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Let's Play X-COM aka UFO: Enemy Unknown?

Ive got a stupid idea which I want to try out no one reads tags anyway

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Tidal_Force #1 Posted 05 July 2015 - 12:22 AM

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TL;DR
 

Top Secret United Nations document. Pending reclassification to restricted.

Annotated transcript of speech

19 December 1998

1100 hours Romeo (UCT-5)

United Nations General Assembly meeting, United Nations Headquarters, New York, USA.


On platform, surrounded by microphones stands man in strange, almost featureless, grey uniform with large X shaped emblem sewn onto the right side of the chest. To the side of the platform, stands man in exactly same uniform. Neither of the uniforms bears any discernible rank markings.

- Ladies and Gentlemen - he begins - delegates to the United Nations. I have an important information to rely. But first things first: an introduction.

 

My codename is: "Tidal Force" and I'm a Commander of X-COM project. Due to confidentiality and limited scope of the project, most of you are unlikely to have ever heard of me, those of you who do have high enough clearance of appropriate governmental body, most likely have a very twisted and incorrect view of me, and project I'm leading. I need to quickly correct that before we can, as they say, go to business.


I'm the head of X-COM project. X-COM stands for eXtraterrestrial COMbat unit. X-COM is a top secret EU project dedicated to finding, understanding, and ultimately defeating extraterrestrial threats. Those of you who did hear of us, know us as "nutjobs", the nickname given to us by people who somehow reached highest echelons of their respective governments without ability to conduct basic reasoning. You see...
- Ahem, Commander. - assistant interrupted.
- Yes, sorry, thank you. Being constantly insulted by people thinking that perpetuum mobile is a grand idea makes one cranky. - Speaker audibly clears throat to separate digression from rest of speech and continues - Important points of consideration are as follows: somewhere between 4 and 3.5 milliard years ago, simple self-replicating molecules emerged out of abiotic primordial soup. In following milliards of years, natural selection under pressure from environment and other molecules caused them to increase in complexity, leading to emergence of single cellular organisms. Same natural selection later caused them to start specialising, figuratively giving birth to multi cellular organisms. It's a slow process, but eventually humans appeared. As such we are the living proof that life in universe is possible, thus, question of extraterrestrial life was never really a question. It happened once, it can happen again. Universe is incredibly large, current estimated number of stars is 10^24. That's 1 and 24 0s. Emergence of life on earth being unique and singular event is simply put, improbable. With that many stars, many of them having planets, some planets have to be habitable and so there are bound to be extraterrestrial lifeforms out there. Less clear was question of extraterrestrial intelligence, but again, our existence indicates that emergence of intelligence is not impossible.


The real question was: can we ever meet them. According to latest science, where latest is a loose term as Special Relativity has been around for almost 100 years now, the answer was "no". According to Special Relativity there are no way to travel faster then light, and even near-light travel has prohibitive energy requirements, meaning that visiting even nearest start system, Proxima Centauri is prohibitively difficult. Note that I said "answer WAS no". General Relativity, which has been around for 80 years and has been proven beyond any doubt, gives us way to find possible geometries of space. In 1994, Miguel Alcubierre, Mexican theoretical physicist, found a new valid solution of General Relativity equations. A solution that theoretically allows Faster Then Light travel, FTL for short. We do not know if it's practically possible, since it requires matter with exotic properties. Properties which, while NOT prohibited, have never been observed. According to leader of our physics department, best explanation that can be given without running everyone through 3 year mathematics and 2 year physics courses is: Alcubierre drive effectively causes one to "stand faster then light" thus conveniently avoiding all the special relativity effects like twin paradox.


Now, we know that FTL is not prohibited, for all we know there may be multiple ways to achieve it. As such, answer to vital question "can we ever meet extraterrestrial life" has changed from "no" to "maybe". As of yesterday 1510 Greenwich time, that answer has changed to: "we did".


