A new XCom should be...


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#1 The Veteran

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 08:41 AM

Howdy all, hope you're prepared for another whirlwind visit cos guess who's back yet again!!! I'm not going to say I'm sticking around this tiume as I always say that and then I get called away elsewhere but assuming the community is still alive and kicking and up for another instalment of a classic franchise then hopefully I'll find enough discussion here to keep me around :oh:

As anyone who read my most recent posts here in the Colonisation thread will know production is back underway and since then the team has grown significantly with new artists, two developers and a few spare designers for when I want a day off! Unfortunately neither Alan nor Ivan are able to be with us now due to other RL commitments but we're touching base where we can as there would never have ben a project in the first place without these guys.

Anyway, purpose of this post is to avoid creating another massive disaster game by which I mean 'spiritual successor'... Ok so its nice to play another XCom style game but they all had massive faults and none of them were really what was being asked for by the community. Correct me if I'm wrong by the way, I gave up on the UFO trilogy a long time ago so I don't know if the latter games fixed its crapness...

There are going to be a lot of more specific questions I want to ask but right now the key is realtime/turnbased/both. What do people want for a new game? For me XCom has always been a turn-based deal and I'd like to play a new game in the same way but its a very old fashioned method by todays standards and I'm thinking we'd be wise to offer a realtime solution too with the choice of how to handle it being down to the player. Really want to know what everyone thinks as it won't be long before we start programming and that's a must know for initial development!

As the design and the game itself develops there will be lots more that I'll be looking for opinions on but right now I think it's going to be more creative to just leave a blank page and let people throw ideas at it. We're not looking at any drastic changes from the original game model, just some modernisation and diversification with a few new features included and maybe some old ones omitted.

With just that information I really want to know what everyone would like to see in a new game, from vehicles to aliens to weapons to gameplay to graphics to anything you can possibly think of! This topic on this site has a real opportunity to become the main artery of this build so please help the project along by leaving some input and keeping this topic active! I'll be dropping back as often as I can to discuss everyones thoughts and ideas but currently I'm home everyday with a 14 month old tot to look after, a 3 bedroom house to clean, a games designer course to learn and a game to make! I have a lot less time than I'd like!!!

Thanks for reading this post and please leave your feedback when you're done. Feel free to post in any of the other Colonisation topics too, ressurect at will!

Cheers, TJ
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#2 Space Voyager

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 07:16 AM

Firstly I'd like to say that X-COM had no faults.

At the time.

Than time progressed and I wouldn't like to grow a beard (which I couldn't back then) during a single mission. So I would rather see something faster paced. Whether this is true real-time, SAS-lookalike from UFO:After.... or whatever I don't care.

#3 StVier

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 01:14 PM

I guessed we have to go back to basics and look at why X-Com was such a success and what the spiritual successors lack which can't seemed to quench the thirst of X-Com fans. I have been away from Enemy Unknown and the UFO: Aftershock for a while so some of the points I make might be hazy or even wrong so pardon me.

I feel what was really lacking from X-Com: Apolcalypse and subsequent spiritual successors was the lack of frustration, and I do not mean from bad game design or clunky controls. One of the best part of X-Com IS not knowing what is gonna happen during the turn, as well as the vulnerability of your soldiers, even in the best armour. With the frustation of hunting the last alien on the map in turn-based mode in mind, I vote for a similar style of game speed as the UFO series but it might have to be fine-tuned (for reasons in the next paragraph) or Silent Storm, whereby the game goes to turn-based mode on certain events.

Next up, on the assumption that the best available Earth-based armour is only effective against Earth-based weapons, just about any kind of shot from an alien weapon should be extremely severe, if not fatal. Therefore I say we start as TRUE underdogs, so that we can get true satisfaction from even-ing the odds but never tipping the scale in favour of the player, such that it's going to be a challenge all the way, so as to keep the player interested. Soldiers are a tad too hardy in the UFO series, freshies getting shot is more like an introductory pie in the face rather than a probable life-ending event. In addition, squad-tactics should ALWAYS play an important part, and encounters should be dynamic, requiring the player to think. Good practice should only form the basis of a successful fight but should not be an all-round formula for undefeated campaign.

Although I do enjoy the UFO series and they do deserve some merits if they were viewed as another game and NOT as a spiritual successor to X-Com. The research tree, although in general captures the essence of X-Com, there were too many bottlenecks that makes research a rather linear affair. Choice of prioritising a certain branch of research within, for example weapony, could be introduced... although that would requiring balance between the various branches such that there isn't an obvious choice. I have always found reading the various approaches taken by various veterans of X-Com to be interesting and enlightening, no one approach can be said to be better than the other but all are workable and it's really up to individual to discover a style or mixture of styles of play that suits them.

