Author Topic: X@COM (now at R9.3 + MODS + A ROOKIE'S TALE TC)  (Read 41493 times)


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« Reply #45 on: July 26, 2011, 12:16:14 AM »
Everything the original had, X@COM will have, assuming there's enough support for the project in the long run*.

*If very few people are interested, I'll probably discontinue development, though hopefully at least make some contributions for 3D RL environment implementation techniques in the process. Obviously way too early to make a decision on that--have to put enough together so people can at least understand my vision :)

I won't be making too many changes to the original for 1.0, only necessary fixes and interface functionality improvements. The only major change to the original game, initially, will be gravity and falling objects! Regarding UFOPaedia, I would definitely make it a little more helpful. For example: Damage for incendiary weapons should be shown correctly/differently. I was thinking of using ASCII graphics to show actual pictures of the objects/aliens/ships/etc. That's definitely for last, though (or at least after the geoscape dev has begun). For now the first major milestone is to get a fully operational battlescape with the full range of randomly generated maps and scenarios, so that people can get to killing aliens (initially with preset or random soldiers--basically a quick skirmish mode for X-COM).


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« Reply #46 on: July 26, 2011, 12:26:04 AM »
If you give it a hotseat mode, I'll build you a _ .
The invisible hand is a lie, the fiendish dogma of the market cultists. Lest the apostasy grows strong, their blood god will devour each and everyone, pious and infidel alike.


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« Reply #47 on: July 26, 2011, 12:39:14 AM »
That's good, I'm in short supply of underscores lately.

Seriously, a hotseat mode would be essential; maybe even a survival mode for that lone stealthy soldier infiltrating deep into alien-controlled territory... more in the RL vein.

That soldier is psi-immune, of course :)
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 12:41:47 AM by Kyzrati »


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Re: X@COM (now at R7 "Chryssalids in my Backyard" ARRP)
« Reply #48 on: September 16, 2012, 04:16:04 PM »
R7 and prior----such wonderful gains since ARRP 2011   8)

Read the enormous blog post for this release especially:

X@COM 0.15.120916r7 "Chryssalids in my Backyard"

* TMP: New scenario: Cataclysm
* TMP: Minilog added to HUD
* NEW: Chryssalids and zombies
* NEW: Silacoids
* NEW: Morale system (panicking/berserking)
* NEW: Medi-Kit
* NEW: Motion scanner
* NEW: Mind Probe
* NEW: Unit profile window
* NEW: Actions: Use/Manipulate
* NEW: Automatic context help topics
* NEW: Context-based command lists (w/mouse access)
* MOD: Volatile explosive items also trigger if used in a melee attack, or if dropped by one or more levels
* MOD: Unconscious bodies retain name of unit
* MOD: More powerful error recording system (send me run.log on a crash!)
* MOD: Melee attacks now allowed against units lower/higher than attacker
* MOD: Map level view automatically resets to your attacking unit after done firing
* FIX: Standing automatically before another action stops immediately for newly spotted enemies and gives message
* FIX: Detonation timing issue with multiple simultaneous primed explosives
* FIX: Throwing to ground at current position gives proper message
* FIX: Open doorways no longer block projectiles or explosions
* FIX: Primed grenades dropped by unconscious or panicking unit will count down
* FIX: Fire damage from standing on burning terrain properly modified by racial/armor incendiary resistance
* FIX: Plasma rifle aimed shot accuracy uses correct value
* FIX: Corrected messages for invalid inventory manipulation actions
* FIX: Selected unit automatically deselected on falling unconscious
* FIX: Knockback from bludgeoning attacks will no longer push one unit onto another
* FIX: Melee units taller than one cell can now attack properly
* FIX: Squashed some bugs

X@COM 0.11.120517r6 "Bleeping Good Time"

* TMP: Message shown while grenade prime input mode is active
* TMP: Score and combat log output to colored html file
* NEW: Variable anatomy supported
* NEW: Combat/action message log
* NEW: Partial UI sounds (testing Inventory/Log/Msg sfx)
* NEW: Narrow-width fonts for Inventory, Combat Log and messages to improve readability
* NEW: Larger window support (1280x960)
* MOD: Improved interface feedback message system
* FIX: Activating fullscreen mode no longer crashes if desktop resolution insufficient
* FIX: Can fire up/down stairwells, and target enemies on them, without destroying the stairs

X@COM 0.10.111219r5 "Alpha Genesis"
* TMP: New scenario: Exodus
* NEW: Full inventory access
* NEW: Remote detonation of explosives
* NEW: Random soldier names
* NEW: Alternate font (Ctrl-PgUp/PgDn)
* MOD: Path visualization color based on available TU/Stamina
* FIX: Rookie armor (coveralls) values properly applied
* FIX: Reaction fire TU checking issue which could cause fatal error


