XCOM Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com XCOM RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network How Emulators Are Keeping Classic Games Relevant in a New Generation https://www.gameskinny.com/igew6/how-emulators-are-keeping-classic-games-relevant-in-a-new-generation https://www.gameskinny.com/igew6/how-emulators-are-keeping-classic-games-relevant-in-a-new-generation Mon, 17 Apr 2017 09:00:01 -0400 ThatGamersAsylum

I went to college for video game design. During our last semester, we were split off into teams and tasked with making a student game based off of pitches we had submitted the month before. The instructors selected the 10 or so best pitches and let each group choose which game we were going to work on.

The game my group chose to work on was most accurately described as X-COM meets Oregon Trail. The problem was, the younger members of our team -- myself included -- hadn’t ever played Oregon Trail. Thankfully, we were able to find an emulated version of the game on archive.org.

In terms of video games, emulators are used to play games, usually older ones, on a system other than what they were made to run on. In short, the emulator re-creates the digital environment of the original OS so that it can then run software that was created for that OS.

At their worst, emulators are inextricably linked to piracy. But at their best, they are one of the strongest tools available to aid the preservation of video game history.

Emulators Preserve the Past

A Golden Future with All the Games from Our Past

Preservation becomes ever more pressing as old video game cartridges continue to age and degrade, eventually leading to corruption of the data held within.

This talk, while admittedly a little dry, is very eye opening
and helped inform my thoughts on this topic. 

But saving games becomes an ever more daunting task every day. Not only are old games slowly degrading, but new games are being released faster than historians can document them. Games are also becoming increasingly more reliant upon networks to be able to function. Just think about the MMOs that are shut down every year. These games can never be played again unless people are able to reverse engineer servers, as some have done in order to run vanilla WoW.

Some historians don’t believe that all games can be saved. They argue that our priority should be to record the existence of games and their content. What were their mechanics? How did they play? What were their stories about? After all, video footage is much easier to capture and store than video game data. And we already know how to store it for the future, with film historians having been doing it for years.

In this way, Let’s Plays are a big part of video game history. Recorded footage of people playing games sets up both their historical context and what the games consisted of.

This is our history folks. Soak it in. 

However, they only represent a particular viewpoint. Let’s Plays inherently skew the way a game was/is viewed or played by the nature of their construction -- trying to play things that cause interesting, funny things to happen, for example. Text adventures might be fun, too, but PewDiePie’s channel doesn’t play them very often, now does it?

As anyone knows, footage of a fun game is a crappy second best to playing it. And games can look a lot different in motion than in reality. Just recently while writing an article about animations I touched upon several games that looked much smoother in action than they felt in reality, like Final Fantasy 15.

That’s why it’s great news that the data from these games can be extracted and stored to preserve the game. The use of an emulator can make it playable. That almost makes it sound easy, doesn't it? Thankfully, we have copyright lawyers to get in the way!

Piracy -- The Hurdle Standing in Emulation's Way

The Existential Threat

It’s no secret that many video game companies view emulators as an existential threat to the video game industry. Even if they use them for backwards compatibility, which is technically legally their prerogative. Or, in Nintendo's case, used a hacked ROM off of the internet and sold it back to you .. ahem, anyway ... 

Despite this hypocrisy, piracy is a real problem. And emulators of modern consoles can wreak havoc on the video games industry if left unchecked. Even just recently, ROMs of Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valencia were made available from a leak within Nintendo. This has happened with multiple big profile Nintendo releases, such as Pokemon Sun and Moon.

While Sun & Moon sold well and it is hard to ascertain exactly how much this leak hurt sales, it is safe to say it is not a good thing. Few of us want the video games industry to become like the music industry or the anime industry where piracy is the expectation, not the exception.

The problem, however, is not emulating newer games so much as older ones -- the ones whose preservation is most pressing. Despite many companies having no plans to either use their old consoles or old properties in the future, they still have not been forthcoming about assisting museums or universities in preservation efforts.

Just recently, the long-canceled Primal Rage 2 was saved via emulation. 

Even if a company were to give the green light, the law would seemingly leave preservationists vulnerable to future legal action. In the case that preservationists weren’t vulnerable, they’d still need to have lawyers work out detailed plans as to what they could and could not do to prevent the company’s wrath.