So just to conclude this part of my suggestion: Dynamicity, sense of danger and opportunity for individual creativity are what keeps me interested. Note that these are just my current preferences, I'm sure I will come to appreciate other good suggestions by other players.

#4 The Veteran

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 12:35 PM

Thanks guys and thanks StVier for a very informative post it's really appreciated! We're still far from undecided on turn-based/realtime right now but I still personally leaning towards a mixture of both (as in the option for the player to choose) which I think could be the best option so long as both modes are approached individually and are polished as much as can be.

Space Voyager, from what you're saying you'd like a faster more frantic game so what could provide that? Would you rather see more aliens or quicker weaponfire or quicker movement? How would you achieve the faster gameplay that you're after?

With regards to player vulnerability and the balance of power between human and alien sides I think it is very important that the player never gains the upper hand but at the same time ther is an upper limit of technology which means for example Enemy Unknown couldn't have any weapons stronger than a heavy plasma. This means if the human and alien side are both armed with this weapon there will be little difference between the two save stats which will be provided by armour for example. As the aliens don't wear armour and are rarely thick skinned this does provide the human side with the upper hadn in the late game but as we all know, big guns and thick armour still leave a lot of opportunitoes for death! A possible way to avoid this technological stalemate late in the game would be to provide certain alien creatures with race specific weapons which can't be used by other aliens or humans (like silacoid rifles and celatid launchers lol) That way the player will never be able to trump specific enemies with firepower alone but it would mean the aliens in question would have to be introduced pretty late in play.

Regarding diversity and the opportunity for individual creativity that was mentioned this is mostly down to the field of research and development which you pointed out. I haven't played the UFO series for a while but remember the system enough to be able to agree with you to a certain extent. You had to do certain research before certain other things were possible but that's a given with any game where this feature exists even the originals. The problem I had with Aftermath was that in between researches the aliens just kept a steady wave of invasions without anything else interesting ever happening. That's another story though and will be addressed elsewhere at another time!

To address the research and development team the whole system from the old games is getting an overhaul and I know that's a scary thing to hear, trust me its an even scarier thing to implement! I've felt for a long time that the player needs more of an ability to improve their situation if you like. Starting out as un undredog who ddin't even believe in aliens it's no wonder we don't have laser weapons but now all of a sudden the fate of the world depends on us having them so every research laboratory in existence will immediately get to it. This isn't about profit or corporate success anymore its about living and dying!

What we're trying to do to emulate this fact is remove the 'workshop' and 'laboratory' elements of base management and make it a far more global cause by implementing science institutes and various manufacturers already in existence all over the world. Obviously as there's a war on they're going to stop trying to make cellphones the size of finger nails and start designing interplanetary weapons instead or whathaveyou. It will be treated as a form of subcontracted work which the player has some control over but not total power. There will be many research stations and manufacturing plants across the planet, many with their own specialities such as laser or biological research and vehicle or weapons manufacturers. When we want to turn our medical laser into a weapon we can approach the specialists who will take half the time to produce a superior outcome than any other lab but they'll cost significantly more for the pleasure. Same goes for vehicles. If we want a combat aircraft then we could approach a weapons manufacturer or a vehicle manufacturer both with different outcomes or we could possibly allocate 50% of the project to each manufacturer to recieve the best possible result for the highest price on the market.

Of course the existence of these facilities across the planet will provide some nice juicy targets for sabotage, invasions or conversions on the enemies part. If we're 3 days away from taking delivery of our new aircraft we don't want the factory producing it to be destroyed now do we? So we introduce a new aspect of base management, more economic conditions to deal with and a whole host of new missions to boot. On top of all of that the ability to outsource multiple resource projects at once (a new laser system, new combat vehicle, new alien autopsy etc) will drastically increase the speed at which new technology can be obtained but can our player manage to defend all of his interests at once if he overstretches himself? If one of the specialist facilities is lost he'll have to fund, build and manage the new one as an organisation asset giving our player less time and money to deal with the actual alien threat they're here to deal with!

The fact that research will be accomplished quicker does mean that the tree will run out of branches sooner but that's just a reason to add more meat to each project. You approach any company in the world to produce some of the items we've seen XCom come up with and they wouldn't get it done inside of a lifetime so making the research last longer isn't out of the question either. This also increases the chance of the research station carrying it out to be attacked somehow which provides increased gameplay and adds variety to the otherwise repetetive mission structure of an alien-defence game.

