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View Full Version : How moddable is the new XCOM?



vinraith
25-10-2012, 10:50 PM
Basically just what the title said. It's a Firaxis game, are we looking at Civ levels of openness? I know there have been some mods attempting to rebalance it and move it in the direction of the original game, but I've no idea how "hacky" they are. I've been reading a bit more about it, and listening to 3MA's coverage, and I'm intrigued. It does sound like it needs some interface tweaks and some other adjustments, though, so I'm wondering what the likelihood is that it'll see those.

arathain
26-10-2012, 03:02 AM
At the moment, the answer is not very. Most of what has been done so far has been reenabling features that were cut late in the process, and are easy to restore, plus some minor numerical tweaks. As far as I know the exe cannot be altered. I've read/heard the developers making positive noises about modding tools, but there's been no confirmation that will actually happen.

Cooper
26-10-2012, 04:55 AM
It's on the Unreal Engine, so it's not their own engine like the civ games.

Being on the Unreal Engine means there is the possibility of extensive modding, but only if Firaxis are prepared to release the needed tools.

UnrealEd can't significantly modify the game files of any arbitrary Unreal Engine game, unfortunately.

Traditionally, Unreal Engine 3 games rarely ever come with (release or later) extensive modding tools.

Example: High resolution textures for the Mass Effect games require a third party "injector" that loads textures into memory before the game.

Go to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Unreal_Engine_games#Unreal_Engine_3

And count how many PC games there have thriving mod communities (spoiler: It's significantly less than the number of fingers you have on one hand)

So don't be fooled by a "nexus" site. There will likely be nothing anywhere near the kind of modding seen for the other games that collection of sites cover.

jnx
26-10-2012, 05:31 AM
Well in this age of gaming it's certain that we won't be getting any tools before a year's worth of DLC. I just hope they do the right thing in the end and some not crap DLC to ease the waiting.

Squiz
26-10-2012, 07:28 AM
Basically just what the title said. It's a Firaxis game, are we looking at Civ levels of openness? I know there have been some mods attempting to rebalance it and move it in the direction of the original game, but I've no idea how "hacky" they are. I've been reading a bit more about it, and listening to 3MA's coverage, and I'm intrigued. It does sound like it needs some interface tweaks and some other adjustments, though, so I'm wondering what the likelihood is that it'll see those.If it is the overall quality of the gaming experience you can get from the game that interests you, I would say bug fixes are a much bigger point of concern than moddability of the game at the moment. I haven't listened to the second 3MA episode covering the game yet, in the first one bugs weren't mentioned as far as I remember. There are still some pretty serious bugs left in the game, maybe check out the 2k XCOM support forums for some details on that.

It would be nice to see some changes to the UI as well as an overall easier way for the modding community to tinker with the things the developers themselves don't have the time / don't want to change, but really, the UI is probably not something that will detract from your enjoyment all that much (your mileage may vary though). Reading your post again however I assume that you are also interested to see how likely it is that the game will develop a healthy modding scene that could potentially deal with other issues the game may have. Apparently, it is hard to tell at this point and - as has been mentioned above - will heavily depend on if/when Firaxis releases modding tools.

Frengler
26-10-2012, 07:49 AM
I read news piece somewhere (damned if I can find it again...) where they didn't directly confirm modding capabilities but they alluded that once all their DLC was released it would come. As have already been mentioned so far modders are confined to changing what they can in the INI-files which is mostly "balance" as in weapon damage/accuracy etc.

PeteC
26-10-2012, 08:03 AM
Modding is not a priority at the moment for Firaxis.

http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/10/25/firaxis-modding-xcom-enemy-unknown/?ns_campaign=article-feed&ns_mchannel=ref&ns_source=steam&ns_linkname=0&ns_fee=0

(http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/10/25/firaxis-modding-xcom-enemy-unknown/?ns_campaign=article-feed&ns_mchannel=ref&ns_source=steam&ns_linkname=0&ns_fee=0)Seems they want to release all their DLC before they even think about releasing modding tools.

Frengler
26-10-2012, 09:11 AM
Modding is not a priority at the moment for Firaxis.

http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/10/25/firaxis-modding-xcom-enemy-unknown/?ns_campaign=article-feed&ns_mchannel=ref&ns_source=steam&ns_linkname=0&ns_fee=0

(http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/10/25/firaxis-modding-xcom-enemy-unknown/?ns_campaign=article-feed&ns_mchannel=ref&ns_source=steam&ns_linkname=0&ns_fee=0)Seems they want to release all their DLC before they even think about releasing modding tools.