- Short pause in speech was quickly filled with restless murmurs -


- At 1510 Zulu, our radars found yet another Unidentified Flying Object, we find many of them. "UFO" doesn't mean "aliens". UFO literally stands for Unidentified Flying Object. Storms, birds, aircraft with offline transponders, all can produce initially unknown radar signatures, becoming UFOs, up until we identify them. Object we observed yesterday, wasn't a usual UFO. It's altitude was unusually high, trajectory at the time of detection suggested extraterrestrial origin, behaviour was unusual. We could not identify it until it landed. Real time satellite images of landing area have shown object to be a tiny metal disc approximately 3 metres across.

Interceptors and transport with welcoming committee were scrambled to the location. Images captured by cameras on board of interceptors have shown capsule reminiscent of Apollo program return vehicles. Since we have not been notified of any spacecraft re-entries, our transport craft continued it's flight, but we fully expected to find man made re-entry vehicle, part of some secret space program. We were wrong. After touchdown, ground crew of 4 soldiers, 3 scientists, 3 engineers, linguist, psychiatrist and 2 cameramen, immediately began investigation of unknown craft.

Hull was quickly found to be made of unknown materials, inscriptions on hull were not written in any known language. Inspection of inside has shown craft to be single seater, with control consoles unlike anything we knew. Even seat itself had proportions unfit for humans. We could not find the crew. Instead... it... found us, and immediately opened fire with unknown ranged weapons and thrown explosive devices. In resulting firefight, Alien was killed. On our side, 2 soldiers were killed, one was heavily wounded and his life is still in danger, 2 scientists and one cameraman received light shrapnel wounds.


- Screens behind platform blinked and flickered to life showing images of strange, violet creature. -

 


- On screens behind me, you can see results of preliminary examination of alien craft and corpse. Ladies and Gentlemen. We failed to find Aliens. Instead, they found us. As I said X-COM was an EU project, thus we were able to monitor only aerospace over Europe and as such, we can not verify news you undoubtedly heard: over the course of last 24 hours, presumably 7 towns all across the globe were bombed by unidentified craft, described by witnesses as "flying saucers". While alien sightings are a staple of tabloid media, who of course were the most eager to report on it, our encounter with genuine extraterrestrial leads us to believe that those reports are real.

 


With clearly hostile intent of those visitors we are standing at the brink of interstellar war. Our cooperation with space, defence and investigation agencies in other countries leads us to believe that best course of action is to turn X-COM project into global entity, overseen by United Nations. Despite all our differences, we have to unite. We can not afford to stand divided. Enemy we are facing is, has to be, prepared to wage war on global scale, and what we see is only the beginning. X-COM spent last 30 years, searching for extraterrestrial activity and preparing for the day when we may find it. We have spent years investigating possibility of non-carbon based lifeforms and lifeforms not based on earthen biochemistry, we have created dozens of artificial languages in search of any possible common denominator. We have theories, tools and protocols ready for this very day. We are almost prepared to handle any alien contact, friendly or hostile. Almost. We need cash. We have base, fully functional and equipped, but it can only protect Europe. To extend our reach over entire globe, we need to build more bases. We are going to need more bases, more gear, more personnel. We are going to need soldiers, marksmen, specialists, sappers; scientists, physicists, biologists, chemists, linguists; engineers, civil, weapon, aircraft. We, as mankind can not afford to split and work separately for we risk wasting what precious little time we have. We need to consolidate all our efforts under one entity, therefore hereby I propose: that X-COM project is turned over under UN funding and supervision.


We are as prepared for unknown as one can be, when unknown finally comes, preparation will save lives and time, but no amount of preparation will replace action. We need to act. We need to learn. We need to fight.

Fight...
...the Enemy Unknown.


Now it's time for questions.

- shouts erupted throughout entire hall -

 

text in green is part of TL;DR, in case you read it earlier.

 

Q: Tidal, WTF?A: I've got a stupid idea. I want to make a text based somewhat interactive Let's Play with input of forumites. I want to try describing heroic last stands, massive fails, flawless sweeps and FUBAR-ed missions that invariably happen when playing X-COM. I want to describe "Oh crap" moments when you have a rookie open UFO doors only to see 6 heavy plasmas pointed right at him, or situations when chryssalid is charging your squad and dies to reaction fire at literally last metres. But why am I posting it here? Because I want to put members of this forum as X-COM soldiers. Some will die quickly and stupidly, some will live to become grizzled veterans, and some annoying trolls almost certainly WILL turn out to be too lucky or badass to die, no matter how hard I'm going to try and get them killed (I mean, anyone can join, but some forumites will always be the first to open UFO doors:trollface:).

