You Need a Break

by Kyzrati on 20111221 , under

Actually you don't need a break, Area 51 needed a break.

While rushing to add in the new Exodus scenario for R5, I screwed up R4's Area 51 and didn't notice. Left one freaking line of code, a "break," out of a switch statement controlling some hard-coded Area 51 update processing, which led right into Exodus code... If you play Area 51 under the new release it will crash after several turns. Thanks to Tarran and stabbymcstabstab over at Bay 12 for reporting the issue. I've uploaded a new version of the release (same filename), so Area 51 now works normally.

By request, the update also includes a smaller font so the game can be played at 800x600 (press Ctrl-PgUp/PgDn to cycle fonts, but note that you have to release ctrl before each change if you're trying to switch through multiple fonts in a row). I didn't spend very long getting the small font to look nice, so some parts may be a little fuzzy, but it appears serviceable. There will be more font options in future versions.

While I'm posting, I may as well put up the version roadmap I've been working from, and somewhat cleaned up yesterday. Do note this roadmap is subject to change (in many cases I might push back a feature to the following release, or move one up), but this is at least a fairly comprehensive list of the remaining features to implement, at least for the battlescape. I'll add this information to the FAQ page later, and update it as things change. Items in all caps refer to those containing multiple components:

[tech demo]
0.10 Inventory
0.11 Sound: UI
0.11 Mechanic: Morale
0.11 Mechanic: Variable Anatomy
0.11 Item: Medkit (+UI)
0.11 Item: Mind Probe (+UI)
0.11 Item: Motion Detector (+UI)
0.11 Messages: Info
0.12 Messages: Combat/Logging
0.15 Sound: Weapons
0.15 Sound: Destruction
0.15 Sound: Entities
0.16 Unit: Chryssalids
0.16 Unit: Silacoids
0.17 Item: Psi Amp (+UI)
0.17 Mechanic: Psi Powers
0.18 Battle Recorder
0.18 Mechanic: Experience
0.18 Mechanic: Scoring
0.20 UI: Intro
0.20 UI: Main Menu
0.20 UI: Mission Intro
0.20 UI: Mission Results
0.20 UI: HUD
0.20 UI: Map Dynamics
0.21 UI: Options
0.21 Mechanic: Difficulty Levels
0.25+ DATA
0.40+ AI
0.90+ Testing/Adjustments
1.00 Complete X-COM Remake

I'll also take this opportunity to ask for some input regarding map dynamics. What do you think will be fun/useful information to have on the map in the form of optional overlays and extra indicators, etc.? Things that can be activated temporarily for extra feedback. Currently (as requested for an earlier release), there's already a threat highlighter ('e'), which can be fairly useful in messy situations with numerous targets on multiple levels, as well as several forms of FOV highlighting (yet to be improved). Other ideas:
  • Unit names and/or types shown next to their symbol
  • Item names shown next to their symbol
  • Building/terrain area highlighting w/names (later the map editor will ideally be able to name buildings and terrain blocks, so they can be referred to in the game and used as a reference)

So if you can think of something else you'd like to see, speak up now. I'll also be posting this question on Bay12 for discussion. (This question is a precursor to a discussion on HUD info, which will in some cases be dependent on what the map can be used for.)
11 comments more...


  • Jaunmakenro

    Did you already think to add moving range around the unit ?
    You can show in different colors the area that the active unit could reach without going below the needed UT to aim/burst/snap shot ?

    I know it's not really clear, especially with my poor english. For a clear example, try "Xenowar", an android ufo-like. (or at least just take look to some screen shot)

  • Anonymous

    Big Thanks Kyzrati!!!
    now i can play r5 without problems!

    Again Big Thank! also for quick response :-)
    Im also a rogue-wannabe-developer but really never go that far with any game i was trying to make. You Rocks man! Waiting to see another releases.

    ps. when im on fullscreen and try to change font - game crashes instantly.


  • Kyzrati

    I have thought of showing movement fields, as it's a rather common feature. I'll put it on the list for implementation. For now you can already use ctrl-p to show whether or not you can move to a specific cell under the cursor, it just doesn't show it as an entire region. And that system already works properly with reserving TU for weapon shots, btw. (It also has an advantage in that it is shaded by elevation, which could become a problem/confusing for representation over a region.)

    Thanks for the support! You just gotta have a vision, man--I SEE the future of X@COM, and it is way too cool to pass up:). I'll look into the fullscreen font change crash. It worked for me earlier, but that was before I added a 10x10 font, so maybe that has something to do with it? (I don't ever use fullscreen mode myself yet, so I didn't know there were problems. Thanks!)

  • Anonymous

    Thanks man! i have vision... hmmm... visions... many, many visions, way to much of them for sure ;-) but ill try to keep with one for a change and i think ill, like you, start over with old game remake ;-)

    I tested it, it propably crashes because i changed from 10px font to 12px font on fullscreen, but my screen only have 600px height so cant draw 720px of 12px font.

    Good Luck. Jack.

  • Kyzrati

    Cool, thanks for the more detailed report--I'll fix it at some point, but until then just don't do that :)

    Remakes, or "demakes", are great, since they already have a potential fanbase, and you can concentrate on looking for ways to improve something which is already known to work well. Whatever you end up choosing, though, I'd recommend having a somewhat unique perspective/interpretation of the original (although in many cases, simply turning a game into a roguelike is already sufficiently unique enough).

  • Anonymous

    Whenever i try to open the exodus scenario (or either of the other two) it comes up with "windows cannot find 'XCOMRL.exe'. Make sure you typed the name correct, and then try again" Any ideas? Also im using a windows virtual machine from a mac

  • Kyzrati

    Apparently the Windows you're using under the VM doesn't like the batch file. To run the scenarios, all you need to do is add a command line parameter, so an alternative way to play would be to 1) create a link to XCOMRL.exe, then 2) modify the link to add the parameter for the scenario you want to play.

    "-exodus" is the parameter for Exodus, and "-area51" is the parameter for Area 51 (don't use both at once :)

    You can find specific instructions on how to modify a command line parameter here: http://vgstrategies.about.com/od/faq/a/CommandLineP.htm

    So your link should run "XCOMRL.exe -exodus" if you want to play that mission. Later on when there's an in-game menu none of this will be an issue, but for now I'm just using this quick and dirty method for loading demo maps.

  • Canageek

    Oh, overlays. How about rank? It drove me crazy in X-COM trying to figure out which troops were expandable. I eventually would rename them all to their rank + name + letters indicating which are valuable and which are cannon fodder.

    I'd love it if you could spawn lots of little windows, so I could popup inventories and such then toss them to the side, but still be able to see what each person is carrying at a glance.

    What about some form of graphical ammunition indicator? Or a UFO-AI style status bar where I can see all my troops health/AP/etc at a glance?

  • Kyzrati

    Rank/HP are no problem, they'll be on the list of easily accessible overlays. Thanks for the inputand keep the ideas coming--not many people responded to the call for overlays, though I know many would be useful in play. More can always be added, but it's nice to know what people want up front.

    There probably won't be enough space to make multiple inventory windows feasible, but I could abbreviate that informing into a type of overlay.

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