23 February 2012

X-com Enemy Unknown Remake



Last Update: Sept 2014 or Jul 2017'ish...
Objective: Game Design - Re imagining 1994 Pc game X-com

Created by: Microprose (1994)
Owned by: Atari (2004) Take-Two Interactive (2007)

- Feb 2013 - added a new part about Multiplayer Xcom (deathmatch & geoscape modes)
- Feb 2014 - added some ascii and pixel art aliens, added a new section about Laser Squad - Zx Spectrum Style visuals
- Sept 2014 - added a section on weapons, xcom craft and UFO's.
- Jul 2017 - added some more old stuff with Zx Spectrum Style visuals
Introduction
X-com Enemy Unknown is a strategy game that includes base management (real time) and squad based combat. (turn based) It has incredibly detailed game play and nice isometric visuals compared to 1994 pc game standards.

Players command the extraterrestrial combat force known as x-com, building bases around the globe, detecting and blasting UFOs, reverse engineering the stuff they find from crash sites and use it to kick alien ass.

I'll try to stick to the original design as much as i can while trying to improve on some elements.
Index
  1. Game Highlights
  2. Visual Design
  3. Game Design
  4. Winning & Losing the Game
  5. Game Depth and Replay Value
  6. Aliens
  7. Weapons
  8. Xcom craft and ufos
  9. Multiplayer Xcom
  10. Conclusion
  11. X-Com Simplified, Zx Spectrum Style... Pix-com (pixel command :P)
  • 2.5D isometric view, tile based,
  • Real time / turn based strategy,
  • Single player
  • Base management & Squad based combat,
  • Random generated maps for lasting game play,
  • Almost completely destroyable terrain (threes, doors, boxes, walls etc)
  • Different aliens, maps, weapons depending on difficulty settings.
  • High replay value due to randomness
Visual Design
Original X-com had a graphic novel feel to it. What most remakes and inspired games did was to change this with a realistic 3D style. I prefer the comic feel over realistic 3D graphics. (Same goes for almost every game I play so i guess its the way I like things) but instead of directly copying this visual style i would like to mix it with Nintendo's cute visual style. That means troops with huge bloated heads blasting cute aliens and lots of gore hidden under the cuteness.




Making hand made menu fonts (or at least using one of those fonts that look like hand writing or board marker) would help preserve the comic book feel. Cold and dark tones could be used for menu screens and light tones for the combat screens to make them look more dynamic.

Around 2014 I decided to work on alternative visuals, similar to Zx Spectrum's Laser Squad. (Pixel art with 8 colours)
Game Design
X-com Enemy Unknown is played in 3 stages as real time and turn based.

Base Management: This is where the players build facilities, buys weapons and equipment for troops and crafts, do R&D with scientists and tell the engineers to produce stuff.

Geoscape: (Real Time) Usually the game takes place on this screen. Time passes with the speed set by the players as their radar facilities scan for UFO signals. Once an alien activity gets detected, the players then have to keep the planet safe by intercepting the UFOs with interceptors (or reverse engineered UFOs), build more bases and observe alien activity to prepare for their next strike.

Battlescape: (Real Time + Turn Based) This is were the player tells the troops to walk around and blow stuff up. Soldiers walk around in real time but game turns into turn based once any soldier spots an alien. 





Players pick a spot on the world map and starts building a base, purchasing equipment and weapons for his personnel, doing R&D and manufacturing stuff using the funds obtained monthly from defending the funding nations around the globe.

It should be noted that base defence battles will be done on this base built by the player. It is important to build facilities creating choke points and care must be taken during combat so no important parts of the base takes damage since extreme damage to structures can cause the facility to get damaged and collapse. All combat other then base defence will take place on randomly generated maps.

Base Management menus were a bit pain to use in the original X-com. The player needed to click a few to times to make a simple action. A more simplistic menu design should make things run smoother. The vertical blue part provides the player with general status information and alerts while the horizontal blue section gives options to build facilities, equip personnel and craft. The green part shows research, manufacture and transactions.

Maybe base management can be automated under CPU control, simplified or removed from the game.

There can be a zoom in feature like the one on the Geoscape screen. Players can zoom in to the base facilitates and see what is happening inside them. Tiny base personnel can be seen going by their daily jobs. (bit like zooming into simcity or zooming out from dungeon keeper)



Usually the game takes place on this screen. Time passes with the speed set by the player as radar facilities scan for UFO signals. Once alien activity gets detected, the player then has to keep the planet safe by intercept the UFOs with interceptors (or reverse engineered UFOs), building more bases and observing alien activity, guessing where their next strike will be.

