Putting the 'role' back in role-playing games since 2002.
Donate to Codex
Good Old Games
  • Welcome to rpgcodex.net, a site dedicated to discussing computer based role-playing games in a free and open fashion. We're less strict than other forums, but please refer to the rules.

    "This message is awaiting moderator approval": All new users must pass through our moderation queue before they will be able to post normally. Until your account has "passed" your posts will only be visible to yourself (and moderators) until they are approved. Give us a week to get around to approving / deleting / ignoring your mundane opinion on crap before hassling us about it. Once you have passed the moderation period (think of it as a test), you will be able to post normally, just like all the other retards.

Julian Gollop on XCOM: I would've gone with Turn-Based

Jason

chasing a bee
Joined
Jun 30, 2005
Messages
10,737
Location
baby arm fantasy island
<strong>[ Interview ]</strong>

There's an <a href="http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/5987/putting_the_xcom_in_xcom.php" target="_blank">interview on Gamasutra</a> with XCOM creative director Jonathan Pelling that goes over the now familiar talking points about how XCOM is actually staying true to the "core tenets" of X-COM.
<blockquote>When you speak of "core tenets", is that what you're referring to, those principles?

JP: Yeah. You know -- it's what makes XCOM XCOM. It's more of an emotional state. When you're playing the game, this is how I'm feeling, and that's the most important thing that we're trying to capture with this game. It's not so much the nitty-gritty mechanics, but translating that into something that still feels the same to play, that still achieves the same feelings in players that [the games] used to, but now in a much more modern way.
</blockquote>On a more interesting and less sphincter-tightening note is what <a href="http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/5987/putting_the_xcom_in_xcom.php#comment60946" target="_blank">Julian Gollop said</a> in the comments section:
<blockquote>Personally, I would have gone with a turn-based game system - but no one asked me. Actually, I was developing an X-Com style game called Dreamland back in 1999 - turn-based but 3D (actually very similar to Valkyria Chronicles in the way it worked). Sadly, it didn't see the light of day. </blockquote>Yes, I know Dreamland Chronicles might've sucked (multi-platform development is dangerous business), but it still <a href="http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/ufoaftermath/news.html?sid=2625035&mode=previews&page=1" target="_blank">sounds glorious</a> compared to what we've been stuck with.<p>Spotted @ <a href="http://www.gamasutra.com/">Gamasutra</a></p>
 

Ryuken

Liturgist
Joined
Feb 28, 2005
Messages
606
Location
Belgium
What he comments later on is pretty disheartening stuff as well:

Publishers run a mile from anything with turn-based mechanics - it is regarded as too niche. RTS games pretty much killed off turn-based strategy games in the mid-90s - but now even RTS games are regarded as niche. So all my experience working turn-based games from 1983-1997 is now somewhat obsolete, despite the success of X-Com. However, I am now working on a turn-based tactical RPG which will be a 3DS launch title. Thanks to 'Advance Wars', 'Fire Emblem' and 'Final Fantasy Tactics' it seems turn-based games are not totally dead - at least for Nintendo handhelds. I would also argue that Pokemon has a lot of parallels with X-Com in its game system, despite being classified as an 'RPG'. The core of Pokemon is a turn-based tactical battle enriched by a sophisticated higher level meta-game that allows players to experiment with many game elements and combinations of forces - and Pokemon is the second most successful game franchise in the world. If done right, would an X-Com game with a turn-based combat system be successful? Absolutely!
I'd be curious how much chance he would have if he would start knocking on Stardock's door or the door of Russian publishers. Those are the only ones who'd still want to make a proper turnbased game on PC.
 

Admiral jimbob

gay as all hell
Joined
Sep 29, 2009
Messages
9,225
Location
truck stops and toilet stalls
Wasteland 2
They keep going on and on about how they want to capture the whole suspense/fear of the unknown aspect of X-Com, that that's what they're focusing on. I know it's probably just hype because they realise it's the only thing they could possibly plausibly spin to the fanbase as being true to the original, but if by some miracle they do manage to replicate that in a console shooter about shotgunning blobs in suburbia, I'll be pretty interested.
 

Norfleet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 3, 2005
Messages
11,332
No shooter will ever capture the suspense of X-Com, because, frankly, after fighting mecha-Nazis and the ancient undead, going to Hell and back, and defeating the xenomorphs, nothing fazes you anymore. Because shooters are all the same damn game, and when it's a port of popamole console crap, it's going to be dead easy because compared to a consoletard, even a mediocre PC gamer is a headshot god.
 