I know this is a beefy post but I'm going to export a large portion of it straight to a design document now so apologies but please continue to leave feedback on everything mentioned so far. Still interested to hear more opinions on turn-base/realtime combat and speed of gameplay which has also been raised now. Feel free also to comment on everything I've mentioned here and give any opinions whatever they are. If you don't want to talk about any of that stuff I'm going to be getting onto vehicle management soon and while I have a good idea of what I want the game to have that isn't whats important. It's down to guys like you and what you want which is why I'm here so any suggestions on different vehicles/vehicel uses/management etc. That's going to be an issue for me very soon so look forward to any input on all of the above!

Thanks again guys and please give me some feedback and input. It really will go a long way!
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Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!

#5 StVier

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 12:12 PM

Just a quick addition regarding the turn-based Vs real-time issue...

I remember X-Com 3: Apocalypse giving you the option to choose between real-time or turn-based combat upon reaching the incident site. Although I have not touched X-Com 3 for an extremely long while, I still remember the usual suspense during the alien's turn, and the panic when I see a Popper appear and started running towards one of my guys. Obviously, being too aggressive most of the time, I do not leave any Time units for opportunity shot and so it's very likely one of my guys go boom. However, in real-time combat, Poppers rarely give any problems, unless one appears from a blind spot or none of my guys can make a decent shot at it. I believe this is somewhat of a good case study when trying to give players the option to go turn-based or real-time, especially taking into consideration Interrupt or opportunity shot.

Personally, I still think UFO: Aftershock does a pretty good job when it comes to the way combat is handle in terms of "time management". Running from Point A to B is in real-time but game pauses when an enemy is sighted, giving you time to decide and issue the order to continue running or to take a shot before un-pausing the game. Similarly, during a firefight in slowed-time, if you see an enemy preparing a grenade, it gives you time to react and pause the game to issue orders to run if possible, but would otherwise be impossible to react if game was at normal-speed in real-time, especially if you have a relatively closely-packed group and you want to issue individual orders to each one for them to run from expected point of detonation.

One more comparison before I wrap it up: It never fails to frustrate me when I have to search each and single cabin on the cruise ship for the last alien during a terror mission in TFTD, but in UFO, I could pre-planned the route and where to search and let my guys do their job while I oversee the action.

So just some points to consider with regards to Turn-based Vs Real-time with pause: Opportunity shot and real-life reaction timing (if any), searching for that last hidden alien and also types of movement (which I didn't say much but if I want to crawl from A to B, I hope to reach B in reasonable time in real-life).

We know talk is easy (which is what I have been doing mostly) and all the hard work is in the designing and implementation so a salute for dedicating time to create another game!

#6 Space Voyager

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 08:07 AM

View PostThe Veteran, on 6th October 2009, 1:35pm, said:

Space Voyager, from what you're saying you'd like a faster more frantic game so what could provide that? Would you rather see more aliens or quicker weaponfire or quicker movement? How would you achieve the faster gameplay that you're after?

Darn, overshot this paragraph on the first reading...

NOT frantic, just more fluent.

Apoc did that by two things - group movement (actions) and automatic engagement. Both more or less demand real time or its imitation (SAS).

Group movement and automatic engagement shortened the battle time enormously. No need to move one by one and when the enemy has shown itself you did not need to shoot each shot individually. Soldiers started shooting by themselves, all of them! That is a lot of individual commands per second... that took minutes in TB.

Number of aliens, quicker weaponfire or quicker movement have nothing to do with it IMO.

Ah, and also with RT combat you can usually speed up the time, so when you started to look for that last bugger in Apoc you were able to scout the area pretty fast.

UFO:After... didn't go this far but battles were still shortened simply by not needing to give each shoot command yourself - you set the action (attack) and the soldier will shoot until the target is visible or alive. Again, that removed the need for a huge number of individual player's commands.

So far from wanting a lot of happening, frantic action - I would just like to see the action fluent, demanding as little necessary involvement as possible. Without needing to develop Skynet, naturally.  :oh:

#7 The Veteran

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 08:11 AM

[Sorry for another long post, a lot of this is for my own benefit but feel free to read it all and comment!]

I think by the soudns of it so far the best way forward for us would be to develop the game as real time with pause and speed control abilities and have turn-based mode available as more of a homage to the original games. It would still need to be as polished as the RT mode but I think what with the way this genre of gaming is going nowadays we'd be missing a trick if we don't market it primarily as a real-time game.

I think both of you guys are definitely onto something with the pause on sight/interrupt side of things. Even the original XCom games stopped our soldiers in their tracks when an alien was sighted because of course if you were that soldier you'd probably want to take cover and shoot at it once you knew it was there rather than keep walking straight past it! So definitely this will be featured in a similar way as previous titles in both modes.