Most needed improvement on this screen would be an event LOG. This will be useful for the players to remember where they had left after saving and loading. This will also help the players remember their victories and defeats. These small details help to create a feeling of accomplishment. (bit like aimlessly killing stuff in Blizzard's Diablo wondering what the hell you play that game for and looking back at the halls filled with dead bodies to get motivated)

Another feature can be a section that shows the forthcoming events in lets say 10 hour time limit. Players can check their ETA of purchased weapons, when their interceptors will make contact with the aliens or when will the new base construction finish, allowing them to plan better giving the game strategic depth.

Tiny icons at the bottom of the screen can show the total amount of bases, UFOs, crash sites, terror zones etc.

All these additions to help notice what's going on will make players feel as if they are fully in control. Player control is always good for strategy games. I find it weird how they failed to put such features to the game at the first place.

Like the day & night cycle in the original game, seasons and weather can be added.



























Players intercept the detected UFOs by sending craft to do dogfights. Orders given by the player determines the chance of how badly damaged the UFO will be and where it will probably crash. After an aggressive attack there may be few remains to salvage from a UFO but ground troops will meet less resistance when they land to kill remaining aliens. Sometimes there can be nothing to salvage. (when the UFO crashes into the ocean.)


Craft return to their allocated hangers for repair & refuel after missions.



Troops dispatched to the crash sites are equipped by the players. In the original game, troops had lots and lots of space to put stuff. Forcing the belt to take 3 small 2 medium items (such as medkits, scanners, high explosives, mind probes etc) and resizing the back pack to take 1 weapon / medium object and 2 small objects should force the players to manage their inventory more carefully.

Normally it is unwise to equip troops as pack mules. Having more weapons then a Mexican arms dealer may sound cool however troops will suffer from weight penalties and become immobile. Such penalties may cause troops to collapse and drop their items on the floor. Low morale can also have effects on equipment. Troops with morale penalties may start complaining and throwing items around until weight levels become normal. These details can add strategic depth and also realism to the game.

Troops had lots of stats in the original game. Even though these stats were shown as simple and color coded graphs it was a bit tiring to follow all of them. These stats can be given much more user friendly manner. Each unit should have Time units, health, morale, firearms and throwing skills. Other skills such as reactions, strenght and psionics need not be shown but discovered by the players. This seems somewhat more realistic and also can be more fun for the players to guess their units personalities by observing them in the field.

Time Units: How many moves or actions a unit can make in a single turn.

Health: How much damage can a unit suffer before death

Morale: How much mental damage a unit can take before breakdown, panic, berserk or alien mind control

Firearms: How accurate the unit is with shooting stuff

Throwing: How accurate the unit is when throwing stuff

Also the following skills should not be directly shown but guessed / discovered by the player;

Energy: How long the troop can move before collapsing and is somewhat effected from the weight and wounds.

Strength: How heavy a unit can carry before excessively depleting its energy levels

Reactions: The units ability to return fire or act after detecting an enemy

Psionics: The chance to have a successful mind attack / defense

Inventory system can be simplified as weapon, armour and 6 other slots for equipment leaving the player to think even more strategically when dealing with ammo and equipment. However this may be oversimplifying the game.



Crash sites and mission maps are generated randomly depending on the parameters of the events that took place in the geoscape screen. If an UFO has been shot around the north pole then the crash site mission takes place on a randomly generated icy plane with Eskimos and seals as civilians. Such details should make the games replay value last longer.

In the original game this part is played out turn based. Land is divided like a chess board, units walk depending on their time units, shoot targets, take cover etc. Once all units deplete their time units the player presses the end turn button and the aliens start taking their turns. After the aliens come the civilians.

Changing the game from turn based to mixed turn based and real time can make the game run faster with less waiting. Some new method nowadays is to make the games real time and then add a pause button. So when things heat up, the player can pause and start giving orders, unpause and watch the units execute given commands. I cant really say I'm a fan of this system since it makes me feel the game is interrupted at the most exciting moments when its supposed to be full of action.

What i would suggest is the game stays real time until some soldier spots an alien. Once spotted the game goes turn based and everybody takes their turns. Once the target is destroyed or the spotter looses sight of the target for a few turns then the game goes back into real time.

Just like in the geoscape screen, a LOG that records what happens during combat should be a nice feature.