X@COM 0.00.111021r4 "Area 51"
* TMP: New scenario: Area 51
* TMP: Score system
* TMP: Threat highlight command
* NEW: Opportunity fire (AKA reaction fire)
* NEW: Reserve TU
* NEW: Explosion effects simulatenously shown from the side
* NEW: Parabolic weapon trajectories (Celatid Spit)
* NEW: Support for multi-use weapons that "are their own ammo" (e.g., throwing knives)
* MOD: Positions of spotted units are remembered until the end of your turn
* MOD: Tanks can fire without turning to face target (turret)
* MOD: Sideview shaded based on available light
* MOD: Faster animations for non-visible actions to reduce wait times
* FIX: Pathfinding redirection when blocked by unit(s) will no longer try to smash through them (redirection system was broken by smash movement feature)
* FIX: TU cost for opening doors restored to normal (last release forced units to use smashing cost)
* FIX: Floors correctly dampen/block explosions/light at the floor, rather than below it
* FIX: Objects falling/displaced at the map edge will no longer crash game
* FIX: Effects of racial critical wound immunity properly implemented
* FIX: Various rare bugs

X@COM 0.00.111009r3 "Sheer Terror"
* NEW: Large units
* NEW: Strong units can smash through terrain
* NEW: Built-in weapon modules
* NEW: Melee attack with any item
* NEW: Bludgeoning melee attacks can knock target backward
* NEW: Change view floor with mouse wheel
* MOD: Wide/large doors open/close with a single action
* MOD: Backspace ends turn
* FIX: Unit light source deactivated on unconsciousness
* FIX: Firing at ground in unit's own position works properly for all projectiles
* FIX: Non-targeting LOF visualization checks weapon existence
* FIX: Save games no longer increase in size with each reload

X@COM 0.00.110924r2 "12K"
* ARRP: HUD more informative
* ARRP: To improve cover, reduced amount of open space and added a new orchard terrain area
* NEW: Light affects unit visibility
* MOD: Non-keypad movement scheme (arrows) more flexible, allows full range of movement
* MOD: Keyboard input more responsive
* MOD: ESC cancels priming action
* MOD: Right-click cancels firing/throwing
* MOD: ESC/Right-click stops movement
* MOD: Units may fire at targets beyond obstacles
* MOD: Auto doors close at end of turn instead of immediately when unoccupied
* MOD: Previous saved games no longer invalidated by adding/moving objects in data files
* FIX: Errors caused by AI misbehavior will be corrected without crashing
Brian Emre Jeffears
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Re: X@COM (now at R7.2 "Chryssalids in my Backyard" ARRP)
« Reply #49 on: September 18, 2012, 04:49:00 PM »

X@COM 0.15.120918r7.2

* FIX: Corrected projectile origin calculation for large units (screwed up by R7)

X@COM 0.15.120918r7.1

* MOD: Cataclysm content updates (tweaks & fixes)
* FIX: Bloodloss damage from critical wounds calculated in full (was incorrectly always 1/body part)
* FIX: Tutorial windows always close before parent window
* FIX: Tutorial windows always drawn correctly
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Re: X@COM (now at R8 "You Added What?!")
« Reply #50 on: October 13, 2012, 11:58:05 AM »
R8  "You Added What?!"
Recently on Bay 12 we've been talking about making X@COM more accessible to modding, and that's what R8 is all about. The game data has always been pretty moddable since it's stored in text files, but changing the data wouldn't be as much fun without the ability to create your own scenario to go along with it!

Since internally R7's Cataclysm was written using a very modular, data-based system (I love data-based design in general--probably fairly obvious by now), making the entire thing moddable only took a couple days of extracting that part of the code into text scripts, followed by extending the system so you can do plenty of things that weren't even seen in Cataclysm. So now you can use the text files to change/improve/expand Cataclysm, or go even further and do a total conversion.

There are 4 main files to edit when creating a scenario, one listing the areas and their properties, another drawing the blueprints for each area, a third for spawning objects, and the last for defining the scenario's rules and other settings. Here is an example of the settings file where you can change victory conditions, mission scoring, and general properties:

R8: "You Added What?!"

by Kyzrati on 20121013 , under Release
Recently on Bay 12 we've been talking about making X@COM more accessible to modding, and that's what R8 is all about. The game data has always been pretty moddable since it's stored in text files, but changing the data wouldn't be as much fun without the ability to create your own scenario to go along with it!

Since internally R7's Cataclysm was written using a very modular, data-based system (I love data-based design in general--probably fairly obvious by now), making the entire thing moddable only took a couple days of extracting that part of the code into text scripts, followed by extending the system so you can do plenty of things that weren't even seen in Cataclysm. So now you can use the text files to change/improve/expand Cataclysm, or go even further and do a total conversion.

There are 4 main files to edit when creating a scenario, one listing the areas and their properties, another drawing the blueprints for each area, a third for spawning objects, and the last for defining the scenario's rules and other settings. Here is an example of the settings file where you can change victory conditions, mission scoring, and general properties:
This file includes explanatory comments for data entries--the others are instead explained in much greater detail in the modding guide.

To make a mod you'll definitely want a copy of X@COM Modpack M1, which you can get by joining the new X@COM Forum (for modders only right now--it'll be expanded later). The Modpack comes with some helpful tools to make your modding experience a lot more pleasant. You'll get...

    a 20-page guide (required reading!)
    a palette key
    my version of Notepad++ with syntax highlighting for X@COM script files (*.xt)
    a fixed-width font you may want to use with NP++

If you're feeling bold and creative, you can do much more than simply modify Cataclysm. You can add new races, units, items, terrain and other objects to create a turn-based strategy game with entirely different content. On the more complex (but fun) side, you can even implement your own special abilities that enable the type of very dynamic environment seen in Cataclysm. Learn from the hundreds of examples included with the game.

