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roxxed

More vertical map design

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Hi Guys, Loved the first X1 and played through it vigorously and X2 is shaping up nicely. I hope to see more vertical map design that would effect game play and add a certain aesthetics to the game. X1 was very flat in its general design with only things like floors in buildings and space craft being the only vertical point.

To give some examples:

• Sloped hills and valleys to make the map terrain more organic and create vantage points(TFTD had a procedural map generator for this although I believe X2's maps will be hand built). Could walk down/up into new sections of the map depending on its geography and buildings.

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• More focus on building infiltration and making your way through to the top floors to complete objectives or kill aliens(aliens aimlessly walked around maps rather than holding points other than their ship and were very rarely found on top floors of buildings). Alternate routes could be found like climbing up ladders/stairs or drain pipes to bust through a window and take them by surprise. Gives a sense of the enemy really being in a tight spot and figuring out how to get there. Sniping alien from a window on the top floor anyone? 

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• Varied map height design in alien bases/ships. They dont have to be multi level, but more so split in a way with larger open room stair cases to upper/lower sections that are view able from the same original level(without taking a lift to a new section/map level). This would make for vantage points for aliens to attack/ambush and better 3D like map design(I know its been discussed about multi level maps, but I really think alien bases need a preliminary level to first find where the entry of the base is, then you enter for the official mission).

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• Half point climbable objects like boxes(to see over walls) or climbing on cars etc.

• Boardwalks and balcony's for more half way/upper level outdoor engagement that doesn't resemble a roof.

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Thanks guys. Hope Chris can comment.

Edited by roxxed
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So X2 does incorporate more verticality than X1 does, but I'm still quite leery about it - fundamentally the problem is that line of sight / line of fire gets more complex and more confusing when you're shooting from one height level to another, or looking / shooting up stairs and through small gaps in floors / ceilings. The problem is it tends to expose the kind of errors that annoy people; stuff like the "shooting round corner" logic from X1 that makes the game feel unfair.

I don't think stairs / ramps are currently in the game (I was initially hoping to get by on just ladders) but I suspect they will make it in fairly soon.

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The problem with the "shooting around corners" mechanics and the others you speak of is the radius of sight does not correctly bounce of the walls when you are close to a wall or corner. The firing mechanic is directly tied to what you can see. If you can see it, then you can fire at it, even if its directly through a wall. If that square is lit up then all is revealed even though a small proportion of it might be. I've shown a few images to illustrate this(light squares are shootable locations).

The general sight cone is what 120 degrees and is built in blocks? When you stand beside a wall 3 squares back its almost straight. As you move closer to the corner it starts to prematurely spread out before you realistically can see around the corner. It should still be somewhat straight for a number of squares out and then it loosens up a bit, but it starts to take its original shape as if the wall isn't there(it doesnt match up with the positioning of the head vs wall). If I remember correctly in the originals you always had to step out from a corner to view an enemy to which you would then fire and retreat back otherwise you would receive a "no line of fire" warning.

I've just tested sight from roofs and it seems pretty accurate to lower levels but it probably needs a good look over for X2. I think vertical mechanics could work if close wall firing is fixed and it would stop a lot of clipping issues when firing and people getting annoyed when their crew starts dying from odd directions. This probably goes hand in hand with the entire cover system. From a distance it seems ok. 

The block/square system may be the limiting factor here as a higher definition could help or a more accurate point of reference like the head, but thats probably a game engine restriction .

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Edited by roxxed

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I'd say apocalypse and afterlight has the most impressive 3D battlescapes among the xcom clones I've played.  Apoc has multi-story buildings that can cascading collapse in real time, which is still very impressive today, and afterlight has many, many, many truly multi-level maps, from human-build platforms to alien bases with caves or tunnels to dialect alien mazes (yes that's a plural). XCOM 2 has some nice 3D maps too, but they are not as mult-layer or as challenging to navigate as Apoc and Afterlight.

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Apocalypse was a game that had more of a tactical feel, as you could use cover better, and be able to lie down for better protection. I hope that we will see this incarnation of the game more on that level, as it is more immersive, and you feel you are with the troops on the screen, coupled with a great sound track?

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Apocalypse had a similar corner problem, but there was no reason to walk around the corner rather than open the wall. And their falling terrain system allowed a single sheet of drywall to hold up a building.

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Yeah, i never played Apocalypse so I cant really comment on it. Non the less I believe more 3D implementation could be relatively easy to do with the right train of thought, but the sight mechanic, revealed blocks ether on or off(no half way point, waist height?) and cover system needs a look over so its less confusing and more accurate. It would be then just a matter of creating nice looking maps and players would create there own gameplay out of it. Always play to the map and not other limiting factors which gives an "off rails" approach.

If one must move to the next level and improve on something, then it needs to diversify and fix hard coded limitations otherwise its a glorified DLC.

Edited by roxxed

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Building the maps vertically adds another dimension to ground combat. Can't say it simpler than that. I did like apoc's real-feeling buildings but it was a bit of a pain to clear every room, made for a lot of clicking (although making those slums crash was hilarious). I think that the vertical allows you another way of thinking about choke points, more options for positioning is a good thing. If it runs into problems with line-of-sight issues, then that highlights those issues as ones which need fixing to complete what the game offers.

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4 hours ago, Ninothree said:

 it was a bit of a pain to clear every room, made for a lot of clicking 

I posted an idea about this a while back similar to how the Xcom reboot handled this. On alien movement phases within a certain radius it camera pans to partially shroud covered buildings/floors and there would be audio/visual queues of maybe pots banging, tripping over something or visually seeing something move without actually seeing the enemy. This could work in foliage areas as well like the rustling of bushes or trees in recently uncovered areas. but weren't in line of sight. The original quite commonly had doors opening and closing, and the killing of innocent civilians which were good signs and you always knew which direction it came from and where to move to.

It always made the battlescape more active in a certain way, but not much happened under the shroud in the first X1.

Edited by roxxed

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The Idea sounds good. And I agree with roxxed that Xenonauts 1 was to flat in the Ground Missions. So I played the Demo from Xenonauts 2 and must say it´s a big step forward.

But the best Ground Comabat Cards were in the Orignal X-Com Series (EU / TftD) that´s absolutly true. The new XCom Series, UFO Extraterestials, the UFO-Afterseries and X-Com Apocalypse get an other way, which is good but not so exiting in the feeling like in the Orignal.

I think Xenonauts 2 gets the middleway of them and some of us will know it in the next time when the Betatest beginns. 

 

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It was a good tactical ploy, to have a sniper in an elevated position to cover both an advance, or a retreat!!

So many more options, to the game.

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Extra levels does add a whole new dimension to the game, probably the most cost effective way of doing so - so it'd be great if those problems could be figured out.

It wouldn't be impossible, just take more time and resources.

If the time and resources are put into the game, it has alot of potential to make sales for a long time to come, especially being so nicely moddable so it'd be worth it in the end.

You could have narrow valleys and random hills and stuff in places like deserts, some open and randomly segmented upper levels in say ruined urban, a-few-levels-high mountains and smaller wider hills here and there in forests, orderly and structured extra levels in normal residential, big halo style open multilevel killrooms in alien base/craft, etc.

A ton more environment variety, a ton more replayability, a ton more enemy interactivity, a ton more strategy in engagement, load out and soldier comp and probably a few other bits and pieces, at just the cost of getting firing lines to work. 

Great investment.

Edited by Whiskiz

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