Classification Level: Black
To: Supreme Commander XCOM
From: Cmdr Jake Gaston, Chief of staff.
Enclosed is your general briefing for 19 June 2012. Current reports from all departments are on schedule for full activation of operations on October 9.
Community Video 1 - Jake Solomon
Jake Solomon from the XCOM Operations division has supplied the following video update:
The X-COM Signals/Inteligence Directorate have been monitoring global communications and have noted the following references to our project. The source of any leaks should be investigated as a matter of priority.
The following are selections from reporting on the XCOM project noted at Destructoid.
- Even though the demo was really quite brief, I came away absolutely excited and impressed by a game from a genre I thought I would never be fond of. But I'll be damned, Enemy Unknown is something I truly want to play when it launches later this year.
- The soldiers move into an area that contains beaten-down cars and an empty building to the right. They notice a few aliens, which turn out to be horrifying re-imaginings of the Chrysalids. One by one, the marines become sliced up by the legendary foes, but not before a call for back-up can be made.
- That's when the elite squad you'll be controlling enters the battlefield. All suited up in reverse-engineered alien tech (something you'll invest in throughout your time playing the game), the four soldiers are ready to kick some major ass. And with a telepathic Sid Meier himself leading the soldiers (as a joke put together for E3), you can bet on them doing just that.
- The fallen comrades from earlier have already made the transformation over to becoming zombies, but it's nothing our saviors can't handle. Sid uses his mind-control power to tell one of the Chrysalids to throw a grenade at itself, and the rest of the team use each of their unique capabilities and expertise to take out the rest of the infamous aliens in no time at all; it's as if they've done this a thousand times before. However, a giant Sectopod comes into play right as the demo ended, leaving me feeling anxious for what's next.
- Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not really into strategy games at all. They were just never able to click with me all that much. Sure, there's the rare occasion that they do, but for the most part it's pretty consistent. Having said that, something can be said of the fact that I absolutely loved what I saw of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I dug the game's presentation and how fluid it seemed to play out.
- XCOM’s core concept shines through beautifully. The tutorial mission wastes little time in introducing players to what XCOM: Enemy Unknown is all about, killing off three of your four squaddies within ten minutes. Learning the controls is a snap, and giving out orders on the 360 pad the demo used couldn’t be easier. More importantly, picking up on the base level of the tactical skills XCOM demands is a matter of minutes.
- As promised, aliens have no qualms about murdering your troops. Leaving a squaddie in the open when aliens are about is all but a death sentence. Even worse, most cover doesn’t last long against alien weaponry – nearly everything is destructible, and even if a shot misses it’s likely to blow a hole in something. On the plus side, even the basic human weapons that XCOM operatives start with are more than capable of taking out whatever the bad guys are hiding behind as well. The first time you fling a grenade at a Sectoid and don’t just kill the malevolent little bugger but level the shack it’s hiding in, you’ll never want to go back to a game that lacks destructible terrain.
- In a lot of ways, playing XCOM doesn’t feel like the slow menu-driven navigation that we commonly associate with strategy games. Moving squaddies around the gridless world is effortless and fast, executing actions is a few quick button presses, and the alien turn goes by in seconds. Little touches, like how you can move a second character while the first one is still animating her run, make the turns fly by. I’ve played a lot of tactical RPGs, and XCOM’s interface is the best I’ve seen.
- The “ant farm” base where you return between missions and work your overall strategy is similarly easy to navigate. Choosing research and engineering projects, leveling up soldiers, dealing with the Funding Council, and the rest of the strategy portion is simple and easy. I love that nearly every decision you make has clear, significant benefits and drawbacks. Help China, and the U.S. throws a fit as their citizens’ panic level rises. Research alien weapon fragments, and the Sectoid corpses sitting on your autopsy tables keep their secrets to themselves. Build advanced scopes, and you’ve got no money for the hundred other uses for cash. The difference in equipping a squaddie with a scope or with grenades is huge.
- In a second, hands-off demo, Firaxis showed off several endgame abilities and one of the legendary soldiers you can unlock. An assault soldier with ghost armor hauled ass across what seemed like half the map in a single turn, while cloaked, and grappled up to the top of a building to shotgun an unsuspecting alien in the face. A sniper with a jetpack took off and blew away two monsters behind heavy cover from his superior vantage point with a lethal plasma rifle. Sid Meier himself – the in-game model is dead on, except for the legendary developer being a hulking space marine instead of a mild-mannered kindly man of small stature – took control of an alien’s mind and had it eat its own grenade.
- I couldn’t be happier with how XCOM is turning out now that I’ve gotten to play it for myself. I can’t wait to dig into the full game – and to play with all the awesome toys that result from XCOM’s efforts to turn the aliens’ own tech against them. Now that the show is over, I can say with no reservations that XCOM is my personal favorite thing shown at E3 2012.
