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Topics - alienfood

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Offtopic / great article: UFO TV series special effects
« on: October 31, 2015, 02:19:26 pm »
I ran into this today, linked off instapundit:

Very excellent pictures of the actual miniatures they used to shoot the effects for a TV series called UFO. These are so outstanding and iconic, and famous (in the UK), that they must have had a big impact on XCOM designers. The article has inspired me to watch the shows on youtube.

Open Feedback / Bug report #858 - alien not draw on battlescape
« on: January 02, 2015, 03:20:31 pm »
Sorry for posting the attachment here, like a scrub I opened the defect as a guest and now I cant do anything with it.

Anyway, not a serious calamity, as defects go, but I thought you would like to know.

Here is the save (saved immediately after the sectoid became visible). I had just killed an alien at the window and had knocked down 3 wall tiles doing so.

Playthroughs / Ladder?
« on: July 05, 2014, 03:29:36 pm »
Pmprog suggested holding a ladder or tournament way back in 2012. This is an interesting idea. The problem would be having rules that manage all the variability in starting conditions, not just difficulty but all the mods that are available. I'd like to participate in something that compared our progress game-month to game-month.

Anyway if anybody has ideas about how this might be organized, please post.

Eventually I suppose there could be in-game support, uploading scores or something to a friendly site such as the mod site.

Suggestions / Purchase/Recruit screen
« on: December 31, 2012, 09:41:44 pm »
I posted a small change to hide items in the Purchase/Recruit screen. It read values from the file and required changes to options.h etc. It was OK so far as it went but was not much better than zeroing out the item in the rules file.

Warboy suggested being able to e.g. ctrl-click and the item disappears, with some other combination or button to restore them all. This would be a big improvement. It prompted me to post here and get suggestions.

I'm thinking about adding "arrow" buttons (like on the equip-soldier screen), when you click that button the item goes to the bottom and maybe turns a different color. This way you can shove unwanted or rarely-wanted items to the bottom of the list. This would get saved as part of the game, so you can keep old tech in the usual places for early games.

This is a good bit of work for a small improvement, but sliding through ancient techs on the purchase page has always bugged me. I'll take the best suggestion and give it a shot.

Programming / "Strafe" sideways move
« on: December 23, 2012, 05:08:41 pm »
I pushed a fairly small change that implements a "strafing" or sideways movement, as follows:

- Requires option "strafe: true" in options.cfg
- Hold down Ctrl-key when clicking
- Only strafe to adjacent tiles, in front or beside but not behind
- Large units (tanks) cannot strafe
- Strafing during a change of z not allowed

Strafing increases TU cost by +1. This seems reasonable, as usually you will have already paid the TU cost of turning to face the wall before strafing sideways into a corridor.

Graphically, the units "moonwalk" while scooting sideways. It looks neat to me.

I spent a long time trying to get backwards-strafing to work, but the units would exit through the front of the tile, teleport backwards, and enter through the back of the tile behind. I turned off strafing backwards, but eventually I think it can be done by fudging the "frame" count passed to the draw routine.

I tried very hard to follow the instructions provided by radius75, but I still ended up with the change on "master" instead of on my branch. If you can't find the changes and want them, they are very minor and I can post them here. I also tried the changes integrated into the latest Cydonia changes from Warboy, and they work just fine. I don't know why (or rather, I do know why and don't know how) to post the changes pre-integrated with the latest Cydonia work.

Offtopic / 1st Jan, 1999
« on: December 15, 2012, 09:37:20 pm »
It might be fun for a group of us to start a new XCOM game, starting in a couple of weeks on Jan 1st, and playing through an actual game day (or thereabouts) per day. Just like it's 1999 all over again. It could be XCOM or TFTD, or whatever, just start your own game and put in progress reports.

Programming / Battlescape Save/Load speedup and file shrink
« on: November 28, 2012, 01:08:05 am »
Battlescape saves contain much repetitive data, e.g. smoke is almost always 0, most mapData contains -1, -1, -1.

The patch affects only tile.cpp, and checks the data it is about to save. For each tile, it elides data from the save if it is "predictable". Equally, during load, each tile checks whether a value node exists before trying to load it; if the node is not available it inserts this "predictable" value instead.

My battlescape saves have gone from 601kb to 347kb, and my load times (oldish i7 laptop with SSD) from about 60 seconds to 45 seconds.

The patch is backward-compatible with existing saves, but don't overwrite your old saves if you want to be able to remove the patch.

Programming / A nubb compiles and runs it
« on: November 24, 2012, 04:21:41 pm »
This is not targeted at the Warboys of the world. I got stuck at various points following the instructions, I wanted to pass along some notes in case others get stuck at the same places.

1. Endless trouble with yaml-cpp. It needs a dll and a lib, if you just import into a new VS "project from existing code" I couldn't get it to make the lib even though the import lib switch was set. You are much better off using CMake as suggested by yaml, EXCEPT don't create a "build" subdir, just run

cmake -G "Visual Studio 9 2008" -DBUILD_SHARED_LIBS=ON

right inside the directory where you extracted. Then, if you still have runtime issues, do a Release (not Debug) build on yaml, I could not get the sucker to run as a Debug build.

2. When you finally have it running, you are likely to get yaml errors about various keys not found. For instance, I saw "inDogfight", "interceptionOrder etc keys not found. This is because you will have pulled down source code which does not always have matching elements in Xcom1Ruleset.rul. The specifics change rapidly, because development is proceeding, but basically you have to perform a source search for the offending key, it will be in a line that looks like this:

    node["inDogfight"] >> _inDogfight;

Look at that line, and nearby you will probably find similar lines. Now grep through the rul file, find examples of the similar lines, and paste in a new line to handle the missing node.

Open Feedback / appreciation thread
« on: December 19, 2011, 10:43:37 pm »
I downloaded the stable 0.3 version with low expectations. I must say how surprisingly far along you guys have gotten with the development. I wanted to express my appreciation at the hard work put in to get to this point.

The geoscape, base operations, the tactical screen, and infopedia are (to a casual observer) indistinguishable from the original, and they are tied together with all the appropriate in-game dialogs instead of just being roughed-in prototype modes. Installation was a snap, I unzipped the package and then copied in the data files from my X-Com, and bingo it was running.

I am excited about the potential for customization and gameplay options once this project has reached 1.0 status. I sure people have suggested things like internet connectivity for cooperative or competitive play, changes to the research tree with new buildable goodies (I want to build a battleship!), high resolution displays (perhaps interpolated using the existing data files), new alien AI rulesets.

I strongly encourage X-Com fans to stay current with this site, as I now have no doubt that this project will be completed.

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