with the Homepage programming.

Pete: Many people reading this interview will be aware of the storyline to the original X-COM game, however could you give us a bit of back-story, especially if your storyline differs at all from the original?

Darelius: The story of UFO: Enemy Unknown is very simple: A small experimental force of soldiers, scientists and technicians are posted on a base with the aim to combat the alien incursion. During their research and encounters with UFOs, they gain new technology which they adapt to create new ships, materials and other items which they then use in combat against the aliens. Later in the game they find alien bases on Earth, capture alien officers and head to Mars to attack their base of operations. If they fail, the Earth will be lost!

Jacob: The storyline somewhat plays out exactly like the original game, that said we still altered it in various ways to make it a bit more dynamic but also to make it interesting no matter how many times you’ve beaten the original game.

Graham: I’m sure the background stories and plot will be fleshed out as the original can be vague in places especially with the aliens, again concept art can spark an idea or someone’s imagination which leads to small changes in the background or the reason why a race is doing a certain job. For example why do are harvester ships crewed mostly floaters?? Are they better at it? Is there a link?

Pete: As we can see from your image gallery, you’re staying quite true to the original with some very faithful updates to models and interfaces. Are there any plans to introduce new aliens, equipment or craft, or are you aiming to stay as close to the original material as possible?

Graham: It’s originally a good place to start – UFO was a great experience and fans will want to see the return of the old cast however I think some of it would be dated to a modern audience who now expect a more detailed environment and this needs to be looked at and in doing so moving the game forward into a few newer areas. It is one of the concept artist’s jobs - to open this door, there will be hits and misses along the way but the game will be faithful to the sprit of the original as the team are genuinely here because we love UFO.

Jacob: Yes, we want to keep everything as true to original as possible though still making it more dynamic and more interesting. That means we will introduce some new aliens and equipment though do not fear, we do not wish to lose the whole X-Com spirit which we are trying to achieve so anything new which will come will be rather subtle and will be there to make the game feel new.

Pete: Are you going to be introducing different battlegrounds in some places (e.g. Area 51, Tunguska – areas of supposed alien activity in earths past)?

Jacob: Yes, that’s one of those things I am really looking forward to in this project. I would like to introduce a lot of known conspiracy theories and myths into the storyline. Some of those might be something like the Syndicate from X-Files, Human/Alien hybrids, Area 51 and other theories about the government covering up the various alien artifacts. Though it will most likely be in the form of heavy easter-egg.

Michael: While I think it's too early to make any definite calls right now as to what will and what won't be in the final game, I think this is a cool idea. It's just a matter of getting the artists to create the content and the team to decide whether it's appropriate for the final cut.

Graham: There’s a poll on the forums! Vote now!

Darelius: Battlegrounds could vary depending on their location in the world. For example, some cities could be copied to add atmosphere (New York etc).

Pete: Will you be recreating the PC version’s introduction animation, as well as winning and losing animations and possibly some of the cutscenes from the Playstation version of the original game?

Jacob: Indeed we will. Our Concept Artist Graeme Patrick is currently creating the graphics for the whole intro for the game. You can see some of the images which is used in the intro at the album in the artwork directory.

Michael: The animations from the PSX version of the game also explained some things a little better for those who couldn’t quite understand what was going on and why. The End Game animation for instance, from the PSX version, was a lot more rough and understandable than the text and odd pictures in the original.

Graham: After a bit of discussion with Jacob, we decided to take a more dramatic look way of doing the intro and are probably best described as comics in motion! The score for it is up on the site and they’ve done a jaw dropping job in recreating the original – the end product will be dramatic and eye catching!

With CGI becoming very popular and easier to produce it’s hard to keep producing it with any conviction as its old rope so I hope by moving it away from CGI we will create a fresh and interesting contrast to the in slick in-game models and it’s also a nod to the original which is now very iconic with gamers.

We want to avoid is being pigeon holed as just another remake I think we have the talent to create something more so the first impact has to set the pace, scene and give the player goose bumps of anticipation.

Pete: We’ve also seen that you’ve been storyboarding the main menu animation – will you be using a similar process to storyboard any end of game/intro animations as well as we’d love to see those too!