Here's the plan:

  • medium difficulty, no restarts in geoscape, unlimited restarts from saves in battlescape but 0-3 saves per mission depending on size of assaulted craft (imagine checkpoints, I don't know what response to expect, X-COM is brutal and I don't want to run out of forumites to name my meatshields soldiers, that's why I give myself some room), without ~20 volunteers, I won't even start.
  • Open X-COM remake because of it's versatility. It has extensive mod support, better yet, mods and saves are simple text files, allowing for very extensive changes to facilitate "storyline missions" etc.
  • anyone can participate, by posting character name, surname, sex, nationality, short bio and possibly some quirks (want to dual wield? sure, just be warned that WILL get you killed even faster), preferred role (If I like what you wrote, I may even edit char abilities to better fit description), loadout, etc. callsign will be the forum nickname.
  • Forumites can also volunteer to join The Council. Council will have the power to overturn strategic decisions and modify environment. Want to make my life game harder? Make me build second base in pacific ocean or make me turn over alien tech for free. Want to make it easier? Increase funding. Want to make it different? Order researching medkits instead of laser weapons as first tech. Doesn't like base name? Make me change it. Want to make it weird? Go wild, be creative. However, it will require somewhat active participation.
  • feel free to contribute in-universe texts. Logs, chats, reports, news, as well as ideas.
  • underlined text, is out of universe

 

The above in-universe speech is supposed to show my writing style. If you like it, feel free to join so that I can write about YOUR gruesome death exploits as valiant defender of mankind.

It's supposed to be for fun (lay down the pitchforks, I'm not talking about playing WoT in "herp4fun" mode) so, please don't judge me too harshly if it turns out worse then expected, or I get bored/tired and cancel it midway.

 

Q: The pixels! They burn! My eyes! MY EYES!

A: That's X-COM baby. The one and only, original X-COM. This game has over 20 years now, I'm using recent open source rewrite, which retains every mechanic in unchanged form while improving interface and modability at also removes bugs and game limitation caused by contemporary computers (like infamous 80 item limit, though removing this one HEAVILY changes game balance).

The most distinguishing feature of the game is emergent story. Game contains almost no story on it's own, instead it somehow encourages player to make own story, with all the brave men and women serving under players command. Rookies too tough to die, veterans dying by stray shots and all imagined dynamic between characters is what made this game legendary. When you see Chryssalid coming for your favourite fireteam, you will know fear. I want to try and render it in written form, with forumites as characters.


Q: Why it's in General Discussion instead of Off-Topic?

A: To reach more people. After I start it or see insufficient interest, I will request move/lock myself.

 

Q: How long is it going to take?

A: Who knows? X-COM can take while to complete, add time needed to write and illustrate posts describing ongoing war and it could easily run into few months.


Important notice: It's happening in 1999. No smartphones (though their ancestors, palmtops, PDAs, pocket PCs, etc. do exist), no Wikipedia, no Google, vastly different internet, Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin are still in office in their respective countries, RAH-66 Comanche wasn't cancelled yet, Windows XP will be released in 2 years, Quake 3 and Counter Strike will be released later this year, graphene is a known material, but it's potential hasn't been realised yet, last year's 3 top grossing films were "Armageddon", "Saving Private Ryan" and "Godzilla", during this year "Phantom Menace", "Sixth Sense", "Toy Story 2" and "Matrix" will hit the screens and top grossing lists, on November NASA will lose probe because someone forgot to convert yards to metres, first module of ISS was launched last year, bogus reports of vaccines causing autism have been around for almost full year now, top of the line processors clock at whooping 400 MHz.

 

I won't enforce this very strictly, since my memory isn't perfect either and I was still a kid back then, but I would appreciate very much if you tried to stay in time period. Or if enough people voice opinion against, this idea may be discarded altogether.

