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Gollop on X-COM Remake

Eurogamer.net talks with XCOM: Enemy Unknown producer Jake Solomon and original X-COM designer Julian Gollop about how the new installment in the series lives up to its forebears. "I think Firaxis has done a great job," Julian Gollop told them. "The game is addictive and absorbing, not to mention quite challenging on the classic difficulty setting."

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48. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 30, 2012, 04:54 Raptor
 
Ah, but in this game distance doesn't play any role at all as far as I've understood. (maybe only with the shotgun)

Line of sight seems strange as well since sometimes they tend to shoot through walls.

I do like the extra animation of breaking the window though when making a shot next to it.

Also I don't understand how you can shoot down a small UFO and it has like 5 races on board who all survive even though the UFO is a wreck.
In the original games I sometimes landed and the mission ended straight away since the only 2 sectoids on board were both killed in the crash. Or you could destroy the UFO completely if attacking a small one with too powerful weapons.
 
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47. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 29, 2012, 17:47 Wowbagger_TIP
 
I do get annoyed that my snipers tend to miss 90%+ shots fairly regularly. That's just kind of ridiculous. They need to revisit the calculations for those I think. If a sniper has a clear line of sight to something less than 100 yards away, and the target isn't something crazy fast, he should have essentially a 100% chance. My guys miss zombies at 20 yards  
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46. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 29, 2012, 07:55 rist3903
 

It doesn't lend itself to easy sequels, that is for sure.

This comment was edited on Nov 29, 2012, 08:01.
 
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45. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 29, 2012, 05:27 KilgoreTrout
 
I am talking about big ideas, not that piddly stuff. If the sequel is underwater like Terror was, it is pretty similar to adding a double-barreled shotgun to Doom and calling it a sequel.

Yeah, Terror from the Deep was a bit silly. It really just felt as if they rehashed everything with different textures. The underwater combat was just like regular combat. You could even throw grenades. Under the water. That killed the immersion for me.

The problem is mainly one of lore/story I think. It would be pretty easy to do a sequel with more missions, new gameplay features, enemies, graphics etc. But how would you fit it into the X-com world? The charm of X-com is to gradually reveal the alien conspiracy and their technology. After the first game mankind already has access to all that. Then you either have to set the game far into the future (like some later orginal X-com sequels) or try to invent some excuse for a new storyline (TFTD). Or maybe reset the knowledge gained through some convoluted story twist. They all kinda suck.
 
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44. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 29, 2012, 01:12 jdreyer
 
Prez wrote on Nov 28, 2012, 16:34:
The new X-COM is a dream come true for me. It's not entirely the full X-COM experience because it lacks some pretty significant staples of the series (I absolutely LOVED the base invasions - they were gloriously challenging and tense and I miss them terribly) but what is there is exquisite. I was a major skeptic about this game but a few regulars pushed me into buying it (thanks djLith!) and I absolutely loved it. The enemy re-designs are across-the-board fantastic, and I am a convert of the new 2-action-per-turn system, even though when announced I thought they were sacrilege (how could they remove my action points????). I can't give enough kudos to Firaxis on the job they did with this modern-day remolding of a classic franchise.

Totally agree Prez. I'm loving it.
 
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43. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 29, 2012, 01:02 Creston
 
Mikus_Aurelius wrote on Nov 28, 2012, 19:33:
Thanks for elaborating. I still think that which stats are "fair" and which are "bullshit" is relative and a matter of opinion. I think I could easily say that normal is "bullshit" because they nerfed the aliens, relative to classic. Classic tactical as a whole is manageable with proper tactics. If classic aliens were any less dangerous, it wouldn't be interesting for me personally. Some players are even able to handle the "bonuses" in impossible (not me).

Yeah some people don't mind so much, whereas I think it's just cheap. It's not a huge bonus either, though my first classic game it sure seemed a lot worse than +10% on both. Maybe they toned it down in a patch.


