Picture 1 - The female scout appears to have her head turned toward the aliens. I wonder if this is because of her cover or do they automatically try to look in the enemies' general direction?
Picture 2 - I love the view of a pickup truck through the cracks in the bridge. Was that damage done to the bridge by the exploding tanker truck or was the road being worked on at the start?
- Attention to detail: you can see the skid marks of the car "11R 22F". Wouldn´t it be great if some aliens would leave footprints or marks on the ground and you could track them down by following them?
- digger and concrete mixer: The bulky, lowpoly and comic-like design certainly has its charm.
- I still don't like the UI design. I hope we can scale it down when using high resolutions like this.
UI is work in progress, they said as much in the PC Gamer article - and it will be significantly different on the PC. Loving those screenies!
One thing though - and it's no biggie - but I hope the taxis don't all look like that, otherwise every country around the world is going to look like America.
How can these screenshot be from console version at this res? I see the "Y" button but I don't get it...
Love the new screenshots, specially that they are high res.
- The art style they have gone with is great, the saturation is perfect, clear en simplistic details no need for ultra high detailed textures.
- Lighting, they have really captured the eerie feeling of the mission.
These maps looks highly constructed though, I'm wondering how the procedurally generated maps will turn out.
Picture 3 ...that trigger control.
The bit about handcrafted maps, with the missions objectives/alien spawns being procedural.
Countinuing our example, the Skyranger has landed at the UFO site in Kansas. The game loads into tactical combat mode, putting the XCOM squad on the ground on one of the many handcrafted maps. "You could never, in two playthroughs, see the same map [twice]," Solomon declares.
Now, concerning the procedural generation mentioned:
Much of XCOM is procedurally generated, just like in the original. Every playthrough presents different challenges, new problems, and unique missions. Where UFOs appear, what enemies are encountered, the missions national governments give XCOM, and more are heavily randomized. The player's actions still matter as they determine the state the world and XCOM are in, which in turn affects what kind of random events occur.
A note about enemies and their location in the maps.
XCOM's 3D fog of war shrouds the majority of the map in darkness, any portion of which could house an alien threat thanks to randomized enemy spawns.
And a final sidebar about Procedural Storytelling
The vast majority of XCOM's content comes in the form of procedurally generated missions and encounters, meaning that every playthrough unfolds differently. However, all players will see a series of "tent-pole" scenarios that take place at certain points in the narrative. These come in a several forms, from in-engine cinematics showing the growing alien threat through the lens of human newscasts to set-piece tactical battles. Firaxis hopes to use these moments to create some semblance of overarching narative despite the strategic layer being completely player-driven. The idea of pre-fabricated missions with set maps and enemy placements seems like a poor fit for XCOM's core concept, but Firaxis insists that its tactical AI as well as the unique capabilities and squad compositions each player will bring to them will maintain the game's integrity.
Picture 2 .... top left corner. Red silhouette, visible through the road surface.
Yes, I tend to go with SectoidSquisher.
If I were to design something like this, I would make it a kinda fractal-ish. Were each subset of the map was somewhat randomised.
The amount of missions in a game liek this needs some sort of procedurally randomization. This not to end up like UFO:AS, UFO:AM or UFO:AL were all that is random is the spawns and the objective and a limited number of handcrafted maps. Even if you have a good tool for it, the effort to create that many maps would be enormous. Even for a large studio like Firaxis ..... (*hint* *hint* fan created missions tool).
I think we will have both.
- 100% crafted story maps.
- semi crafted/generated mission maps.
In the Game Informer podcast they said every map was hand crafted but there will be so many that you will not see every map in one play through.
They also said that spawn points on maps vary so even if you get the same map, placement of the soldiers and aliens will be different and it should make for a different experience.
Really, if the cover system is vitally important to your survivability, proc generated maps could create situations where you couldn't advance without your small squad getting wiped. Probably for the best.
Also why would system-programmers (the one Jake refers to as now broken men) be that involved in map design if there weren't some kid of system to generate maps? I could understand that artists, the ones designing environments.
(38:54 in the pod-cast is on maps.)
Last edited by heniv; 02-23-2012 at 03:28 PM.
These highly detailed static maps are going to be awesome! The first 5 times I play on them... There has to be dynamic maps or the re-playability will be way low for this game. Even random 10X10 farmhouses and fields would be preferable every once in awhile instead of "The Diner Map" over and over. I do like the idea of having lots of static maps for certain land marks though.
Eh, don't see this being an issue IMO. I've seen the same farm house/barn too many times to count for this to bother me.
