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#1 gangsta

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 04:39 AM

We talked a bit about the multiplayer thing before but it never got resolved. I think that everybody here agrees that the most important part of the remake is that it stays true to the feel that the first two games had. We also want the game to be multiplayer and here is were the problems come in. The multiplayer part has to be implemented so that the player still feels he is playing the original.

Now we have two extreem cases of how a multiplayer X-Com could be implemented. 1) Each player controls a whole squad and 2) each player controls one soldier in a squad. I don't think either is good when it comes to a multiplayer version. (1 we still can implement for single player mode). With 1) we have two sub cases. a) Each player plays his own battlescape or b. plays a battle scape with other players.

Problems: 1a) this is too much like the single player version that a multiplayer game might not be needed. 1b) too many men moving around. Will get boring. 2) In X-Com a soldiers death is a very common thing and those going out of the Skyranger first usualy get killed first. Not fair to those players. and it sucks having to watch others play.

Solution: Each player gets to control 4 soldiers and X-Com squads are seperated into groups of 4 players. That way if a player soldier get's wasted he will have 4 other guys to play. team mates communicate with each other over live chat like they do in other online games. a sub squad of 4 gets into trouble they can radio in a team mate for help. Now modification to the skyranger would be that it holds 16 instead of 14 soldiers. That way 4 people from a group can play a battle scape together. Using 16 instead of 14 as the default for the skyranger means that we will have to make the game harder :)
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#2 gangsta

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 04:51 AM

Also for a team the size of 1 that player controls all the people in a squad. team sizes of 2 and 3 will have squads seperated into groups of 2 (8 soldiers each). 4 and higher is as the above post states :)
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#3 Timil

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 07:13 AM

Hum... alien control? :P

Each player would have their bases no?

Or a squad based game? Player choose what agent to use before the assault.
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#4 5parrowhawk

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 08:55 AM

I think a possibility would be to let each player have a separate base. Players could also elect to cooperatively control 1 base, so you could have 4 players, 2 bases.
Funding would be separate for each base - with two possible options. One, for more cooperative play, the funding is always split evenly. Two, to spice things up a bit, the funding is dependent on how well each base is scoring :D.

Each base function - research, manufacturing, base building, air interceptions, etc - is given to one of the players controlling that base - the other cannot interfere :) although the players may agree to trade places at any time.
E.G. Adam is handling research, base building and purchasing at "Area 51". Bob is in charge of manufacturing and air interceptions. Bob can access the Research screen, but cannot change anything on it. Likewise Adam can view an interception in progress but cannot issue orders to the air units. However, Bob CAN purchase items related to his given portfolio - that is, he is free to hire and fire engineers and pilots, or buy and sell aircraft and airborne weapons and equipment.

With regards to ground actions, when the Skyranger arrives at a crash site or landed UFO, the controlling player has a 3rd option - "Loiter". In this case the Skyranger hovers above the crash site indefinitely. If the UFO appears to be about to take off (about 1-2 minutes of game time in advance) the player will be informed and asked if he wants to begin the attack. The purpose of this option is to allow a second Skyranger, either from the same base or from another base, to reach the crash site so the mission can be performed cooperatively.

As for how to do squads:

Apoc handled squad assignments pretty well; the new game could take a leaf out of its book. Simply have a 3-part screen:

On the left, a narrow tabbed sidebar:
The first tab shows all the agents' names and designations (HW, SNP, etc), with miniportraits like Apoc. Players can right-click on the names to bring up a dialog box with the soldier's stats. In this dialog box they can rename the soldier if desired. Another option would be to give the soldier a designation from a drop-down box (HW, SNP, etc) - this would assist in creating preset squad configs - see below.
The second tab shows all the available weapons and equipment. Guns appear in a horizontal arrangement, a break from the traditional X-Com vertical arrangement to make them fit the vertical sidebar nicely. Instead of having a separate picture for each individual item, items of the same type would be grouped together like so:

(pic of assault rifle): 10
(pic of rifle clip): 20
(pic of autocannon): 3

and so on.
A separate tab for HWPs would be a possibility.

On the middle to right, a box showing each player's name, together with 2 bars underneath. One shows the portraits of the agents under his command; the other shows the equipment he has chosen. Again, players can rollover the portrait to show the soldier's name, or right-click it to bring his stats up. Right-clicking the PLAYER's name brings up a more detailed screen showing the troops and equipment he/she has chosen.

At the bottom, the chat window, together with a row of buttons - the standard "ready button", etc.