Units can have health and movement bars above their heads. There can be tiny number showing how many aliens have been spotted by the unit. 

Mug shots in the sidebar could be used to show the soldiers current health and morale or general thoughts about the battle. (Bit like the Doomguy from doom 1 and 2)


Panicked soldiers can start crying or mind controlled ones can have blank faces etc. Speech bubbles can reinforce the games comic book feel. Such tiny details can bond the players with their units and make the soldiers feel more like live people and less like cloned sheep.

Units with low morale can panic and start running around aimlessly, they can go berserk and start firing randomly (shooting friend or foe alike or even blasting themselves with live grenades or rocket launchers) they can just drop their items and stand still in panic. Aliens would have the same morale effects.

Soldiers and aliens can have memorable idle animations to add character as they wait such as checking equipment, looking around, smoking etc. Two or more units can even start chatting when standing next to each other.

Heavily wounded units can leave bloodstains behind. Aliens can be programmed to follow the stains and find the players.

Explosive weapons or critical shots can be made to make limbs fly off to random squares around the target.






















Most actions can be handled by right clicking on objects that can open up menus. Right clicking on soldiers can open up menus that allow the players to check the units equipment, change stance to take cover, shoot or open up another screen which will show detailed information and help.

When using Aimed shot, players can pick where they want to aim. Shooting different limbs can have different effects.
Winning & Losing the Game
Conditions for winning the game:
Money is below zero at the end of the month or all bases belonging to the player are destroyed by the aliens.

Conditions for losing the game:

Player acquires the tech to reach the alien planet and kill the "boss" alien.
Game Depth and Replay Value
Replay value turns out to be one of the major problems with today's games. Most games have 30 - 40 hours of game play and once you're through with it you never want to go back. But such randomness of content as in this game would make the players come back for more.

Perhaps the only way a player would see all (if not most) of the content would be to finish the game a few times. The idea of loosing all technology and starting from scratch may put down some players but it would be welcomed by players looking for challenges. Maybe a unique item can be given to the players each time they finish the games so next game would start with that item in players possession.

Difficulty settings can hide or reveal additional content. Once a players finishes the game on easy they can try to finish it again on harder difficulty settings to see more content.

Certain events can force the player to choose between mission A or mission B. In order to play the other mission the player will have to restart the game again.

There can be random triggered missions and events that include unique items or unique enemy heroes. If the player plays mission A by chance then mission B will check if the player has seen event A before triggering itself or pass directly to mission C. This way it will be guaranteed that the player wont be able to see all mission in one play.
Aliens
One of the most compelling features of x-com was the way the players interacted with captured aliens. Alien autopsy was one way of learning the background for an alien race, the other was Interrogating alien commanders, engineers, soldiers and medics to learn more about their weapons, ships, armours. This gave great depth to the game.

This idea can be improved by giving players visible bonuses after autopsies or interrogations. After an autopsy the player will not only learn the weakness of the alien but also gain extra damage bonus against the race. Bonus missions can be unlocked, information can be gained about alien "heroes" and "end level bosses"

Each alien race can have some sort of aggression level. Defeating the same race again and again in a few rows can cause the race to lower its aggressiveness while increasing its hate and pull back to outer space and re enforce its fleet. This way the player can gain some time to rest and focus dealing with other races. However once the other alien fleet reinforces itself it will start attacking more critical spots (terror missions or player bases etc). This would also make the game more dynamic.

Each alien race can have different UFO models. Each member of the alien race may dress accordingly to their ranks.

Each race can have different attack and defense formations. For example a certain savage race can choose to use direct attacks with heavy weapons and armour while another race may choose hit and runs with light weapons and high agility. These tactics can also be dynamically chosen by alien leaders. Some alien leaders can even choose to commit suicide instead of being captured, leaving their soldiers to act by their own will.

There can be earth defence forces such as local militia that use basic human weapons. These units can be friendly to players until the players try to shoot them. There can be a cult that worship the aliens. These cultists would try to hinder x-com activity. New fractions such as these can add some "free for all" multiplayer feel to the game.































I tried to stay as close to the originals both colour and design as much as possible.

Sectoid: Sectoids look like the stereotypical alien abductors with big bloated heads and huge black eyes. They use no armour and can easily be killed. Their leaders have the ability to use psionic attacks causing the players troops to suffer morale penalties, panic, loose control or even directly mind control them. Because Sectoids look humanoid they can duck behind objects for cover. They use low - mid level weapons. When sectoids attack terror sites they bring tiny flying saucers called Cyberdisc. The players units will gain defensive bonus against mind control attacks after a successful autopsy .