I do think it was a mistake for them not to include a difficulty level between normal and classic, because that seems to be where a lot of their player base wants to play.

I think most players would settle for the game not screwing them over purely randomly. In my last game, it conjured up a huge UFO at the end of month 2, over the USA. The USA which at the time was already at 4 panic (together with 5 panic for Canada, which already HAD a fucking satellite and apparently just ignored that fact.)

I couldn't shoot the UFO down (3 fighters in a row would bite the dust against it), so the panic would just spike in the entire north american continent, and at the end of the month the US and Canada and Mexico would leave.

That's just bullshit. That has nothing to do with difficulty or "Well, it's XCOM!" That's just random thugfuckery.


Finally a couple corrections on game mechanics, just to be helpful (I hope)

- The 5 alien limit is in normal, not classic (I'm pretty sure)

I'm talking about 5 aliens being ACTIVE in a map at any one time in vanilla Xcom. There can be 20+ aliens on the map, but only 5 of them will be actively moving, unless you happen to stumble on another group.

When mods turn that off, ALL aliens are moving from the very first turn, which is why the terror missions become so crazy fucking hard, because the aliens are right in the midst of these peasants, and every round like 2 or 3 die.

- More powerful aliens appear by time, not by player power. I've had mutons appear when I had plasma, and when I was still on ballistic weapons. If you don't tech up and get your soldiers killed, you'll be facing muton elites with rookies and assault rifles.

Okay, that's certainly possible. I tend to follow a fairly strict build and upgrade path (because it works and everything else tends to fail), so I typically get plasma at about the same time.

- It's totally possible to win the game without pushing sats hard. My current game my sats by month were 2, 4, 5, 5, 7, 12, 14 (alien base in month 3). Maybe it's not the optimal strategy, but it worked fine.

I honestly think you got lucky there. Which is fine, but so far every game in which I haven't bothered with satellites and nothing but, it's basically game over by month 4.

Creston
 
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42. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 29, 2012, 00:54 Creston
 
Orogogus wrote on Nov 28, 2012, 19:23:
Creston wrote on Nov 28, 2012, 18:49:
Galciv II still has the best AI I've ever seen in a strategic game. And as far as I know, it doesn't cheat. Playing that on the top 2 difficulty levels is basically asking to get your ass handed to you on a silver platter.

Galciv II AIs do cheat starting a little past the middle setting (i.e., past "Intelligent").

http://www.stardock.com/screenshots/cheatquery/
- Developer notes that high level AIs get extra money and at the highest level mostly ignore fog of war

http://galciv.wikia.com/wiki/Difficulty_level
- Wikia notes that game difficulties post-1.5 give up to 400% economy/production/research bonuses, as well as miniaturization and sensors

I wasn't really sure anymore whether they did or not, so I stand corrected.

Even so, it's still just a kick-ass AI.

Creston
 
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41. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 29, 2012, 00:32 rist3903
 
KilgoreTrout wrote on Nov 28, 2012, 19:11:
Now that they have gone through the source material, will they be able to come up with something innovative? I very much hope so.
I have an idea! They could make it so that it is UNDER WATER for the sequel. Like, aliens terrorizing from the deeps! They don't even have to change anything: Just say it's underwater, remove some buildings and add some kelp. Next!
I am talking about big ideas, not that piddly stuff. If the sequel is underwater like Terror was, it is pretty similar to adding a double-barreled shotgun to Doom and calling it a sequel.

Although I must admit that for this game it annoyed me quite a bit to shoot them down over the ocean and then load up a land assault. Where did that land come from?

 
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40. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 28, 2012, 20:26 Jivaro
 
Krizzen wrote on Nov 28, 2012, 19:45:
Mikus_Aurelius wrote on Nov 28, 2012, 17:50:
Again, are there games I'm missing with smarter and smarter AI to challenge the best players

Yes, Starcraft.