As for automatic fire I think it's a good idea to include this too but have it based on the soldiers 'aggressiveness' setting. Not sure if this will be a global squad command, an individual soldier command or simply based on individual soldier bravery but I think it kind of writes itself if approached from a realistic battlefield situation.

As in the above scenario if you see an alien you're unlikely to just keep on walking but different people will react in a different way. The first contributing factor will be the soldier's 'awareness' statistic which will determine how long it takes for them to actually spot the alien in the first place. This means he might take another two steps before he realises there's a hostile over his left shoulder if he has a low value or will stop immediately once the alien is in view with a high one. This will build an emphasis on training troops as those with low values, especially in something like awareness, won't live long and compensation is a pricey deal these days!

The next impacting factor will be the bravery stat. A soldier with high bravery who has spotted a hostile for instance will hold his position and wait for orders thus pausing the game immediately. Low bravery will result in the soldier taking cover before allowing the player to issue orders to represent a high level of self-preservation. There may also be room for an additional stat value along the lines of 'wrecklessness' in which a high value will result in a soldier immediately opening fire on any sighted hostiles regardless of the behaviour setting. He will fire one shot before the game pauses for example which may be lucky enough to kill but most likely will just miss its mark due to reduced accuracy and alert the alien to the troopers presence.

Of course the overall control method of defensive, neutral and hostile stances will also determine how soldiers react to an enemy sighting but a brave hotheaded soldier is more likely to fire at an alien regardless of a neutral stance and a cowardly one more likely to stay in cover. The extreme settings could perhaps be used to encourage these types of soldiers to listen to orders so by giving this coward a hostile stance maybe his loyalty will outweigh his low bravry in that he will be more inclined to obey the order than run and hide! In the same way a soldier with a high level of wrecklessness is likely to hold his fire if set to defensive as noone wants to disobey a direct order, no matter how hotheaded!

This is all beginning to lead us towards actual simulated squad combat and could even go so far as to record the number of times a soldier has done his own thing rather than obeyed an order issued by the player. Of course this doesn't mean soldiers will simply wander off and start shooting civilians but say a soldier is stood in plain view with two aliens near him, 5 and 10 meters away. The player tells him to stay stood up and hold his ground whilst shooting at the alien further away. Again the resuklt will be dependant on several stats but essentially the player has given an insane order, any soldier in this position would take cover, crouch down and shoot the nearest alien. Maybe a stupid and wreckless soldier will obey this particular order but a smart one or a cowardly one is more than likely going to run for cover before carrying out the task or perhaps even target the nearer alien as its a more sensible option.

Either way it opens the door for all sorts of possibilities in gameplay. I don't think I've ever played a game when the grunts have an actual mind of their own and I for one would like to see it. There's no reason why disciplinary actions can't be implemented for soldiers who continually ignore orders. Consider it a form of training but with a higher impact on the soldiers stats and a negative affect on loyalty.

Thanks again for all your input guys, wonder where everyone else is? Send them in if you see them eh!
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#8 Space Voyager

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 08:23 AM

Even for thinking about starting a project like this you are my hero! Posted Image Posted Image

#9 StVier

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 10:58 AM

Hmm... by venturing into the grunt AI issues, I can foresee a chain of problems. For example, in the '2 aliens at 5 metres and 10 metres scenario' that you brought up, what if in the event the alien at 10 metres away is the bigger threat (e.g. Chrysalids) or the one at 5 metres is wounded and unarmed? Would, and should the soldier be able to recognize the threat level of individual aliens? Or would a reckless soldier shoot the civilian that suddenly jump out of the dark? (This reminds me of something, I will go into it later)

Ideally, the game should be as realistic as possible, well as realistic as human element in Sci-fi game should be anyway. However, by introducing squad AI, it might be a programming nightmare as well as not sitting well with players. For example, games like Majesty and Medieval Conquest (not the war strategy game), the player has no direct control over the heroes in the game but instead gives general orders to go there and kill this or to explore that area. Common issues such as pathfinding might come up, as well as praying the heroes do what you had in mind. Obviously, I do not think the X-Com game you have in mind is going to take such a hands-off approach but just a reminder that apart from the 'flight or fight' from the Bravery stat from the original X-Com games, any other instances of AI, especially multi-factor ones, might give you a headache when trying to design the game.

Now back to the 'something' I thought of a while ago, fog of war. Please do not forget to include fog of war. In addition, you mentioning 'Awareness' gave me a scene in my mind about a soldier seeing something move in the distance but depending on his 'awareness' (or another related stat), he might or might not be able to identify the figure. A small point but it might give an 'alien in disguise' opportunity, like Chrysalid-impregnated civilian. Anyway, just something that crossed my mind.

