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About Chris

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    Beloved Leader


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    London, UK
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    Project Lead, Xenonauts
  1. Did you actually have a crash to desktop? If so, did you have crash reporting enabled? I can't see the crash anywhere on our system. I'll get GJ to reply to your query anyways. Thanks Max for your various feedbacks. We're working on the movement animation as a priority so hopefully the new system will sort that out, if not then we'll take another look the speeds and heights etc then. The AP bar issue is a bug that we'll fix in the next build. Also remember we have have a proper editor for the unit stats etc so you won't need to manually edit the JSON files; we might start putting that our public builds early next year.
  2. We have just released an update to the free public build of Xenonauts 2 - this is free because it is a very early build of the game and we don't think the project is of the quality where we can reasonably expect everyone to pay for it; full details on where to get the build can be found in this thread. This build is just a quick hotfix for Version 0.1, which we put out a few days ago! CHANGELOG: Some crashes fixed that were linked to firing weapons. Xenonauts no longer spray purple blood and scream like aliens when injured. We've fixed some shader issues that mean the ground combat UI selection squares etc now display better. The loading screen quote text no longer has giant white writing on it. Dead units can no longer be controlled. Move path squares are no longer being double-placed in some situations. Escape key now opens the menu. You can no longer suppress friendlies around your soldier just by firing at distant enemies. Fixed some AI turn hangs, and a crash on overwatch. AI turn is a lot faster. Have fun, and please let us know if there's any obvious issues in this build as we'll be around to make fixes next week if they are needed!
  3. You're talking more about drones and support units more than X1-style vehicles then ... and there's no real reason that they couldn't exist, it's just that we're not planning to include them in Xenonauts 2 as a default player feature. I imagine adding a 1x1 scout / support unit like the X1 alien Light Drone would require very little effort at all, it'd probably just be a case of ensuring it didn't receive any combat XP. Potentially a human version of them is something we could even put in the vanilla game if I felt there was a niche for it. I have no intention of adding armoured cars and tanks to the game like we had in X1 though; I only did that because I felt I had to because the original X-Com had them. They're too big and powerful to work within the scale of combat we're looking to do.
  4. Vehicles are silly in any setting that is predominantly about small-squad infantry vs. infantry combat because they're simply too powerful. If a weapon can put a hole in an armoured car, why would it not instantly kill any human (or biological unit) that it hits? And why would any vehicle mounted weapon not be far superior to any infantry weapon? Even a basic humvee usually packs a 0.50cal machinegun that can put out an order of magnitude more firepower than a standard man portable rifle or LMG. And why would a dog need to be a vehicle? Just make it a standard combatant instead. In any case you're extrapolating based off your own assumptions (although kinda understandable given you've played X1) rather than genuine facts; you don't know that the game won't have 2x2 units and you don't know that you couldn't add dogs or whatever to it. This is why I don't want to go into much detail about specific systems until people can play with them themselves - focusing on a specific mechanic or feature removal can give a misleading overall impression.
  5. The air combat is pretty subordinate to the strategy layer design at the moment; we've got a few prototypes for how it could look but right now it's autoresolved with a UFO requiring a certain number of aircraft to shoot it down and having a % kill chance for each one that is tested independently. We'll choose an air combat model once we have an idea of what the strategy layer needs it to do. It would be good to have more complexity in terms of how many aircraft you are committing and what they are equipped with, though. @StellarRatThere's not going to be any vehicles in the game, I'm afraid. For now the planes are just the X1 equivalents as well, but we might make redesign them and make nice animated 3d models of them once we know the shape of the air combat a bit better.