But you don't have to mess with all that stuff if you don't want to--you can create your own mission using only the scenario files and all the objects I've already created for previous scenarios.

Of course it's nice if others can play what you create, so beginning with R8, X@COM can now run mods which are simply dropped into the game directory.

Debash Unnos (Crazy Cow) has already created the very first mod for X@COM which adds some new potential buildings/encounters to your Cataclysm town, among other changes. His mod is the beginning of what we'll call "Cataclysm+". If anyone wants to just add one new building or make a few simple additions to Cataclysm, something not necessarily worth a standalone mod, send them to me and I'll merge them with Debash's mod to expand the scenario and give everyone a chance to see any of the extra content in their towns. Check the files page for currently available mods.

Other more ambitious mods (total conversions) are already in the works, so you'll still get some fun new stuff to play with while I work on improving the game in general.

Though modding support is the main feature of R8, it does still come with other goodies a proper release deserves.

There is of course the psi-amp, covered in my previous post. As described there, X@COM also supports intrinsic abilities, though you won't yet find any in the game.

You can now seed the map/mission generator, so you can share a particularly interesting map with other players, or play the same map multiple times without relying on a saved game. The seed for a given map is found in your mission results/score file, and can be set in "data/maps/_seed.xt".

I've added a swap hands command ('w') available as a free action (0 TU) to switch the contents of a unit's left and right hands.

R8 makes some significant changes to how doors and windows work by turning them from terrain into props (I hope I've made all the necessary adjustments--it required a rather sweeping refactoring effort). That windows are now props is an issue even for gameplay because it means you can now stand in a space previously occupied by a window, i.e. much closer to the edge, and get a better view. Sadly, this also means you'll have to hit someone twice to knock them out of a window (unless/until I enable melee knockbacks greater than one space), whereas they used to crash through the window and immediately slip off the edge.

Units are allowed to throw directly to ally positions. You could always throw at *enemies*, which is great for grenades, but the game was disallowing tosses to allies because it assumed you were trying to do something bad by throwing stuff at them =p. It's now much easier to pass around weapons and gear when you need to--in my own experience this need arises quite often in Cataclysm, so I finally fixed it.

Over the past couple weeks I noticed some things amiss in Cataclysm, or parts that could be quickly improved, so I tweaked the scripts a bit more. I don't have a list of all the changes, but among them:

    You are guaranteed at least one homemade flamethrower in the survivalist's house. I thought I had done that originally but apparently not, and it pissed me off when I got there and searched the house only to find a bunch of ammo!
    Suicide bombers no longer detonate on the dogs which roam the town--they're not THAT stupid...
    Allied criminals freed from the police station will find themselves weapons if you don't give them any.

As an amusing side note, just before release I also had to fix a regression where the police started attacking me... It was rather amusing to be shot dead as I sought refuge in the police station, because the police suddenly thought they were terrorists (literally) of all things, heh.

* TMP: Cataclysm scenario moddable (incl. total conversion support)
* NEW: Seed the map/mission generator
* NEW: Psi-amp
* NEW: Ability selection menu
* NEW: Intrinsic abilities
* NEW: Action: Swap hands ('w')
* NEW: -noHelp switch to block all tutorial help
* MOD: Cataclysm content updates (tweaks & fixes)
* MOD: Unit speech is now shown if within earshot, not based on FOV
* MOD: Destroyed doors/windows leave floor below them intact
* MOD: Targeting command list (F1) only given while targeting
* MOD: LOF visualization allowed even when unarmed
* MOD: Switched to a different type of random number generator
* FIX: Can throw directly to ally positions
* FIX: Implied target always reported correctly on HUD while aiming
* FIX: Missing roof tiles in some large fonts
* FIX: Fullscreen activation retains current font if already largest for desktop area

Handy example screens on site----this project just ramped up as a dark horse in a big way!  8)
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Re: X@COM (now at R8.1)
« Reply #51 on: October 31, 2012, 12:56:56 PM »
R 8.1

* NEW: Some armors removable/equippable in the field (ctrl-r, or z on inventory screen)
* NEW: Support for long (multi-turn) actions, e.g. armor swapping
* FIX: Melee attacks against missing targets no longer allow weapon to "fly" away
* FIX: Guided weapons (e.g. blaster launcher) no longer use waypoints for melee attacks
* FIX: Walls sitting above ceilings on levels higher than a unit are blocked from FOV
* FIX: Multiple projectiles (mod feature) simultaneously flying through same occupied space will no longer crash on collision
* FIX: Mission results show name of mod instead of "CATACLYSM"

But even moreso, there's now 2 spiffy mega-mods---one of which a Total Conversion!   8)

Extends Cataclysm with a local X-COM base, alien cult, and abandoned house (see readme for more).


And we have our first total conversion by Andrew Sundberg! (maker of Cataclysm+)

Take control of a party of orcish raiders as they put the smack down on a human town, or die trying. The party is led by the warlord himself, supported by grunts, archers, a varg, and the oh-so-deadly Elder. Face off against guards, adventurers, mounted knights, mages, monks and more. And don't forget to slay some peasants!

