Saturday, November 3, 2012

On Medkits and Suspension

"Short version: If [XCOM: Enemy Unknown] were consistent, it would be so much more than just a turn-based combat game."

The quote was from a friend of mine, JPH. He runs the pretty cool website Ninja Game Den. Our other friend McNutcase, who has a blog over here, was also involved. This pretty much started out when JPH went to Twitter to talk about how in XCOM, which is a Turn Based Game about aliens and you have a squad and junk (If you want to know more there's a lot of places for it, like this video by Total Biscuit), if you have a downed squad member with a medkit, other squad members can't run over and use the medkit to save the downed member themselves.

Obviously, in a real world situation an actual soldier could, and probably would, use another's equipment in order to save their life. However, XCOM has coding and stuff, and like McNutcase says, they used a coding shortcut to get around complications. Pretty much, when you equip an item, there is no actual item, you're just giving a stat increase or an ability to the soldier, thus no soldier can use any other "equipment" that any other soldier can unless they are also equipped with the same "equipment."

Both JPH and McNutcase stated that this creates some dissonance, as it doesn't make any sense in real world logic. And that's true. I proposed, however, that this aspect of gameplay adds enough strategic depth to make up for this. JPH disagreed, and said that without immersion any game just becomes "a meaningless pile of binary code." I mentioned that we were probably coming into the game at different angles, which spurred him into writing a new blog post (Which if it ends up making him famous I demand royalties).

The quote at the top is his self stated "short version" of the post.