  6. I'll ask the coders to check if our error tracker has ridden to the rescue and saved the crash the data
  7. Yup, the maps are kinda blocky at the moment. That can be changed, but it's a question of whether we want to. There's two reasons why the maps currently look a bit blocky: 1) The cliff walls are only 10cm deep at the moment, as they sit on the edge of tiles and intrude into them. If we make them too thick then they'll potentially clip into units that are standing in those tiles. The cliffs were 20cm thick in our earlier builds but I had them reduced to make the map tidier; potentially I went a bit too far though because the tiles are 1.5m wide and there's quite a lot of space in each one. Having more depth on the rock walls makes the map look a bit less blocky. 2) The second thing is battlefield readability. We actually had a less blocky looking map before our initial public build, with lots of vegetation and detail rocks breaking up the shape of the level and making it look more natural ... but it turns out it's actually very hard to figure out where tiles start and end under that system, so it's difficult to process where you can move your soldiers and so forth. Makes it a bit frustrating to play. There's probably a balance to be found but you don't want to make the map feel too natural. Xenonauts 2 will initially be a lot like a stripped down version of Xenonauts 1 with better graphics, but that'll start to change once the game is playable and we can start experimenting with the new mechanics we have planned. However we've gotta make the game playable across both strategy and ground combat first, which means we'll draw heavily from X1 to get there. We'll probably add new aliens in X2, but even the existing ones should have more interesting abilities this time around that make them less samey. Things like the weapon tier upgrades are balance issues that we'll have more time to discuss once the game is playable but yeah, the idea is that X2 will build on the foundation of the first game and improve on the things it got wrong. Boring aliens and repetitive tech progression are two things we want to address but I think the solutions are better developed in conjunction with community playtesting than me theorycrafting about what the ideal solution is
  8. We have just released an update to the free public build of Xenonauts 2 - this is free because it is a very early build of the game and we don't think the project is of the quality where we can reasonably expect everyone to pay for it; full details on where to get the build can be found in this thread. If you want to see what progress we're making on the game content (like artwork etc) then you'll have to check out our November Progress Update, as this build is an attempt to address some of the more major code issues with the game and does not add any new content. We've reworked some major systems (e.g. line of sight, mouse input, etc) so there may well be some new bugs introduced; please report them if you see them as we're planning to put out small "fix" builds out over the next week or so to address them. New maps and environments, aliens, weapons etc will start coming after Christmas. CHANGELOG: Move paths and other in-world UI elements now draw above grass and other decorative vegetation. We've rewritten the input system to stop the crosshair and selection box being so jumpy We've improved the way the camera tracking works: When your units shoot, the camera more intelligently picks a focus point based on the positions of the shooter and the target Alien activity under the hidden movement screen should be displayed properly now, including both movement and shooting The Xenonauts and aliens have all had a fresh texture job to make their details "pop" a bit more at the camera distance we're using in the game. The camera angle and distance have been changed to be somewhat closer to the view in X1; we think that gives a more "strategic" feel Pressing End Turn no longer hangs the game for a few seconds Load times for the ground combat have been halved I've done a UI pass on the game, replacing programmer art with slightly superior game designer art. It's still fairly placeholder stuff, but: The Xenonauts font has returned on the ground combat UI elements, giving them a more appropriate style Colour consistency has also been improved; the predominantly blue GC elements now use more black Many element outlines have been sharpened up and made a bit neater We've switched to a plugin that improves on the Unity text rendering, so we should now have crisper text The move path has been updated: The green / orange / red move path squares from the first game have returned. The TU cost now displays "?" if you click on the shroud, preventing "scouting" the terrain via the move cost. The fog of war has been recoloured to be less aggressively blue. Units now have 16 sight range instead of 20, as they did in the original. Movement animations have been made less jerky, as previously units took the same amount of time to cross tiles diagonally as they did laterally (despite diagonally being a longer distance) Crouching units now play injury animations when they take damage Please let us know what issues you're experiencing, as we should now be able to fix all the camera / crosshair / UI etc issues once we're made aware of them. We've got a couple of weeks until we shut down for Christmas and we'll be releasing small fix builds in this time; I don't expect any major new updates to be put out before then. We're going to be targeting two main things for the next build in early January - one is the sub-map support which should let us start semi-randomly generating maps, and the other is the soldier animations system. Currently our code cannot plan actions in advance so a soldier doesn't know he's ended his movement until he's reached his destination tile, and then plays his "stop running" animation by jogging on the spot once he's already there - really he needs to know half a tile earlier, so he can slow down in time. I imagine we'll start work on both these things before our holidays, but neither are quick jobs! Thoughts, bugs and other feedback can be posted in this thread.