What many want is a legal exemption that protects those seeking to preserve video games. Video games present a particular edge case because they degrade so fast, meaning that they have long since degraded once the game is no longer protected by copyright law.

Our History -- Perhaps Saved by Emulation

When All is Said & Done

As a young medium, video games don’t have a ton of history. Almost all of it is directly in our pasts. While game design itself can be traced back through centuries worth of games -- from chess to soccer -- video games only stretch back to the 70s. For all intents and purposes, even the eldest members of the medium still exist as playable fossils. An oral history could keep up with much of what there is to know.

But with this fleeting youth comes the realization that said fossils are almost dust. And that video games themselves have perhaps the shortest period between release and extinction that any medium has ever seen. Historians have reached the point where procrastination would result in permanent loss of history.

Back in college, I played Oregon Trail on my MacBook while screen-sharing it with my teammates over Skype. One friend kept getting lost and another kept getting bitten by snakes. It was the best type of damned mess. Over the course of a couple hours, we were able to relive what so many kids had lived through decades earlier; that is playing the game, not the actual journey that the game represents. This, I believe, is why video game preservation -- specifically through emulation -- is so important.

I’m not sure we humans have ever done great with tools that pose both great promise for us and great danger to us. The world has almost forgone nuclear energy because we are afraid of nuclear fallout. Likewise, emulators could safeguard our past, but they could also hurt our future.


Header Image Obtained from massmatt. Edited.

The 5 Best Board Games Based on Video Games https://www.gameskinny.com/00jci/the-5-best-board-games-based-on-video-games https://www.gameskinny.com/00jci/the-5-best-board-games-based-on-video-games Thu, 15 Dec 2016 10:00:01 -0500 SarahKel


There as some fantastic board games out there that are inspired by video games – we are really excited about the future releases of Dark Souls and Bloodborne table top games. Games like Boss Monster clearly show the power of video games and how they influence our cultures. And sometimes video game developers see a game that they imagine working perfectly for a video game. Long may all this continue and as Wil Wheaton says -- play more games!


Let us know in the comments below what your favourite video game influenced board games are.

Blood Bowl

Originally a table top miniatures game, which inspired both a video game and a card game version. Bad news, the card game is discontinued, but the good news is that the miniatures game is back!


The miniatures game, developed by Games Workshop was originally a parody of American Football, but with a fantasy themed twist. It is set in an alternate universe of the Warhammer Fantasy world, populated by characters such as humans, orcs, goblins and dwarfs.


It is a 2 player, turn based game that utilises 28mm miniatures to represent the players on the field. Using a combination of cards, dice and counters, each player tries to score higher than the other by entering the opponent’s end zone with a ball carrying player.


Each team have their own abilities, to balance the game. For example, elves are agile, but dwarfs are more physical. Within the teams, there are a number of player types, ranging from the most basic linesman, to the more specialists, such as blockers. Teams can gain elite star players after gaining experience points.


It is quite normal practice to injure or maim the opposition, to make scoring easier by reducing the number of opposing players on the field.


The game has recently been re-released and is priced at $99 from Games Workshop.  For all those who want to play the video game version, 2015’s Blood Bowl 2 is available on Steam for $44.93.

Boss Monster

This is a dungeon crawling card game. While not specifically attributed to any one particular video game, its art work and themes clearly shows a love of classic video games.


The game pits 2-4 players in a competition to build the ultimate side scrolling dungeon. Players assume the role of the dungeon master who lures unsuspecting heroes into their dungeon, with the objective of the most enticing, loot filled dungeon of all.


The objective is to be the first to amass 10 souls from defeated heroes. Bosses can lose health if the hero entering the dungeon survives. Playing the game requires juggling the two main priorities: the need to lure heroes more quickly than your opponents and the need to kill heroes before they reach the boss.


Players build one room each per turn, each with its own damage and treasure icons. More attractive rooms tend to deal less damage, so a greedy boss can soon become inundated with deadly heroes. If a player has more treasure icons of a certain type, for example money, than the other players, then the hero would automatically be sent to that dungeon. As such, different heroes seek different treasure icon types and as rooms are built simultaneously, this leads to a bidding war. Spells are instant-speed effects that can benefit the player playing the spell or can disrupt other opponents.


The artwork on the cards is all 8 and 16 bit pixel style, so looks fun and retro, reminiscent of games such as Dungeon Keeper.  The box contains everything needed to play and there are now two expansions, where the box’s art work resembles a Game Boy box!  The game costs $17.99 from Amazon and is now available on Steam.