Michael: I'm a firm believer in storyboarding as it helps us to share concepts and ideas with each other. As for storyboards and concept art are made, I can't imagine why they wouldn't be posted for others to see.

Jacob: We have decided to use storyboard more than we have so far. And I will post most of the storyboards on the album for you guys but some things concerning surprises and easter-eggs in the game will have to remain a secret for the public until some sort of release. Concept however will be made more public than it has. I know how it feels to be on the other side of game development and just wanting to see more content, artwork and music and we will try to keep feeding you guys with what we have.

 

Gameplay

Pete: The geoscape will look very familiar to X-COM veterans. Will any changes be made to the way this part of the game works in term of elements such as interceptions, base placement etc? For example will base placement be restricted depending on terrain such as isolated, mountainous regions?

Michael: We haven't thought about using terrain as a criterion for base placement, though I personally feel torn about the idea. I think on one hand it's a cool idea that we can incorporate in the overall design somehow (maybe by building in the mountains you're restricted on size, but you can get some sort of defense bonus?), but on the other hand I would like to make sure we can totally justify the feature and not add it "just" because it's cool.

Jacob: Of course the base can’t be placed in water but the idea of making terrain play a role in the placement of the base is something we would like to look more into a bit later in development. The interception however will be far more intense than it is in the original, we want to make you feel really afraid of the huge battleships and simply set the adrenaline level a little higher than in the original game. But interface wise no, if you know how to play the original you will be able to go right at the interface in UFOCF.

Pete: Will base, craft and personnel load-outs remain the same (6x6 grid squares per base, certain numbers of items per craft, an impossible amount of equipment slots per soldier etc)?

Michael: I believe the decision on this was to keep it the same as the original.

Jacob: Yeah, we do not wish to change such things as it will alter the balance of the both the X-Com and the Alien "teams". Still some of the new equipment will introduce new ways of planning your next mission.

Pete: Will the tactical game remain turn-based, or opt for a more fluid start-pause style of play such as X-COM Apocalypse and UFO: Aftermath?

Jacob: Yes, we want to give the player both the ability of choosing either turn-based or real-time but also the ability to change camera angle from fixed to free.

Michael: I've never played the latter, but I'm all for making the gameplay more "fluid" as you put it by keeping the core of it turn-based, but overlay that with a world that advances in real-time (I'm thinking of combat systems in games like Baldur's Gate and Fallout: Tactics here). With a system like this, it's easy then to also cater to those who like the true turn-based game style and simply make it a game option for those who want it.

Darelius: In my opinion, both methods should be availabe. In a possible multiplayer option a turn-based game won't be good.

Pete: How are you planning to handle AI for the aliens in the game? Will we see strategies such as soldiers being lured into traps and crossfires or even ganging up on you? Will they run away and hide when they’re injured?

Jacob: We would love to implement such features but only time will tell, it depends on what resources we have available when programming the AI.

Michael: AI isn't necessarily my strength, and if left to me it would probably be somewhat rule-based and predictable. In the near future as we get to that stage of development, though, I'm hoping to have someone on the team who would be interested in doing some AI programming for us.

Darelius: The aliens think they have total power and their arrogance will doom them eventually. They'll have to learn or die...

Pete: On larger alien craft and at terror sites, will we see more of a hierarchy, with the aliens from the more advanced races leading groups of the more foot-soldier alien types?

Jacob: Yes, that’s one of the things I would like to have implemented into the AI. The Aliens needs to use some of the lesser aliens as cannon fodder some times, and various other tactics.

Michael: Again, depends how sophisticated we want to make the AI. We'll know more after we've done some prototyping to see what works and what doesn't.

Darelius: I don't think the alien hierarchy was really used in UFO, so I hope we will use it both visually and tactically. For example, a leader of a terror group or commander on an assault ship is always guarded or surrounded by some other aliens. A navigator should normally stay in the cockpit but we will see.

Pete: How is terrain to be handled? Are there going to be more fluid hills and obstacles? Will destroying building supports at ground level bring down pats of a building (such as in Silent Storm)?

