I’ve mentioned that I love X-Com (oh hey, the Xenonauts Kickstarter hit its funding goal! And way early!), and one of the things that made it so great was the way a little bit of chance and quirks of the AI meant that the same setup for a given mission could play out a lot of different ways.
Which is a good thing, because one of the things that was not random was the layout of the actual alien ships themselves. And there were a number of different ships in the game, on a size continuum from the teeny tiny probe that could house a single pilot on up to really huge four-story things that were fifty yards across and stood on four massive legs that were themselves each the size of entire small alien craft.
But the thing about a game like X-Com is that, because you end up loving it a whole lot and playing it to death, you see those same ship types again and again and again. And maybe this time the ship landed near a barn, and maybe that time it was a crash and half the aliens are dead, and maybe one time the alien crew is spread out in the countryside trying to snipe my guys as they climb a hill vs. the next time when they’re all hanging out in the engine room pissing their xenopants, but: but the ship is always the same. It’s the constant in the equation.
So the layouts got pretty familiar. I can’t even remember for sure whether this was actually the “medium” ship or the “small”, and I may have goofed on the placement of some detail here, but there’s no question that this was the ship I was going to find if I chased down or shot down this craft type.
There were eventually mods written for X-Com that made it possible to use random layouts for the ship interiors, which is a pretty neat idea and something I’ve enjoyed playing around with occasionally. But for those core, brain-searing memories of my earliest love affair with X-Com, the ships were always the same. This ship was always this ship.