Portal: The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game

So, Aperture Science has re-opened its doors, resuming its testing and a team of test subjects have entered the lab. They are ready for important, dignified and dangerous testing procedures, all in the pursuit of cake. Scientific progress is the objective of this game, despite of all the death and dismemberment around you. Read about what we love about Portal 2, right here at GameSkinny.


It’s a funny and fast paced finish to the end, in the hope that you’re still alive.


The game is full of constantly shifting game area control and card play, where players send their test subjects, via Portals into test labs. At the end of each player’s turn, one of the chambers at the end of the lab gives way and all test subjects on it fall into oblivion. Should the test subjects have numbered greater than all the others in the falling chamber, they earn some amazing parting gifts, which include cake.


The tile based game system means there is a great deal of replayability, as they are selected at random and create a lovely 3D effect. 


 The Portal gun allows players to place two pieces in two chambers, covering larger distances. The companion cube distracts other player’s characters, stopping the player from earning rewards.


The player with the most cake when a team has lost its last test subject wins and can prove the cake was not a lie.


The best thing is it’s a game developed by the makers of the infamous video games, so the knowledge, fun and game mechanics are absolutely true to the original source.


The game is $41.96 from Amazon and includes a free Steam code for Portal 2.

XCOM: The Board Game

Another Fantasy Flight Games product, where players are immersed into an elite and secret military organisation, known as XCOM.  Players are humanity’s last hope, tasked with repelling an escalating alien invasion. The video game sequel XCOM 2 was reviewed here on Game Skinny.


The dice rolling mechanic and companion app immerse players deep into the tension and uncertainty of a desperate war against an unknown foe. The app makes the game work more smoothly and allows for a more dynamic turn structure and perfectly coordinates the alien invasion. The app also times players in real time, forcing players to think quickly and strategically. The app automatically selects one of five locations at the beginning of the game.


Human civilisation is on the brink of collapse. It is a desperate and unequal situation, as life spirals out of control. Players must destroy UFO’s, research alien technologies and uncover the alien’s plan, with the objective of defeating the aliens.Yet simultaneously, players must prevent the collapse of the government that is funding this secret organisation. Time is very much a luxury, as the threat level increases.


Play as one of four characters, including Commander and Squad Leader, each of which has different abilities that are all important to the world’s defence. Spend resources to roll dice and the number of successes affects what happens next -for example a good success could mean a completed mission.


This game is available for $43.89 on Amazon.

Doom: The Board Game

A board game, made by powerhouse Fantasy Flight Games, that brings the epic battle between elite marines and Hell’s most threatening monsters to the table top. Game Skinny has reviewed the game here!


It is a strategy board game, immersing players in a battle between demons, controlled by one invader player, and a cooperative team of up to four marines. The marines must complete a number of objectives to fully fulfill the two operations, such as manning expeditions. Meanwhile, the invader commands their minions to destroy not just the marines, but the whole of humanity too.


Each marine has a different ability, strengths and unique actions. Players are dealt various action cards which can be played during the course of the game to bolster their chances of defeating the monsters. The invader controller attacks using their card deck and has a great deal of power.


Within the operations, there are 6 missions, each with a different map for the game to play out in. There are also threat, invasion and event decks that the invader player uses to hamper the players missions and are shuffled into the main player card deck.


The game has a particular order for the marines - status and activation.  The status section relates is the organisational phase and the activation phase actions are reliant on what card is drawn from the deck.


The game has just been released on 15 December, priced at $79.95 Amazon.


Board games, developed with official licences from video game studios are extremely popular and have exploded onto the market. No, we’re not talking about World of Warcraft themed Monopoly reskins, but actual fully fledged board games that officially set within the video games universe.


There are a huge variety out there and even a couple of board games that inspired video game developers! The board game takes the essence and themes of the video game, but makes their own experience. And with many games now offering a companion app with rules, enemy movement and to create atmosphere, the entire experience is more immersive.


Here are some of the best board games based on video games.