Jacob: Yes, terrain will be much more fluid and intriguing. We would like to handle terrain generation by random heightmaps and the flora and fauna placed thereafter.
No, structures will not collapse because the supporting structure of the building has been destroyed, so you will be seeing more floating light posts ^_^.

Michael: Deformable levels isn't a feature we put too high on the priority list.  You can probably expect to see it in some form in terms of the buildings, but it'll most likely not be anything too sophisticated.

Darelius: I think, a nearby realistic terrain is necessary this days, so I hope we can create beautiful terrains.

Pete: What kind of physics can we expect to see in the game? Will explosions knock down nearby agents/aliens within a blast radius? Will high-powered weapons cause enemies to be thrown backwards?

Jacob: We will not be implementing ragdolls and advance physics in this game though knocking back enemies and such could be done by an animation but it might just alter the strategies of the game to radically.

Michael: Knock backs from weapons and explosions, that's doable, but everything else we'd have to consider both on the technical feasibility and the impact it'd have on the gameplay.

Pete: Will the terrain, buildings, flora and fauna all vary depending on where in the world battle takes place?

Jacob: Yes, and yes we will also be introducing more varieties than you will be able to find in the original game.

Pete: Will civilians play more of a varied role in the game, perhaps offering some assistance (farmers with shotguns, police with pistols etc)?

Jacob: We would like to see the civilian play a more vital and important role of missions such as the terror missions. They need to be more than mindless beings cocking about.

Michael: If our future AI programmer can make some cool civilian NPC behavior, more power to him/her

Pete: Will map layouts and starting points be pre-determined, or will terrain be generated randomly, perhaps with the player choosing from several possible landing positions?

Jacob: So far we have decided it will all be pre-determined but such things as landing position might be something we could implement later in development. The reason we aren’t fond of the idea of letting you be able to place the craft is because you will be able to somehow tell where the UFO is crashed or landed.

Michael: We're planning on doing randomly generated maps.

Darelius: The terrain should depend on the circumstances of the landing (UFO shot down, landed, or aa terror site).

Pete: How will line of sight be handled? Will it be blacked out in areas you’ve not visited yet as in the original, or will you be able to see the entire map (as if mapped from the air) and only see other units when they become visible to one of your soldiers?

Jacob: We will most likely be using a jet black fog of war. Though it would be nice to use a new way of hiding the enemy. Perhaps with a heavy blur instead of fog of war.

Michael: It'll most likely be some variation of fog of war that you see in most games these days, i.e.,you won't be able to see any unit activity in an area unless you have someone in the vicinity.

 

Sound & Music

Pete: As can be heard on your site, the music is getting an update. Will all of the sound effects be receiving the same treatment?

Jacob: All music and sound effects will be recreated for UFOCF, but again we will try our best to recreate the experience by staying close to the original.

Darelius: The Sound should depend on the situation on the tactical screen and depending on the sound options that the player has selected, so "situation music" or "background music" can be selected. Situation music may be interesting during combat.

Pete: Will any unit speech be added (and who gets the fun task of doing all the various death screams?)

Jacob: We would love to add some radio chatter to the game and it might also be done. The guy who will be doing most of the voices will be Niheim Mitchell, but also Brian Moody is helping out.

Michael: We have someone on the team who has already been doing some voice-overs, and really he's been doing a phenomenal job on them. It'll be interesting to see what he comes up with in the future.

Darelius: I know some people who have larynx' like soundblasters so those sounds are only a little problem which can be added at a later time.

Pete: Will any new battlescape music be added to enhance the atmosphere further? For example, more action based music when a battle is raging, and quieter music the rest of the time building up the suspense?

Michael: Digital audio is personal hobby of mine, so I'm hoping to add some dynamic music capabilities to the game. So, in short, unless something horrible happens, yes, you can expect to hear the music change in response to what's happening in the game.

Laurent: Well, this idea is on our TODO list. Since this feature is not urgent at the moment, Jacob and I let the programmers concentrate on more important parts of the game. I'll compose an alternative song based on the brass part from "Geoscape - Part 2" in due time. I've already composed a new track called "UFOpedia". As its title says, this gentle synth variation of the main theme will be played while browsing the "UFOpedia". I would also like to compose new variations and alternative songs in the near future.

