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Character rendering and exo-species.


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I have two immediate responses to the game, which I have now played through a couple of builds. The first is something that may already be under consideration and that an be addressed without too much cost in time and money. The second is fairly integral, and likely something that no longer can be modified, but I believe must still be addressed.

Firstly, having spent many hours playing the name-sake of this game, I am slowly adjusting to the high-res renderings of both characters and environments, I realize how my expectations have been influenced by a degree of irony inherent in the low-rez rendering of the original production. In this regard, however, I have to say that I am finding some difficulty with the full-frame character renderings (illustrations) and their portraiture as currently implemented. This is not a critique of the tactical map rendering, only the portraiture and "life-drawing" as presented.

Far be it from me (an art-student who could never draw particularly well) to critique the drafting skills of others, but I have to say that both the quality of the character renderings (proportion and contour), and their flat, model-less lighting leaves something to be desired. I know that much work as been added, in terms of the base facility backgrounds, but I am hopeful that a more skilled illustrator will be brought in to fine-tune the final "look" of both personnel and facility interiors. I am not objecting to the pen-and-ink contour approach, just the particular "monochromatic" and "folksy" way in which it is currently implemented. I am left without a sense of the "visual atmosphere" that the original game conveyed, even in it's graphically-limited, pixelated form.

Secondly, and this is a far more difficult problem to address at this stage of development. One of the great things about the original X-COM (if I am allowed to use that term) was the manner in which UFO LORE was implemented, and integral to the game design and story. All, or at least most, of the alien species represented had some context in terms of their referential appearance within the (well researched) popular cultural mythology around which the game was based; Greys, animal mutilations, an implied hierarchical ranking of exo-species, etc. Now I have not been able to play the game far enough to see if this idea is carried through in Xenonauts, but from the early play, it seems that the aliens are implemented in a rather random, self-invented order, which detracts from some of the Wit, Irony, Satire, and Caricature, that were so integral to the original game, and aided immensely in its immersive nature. I doubt that this criticism can be addressed seriously at this stage of development, but it had to be said.

I am not making these comments out of expectation that this game should mimic its original inspiration in its entirety, only that I am aware of some key elements that were critical to my personal involvement with the original product that I find currently lacking. Please take these critiques for what they are, observations that I hope can aid in greater success for your obvious, dedicated efforts.

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You might like to try installing Jsleezys excellent "real" mods, He's spent 100s of hours on them and they look great!

Jsleezys Real Fighter Portraits

Jsleezys Real Armour

Thanks Dead Dread! I will check them out.

There have been so many disappointing attempts to re-make this game, and Xenonauts looks by far to be the most serious and dedicated effort of any. Like everyone else, I just want it to be as good as it possibly can be.

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opticnerver, I'm not quite certain what you mean regarding UFO Lore. Is your concern that the alien races in Xenonauts should mimic in subtle ways the way certain alien tropes are represented in the common domain? That aliens should not be original creations in of themselves?

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