#10 The Veteran

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 07:47 PM

View PostStVier, on 9th October 2009, 11:58am, said:

Would, and should the soldier be able to recognize the threat level of individual aliens? Or would a reckless soldier shoot the civilian that suddenly jump out of the dark?

Yes and yes I think. A heavily armed sectopod at 50 yards is going to be a greater threat than a panicking unarmed sectoid at 10 paces and any semi-intelligent soldier should know this. Of course the stupid ones may not realise this but then it serves the player right for not vetting potential candidates a bit better! Regarding being suprised by civvies springing out of the dark it would likely prompt the same reaction as an alien sighting with an additional awareness/recklessness check to see if this this soldier is likely to shoot without checking what it is first. Of course as stated earlier, reaction shooting like this is likely to be fairly inaccurate so the chances of too many unnecessary civilian casualties should be fairly slim.

View PostStVier, on 9th October 2009, 11:58am, said:

However, by introducing squad AI, it might be a programming nightmare as well as not sitting well with players. Obviously, I do not think the X-Com game you have in mind is going to take such a hands-off approach

Most of this conversation will be presented to my lead dev on our weekly meet this saturday where we already have a lot to talk about! What we can or can't do will be based on his say so though. I'm after a working prototype asap so it certainly won't be implemented from the get go but there are a lot of physics related issues to address first anyway so it should be fine.
We're certainly not looking to create a hands-off command structure so the player should never feel cheated out of control but if it's possible then I'd like to implement either a progressive slider or simply several alternate setting options to control realism based on player preference. Game difficulty will already affect a lot more than alien stats and mission frequency in our game but this setting may or may not be integrated into the main setting. The most important thing is that the player feels in control but I want to avoid creating a God-game so some added realism for the squad combat section of the game is a must.

View PostStVier, on 9th October 2009, 11:58am, said:

Please do not forget to include fog of war. In addition, you mentioning 'Awareness' a soldier might or might not be able to identify the figure.

Fog of war is a good thought, although the earlier games did feature it sometimes it was hard to tell where it was once you'd seen somewhere and moved on. Awareness over long distances could be affected by several statistics as mentioned earlier but if a soldier spots a unit he can't identify then that's how it will be represented on the battlescape. Then the player can decide to throw a grenade at it just in case or wait for visual confirmation.

Trying to write up some briefs at the moment for all of the team for saturday's meeting as a lot of them are without jobs atm. It's taking a hell of a lot of time which I don't really have lol Should have some good stuff once we get out the other side of this thing though, get everyone going with a nice big list of things. Going to set my 3D artist the task of a tease-trailer too so looking forward to that! Need a storyboard to give him first though...

Coincidentally we could really use some more 2D artists on the team so if anyone is interested feel free to drop me a line!
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Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!

#11 LaryK

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 12:49 AM

Hi guys,

I just thought I'd pop in and introduce myself! I guess I'll start at the beginning... Back in day, I was maybe 12 or 13 years old, my older brother brought this game home. As soon as he went out I jumped on the PC and started the game. I was still on the game in the early hours of the morning. The game in question was UFO: Enemy Unknown. I spent many hours playing that game and then over time, moved on to other games and subsequently forgot about XCom.

Graphics don't tend to be an issue with me, but they need to be clear. Obviously, back then, they weren't an issue. However, about 18 months ago, I was at a car boot sale and saw UFO: Enemy Unknown on sale for 2. I had some vague recollections of the game and thought "I'm having that"! I took it home, put the kids to bed, made a brew and put the CD Rom in my drive. Well, those late nights came flooding back! In an age where graphics are a must (bearing in mind the graphics aren't awful) I couldn't believe how engaging the gameplay was - how fresh!

Roll on another year, and I find myself on a home learning course to become a qualified Computer Game Designer, who have a community forum filled with various talented individuals, which is where I met The Veteran. I'll be honest, I haven't played any of the XCom sequels, and I'm not particularly interested in Sci-fi. But, after speaking to The Veteran about ressurecting this project I thought this is something I have to be involved in! After much discussion with The Veteran and some research of my own, I have come to the conclusion that XCom deserves a sequel to rival, if not better, UFO: Enemy Unknown. If not for the game itself and it's following, then definitely for The Veteran's enthusiasm and dedication to the cause over the years! He deserves to see an end product.