So go get some Aggression on the files page, and if you'd like to discuss it feel free to join us on Bay 12 or the X@COM modding forum.

This mod wasn't too long in the making--most dev time was consumed by tweaking and balancing, then it sat around in the incubator forum while playtesters gave it a spin (and I've been waiting to upload it since the primary server is down). Expect even greater work from Andrew and other modders in the future!

Note: The primary server is still down, so the site looks a bit weird without its proper fonts and images, including the background image... Downloads are fine though, since I've set up a mirror.
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Re: X@COM (now at R8.1 + MODS)
« Reply #52 on: November 25, 2012, 12:59:47 PM »
Assault Mod

We have our second full mod, this time from Draxis!

Lead a semi-randomly outfitted squad of fully-armed soldiers to take an alien base in Assault. Quite a nostalgic mission, as the design is based on the original alien base assault from X-COM! Most of the gear is standard, though you may have access to the flamethrower as well, which will come in handy if the chryssalids get some of your guys.
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Re: X@COM (now at R8.3 + MODS + A ROOKIE'S TALE TC)
« Reply #53 on: January 07, 2013, 05:01:52 PM »
The R8.3 public log tis a fine, terse log:

* MOD: Path visualization auto-updates as unit moves
* MOD: Tabbing through squad will not auto-deactivate path visualization
* MOD: Grouped AI-controlled units more aggressive, willing to leave leader's side to attack leader-designated target
* FIX: Weapon range limits properly observed in all cases
* FIX: Ability popup menu items were sometimes unreadable (black text)
* FIX: Unit-sourced lights properly activate/deactivate in all cases (affected some settings for mod use only)
* FIX: Mission records show mod name instead of "CATACLYSM"
* FIX: Evacuating family members before X-COM in Cataclysm would actually reduce total score

But then....   8)

Ever wanted to play a deep tactical fantasy game based on the great X-COM mechanics? Answer: Yes.

"A Rookie's Tale" is exactly that and much, much more.

Our protagonist, Victor Wade, alien-fighting soldier turned interdimensional traveler, suddenly finds himself in a world guided by magic rather than science. How he got here we've already seen, how he gets back is another story.

Not every story will be the same, though. To call this mod a single mission would be an understatement. Perhaps "epic single mission" or "game-in-a-mission" might be more appropriate. Making full use of the engine's greatly expanded and improved mod support, Rookie's Tale is a highly dynamic experience that shows much more of what the engine can really do--the R7 scenario Cataclysm was an interesting experimental introduction to the new dynamic content system, but barely touched the surface compared to the variety you'll see in this mod.

Victor is not alone, at least not for long. As he explores the world he can recruit party members from the local population (you control them this time around) and take them along on the search for a way home. There are seven standard character classes, each with class-based special abilities, and a host of other unique characters that may come to Victor's aid. On your travels, you'll talk to NPCs, recover artifacts, topple paranoid warlords, stop rampaging ogres, repel goblin invasions, uncover demon-worshipping cults, delve into ancient ruins, open interplanar gates, pilot gnomish inventions, loot treasure troves, face (or run in fear from) liches, demons, and dragons, and a whole lot more. Okay, maybe not all at once, but you'll definitely use magic from among 50+ arcane spells and holy incantations (mostly of the fun and interesting kind, not a bunch of cookie cutter direct damage stuff), along with 25+ special abilities. Under the right circumstances, your allies will even raise levels to gain better stats and more abilities. And be on the lookout for others, friendly or not, who may have made the dimensional jump as well...

The fantasy setting is obviously not original. It's D&D meets X-COM meets my imagination (that last one can be considered the glue--or crazy glue depending on your perspective). This is both intentional and necessary at this point because X@COM is still lacking UI support for providing detailed info about objects/units, so I'm trying to rely on your existing knowledge to help you get into the game, and [maybe] survive. Don't worry, there is plenty of unexpected content of my own design to catch you off guard, but having your traditional RPG hat on while you play won't hurt.

So this mod brings X@COM somewhat closer to a more traditional roguelike setting: fantasy RPG with lots of interaction. Thus you can:

    -quaff potions,
    -harvest herbs,
    -set and disarm traps,
    -use scrolls and magical artifacts,
    -read magic tomes and cast spells,
    -find secret doors/stairs...

There are a good number of emergent possibilities given the large number of utility spells, abilities, and items, some with side-effects you may or may not expect. In any case, there's usually more than one way to overcome (or circumvent) whatever obstacles you encounter, of which there will be many. Experiment. Depending on your circumstances, you could even be faced with what could be called a "get creative or die" scenario--this mod is not a hackfest, but if you're not on your toes it will become one, and Victor and company will be on the receiving end.

Unlike previous scenarios, the maps generated are a lot more organic: forests, sloping hills, caves and the occasional structure as opposed to roads and buildings on an obvious grid. Each one is generated from a large collection of possibilities, giving you many unique starting areas and different ways to accomplish Victor's goal. Even if one journey starts similar to another, I can guarantee you the similarity will end there as you explore the map.

So this is normally the part of the post where I show you screenshots of the diversity of maps, revealed in their entirety. But seeing as this mod is really about exploration (you even earn points for it), and there are quite a few secrets and surprises out there, screenshots could spoil some of the fun for those of you who are going to play.