Sacrifice or Start Over? A Discussion of Permadeath in Fire Emblem https://www.gameskinny.com/3sdjr/sacrifice-or-start-over-a-discussion-of-permadeath-in-fire-emblem https://www.gameskinny.com/3sdjr/sacrifice-or-start-over-a-discussion-of-permadeath-in-fire-emblem Wed, 17 Aug 2016 11:58:12 -0400 Kris Cornelisse (Delfeir)

Permadeath has been a staple of many video games for a very long time now. While it’s often attributed to roguelike games and other randomly generated romps, one could say that running out of lives in a game like Super Mario Bros and having to start over from scratch is a similar concept. The threat of punishment dangling over one’s head like a swinging pendulum blade is often the motivation to rise to the challenge and overcome the obstacle, which has been the core element of games since the dawn of time.

Despite this, permadeath is more prevalent in certain genres than others. The aforementioned roguelikes usually have this is a cornerstone, where each new run of the game is from the beginning and how your adventure shapes is procedurally generated on the fly. There may be more recent games which grant you bonuses or unlock new elements to the procedure from previous runs, such as The Binding of Isaac or Rogue Legacy, but death remains permanent and has you starting over each time.

This is rarely the case in games that have more of a narrative focus and defined characters, but there is one exception that I want to talk about: Fire Emblem.

In the vast majority of RPGs on the market, death is rarely permanent unless it’s tied to cutscenes or plot development.

You might go down in battle, but you’ll still be kicking for the next one, and this is usually to keep the narrative consistent. It would make little sense for a plot relevant character to die to random monsters and thus end the story entirely.

But Fire Emblem is different. While the main character dying is usually an exception and will trigger a game over, a character that dies in a Fire Emblem game dies for good. This has been a series constant from the original iteration on the NES all the way to the most recent titles (though the series has started to include the Casual difficulty setting which removes this permadeath -- more on that shortly).

The interesting thing about this is that most of the characters are actually unique and individual characters. They will have their own personalities and quirks, which often are revealed through dialogue either during missions or in conversations made in between chapters. From the third game (Mystery of the Emblem, SNES, 1994) onwards, the Support system has seen characters that fight together in battle develop friendships and even relationships, gaining stat bonuses in battle. This led to support conversations occurring from the sixth game (The Binding Blade, GBA, 2002 - the one with Roy in it!) onward, and was compounded even further in the most recent titles: depending on who forms relationships with who, their children will enter the battle and gain specific stats and traits based on their parents. A rudimentary form of the child characters was even in the fourth game in the series -- it’s named Genealogy of the Holy War (SNES, 1996) for crying out loud -- so it’s fair to say that it’s always been a staple of the franchise.

As such, I find it quite surprising that it’s completely possible for these characters to die in the course of a standard mission and be gone for good. Sure, the support conversations and interactions are largely optional fluff and will rarely impact the plot - not to mention that some plot important characters are merely injured and remain on set for cutscenes while unable to fight -- but it still feels strange that such large attachments can come to developed characters only for them to be cut short.

When compared to a game like XCOM, which is arguably one of the closest in terms of strategy style to Fire Emblem, the threat of permadeath makes more sense. Each individual unit on an XCOM squad may be more important to successfully clearing missions and winning the campaign, but they rarely if ever have any plot relevance or personality at all.

Any attachment the player has with their squad is built up entirely from gameplay experiences, such as when the sniper got a lucky crit and saved three members in a bad situation, or with the heavy who has been present and unhurt in a dozen straight missions. In fact, it’s quite rare for a standard XCOM game to not feature a character that the player will eventually have an interesting anecdote for, but this is once again less related to their plot relevance and more about how they became snake food.

In XCOM, beating the mission and advancing is the primary reward of the game. In Fire Emblem, this is still the primary reward of the game, but there’s also the secondary reward of getting to see the characters and their stories or relationships develop further. It’s a big allure for many players, myself included.

So the characters die. You can still continue on without them, right? Sure, but… you’ll find that very few people actually do. It’s more common for a player to make a mistake, lose a character, and then simply restart the chapter over and try again without losing them. In the most recent games, in-battle saves have been built in to make this smoother and minimize lost turns, but in the older games you’ll be forced to start the entire chapter over. In particularly long and grueling missions, this could mean an hour or more lost if a mistake is made too close to the end of the level.

And sometimes it isn’t even a mistake that causes permadeath. Again, like XCOM, Fire Emblem’s combat is entirely determined by dice rolls. Individual character stats, levels and weapons may game the system in your favor, but a 5% chance for an enemy to hit and kill your unit will still happen occasionally. A near guaranteed hit will fail and leave your flank exposed. Over the course of a long campaign with many missions -- like the games tend to have -- this will add up more than you’d expect.