As a gamer and now as a budding designer, my belief has always been, and still is "give the players what they want"! While I appreciate it is not always possible to please everyone, and because of development issues, some people will be left disappointed, I aim to help The Veteran in his quest to deliver a game that will finally quench the thirst of the original XCom fans and also introduce new faces to the XCom series of games. The best way to do this is to get feedback from the fans of the originals and to take on board what they would do to make the game better.

I would like to apologise for the large post but obviously The Veteran has made you immune to them! I will be assisting The Veteran on the design of this game and also here on the forums, so feedback will be greatly received. Post your opinions, get your friends to post theirs, because ultimately, it will be YOU playing this game!

I would also like to add that tonight's (last night's) meeting has gone extremely well, despite some meeting room issues at the start! I won't give too much away as I am unsure as to what the gaffer wants to let you know. But it's a positive start.

Thanks for your time,
Cheers,
LaryK

#12 Jman4117

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 04:47 PM

Mini tanks, mulebots, hover drones, etc. Maybe make it so that they can carry varients of the small arms and a few vehicle specific weapons as modules.
"Guns aren't toys. They're for family protection, hunting dangerous or delicious animals, and keeping the King of England out of your face."
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#13 The Veteran

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 06:40 PM

Thanks for taking the time to sign up Larry, its nice to see you here! What went down in the meeting is no secret and hopefully by the next one we'll have even more to talk about but there's not much gossip to deal out just yet so we'll wait till there's something more juicy before we share anything out here!

Jman it's nice to see you back on the forums too, nice to see we're starting to attract some of the old team members back to the forums as for anyone who doesn't know Jman did some 3D art for us last time round and is actually still being featured in the interview here at strategy core for anyone who remembers that!

Anyway this is just a brief stop as I'm off to the actual project now to get some work done but again thanks to everyone for all your feedback so far and please continue to comment. It would be really great to see some more of the oldskool forum members posting in here so please do! After all we have a couple of hundred views on this thread but only a dozen actual posts!

Almost forgot to actual comment on your suggestion Jman, there will of course be weapons platforms of some description in this game or it just wouldn't be XCom! I for one loved all of the vehicles the originals gave us and we'll be aiming for something similar but it's still in a comcpet stage so keep watching this space!
Welcome back to the wonderful world of Fan-fiction! (it's short for fantastic!)
Go check em out, UFO TFTD and Apocalypse all under one roof!!!

Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!

#14 StVier

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 10:59 PM

It's certainly nice to hear another voice from the development team so thank you for taking the time to introduce yourself to us Larry!

Here's another offhand comment from me:
Was reading thru Veteran's earlier post about the research and development overhaul and it brings to mind the setting in X-Com: Apocalypse. Despite the relatively boring fights, I quite like the setting in X-Com: Apocalypse; a futuristic and artificial world, with the fundamental of an X-Com game still intact. There are several aspects which I like as well. The relationship of individual corporations with X-Com and with each other adds an interesting twist to gameplay as well. I vaguely remember an example, like if you irritate the transportation company (can't remember the name), you are no longer able to get more people into X-Com because the transport refuses to pick up X-Com personnel, or the refusal to sell X-Com any weapons if you did something to Marsec. In addition, there's the Cult to fend off every now and then as well. Also, I'm sure people have heard about the some of the intended gameplay that wasn't implemented in Apocalypse, for example (as far as I remember), they include abduction/protection of an important figure.

Anyway, back to the R&D part. Veteran's idea of global effort falls partially along the lines of that in the first game of the UFO series, UFO:Aftermath, whereby individual sectors can be selected as either a research base, manufacturing base, a military base or a Biomass repelling base. Truth be told, I never liked that aspect of Aftermath, but Aftermath is a good example of a module I supposed, whereby the focus seemed to be introducing us to a more modern 'real-time with pause' idea in alien fighting. For some reason, I still prefer to do my own research within my own facilities but that's my own preference of course.

The last thing I want to ask is: Would it better if the new game is away from Earth? I mean, comparing the first two X-Coms to Apocalypse, there seemed to be more freedom in playing around with the design of the game in Apocalypse without the constraints of Earth-related issues like conventional weapons. Even in UFO: Aftershock, reclaiming back Earth in 2059 still mostly gives us just AK-47 and Desert Eagle to use, with the introduction of warp and laser technology in late-game. From a modding and add-on point of view, it's an excellent but relatively unexciting idea. We (at least I) was happy with Laser Vs Plasma and Gauss Vs Sonic in the first two X-Coms, hundreds of choices still just boils down to that few better weapon to use.

#15 The Veteran

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 10:25 AM

View PostStVier, on 11th October 2009, 11:59pm, said:

I quite like the setting in X-Com: Apocalypse; a futuristic and artificial world, with the fundamental of an X-Com game still intact. There are several aspects which I like as well. The relationship of individual corporations with X-Com and with each other adds an interesting twist to gameplay as well.