 

Since we are NOT in 1999, feel free to use Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia...1999_in_science

https://en.wikipedia...ki/1999_in_film

Those lists are easily accessible from panel on right side on this page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999


Join X-COM. Enlist now. Protect Earth.

 

EDIT: Since first replies mention actually playing the game, I think I should have mentioned this:

http://openxcom.org/

It's a modern rewrite of X-COM, and one which I am using. It offers a lot of improvements, however, IT DOES NOT WORK WITHOUT ORIGINAL RESOURCES. X-COM is NOT abandonware and as such this rewrite needs original data, for example from Steam version, to work (I have "X-COM complete pack", in case you wonder, yes, I even played Enforcer:ohmy:).


Edited by Tidal_Force, 05 July 2015 - 01:36 AM.


Sessine #2 Posted 05 July 2015 - 12:51 AM

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I think i really need to get that game... also character Count Sessine, male, most exotic country you have in game (or pick one later), For the bio i have no idea, will see later with more context. General character: stupid tank. I open UFO doors (to boldly go where no men has gone before etc etc) or pet hideous aliens because ugly doesn't mean it is bad.   

praetor_jax #3 Posted 05 July 2015 - 01:21 AM

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Oh HELL yea! Sign me up sir! :honoring:

Considering that i might never actually play it (i plan to play Terror from the deep though) this should make for an interesting read. Also - text based lets plays are somewhat classy :great:

 

Ok, switching to the approved text format... loading... 60% complete... 100%. Initializing X-COM.

 

***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

As the next recruit enters the room the personnel officer looks up to see a man of average height with a somewhat odd haircut that looks like a yellow palm tree.

They shake hands and take a seat. "Well, hello recruit.. Jax?" He grabs a file from the table and opens it.

"Yes, sir. Praetor Jax".  The officers eyes wander through the paper. "Alright, here we have it. Name Praetor Jax, age 25, born in Germany, formerly stationed at... International XCE base Central in Cyprus? Xenonauts?". "Yes sir, before it got cancelled in favor of this project." The officer nods. "You have recieved advanced military training... firearms, explosive ordnance, riot gear, helicopter training - sounds quite average by our standards, but it should work well. Do you want me to add anything?" The recruit grins. "I have quite a good throwing arm if that helps." "I like your attitude recruit, i ll give you that." He closes the file. "One more thing recruit - this is probably the outmost important endeavour in human history. You may encounter horrors yet unknown to the people that inhabit this planet, yet the day may come that the very fate of mankind depends on you and your actions. Are you up to the task?"

"Count me in, sir!"

***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

ugh, horrible wirting, but i need to practise this anyway...

 

so yea, no real preferences to skills or combat role, throwing things is fun

the haircut is optional, but its THE x-com haircut so it would be nice ;)

 

Just read through it again and noticed that it does not need to be green to be ooc... :D

 

 

 

 


Edited by praetor_jax, 05 July 2015 - 01:27 AM.


Tidal_Force #4 Posted 05 July 2015 - 01:23 AM

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Reminder: I use underlined to write out of universe/character.

 

View PostSessine, on 04 July 2015 - 11:51 PM, said:

I think i really need to get that game... also character Count Sessine, male, most exotic country you have in game (or pick one later), For the bio i have no idea, will see later with more context. General character: stupid tank. I open UFO doors (to boldly go where no men has gone before etc etc) or pet hideous aliens because ugly doesn't mean it is bad.   

 

Sounds like you would love to use stun rod. Great. Catching live specimens is extremely important but ungrateful job.

Original X-COM games don't actually track nationality (in X-COM names are generated from American, British, German, Russian, French and Japanese sets of names and surnames, Open X-COM has 32 sets, like Belgian, Kenyan, Korean or Turkish, but neither version actually keeps track, I'll be doing that manually), so you can go wild. Games inspired by X-COM: like XCOM (2012 remake, notice lack of hyphen), Xenonauts, and fan projects often do (trivia: XCOM remake had Scottish as separate nationality).