Cyberdisc: Heavy armoured and armed flying saucers. The ability to fly causes them to have more sight and range bonus then an average alien. They also have bonus defence against explosive attacks. Their extremely strong plasma rifles are capable of melting the toughest X-com armour. Once they take excessive damage they have a bad habit to self destruct and cause enormous damage to their surroundings. The Players armour piercing attacks will start causing more damage to cyberdiscs after a successful autopsy

Floater: Pink skinned aliens with red capes that are genetically modified by a more superior race. (Sectoids maybe.). The lower half of the body and most internal organs are surgically removed, and a life support system is installed. This implant contains an anti-gravity unit which enables the creature to float, albeit unsteadily, through the air. Floaters tend to ambush on rooftops and other similar sniping positions. Floaters can use all types of alien weapons.

In the original game Floaters were accompanied by some useless creature named Reaper. Instead of this race Floaters can have the ability to use medics that heal and support other aliens.

Snakeman: Aliens that have the face of a rat and the body of a snake. They may be the most stupid looking creature in the game but they have serious firearms skills. Albeit their high skill in firearms they lack time units, thus they seem to move slowly. They can use all weapons, armour and grenades. They are extremely resistant to incendiary attacks. When snakemen attack terror sites they bring the most feared alien of all the Chryssalid.

Chryssalid: These aliens impregnate humans with their eggs and turn them into zombies. Once the zombie dies it gives birth to another Chryssalid. Chryssalids do not use weapons, they are one of the few melee only units in the game but have incredible speed. Scientists will find out armour piercing and incendiary attacks would do more damage after their autopsy.

Zombie gives birth to the legendary Chrysalid. Friends and I call it space bunny for some unknown reason :)
Zombies turn into Chrysalid

Muton: Alien brutes genetically modified for warfare. They remind of purple skinned gorillas in green spandex suits. Just like the Snakemen, Mutons can use all the weapons, armour and grenade. They have high primary skills (Speed, health, morale,firepower and throwing) The Players explosive attacks will start causing more damage to Mutons after a successful autopsy. Mutons bring Silacoids and Celatids to terror sites.

Silacoid: In the original game Silacoid was a useless melee unit with no speciality. I decided to totally remake them.

Silacoids are slow, slimy organisms. They tend to devour and assimilate other life forms around them. Similar to a Chryssalid, these aliens only need one melee shot to devour their pray. The pray is held inside the Silacoid for 3 turns, loosing 25% of its health every turn. If the Silacoid is not killed within 3 turns it completely devours its pray and multiplies itself buy splitting up and making another copy of itself (can be with same skills, or maybe with added bonus from its pray) Silacoids leave a blue slime behind them so it is easy to find out where they have been the last few turns. Even though Silacoids are extremely slow, they have high health points, making them hard to kill. The Players explosive and incendiary attacks will start causing more damage to Silacoids after a successful autopsy.

Celatid: With its optical lens, acid sac and bio-mechanical device that allows it to float, this alien life form is used as a watchdog by other superior aliens. Once it detects its target the Celatid telepathically warns and lures the neaby aliens to its location. It damages its targets by spitting acid. (The acid works the same as a small scale grenade, splash damaging around the tile it falls.) Any target hit by the acid looses some amount of health unless healed by a medkit.

Ethereal: The most dangerous and rarely seen alien race. They tend to use other alien races to do their dirty work. They can use the most dangerous and superior alien weapons and armours, they can fly just like the floaters and they can mind attack just like the sectoids but in a more powerful way.

In the original game a robotic race named as the Sectopod accompanied the Ethereals. Instead of having a single race, the Etherals may have access to all other races in the game. Since they would have high psionic powers why not just make other races their slaves. This way missions that involve Etherals would be even more unpredictable and dangerous then ever. It will also have a positive effect on the randomness and replaybility of the game. I don't even want to think what a mixed map full of Etereals and Chryssalids would do to a players sanity :)

14x14 Pixel Art



Ascii Art Aliens

After messing around with the X-com roguelike made by Grid Sage Games its hard not to get inspired so I decided to do a set of xcom aliens using Ascii glyphs and fonts.


Ascii art Snakeman



it may look like something a dog puked out after eating a newspaper but its actually an ascii snakeman holding a plasma rifle. 

Ascii art Chryssalid

The Chryssalid giving earth an important message... smile and the world will smile with you.