 

Technical

Pete: What system specifications do you envisage this game requiring?

Jacob: We can’t say for certain yet but if you will be able to run todays games you will be able to run UFOCF.

Michael: In the end the specs should be fairly reasonable. As long as you have an OpenGL-compatible graphics card, a decent amount of RAM and comparable CPU to go with it, you should be fine. We'll start figuring out baseline specs as we prototype more and have a chance to run it on multiple systems. As far as operating systems go, our engine currently builds and runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. We will try to keep it cross-platform as long as we feasibly can. However, if keeping it cross-platform begins impeding progress on the game itself in a significant way, then we will be favoring the Windows platform.

Pete: As can be seen from your geoscape screenshots, it looks like this game is being developed to take advantage of a range of screen resolutions. Can you list the ones you’re looking to incorporate please?

Jacob: I’ve always been fond for the feature where you can set the resolution to what you want and that’s what we will do our best to aim at. At the beginning we might only have a few basic resolutions but I can assure you that the resolution you run at the moment will be available at some point.

 

Other

Pete: How far through the overall process are you, and when do you hope to complete the project?

Jacob: At the moment I can only say; when it is done. We cannot say for certain at this point of development. We are not going to release anything public before we reach a decent beta stage, sorry.

Michael: Since we all work on this in our spare time, there will be times when we get a lot of work done, and other times when things will appear stagnant. I can say right now on the technical side we've written enough of our game engine that we can start making a prototype (essentially the first alpha build). Development on that will be starting within the next few of weeks as we hammer out a couple more tasks.

Pete: Will there be a demo released before the game is completed?

Michael: If there is anything, it'll probably be more like an open beta than actual demo. We'll have to discuss it once we're through with alpha.

Pete: Is there the possibility of a multiplayer element being added to the game once the single player game is finished and released?

Jacob: It is certainly possible but I cannot say at this point whether it will be implemented or not but you shouldn’t hold your breath for it.

Pete: You’re currently looking for team members to work on the project – can you give us a list of positions you need to fill?

Jacob: Yes, we are currently in the need of a Flash animator, a 3d modeller and a texture artist. Those are the most major needs we have at the moment but if you have other skills which you think might benefit the development of the game please drop me an email and we will discuss it further.

Michael: In the coming months we'll start looking for gameplay programmers, preferably those with some experience in Lua and/or Ogre. Among those, we'll be needing at least one AI programmer.

Pete: We’ve spotted a mock-up of some box art over in your gallery – are you intending to release it as a commercial product or will the game be free?

Jacob: No, this game will not hit the shelves or be commercialized in any way. The reason I made the cover and poster was because I like it when I am able to have a decent cover for a game if I am to give it to somebody or simply store it externally for personal use. The game will be freeware and maybe, but only maybe, donationware.

Pete: Will you be providing the source code for developers to base mods from, or do you have some other way planned for folks to extend the game further?

Jacob: At this point we haven’t decided whether the source code should be released as this also is a personal goal which might prove to benefit a future portfolio or CV for all the team members. But we might as well also choose to release the source code mainly for modding and porting purposes.

Michael: No decision has been made to make the source code available to the public yet. If we do add modding support to the game, modders can expect to have to learn Lua since that is the scripting language our engine will be using.

Pete: What software is being used to create the various parts of the game (programming, modelling, music etc).

Jacob: I, as a texture- and interface artist, am using Adobe Photoshop for all of my artwork. I am also using a Wacom tablet when I’m not too lazy to plug it in. ^_^

Michael: I use Visual C++ 2005 for development on Windows and emacs + gcc on Mac OS X and Linux. I use a number of cross-platform libraries to do some of the more low-level tasks, including boost, Ogre, OIS, CEGUI, and tolua++.

