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Posts Tagged ‘X-COM: Enemy Unknown’

It’s time for another sketch post, this time taking a focus in on Itsuki from the previous ladies of the charm society post:
This is the state she was in when visited in her dorm room by our player characters. She spent most of that time trolling and thickly spreading innuendo (trying to get our poor school newspaper photographer to die of bloodloss from nosebleeds, apparently).

In any case, it was a fun scene to draw an interpretation of, so I did. Given her penchant for being a perverse troll AND a fighter jet otaku, the motto on her tank top seemed to come naturally, and made me crack up when I drew it. First time I’ve tried to draw someone with Pocky (or Locky, in this case) too, and that also came out alright. And frankly, I want that bedspread for myself (who wouldn’t want a bullet bill bed?).

I added alot of cool details to this in general (frankly, I should do more sketches with detailed backgrounds but I tend to be too lazy to bother), and the hope is that everything in those details sums up what it is for Itsuki to be Itsuki.

As an aside, in case you were wondering, yes, X-COM did show up in this campaign in the first episode, because it has been utterly crazy and referential to basically everything I’ve done before.

Speaking of the new X-COM Enemy Unknown, initially I was rather angry and baffled at it requiring Windows Vista since it was programmed in DirectX 9, and had to cancel my pre-order because I’m antique that sees no urgency in his upgrade to Windows 7. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of KawaiiSara in this Steam Topic, it can be made to work VERY easily on XP. Which begs the question of whether one of the programmers in Firaxis is just grossly incompetent or whether they got a bribe from Microsoft to remove XP support, because there is literally no reason to make it this way (the required DLL is provided for free by MS, requiring only tweaking, and that is the only thing preventing the game running).

Though it puts a slightly bad taste in my mouth that I had to hack my own game exe to play, fortunately, the game itself is good enough for me to forgive them. Barely. After a good six hours of play, I approve of most the design decisions in this remake, which have proved to be sound gambles. The reduced squad size is tolerable, since, as I predicted, your initial troops are vaguely competent and not so prone to being OHKO’ed any more. Moreover, with the eventual classes and abilities, an X-COM squad does now act much more like a professional combined arms paramilitary unit rather than a zergrush with glacial pace (which was the optimal way to play the originals, inching forwards in a wave, with constantly holding back timeunits for reaction fire).

The only things I have a bone to pick with on the tactical level is the aliens getting a free cutscene leap into cover when spotted, and overwatch only triggering on an alien making a move (rather than from appearing, shooting, basically anything). As a result, its actually alot more niche to use overwatch than the old reaction fire. But perhaps that in itself is what has encouraged the change in the feel of combat, so its forgivable.

The strategic layer is also fine. Part of me misses the needless extra time advancement buttons, but of course they were never used much, so its not a big loss. I’ve heard people get angry about how critically important satellites are, but then again, one of your early moves in the original was nearly always to put up an extra base for radar coverage and interception, and this is exactly the same thing. Panic management is a little tiresome, true, but actually, it beats having a country randomly sign off for no apparent reason like they used to (typically because an alien battleship evaded your detection entirely).

The only thing I’ll bitch about here is the simplification of the interception element (and they didn’t remix the old music!). On the other hand, I can understand this, as its true that optimal way to handle this in the original was basically to encourage a slugging match with plasma cannons and most people ignored interception tactics in general. So again, this is at least understandable. Except they didn’t remix the music; that is truly abhorrent given the awesomeness of the original interception music. 😀

Anyway, I’ll shut the hell up about X-COM now, and let you have the Itsuki wallpaper you probably scrolled past all that for:

With a Smart Blur and Posterization, she actually turned out pretty nice. Not a photoshop process I usually go with since I like to preserve the ‘sketchiness’ of a sketch most of the time, but here its fine.

Anyway, tune in again soon.

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And, erm… wait what?

Perhaps it’s just me, but nothing I wasn’t already expecting really came out of left field and smacked me in the forehead.

Certainly, what I was expecting continued to whet my appetite, namely, more stuff on the WiiU and the Trailer for the new X-COM game.

Which you should watch, by the way, it’s freakin’ awesome:

Now, that is how you remake an X-COM game. Long time affectionados like myself might recognise that this trailer partially mirrors the actual intro of the original game, which is a nice touch. I’m beginning to be swayed more; although I’m still suspicious about some of the changes, we shall have to see.

Also, stuff about the WiiU was clarified. Alot of people were somewhat confused that the controller was actually the system and it was going to be some kind of tablet; but not so (even I was when the first news about it came out, even though the months since the initial announcement have cleared that up). It acts as a game inside a game for rather unique multiplayer effects: the main console is always streaming data to the WiiU GamePad (it’s official moniker). For example, in a Zelda play-by-rails game demonstrated, three people used WiiMotes to slash with swords whilst the fourth player used the second screen to aid in archery support. The ZombieU game allows the fourth player to tactically use the GamePad as a map to drop zombies on the others trying to survive. Things like that.

It’s certainly got some interesting potential; and as usual for Nintendo of late, is stirring up the meaning of a games console. If you still don’t get the idea behind the WiiU GamePad, check out this video:

As an interesting aside, Sony have basically confirmed in not so few words that there is no chance of seeing the PS4 this year; and that they’re watching the competition before making a move. The XBOX 720 is also looking like 2013 release. So the WiiU, which is due this Christmas, will be the opening shot of the 6th console generation.