What I don't want to see is what they did in TFTD. Each Island Terror mission was random but there was too much that was the same. The waves were at the bottom. There was the big bunker with Easter Island heads at the bottom. There was a big beach house near the top. There were random little bunkers in different places that I had to look for, but most islands felt the same.
On a side note, did anyone else ever get a Terror Mission in the original X-COM that had 2 different gas stations?
wait... has it actually been stated that the non-scripted missions are set on hand-crafted maps??
As I've said before, I think the main barrier to procedural map generation in this game is the way that, as I understand it, the Unreal 3 engine needs its maps expensively compiled after creation via an external tool. Even if you could work said tool code into the engine, load times would probably be monstrous. True procedurally generated maps would probably require a custom engine designed for such things.
Well it makes sense then if they have been working on this for 3 years. I guess they have been spending most of the time on these maps (and playing the game..). The detail is amazing! I cant wait to see the others.
A game: There is one alien in picture 1, who can find it?
Solution: Picture 1 and 3 belong to the same location, viewed from different angels. In Picture 3 you can see the alien near the truck. In Picture 1 you can see the red UI silhouette of the same alien (top/right, you have to look close).
I hope it is possible to turn of the red UI silhouettes of aliens hidden behind objects or in the dark. It was always fun to search for barely visible aliens in dark areas and to guess what kind of alien it was...
What Brian Damage says makes sense. I don't know much about graphic-engines or UE3. But what would be the problem with a library of previously compiled parts to a map, that the games later constructs into a mission map?
Procedurally generated maps looks to be out considering all (well one GI article) sources, much to my disappointment.Originally Posted by GI article p60 Procedural Storytelling
They could possibly have a procedural process for seleting the TEXTURES for various objects and locations within a single map location. For some examples:
- There's a car at a specific position. Is it a police car, a taxi, an ordinary civilian car, etc?
- There's a shop at a specific spot along a street. If is a jewelry store, a pawn shop, a book store, a "dollar" store, an Apple Store, etc?
- There's a billboard visible on the map. What sort of advertisement is displayed on it?
- There's a vending machine at a specific position. What products does it offer, and from what brands?
- Oh look, a mission at a drive-through. Is there a movie playing on the screen, still? IF so ... what movie?
- There's a tractor-trailer rig on the map. What sort of graphic / logo does it have on the side, if any?
All possible without changing one vertice of the map geometry - just deciding which textures to apply to which sub-parts of it.
Lighting is another place they can change things up a bit. Take a car: are the headlights on? What about a perpetual "left turn" signal? Hazard blinkers? Or maybe, if it's WRECKED .... is it on fire, or not?
Street lights, shop signs, traffic lights .... their on-or-off state, or other possible modes, could also help change up the maps a bit.
Given the same otherwise-generic small-town intersection, just by changing what the cars look like, which shops are along the road, what movie (or play) is being advertised on the theater over there, and so on .... can make it feel like two similar-but-not-QUITE-the-same places.
Therefore I'm against red UI silhouettes (also against visible hitpoints of enemies). Insufficient information about the enemy is what makes tactical war games challenging!
BSP tree or whatever structure the current version of the UE uses.
What if that silhouette is only visible, ifyou have at least one surviving squad member with "eyes on hostile", IOW, with line-of-sight to the alien?
Alternately, what if that red silhouette represents an advanced sensor of some kind?
Alternately, alternately ... what if the game reasonably presumes some sort of overhead UAV recon drone? (Which doesn't have to be a full-blown Predator drone; I've seen models that cost under $5K apiece, and have loiter times of 30 to 90 minutes.) Thus, while you may not have physical eyes on the target DIRECTLY, you might still have them in view of your remote, indirect sensors.
After comparing Picture 1 with Picture 3 I agree they are the same location, and that Picture 3 was taken just after Picture 1 in sequence as the lady-scout has moved from behind the orange/white construction sign in 1 to the open trailer area of the truck. I don't think the alien in picture 1 was actually hidden, though, because he is visible from the soldier behind the gray car in Picture 1 and whose POV we see in picture 3. If an alien is seen by one of the soldiers, then I want it visible to me. I don't want to be forced to rotate the view to look around the front of the truck to see the alien.
The camera is not showing an isometric view like the originals did. (In Picture 1 look at the parallel orange white construction signs and notice how you see more of their side and less of the top as they progress up the screen. Isometric view they would all be the same size and orientation on the screen.) I don't mind the change in perspective, but I want to fight the aliens, not the camera, so I don't mind silhouettes of things I should be able to see.
That being said, if my soldiers can only see an alien's leg then the silhouette should only show that as well.
Also, I just noticed that Picture 2 has Two more red silhouettes near the top left, but there is a soldier there so they are in his LOS.