I'll also be posting an in-depth guide with gameplay details later. After all, unless you play a *lot*, you almost certainly won't see/find everything anyway, so it may be a fun read :). Because it will no doubt include some major spoilers, I'll wait on that until you've had a chance to explore the world yourself a bit first.

Until then, here's a guide to the essentials (definitely read through this before playing!):

    -Most terrain/environment objects can be manipulated ('n')--i.e., almost everything is searchable/usable. (I was going to use the same feature to enable manual talking to NPCs as well, but decided to make conversation automatic on walking up to someone, if they have something to say.)
    -Most units have special abilities ('z'). Some may be passive and thus won't show up on the list--I'll tell you about those in the guide, others probably have restrictions on their use. Party members that raise levels also gain new abilities.
    -Lots of items are usable ('u'), especially those represented by '&' (no different from Cataclysm). Use them.
    -Special/magical armors may imbue the wearer with new abilities (some passive, some must be activated with 'z'). Remember you can remove/exchange your armor now! (Though note that party members are unlikely to be able to wear armors named for specific units, or those for non-Human anatomies.)
    -You start with only one unit, our hero Victor, and can always gain a few allies in your immediate vicinity; others can be found elsewhere--you generally just walk up to blue NPCs and they'll join you. Allies in the starting area can only be recruited by Wade himself.
    -Victor Wade must survive to "win," since this is his story, after all. Keep him safe. If he dies you can continue playing to explore the map and earn a better score, but won't be able to see the cool ending and learn what happens next.
    -Every map will have at least one area with a powerful enemy, which you should avoid until you've gained enough allies/weapons/spells/items to have a chance of defeating (warning: in some maps that enemy will leave their starting area).
    -Despite the lack of UI info to confirm your intuition, assume that weapons you'd expect to be better actually are.
    -If you have any non-controllable allies following you (like certain summons/servants), press/hold 'F' ("friendlies") to highlight them, even if outside your FOV. (This is a change from the 'C' key used in earlier versions to highlight only civilian followers in Cataclysm.)
    -Probably the most annoying thing about using spells/abilities is that if one is red on the list, it won't tell you why (instead giving you a stupid message saying you can't use any abilities at all, which may or may not even be true). If not because you lack sufficient TU/EN (which should be obvious because it shows the numbers), it's almost certainly because you're missing a spell component or focus required to cast that spell, or don't meet some other special condition like the cooldown wait time. Re-reading the tome(s)/book(s) you find to be sure you know the casting requirements for each spell will help clear that up.
    -If you have enough screen space (1280x960), you'll notice I included a new fantasy style text font which will be loaded by default, but you can always switch back to a different font or smaller window. There's actually a second fantasy font choice at that same size, but I don't think it looks nearly as good. Note that if you have a slower computer the larger window size can slow down the game as the engine is not yet optimized.

So get out there and come back with a tale for us! Share stories in the comments, Bay 12, or the forums, and if there are enough interesting ones I may highlight them in a future post.

Note: A Rookie's Tale does not come with the standard X@COM download. As a mod, you'll find it as a stand-alone program under the mods section of the files page.

Technical/Modding Addendum:

So to re-cap why I'm modding my own game (which may seem like an odd thing to do during alpha development): Rookie's Tale is an example of the wide variety of content you can include 100% by mod--every bit of content you see is scripted in text files that are parsed and run through the X@COM squad-based tactical simulator which sits on top of Rogue Engine X (the same engine that runs Cogmind, which kicked butt in this year's RotY poll, btw).

Because I know the engine best, it made sense that I create an extensive mod to both make sure everything actually does work (Cataclysm only used a subset), and provide examples for other modders to learn from. In fact I myself even learned a hell of a lot doing this, since it's a very generic system which can do things I never planned nor expected. (It's alive!) I'll be posting a lot of the tips and tricks I found on the forum so other modders can make their own missions more expressive, too.

On the coding side, the dynamic content system was fleshed out considerably as I encountered little things here and there (everywhere...) where adding just another setting or two could open up a whole new range of possibilities. This eventually resulted in a massive number of internal changes/improvements. My changelog since the last release (8.2) is crazy long--not much for the public changelog, though, and no major new features, so this isn't R9.

One of the more noteworthy non-technical improvements that came about as a result of this mod is different FOV shapes, set by race. Armors can also modify the wearer's FOV and sight range, such as restrictive medieval armor or high-tech armor with extra sensors that pass on more information about the surroundings. In Rookie's Tale, the few armors that do this will warn you with a message, and you can always check your FOV visualization ('f').

There's a heck of a lot more that could be done with this mod, and it could easily be expanded into a true full game given more map chunks (which would make for fewer chaotic maps due to a wider pool to choose from, thereby enabling finer control over what pieces are placed near what--I didn't actually use that feature) and even more interactivity with objects and NPCs, but I have to stop somewhere.

If you would like to make your own fantasy mod, you could always rip parts from Rookie's Tale, or just use all the data objects to create a different scenario by creating new areas (though that's probably the most annoying part until we have a proper map editor).

Also a heads up: There's a WH40k mod in the works now. Interested players can check it out on the forum and give it a run to provide the author with some pre-release feedback if so inclined.

