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Classic Games (Games)

OpenXcom 1.0 Released 50

Posted by timothy
from the dropped-the-hyphen dept.
It's a small class of video games that still draw interest or inspire an active community 20 years after their first release — even if we're now 40 years into the era of commercial video games. Games like Doom, the several iterations of Civilization, and the Mario Brothers franchise will probably be around and played in some form many decades hence. The X-COM family of games fits, too, having inspired various spiritual successors since its release in 1994. Now, an anonymous reader writes that the open source (GPL) " OpenXcom 1.0 is finally released, after 5224 commits, 1843 days, and 606 resolved issues since v0.9. 20 years of X-COMXCOM oldschool lovers enjoy!"
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OpenXcom 1.0 Released

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  • Resolution (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Thanshin (1188877)

    Why not leave everything exactly as it is but up the resolution? Is it because it's hard to find people who would redraw the sprites?

    • Re:Resolution (Score:5, Informative)

      by vux984 (928602) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @01:33PM (#47237031)

      The art assets are from the original game; you actually need to have a copy of xcom to play. This is for people who want to play XCOM.

      Upping the resolution is a fine idea though, and as the game is moddable, you probably can up the resolution, and include all new artwork.

      • by ultranova (717540)

        Upping the resolution is a fine idea though, and as the game is moddable, you probably can up the resolution, and include all new artwork.

        Or one could integrate the various filters from, say, ScummVM. Making low-res pixel art look good is a problem that's been pretty much solved.

    • We've upped the resolution, now UP YOURS!

  • by Jahoda (2715225) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @02:34PM (#47237235) Homepage
    I personally didn't care for any of the sequels that followed XCOM/XCOM:TFTD - none of them seemed to capture that sublime perfection that is the gameplay of the original, most seemed like cash-ins on the IP. So, I was very surprised to find that the current Firaxis title was actually surprisingly, surprisingly good. I learned that recreating the original game in the engine they built was their first step in creating the new title, and clearly it was created with love. So, I say this for any fans who may have been like me, and avoided the titles strictly because historically the sequels stunk to high heaven.

    Having said that, it still doesn't completely scratch that itch that only a game of nice, classic Xcom. Dosbox has always been an option of course, but Xcom has bugs, and while using "XcomUtil" (http://ufopaedia.org/index.php?title=XcomUtil) can fix many of these problems, the work of the OpenXCOM to give us such a wonderful, expandable, moddable version of such a giant of PC gaming is simply astounding. As I read over the documentation, I can't wait to give this a shot. Really want to thank these guys for such a wonderful job - my memories of the summer of 94 and this game are very fond indeed.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Zero replayability. A completely different game with with the same name. Xcom Apocalypse was closer to the original than the 2012 version ever was.

      • by vux984 (928602)

        EU feels far more like XCOM than Apocalypse ever did to me. As for 'zero replayability' try the mods. :)

        They add a lot more variability and depth, and some of the re-balancing change the tactics... adds a lot of replayability.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      sublime perfection that is the gameplay of the original

      Excuse me? You mean the whole set of bugs that the fans had to fix because it was embarassingly broken? Or the horrible AI which you could play around however you wanted once you reached a certain tech level? Or the horrific behaviour of rockets/grenades which were essentially 2D? Or the destructible walls which would not collapse floating floors on you? etc, etc. Or maybe you mean the tedious boring unbalanced ending part of each game where you are fo

      • by vux984 (928602)

        Also, the recent fireaxis xcom is nothing like the original.

        Its different, but it captures the feel very well to me.

        I like it, but again, it's more action oriented and less strategy. Unless you tell me that strategy is having a super soldier unable to carry more than one grenade per mission...

        I agree, the changes to streamline things are significantly different - skill trees, and the restrictive inventory system for example. But... playing within the confines of that is still lots of strategy and tactics.

        • by Trepidity (597)

          Its different, but it captures the feel very well to me.

          That's also the argument of this paper (PDF) [fdg2014.org] comparing them, though it does also concede that the new game somewhat reduces tension and difficulty in order to accommodate a streamlined UX that players expect from modern titles.

          The two biggest changes to the feel imo are: 1) scrapping of the whole time-unit system; and 2) much less in the way of ambushes because the line-of-sight visibility mechanic was replaced by a much broader visibility field.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Also, the recent fireaxis xcom is nothing like the original. I like it, but again, it's more action oriented and less strategy. Unless you tell me that strategy is having a super soldier unable to carry more than one grenade per mission...

        You know, in reality we'd probably have a bit more than half a dozen soldiers to fight off an alien invasion. UFO Defense was a lot more about tedium and logistics than actual strategy, okay the soldiers need bullets for their guns but I need to restock them between each mission or they'll forget to bring ammo? That's not the kind of micromanagement I'd like to be doing between researching alien tech, building new and unique equipment and facilities while staving off an alien invasion. I consider the chance

    • I tried Firaxis's XCOM as soon as I could, seeking the flexibility of the first two games; the devilish plays you could pull when in a tight spot (prime alien grenade - toss at buddy - buddy picks it up - buddy lobs at alien), shooting or running as your speed (TUs per turn) allowed, switching equipment on the field, breaching walls for your teammates... all were fond memories worthy of revisiting with a modern engine.