LOL
 
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39. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 28, 2012, 19:45 Krizzen
 
Mikus_Aurelius wrote on Nov 28, 2012, 17:50:
Again, are there games I'm missing with smarter and smarter AI to challenge the best players

Yes, Starcraft.
 
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38. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 28, 2012, 19:33 Mikus_Aurelius
 
Thanks for elaborating. I still think that which stats are "fair" and which are "bullshit" is relative and a matter of opinion. I think I could easily say that normal is "bullshit" because they nerfed the aliens, relative to classic. Classic tactical as a whole is manageable with proper tactics. If classic aliens were any less dangerous, it wouldn't be interesting for me personally. Some players are even able to handle the "bonuses" in impossible (not me).



I do think it was a mistake for them not to include a difficulty level between normal and classic, because that seems to be where a lot of their player base wants to play.

Creston wrote on Nov 28, 2012, 18:49:
Galciv II still has the best AI I've ever seen in a strategic game. And as far as I know, it doesn't cheat. Playing that on the top 2 difficulty levels is basically asking to get your ass handed to you on a silver platter.

That's interesting to hear. I still think its the exception rather than the rule, and if I refused to play any game where difficulty levels changed game stats/mechanics, I'd miss out on many good games.

Finally a couple corrections on game mechanics, just to be helpful (I hope)

- The 5 alien limit is in normal, not classic (I'm pretty sure)

- More powerful aliens appear by time, not by player power. I've had mutons appear when I had plasma, and when I was still on ballistic weapons. If you don't tech up and get your soldiers killed, you'll be facing muton elites with rookies and assault rifles.

- It's totally possible to win the game without pushing sats hard. My current game my sats by month were 2, 4, 5, 5, 7, 12, 14 (alien base in month 3). Maybe it's not the optimal strategy, but it worked fine.

This comment was edited on Nov 28, 2012, 19:41.
 
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37. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 28, 2012, 19:23 Orogogus
 
Creston wrote on Nov 28, 2012, 18:49:
Galciv II still has the best AI I've ever seen in a strategic game. And as far as I know, it doesn't cheat. Playing that on the top 2 difficulty levels is basically asking to get your ass handed to you on a silver platter.

Galciv II AIs do cheat starting a little past the middle setting (i.e., past "Intelligent").

http://www.stardock.com/screenshots/cheatquery/
- Developer notes that high level AIs get extra money and at the highest level mostly ignore fog of war

http://galciv.wikia.com/wiki/Difficulty_level
- Wikia notes that game difficulties post-1.5 give up to 400% economy/production/research bonuses, as well as miniaturization and sensors
 
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36. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 28, 2012, 19:11 KilgoreTrout
 
Now that they have gone through the source material, will they be able to come up with something innovative? I very much hope so.

I have an idea! They could make it so that it is UNDER WATER for the sequel. Like, aliens terrorizing from the deeps! They don't even have to change anything: Just say it's underwater, remove some buildings and add some kelp. Next!
 
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35. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 28, 2012, 18:49 Creston
 
Mikus_Aurelius wrote on Nov 28, 2012, 17:50:
Creston wrote on Nov 28, 2012, 10:39:
It's just too bad that the challenge comes from the AI cheating and purely random shit happening to you that you can't do anything about. It's not a difficulty where the AI simply plays smarter than you do; it just cheats instead.
Creston

I honestly don't understand this complaint about this or any other game. I'm not saying it's invalid. But basically, an enemy that has 30% chance to crit on normal has a 40% chance to crit on classic. Is this "cheating?" Why are the enemy statistics on one difficult level considered "fair" and on another "cheating?" The game is asymmetric, it's not like their sectoids are better than your sectoids. I'm happy to entertain a fuller explanation of this complaint, but for now I guess I just don't get it.

