What is X-COM?
X-COM is a series of strategy videogames originally made by MicroProse, where the player takes control of an organization to fight off an alien menace invading Earth.
You manage your operations from bases spread around the globe, where you equip your craft and soldiers, take care of research and manufacture, and expand your facilities. You’re also constantly scanning for alien activity so you can send out crafts to intercept UFOs and ground forces to stop alien troops.
On ground missions, you take control of your troops in a turn-based fashion, moving your soldiers around the field and fighting against the alien troops until you emerge victorious. Or more commonly, get brutally murdered, but remember, dying is fun!
In the midst of all this, the funding nations are scoring your every move as the alien invasion keeps escalating. You have to turn the odds in your favour by interrogating the aliens and recover their technology to figure out how to end this war once and for all!
What is OpenXcom?
OpenXcom is an open-source clone of the original UFO: Enemy Unknown (X-Com: UFO Defense in USA), licensed under the GPL and written in C++ / SDL. It was originally founded by SupSuper in February 2009, and has since grown into a small development team surrounded by a very supporting community.
The goal of the project is to bring back the tried and true feel of the original with none of the issues. All the same graphics, sound and gameplay with a brand new codebase written from scratch. This should give it:
- Fixability: Play the game natively without any need for emulators or fancy hacks, with none of the limitations and bugs that plagued the original. No more 80-item-limit, personnel limits, funding overflows, disconnected facilities, broken proximity grenades, floating soldiers, etc.
- Moddability: Tweak the game to your heart’s content. Sure the original was pretty good, but maybe you just think it could be that bit better. A nicer base layout, better laser weapons, maybe challenge yourself with a custom game mode, or just put in all the crazy stuff you’ve always wanted! None of it is hardcoded.
- Flexibility: Port the game to any platform you like, customize it to your liking, or use it to make your own far-fetched remakes. The code is fully documented and open-source so anyone can take a crack at it.
For more details check the Wiki.
Q: How is this different from all the other remakes?
A: Our goal here isn’t to make the next X-COM, just make the existing X-COM more accessible, for all the hardcore fans that just love going back to the original every now and then. If that’s not enough for you, that’s OK, we even got all these Links to many other remakes you could try instead. We’re all pals here, no hard feelings.
Q: But isn’t it the same as UFO Extender or XcomUtil?
A: Sorta. We all have the same goal of improving the original, only they took the approach of patching it, we took the approach of taking it apart and putting it back together. Like TTDPatch and OpenTTD, if you will. Each approach has different pros/cons, but they don’t cancel each other out, in fact we even have a lot of similar features. Just pick what you prefer.
Q: I’ve never played the original, will this be easier to learn?
A: Not really, the original game has a befuddling interface, and we stuck with it for better or for worse. You might wanna just grab a copy of the manual to figure out the interface and learn the rest by trial and error… well fine, you can also just check the UFOpaedia for all the pro strategy and tactics if you just hate fun or something.
Q: Why do I keep getting murdered the minute I step out of the craft?!
A: That’s X-COM! Remember the aliens have better equipment, resistance and visibility than you, and they have full-reaction-shots the first turn, so you might wanna just throw a smoke grenade and hang low. Also the AI is smarter, so cheap exploits and savescumming will no longer help you.
Q: Is using the original X-COM resources legal?
A: It’s kind of a grey area. We’ve contacted the copyright holders just to be sure but they never replied back, so we just play it safe like every other clone. The code is completely new and none of the copyrighted files are actually included with the project, players still need their own copy of X-COM to play, so it should be fine.
Q: Are original savegames supported?
A: OpenXcom uses its own savegame format, to make it easier to maintain and not suffer from the original limitations. A converter for the original savegame format might be added later, depending on how much is transferable.
Q: What about multiplayer?
A: OpenXcom is focused on the original singleplayer gameplay, we don’t really plan on adding multiplayer as it’d drastically change the game. You might wanna check UFO2000 instead where you can have multiplayer tactical battles.
Q: Are Terror From The Deep and Apocalypse gonna be supported too?
A: Terror From The Deep support is planned once the game is moddable enough. Apocalypse is tricky though since it’s a completely different engine with very different gameplay, and most of its internals remain a mystery.
Q: Can I help?
A: You probably already have! The most important job is testing the game. We spend so much time working on it we can’t afford to thoroughly play it, so you need to do it for us. Play OpenXcom, play the hell out of it, then report any problems in the Bug Tracker.
If you’re a native speaker in a language we don’t support yet, check the Translations forum.
If you just wanna show your support, you can always donate a little something. We work on OpenXcom on our spare time with no compensation, so we appreciate the gesture.
Finally you can just be a valuable member of the community, help other people out, make suggestions, create mods and whatever else you feel like. Everything counts!