Special thanks to all the forum members who helped playtest this mod prior to release, especially 10101, our resident binary German :) Seriously, without him I wouldn't have been able to both test and fix all the issues we resolved and still release on time. With so much content to play through, though, there could be some issues we didn't find. Report them and they shall be fixed. I'll even throw in some new areas in the update.

A Rookie's Tale is actually the first in a four-part series following Victor before he makes it back to Earth (the other three parts being sci-fi/alien), though I doubt I'll actually go through with the others. Anyway, Now that I've gotten my fantasy fix and made good use of it, next we're back to your [ir]regularly scheduled tactical sci-fi program[/game].

Well damn!   :o
Brian Emre Jeffears
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Re: X@COM (now at R8.6 + MODS + A ROOKIE'S TALE TC)
« Reply #54 on: February 03, 2013, 12:53:43 PM »
R 8.6

* FIX: Missing with last shot of limited-shot weapon that is its own ammo caused crash
* NEW: Path visualization includes option to show full area
* MOD: Racial/armor incendiary damage modifiers also reduce/prevent damage applied to burning units
* FIX: Crash caused by objects falling on and crushing treasure chests in Rookie's Tale
* NEW: Hand-held light-emitting items illuminate the environment
* NEW: Armor can act as a light source, and optionally cover/block racial light
* NEW: Burst firing mode supports any number of projectiles, and a salvo option for simultaneously firing multiple projectiles
* MOD: Movement will always choose straight path to destination if clear, even if it is not the cheapest route by TU/EN
* MOD: HUD always shows remaining ammo (overwrites ammo name where necessary)
* MOD: Inventory window widened, and now shows ammo counts wherever helpful
* FIX: Swapping item between hands in inventory now costs 0 TU (was already available as free action through 'w' hotkey on map)
* FIX: Spawning/mutations in constricted areas will attempt even more alternate methods of placement

Missiles/8.6 away!

The people have spoken! Truthfully, not a whole lot of them, but the handful of voices heard make it fairly obvious that overall you guys would prefer to avoid too many intentional roadblocks (a.k.a. feature creep) on the way to 1.0. Probably a smart move.

So as discussed in the previous post, I've postponed parkour and plowed through a series of quick features while clearing up the near-term to-do list in preparation for the Next Big Thing.

While these new features come with R8.6, uploaded today, some of them consist of engine support for future content and mods, not something you'll immediately have access to in the game. Nonetheless, I'll mention them here so that you know what's going on, and so I have an excuse to put up some related screenshots :)

Hand-held light-emitting items will now illuminate the nearby environment (I'm talking mechanics here, not some new visual style). This means little to X-COM right now since their own unit-based light is equivalent to that given off by an electro-flare, but it could have some interesting implications for mods where you might not have so much light available and have to carry a source of light (which may not last forever, like a lit torch). Varying amounts of light may also be emitted by armor itself.

Pathfinding has been slightly modified. I believe most players will prefer the more predictable direct route when allowing the game to take you to a chosen destination (as in X-COM), even though that route generally costs a tad more TU due to extra turning costs. I could add an option to disallow this behavior, but if you're in a tight situation where a few TU will really matter, you can always move in shorter sprints (which you should probably be doing, anyway) or use the keyboard. Do note that if the direct path (meaning a straight line towards the destination) is blocked, the normal pathfinding calculations will take over and will always take the cheapest path, which is not straight.

Burst fire weapons now support numbers of projectiles other than three, so some weapon could theoretically go full auto on a target with six shots, or more. For even scarier stopping power, burst mode supports a "salvo" setting that fires *all* those projectiles at once. Of course, my first inclination was to make a launcher that fires 12 large rockets simultaneously. Just a test, mind you ;p

Finally got around to adding ammo counters to the inventory window. This was postponed a looooong time ago when the original inventory window didn't have much room because it used the full-width font. Now you can actually identify at a glance what weapons are loaded with how much ammo, and the amount remaining in each clip in your inventory without having to remember / check all these values manually. Always one step ahead of the aliens, we are! (I also went ahead and made the HUD prioritize the display of remaining ammo, even though we'll be getting a new HUD in a few versions.)


    -Rookie's Tale has been updated with a few fixes and a new sword (Vampiric Blade).
    -10101 has again updated the Aggression mod, this time with a huge garrison. Woe to the orc raiding party that runs into that thing (10% chance; you'll know at the beginning there's one nearby because you'll hear the commander's call to arms at the end of your first turn--keep retrying with F10 until you get it if you've played before and are just interested in the garrison).

Around the corner: A bit of optimization, and sound++.
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Re: X@COM (now at R9 + MODS + A ROOKIE'S TALE TC)
« Reply #55 on: April 01, 2013, 11:54:34 AM »

* MOD: Cursor selection of an empty space for movement will auto-target the ground below it (e.g., disembarking from Skyranger)
* FIX: Burst firing unlimited-ammo weapons would allow unlimited shots (regression)
* TMP: Sandbox comes with a set of test sounds (deactivated in missions by default)
* NEW: Sound system supporting weapons, explosions, destruction, impacts, movement, injury, ambience, and more
* NEW: Melee attacks that fail to destroy terrain give relative effectiveness feedback
* NEW: Identical consecutive log messages are folded together
* NEW: Aliens may use grenades (in mods only)
* NEW: '1' & '2' keys can be used to change map view level (for nonstandard keyboards)
* MOD: Engine renderer speed effectively doubled (++FPS!)
* FIX: Proximity grenades must be primed/activated before throwing
* FIX: Z-level resets properly to shooter when burst-fired projectiles miss high/low
* FIX: Auto-generated rubble terrain was invisible (regression)

Hear that?