  9. Yup, we'll almost certainly have additional variants of each alien race in terms of armour - but that's a lower priority than getting all the main races modelled up and put in the game, so not for a few months at least.
  10. Despite Xenonauts 2 being available as a free public build that anyone can try, I think it's time for us to do an overall update on our progress on the project. Ground Combat: We're making decent progress on the ground combat coding overall, although the system rewrites we've been doing over the last two or three weeks have been slower than expected. Some stuff has improved dramatically (such as load times) but other things have been frustratingly circular - an example of which is our work on the cursor selection box. We wrote a shader to display this above the decorative vegetation but below the props, granting the visual selection box effect from X1, but the new system had side-effects that made the UI ugly and occasionally buggy ... and eventually we abandoned it, and started down the route of switching from deferred to forward rendering. If that doesn't mean anything to you (and I wouldn't expect it to), this is just a long-winded way of me saying that sometimes you can sit and work at something for a week and actually end up taking a step backwards in terms of progress. So, to summarise, progress has been patchy on the coding front recently. However we're working hard on finishing up various systems designed to deal with the more fundamental issues in the current builds and I'd expect to see several new builds in the next couple of weeks as we finish them up and roll them out. You can find more specifics about this in the various release threads. Artwork: On a happier note, we're doing well on other parts of the game. The artwork in particular is coming along nicely in several areas! The first is our battlefield environments. You've all seen the "temperate / jungle" wilderness biome tileset we've currently got in the public build, but our tundra and desert biomes are now mostly complete. These are largely retextures of existing assets with some unique props mixed in, and the idea is that we'll have six or seven of these biomes that will allow us to "skin" a level with only a few clicks (long term we want the same for our urban environments too). The code is not yet in place for this palette swapping but we can already construct maps manually with these new tiles if we want; however once we've got some map randomisation code in place (which isn't too far away) we won't need to. We'll be able to have randomly generated wilderness maps across any biome from polar icecaps to tropical jungle to desert wastelands. The second is the aliens and Xenonauts themselves. We've modeled up some new ones, and done a fresh texture pass on those that already exist. The basic Sebillian and Andron are modelled up and being rigged / animated, and the textures on the Psyons and Xenonauts have been reworked to show more detail at our default camera zoom level. You can see an image of how they look below: A few things of note: the added detail is most obvious on the heads of the Psyons, as they were essentially just yellow blobs in the previous build of the game but the improved contrast on the new textures means you can now see much more of their bone structure. The new aliens look pretty good too, I think. The Sebillian is perhaps uglier than his X1 counterpart, but he's also much more visually distinctive and intimidating (particularly when equipped with his massive gun) this time around. The Andron looks more mechanical and is significantly larger than his X1 equivalent, and again I think he's got a lot more character than his predecessors. Other minor things to mention - we've decided not to go for 3D faces on the soldiers, but stick with 2D ones with semi-randomised features that should allow a much larger portrait pool than before. We're using a different artist for the portraits this time and I think the new more realistic style will be better received than last time. We've also been concepting up some of the advanced weapons, specifically the lasers. We've got some cool designs for them but it'll be a little bit of time before we can show them off properly, as right now they're rough untextured models we're using to test animations with. You can see one of them above - hopefully even in this primitive state you can see they may be more interesting that the ones in X1. Strategy: The strategy layer hasn't been getting much love in recent times, as the coders have been working flat out on the ground combat ever since we started to prepare for the first public build (a good three months ago now). I've started to move more resources towards the strategy layer in recent weeks. The main thing I've done is to clean up the appearance a bit, so the game feels a bit