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Topics - aceshigh

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Offtopic / XCOM Board Game
« on: August 06, 2014, 06:45:52 pm »
this article was published today at RockPaperShotgun

it seems it must be played with a "digital companion" (I guess an iOS and Android app?)

"The app’s primary function is to coordinate the escalating alien invasion, randomly selecting from one of five different invasion plans. Each invasion plan represents a general outline that the alien commanders will use to coordinate the arrival of new UFOs, plan strikes against your base, and respond to your successes or failures as it seeks to conquer Earth. The app manages all of these tasks and heighten’s the game’s tension as it forces you to respond in real-time. Then, after you move quickly to coordinate your response, you engage the enemy in the untimed resolution phase and feed the results to the app. Based upon these results, the app launches the invasion’s next strikes."

I don´t even think there is a strategy game with individual soldiers field of view like XCOM. The closest I can think off is games like Baldurs Gate, which are however sword and sorcery fantasy games and the battles do not play like XCOM at all.

Let´s try to imagine a game using the same "stats" for individual soldiers as XCOM. So maybe it´s the reverse process, as the developers thought how make different stats for soldiers work in a turn base style.

Turn base is awesome, no wonder I (we all) have been playing XCOM in the past 20 years. But real time with pause could also be interesting for a strategic game... and it would be more "realistic", after all, real battles are not played in turns. (has anyone here played South Park The Stick of Truth rpg? Reminds me of Cartman telling one of them to wait his turn, because that's how real soldiers fought in the f*cking middle ages!)

Now, let´s convert XCOM turns to "real time":

I suppose each square of the battlescape grid is supposed to be about 1x1 meters. Soldiers need 4 TUs to cover a square. Most of them start with about 60 TUs and therefore can "run" 15 meters.

This link ( ) says an average human sprints at 24 km/h and runs at average 13 km/h. Usain Bolt can sprint at over 44 km/h.

Now, no matter how good our soldiers are, they can´t sprint as fast as Usain Bolt. We must consider battle condition sprinting, meaning they are carrying weapons, armor, other weight, must reserve energy for doing other things, etc.

If we consider a turn to be 1 second, it would mean a novice soldier (with about 60 TUs) can sprint 15 meters in one second. That converts to 54 km/h. Nah, just too fast.
If we consider a turn to be 2 seconds, it would mean a novice soldier can sprint about 7.5 meters per second (or 15 meters in two seconds). That´s 27 km/h.
If we consider a turn to be 3 seconds, it would mean a novice soldier can sprint about 5 meters per second (or 15 meters in three seconds). That´s 18 km/h.

Let´s consider 3 seconds. Therefore, an untrained soldier can sprint while carrying weapons, armor and other weight, 5 meters per second, or 18 km/h

 We have to assume everything is happening simultaneously, therefore, if you spend all your TUs for walking a big distance, it means you are actually running hard. You covered 15 meters in 3 seconds. If you use half your TUs to move, and the other half fireing, we have to assume that in those same 3 seconds of the turn, he run at about 10km/h for about 1.5 second and spent the next 1.5 second fireing at an alien.

Of course, XCOM uses the same TU system for everything in the game. Therefore a soldier increasing his TUs means his is doing EVERYTHING faster, not only running. If before he took 1 second for shoot three times (auto shot, 20 TUs out of 60 TUs), increasing the TUs as he levels up, and now having 80TUs (the turn still has 3 seconds), 20 TUs would therefore be 0.75 second. And his sprint (spending all TUs to move) would equal 21 km/h.

So far, does anyone agrees with me? Want to see your input on the considerations above.

Considering all the stuff above, we can start sketching how XCOM (or a similar game) would work in real time. Instead of TUs, each soldier would have (and level up) these different stats. That means we would order the soldier to walk, run or sprint, and his speed would be somewhat based on the calculations above.

We can pause and give orders to multiple soldiers... and when unpausing, they would start doing the orders.

Now... how fast you move has implications on what else you can do. Like... you are sprinting. You surely are not aiming and you are moving your arms around while carrying your weapon. Therefore, as soon as the sprinting soldier sees an alien he cannot shoot back (he is out of TUs). He would need like 20 TUs (1 second) to slow down and autofire at the alien. In real time, you can imagine that you give the command to shoot while the game is paused (auto-pause when a soldier sees an alien or performs his actions) and as you unpause, the soldier will take some time to slow down and one second to shoot the alien with auto-shot. Unfortunatelly for him, the alien was not running. But walking. Therefore he was already aiming and prepared to shoot any human soldier on sight with a snap shot immediately (because it was already prepared, by walking slowly, with the weapon pointed in the forward direction). Of course, an aimed shot would take longer, because more than prepared, the alien would have to aim. The time it takes to aim maybe the human would be able to shoot an auto-shot at you. Obviously, by auto-shooting, his chances to miss are great, while you have a good change to hit him by aiming. So it´s up to the alien to decide. He goes for the snap shot. And misses. Another snap shot. And misses again. While that played out, the running human is coming to a halt and auto-shot the alien. One of the shots hits the target, killing the alien.

One thing I suppose is that playing in real time would allow the battlescape to play faster. Remember Terror from The Deep and how long it took to play a Cruiser ship level (8 decks total). I think in real time with pause you could play much faster.

Tell a group of soldiers to walk along the entire deck and they would go until spotting an alien and time pausing. Maybe we could create formations. Like selecting 3-4 soldiers, telling them to stay in formation, and they would walk in that formation, slower if for example the front one is crouched to allow the backone to fire over him, or flank soldiers walk while targeting the sides...

If it played faster, and we wanted the time of each Battlescape fight to be longer, we could have bigger maps, which would take the same time to play in real time as smaller maps in turns...

Ok, I haven´t thought out every situation or how it could work in every situation.

So, give your opinions, ideas, etc :)

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