Laurent: I'm using "Reason", a music program developed by Propellerhead Software. I use it to record each note I play on my MIDI keyboard and to mix everything together into a single song. I also need some sheets of paper and a pencil to write down my ideas :-)

Pete: As you may be aware, Take2 now own the rights to the X-COM franchise, and there are rumours circulating around the internet of a possible new X-COM game in the works. Whilst these are only rumours at best for now, are you concerned over any licensing issues or are you hoping that Take2 will be good-natured enough to allow this project to be released (as Valve allowed Fortress Forever to be released whilst they were working on Team Fortress 2)?

Jacob: We have of course, because of this matter, completely scrapped the idea of making a free demo and a paid full version. This project is fan based and we work on it in our spare time, we are nonpaid and we only work on the project because we wish to provide a game with the true original UFO spirit which the newer UFO games have somewhat left out. We only hope Take2 will see this project as Valve Software saw Team Fortress Forever and Black Mesa Source. This is a fan project to honour the original UFO game only and you might as well look at it as some sort of advance fan art.

Michael: For now we'll try not to step on each other's toes. I feel that as long as we are clear that this is an enthusiast's project rather than something that meant for commercial retail distribution, then I would hope Take2 is good-natured enough not to go after us. But only time will be able to tell these things.

Pete: Is there anything you would like to say to the Take2 team regarding your remake?

Jacob: Take2, we honour your choice of creating a new X-Com game and we only wish to remain friendly towards it. If we at any point have stepped or are stepping on your toes concerning your development we will of course avoid it and take action immediately. That said we hope you will let us finish the development of this game as we probably will play your game too when and if it gets to that point.

Pete: Finally, is there anything you’d like to say to the fans who are following your progress?

Jacob: Thank you so much for your support so far, if it wasn’t for you guys there wouldn’t be a reason to make this game. Also thanks for all the suggestions we have gotten so far, it really helps introduce us to the ideas of the fans.

Spread the word of UFOCF and best of luck! ^_^

Michael: I'm sorry for the slow progress thus far, but stay with us.  We are making progress, and it will rock once we're done.  ;)

Darelius: Yes, help us with creative ideas, constructive criticism and comments to keep us motivated!

 

Thanks to the numerous StrategyCore members who posed questions for this interview - you know who you are- and a huge thanks to all of the UFO: CF members involved in the project. We wish you all the best for the future and look forward to seeing the finished game!

If any readers would like to help, please head over to the Positions page at the project's site.

 

Add Comment Comments

Azrael Strife\
6 Mar 2008 - 4:04pm
Azrael Strife

Prostetiche, on 6th March 2008, 2:15pm, said:

Hello, i have to say I'm really glad i finally found some people resurecting ye olde X-Com!
I was wondering if you needed a concept artist, but i see you already have that position taken, annyway i'll send you some of my work if you're intrested.
You'll have better luck at their site than at our forum, I don't think they drop by very often.
Prostetiche\
6 Mar 2008 - 2:15pm
Prostetiche
Hello, i have to say I'm really glad i finally found some people resurecting ye olde X-Com!
I was wondering if you needed a concept artist, but i see you already have that position taken, annyway i'll send you some of my work if you're intrested.

Snakeman (left) and Muton (right)
Posted Image

Floater

Posted Image
Bomb Bloke\
5 Feb 2008 - 6:28am
Bomb Bloke
Lemme put it another way:

In traditional TB, only one unit can move at a time, and the players take turns making moves.

In traditional RT, all units can move at the same time, and the two players give their orders at the same time. A multitasking engine is required for this.

Apocalypse dealt with the matter by using the same RT-capable engine for everything... but in TB mode the units are assigned TUs dependant on their speed and only one player can move at once. Small changes slapped onto the same system.

And yes, you can move multiple units at a time in TB mode. Remember that Apocalypse used a squad based system? Group a few men together, give 'em an order, they'll all do it at the same time. While you wait you can even go give another group orders.

