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Author Topic: From the Ashes - initial release!  (Read 22621 times)

Offline Finnik

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From the Ashes - initial release!
« on: April 17, 2022, 02:25:03 am »


Greetings everyone, I am incredibly excited to introduce my project, X-Com: From the Ashes, to the community!
It is a global conversion to OpenXcom. During the alien invasion, X-COM's initiative failed, alien agents infiltrated the ranks of most major governments, and within a few months, they were placed in a puppet regime. The true motives of the aliens remain obscure. Their hostile activities are skillfully hidden from the public. There is no support from the Council of Funding Nations, and Council members loyal to X-COM are scattered and remain concealed. The player will need to learn how to survive in the new circumstances, conduct an undercover struggle against alien forces, and cooperate with global organizations involved in the conflict.

This project is more than just a mod for OpenXcom, as it uses its own version of the game engine. There are many entirely new mechanics in the game - diplomacy, covert operations, new tactical mission objectives, loyalty, and much, much more. You can see the full list of engine features here: https://github.com/723Studio/OpenXcom_FTA/wiki

Download installer for Windows from Mod.io: https://openxcom.mod.io/from-the-ashes?preview=17bd8b77fdab4b426a1e766383a7e38b
The process is similar to the OpenXcom installation. However, if you have problems with the installation, visit this page for a detailed description of the manual installation process: https://openxcom.org/forum/index.php/topic,10498.0.html

The campaign begins with the player having to defend the X-Com base from an assault of the Men in Black. Then you will need to assess the situation and learn how to use the new opportunities. Many aspects of game mechanics and balance have been changed, giving a fresh experience. However, the gameplay and visual design remain in the spirit of the classic 1994 game.

The game is in development, the current version is the initial release, in a sense it is a "vertical slice" of the game experience. The campaign is limited in time with the first 8 months, after which it will end automatically. While most of the mechanics have already been implemented and a significant amount of content related to the early game has been added to the game, much more is yet to come. Nevertheless, the release is necessary in order to gather feedback and get more ideas and inspiration to keep working.

I would be very grateful for any feedback, bug reports and suggestions. You can share it here or by joining or Discord server: https://discord.gg/aecJUvV4pA
Especially valuable to me is gameplay video, so if you stream your playthrough, it would be great if you could send me the link to it. The Discord server has a special channel for streaming your games, don't be shy, drop by there.
You can follow the development progress on the Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/finnik723studio

Current version is well-balanced for 2ed ("Experienced") difficulty level. You might face some troubles on higher difficulty levels because you will have to learn a lot of new mechanics and discover your own META first. "Superhuman" difficulty now works not how I want it to be, as I want to form an extra challenge here. This would require a lot of effort, and I want to finish general development first.
You might notice some loose ends in story arcs, because it is still WIP.
Also, more engine features coming. We have a new hacking system almost done, and there is a solid concept for negotiation system. Future releases will also include soldier secondary stats, additional battlescape tactical objectives and many more interesting ideas are yet to be developed.
As for content part - I'm planning to focus myself on increasing mission variety for 4-8 month, supporting coming engine features with content and balancing difficulties.
The next big milestone is midgame, where I will introduce another 2 factions and encounters with aliens. I'm planning to finish the most major engine work before this. Currently, engine C++ coding takes like 70% of my time, so I lack of strengths to make huge amount of content I would like to see in the game.

The project would have been unthinkable without the tremendous work that the OpenXcom and OpenXcom Extended developers accomplished before me. In addition, I have borrowed some free content from other authors. The detailed list of credits can be found here: https://github.com/723Studio/X-Com-From-the-Ashes/blob/master/LICENSE.md#credits

Most of the game's content is non-compilation code distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). You are free to share and adapt the materials only for non-commercial purposes and when providing appropriate attribution.
However, some assets were developed by professional artists for a fee specifically for FtA, and I have full rights to it. So if you wish to use the assets in your project, please read the license terms: https://github.com/723Studio/X-Com-From-the-Ashes/blob/master/LICENSE.md#licensing
« Last Edit: April 17, 2022, 03:08:19 am by Finnik »

Offline Yankes

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Re: From the Ashes - initial release!
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2022, 02:57:03 am »
Congratulation for your initial release :)

Offline Finnik

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Re: From the Ashes - initial release!
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2022, 03:07:13 am »
Thank you!

Offline Scamps

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Re: From the Ashes - initial release!
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2022, 03:37:52 pm »
Congratulations on release, Finnick! Aclually, I tried this mod before release out of curiosity. Looking forward to further development! Best of luck!
Below is not a review per se, but rather some thoughts in no particular order.

