So I guess I had to go through that. The last few years at PlayStation were a bit unexpected in a very very nice way.'rdquoThere's much more in this podcast and in other GDC podcasts. Check them out at the links below!Listen now!Subscribe to One Life Left here.Check out more GDC Podcasts. Gamasutra Jake Solomon explains the careful use of randomness in XCOM 2
Play forever.'rdquo According to lead designer Jake Solomon, that was the mantrathat echoed through Firaxis during the development of XCOM 2.While confident in the core systems of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, tackling the sequel meant creating a more mercurial set of challenges, ones that wouldn't be the same from player to player.RS 07 Gold If we were to use one word to describe our tactic, it would be the idea of unpredictability,'rdquo said Solomon. I think what's valuable as a player is that when you go into a game, the challenges you're confronted with are unpredictable.'rdquoOne way that Firaxis went about creating unpredictability for their players was by making sure they never saw the same map twice. While the team was developing Enemy Unknown, they experimented with procedurally generating maps, but they couldn't get the maps to both look convincing and remain mechanically interesting.Ultimately, they settled for handcrafting the environments on which tactical battles would take place. We made enough maps that typically you wouldn't see all of them unless you played through twice,'rdquo he says. Players replaying the game, though, would often run into content they had already seen.This wasn't something the team wanted to repeat in the sequel. When we started XCOM2, that was at the very, very top of the list for us,'rdquo said Solomon.Their solution was the plot and parcel system. If you view our maps as a giant quilt, than we simply punch out the individual tiles in the quilt and replace them with whatever we want.cheaprsgolds 'rdquo The plot, or the overall map, functions as the groundwork, whereas the parcelselements like a parking lot, or a buildingare inserted piece by piece.The result is a relatively simple system that never creates the same map twice. On the tactical maps, this gives each mission an element of unpredictability,'rdquo said Solomon. You may recognize a building or two, but you don't recognize the overall map. It's impossible to.'rdquoAs a developer, you have to accept the fact that when it comes to unpredictability, there's going to be an uneven experience. If you shave off the lows, a lot of the time you're shaving off the highs.But the core of XCOMisn't just tactical battles. Buy RS Gold Equally important is the metastrategic part of the game, where players build a base, train new soldiers and choose how to allocate their resources. In pursuing the 'rdquoplay forever'rdquomantra,Firaxis introduced Dark Events, periodic plots by the alien foes of XCOMto improve their own equipment or make life harder for the resistance.Dark Events often occur simultaneously, and are pulled from a random pool your own recruits might become more expensive, while the aliens start packing venomous ammunition that deals damage over time.This created unique obstacles for the player, but it also prevented Firaxis from finetuning the level of challenge. There were, frankly, some very scary moments when a certain combination would occur and there would be a huge spike in difficulty,'rdquo said Solomon. It gave us some really late nights. When it comes to unpredictability, if you shave off the lows, a lot of the time you're shaving off the highs.