Compare this to UFO, where only one unit can move at a time, only one bullet can fly at a time, only one explosion can happen at a time... Everything happens one after the other. There's no multitasking at all and so even with the source you'd need to do a significant amount of re-writing to create a RT version.
Gimli\
4 Feb 2008 - 5:46pm
Gimli
I believe you can, but I'm too lazy to fire up Apocalypse. You can check there, though. Though there's really no reason that you couldn't add it even if it hadn't been done. :D
Azrael Strife\
4 Feb 2008 - 4:35pm
Azrael Strife
Cpl, AFAIK, in TB, no two units ever move at the same time, they always move one at a time, always, am I mistaken?
Cpl. Facehugger\
3 Feb 2008 - 11:38pm
Cpl. Facehugger

Bomb Bloke, on 30th January 2008, 11:41am, said:

I dunno, I really liked Apoc's use of the two modes.

In principle, I agree, however in practice I found myself using Apoc's RT mode because I felt it gave me a sizable tactical advantage. Therein lies the problem -Balance. Something that's perfectly balanced in RT mode can all too easily become a terrible imbalance in turnbased mode, or vice-versa.

Quote

Though the difference between Apoc and CF is that this is a free project... It doesn't have to be released and then patched once or twice before finally being forgotten. It can be upgraded no end.

Yes, however, conversely, being a free project, man-hours are spread over a much greater period of time. They don't have a half-dozen codemonkeys working nine to five to get the game out within a reasonable period of time. Adding RT mode, along with all of the balance issues that entails, only exacerbates this problem.

I'd rather they focus on just one combat system (preferably pure TB) and only think about doing other combat systems when they've got version 1 out the door.  

Quote

If it's built from the ground up as a RT engine (which only lets you play in TB mode), you get many of the perks of both modes without the need to balance the two.

I don't quite understand what you mean here. How can an RT engine play in TB mode? The closest I can think of is Fallout: Tactics, but that system was about as far from X-Com as you can get, and, to be honest, I think it would fail utterly in maintaining the 'feel' of X-Com unless there was a 'classic' option available for actual TB combat.

Also, I don't quite understand what the 'perks' of a RT engine would be if limiting the game to TB combat.

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This also makes it easier to incorporate a RT mode later on should you wish to have one because the multitask support is already present.

Why would an engine have to be realtime in order to have multiple tasks going at once? UFO: ET is purely TB but it lets you move multiple men at once as I recall.

Quote

and you lose such features as the ability to move more then one unit at a time...

Why? I don't understand why this has to be the case with a TB engine.
Bomb Bloke\
30 Jan 2008 - 11:41am
Bomb Bloke
I dunno, I really liked Apoc's use of the two modes.

Though the difference between Apoc and CF is that this is a free project... It doesn't have to be released and then patched once or twice before finally being forgotten. It can be upgraded no end.

If it's built from the ground up as a RT engine (which only lets you play in TB mode), you get many of the perks of both modes without the need to balance the two. This also makes it easier to incorporate a RT mode later on should you wish to have one because the multitask support is already present.

If the game is built with a TB engine... Then it'd be very difficult to add RT mode later should it be wanted, and you lose such features as the ability to move more then one unit at a time...
Gimli\
29 Jan 2008 - 8:26am
Gimli
I think they would be more likely to hit a chord with the fans if they went for turn based. Really, TB and RT mean quite a different approach. Not only that, they'll have to balance each of them, and then rebalance them so that neither has an advantage over the other. That's twice more work and then some. And it would be even more of a shame given how good  X-COM's combat engine is. You just need to combine the best of UFO's combat engine and  Apoc's TB part of the combat (improved reactions, running, better psi etc.) and that would already be great.
Think about it this way: nobody is going to complain if you go turn based, but if you go for RT you will turn a lot of people off. I'm basing this on observations I've made on other forums.
You have to be aware that by taking so much from the original, there are expectations and turn based is definitely one of them.
Slaughter\
28 Jan 2008 - 11:45pm
Slaughter
Stay with turn-based guys. There's enough RTwP games in the world already (including X-COM inspired), and having both RT and TB is a recipe for disaster.
Space Voyager\
28 Jan 2008 - 7:39am
Space Voyager
Great interview! I hope they find the time and resources for the AI. It would be a shame to make it look nice but play bad.
Gimli\
27 Jan 2008 - 2:24pm
Gimli
It's about time! Now on to reading it.

 

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