TGDRT #48: X-COM. With Julian Gollop

Episode #48 is live!

Jon and Dirk are joined by Julian Gollop, designer of ‘X-COM: UFO Defense’ (aka ‘UFO: Enemy Unknown’) and a game development veteran with 30 years of experience. They discuss Julian’s distinguished career, how the design discipline is special and what made X-COM stand above so many games over the decades.

I was genuinely shocked that Julian had never made a podcast appearance before, but I certainly won’t complain about TGDRT being his first!

Julian is one of the very few people who has been in this business for over three decades. He’s certainly most well-known as the creator of X-COM, but that game is only a small slice of a very impressive career. Julian is an smart an insightful guy, and it really comes through in this interview. We can’t wait to have him back on again in the future!

– Jon

Turn-Based VS Real-Time

One of the strategy genre’s most important dividing lines is the manner in which time passes – is it continuous, as in the real world? Or is it segmented into phases designed to restrict player activity? Many strategy fans favor one over the other and the “debates” between these groups often grow contentious. When a prominent series switches sides it often leads to proclamations of imminent doom, or at the very least a fair bit of teeth-gnashing.

While there’s certainly been a great deal of conversation pertaining to this topic, rare are truly comprehensive studies which seek to identify what differentiates turn-based games from their real-time cousins. Good designers need to be well-versed in the strengths and weaknesses of both.