Admiral jimbob

gay as all hell
Joined
Sep 29, 2009
Messages
9,225
Location
truck stops and toilet stalls
Wasteland 2
Norfleet said:
No shooter will ever capture the suspense of X-Com, because, frankly, after fighting mecha-Nazis and the ancient undead, going to Hell and back, and defeating the xenomorphs, nothing fazes you anymore. Because shooters are all the same damn game, and when it's a port of popamole console crap, it's going to be dead easy because compared to a consoletard, even a mediocre PC gamer is a headshot god.

Pretty much. In every "scary" shooter I've played, it's only suspenseful up until the point where I remind myself that I'm in total control of my character, loaded with firepower and able to survive any encounter as long as I'm skilled enough. It more or less kills any suspense the game had to offer. Take Doom 3, for example; the atmosphere in that got fucking tired after an hour or two anyway, but after a couple of rooms, I just reminded myself that I was the fucking Doomguy. The guy who launched a volley of rockets at John Romero's severed demon-king head.

The only successfully suspenseful FPS I've played was System Shock 2 (and Thief, if that even counts), and I have slight doubts that this will match the quality of that one.
 
In My Safe Space
Joined
Dec 11, 2009
Messages
21,899
Codex 2012
Julian Gollop is one of my favourite developers, together with Chris Taylor and Tim Cain.
 
Joined
May 11, 2007
Messages
1,876,181
Location
Belém do Pará, Império Brasileiro
No shooter will ever capture the suspense of X-Com, because, frankly, after fighting mecha-Nazis and the ancient undead, going to Hell and back, and defeating the xenomorphs, nothing fazes you anymore.

That's what I thought.

Until I played X-Com. Pretty much everything in X-Com is a dangerous killing machine, specially those goddamn Ethereals.
 

BethesdaLove

Arbiter
Joined
Aug 7, 2008
Messages
1,998
Frankly, I found XCOM to be interesting only in the first third of a game. If you had no armor and it was dark. Thats it. Rest of the game is overrated.

Devils advocate.

Lets start with the psychological aspect that MCDUMBFACE raised. And take for simplicitys sake a non interactive medium: film. Suspenseful it only is if you let it. Since at any moment you can realize that its not real and an evolution induced (you are a social animal -> empathy and so on) trick. You assume the circumstances in the picture to be real and place yourself onto the frames on the screen even if they have no character in it. You start to sympathize with the figures and let the movie "touch" you. In a horror/suspense movie the feeling you experience is "fear" or a part of it like tension or suspense.

Of course there is the important problem of implementation. If the film breaks your ridiculous-o-meter or the characters are shit in your opinion or the protagonist to be slaughtered by Jason is a God, the empathy crumbles and you dont care. The third case is important here because game characters are Gods among men. They are not what the vulnerable movie-goer meatbag is. But here we have our cue - "vulnerable".
Now lets take a look at an interactive medium like a game. How do you achieve empathy in an fps? Easy. Take the cue. Create the typical atmosphere. Done. Example? Penumbra.

So in conclusion there is no logical contradiction in fps <-> suspense. Its a question of implementation like so very often.

Ps: Sadly, good implemented suspense will still break apart after 2-3 hours. Your brain will adapt and get tired of it like mine did after the first few missions in XCOM or when I started bashing them zombie dogs in Penumbra, which I was afraid of at first.

Now the implementation. Can it actually be done in good way in an action FPS? Imo, yes. Lets assume FPS and the "art" from XCOM, ie 90s hardware, area 51 in the news, x-files, same weapons, greys, same audio.

Now let the strategic element stay as it in XCOM but change the tactical battles into FPS. You take with you up to X (how many your system can handle) blokes. You have the view of the highest ranked or the one with the most leadership. You have a HUD similar to the one XCOM lore, you have radio to HQ, minimap, squaddies. You can arm your squad and give orders similar to Road to Hill Something (shitty game) and the AI will find cover there or it will explore on its own in the direction you send it. Cover is sticky but the whole map mesh has values of cover with affect enemy "accuracy", direction of course plays a role too. But so it wont become popamole enemy accuracy is based on a probability to hit dependent on the time you stay in cover, cover, enemy stats, weather, enemy weapon. It approaches one. So if your enemy knows your are behind that concrete wall in a 5 m radius and you pop up after sitting there a 10 min, he will hit you with a 99% accuracy or his mates grenade you or flank you. This forces you to move or take action. Your accuracy on the other hand is player skill based but with stat, weapon influence. Kinda like Bloodlines with Firearms. Soldiers take damage like in XCOM but with limbs added. Heavy plasma to the stomach? Barn painted with guts. Sticking your weapon around a corner and hit with a plasma pistol? Arm gone like in Soldiers of Fortune. You die, you move to the highest ranked dude or the one with the highest leadership.

