Hey Catwalk thanks for your response and an awful lot of feedback, it's exactly what we need to see in community topics like this! And don't worry that you have some agreements, some disagreements and some hatchet flailing moments, it's all good as constructive criticism! So now as the lead I guess it's my turn to comment on your thoughts which will give me great pleasure so here goes and prepare for a lengthy post!
I'm old fashioned, and concerned that a real-time or hybrid model would detract from the game. Both because there's a risk of basically having to develop two games in order to accomodate both modes, if that's the plan, as well as taking away from the comfort factor of X-Com.
We certainly don't want to detract from the value of the original game and a big part of this project is down to us balancing what was great about the originals and really doesn't need changing and what could be done differently to enhance gameplay. Now while you're right that turn-based is the classic way to play XCom it is not the way the next generation of gamers are used to working so it's important we cater for these younger gamers in order to bring the franchise a whole new player base.
That said your concerns are duly noted and personally I imagine I will myself play the game in a turn-based mode for nostalgia reasons! The biggest difficulty with the option of using both realtime and turn-based modes is as you say the balance and the need to create 2 modes of play. This is not an excuse for lacklustre coding or simple AI however and both realtime and turn-based will both be given our full attention when the time comes to provide the best possible outome in both scenarios.
Something which I think may ease your concerns is a specific settings feature which will be available at all times during the game (save mid-battle) but will be selected at the beginning of a campaign along with difficulty. This will be a mode select where the player will decide if they want to have a 'classic' or 'modern' gameplay experience which will effect several aspects of the game including battlescape control.
when the enemy has shown itself you did not need to shoot each shot individually. Soldiers started shooting by themselves, all of them!
Is this really a good thing? Can I trust the soldiers to shoot in a sensible manner on their own, or will I have to check all instructions?
I agree this is not necessarily a good thing and it is not a feature we are currently looking to implement for either turn-based or realtime models. What we are considering introducing is the 'soldier psychology' reaction however which will be very similar to the original 'reaction fire' feature of the original games but with more variables including courage and wrecklessness.
As mentioned earlier in the thread by myself the affect of these statistics will determine a soldiers immediate action on confronting an enemy. Brave and wreckless troopers will stand ground and open fire before contacting their CO for example which in this case is our player while cowarldy soldiers will take cover immediately and then radio in the contact.
This will have the same effect in real-time or turn-based mode but will occur in different ways. In a turn-based game for example a soldier witnessing an alien part-way through carrying out a move order (unless the alien was already known to the player) will immediately carry out their psychological response, be it taking cover or opening fire, and then the player will regain control of the situation. In realtime the same scenario will occur but once the move is created the game will pause to allow new orders.
Of course if every soldier on the battlefield behaved in an odd way then the game could get rather frustrating with every soldier being ultimately disobedient to their written orders. That is why a model trooper will simply stand their ground and immediately call in the threat before reacting. Troopers with psychological traits which cause abnormal behaviour will have the option of training or disciplinary actions after a mission in which they have disobeyed protocol in order to provide the player with a better more professional team in future operations.
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.
Is this philosphy compatible with giving players what they want?
As I've already said the game will be released with both modes of gameplay open to the player to allow for both old and new players to get the most from the game. When I say we should market this primarily as a realtime game I am of course referring only to the genre. Primarily the game will be advertised as an XCom title and so the genre will not form part of the decision making process when a hardened XCommer picks up the game. Besides if someone gets so far as to read the games blurb they will instantly realise that a turn-based play mode is available and essentially the fact it is available in both modes will not detract from its value at all but almost certainly expand it's target audience.
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.
Are you sure that this isn't one of the reasons why X-Com was popular? It was very much a God-game. You had full control over the actions of your soldiers. It was comfortable.
I absolutely disagree. A God Game does not feature panicking or berserk soldiers and tends not to include unpredictable or unavoidable situations occurring such as base invasions and randomly spawning spacecraft intent on your demise. We control the troops in any XCom game by acting as a commanding officer and issuing orders hence the need for a player to feel in control but we cannot dictate their morale or change their personal characteristics.