 

View Postpraetor_jax, on 05 July 2015 - 12:21 AM, said:

Oh HELL yea! Sign me up sir! :honoring:

Considering that i might never actually play it (i plan to play Terror from the deep though) this should make for an interesting read. Also - text based lets plays are somewhat classy :great:

 

Ok, switching to the approved text format... loading... 60% complete... 100%. Initializing X-COM.

 

***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

As the next recruit enters the room the personnel officer looks up to see a man of average height with a somewhat odd haircut that looks like a yellow palm tree.

They shake hands and take a seat. "Well, hello recruit.. Jax?" He grabs a file from the table and opens it.

"Yes, sir. Praetor Jax".  The officers eyes wander through the paper. "Alright, here we have it. Name Praetor Jax, age 25, born in Germany, formerly stationed at... International XCE base Central in Cyprus? Xenonauts?". "Yes sir, before it got cancelled in favor of this project." The officer nods. "You have recieved advanced military training... firearms, explosive ordnance, riot gear, helicopter training - sounds quite average by our standards, but it should work well. Do you want me to add anything?" The recruit grins. "I have quite a good throwing arm if that helps." "I like your attitude recruit, i ll give you that." He closes the file. "One more thing recruit - this is probably the outmost important endeavour in human history. You may encounter horrors yet unknown to the people that inhabit this planet, yet the day may come that the very fate of mankind depends on you and your actions. Are you up to the task?"

"Count me in, sir!"

***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

ugh, horrible wirting, but i need to practise this anyway...

 

so yea, no real preferences to skills or combat role, throwing things is fun

the haircut is optional, but its THE x-com haircut so it would be nice ;)

 

Just read through it again and noticed that it does not need to be green to be ooc... :D

 

 

 

 

 

Awesome.

Be advised that I DO plan to modify what little plot game actually has. Those screens with floater and small scout? I rewrote descriptions to better fit my purposes.

 

I just tried to establish some convention for ease of read. If you have better idea, say so.


Edited by Tidal_Force, 05 July 2015 - 01:42 AM.


TankkiPoju #5 Posted 05 July 2015 - 03:34 PM

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It's a great game. I played it on Amiga.

praetor_jax #6 Posted 05 July 2015 - 03:54 PM

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View PostTidal_Force, on 05 July 2015 - 12:23 AM, said

Awesome.

Be advised that I DO plan to modify what little plot game actually has. Those screens with floater and small scout? I rewrote descriptions to better fit my purposes.

 

I just tried to establish some convention for ease of read. If you have better idea, say so.

I really wouldnt know the game well enough to notice the changes :D

Underlined text imo works well  to separate in-universe and out-of-universe, i just got that part with the green colour wrong ;)

 

TankkiPoju, sign up! Earth needs you!



hgjwz #7 Posted 05 July 2015 - 03:59 PM

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Ahh original x-com is simply a masterpiece too bad i personally cannot really enjoy it that much anymore due to how let's say "outdated" the game looks and feels so i stick with the newer one(enemy within) and long war mod:medal: but yes you can definitely sign me in and i really would love to see where this ends up.


Edited by hgjwz, 05 July 2015 - 04:01 PM.


Tidal_Force #8 Posted 05 July 2015 - 04:44 PM

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View Posthgjwz, on 05 July 2015 - 02:59 PM, said:

Ahh original x-com is simply a masterpiece too bad i personally cannot really enjoy it that much anymore due to how let's say "outdated" the game looks and feels so i stick with the newer one(enemy within) and long war mod:medal: but yes you can definitely sign me in and i really would love to see where this ends up.

 

While I don't care that much about graphics, I do agree that interface is very unwieldy by modern standards, exactly the reason why I'm using Open X-COM (I start sounding like a travelling salesman...).

If you don't pick a name, you will be assigned one by random, you may or may not like the results.

 

View PostTankkiPoju, on 05 July 2015 - 02:34 PM, said:

It's a great game. I played it on Amiga.