Seems surprisingly bug-free (except swarmids, these are plentiful).
I generally don't care much about graphics, but all new content seems visually pleasing.
Love new mapblocks and maps. There can be never too much maps :)
First covert ops mission gives some extreme loyalty (possibly negative), like +-100000. Probably intended for debug purposes?
A monster hunt failed, all soldiers perished, but scientist returned. Intended?
All research progress is 'Poor', should scale from hours to days probably?
Is it posible to make resistance radio item visible from the start? Turrets can sometime somehow be visible in latest versions of OXCE.
When covert operation mission starts, is it possible to indicate day/night? To equip troops with flashlights. It is not a problem for ordinary missions, but is for covert ops.
Balance seems fine, both combat (one little exception is a herd of armadillos), item prices, and research costs. Did not look into item volumes yet since did not have space problems :)
Unsure how much of the campaign is currently intended to be playable. Researched everything I could (up to motion scanner), and called it quits.
Did not expand the base at all due to lack of funds. Making smoke grenades helps to stay afloat but not much beside that. Haven't seen landed UFOs or such. A single tiny UFO blew up rather then crashed.
Got only one cover op for lab equipment (waited for a couple of months). Should probably be repeatable since you need 1 for bio lab and 3 more for normal lab. On the other hand not a problem since got no money anyways :)

Offline Finnik

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Re: From the Ashes - initial release!
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2022, 04:05:11 pm »
Hotfix deployed, pls, update. https://openxcom.mod.io/from-the-ashes

It contains some critical fixes, for instance
First covert ops mission gives some extreme loyalty (possibly negative), like +-100000. Probably intended for debug purposes?

Offline Finnik

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Re: From the Ashes - initial release!
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2022, 07:15:57 pm »
Thanks for your feedback!

Seems surprisingly bug-free (except swarmids, these are plentiful).
Can't get you sorry... Are swarmid units/missions bugged? If so, can you share example cases how it happen?

First covert ops mission gives some extreme loyalty (possibly negative), like +-100000. Probably intended for debug purposes?
fixed in 0.1.0.1, thanks for the reporting!

A monster hunt failed, all soldiers perished, but scientist returned. Intended?
I will investigate, should not be. If possible, could you pls share the save to reproduce it?

All research progress is 'Poor', should scale from hours to days probably?
I will look if I can improve visual. I thought it should scale without any change...


Is it posible to make resistance radio item visible from the start? Turrets can sometime somehow be visible in latest versions of OXCE.

Yeah, this is a new feature, but the mission itself is pretty old (I think, may be 2 years or so). I should use that new options we have.

When covert operation mission starts, is it possible to indicate day/night? To equip troops with flashlights. It is not a problem for ordinary missions, but is for covert ops.

I made it in a way that even the game does not know it on operation start. So you should be prepared to any case. But I was thinking if I should display it on inventory, when the mission starts. I just dont have good idea where to place the indicator, there is no much space left...

Balance seems fine, both combat (one little exception is a herd of armadillos), item prices, and research costs. Did not look into item volumes yet since did not have space problems :)

I decreased it a lot, to ensure you will be fine without expanding storage facility number, at least before lategame.
Generally, I don't like stacking several same facilities as a core of base construction.

Unsure how much of the campaign is currently intended to be playable. Researched everything I could (up to motion scanner), and called it quits.

Well, for playtests I saw, you cant really research all the tech tree in a one run. Although, the main arc progress currently relies on MiB agents interrogation.

Did not expand the base at all due to lack of funds. Making smoke grenades helps to stay afloat but not much beside that. Haven't seen landed UFOs or such. A single tiny UFO blew up rather then crashed.

In released version you have some ways to rise funds pretty effectively to expand the base at 4-6 month with lab and creature containment.
There is not much aliens currently in the game, would be added in future release. Tho, you can focus yourself fighting on the ground =)

Got only one cover op for lab equipment (waited for a couple of months). Should probably be repeatable since you need 1 for bio lab and 3 more for normal lab. On the other hand not a problem since got no money anyways :)

They are repeating, but in current version it's not intended you will be able to build regular lab unless you are super lucky =)

Offline Scamps

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Re: From the Ashes - initial release!
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2022, 01:48:58 am »
Can't get you sorry... Are swarmid units/missions bugged?
Out of 5 monster missions got 3 swarmids in a row (and then 2 armadillo missions). Thought that other monsters are yet to be implemented, but well, this is RNG.

I will investigate, should not be. If possible, could you pls share the save to reproduce it?
Save is attached.
- Notice 5 scientists working, no free scientists.
- Skip time to mission.
- Abort mission.
- Notice 1 free scientist.

