Xexyz / 亀の恩返し ウラシマ伝説

The X-Com genre is terribly neglected, is it not? I was working on this Xexyz (a side view jump and shoot game) redesign project when I totally derailed and turned it into a topdown X-Com game instead. My universe design approach is getting kind of worn. I'm always using the "giant spacewar - defend a base" setup. So, yeah, well, here's another game which will never see the light of day. I'm not sure who sits on the Xexyz licence. It's probably Hudson Soft or Atlus.

Turtle game (Edit: Made another 'screenshot'.)


Tom Scholes said...

O hhhhhhhhhhhhhh how I want another xcom game. <3

Gustave said...

Inspiring as always. :) Thanks for the update, its a great read.

Tom J Nowell said...

Good ideas, looking forward to the next post!

Nat Loh said...

I found listening to this ->
while reading your post to help set the mood. great stuff.

Ian and Jamie said...

Yay, I always love reading your stuff :D

RADIX said...

Have I mentioned that I love your redesigns and how much detail you put into what goes into and behind them? :D

and lol at the random DBZ reference.

Dan said...

Your ideas are really excellent. I particularly like what you said in the "code design" section. The idea of introducing a new material and adding a whole bunch of items to the game is great. I imagine a game like this could be built and then updated with a new material or enemy archetype every few months and never get boring that way.

If it was built for a platform like the iphone, or some other internet enabled device, it would be easy to push those updates.

I also completely agree with what you said about generating the weapons and how to properly balance a game that way. I would add that it makes the world feel more real when the player isn't wondering why the characters don't just build a better gun or ship or something.

Whenever I read these posts I feel not only like I would love to play the game you describe, but I would love to program it as well.

Arne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arne said...

Damn, no edit button.

Thanks all. The page is a bit haphazard as usual, as it's a collection of intermittently produced pictures and thoughts.

Dan> yeah, it would be easy to add new content. Possible drawbacks: the universe could feel less tangible, and the unity could suffer. On the other hand, I'm not really bothered when say Games Workshop adds a whole new race to the universe. Also, 'all-over-the-place'ness can be playful and fun, it makes you feel that there are a lot of paths left to explore and anything can happen.

Indeed, one advantage of staying within the confines of the game world physics is that it doesn't create problems like: "Why can't I do this or that when it's possible to do this other thing?" and "This weapon breaks the physics in order to avoid an exploit (because the physics didn't sponsor diversity or because the player path control 'needed' to be strict).".

Of course, the crux to making a good physics system is making sure it sponsors diversity and not singularities. Weapon-wise, I think this can be done by making sure not only Weapons are varied, but also Armours, Character stats and Environments:

- Some armour materials are more resistant to certain attacks. There can be separate armour (or shield) penetration models for regular bullets, EMP, plasma, laser, etc. The player then needs to know what he's up against when equipping his squad.

- Against many targets with low armour, it's better to use a small caliber rapid fire weapon. Those bullets won't dent tougher targets though. I often use an armour penetration model where I figure out the Damage vs Armour ratio (e.g. 0.5 for 12 vs 24), and if thats <1.0 I multiply the ratio by itself a few times, so you might end up with a damage of 12 * 0.25 or something. This means that you're wasting a lot of damage if you try to wear down a tough target with a weak weapon, but what you're doing is not totally ignored. I don't like feeling that what I do has no effect at all.

- Some weapons might require certain skills to be of practical use. I'm not talking about seemingly arbitrary rules like "You have to be lvl 40 to wear these +10 dex boots". I'm talking about softer thresholds which make practical sense. Weapons can be too heavy to lift for some guys, causing them to aim bad if they try to stand and shoot. The burden might slow them down, and in severe cases they can even trip and drop stuff. The latter could be used for comic relief / annoyance an an extraction type mission. Perhaps some devices are too taxing on the mind for some guys (E.g. PSI implant guided missiles?).

- There can be weapons (like wide beam weapons) which are easier to hit with but do less damage. This makes them more suitable for low skill characters. It's also bad economics to give a really expensive sniper rifle to a cheap rookie who can't aim.

- Confined environments can sponsor the use of quick to use short range weapons (like shotguns). Open environments where you have time to spend APs aiming would sponsor very heavy long range sniper weapons (because the characters don't need to move much to get a Line of Sight).

Arne said...

Well, since I wrote all that I just went ahead and added it to the page. What a text wall though.

Kevin McDonagh said...

!A post! Why not try a few more for the new year I'm really really happy when you decide to share, it makes my day!

I absolutely agree about the x-com/turn & tile based genre being neglected. Just recently this was brought to my attention while I was working on the "custom wars" project. On that we developed an "advance wars" style game in Java. But after playing email chess and "advance wars by web" I realised that this kind of thing can be done via ajax on a webapge. I've started a project to make these kinds of games available to play either by going to a web page and making a move or by emailing the move to your opponent. If you *cough* wanted to contribute any charachter/landscape designs for one of the games that would be rocking! The project is called lasker by the way available here: http://code.google.com/p/lasker/.

Dan said...

Another aspect of adhering to a set of physics is that your guys and enemy guys are subject to the same rules. It always annoys me when game developers make up for the enemy's stupidity by giving him over-powered weapons and making him invulnerable to most status ailments for no reason.

Many RPGs have spells like "death" which have a chance to kill enemies in one hit. The problem is that the spell usually only works on enemies you could kill in one or two hits anyway and not on bosses. Why put it in the game then?

I also like being able to use an enemy weapon with the same effect that it has when used by the enemy.

All this talk almost makes me want to write some kind of Video Game Rules Manifesto.

Arne said...

I'm generally not a fan of forced Rock Paper Scissors mechanics, I like RPS to be emergent. Forced RPS doesn't bother me if the game has really few components though, because then the game is probably more abstract anyways (Advance Wars might be an example). It kind of depends on how the game presents itself, how it sets expectations.

For example, in HL2 (presented as a physics heavy game) you had these crates you could stack to make ladders, but then there were invisible walls which prevented you from being creative. There were also these saw blades which you could shoot into walls, but then you couldn't stand on them (to make a ladder).

As for Advance Wars, I really liked the character design in the first and second games. The sprites were well made too. As for the gameplay, it's a tad too abstract for my taste. I don't like when games put pressure on me, because when I play a game I want to... well, play. To me, playing is what you did outside when you were a kid and mom told you to go out and play. If you mom told you to do the dishes, that would be a doing chores.


I wrote a blurb on my game design preferences a few years back, but unfortunately I don't elaborate much on the reasoning behind my opinions, so it's not a particularly insightful read.

GGE profile

Darkstar800 said...

Wow! YouR really amazing i tried to do some of your art... it came out okay, but, i use GIMP (GNU, Image Manipulation Program) It's free and kinda like photoshop, but not!

You're cool, nice site!