Players simply click a soldier portrait or item icon, then click on their own name to choose that soldier or item. In the case of expendables like ammo and grenades (possibly weapons and other stuff too), they will be prompted to select the number of that item they want. The system will be "first come first serve" - i.e. whoever clicks OK first, or drops the soldier into their roster first, gets it. They can also do the reverse - click on the soldier or item, then click on the sidebar to put it back.

A possibility would be to allow players to save weapon or squad configs, so they could (say) select "Rifle Team - Weapons" from a drop-down box, and the game would give them, say, 4 rifles, 8 clips, 8 nades, 2 stun rods, 2 medkits and 4 personal armour. If any of these are not available, the remainder will be chosen and the player will see a dialog detailing exactly what's not available. As for squad configs, the player could select "Rifle Team" and the computer would automatically choose 4 agents with the RFL designation for him (see why I said designations should be set separately above?), or "Heavy Weapon Team" (3 HWs, 1 RFL), etc.

Oh, right. One more suggestion. Let the players give their troops custom miniportraits! That would be really cool...

#5 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 09:57 AM

It should be scalable.

From two player, one entirely controling each side, or one overall commander who assigns responcibility to his subordinate (both players the same side -vs- the 'puter).

Scaling up is pretty much the same all on one side or two sides each with a "supreme" commander for each side who doles out responcibility.

That responcibility could vary form this one unit to half the squad or the whole squad, or just being a pilot or being all pilots or whatever.

The overall command controls the money and any other tasks he cares to have.

#6 5parrowhawk

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 10:07 AM

How would you manage the alien side of things? Maybe the aliens work by a score/requisition system; the commander of the "Ethereal Expeditionary Force" can requisition new and better gadgets, or the ability to conduct missions such as subverting countries, from his alien overlords if he scores well enough :)

The thing is that the game is slanted in the aliens' favour. If they can figure out which region X-Com has its base in early on, they can simply concentrate on missions in areas with little or no Xcom presence, racking up a huge score and gaining tons of cool gadgetry. If they see an Interceptor, they just turn around and run away, and then they know that X-Com is active in that region. All the aliens have to do to win is to avoid X-Com. Also, one side or the other will run out of fighters sooner or later; notice that in UFO Defense the aliens seem to have an inexhaustible supply of fighting UFOs. It's very hard to balance the game like that; I feel the multiplayer game should be primarily cooperative, with maybe an option for "one-off" human vs. alien Battlescape battles that aren't part of the campaign.

Also, I'm not quite in favour of the Supreme Commander thing. If your commander happens to be an idiot, you're pretty much sunk. Better to have the players delegate responsibility on a committee basis.

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 10:41 AM

How would you manage the alien side of things? Maybe the aliens work by a score/requisition system; the commander of the "Ethereal Expeditionary Force" can requisition new and better gadgets, or the ability to conduct missions such as subverting countries, from his alien overlords if he scores well enough :)

The thing is that the game is slanted in the aliens' favour. If they can figure out which region X-Com has its base in early on, they can simply concentrate on missions in areas with little or no Xcom presence, racking up a huge score and gaining tons of cool gadgetry. If they see an Interceptor, they just turn around and run away, and then they know that X-Com is active in that region. All the aliens have to do to win is to avoid X-Com. Also, one side or the other will run out of fighters sooner or later; notice that in UFO Defense the aliens seem to have an inexhaustible supply of fighting UFOs. It's very hard to balance the game like that; I feel the multiplayer game should be primarily cooperative, with maybe an option for "one-off" human vs. alien Battlescape battles that aren't part of the campaign.

Also, I'm not quite in favour of the Supreme Commander thing. If your commander happens to be an idiot, you're pretty much sunk. Better to have the players delegate responsibility on a committee basis.

We have to think about the logic behind the aliens plan so that it is logically to a person actually playing their side. Plus the aliens have to start out weaker than they do normally to compensate for when they are played by real people.

The traditional approach in game design to make the computer controlled opponenets tougher is be regulating the degree to which they, well, more-or-less cheat.

#8 gangsta

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 12:55 PM

Hum... alien control? :P

Each player would have their bases no?

Or a squad based game? Player choose what agent to use before the assault.

Don't think the players should play aliens because then we would have to make the aliens weaker to even things out.

I also think that in multiplayer mode each player can either create or join a team. If the person creates a team he becomes the leader of the team and if he is antisocial can keep it a one man team. As for how people get selected to go to a mission they can sign up for ranger duty and the computer would pick who goes but make it fair.
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#9 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 12:59 PM

Then the supreme commander thing should be okay for you. It's the same thing just scaled up. Maybe before the game begins the players can vote for supreme commander or something like that. I think the idea of team yes but one person with a lopsided effect on the game is an interesting idea. Besides maybe than can just be a control setting:

Overall Commander, or team of equals.