Ask just about any Fire Emblem player and they’ll have a story of the dreaded 1% chance to crit that nonetheless wiped out their best unit and forced a restart…

There’s other gameplay reasons why losing a unit is usually cause for restarting a level, too. In all but a handful of games in the series, experience for leveling up units is a precious and limited commodity. With only a finite amount of missions and resources, not every character can be used to the maximum, and a player will usually develop a core roster to challenge most missions. Losing one of these core members can be a huge loss of total experience and leave a particularly underleveled unit taking their place. If you consider that even stats gained at level are also randomly generated, a particularly bad string of luck can see you getting completely screwed. Few people will take the chance to not restart.

Despite all of this, permadeath is still the default setting in Fire Emblem. For all the character development and attachment, both in narrative and gameplay sense, all of it can still be lost in one single mistake or unlucky mishap and force a player to discard their time and effort and try again.

At this point, it’d be fair to say that the inclusion of permadeath in Fire Emblem is largely tradition.

It’s been present since the beginning of the series, which was released when permadeath was fairly standard in games and such punishment was the norm. Quite a few trends in video games have changed since then, even within the series itself, but this one remains firmly entrenched.

While one could argue that it could stand to be removed entirely, this would likely make a lot of series veterans angry at the change. The added challenge of having to execute your strategy perfectly and hoping that luck doesn’t destroy you is a core element to numerous players who are drawn back to the series with each new game. If only to placate longtime fans, it’s unlikely that permadeath will ever be completely removed from the series.

Still, more and more features to counteract this have been added to more recent titles. Game twelve in the series (New Mystery of the Emblem for those keeping score, DS, 2010) saw the first appearance of the Casual mode setting, which sees defeated units return again in the next chapter. This appeared in both games hence, and was accompanied by Phoenix mode in the recent Fire Emblem Fates, which sees defeated units return only a turn later (and is only available on Normal difficulty).

While the absence of the threat of permadeath makes the game significantly easier, it can still be used in conjunction with higher difficulties to provide a reasonable challenge, and means any punishment doesn’t come from losing massive time, gameplay, and personal investments.

Of course, there’s also numerous players who criticize the inclusion of this mode, claiming it removes any satisfaction or challenge from the game while citing the Dark Souls mantra of “get good” to those who use it. But it’s a valid and supported way to play it nonetheless. Everyone has their own preferred way of playing, and having more options is usually far better than have less.

The continued presence of permadeath in a somewhat uncharacteristic genre is an interesting point to consider, I feel. What do you guys think? Feel free to share your viewpoints and preferences in the comments.

Phoenix Point: First Screenshot Revealed https://www.gameskinny.com/3rvs2/phoenix-point-first-screenshot-revealed https://www.gameskinny.com/3rvs2/phoenix-point-first-screenshot-revealed Fri, 03 Jun 2016 09:47:47 -0400 Jenifyr Kaiser

Snapshot Games has just released the first screenshot of its newest title, Phoenix Point. The game comes from the mind of Julian Gollop, the creator of the original X-COM and (more recently) Chaos Reborn. Julian Gollop founded Snapshot Games with David Kaye in 2013. Three years later, this new game will be a tactical, turn based affair with a world-based strategic overlay.

Few details have emerged on Snapshot's latest game; however, we do have the very first screenshot to tide us over until more is revealed. We also know that the game will feature large-scale monsters to fight, and that your soldiers will be able to target certain parts of them during combat. That will be an important aspect of combat.

An example given on the game's Facebook page reveals one monster called the Crab Queen. It states:

"The Crab Queen has a black mist ejector in its abdomen. If it is disabled the queen will no longer be able to eject mist which summons reinforcements and gives them cover. Shooting out its face will send it into a blind frenzy, rendering it unable to direct attacks or movement."

The game appears to be following a sci-fi horror theme, and if Julian Gollop's past releases are any indication, we can expect a deep strategic game with hints of X-COM and plenty of cinematic battles. More details will certainly emerge after the game's full reveal at E3 later this month. Keep an eye on the game's official website for more information.  

