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GOL Cast: Hunting ETs in XCOM: Enemy Unknown

By - | Views: 11,438
Being in charge of humanity's last line of defense against an extraterrestrial threat is highly unlikely and if I were to do it I'm fairly sure we'd be doomed, but now I can try my hand at it in the safe environment of XCOM.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown by Firaxis Games and ported by Feral Interactive is a tactical turn-based strategy game. You are the commander of XCOM, a paramilitary extraterrestrial combat organization and your job is to counter the alien offensive that threatens the existence of the human race. You must intercept the enemy UFOs in the air and fight a variety of different beasts on the ground with your squad of highly trained and well-equipped soldiers.

In addition to the tactical squad-based combat, you must also manage the XCOM's strategic aspects, such as research, interceptor placements and satellite coverage. Due to your limited amount of troops you also have to make the call where to send your men, you cannot protect everyone.

Notice: a 64-bit operating system is required to play the game.

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I think it was fairly obvious that I was going to praise this port to high heavens. Feral's port is simply awesome. The performance is just amazing and the only place where occasional hiccups can be found are the cutscenes, the gameplay itself works at solid 60 frames per second. I have run into a bug or two, but those things have been just minor things, like my soldiers floating in the air for a moment when they exited the dropship. Overall the port just works.

The game itself is equally amazing. The different aspects of gameplay are well tied together and the randomized nature of the missions makes the game interesting. The XCOM council also throws in different sorts of missions every now and then, so you won't have to do similar missions all the time.

The game is also extremely tactical. Moving your troops from cover to cover is a must, because just a few hits can bring your soldiers down forever. The enemy also knows how to take an advantage of the environment, no dumb run and gun AI here.

Overall it's a tight package full of awesome and you should absolutely get it. I'd go as far as to say that it's Linux port of the year material. But do mind that it's a 64-bit only, so it will not run on a 32-bit operating system.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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About the author -
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I'm a Linux gamer from Finland. I like reading, long walks on the beach, dying repeatedly in roguelikes and ripping and tearing in FPS games. I also sometimes write code and sometimes that includes hobbyist game development.
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PlayX 29 Jun, 2014
It is a very good port. I wish every port would have this quality.
View video on youtube.com
Sabun 29 Jun, 2014
QuoteI think it was fairly obvious that I was going to praise this port to high heavens. Feral's port is simply awesome.

I have to agree here. 7 hours of gameplay without me even realising so far, it's that good. My only question is why they only port it up to DirectX9 functionality (Aspyr did the same).
  • Is it currently not possible to fully implement DX11 features in OpenGL smoothly?

  • Or are we restricted to what Mac gamers are stuck at with their OpenGL implemention?

  • or are the DX11 features in Xcom and Civ5 so little they are unnoticeable?



EDIT: Feral have answered! Link :D
PlayX 29 Jun, 2014
Quoting: Sabun
QuoteI think it was fairly obvious that I was going to praise this port to high heavens. Feral's port is simply awesome.
I have to agree here. 7 hours of gameplay without me even realising so far, it's that good. My only question is why they only port it up to DirectX9 functionality (Aspyr did the same). Is it currently not possible to fully implement DX11 features in OpenGL smoothly? Or are we restricted to what Mac gamers are stuck at with their OpenGL implemention? (or are the DX11 features in Xcom and Civ5 so little they are unnoticeable?)

I think thy have to find the perfect balace between worktime and quality for their work. So they have to use the safest opengl implemtation for the most users on both systems.
So I think at the moment it is the easiest way to use OpenGL 3.1 Features as maximum. Backportet OpenGL 4 Features that are realised with Extension from NVidia or AMD in their drivers are not save to use.
Simple say. The Port can only use Features that are supported by NVidia, AMD and Intel and aviable on Linux and Mac down to the lowest supported GPU.
Do extra features for better cards is more work, needs more time and at the end, costs more money.
HadBabits 29 Jun, 2014
33:30 "Woah, that was pure luck"

Actually that was the lightning reflexes perk :P

Still, nice strategizing, Samsai :D
Beamboom 30 Jun, 2014
A very good port of a very, very good game.

I've rounded 20 hours now and things are getting a bit hard. But man, what a game. Luckily there is the Enemy Within DLC to start working on once the campaign is over.
Also, the replay value of this game is sky high. As far as I understand the mission maps are randomly generated and the AI is very good so the next play-through will not be the exact same.
Beamboom 30 Jun, 2014
Quoting: GuestIf you got the feeling like me, after a couple of hours playtime on the original XCOM, damn I wish I had build some more satellite-nexus...:) then I highly recommend to start over WITH the DLC ....because it's the same campaing with lots of more stuff.

Oh it is? Man, then I gotta do that! I thought it was a new story, like it typically is with DLCs.
And yeah, I didn't fully understand the purpose of the satellite thingies, nor the hangard with ships either, until things started getting real troublesome.

Oh well I don't mind starting over... Not since Mass Effect 2 have I been this excited over a game!
Samsai 30 Jun, 2014
Quoting: HadBabits33:30 "Woah, that was pure luck"

Actually that was the lightning reflexes perk :P

Still, nice strategizing, Samsai :D
Oh, I forgot about that perk completely! :D
MayeulC 30 Jun, 2014
Just... Do you remember this : http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/videogames/290573/ref=pd_zg_hrsr_vg_1_3_last

Any chance of a borderlands port? Amazon listed Civ V and XCOM as Linux games way before the ports were announced.
edddeduck_feral 1 Jul, 2014
Thanks for all the kind words, we're glad you're all enjoying XCOM. :)
edddeduck_feral 1 Jul, 2014
Quoting: SabunMy only question is why they only port it up to DirectX9 functionality (Aspyr did the same). Is it currently not possible to fully implement DX11 features in OpenGL smoothly?

XCOM doesn't use DX11 features on Windows, the game uses DX9 on Windows and we match the graphics exactly on our Mac and Linux versions. Mac and Linux don't have hardware support for PhysX (software only) but that does not effect the visuals of the game.

We have shipped a couple of games now with some DX10/11 level effects (but not all) on the Mac but haven't had the opportunity to do so on Linux. In theory all of DX11 can be supported if your graphics cards support the full OpenGL 4.4 specification. This does mean the open source mesa drivers would need to be improved a they are missing OpenGL 4.0+ but the closed source drivers for Linux appear to have all the support needed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesa_(computer_graphics)#Software_architecture

That said there is a big difference between the drivers saying something is supported and it being usable and bug free when used in a game. :) I guess we will find out when we get to the first DX11 based Linux port :)
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