You'll like this game then SV! It'll be taking place on a green world but with some serious technology going on! It won't be the same doomsday world that Apocalypse gave us to play on but it certainly won't be full of boring concrete buildings and cars with four wheels! As for the relationships you mentioned we'll be using a similar system to that too but to be honest I'd completely forgotten about the way apocalypse used it until now! For this game we want the 'funding nations' to be a little more human so the player can relate to them a little more than the old numbers on a chart method. We'll be giving them territories, VIPs and headquarters so the player can understand a little better why certain organisations are particularly happy/unhappy with their performance. The existence of their structures and personell as items on the map will also make it easier for the player to do more in the way of maintaining a good relationship with the company and protecting them from assault. For example it may be rather intimidating for the organisation for troops to be actually garissoned there but maybe a quick-response base just away from the headquarters will make them feel a little safer and occupy any assailants until the main force arrives.

It's important that the player is able to better affect this relationship in Colonisation than has been possible in previous titles as funding always seemed to be a rather distanced affair and we want to bring some realism to the politics involved here. For example, imagine the laser research centre being invaded while you are unable to protect it and only weeks away from your contracted weapons development being completed there. If you don't respond and the president is killed and millions worth of damage is done then the chances are that the vice president will tell you where to go. So now you have no laser research laboratory and must either make amends with this company, send your research to a non-specialist laboratory for mediocre and more expensive results or try to complete it yourself for altogether inferior results in the end product.

View PostStVier, on 11th October 2009, 11:59pm, said:

Anyway, back to the R&D part. Veteran's idea of global effort falls partially along the lines of UFO:Aftermath, whereby individual sectors can be selected as either a research base, manufacturing base, a military base or a Biomass repelling base.

The problem with the base management in Aftermath was that it basically sucked... It was way too limited and gave the player no freedom to actually do what they wanted or build where they liked. The extent of the options open were basically to capture bases that were already established which based on the story they were trying to purvey was actually quite clever but left a lot to be desired from a gamers point of view. What if I don't want a base in France? And what if I want two bases in France? Why can't a military base also have an anti-biomass generator? And why can't research and development take place in the same facility rather than shipping the blueprints half way around an alien infested world before being able to actually make a new gun before sending it back around the world to the soldiers who need it?

Colonisation will have no such limitations, with the player free to build pretty much wherever they like so long as they have the funds and technology! You want five bases around the base of a mountain? Go for it! It's a stupid idea and a massive waste of money but then this is a game and you should be able to play it howeer you like! Hell you can build a base on top of the mountain if you like, or dig underneath it and build there! Floating bases will also be making a return later in the game and there may even be orbital outposts at some point though they'll have limited functions. Want to get your feet wet? Build a base in the sea cliffs or een on the seafloor! There really will be no stone left unturned in our player's search for alien hideouts!

As far as R&D facilities go these will very rarely be controlled by XCom with the only instances in which they are being a hostile takeover by garrisoning a facility with troops or a reconstruction by the player after a facility is destroyed by aliens. Both come with their obvious downsides one being a popularity issue and the other one of cashflow but this just makes it all the more important for the player to defend these assets, even if they aren't theirs. We will be implementing ways to make this easier for the player but there has been little discussion on this to date. One possibility is the ability to invest in automatic defense systems around these facilities which should hold off any attacks at least long enough for a force to arrive in defence or another could be the quick-response unit mentioned earlier which would serve a similar purpose.

View PostStVier, on 11th October 2009, 11:59pm, said:

The last thing I want to ask is: Would it better if the new game is away from Earth?

You've really got this down to a T SV, I'm starting to wonder if we have a leak! But yes this game is not set on Earth but it is still a prequel to the original games. This is no secret so you'll most likely find the answer you're looking for here on the Colonisation forums if you look hard enough! The location and technology level that our player's race will posess means we will not need to address and real issues such as the monotony of conventional weaponry however humanoid physiology will provide some limitations.

We are aiming to provide a large selection of weaponry for this game to keep every possible type of gamer happy. The players basic set includes only 3 different weapons for example but through basic development there are a total of 17 weapons available in the basic 'projectile' research tree. By offering several variants on a number of these weapons the basic research tree actually covers over 50 weapons each with their own speciality but there also exists a 'standard' weapon for each tier meaning that a player such as St Vier doesn't have any need to sample the variants other than curiosity or personal preference. For example a cautious player could go to war with all of the ranged variants hoping to keep out of enemy sight for longer or being less likely to get hit. An aggressive player on the other hand may decide to sacrifice some range in order to field harder hitting weapons hoping to take down enemies with fewer shots. The possibilities are endless but there is no requirement for the player to deal with the confusion of 50+ basic weapons if they would rath use the basic all-round variants.