11 2K Classic Games Now On GOG https://www.gameskinny.com/lk5n9/11-2k-classic-games-now-on-gog https://www.gameskinny.com/lk5n9/11-2k-classic-games-now-on-gog Tue, 29 Mar 2016 05:52:55 -0400 Pierre Fouquet

2K games and GOG have joined forces to add 11 classic 2K games to the site. This includes X-COMSid Meier's Pirates, Railroad Tycoon, and Freedom Force, and can find them for 50-75% off right now.

gog promo sale 2k games

What about bundles?

You can also get a bunch of these games in bundles, saving you more overall.

The X-COM Classic Bundle includes: 

  • X-COM: UFO Defense
  • X-COM: Terror from the Deep
  • X-COM: Apocalypse
  • X-COM: Interceptor
  •  X-COM: Enforcer. 

All of these classics are 73% off.

The Railroad Tycoon Bundle includes:

  • Sid Meier's Railroads
  • Railroad Tycoon 2
  • Railroad Tycoon 3

You can get all this classic railway building for 67% off.

The Freedom Force Pack includes:

  • Freedom Force
  • Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich

You can take turns in playing these classics for 50% off.

Sid Meier's Pirates! is also there for plundering at 50% off.

But why 2K classic games?

"2K is a treasure trove of timeless masterpieces..."

That's according to Oleg Klapovsky, Vice President of Business Development and Operations at GOG. He follows this up by saying:

"We're obviously thrilled about adding these classics to the GOG.com library, and we can't wait to see what this partnership still has in store for everyone."

The launch promotion is available now, and ends April 5th at exactly 1:59 PM BST / 5:59 AM PT / 8:59 AM ET.

It's refreshing to see times there too, so thanks for that GOG.

Will you be picking any of these 2K classics up?

XCOM: Long War Modders introduce Terra Invicta and new studio https://www.gameskinny.com/mm0ra/xcom-long-war-modders-introduce-terra-invicta-and-new-studio https://www.gameskinny.com/mm0ra/xcom-long-war-modders-introduce-terra-invicta-and-new-studio Thu, 07 Jan 2016 04:21:09 -0500 Chan Moore

The team responsible for XCOM: Long Wars, the critically-acclaimed mod for Firaxis' XCOM: Enemy Unkown/Enemy Within titles, has recently formed a studio. It's rightfully called Long War Studios, paying homage to the massive success of their well-loved project, which was freely downloaded over 650,000 times in less than 3 years.

Following up behind their freshman effort is Terra Invicta. It's being called a "grand strategy game" in which the player fights for the very existence of the planet Earth during an alien invasion. It's their first standalone title, and is currenty in pre-Kickstarter developement.

In case you're not familiar with the game that inspired the mod, XCOM is a turn-based tactical experience, where you control "the best, of the best, of the best." These individuals make up a group of the most elite soldiers and scientists that Earth has to offer. From finances and troop operations to research and development, you call the shots -- the entire time keeping an ever watchful eye on our large brained adversaries. Take that alien tech and re-purpose it to even the odds and give us a fighting chance.

With Firaxis releasing XCOM 2 sometime in February of 2016, I'm excited to see what happens when they come face to face with the very hungry and formidable Long War Studios. Let the games begin!

An XCOM game is being made in Excel https://www.gameskinny.com/a04lu/an-xcom-game-is-being-made-in-excel https://www.gameskinny.com/a04lu/an-xcom-game-is-being-made-in-excel Wed, 02 Dec 2015 03:47:56 -0500 Daniel Williams_2179

Ever wondered what XCOM would be like if it was made on Excel? Well, you are in luck. A Reddit user by the name of Crruzi has been working on an XCOM game to run on Excel. Crruzi was able to this after learning to use visual basic for applications (VBA), a code used in Microsoft Office applications, in just two months

Crruzi plans on setting the game in between the events of XCOM: Enemy Within and XCOM 2. The game will follow a group of guerilla fighters, trying to liberate their city from advent control. 

Above is a screenshot of the game. The pixels on the left-hand side are the map -- with the enemies marked out as red, allied soldiers as green, and the terrain as black and light grey. The dark grey pixels are the areas the player has not explored yet. To the right of the map is the character sheet. This shows the selected soldiers equipment and stats. 

You can download a current build of the game here, but don't go in expecting a finished game. 

So what do you think? Is this going to be a fascinating experience once the game is finished? Let us know in the comments below.