R5: "Alpha Genesis"

by Kyzrati on 20111219 , under ,

Well, X@COM still isn't where I wanted it to be for the year-end alpha release, but my hand was forced since the R4 demo will expire soon. (Every demo release is actually hard-coded to expire after a certain period--it keeps me releasing new versions [mostly] on schedule!)

So I bring you 0.10. The changelog isn't all that impressive, but this is actually the biggest release yet in terms of modifications, most of them internal as the game is now powered by a brand new engine. Let alpha development commence!

At least now you can try out the new inventory system. With full inventory access you'll also be able to keep those grenades out of your off-hand for better accuracy with two-handed weapons, and carry spare ammo for heavy weapons to make them a lot more useful.

Remote detonation of explosives is now supported. This marks the debut of the 'u'se command, which will be for all sorts of special functionality in the future. Priming your remote charges will create a detonator, which can then be activated at any time by using it. The original X-COM didn't have remote charges, but it's a commonly requested feature, so I've added them since it was easy and the vanilla mode can simply leave them out. Later on when aliens can pick up weapons, it would be amusing if/when the dumber ones happen along and pick up your primed remote charge...

To make downloading the release a little more worthwhile, I added a new scenario: Exodus. You get to assist the National Guard during the evacuation of a city overrun by aliens. This mission shouldn't be too difficult to "successfully" complete, although there's potential for a much higher score if played well. Replayability is high as the city layout and opposition forces are randomly generated. You have a smaller squad this time around, but they're better armed (and armored). You'll also face a new alien species, a weaker precursor to the upcoming Chrysalid (minus the zombies).

Here's a shot of a generated city (revealed):

"Looks quiet. Also looks like we've arrived a bit late..."

During one of my test runs, a huge group of civilians came swarming my way, and right before they reached safety, a blaster bomb came out of nowhere and toasted them all... poor civvies.

Oh, and being a city, I upped the map height to 6, so you can have some pretty tall buildings out there.

The older scenarios have also been modified/updated, mostly to give you a little more firepower and flexibility since now you have inventory access. Area 51 might be slightly easier since there's enough explosives stocked about to level the entire base. Just try not to be in it when that happens.

Your rookies should be ever so slightly more effective now, since while overhauling the armor data format I discovered that the armor value application (a temporary hack for the demo) was overriding all rookie armor with zeroes... So at least now they have that minute amount of armor (which we all know they so desperately need).

I noticed the annual Roguelike of the Year competition is being held right now. There have already been a fair number of votes cast for X@COM (I was pleasantly surprised when I first opened the page and saw several dozen votes), but let's try to get that number higher! Obviously X@COM won't (and shouldn't) win, but the extra awareness would be good, so go put in your vote! (Of course, that assumes you're reading this because you like what I'm doing here.) Don't forget to check out the other entries, too; I voted for DCSS, DF, Infra Arcana and MageGuild. Oh yeah, and myself :)

The next release will come some time next month and should include at the very least medkits (stop bleeding already!), UI sounds (ooooh), and a main menu (not really all that essential yet, but I might as well..). Other things high on the alpha list that will be appearing in the next few releases:
  • sounds
  • proper message system
  • special units (Chryssalids, Silacoids)
  • special items (motion detector, mind probe, psi amp)
  • morale
  • psionics 
  • battle recording?

I should also spend some more time on HUD design/planning, and there will probably be another post dedicated to it that provides some HUD content proposals which can hopefully attract input.
5 comments more...


  • Anonymous

    Man, Your doing GREAT JOB!
    but one request or idea, pls make screen size change option, xcom is unplayable on 1024x600 netbook screens and thats only resolution for some of the people ... ok, ok, for me ;-)
    so maybe have this in mind...
    thx in advance. Jack.

  • Kyzrati

    Thanks! R4 was playable at 800x600, but I removed the small font from the game when I ported it for R5. Sorry about that--didn't think it was so vital to support smaller screen sizes yet since no one's brought it up. It'll never get smaller than 800x600, but I'll add in the smaller font for you which will fit on your screen. (If you're reading this, check back in the comments later, I'll put up a download link for the new font so you don't have to wait for the next release.)

  • Anonymous


    I know you're against graphic tiles ;) But have you seen latest infra arcana?
    It uses 1 bit tiles, colors it, so it works basically like font. That way you could have more symbols.

  • Kyzrati

    Yep, I haven't played with them yet, but the IA tiles do look nice. There'll be more symbols in X@COM later, once I work on the graphics. X@COM already has support for unlimited symbols, I'm just not using it yet. At present I'm adding only what's absolutely necessary to write the core game.

    IA also has the advantage of not showing too many tiles at once. X@COM needs an 80x60 console, so to retain compatibility with smaller screens, the standard font size will be 12x12 (960x720), with a 10x10 option to enable 800x600. Larger, more details symbols could be provided for players with huge screens (myself included :), but that would come much later.

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