#10 gangsta

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 01:02 PM

Nah lets leave the Alien side as AI. I was thinking about making the aliens more powerful if anything. having the alien side playable by humans means that we have to make them weaker all of them to try to match em up to wimpy humans.
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#11 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 01:06 PM

I'm inclined to do that, if we can't make a human played alien side possible. But for now I'd be willing to try though. At any rate this doesn't effect the idea of a team leader (supreme commander).

#12 gangsta

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 01:10 PM

I like the idea of splitting the jobs up at an XCom base. Also I think in multiplayer mode each team can only have one base. Look at the screenshot of the geoscope of X-Com genesis that is on the frontpage of this site. It is loaded with xcom bases. That is how a multiplayer game probably will look like. In single player mode we keep things the same as they were before.
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#13 gangsta

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 01:13 PM

I'm inclined to do that, if we can't make a human played alien side possible.  But for now I'd be willing to try though.  At any rate this doesn't effect the idea of a team leader (supreme commander).

yup. Teams can also have diffrent types of politcal forms from dictator to democracy. Timil will like this because he just wants to play the geoscope part of the game. :) Others will only be playing for the battlescape. I don't see how you can make aliens playable though. The only ones that match up to humans are sectoids.
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#14 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 01:15 PM

I like the idea of splitting the jobs up at an XCom base.  Also I think in multiplayer mode each team can only have one base.  Look at the screenshot of the geoscope of X-Com genesis that is on the frontpage of this site.  It is loaded with xcom bases.  That is how a multiplayer game probably will look like.  In single player mode we keep things the same as they were before.

Well a supreme commander could delegate individual base commanders. We can just make the whole thing scaleable. By doing so you easily make the choice of having a definite hierarchy or everyone on the team equal which could be selected in the game controls before play begins.

#15 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 01:18 PM

I'm inclined to do that, if we can't make a human played alien side possible.  But for now I'd be willing to try though.  At any rate this doesn't effect the idea of a team leader (supreme commander).

yup. Teams can also have diffrent types of politcal forms from dictator to democracy. Timil will like this because he just wants to play the geoscope part of the game. :) Others will only be playing for the battlescape. I don't see how you can make aliens playable though. The only ones that match up to humans are sectoids.

A team having a personality would be made stronger by having a leader on top. But again having that choice before play is okay too.

We would have to define all possible jobs and then they are just assigned out; with the option of allowing more than one job per actual person.

#16 gangsta

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 01:29 PM

Well a supreme commander could delegate individual base commanders.  We can just make the whole thing scaleable.  By doing so you easily make the choice of having a definite hierarchy or everyone on the team equal which could be selected in the game controls before play begins.

Well all true except the game would already be running with other players playing since this should be a server. When someone logs into the server he has a choice to create or try to join a team. Team joining might be done by voting or perhaps automatically. This could be a server setting.
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#17 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 01:31 PM

Just a question, do we have to have a server? Could this be done in a distributed way?

#18 gangsta

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 01:39 PM

Well we can do it like quake like games do it where people can play against each other at home or can log on to servers with lots of players. Then they still can play single player games too. I just like the idea of a server with 20 or so people on at once.
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#19 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 01:43 PM

What are the advantages and disadvantages of both systems?

#20 gangsta

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 03:01 PM

By distributed way to you mean something like CORBA?
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#21 Lirix

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Posted 24 October 2002 - 12:21 PM

I'd really like to see a human controlled Alien side myself. As mentioned, the biggest problem is that X-com can't respond to everything until later in the game.

So how's this for a thought: Alien resources are derived from X-com's success. Basically, the better X-com does against you, the more resources are sent by high command to help you contain the situation. Couple this with low starting resources and mission limitations(you can't launch terror missions until *these* conditions are met) and I think you'd have a decent incentive to go up against X-com early.

Obviously this would take some serious thought to make work as well, but I'm open to suggestions. :)

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Posted 24 October 2002 - 01:35 PM

By distributed way to you mean something like CORBA?

Just in general nevermind specific technology.

#23 gangsta

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Posted 24 October 2002 - 03:22 PM

I'd really like to see a human controlled Alien side myself.  As mentioned, the biggest problem is that X-com can't respond to everything until later in the game.

So how's this for a thought: Alien resources are derived from X-com's success.  Basically, the better X-com does against you, the more resources are sent by high command to help you contain the situation. Couple this with low starting resources and mission limitations(you can't launch terror missions until *these* conditions are met) and I think you'd have a decent incentive to go up against X-com early.