I'm sure I wanted to say more than this so I may have missed some bits out and I apologise if its a bit choppy in places but the first time I wrote all of this up my san was sat on my lap and decided to log me out just before I posted it. Second time I tried he pressed the refresh button on my browser so now he's locked in a cupboard somewhere until I finish!

Feedback as always please chaps!
Welcome back to the wonderful world of Fan-fiction! (it's short for fantastic!)
Go check em out, UFO TFTD and Apocalypse all under one roof!!!

Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!

#16 Jman4117

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 04:37 PM

What is the state of material science?
What are the methods of power generation?
How small can power sources be to power say a tank sized laser cannon?
What about a small coilgun?
Can I vent plasma from a small fusion reactor down the barrel of my heavy plasma gun without melting myself?
How will waste heat from say a 100MW laser rifle be dealt with? I don't want to melt, remember. :oh:
How good are superconductors? Can I fire more than 10 shots without my energy gun melting in my hands?
"Guns aren't toys. They're for family protection, hunting dangerous or delicious animals, and keeping the King of England out of your face."
-- Krusty the Clown, "The Simpsons"

#17 The Veteran

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 07:53 PM

All very interesting question Jman but you're going to have to backpedal a bit! We haven't even started on advanced or alien weaponry yet so I can't really address any of those issues but I'll let you know when I do! lol We're much busier working on the geoscape right now and we also have another intersting task underway but it'll take time before that comes to fruition so you'll have to be patient I'm afraid! Thanks for your continued interest and input, we'll let you know about plasma as soon as we do! :oh:
Welcome back to the wonderful world of Fan-fiction! (it's short for fantastic!)
Go check em out, UFO TFTD and Apocalypse all under one roof!!!

Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!

#18 StVier

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 12:20 AM

Just a quick note about weapons then I'm off to continue playing X-Com 1...

Probably you guys have thought of it but 'variety' comes from the different combinations of

a) long-range/close-range
b) single shot / burst / auto capability
c) Projectile / Laser (or beam) / Advanced - Ion, particle or plasma etc.
d) Specialization required to use weapon (like in UFO: Aftershock)
e) Ammo type... but maybe not, because I personally find it quite tedious (and slightly redundant) to manufacture AP and JHP for 1 weapon, unless it's extremely linked to the next point...
f) Most important of all: Enemy resistance, which would ensure some weapons do not become obselete in favour of advanced technology.

Just by mixing a) and c), there are already 6 solid and functional types, which should cater to most style of playing. Miniscule differences between prototype A and prototype B such as 1 more point of damage but less 1m range should be avoided? Give players a true selection headache based on tactical play which, still is the heart of all X-Com combat.

#19 The Veteran

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 07:40 AM

Thanks again for your input SV. As I said we haven't really looked into further weapon sets too much so your thoughts are noted and we'll bear them in mind when we do start working on them! Personally I know what you mean regarding point e. but then as you said it is necessary once you introduce point f. I've never used specialist ammunition against any specific aliens in the old games, even though I'm well aware of the weaknesses of each! I think it's important to include regardless of my personal preference though, resilience to standard weaponry is a must and the same goes for specific more advanced weapons too.

Regarding  miniscule differences don't be confused into thinking there will only be a 1 meter difference in a weapon with developed range, there would be little point in that. Of course as I said earlier weapon ranges in these games always have been entirely realistuic due to the scale of the battlefield, what with UFO being 60x60m at most! Any half decent weapon can hit a target at that distance so we're pretty much free to set our own statistics from scratch, regardless of their standing in reality. There will be a big enough difference between the stats of modified weapons and those of the base weapon to make it worthwhile though and as stated they are simply an additional feature of the game, not a necessity for every player.
Welcome back to the wonderful world of Fan-fiction! (it's short for fantastic!)
Go check em out, UFO TFTD and Apocalypse all under one roof!!!

Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!

#20 Jman4117

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 11:52 PM

with that range thing... can it be an effective range estimate that's basically a function of the accuracy of the weapon? Maybe have a curve factored in to make it accurate in close then dropping off at range. With a cap on the accuracy that the soldier can't top. No matter how good he is at shooting, the weapon just isn't good enough to allow him to be his best.
"Guns aren't toys. They're for family protection, hunting dangerous or delicious animals, and keeping the King of England out of your face."
-- Krusty the Clown, "The Simpsons"




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