Rpg elements. Everything has weight. Make it a military simulation. Add original XCOM stats. Implement properly.

Enemy AI, the crux of the game. Defensive (hiding, poping behind cover) enemy AI if outnumbered by XCOM or really aggressive if outnumbering them to overrun those puny humans.. Plus a random element for the player not to get bored or find a pattern. Like sometimes a single alien will berserker rage and run at you shooting.
Once in a whole game the AI will cheat and put some aliens behind your back for you to experience an ambush.

Ironman. No saving in missions! Some of your bros died? Its war, baby.

Example:
Imagine a night mission with in a Gothic 3 (havent played it, seen fancy pr screenshots) style woods with sight range of 20 m, meaning pitch black, and plasma fire moving not fast enough to be invisible but fast enough for you being hopeless after noticing it incoming. Add dynamic lighting reflecting plasma glow of trees. And fire like in Far Cry 2 (i havent played it, only seen pr propaganda)
and destruction like in Crysis and mesh deformation as in some shooter I have seen a trailer of. Now image someone is shooting from the side at you! HQ screaming about contact. Mates screaming into radio with lost legs. You trying to find cover and the enemy!

Give me 1 billion dollars and I deliver you a worthy XCOM FPS.

edit

Jesus Christ, that the longest text I have written since school...
 

Tails

Arbiter
Joined
Nov 25, 2007
Messages
1,674
BethesdaLove said:
Frankly, I found XCOM to be interesting only in the first third of a game. If you had no armor and it was dark. Thats it. Rest of the game is overrated.
I wonder how many of people who claim that played X-COM games in Ironman mode, without re-loading during tactical part.
 
In My Safe Space
Joined
Dec 11, 2009
Messages
21,899
Codex 2012
BethesdaLove said:
Frankly, I found XCOM to be interesting only in the first third of a game. If you had no armor and it was dark. Thats it. Rest of the game is overrated.
I wonder how many of people who claim that played X-COM games in Ironman mode, without re-loading when something went wrong.
 

BethesdaLove

Arbiter
Joined
Aug 7, 2008
Messages
1,998
I ironmaned TFTD with my Orgasm alt in the Playground.
 

Tails

Arbiter
Joined
Nov 25, 2007
Messages
1,674
BethesdaLove said:
I ironmaned TFTD with my Orgasm alt in the Playground.
EU>TFTD, especially if goes about AI, which seems to have problems with TFTD terrains. Also Ship missions, which get tiresome and boring after few runs, not to mention they have same layout every time.
 

BethesdaLove

Arbiter
Joined
Aug 7, 2008
Messages
1,998
Tails said:
BethesdaLove said:
I ironmaned TFTD with my Orgasm alt in the Playground.
EU>TFTD, especially if goes about AI, which seems to have problems with TFTD terrains. Also Ship missions, which get tiresome and boring after few runs, not to mention they have same layout every time.

You are not trying to make a point, are you? The original statement still stands, e.g. psychological adaption.
I ironmaned EU on Superhuman once too (and thats metagaming!). It doesn't change anything I said.
 

Zomg

Arbiter
Joined
Oct 21, 2005
Messages
6,984
Comrade Gollop need only give the word and we will rise and kill the kulaks
 

Jason

chasing a bee
Joined
Jun 30, 2005
Messages
10,737
Location
baby arm fantasy island
However, I am now working on a turn-based tactical RPG which will be a 3DS launch title. Thanks to 'Advance Wars', 'Fire Emblem' and 'Final Fantasy Tactics' it seems turn-based games are not totally dead - at least for Nintendo handhelds.
So that's what he's been doing at Ubisoft Sofia. Not very reassuring, but on the other hand, I actually enjoyed the GBA title.
 

Norfleet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 3, 2005
Messages
11,332
BethesdaLove said:
Now let the strategic element stay as it in XCOM but change the tactical battles into FPS. You take with you up to X (how many your system can handle) blokes. You have the view of the highest ranked or the one with the most leadership.
Yeaaaah. You want me to trust the AI teammates in a shooter? Surely you jest. I bring my own ass, armed to the teeth. Everyone else is just there to pass me more ammo. I took out an entire Nazi dungeon armed with only a knife. I am Death Incarnate. This is gonna be a cakewalk. Even the toughest aliens in X-Com are nothing compared to taking down Huge Guards and Heinrich with only a knife. Do you have bigass chainguns instead of arms? Can you fire homing ghost projectiles? Have a whirly shield thing? No problem. I HAVE A KNIFE! I am Death Incarnate!
 

BethesdaLove

Arbiter
Joined
Aug 7, 2008
Messages
1,998
Shit, you could even have reaction fire in FPS and melee weapons.
High stat in reaction increases probability of bullet time triger if an enemy suddenly appears in close combat range. BAM.
 