This part will be expanded as I convert more aliens into ascii art.


Weapons
I guess one of the biggest problem on these types of games turns out to be the way they add new weapons to them. I don't believe in making 15 different types of the same rifle with a few stat differences will make things any better. The same weapons from the original should be kept but minor changes should be made on their effects and the way they work.

X-com weapons & equipment


Some other change should be how weapons change the environment. Laser and plasma weapons are fine but regular rifles should not destroy trees, walls and such obstacles but make holes in them instead. This way seems to be more logical. Some nice improvement would be to have the ability to riddle holes in walls to shoot the target at the other side. However to balance game issues there must be a decrease in damage and accuracy once bullets pass through walls.

Laser weapons having unlimited ammo feels bit odd. Maybe they should have limited shots but they could charge themselves with time or with some device soldiers carry in their backpacks or belts. This would force the laser lovers to take more tactical decisions.

Pistols: Since the regular pistol was crap and the Plasma Pistol was worthless considering other plasma tech, the only pistol worth using in the original game was the laser pistol. Maybe there can be something like dual pistols to encourage the layer to use pistols. Firing both pistols at the same time John Woo - akimbo style has some special charm to it. It can also work as an semi auto rifle.

Rifles: Alien Heavy Plasma and the regular Plasma Rifle can be state of art alien tech but still having 35 shots per clip that can do such damage is too overpowered. Considering how a player can finish most missions with a gun ho attitude and still have ammo left in the clip. Lowering the Heavy Plasma from 35 to 7 shots and the Plasma Rifle from 28 to 15 will force the players to change clips more often.

Heavy Plasma and Heavy Laser weapons can completely destroy walls allowing troops to pass.

Heavy Weapons: There weren't many differences between Heavy Cannon and Auto Cannon. Considering the rifle takes 20 bullets the Auto Cannon must have more then 14. I think increasing the Auto Cannons clips from 14 to 36 rounds should be more realistic and useful. It may spray 3 bullets on Aimed and Snap while spraying 6 on burst mode. Also the Blaster Launcher should work depending on the psi power of the soldiers as it makes the game uber easy.

Xcom craft, UFO's and Armaments

Trying to design a couple of goofy, round shaped UFO's.

Xcom craft, ufos and armaments


Multiplayer X-com

I never intended to take the multiplayer path for my own x-com remake. For me it was always meant to be single player, story based, open ended game. But after playing around 150 - 200 online ranked matches on the 2012 Firaixis remake of xcom for the ps3, i can say it was unbalanced but definitely fun. Well, it was fun until I figured out most of the builds were obsolete and there were only a few good builds that could be used for ranked games due to the point limit. Also the multiplayer never felt like x-com at all, but more like a fan made deathmatch modification hastily made for the sake of it.

There was no way to customize game rules, (other than starting credits, turn lenght and map name) and there are only 4 or 5 maps to pick from. Using expensive units in ranked matches was a suicide due to poor balance of cost and efficiency of units, aliens were either too expensive or too useless (always a relief to see the opponent use thinman and floater in ranked games as they are a waste of money and squad members due to poor skills) Hell, there wasn't even a lobby for players to sit down and chat or something. This had me going on how a proper multiplayer version of the old 91 x-com could have been remade.

So how do i want my multiplayer? I guess the best should be to have a co-op geoscape mode for people who love the classic gameplay and there should be a deathmatch (or even better, a team deathmatch) mode where people can go head to head.

Co-Op Geoscape Mode 

This mode will allow the players to work as teams, building bases and producing stuff, and shooting down ufos around the globe, trying to save civilization from the blink of destruction. The whole game is similar to the single player experience but there can be 7 or so players each on a different continent as the starting location. Players can transfer technology and resources among themselves, support each other by sending squads to ufo crash sites and terror missions. All of these can be done in real time as the players will have a experience almost exactly like the single player version but with the aid of smarter human allies to back them up.

Some problems can be with in-game progress speed due to synchronization issues players cannot be allowed to go into fast forward mode to progress time. A way to handle this problem can be to shorten research and production times also ufo attacks can be more frequent and wounded soldiers can heal faster so players wont have to wait for ages to progress. A voting system can also be set so players can vote to increase or decrease game progress speed. 

Another problem can be with players attacking each other. Not sure if they should be allowed to attack or not. It may cause some problems when a player is in a crash sight fighting aliens and the other player tries to invade the first players base. Maybe there could be a counter that activates when a player invades another players base so the defender can have like 5 minutes to finish whatever he is doing and try to break the siege.