I won't go into more detail on this one right now but there's probably more to be said so please do feel free to quote me again in your next post!
Ideally, the game should be as realistic as possible
This is where I disagree violently! *flails a hatchet* Gameplay should always come before realism
Left out the reasons why you feel so violently about this one to make an already large post slightly smaller but they're visible above in your post!
Bear in mind we are discussing a game set 65million years ago on an alien planet which involves anti-gravitational technology and dozens of ficticious lifeforms. When I say it should be as realistic as possible I don't mean we should create a game where the player controls an avatar who spends 90% of his time checking facebook and the other 10% sleeping. I believe it's been taken rather out of context in fact as I think this was in reference to troop psychology which as I've already explained was featured in the original games and is an element which is totally out of our control and therefore must be addressed to create an exciting and interesting battlescape experience.
The idea that the troopers we control are autonomous beings with no thought for their own safety and only enough brains to kneel when under fire if their CO told them to is absurd and this is what I am referring to when I say realism. I'm not imagining that private Jenkins will submit an annual leave pass in the middle of January therefore leaving the mission to UFO-017 3 men short as sergeant OConnor is suffering from shellshock and corporal Higgins is attending a family funeral.
It's all about reaching the right balance of gameplay so don't worry that it'll become a battle simulator and stop being a fun game. Just think of it as the addition of a few new features to make sure you're good enough to beat the alien before we actually give you a chance to try and take out the tachyon beam emitter at Cydonia!
I agree with the arguments about more efficient time usage that have been brought up. I'd like to make a final plea for a turn based model which is rooted in those arguments
I've covered it at least twice, you will get your turn-based mode. All you are doing with your pleas for it is trying to deprive players who would prefer a realtime setting of an option they would enjoy as well! However I'll address your points below as I appreciate all of your feedback not just the stuff I agree with!
1) Allow waypoints. It was argued that with RT you can plot a route for clearing an area and then have your troops execute it speedily. Why not in turn based as well?
Waypoints simply will not work in a turn-based environment as there is absolutely no need for them. A good use for waypoints is in a realtime setting where you are advancing a team of a dozen men through winding corridors all at the same time so as to provide effective cover at all times for example...
In turn-based you control one soldier at a time and while you are doing so noone else is moving or shooting or doing anything at all. Essentially you would be adding an extra mouseclick to your move order by having to hit the 'execute' button after setting up the waypoints. And how much fun is it when after setting up seven waypoints you step round the corner and see an enemy automatically cancelling the other waypoints anyway.
2) Speed up the firing process. When pressing f, switch the cursor to targeting mode and display all relevant information either next to the cursor or below somewhere. Pressing f again will cycle through the firing modes. You will still be able to get an overview of the firing modes by clicking on the weapon.
Sounds like a good idea for both turn based and realtime gameplay in my opinion, especially in a realtime situation when an enemy has already been engaged and you are moving additional soldiers into position to attack it. In this case you would not be faced with an automatic pause or a psychological reaction so a hotkey for functions such as 'take cover', 'kneel' and 'fire' would essentially allow any new soldiers to instantly enter the battle without the tedium of pausing the game.
Another alternative would be to allow the queueing of actions as you mentioned previously (but in realtime only) in order to issue movement, position and engagement orders all at once and have the trooper carry all of these orders out once gameplay continues without need for further micromanagement.
3) Allow replay of the alien turn. This lets you use the highest speed settings by default and if there's anything important you need to check up on you have the replay.
This is essentially a reload and therefore could never be allowed. If a player is so desperate to finish the game that they can't even be bothered to watch the aliens turn then they shouldn't be playing it in the first place. Additionally they certainly don't deserve a reminder of something they decided it wasn't worth paying attention to in the first place. I play scrabble, cluedo and happy families and in none of them do I repeat my turn to family members who weren't listening the first time round!
Again thanks a lot for your feedback Catwalk I'm off to see your new thread in the Colonisation forums now so probably won't sleep for a few more hours tonight! Please reciprocate on my thoughts as I have yours and feel free to wield your hatchet as oft as you wish! All input is good input after all and thanks for your support. It's very much appreciated.