Sony’s conference was… really not very inspiring. They’re trying out a Smash Bros clone of sorts. And there’s more violent shooter crap. And more cinematic action games (argh!). And sequels up the wazoo. No, frankly I don’t care about another Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed III.

I think people forget that was a stage in PC gaming; back with the introduction of the CD-ROM and its (at the time) massive storage space, where “Interactive Movies” came into being; typically terrible games lampshaded by their inclusion of loads of pretty Full Motion Video. But now there are games coming out that are precisely like that again, even touted as ‘cinematic experiences’ (see, for example, Max Payne III) and people are praising them. They’re games bereft of choices and free will that set you on a static path to the end, with no nail-biting difficulty, no real brain teasers, and lumps of instant gratification and simplification. That’s right, they’re not games at all, people. Wake up already!

I also heard ‘exclusive DLC’ in there. Somebody kill that man. DLC is the cancer of the game’s industry. I can deal with Steam. I can deal with cheap and free bonuses with legitimate and actual upgrades to game content (anyone remember the days when you’d buy proper add-on discs a year later?). But when I have to pay £3.99 for half-a-dozen hairstyles? When I get distinct advantages because I pre-ordered? That’s stupid.

And Microsoft’s SmartGlass wants to make me groan. Do I really want to see information about the movie I watch on my tablet whilst I watch it? Gods no… Guys, immersion, have you heard of it? Use my phone as a controller for the internet? Why the hell?

But I’ve never been a fan of device intergration. It’s almost as stupid an idea as social networking sites. I hate smartphones; I still have an antique LG clamshell mobile. An orange is an orange. It doesn’t have to have functions of a banana and grapes. My camera is a camera. My console is a console. My phone is a phone. Do not mix them.

And before you shout ‘hypocracy!’ at me for denouncing Smartglass when I’ve said WiiU is okay; think again. I was also very hostile towards WiiU when I thought it was Nintendo’s attempt at a multifunction tablet device. But nope, its a controller, specifically for the console. So its okay if it sticks to that. Though it might not be; Reggie was going on about video integration or something. That’s not so good. But as long as the game is the main part of it and I can ignore the integration, it’s less of a foul.

So yeah, anyway nothing much inspiring. Bring on the apocalypse. 😀

That’s all for today. Cya soon.

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Just a sketch and musings post today. This time, I’ve drawn Elizasleyn, the Throne (angel) from Kamidori Alchemy Meister, which was recently fan translated by Aroduc. It’s a darn good tactical strategy/visual novel game; kind of like what would happen if Fire Emblem, Atelier Rorona, and a Visual Novel of your choice were spliced together.

Check it out:
As always, click her to see full sized.

I gave her an bit of an outfit change; since I figured, well hey, all the main heroines in the game get some new outfits, so why not the sub-heroines like Eliza? This one mostly keeps her bronze pauldrons and collar, but replaces the bracers for furry/silk armlets and goes armless.

Moreover, I’ve created her in Aniventure to play as in a game my friend is running soon, partly as a beta-test of the new Saint class that will showing up in the supplement booklet, Shimaihen, but mostly just because she’s awesome. With ‘Born Conquerer’ as her personality, angelic songs, divine lightning and a winged warhammer, she should at least be amusing to play.

This sketch is of that version; perhaps some time before she became a Throne (she’s what… a Power or a Principality at this point?) and Lord of Misanshel. But she’s still as powerful (and scary) as ever. I like to split her name to Eliza of the Slain for my version (and Elizasleyn is just a shortened version of that). Whether or not she’ll ever say the title of this post? Who knows? But it feels in character! 😀

Here’s the cropped down 1440×900 Wallpaper version:
For your angelic desktop needs. Of course, this version loses much of her left arm, but not much can be done about that.

Shimaihen is still going well, by the way. I’m not going to set a final date since there’s still a fair bit to be completed, but I’m rather happy with the newly revised Suffragium and Malificarum (Holy and Profane Magic Schools) and power-sets. Summoning still needs a fair bit of work, but its on its way to completion. At the very least, I feel I should be able to get it done this year, barring any significant delays.

Personally, I’ve had a couple of fanboy-gasms over the last couple of weeks when I discovered UFO: Enemy Unknown was being remade by Firaxis (as X-COM Enemy Unknown). UFO is of course the greatest PC game of all time; and from what I’ve checked out about the remake, I’m very excited about it.

Obviously, the oldschool part of me is wary about them dumping Time Units and reducing the squad size. But replacing TU’s with a D&D style Move and Attack action for troops (and 4 distinct classes and RPG like bits) may well work like a charm:
Reducing squad size is a little more concerning; but in retrospect, the main reason for huge squads in the original was that all your initial guys were idiots X-COM had hired off the street and put in jumpsuits to fight the aliens rather than professional marines. If the new soldiers are actually semi-competent right off the bat, there won’t be need for the n00bs you throw off the Skyranger first as body shields (!).

Fully alive and ever changing bases like the ones in Evil Genius are a great touch too:
Hopefully they’ll add to the interception sequences too (look at UFO: Aftermath, guys, that was one part they did right in that- those ever changing video clips were actually really nice). I laughed at them joking it was now an Angry Birds minigame in the podcast.

Oh, although the random names of the marines you had in the original were funny, that they have fully customisable squad members now will be a nice treat (and more incentive to keep that small squad alive!):
Just so long as they remix the interceptor music and keep the Guile haircut, all’s right with the world. Haha.

Well, I believe that’s all for today. Stay tuned.

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