Deathmatch or Team Deathmatch Mode

This will be the mode to pick if the players want fast and furious mulitplayer combat instead of the classic co-op game. This will sound more like a list of what Firaxis forgot to do but my multiplayer deathmatch should have;

- Ability to pick between random map or ready made "ranked match" maps
- Ability to customize map size, and density of urban ares, forests, cover etc.
- Ability to land troops with a skyranger or deploy them one by one to certain areas of the map
- Ability to save and load various squad builds (how on earth they forgot to implement this in 2012)  
- Limited money to spend on units, weapons and armour
- Players buy units, units come with weapons but the player can change / buy additional weapons
- Ability to ban specific weapons or equipment (specially unbalanced stuff like the psi blasters)
- Ability to ban specific units (annoying ethereals or whatever people feel like banning)
- Different alien classes (sectoid scout with high speed, sectoid warrior with high accuracy etc.)
- A squad limit of 6 or 8 troops so people wont spam too many cheap units as scouts 




Players can have mixed squads of Aliens and X-com soldiers but unlike the 2012 remake, there are classes of different aliens with various changes in stats, player pays only to buy a member of the class (like a regular sectoid or a sectoid scout or a sectoid leader) and the unit comes unequipped. They will have to buy weapons and items separately for the units. Prices of units and equipment will take a well set of time and tests to balance.

On the other hand some players may find it annoying to hunt down weapons and items for each soldier so it does make sense to have weapons and equipment aligned to different classes. People can just pick the heavy soldier and every heavy soldier can come equipped with a heavy cannon and some grenades by default.  

Soldier - average soldier with average health and stats. all human classes can duck behind objects for cover.
Scout - good speed and high accuracy but low stats and health
Support - expensive, good health, decent stats
Assault - very expensive, good stats, good health 

Sectoid - cheap cost, low stats, no armour, all sectoid classes can duck behind objects for cover.

Scout -  cheap, high speed, even less accuracy, ideal for opening the map
Leader - expensive, has psi attacks but less accuracy

Floater - can fly, no armour
Sniper - high accuracy, ideal for rooftops
Medic - expensive, has medkit by default and better Hit points compared to the regular floaters

Snakeman - slow speed, good stats, can use all weapons, resistant to incendiary attacks
Drone - good armour
Tracker - high speed but less accuracy

Chryssalid: expensive, melee only, cannot use items, turns humans into zombies.
This bastard doesn't need any classes, its dangerous enough already :)

Muton: all Muton classes can duck behind objects for cover, can use all weapons
Soldier - expensive, well balanced stats
Heavy - very expensive, good armour and hit points but slow speed

Ethereal: expensive, can fly, can use all alien weapons, psi attack
Templar - very expensive, but less psi skills and higher armour and hit points.
Elder - very expensive, cannot use items or weapons, has high psi powers but low skills and hit points
Conclusion
WHY IT COULD BE GRAND 
+ Detailed RTS and TBS strategy game
+ Faithful concept to the original 94 game
+ Great amount of replay value

+ Multiplayer deathmatch and multiplayer geoscape modes?

WHY IT COULD BE CRAP
 

- Can feel complicated for casual fans who are away from the genre
- Simplified mechanics can put off die hard fans of the original
- Some players may not enjoy RTS and TBS gameplay hybrid

- Multiplayer is hard to balance and implement



X-Com Simplified, Zx Spectrum Style - Pix-Com


Laser Squad is a turn-based tactics video game, originally released for the ZX Spectrum and later ported to many other machines of its time. It was also created by Julian Gollop and the games legacy can be seen in X-COM as it was initially conceived as a sequel to Laser Squad.

I was wondering how Xcom could be if it was made similar to Laser Squad so I limited myself to 16x16 pixel tiles (14x14 for units and items) and 8 colours (custom palette as i find the spectrum colours to be too bright.) Not sure what the original laser squad resolution was, could be 256x192 but I would prefer to use 640x480 as anythig below would be overkill on modern machines these days.

xcom - laser squad spectrum style sprites

I've done all weapons and most of the units, not sure if cyberdisc and other "large" terror units should be added or not. Maybe limiting things / cutting stuff out instead of a direct port could also suit the simplified visual style. Sort of a pocket X-com kind of thing.

x-com pix-com characters


I'll expand this part with more screenshots and text in the future as I get some more stuff done.
- equip soldiers screen
- base view
- geoscape

- battlescape of a terror sight