Obviously this would take some serious thought to make work as well, but I'm open to suggestions.  :)

I just don't like the idea of making aliens weaker. If anything I was planning on making them tougher. All the cards are stacked in the alien favor. Like they have all these diffrent races all with special abilities that humans don't have. The closest thing to a human player would be a sectoid. Look at AD&D and all the things they try to do to even out the races. I want aliens to kick butt :) and not be as wimpy as the humans.
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#24 gangsta

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Posted 24 October 2002 - 03:28 PM

By distributed way to you mean something like CORBA?

Just in general nevermind specific technology.

:) well if we do it with sockets we could write diffrent servers that act like object I suppose. But I suggest against making the distributed system across the players systems because someone might cheat that way.
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#25 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 25 October 2002 - 12:33 PM

I just don't like the idea of making aliens weaker.  If anything I was planning on making them tougher.  All the cards are stacked in the alien favor.  Like they have all these diffrent races all with special abilities that humans don't have.  The closest thing to a human player would be a sectoid.  Look at AD&D and all the things they try to do to even out the races.  I want aliens to kick butt :) and not be as wimpy as the humans.

Don't think of it that way. Human controlled starts out normal, computer stronger.

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Posted 25 October 2002 - 12:34 PM

By distributed way to you mean something like CORBA?

Just in general nevermind specific technology.

:) well if we do it with sockets we could write diffrent servers that act like object I suppose. But I suggest against making the distributed system across the players systems because someone might cheat that way.

Would a distributed system allow for many many more players? Besides cheaters never get invited back.

#27 gangsta

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Posted 26 October 2002 - 05:31 PM

Don't think of it that way. Human controlled starts out normal, computer stronger.

but normal is stronger than human. Etherals are obviously alot smarter and so are probably sectoids. sectopod under human control? and then mutan men?
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#28 gangsta

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Posted 26 October 2002 - 05:33 PM

By distributed way to you mean something like CORBA?

Just in general nevermind specific technology.

:) well if we do it with sockets we could write diffrent servers that act like object I suppose. But I suggest against making the distributed system across the players systems because someone might cheat that way.

Would a distributed system allow for many many more players? Besides cheaters never get invited back.

In a distributed system you make things into objects where those objects are all both client and servers and they communicate with other objects.
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#29 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 10:08 AM

Don't think of it that way.   Human controlled starts out normal, computer stronger.

but normal is stronger than human. Etherals are obviously alot smarter and so are probably sectoids. sectopod under human control? and then mutan men?

Honestly, this problem is solveable; it will just take some headwork.

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 10:10 AM

In a distributed system you make things into objects where those objects are all both client and servers and they communicate with other objects.

So, how many people playing at once are we thinking of as a maximum. Will a single server and clients arrrangement be able to handle it. BTW waht would be our server? On the other hand would a distributed system be too hard to develope?

#31 gangsta

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 01:48 PM

[quote name='Stewart' date='Oct 28 2002, 04:08 PM'][QUOTE=gangsta,Oct 26 2002, 07:31 PM
but normal is stronger than human. Etherals are obviously alot smarter and so are probably sectoids. sectopod under human control? and then mutan men?[/QUOTE]
Honestly, this problem is solveable; it will just take some headwork.[/quote]
I think that is something that requires more than headwork. It also requires alot of trial and error by testing. I think making the alien side playable changes the whole game. It still might not be too hard to do if we implement the human playable side first if we do good OOD. Thinking about MUDs the human and npc's characters are related by inheritence (C muds too) I think any moveable object in a MUD is called a MOB short for Moveable OBject. We could make it so that both AI and HI can control MOBs but at first we only have X-Com controlled by HI.
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#32 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 01:53 PM

As far as "feel" goes that need only apply to people playing XCOM verses a computer opponent running the aliens. Since other arrangements inherantly will not feel like XCOM (and cannot) in their case maintaining feel is not an issue. It just has to work. I think a proper set of crutches and bonus will do it.

#33 gangsta

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 01:56 PM

:) sure that's why I suggested originally that only the humans are playing X-Com and the computer plays the aliens in a multiplayer game becuase you can keep the feel of the original. As for the feel of the game it is very important.
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#34 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 01:59 PM

Sure but having the option to play aliens doesn't destroy that. You can choose to have computer control aliens, and bingo you have the "feel", but honestly, I think people want to play the aliens side. I think they would also like to play against a computer controlled XCOM too. I don't mean all the time but once in a while. Making it possible is not a programming issue, it just a story issue. So this isn't going to be that hard.