My soldiers crit based off the weapon. On Normal, the aliens crit based off their weapon (which is plasma for all of them, but still). Why do they, on Classic, suddenly Crit +10%? I can sort of see the aim bonus for certain enemies (and most certainly fucking not for lumbering brutes like a Muton) like perhaps a sectoid, or a thin man. but a CRIT bonus? That's just horseshit. What, does it know exactly how to fire the weapon so that it hurts more?

Having to give an AI shitty bonuses like that is cheating. It's the same as in an RTS where at higher difficulty levels, the AI doesn't get any smarter, it just starts getting a 25% discount on its creation costs and time, or an FPS dev who implement a higher difficulty level by just making the enemy hit you for 50% more damage, while you hit them for 50% less damage. It's pure fucking laziness.

And it's stupid that it's in Xcom, because Classic is already harder than normal because

A) You get more opponents (which is how difficulty should be done) and
B) The AI isn't gimped like it is on normal and easy.

So why the stupid bonus? Why not just add a few more enemies to the map, and simply turn off the "5 NPC limit" on classic? (which most mods actually do, which makes terror missions truly terrifying. After five turns there will only be like 5 civilians left.)



I've been playing games a long time. I've gotten over the fact that game AI will never scale infinitely, and instead strategy games will challenge me by presenting opponents that are stronger instead of more intelligent. Certainly this has been the case in every strategy game I've ever played on a computer, except maybe Chess. Again, are there games I'm missing with smarter and smarter AI to challenge the best players?

Galciv II still has the best AI I've ever seen in a strategic game. And as far as I know, it doesn't cheat. Playing that on the top 2 difficulty levels is basically asking to get your ass handed to you on a silver platter.


My personal criticism of the game is that it needs much more operational pressure in the mid and late game. The first couple months of classic feel about right, but after you get a decent income, and eventually full satellite coverage, the aliens never really do anything to break your momentum. The tactical game similarly becomes trivial once you have mid level soldiers and gear. If I survive the first month, I generally finish the game with maybe 1-2 more casualties total.

Which is a side-effect of the entire "strategy" game just revolving around getting satellites in the air. Nothing else matters. So once you have every country provided with a sat, the threat is basically over, because the only thing the "strategy" game had to challenge you with was the rampant panic. And the only counter is satellites.

And the aliens "upgrading" right as you do feels so gimmicky. If they have Muton Elites, why aren't those being used in the earlier missions? Why is it that if I storm the Alien base with a squad full of under-equipped rookies, the Aliens have 3 sectoids and a Crysallid for protection, while if you go in with 6 guys with full plasma and arch-angel armor, they have Elites, mechas, and everything else?

Again, I still love the game, and Warspace does make it a lot better. It's just annoying that I have to use Warspace to get around the crappy design decisions (especially because mods are such a bitch to get to run.)

Creston
 
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34. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 28, 2012, 18:16 1badmf
 
Beelzebud wrote on Nov 28, 2012, 15:22:
It really is a great game. Is it perfect? Nope, but neither was the original. I'm happy to see it be a success, because we've heard a lot of talk recently about how turn-based games with isometric camera angles are "no fun" and no one wants to play them. This game helped prove to the "AAA" publishers that all of that talk was bullshit.

I can't help it, but just imagine if Fallout 3 had been done in this style, like the original games.

i would heartily argue that - the original xcom was a *PERFECT* game for the day and technology of its release. no flaws that couldn't be attributed to tech limits of the day, and a whole hell of a lot of unexpected gameplay innovations.

i enjoyed this game a lot, but couldn't help feeling disappointed that in spite of 20 years on of technology, it's not as good as the original. certainly artificial limits don't help (tiny inventory, inexcusable misses), but there was no reason to remove base attacks, or multiple bases among other things. also, i was at least hoping they would turn the UFO interceptions into a fun minigame, if not a pretty deep flight sim. i always lamented how tech limits at the time probably forced the dev to take out (or not make) what was potentially a thrilling aspect of the game, but i fully expected with current tech they'd finally implement the rich dogfight experience i was hoping for, or at least something better than what turned out to be probably a 10 megabyte minigame.

the historical march of progress has always been that we stand on the shoulders of giants (thanks jeff goldblum!) and improve on what they did for us, but in this case i think they just gave him a better suit while they slightly lobotomized him.
 