 

But, are you joining to defend earth?

hgjwz #9 Posted 05 July 2015 - 04:56 PM

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View PostTidal_Force, on 05 July 2015 - 04:44 PM, said:

 

While I don't care that much about graphics, I do agree that interface is very unwieldy by modern standards, exactly the reason why I'm using Open X-COM (I start sounding like a travelling salesman...).

If you don't pick a name, you will be assigned one by random, you may or may not like the results.

 

 

Jan "hgjwz" Stockfelt from Finland reporting for duty !

 

and ye you do sound like one :D



IrisveilVonReith #10 Posted 05 July 2015 - 08:02 PM

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View PostTidal_Force, on 05 July 2015 - 03:44 PM, said:

But, are you joining to defend earth?

 

Maybe one day. I still got some Earths to defend.

 



Tidal_Force #11 Posted 05 July 2015 - 08:08 PM

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View PostIrisveilVonReith, on 05 July 2015 - 07:02 PM, said:

 

Maybe one day. I still got some Earths to defend.

 

 

It's not like Bureau or Enforcer actually have anything to do with X-COM:harp:

gpalsson #12 Posted 05 July 2015 - 08:32 PM

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I spent too many hours on that game. I think the only game that beat that game in hours spent is WoT.

camels13 #13 Posted 05 July 2015 - 08:50 PM

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i recently played it again. one of the best games EVER.

Tidal_Force #14 Posted 05 July 2015 - 09:10 PM

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View Postgpalsson, on 05 July 2015 - 07:32 PM, said:

I spent too many hours on that game. I think the only game that beat that game in hours spent is WoT.

 

View Postcamels13, on 05 July 2015 - 07:50 PM, said:

i recently played it again. one of the best games EVER.

 

Oh, come on. Don't just say how great the game is. Join and become my... pawns.

Edited by Tidal_Force, 05 July 2015 - 09:11 PM.


p33l0x #15 Posted 05 July 2015 - 10:48 PM

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That game was (and still is!) a true gem - anyone who hasn't played it should try it despite the aged graphics. I still play it from time to time on my linux laptop for a quick escape of realism.

Anyone else remember how the game was too scary to play as a small kid?



TheR3dBaron #16 Posted 06 July 2015 - 07:59 AM

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Loved that game. It did have quite a few bugs if I remember correctly. I experienced a few crashes. I bought the sequel and enjoyed it as well. However, I preferred Jagged Alliance 2, released in 1999 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jagged_Alliance_2

jabster #17 Posted 06 July 2015 - 08:11 AM

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Never played it myself but I did spend a lot of time on Laser Squad.

 

 

And you think the graphics in XCOM are outdated?



knaveofengland #18 Posted 06 July 2015 - 09:30 AM

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omg I still love this game   this was the game that had the title marriage breaker  even the many follows up and the new xcom  still not a patch on the original   just like final fantasy 7 they going to remake that one hope they don't change anything

praetor_jax #19 Posted 06 July 2015 - 02:53 PM

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View PostTheR3dBaron, on 06 July 2015 - 06:59 AM, said:

Loved that game. It did have quite a few bugs if I remember correctly. I experienced a few crashes. I bought the sequel and enjoyed it as well. However, I preferred Jagged Alliance 2, released in 1999 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jagged_Alliance_2

 

Released in 1999 and probably still the best squad-tactic game 16 years later. And probably my very favourite game!

And then there is the 1.13 mod for it :D



thwQ #20 Posted 06 July 2015 - 03:11 PM

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View Postjabster, on 06 July 2015 - 08:11 AM, said:

Never played it myself but I did spend a lot of time on Laser Squad.

 

 

And you think the graphics in XCOM are outdated?

 

Dont forget this thing got multiplayer! We played this thing on ZX48k when PCs reigned supreme. Moonbase attack ;) and that Corp Jonland could survive a nonthrown primed grenade .. as kamikaze :)

 

View Postpraetor_jax, on 06 July 2015 - 02:53 PM, said:

 

Released in 1999 and probably still the best squad-tactic game 16 years later. And probably my very favourite game!

And then there is the 1.13 mod for it :D

The mod is keeping JA2 alive and well ;)

 

if ur into these dont miss on true Xcom successor .. http://www.xenonauts.com/






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