#35 gangsta

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 02:10 PM

Well I think you have to make the aliens weaker for that to work. Otherwise people on that server would play mostly alien rather than X-Com. Mean why play human if it is a disadvantage. I think you would also make the computer alien side weaker in those games because I would just raid AI Aliens to get my supplies to bitch slap those wimpy humans with. In the original design the aliens were supposed to be tougher than x-com. partially to make up for the sucky AI. but also to make the game challanging. Way Humans win at X-Com is to outsmart the alien side. now if I played mutant men and someone else played x-com I would be kicking some major donkey cause I would be HI as well.
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#36 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 02:16 PM

Well maybe in the tactical setup the aliens will have the advantage, but not be impossible. Afterall you can have 14 guys show-up verses a small scout. Plus the aliens do miss once in a while too. Remember in real XCOM the aliens don't use blasters right away; we just have to figure out a logical explanation for this (it already feels like XCOM).

As for the strategic setup it can be that XCOM is not nessessarily disadvanted. Say the aliens played by humans actually have to touch an XCOM base to discover it. So they will have to sweep back and forth on the most zoomed in scale to do so. Or something like that. This is doable.

#37 PeterDragon

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 02:20 PM

Why not also just give the computer, as humans, unlimited funds and start with every base and unlimited soldiers, that means they will attack with ships #'s relative to the size of craft you send... this might not be how it is, but there are easily ways to work around different sides.
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#38 gangsta

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 02:28 PM

Well maybe in the tactical setup the aliens will have the advantage, but not be impossible.  Afterall you can have 14 guys show-up verses a small scout.  Plus the aliens do miss once in a while too.  Remember in real XCOM the aliens don't use blasters right away; we just have to figure out a logical explanation for this (it already feels like XCOM).

As for the strategic setup it can be that XCOM is not nessessarily disadvanted.  Say the aliens played by humans actually have to touch an XCOM base to discover it.  So they will have to sweep back and forth on the most zoomed in scale to do so.  Or something like that. This is doable.

Well I was thinking about making it 16 guys in t-shirts for a skyranger so that there can be 4 players in a skyranger each controlling 4 soldiers. Now if you want to have an alien side that is played multiplayer and with teams you would have to divide the number of players up in such a way that it makes sense. To me 4 soldiers per player seems to be a good number to make multiplayer fun in the battlescape. That is enough players so a player doesn't have to just watch the battle happen because he got killed right away after exiting the skyranger.
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#39 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 02:29 PM

Yeah, lets just think up ideas. I think in general people would want this to work.

#40 gangsta

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 03:02 PM

seems like the most difficult things to implement game wise is on the battlescape. perhaps we should design a battlescape lib (.so or .dll) that we can use to test diffrent ideas with. many of these things we will only know for sure by trial and error.
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#41 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 03:12 PM

Like I said we can say have the aliens start out in their ship too. In the real XCOM the aliens don't have blasters right away.

Come to think of it, if XCOM flys in why can't they know the layout of the battle field right away? Hey that gives me an idea, the aliens start in their ship so that XCOM doesn't strafe them from the air. Once the ship is down the can come out to fight.

#42 gangsta

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 03:18 PM

:LOL: think aliens have transporters in terror ships. At least those aliens in the intro movie beam up.
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#43 5parrowhawk

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 09:13 PM

Yeah, and may I remind you that the squaddies in the intro movie jump out from the roof of the Skyranger?

#44 gangsta

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 09:51 PM

:LOL: that might be intersting to do to the middle four players in the ranger.
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#45 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 29 October 2002 - 12:24 PM

I never saw the intro movie, I have a "special" version that doesn't include it. ;)

#46 gangsta

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Posted 29 October 2002 - 05:00 PM

:LOL: that sucks for you because the intro movie is a classic :) and it has the X-Com theme music playing too. It's all part of the x-com experience.
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#47 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 30 October 2002 - 11:41 AM

Alas, I am XCOM intro-sequence challenged. :(

#48 gangsta

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Posted 30 October 2002 - 01:02 PM

:LOL: for the game since we know Terror Ships have teleporters in them we should make them hover over the city in terror attacks and the aliens are transported down below.
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#49 Guest_stewart_*

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Posted 30 October 2002 - 01:31 PM

Nah. Then why don't they just blast buildings with the ships cannons. Come to think of it, why don't they just blast buildings with the ships cannons?

#50 gangsta

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Posted 31 October 2002 - 12:11 AM

:P cause you not supposed to ask that question. But that is why you don't see a ufo at the terror sites is because it is hovering over the city. ;) come on the aliens really wanted to beat us all the would do is have to nuke.
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