Ah yes, that was the article I read yesterday but couldn't find again this morning. On one hand I understand, from a business point of view, why they are doing that but it sucks for the rest of us.

Jesus_Phish
26-10-2012, 10:34 AM
Well in this age of gaming it's certain that we won't be getting any tools before a year's worth of DLC. I just hope they do the right thing in the end and some not crap DLC to ease the waiting.

Dragon Age was released with the toolset right away and Skyrim was being modded and they released the toolset before any DLC so not all is lost.

Frengler
26-10-2012, 11:34 AM
Dragon Age was released with the toolset right away and Skyrim was being modded and they released the toolset before any DLC so not all is lost.

It depends on the developer of course but given that Civ IV and V were moddable right off the bat there is hope. We have to keep in mind though that XCOM runs on UE3 which is a "new" engine for Firaxis for as far as I know

Cooper
26-10-2012, 12:49 PM
It depends on the developer of course but given that Civ IV and V were moddable right off the bat there is hope. We have to keep in mind though that XCOM runs on UE3 which is a "new" engine for Firaxis for as far as I knowThere are also a grand total of Zero UE3 games which come with modding tools. It's all third party programs and ini tweaks. See above.

Frengler
26-10-2012, 01:35 PM
There are also a grand total of Zero UE3 games which come with modding tools. It's all third party programs and ini tweaks. See above.

Hmm, I didn't know that UE3 engine was that restricted. And also minus 10 points for me for failure to read above.

Stellar Duck
26-10-2012, 01:46 PM
There are also a grand total of Zero UE3 games which come with modding tools. It's all third party programs and ini tweaks. See above.

I may well be misremembering but doesn't Red Orchestra 2 has modding tools?

Frengler
26-10-2012, 02:34 PM
I may well be misremembering but doesn't Red Orchestra 2 has modding tools?

Yes, it does actually. The full SDK was made available in january 2012 it seems

EddyGamerLP
01-11-2012, 01:09 AM
check XCom nexus to see what mods are out there already : http://xcom.nexusmods.com/mods/categories/

Wisq
01-11-2012, 01:50 PM
Yeah, I finally gave up on XCOM last night. Was growing increasingly frustrated with the parts of the game that nobody could mod, and a couple extra things just threw me over the edge.

First, when it started forgetting how to sort savegames, and I could no longer find my latest; so I said, screw it, I'll clean out my 70+ savegame folder, move them somewhere else with the file manager. Imagine my surprise when I load it up, and the savegames are all still there. I go to load one of them, and it just says it's "corrupt". I try to delete them, and I realise that it can't delete savegames if they don't exist. WTF? Speaking as a programmer myself, I wonder, who the heck would write something that crappy?

Second, when the game started phoning home and un-modding itself. You'd mod the EXE, confirm you've modded it, fire it up, watch the network traffic, and there it is, calling up Firaxis.com to try to get the latest game data files. It's not enough that you can barely mod it, or that you have to patch the exe, or that they don't support it at all; now they're actively working against modders in-game.

I blocked Firaxis.com on my DNS server, and I restored my savegames and deleted them all one-by-one in-game, but it was around then that I realised, I was spending more time being frustrated with the game than I was actually having fun. It's uninstalled now, and I'm waiting for Xenonauts.

Sparkasaurusmex
01-11-2012, 03:46 PM
So what happened now? It seems like Firaxis corrected this thing about calling home to break mods, because I've played online since using one to unlock Second Wave and it still works. Did Firaxis patch in Second Wave? If not then they have stopped "calling home" to break mods.

Tikey
01-11-2012, 03:53 PM
I simply blocked firaxis from the hosts file.

Wisq
01-11-2012, 05:37 PM
So what happened now? It seems like Firaxis corrected this thing about calling home to break mods, because I've played online since using one to unlock Second Wave and it still works. Did Firaxis patch in Second Wave? If not then they have stopped "calling home" to break mods.

They were still doing it as of last night. It may be that only some things can be changed at runtime. But I know it was happening because a) my hit percentages were way lower than they should be, and b) my armour wasn't giving me 2 items like it should. So, pretty obvious. And I could see it contacting their servers via tcpdump.