more polished and playable, and to try and merge in some of the old functions from Xenonauts 1. I do have new ideas for the strategy layer but a lot of the functionality of the Geoscape in X1 was pretty simple and can be replicated fairly easily in X2 given we already have all the art assets from X1 to use as placeholders. A primitive strategy layer coupled with a bit of the map randomisation tech mentioned above should actually give us the beginnings of a playable game. I'll detail the mechanics later - most are pretty similar to X1, and those that are not may change in the future. But I figure there's not too much point debating the mechanics until you can play and experiment with them first hand! Promotion & Monetization: As most of Goldhawk is disappearing off for our Christmas holidays in mid-December, I doubt we'll do any promotion of the game until the start of next year. Sadly we're in a boring stage of development right now where we're not adding content to the builds, we're just adding new systems and fixing bugs - which is great, but playing the same map against the same aliens every time is pretty tedious. However, the more observant among you might have noticed that most of the things we've been working on recently are important steps towards a paid alpha release. Having a functional strategy layer that spawns ground combat missions is a necessity for that. Having more battlefield environments and randomised maps are key features too. Going with 2D portraits instead of 3D ones means we can easily create a "portrait customiser" for people who want to back a Kickstarter tier that allows them to put themselves in the game in the form of a custom soldier. Basically we're hoping to launch a Kickstarter around March, which should be accompanied by a free build of the game that contains both the strategy and combat layers linked together. The Early Access launch would be about three months later, I guess. Conclusions: As this will probably be my last development update of the year (though not our last build), I'll close with my thoughts on the progress so far. I'd kinda hoped that we'd have made more obvious progress (i.e. added more content) over the past couple of months of public releases, but I'm not too down on things overall. The work we've done is all essential work and the issues would have been exposed as soon as we started doing public builds, so it's probably good we're getting them out of the way now. Things probably still feel a bit basic right now but that'll change once we start releasing all the new content we've been working on. Thanks for following our progress through the most boring part of development, and I hope you'll tune in next year when things start to get exciting!
  11. Unfortunately PF have never replied to any of our emails / contact attempts, or even acknowledged our existence. I doubt you'll have much luck getting anything out of anyone connected to the company.
  12. Very quick announcement - we were due to be putting out a big build tonight, but it's being pushed back to either tomorrow or Wednesday. This is basically because the various components of the sight system rewrite have taken longer than we thought they would, but I don't see any point in putting out a build that does not at least partially address the Hidden Movement screen issues. The next build might not totally fix them (there might be some smaller changes required in the following build) but it should address the big ones where the camera isn't showing the aliens moving and shooting at your troops ... this means there hopefully will not be any more situations where you start your turn with dead soldiers and have no idea what happened to them. There's plenty of other upgrades coming, but I definitely think it's worth delaying the build to get this one in. However I will be posting a more general project progress update up on the forums today; I suspect it'll have some stuff in it that you'll all find interesting!
  13. Yeah, just send through the Desura proof of purchase and I'll give you a Steam key.
  14. It's actually because I'm working on revamping the Xenonauts site in preparation for X2 (it'll be the hub for both games). However I'm being a bit lazy with it so it's been down a while, but I am (relatively) nearly done.
  15. Thanks for the various bits of feedback everyone, we'll look into them. Invisible aliens is a weird one we've not seen before, but the "End Turn" slowdown is something we're looking into and potentially may also have fixed for the next build on the 28th Nov (i.e. a week on Monday). Afraid not. I know it's a pain in the ass, but it'll only be fixed when the code is fixed - the reason it's showing the Hidden Movement screen is because the camera isn't properly tracking the alien actions, so hiding the HM screen wouldn't help in this situation.