      The first cinematic of the landing scene gave me a huge grin, and it was mostly disappoint

      • by khchung (462899)

        I tried Firaxis's XCOM as soon as I could, seeking the flexibility of the first two games; the devilish plays you could pull when in a tight spot (prime alien grenade - toss at buddy - buddy picks it up - buddy lobs at alien), shooting or running as your speed (TUs per turn) allowed, switching equipment on the field, breaching walls for your teammates... all were fond memories worthy of revisiting with a modern engine.

        The first cinematic of the landing scene gave me a huge grin, and it was mostly disappointing from then on. Its walk-shoot-shoot; you die with the gear you brought; you can't shoot at walls because they've done nothing to you. I played four missions and didn't get to experiment with classes or see whether you could ever learn Mind Control.

        My hopes are now on UFO: Alien Invasion. Bit rough around the edges but coming along nicely. If you share my feelings, give it a go.

        Agree with you on all points, and I will add one game-breaker I gleaned after completing the game a few times, for all the great promise of the new XCom game, this is the killer that made me stop playing it -- the AI cheats.

        That's right, it cheats. Not in the strategy game purest sense of cheating like it knows the position and gears of my team before they can see them (it does), but in the much more serious way as teleporting its units, literally, behind your back. So you can have your units partition th

        • Reminds me of the old Carrier Command game. Due to rushed development, the AI code was never fully finished - it was thick as two short planks. To compensate for these weaknesses, it was given certain advantages that made the game very unfair.

          eg, the AI was never given pathfinding code - so it couldn't navigate around an island. The solution was to just let it drive over land too - thus allowing it to take a straight line between any two points. The manual lampshaded this by declaring it was a hover-carrier

        • To be fair, some behavio(u)rs of the original game were less than reasonable, to the point that taking advantage of them felt like an exploit. One of these was "collective sight", which meant that if anyone on your side (even a controlled alien) can see someone, everyone can target it. You could do the Cydonia mission without leaving the craft by spotting one alien and chain-controlling as many as needed to reach the hive-brain. Others were: stuffing someone (dead/unconscious) in your "backpack" and only su

    • Do so now.

      The Firaxis reboot was good, but with the EW expansion it is amazing, probably the best turn based tactical game of all time. They hit the right balance of simplicity of mechanics and complexity of strategy, kept everything nice and balanced, gave you a lot of different valid strategy options and so on.

      I've been extremely pleased with it and spent a shit ton of time playing it.

      • by Jahoda (2715225)
        Thanks! I will definitely have to do so. I have the expansion, but have simply never gotten around to playing it (Steam sales, etc etc). Might be a good summertime thing to start up =)
  • by ACS Solver (1068112) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @04:13PM (#47237653)
    A very good time to be an XCom fan.

    Another release is that of Xenonauts [xenonauts.com], to be finally released next week. I think it's a must-have for fans of the classic XCom. Xenonauts is a modernized remake, but it keeps the same fundamental game mechanics (unlike the Firaxis version). Time units, multiple bases, great freedom in soldier inventory and other things from the original, and there's a huge amount of balancing and subtle improvements. I have played several indie and small-studio successors, such as UFO: Aftermath, UFO: Extraterrestrials, and UFO: Alien Invasion, but none of those have, in my opinion, captured the original's feeling, while Xenonauts managed to.
    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      I'm pretty curious how Xenonauts turned out. I bought it during the early stages of development (back when it was more "crowdfunding" than "early access") and the last version I played was an alpha where the game would crash if your soldiers tried to pick up alien guns. I remember the ground combat being good but the interception minigame being pretty annoying.

      It'll be interesting to see what has changed since then.
  • Interesting! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by snemarch (1086057) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @06:08PM (#47238063)

    It's nice to see that there's still people interested in the *original* XCOM games - and not the utter junk that's been released since TFTD.

    Some 13 years ago (wow, time flies), I was delighted to see a Windows re-release of the XCOM games (the "Collectors Edition"), since the DOS version was indeed pretty troublesome to get running under Windows - this was before the luxury of DOSBox. However, the fine developers who did the port didn't know the difference between "pitch" and "width", and thus it was unplayable (on a wide range of graphics cards, apparently). I was put down by this, but my friend who was visiting that evening said "well, you usually fix... bugs... in programs, so can't you fix this?".

    One frantic night of reverse engineering and beer-drinking and reminiscing about chryssalids and tentaculats laters, I had a bugfix loader running. XCOM once again! The CE port in general wasn't perfect, the XCOM1 intro only had MIDI music but not the muton screams and other sound effects, there were stall-for-a-second issues when changing soundtrack on many soundcards, et cetera.

    When XCOM1+2 were re-released on STEAM, they initially used my bugfix loaders (I'm told they use DOSBox nowadays - that's a more authentic experience). Didn't even contact me about it. When I reached out to the people in charge (took a while, the rights to the brand had been shifted around quite a bit), I was told that the source code no longer existed - apparently, at the end of days, it had existed on a single laptop that had been stolen or destroyed or whatever.

    So, with the above in mind, it's nice to see that people are trying to re-create the legacy of one of the best games I've ever spent countless hours with.

    • You made those loaders? Awesome. I owe many hours of XCOM fun/rage to you, then. Thanks for releasing those!
    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      Apoc wasn't that bad. It was flawed but still enjoyable, although I think that some of the cut content would've made it even better (like tracking down people to uncover alien infiltration attempts). The premise was silly but I do like the gameplay. Plus, there were these sublime moments like when you realized that your desperate tactic of throwing swarms of hoverbikes at the UFOs was actually pretty effective. Overall it might not have been quite as good as the first one but it was still good.

      Now, Interc

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