No Guts, No Glory

by Kyzrati on 20130825 , under

A competing title for this post would be "No Time, No Game," but that's decidedly more negative so I'll go with with guts and glory.

Aside from my other real-life responsibilities right now, I have about 6-8 hours per day for both work *and* play. (Helpful tip: When you have a kid be prepared to sacrifice most of your free time, at least in the short term.) As such, I don't have enough time to give X@COM the development love it needs to progress to the next stage.

Trying to fund this project is not feasible until it's further along, mostly because it's a large project with still 12 or more months of full-time work required to reach a respectable 1.0. I need at least $1k/month to get by, which comes out to a rather large investment for something that even once re-branded and sell-able (discussed earlier) may not be able to raise much money.

My entire life I've enjoyed making games, and losing all my project time to boring work obligations is a situation I'd prefer to avoid if possible. So I'm going to go out on a limb and try something new by creating a smaller game for sale. Smaller, but fun, polished, and completable within a shorter time frame. Even if the game doesn't exactly recoup all the expenses incurred (although I hope it will), the required investment of time and money will be worth it simply for the experience.

Where does this leave X@COM?
It's actually not as bad as it sounds, especially considering that the alternative is me doing nearly no coding at all. Because the new game is using the X@COM engine and code base, I can use working on it as an excuse/method to continue improving X@COM. While they will mostly be internal improvements (which have honestly been long overdue), beyond that the secondary goal of creating this new game is as a "pilot project" to see how feasible it is to market a slick console-based game. If it looks doable I'll fund an X@COM spinoff tactical project myself. So this could be very good news for X@COM.

In fact, I recently started work on this other game behind the scenes and it's already led to upgrades in X@COM, one of the largest being a re-write of the data loading system that will enable selective add-on content instead of just full mods.

In general I'd say the situation is less than ideal because X@COM already has a fairly strong (if not broad) following, and I don't want to leave you guys hanging, but this is the best option I can see for X@COM right now. Know that I've by no means lost interest in this project--I really want to continue, but reality can be annoying like that!

In the meantime, mod support will continue and new mods will be posted here as usual. Occasional minor updates to the game may also occur, but the next phase (R10+) is a major step in development so that won't be happening until I can dedicate the chunks of time necessary.

What can you do? Show support for development of the "other game" and if it's somewhat successful then I can more easily justify making a larger investment to create the full game X@COM is intended to become.

Tell me more about this "game":
It's actually no stranger to anyone who's been following my projects for a long time:

Yes, Cogmind is making a return. This time with a real story, greatly expanded gameplay, and a much-improved interface. It's going to rock.

After some initial coding I've been busy putting together a new website and devblog where you can follow my progress, but it's not live yet so there aren't any links to hand out.

More X@COM news, please:
Actually there is a bit of an update to tack on to this post. 10101 has updated his Terror missions mod to the latest R9.4 (means you get access to the new label system) *and* added some nice new content: Now you may find a large police station (complete with police officers who need your help!), or an even larger apartment complex (one-quarter of the map!). Some laser rifles come with attached grenade launchers ('u'se them), and instead of the missile tank you may spawn with a new prototype tank.

Happy hunting!

EDIT: A couple days after posting Strange guy also released a little update for his latest mod Union: "I merged the light sniper and carbine, fixed a few rubble in walls problems, made the shockers and mk8cs weapons a bit stronger and longer range, made what mode executors and mk8cs are in part of their name and reduced the score loss for plasma trooper death a bit with them being short range and fragile." The download page has been updated with the new version.
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Mod: "Union"

by Kyzrati on 20130807 , under ,

Strange guy has finally released his mech warfare mod, Union.

The target, a garrison town controlled by the United Planetary Federation, has already been bombarded prior to your arrival, but the enemy presence is still strong. Lead a mixed squad of Union troops including infantry, special forces, and mechs to clear out the opposition.

I've played this one several times already, and it's full of good old mech-blasting, tree-stomping action. Torch infantry squads with mech-mounted flame throwers, use laser targeting to call in artillery and air strikes, launch disposable rockets carried by special forces, switch some mech shields to different modes depending on the situation, and (lots, lots) more.

Of course, you need to be careful lest an effective assault is turned into horrible losses in the blink of an eye when a unit of patrolling mechs finds you exposed at the wrong place. One of my more recent runs was going swimmingly, having already taken out five enemy mechs and a few infantry before a flamethrowing mech emerged from the darkness and melted one of my own to scrap. In that same turn I'd thought I could sneak up behind a soldier manning his mounted heavy machine gun, but ran out of TUs right before getting to him--he swiveled it around and opened up, blowing through both that guy, the door behind him, and my other special forces guy providing cover outside. (I got sweet revenge with my snub-nose cannon, which caused a *much* bigger explosion than I expected, much to my satisfaction ;p)

Here most of the fires have already died out after the advance across town.

Starting squad in one mission, labeled.

Best run so far.

In a way, this mod is a little before its time, as Strange guy has included a lot of interesting mechanics, details, and lore which aren't accessible within the game itself. Seeing how the game still lacks support for in-game reference information, you'll want to at least skim over the accompanying README-Union.txt file to get the most out of this mission. (Several times I've considered supporting that feature immediately, specifically for Strange guy's mods which generally have a lot of detail, but due to the level of integration necessary and the fact that the HUD isn't ready yet, from a development timeline perspective it's better to put it off rather than have to rewrite it later.)


I've also taken this opportunity to upload the latest build: R9.3.

The most notable features (as seen in the previous post) are the new map labels, animated explosion AOE previews, a new explosive priming interface, and glowing indicators for primed explosives. See the change log for a complete list.

Union uses R9.3 so you'll get to see all these features in this mod as well.
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