I thought it should scale without any change...
Likely something like this in vanilla code, still unchanged:
Code: [Select]
if (var<=3) return 'excellent'
...
where var is assumed to be in days, but it is in hours. Or I may be mistaken. This is just a guess.

I made it in a way that even the game does not know it on operation start. So you should be prepared to any case. But I was thinking if I should display it on inventory, when the mission starts. I just dont have good idea where to place the indicator, there is no much space left...
If the game knew it on mission start, there is a place for visual (and I am sure I also saw a mod, but can't find it) https://openxcom.org/forum/index.php/topic,2408.msg61729.html#msg61729
Can't help with inventory screen.

Well, for playtests I saw, you cant really research all the tech tree in a one run. Although, the main arc progress currently relies on MiB agents interrogation.
Ok, will try to capture more of them. Only researched two, probably.

In released version you have some ways to rise funds pretty effectively to expand the base at 4-6 month with lab and creature containment.
There is not much aliens currently in the game, would be added in future release. Tho, you can focus yourself fighting on the ground =)
I won all battles with power of savescumming and still did not have enough. Next time will try to build radar ASAP for better chance at UFOs. These should earn some cash.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2022, 01:55:53 am by Scamps »

Offline Finnik

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Re: From the Ashes - initial release!
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2022, 02:03:41 am »
where var is assumed to be in days, but it is in hours. Or I may be mistaken. This is just a guess.
I just changed that the game treats all numbers as hours, not days, for researching. And also updating process happens every hour, not every day.
I can remember that vanilla also likely to show you none or poor state, so I might refactor vanilla setting.

Out of 5 monster missions got 3 swarmids in a row (and then 2 armadillo missions). Thought that other monsters are yet to be implemented, but well, this is RNG.
I probably should look if I can adjust that rng for more smooth behavior

Next time will try to build radar ASAP for better chance at UFOs. These should earn some cash.

Don't tell anybody, but you can't really loot FtA aliens in early game, that is presented in current release. They are overpowered in my setting. That is why X-Com lost in FtA's prequel =)
If the money is the issue, I will buff some numbers and add extra looting missions. We tried it, and funding was manageable. But it's just the first release, numbers can't be perfect.

Offline efrenespartano

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Re: From the Ashes - initial release!
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2022, 03:05:58 am »
Congrats on the release, my friend Finnik! I wish you the best on this new mod, hope it gets all the attention and love it deserves!

Offline JustTheDude/CABSHEP

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Re: From the Ashes - initial release!
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2022, 04:31:24 am »
Had ton of fun, played it few hours, then debugged whole camaping to experience everything.

New mechanics are awesome, things that were thought to be outside of the engine possiblities are now "just" implemented.
Truly a breath of fresh air.

(I'm not good at praising stuff, if I don't mention something its most likely very, very good, otherwise here are some small nitpicks).
In no particular order:
- Armadillos seems to be the most "unfun" enemies to fight with, 20 armor on each side, fairly fast, slight (20%) ressistance to basically any weapon you can get. With other monsters you can work around with their weakness, Swarmids for example are countered by fire, but Armadillos just eat fire and bullets for breakfast. Just have to use the biggest guns, otherwise rip. Weakness to stun/electricity (tazer) should solve the issue, while also not making them too easy.

- On the first glance it is hard to tell what needs to be destroyed in MiB HQ and that is a timed mission on top, going around trying to explode each and every "computer" and mainframe takes a lot of time and is just boring. There is no indication when "aborting" the mission counts and HQ destroyed and when it's not.

- There doesn't seem to be a good way to get cash, I assume its not intended to be constantly in debt. Sure, you can make chemicals and sell them for a net 100$ gain, but with new market mechanics you can't even set them to sell automaticly and it doesn't really pay for base maintenance and for additional stuff. Covert Op, shooting down some MiB craft, or a regular mission focused on accquiring funds should easly solve it in the beginning, then maybe focusing on manufacturing stuff to sell to the allied factions.

- Hunting Rifle ammo stacking seems to not work properly (probably the same problem with bow). On the pre-mission inventory screen you can stack 5 individual "clips" in one space, but when you actually start mission, it reverts back to single bullet for each space. Also, the price for a single bullet is ridiculous, 100 god damned greens, if they aren't made from gold instead of lead... heh.

- Zombies seems to have too much TUs. This might be just personnal experience, having to run to the wheat fields ASAP just when you see one, because they will always get you.

- There is no point in trying to intercept very small UFO's as per shields, huge dodge chance, always explodes and deals fair ammount of damage back. I don't see myself trying to engage them in a full game. This might be due to lore reasons, in this case its ok.