It's the
hum of nearby power cores,
the twittering of alien terminals,
the footsteps of soldiers making their way across a lawn, pushing their way through foliage, and trampling crushed glass as they investigate a decidedly large opening in the side of a now-abandoned house, or the sound of aliens sneaking down a wooden hallway towards that very opening. Or not sneaking. You'll definitely know a sectopod when you hear one--let those mechanical steps strike fear into the heart of many a brave field commander!
It's the
charging of powerful laser cannons,
brick walls crumbling from an explosive impact,
spent shells rattling across the concrete,
bullets ricocheting off UFO hulls,
grenades bouncing down the hall (if you're close enough to hear this one, um, was nice knowing you),
glass storefronts being blown out (try the pressurized gas explosion of a small launcher for the coolest effect--since it just gets the windows ;p)
falling furniture smashing into a lower floor,
a growling reaper that must be right around the corner,
and the roar of a massive... well, you'll hear it when you do (hopefully before you see it so you still have time to run).

And that's just the beginning.

Weighing in at 850 sounds, R9 is the true beginning of creating the sense of immersion I envision as being core to the X@COM experience.

It's been a while since we had a nice whole number release since the modding bonanza that was R8 (which resulted in some very beneficial iterative development).

The highlights of this release are a super fast (relatively speaking) engine refactor (old post) and, of course, the new sound system, which I've posted a bit about recently, but here's a quick overview:

    Ambient sounds are sourced from objects in the surrounding environment (area-based ambient sound will come at a later time when the map generation supports it)
    Volume is distance-based, and allows for different falloff models depending on what makes the most sense
    Weapons and explosions currently use a temporary set of sounds, a quick job meant just to cover the basic X-COM content
    The system is, as usual, easily moddable: there are hooks in the data/code for weapons, destruction, various types of impact, death and injury, ambience, item interaction, etc.
    Sound is also integrated with the event/ability scripting system, meaning just about anything can be audible if necessary

Among the smaller additions, melee attacks that fail to destroy terrain objects now show messages indicating how effective the hit was. This was a great community suggestion, since you generally don't have any idea whether what you're using to bash down that heavy door is going to knock it down anytime today. Later this will be slightly less of an issue once you can examine damage and integrity values in-game, but for now it could save you some time, especially useful in Rookie's Tale where melee items are the norm.

The log now implements message folding, so consecutive identical messages will just increase the count on the first one by using a suffix: "<x#>"

Proxy grenades now require priming as in the original. Don't drop them at your feet after priming them! Dropping them and picking them up again will deactivate them (of course you can only do that if you haven't moved from their location, or you use some kind of psionics to move them, entirely possibly one day as we've seen in Rookie's Tale--unlike the original, flying units cannot drop down to pick them up.) The game still supports grenades that auto-activate when thrown, for modding potential (that and X@COM smoke grenades still automatically explode).

On the scary side, aliens can use grenades! Oh my... This feature has not been retroactively added to old missions, though--it's only available in mods, and only where the modder intends it (by putting 'nades in alien hands ;p). At least there's only a *chance* they'll throw it at you.

So you want to finally hear all these new sounds? There are currently three ways:

    The simplest (though not quite as fun) is to download the demo and run the sandbox, where you can play around with the weapons, shoot the house, etc.
    You can also replay the old demo missions, but because game sounds are *deactivated* by default, you'll have to turn them on manually by editing the mission's .bat file: add the "-fullSound" command line switch. I recommend against this option since the experience will be fairly inconsistent given that they contain additional non-standard content for which there are no sounds.
    Or... play this new mod created specifically to show off sound effects!

So after years of playing X-COM you're a pro at taking on one landed UFO, sure, but how about multiple UFOs at once?

The weakest opposition you could face will be two medium scouts, plus whatever has taken up defensive positions in the surrounding structures, plus whatever else decides to show up depending on your performance. On average there will be around 3-4 UFOs, though, among them sometimes a large scout or even a terror ship.

As usual, expect some surprises along the way, though this is still a more traditional tactical mission, so don't bother using anything in the environment--I didn't go crazy with that system like I did when testing it in Rookie's Tale.

Beware of sectoid and ethereal leaders, since some of them may be capable of mind control (requires LOS though), and also try not to bunch up too much lest a well-placed alien grenade wipe your whole team out.

If you feel outgunned, Malachai can be a useful ally if you can find him early. He'll join you and follow around, hopefully covering your back with his minigun and super deadly skill with throwing knives (close combat only). Once he's joined, shift-f to highlight his position since he's an allied unit not under your control. (Malachai is one of our fans from YouTube whose enthusiasm for R9 has earned him a place in this mod =p)

Like exodus, completing this mission "successfully" shouldn't be too difficult (you could always hide, wait most of it out, and at least survive...), but scoring well will be quite difficult due to the various penalties for failure to achieve objectives.

