|Registrierdatum: 11.05.2006, 17:41
you are doing a nice job remaking the great classic game X-Com.
I do some programming stuff too and can imagine how much it took you to bring the project to the state at which it currently is. It's really a lot of work.
Here I will write out the things which I did NOT like while playing (I downloaded the binary on 11 May 2006, so you can check what version of the project this was). I think that by taking the non-pleasant part of outlining the negative sides will be more constructive and more useful for your game than just saying 'wow, what a nice thing you are doing'. You game has a lot of nice stuff, but here is what you might wish to pay attention to (maybe you just haven't implemented something of this, so just ignore that stuff then):
1. The 'boom' sound which plays any time you move your cursor on a button is bad. It is too loud, so loud, that it goes with scratch effect in my headphones. Especially it is disturbing when you move your mouse fast over a list of buttons. You hear a drumbeat, as if something really important and terrible were happening inside the game. You should replace this sound with some silent sci-fi ticking like in Half-Life 1.
2. Rotating the globe with righ mouse button down is ok, but the speed of rotation is a bit too fast. Also, the direction of rotation in both X and Y axes was not convenient for me, I would like it reversed. If you move the cursor up, the globe should rotate down, so that you can observe the area to the north, not south. Some folks may like it the way it is, so the compromise would be to add two options: inverse X/Y rotation and rotation speed. Also, middle-mouse click could center the globe on the spot of the click.
3. The globe's graphics are good, and the interface color (dark green menus) are ok, but the buttons themselves and especially the text lines on them are too small. Also you are using standard fonts (MS serif or Arial), which look cheap and actually make the whole game look much cheaper than it could with the rest of it's current art content. By making your own fonts or by using more smooth fonts you would greatly enchance the game's looks. This kind of font spoils the whole effect that could be achieved with nice game's backgrounds.
4. The faces of soldiers are too much alike. They look like clones. Even though there is a dozen of different images, all faces look as if they were copied from some base image with minor editing (color or size changed). There must be a least 6 completely different faces to get rid of this clone feeling. It would be great if those faces even tried to shows people of different characted, but for a freeware project I may be asking too much. Also soldiers look the same way as technicans and scientists. It was nice to enable player to treat every scientist and technican as a character, not just a total number assigned to the project. But those guys should look different from soldiers. Scientists should have white clothes, while technican would do best in blue uniform and orange helmets. The way it currently is it is not always obvious in what menu you are - a soldiers menu, a lab, or a workshop.
5. The weapon images should more diverse. In particular, I got confused when saw that an assault rifle is represented by the same sprite as the sniper rifle. And UZI should be a short gray sub-machine gun. Also, the thumbnails of the weapons sprite could be twice larger.
6. When you view stuff in the storage, those flags of countries near each type of weapon are strange. Those flags have nothing to do with the general sci-fi feeling of the X-Com series and would fit into some UN-conference with politicians shaking hands, not in a squad-based sci-fi combat game. Flags are good for language selection, not more. The flags don't even fit into the countries listing. These parallels with current real world would do good to a turn-based economics game or a politics simulator, or a global wargame in modern setting, where you control armies of tanks or cruisers. X-Com is sci-fi, and in the times when aliens attack earth some countries may not even exist any more and new one may have been created. Pushing to reality steals some of the game atmosphere. Still, using just names of countries is ok.
7. The ship equipment page is badly designed. That zzzz sound (should it represent a drill or something?) is annoying, especially when you just move your mouse around the menus. That sound could be used only when the player installs some stuff on the ship. That would fit. Moving mouse around could just trigger soft electronic tick sounds. Also, I did not understand at once that you should just click on part in a the list and the click again on a slot to install that part. It would be better if the user could drag the part with the mouse to the slot. Just now I noticed that the part installs if you double click on it in the list. I did not notice it before because parts don't trigger any sound when installed!
Ok, now the combat part.
8. The could be different images for soldiers holding different weapon types. Maybe there are already (I haven't played long enough), but a soldier holding a rocket launcher must have a rocket launcher on his shoulder. At least there should be 4 images: for unarmed soldier (or with a small melee weapon like knife), for soldier with a pistol, with a rifle (assault rifle, sniper rifle, laser rifle - doesn't matter), and with a heavy weapon like rocket launcher. This is not simply an artistic requirement - it affects the gameplay. You get confused when you see all your soldiers with assault rifles in hands while one of them is unarmed and the other one is with a rocket launcher. The user will have to click on every soldier to check his weapon. I am not saying you need a separate set of soldier's sprites for every weapon in the game. Just 4 (or maybe 5, if there are any other special types of weapons) will be enough. The way it is now the soldiers would better not have any weapon drawn in hands at all than just a standard assault rifle sprite.
9. The tileset and walls textures are good, but I guess there will be more types of objects in the game? Trees, furniture and other stuff would be good.
10. When you click on a tile where you wish a soldier to go there appears a ghost image of a soldier. Well, this may be nicer than a standard wirebox or a poligon on the ground, but this ghost image should look in the direction where the soldier will be facing after he reaches the tile. In the currently downloadable version this image always looks south-east, which is confusing.
11. The step sounds are bad. There is a hissing and an echo in the background as if someone was marching in a stone corridor, not outside. Are SFX just placeholders?
12. The 'restate this message1' option when a message about killing an alien or seeing an alien is not needed. Messages should not pause the game at all. The message window sould always have 3-4 lines and the new messages should just go there, the game should pause and the user should be able to select shot type right away.
13. The portraits of the sodiers at the bottom of the screen should be at least twice as large. Right-clicking on those portraits should bring up the soldier's inventory. Also all of the buttons (shot type especially) should be larger (see comment 3 above).
Seems to be all. I suppose, most of my critique is about the parts of the game which are still under development and still lacking content.
Anyways, I was happy to find your project and would love to see it done.