- Makeshift nades shouldn't need to use chemicals to create, or they should be able to be made free of charge, since you have to spend cash to make chemicals and then spend cash to make a nade out of them, which means in pratice that each such nade costs almost 0.5k.

- No armor for rookies. Interesting design choice I don't quite like, even in the original game jumpsuit gave some armor to the soldiers. I sure do hope for some makeshift alternatives for both weapons and armor in the future.

Really looking forward into mod's development, it might even be the spark to rekindle my xcom spriting "hobby", keep up great work.

Offline Scamps

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Re: From the Ashes - initial release!
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2022, 10:27:43 am »
I probably should look if I can adjust that rng for more smooth behavior
Don't spend to much time, please. The sample is too small to complain.
Actually, is was intended to be a joke. Since swarmids are bugs, a game featuring them can't be bug free by definition. And I found no other bugs. That's all I meant.

Offline Mathel

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Re: From the Ashes - initial release!
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2022, 10:46:06 am »
Let's see what this is. Sounds interesting.

Edit: Installer was blocked by Panda Antivirus, as W32/exploit.gen.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2022, 10:56:55 am by Mathel »

Offline Tchey

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Re: From the Ashes - initial release!
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2022, 12:15:36 pm »
Hello,

I Played a lot with Xfiles and OXCE last years, and i’m quite excited about From the Ashes. I didn’t try to play it yet nor to install (i’m on Linux Manjaro if it matters), but i’ll certainly do so "soon".

Thanks for your work.

Offline Finnik

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Re: From the Ashes - initial release!
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2022, 09:36:09 pm »
...
In no particular order:
...

Thank you, that is a kind of feedback I need at this point!
- Fair point. I was not meant Armadillos to be squad-buster. They are the only monsters with noticeable armor value, I am balancing it with low TU's for melee-only unit. Tho, having vulnerability to some rare early game damage type would be a nice feature.
- Yeah, this is a problem of the first release. In the next major version, I will introduce a hacking system, and it would be much more fun to play. And I will definitely look if I can make achieving objective more obvious.
- I have some looting missions on table right now, would be included at the same point. Also, clever suggestions about lore for repeatable cash acquiring covert ops are very welcome!
- Stacking on pre-equip being unsaved is a known problem, worth fixing. Also, item cost is and issue, thanks for pointing!
- Zombies are much more dangerous than they used to be in another projects, and they really scale with difficulty setting. Although, they can be countered with specific tactic. I need more data for further consideration, like gameplay videos. Playtesting, that we've done before shown, that there could be situations, where you better abort, but its rare.
- The only point to shot down UFOs now is to prevent it effect on your loyalty level. Known UFOs flying does reduce it. I hope, there would be quite a big engine update, related to dogfight in the next major update, I'm currently working on that feature. Also, I will increase alien content amount, hope that both would work. But aliens in FtA are the ultimate treat, they can't be effectively engaged in early game. I'm showing it with even the very first tiny UFO can kick your ass =)
- I need to reduce its cost, thanks for pointing!
- In vanilla, those 12 armor means nothing against plasma. So I think it's comparable, as power of FtA's early game enemies are way lower, than vanilla. It's a design choice, many people treat it hostile. But I looked very closely to how it affects on the game for a long time, and did a lot of testing. Currently, I like how it works from a game design perspective. There are options to get armor, and I will add more for future, but it still would be rare and valuable. But what makeshift alternatives for weapons do you want?

Actually, is was intended to be a joke. Since swarmids are bugs, a game featuring them can't be bug free by definition. And I found no other bugs. That's all I meant.
Ah, I was not sure if I get it right at the first time =) Sorry, English is not my native...

Edit: Installer was blocked by Panda Antivirus, as W32/exploit.gen.

I have no idea what can I do about it =) Try manual install...

Hello,

I Played a lot with Xfiles and OXCE last years, and i’m quite excited about From the Ashes. I didn’t try to play it yet nor to install (i’m on Linux Manjaro if it matters), but i’ll certainly do so "soon".

Thanks for your work.

Check out installation guide here https://openxcom.org/forum/index.php/topic,10498.0.html
I do have Linux build, and it should work just like OXCE does. So if you played it, you can play FtA as well  :D
« Last Edit: April 18, 2022, 09:40:46 pm by Finnik »

Offline Mathel

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Re: From the Ashes - initial release!
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2022, 11:50:41 am »
The manual installation worked without issue.

I just got through first month and have a few questions.

Is a covert op battle the result of a "failed" covert op?

What does the silent trait some weapons have mean? Are there missions that require silent weapons, or are enemies able to hear in this altered engine?

Is it intentional that the Resistance will buy spare parts and chemicals at higher price than you can manufacture them at?