I stole this off of Compu Notes at:

Interview with the author of X-COM Strategy Guide

27 April 2002
Interview with Kasey Chang
(Read our Interview FAQ by Clicking Here)

Kasey spends far too much of his time commuting to his job in the Silicon Valley. In his rare spare time he enjoys computer games, Star Trek, and working on his website, Star Trek Nexus (http://members.aol.com/treknexus).

CN: What inspired you to write a FAQ for the X-COM: UFO Defense?

KC: Actually FAQ is not an accurate description. I prefer "unofficial strategy guide", which is the title I used. FAQ is just a collection of questions and their answers, but usually a document about a strategy game, such as the XCOM USG or Roger Wong's Red Alert SG will contain far more information than those covered in "just" a FAQ. As for the inspiration... That would be the Internet. I was looking for ways to make my XCOM career a little easier and I found that often, I have more answers than other people. When I started answering most of the questions on the USENET, it's time to write a FAQ, which then became the unofficial strategy guide. 

CN: Where do you get source material for a FAQ?

KC: Hundreds of hours of play time, plus another couple hundred hours surfing the net for further clues. Time then is spent to collate the information into a usable document. 

CN: Do you have any pointers for someone looking to write a FAQ about his/her favorite game? 

KC: One, organization is VERY important in a FAQ. Use a word processor, preferably one with an outliner tool like Microsoft Word. It makes changes and moving sections around very easy. I would suggest in taking a look at some of the better FAQ's and/or some official strategy guides. Two, don't tell the players what to do, esp. not in a strategy game. Instead, explain what NOT to do (don't go there or you will die...). Let the players come to their own conclusions as to what is an optimum strategy. A "walkthru", which is what a lot of people write, is boring. 

CN: What are your top 5 Web Sites?

KC: C|Net (including Gamecenter), Gamespot (including CGW), ZDNet (including PCMag), LinkExchange (free advertising), and Microscope (eval of the Internet ads, http://www.pscentral.com) 

CN: What are your top 5 favorite games?

KC: Civilization, XCOM1, MOO, F15 Strike Eagle 3, and Warcraft 2. 

CN: What do you think of Microprose's decision to jump on the real-time bandwagon with X-COM: Apocalypse?

KC: It is quite playable, but it doesn't have the flavor of XCOM combat, since the player has to handle everything, including when to employ grenades, when to arm, when to throw, which grenades to use, when to switch weapons, etc. That means frequent use of the PAUSE button, which turns the real-time game back into semi-turn-based. XCOM does not have smart unit AI, like "if ammo=HE and range<4 , switch ammo to ap", "if count(enemy,range="10)">3 then arm Grenade(AP) and throw", etc. All that must be done by the player. Real-time game turns into "single-weapon blastfests", which is NOT how tactical battles are played. Still, the RT game is quite playable and balanced, my kudos to MPS. I just hope they would have added a few more smarts to the own-unit AI, like they did to the computer AI. 

CN: What do you think of X-COM: Apocalypse, the third installment in the series?

KC: Nice addition to the series, I'd probably give it 4 out of 5. No multi-player option is a major negative. The game, as CGW's Johnny Wilson commented is just XCOM1 shrunk down from Earth to a single city, so there's quite a bit of MOTS feeling. Hope there's a bit more of the interplay among the corporations, more of the X-files creepy investigation feel. On the other hand, thumbs up for the coherent storyline (biological warfare is a major plus) and the fluid market system. BTW, I'll be co-editing the XCOM APOC FAQ with Roger Wong, editor of the Red Alert Internet Strategy Guide and the C&C FAQ.