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33. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 28, 2012, 17:58 Beamer
 
Certainly the AI is better than in the original X-COM, where it consisted mostly of walking forward, turning around, walking back to the original spot, possibly firing a shot, walking forward again, possibly firing a shot, and ending the turn out in the open, right?

Or the chrysalis, which walked up, maybe zombified your guy, walked back, maybe zombified again, then ended the turn out in the open.
 
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32. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 28, 2012, 17:50 Mikus_Aurelius
 
Creston wrote on Nov 28, 2012, 10:39:
It's just too bad that the challenge comes from the AI cheating and purely random shit happening to you that you can't do anything about. It's not a difficulty where the AI simply plays smarter than you do; it just cheats instead.
Creston

I honestly don't understand this complaint about this or any other game. I'm not saying it's invalid. But basically, an enemy that has 30% chance to crit on normal has a 40% chance to crit on classic. Is this "cheating?" Why are the enemy statistics on one difficult level considered "fair" and on another "cheating?" The game is asymmetric, it's not like their sectoids are better than your sectoids. I'm happy to entertain a fuller explanation of this complaint, but for now I guess I just don't get it.

I've been playing games a long time. I've gotten over the fact that game AI will never scale infinitely, and instead strategy games will challenge me by presenting opponents that are stronger instead of more intelligent. Certainly this has been the case in every strategy game I've ever played on a computer, except maybe Chess. Again, are there games I'm missing with smarter and smarter AI to challenge the best players?

My personal criticism of the game is that it needs much more operational pressure in the mid and late game. The first couple months of classic feel about right, but after you get a decent income, and eventually full satellite coverage, the aliens never really do anything to break your momentum. The tactical game similarly becomes trivial once you have mid level soldiers and gear. If I survive the first month, I generally finish the game with maybe 1-2 more casualties total.
 
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31. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 28, 2012, 17:42 Steele Johnson
 
goty for me so far. I've spent more time playing this game than any other. Very addictive!  
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30. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 28, 2012, 17:38 Creston
 
Prez wrote on Nov 28, 2012, 16:34:
The new X-COM is a dream come true for me. It's not entirely the full X-COM experience because it lacks some pretty significant staples of the series (I absolutely LOVED the base invasions - they were gloriously challenging and tense and I miss them terribly) but what is there is exquisite. I was a major skeptic about this game but a few regulars pushed me into buying it (thanks djLith!) and I absolutely loved it. The enemy re-designs are across-the-board fantastic, and I am a convert of the new 2-action-per-turn system, even though when announced I thought they were sacrilege (how could they remove my action points????). I can't give enough kudos to Firaxis on the job they did with this modern-day remolding of a classic franchise.

I love everything about the combat. The combat sessions are fantastic, and I'd even learned to grudgingly accept the bullshit cheat bonuses the AI gets on Classic and above.

It's the "strategy" part of the game that I just really don't like. And it's only a few months, because after that you're fine, but did nobody at Firaxis realize "Hmm, maybe being forced to do nothing but churn out 15 satellites first in every single new game you play gets a bit boring???"

And I wish there were a few fewer "go after the UFO" missions. I enjoy the missions in the cities much more than the UFO missions, not the least because the city ones at least vary. The only thing that ever varies in the UFO mission is the size of the UFO and if it's on the left corner, the right corner or smack dab in the top center of the map.

But sadly you get like 30 of those versus 10 city missions in a typical playthrough

Creston
 
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29. Re: Gollop on X-COM Remake Nov 28, 2012, 17:10 dj LiTh
 
While not perfect, i dont think anything could ever be honestly...this game is worthy the name xcom. Hopefully it will only get better.  
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