GarfunkeL

Racism Expert
Joined
Nov 7, 2008
Messages
15,463
Location
Insert clever insult here
This is why we cannot have nice things anymore:

I'm really excited about the potential of this new X-Com for moving the FPS genre forward. Instead of the traditional sequential levels, they're introducing a dynamic mission generation system and tying that in with the overall objective of defending Earth from alien invaders. As an old school fan of dynamic simulations, I can dig that!

I can understand the disappointment in wanting a new X-Com that is like Starcraft II... same game with 2010 graphics tech. Well... that game is still there and you can still play it and have fun. If the original X-Coms had made as much money as Starcraft 1.0 then maybe you could justify remaking the same game and sprucing it up with advanced community features.

:x :x :x :x :x :x
 
In My Safe Space
Joined
Dec 11, 2009
Messages
21,899
Codex 2012
Good fucking God. How I hate reading shit like this. It's like taking a look at a completely alien, incomprehensible mind, like some kind of an inhuman alien insect. It's sickening.
*1 sanity point lost*
 

Tails

Arbiter
Joined
Nov 25, 2007
Messages
1,674
Nice finding, GarfunkeL...

BethesdaLove said:
You are not trying to make a point, are you?
I did in fact :smug:

The original statement still stands, e.g. psychological adaption.
Well your opinion was full of words that I don't where to start! anyway I guess that you claim that X-Com is overrated when you get Psi-Amp etc. which is granted, since it makes game easy as hell. Otherwise I can just say: no. But everything depends from taste ATM :)
 

Ed123

Arcane
Patron
Joined
Apr 24, 2010
Messages
15,170
Location
banal
Serpent in the Staglands Wasteland 2
Joined
Nov 8, 2007
Messages
6,207
Location
The island of misfit mascots
I think you're pulling a long straw if you're falling upon SUSPENSE to explain why you like turn based strategy. The strengths of TB are the ability to calmly plan out and execute a strategy without being hamstrung by reflexes or, for that matter, adrenaline. I remember even as a kid, first getting into TBS (and crpgs, for that matter) because they WEREN'T so fucking adrenaline-filled as the platformers and arcade games of the 80s. Any 'suspense' factor was merely due to my being new to computer games and hence being more easily immersed.

I'm not sure if computer games have ever done 'suspense' well. I agree with the guy earlier who said that suspense usually dies out after a few hours - I'd go further and point out in film that even the best suspense films dole out suspense in short bursts that make up maybe 2-5% of the screen time. Any more and it would fall apart. Similarly, I think that games can have successfully suspenseful chapters, or moments when a new type of enemy has just appeared and you haven't got a psychological handle on it yet, or plot-driven suspense. But games are meant to last 10+ hours, and strategy games are meant to be repeatable time and time again. If you're relying on suspense to be in any way an important part of what makes the game work, it's going to suck as a strategy game - because even executed well, it isn't going to be there for most of the playing experience.

In any event, there's no reason why 'suspense' can't be delivered as well in real-time or first-person or non-tactical gameplay. X-com, and TB strategy in general, is distinct because of....the strategy. That's why we didn't call them turn based suspense gaming.
 
In My Safe Space
Joined
Dec 11, 2009
Messages
21,899
Codex 2012
Azrael the cat said:
I think you're pulling a long straw if you're falling upon SUSPENSE to explain why you like turn based strategy. The strengths of TB are the ability to calmly plan out and execute a strategy without being hamstrung by reflexes or, for that matter, adrenaline.
Enemy turn, reaction shots, uncertain results of actions. IIRC also, the screen centered on dying soldiers, while in RT such things often don't attract attention.

Azrael the cat said:
In any event, there's no reason why 'suspense' can't be delivered as well in real-time or first-person or non-tactical gameplay. X-com, and TB strategy in general, is distinct because of....the strategy. That's why we didn't call them turn based suspense gaming.
Most of such games would be too "difficult"/"boring" for the next-gen crowd.
 

zeitgeist

Magister
Joined
Aug 12, 2010
Messages
1,443
Awor Szurkrarz said:
Most of such games would be too "difficult"/"boring" for the next-gen crowd.
Tactical turn-based console RPGs are a very viable niche genre in Japan and they do pretty well in the rest of the world when they get ported. I'm sure there would be a more than large enough market for a real XCOM not only on the PC but on the consoles and handhelds as well.

Most of the XCOM clones (sadly including Gollop's own games) failed to achieve similar popularity not because there was no market for them, but because they were really bad and uninspired games, not to mention the complete lack of advertising.
 

As an Amazon Associate, rpgcodex.net earns from qualifying purchases.
Top Bottom