A small piece of intelligence has been obtained from site RTSGuru.com
- MOST ANTICIPATED: XCOM - 2K Games and Firaxis
- How could XCOM not win this award? It's been more than a decade since the last installment, and this time it's being done right by a dev who truly understands the intracacies of a strategy game (Firaxis). Scheduled to drop on October 9th in North America, XCOM is shaping up to be one of the best turn-based strategy titles in ages. The game's demo at E3 wowed us all (fog of war, line of sight, RPG elements like the original), and we can't wait to get our hands on the finished product this fall.
Procurement and Supply Division
Gamefly are currently retailing downloadable copies of the "X:Com UFO defence" simulation at £0.75. All Operatives should consider putting in a request for this training programme.
XCOM Archives - The Tunguska Incident
In 1908 an incredibly powerful explosion was detected in Siberia, Russia, near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River. Wikipedia offers the following account:
- At around 7:17 a.m. local time, Evenks natives and Russian settlers in the hills northwest of Lake Baikal observed a column of bluish light, nearly as bright as the Sun, moving across the sky. About 10 minutes later, there was a flash and a sound similar to artillery fire. Eyewitnesses closer to the explosion reported the sound source moving east to north. The sounds were accompanied by a shock wave that knocked people off their feet and broke windows hundreds of kilometres away. The majority of witnesses reported only the sounds and the tremors, and not the sighting of the explosion. Eyewitness accounts differ as to the sequence of events and their overall duration.
- The explosion registered on seismic stations across Eurasia. In some places the shock wave would have been equivalent to an earthquake of 5.0 on the Richter scale. It also produced fluctuations in atmospheric pressure strong enough to be detected in Great Britain. Over the next few days, night skies in Asia and Europe were aglow; it has been theorized that this was due to light passing through high-altitude ice particles formed at extremely low temperatures, a phenomenon that occurred again when the Space Shuttle re-entered the Earth's atmosphere. In the United States, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Mount Wilson Observatory observed a decrease in atmospheric transparency that lasted for several months, from suspended dust.
Natural Hypothesies mentioned in the article include:
- Comet 2005 NB56
One study "suggests that a chunk of Comet 2005 NB56 caused the 5–10 megaton fireball, bouncing off the atmosphere and back into orbit around the sun." The scientists involved in the study claim that the object that caused the event will pass close to Earth again in 2045.
- Natural H-bomb
In 1989, Serge J.D. D'Alessio and Archie A. Harms suggested that some of the deuterium in a comet entering the Earth's atmosphere may have undergone a nuclear fusion reaction, leaving a distinctive signature in the form of carbon-14. They concluded that any release of nuclear energy would have been almost negligible. Independently, in 1990, César Sirvent proposed that a deuterium comet, i.e., a comet with an anomalous high concentration of deuterium in its composition, could have exploded as a natural hydrogen bomb, generating most of the energy released. The sequence would be first a mechanical or kinetic explosion, triggering a thermonuclear reaction. These proposals are inconsistent with our knowledge of the composition of comets and of the temperature and pressure conditions necessary for initiating a nuclear fusion reaction. Studies have found the concentration of radioactive isotopes in the blast region to be inconsistent with those expected following a nuclear explosion, fusion or otherwise. Edward Drobyshevski, has suggested that the event was caused by the explosion of the hydrogen-saturated part of the nucleus of a comet that struck the Earth's atmosphere, with most of the remaining comet nucleus surviving, and possibly continuing to orbit the sun.
- Black hole
In 1973, Albert A. Jackson and Michael P. Ryan, physicists at the University of Texas, proposed that the Tunguska event was caused by a small (around 1017 kg to 1019 kg) black hole passing through the Earth. This hypothesis is considered flawed, as there was no so-called exit event—a second explosion occurring as the black hole, having tunnelled through the Earth, shot out the other side on its way back into space. Based on the direction of impact, the exit event would have occurred in the North Atlantic, closer than the impact event to the seismic recording stations that collected much of the evidence of the event. The hypothesis also fails to account for evidence that cosmic material was deposited by the extraterrestrial body, including dust trails in the atmosphere and the distribution of high-nickel magnetic spherules around the impact area.
In 1941, Lincoln LaPaz, and later in 1965, Clyde Cowan, Chandra R. Atluri, and Willard F. Libby suggested that the Tunguska event was caused by the annihilation of a chunk of antimatter falling from space. As with the other hypotheses described in this section, this does not account for the mineral debris left in the area of the explosion.
Unfortunately the passing of time has hampered efforts for XCOM to investigate this event further, however extra-terrestrial involvement cannot currently be ruled out.
End of Report
Further briefings will be made available as more news of the alien menace becomes available. Agent c 00:04, June 19, 2012 (UTC)