Your primary goal is to take out power sources, and for that purpose you have a good number of remote charges. As a reminder of how to use them, (p)rime them with an empty hand to create a detonator, then place the charge and (u)se the detonator when ready to set it off. Make sure to place/throw them close enough to the power source to be able to destroy it!

This mod also includes a special new kind of remote explosive, the Hull Breacher, designed specifically for breaching UFOs and giving you a different point of entry for alternate tactics. Make sure you place them immediately adjacent to a UFO hull or wall, flip the switch, and surprise some aliens from behind!

So now's your chance to command a newly audible heroic squad to prevent the equivalent of a local Armageddon. Good luck if you're forced to land at night...

My advice: Move quickly, because the longer you take the harder it will get.

X@COM is finally getting some truly video-worthy content (sound makes a huge difference), and I was working on a Ground Zero compilation to show off this release, but lacking the time to edit and polish it I've put that aside for now. In any case, you can always download and play a round if you'd like to experience it now, or wait until I do get a video out there--now that sound is mostly in place the visuals/UI are going to start improving in leaps and bounds.

I'll be leaving for couple weeks soon so there won't be any new posts for a while, but when I return in late April there will be a brand new sound-enabled mod ready from one of our modders.

So, another substantial leap forward and another new mod to mess about with alongside---nice.   8)
Brian Emre Jeffears
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Re: X@COM (now at R9.3 + MODS + A ROOKIE'S TALE TC)
« Reply #56 on: August 08, 2013, 11:53:40 AM »
R9.3 + UNION mod

X@COM 0.17.130807r9.3

* NEW: Command to label all visible hostile contacts by name on keypress, and automatically at the beginning of a new turn or on spotting a new enemy
* NEW: Command to label all visible neutral/friendly contacts
* NEW: Command to label all controlled units, color coded by their health state
* NEW: Command to label all weapons/items wielded by controlled units, color coded by their remaining ammo (where applicable)
* NEW: Command to label all items visible on map (minus bodies)
* NEW: Support for basic prop/item animation
* NEW: Explosives primed/armed by controlled units glow on the map
* NEW: On-map visualization of expected explosive AOE for projectiles and thrown explosives (if primed)
* NEW: Primed grenades/proxies in inventory show timer indicator
* MOD: Temporary grenade priming interface replaced by a proper console with mouse input
* MOD: Prime grenade hotkey ('p'/'P') automatically sets timer value to 0, unless Alt pressed to choose timer value manually
* MOD: Primed grenades picked up from the ground are no longer automatically unprimed (prevented hot-potato passes)
* MOD: Removed highlight threats command ('e') (obsolete)
* MOD: FOV/visual data updated for every shot in a burst, rather than once at the end
* FIX: Incorrect mouseover color for profile console cycle buttons (regression)
* FIX: Races immune to unconsciousness can no longer be forced unconscious by special abilities
* FIX: Unconscious units were capable of reactive melee attacks
* FIX: HTML log output escapes angle brackets for repeat message indicators (so they're visible now)

X@COM 0.17.130522r9.2

* MOD: Saved games compressed (tiny now)
* FIX: Default Cataclysm mod works again without giving version error (regression)

X@COM 0.17.130429r9.1

* NEW: Replaced default font
* FIX: Ambient sounds continued playing after restart/load

Strange guy has finally released his mech warfare mod, Union.

The target, a garrison town controlled by the United Planetary Federation, has already been bombarded prior to your arrival, but the enemy presence is still strong. Lead a mixed squad of Union troops including infantry, special forces, and mechs to clear out the opposition.

I've played this one several times already, and it's full of good old mech-blasting, tree-stomping action. Torch infantry squads with mech-mounted flame throwers, use laser targeting to call in artillery and air strikes, launch disposable rockets carried by special forces, switch some mech shields to different modes depending on the situation, and (lots, lots) more.

Of course, you need to be careful lest an effective assault is turned into horrible losses in the blink of an eye when a unit of patrolling mechs finds you exposed at the wrong place. One of my more recent runs was going swimmingly, having already taken out five enemy mechs and a few infantry before a flamethrowing mech emerged from the darkness and melted one of my own to scrap. In that same turn I'd thought I could sneak up behind a soldier manning his mounted heavy machine gun, but ran out of TUs right before getting to him--he swiveled it around and opened up, blowing through both that guy, the door behind him, and my other special forces guy providing cover outside. (I got sweet revenge with my snub-nose cannon, which caused a *much* bigger explosion than I expected, much to my satisfaction ;p)

In a way, this mod is a little before its time, as Strange guy has included a lot of interesting mechanics, details, and lore which aren't accessible within the game itself. Seeing how the game still lacks support for in-game reference information, you'll want to at least skim over the accompanying README-Union.txt file to get the most out of this mission. (Several times I've considered supporting that feature immediately, specifically for Strange guy's mods which generally have a lot of detail, but due to the level of integration necessary and the fact that the HUD isn't ready yet, from a development timeline perspective it's better to put it off rather than have to rewrite it later.)


I've also taken this opportunity to upload the latest build: R9.3.

The most notable features (as seen in the previous post) are the new map labels, animated explosion AOE previews, a new explosive priming interface, and glowing indicators for primed explosives. See the change log for a complete list.

Union uses R9.3 so you'll get to see all these features in this mod as well.
Brian Emre Jeffears
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