Chris

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About Chris

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    London, UK
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    Project Lead, Xenonauts
  1. Thanks. We'll have a look into these issues in a bit more detail; there's incoming fixes in the next build that stop the fire line tagging cover as intervening when it's blatantly not actually in the line of fire but it's not going to affect the elevation issues you brought up. I'm not sure what's going on with being able to see through the cliff though. We're going to have to sit down and figure out whether cover resulting from changes in elevation really should be accounted for in the same way as normal cover - if we do, you get some weird stuff happening like in your second screenshot. There might be a better way of doing it.
  2. They're not ready to go in the game quite yet, but the Reapers aren't far off being ready.
  3. Your post is too long to quote in full, but I did read the whole thing. It does kinda seem like you've happily swallowed a bunch of the flimsy lore "justifications" from X1 because you liked the mechanics they allowed - I obviously consider this a good thing, but it's worth unpacking a little. I think people will be equally willing to swallow a the translocator if it improves the gameplay and we've made an effort to integrate it into the game world in the same way that we tried to logically justify some pretty weird behavior on the part of the aliens / local forces in X1. I really don't think there's any realistic justification in X1 for dropships that can move fast enough to get to alien sites in time to help out in any meaningful way, or that carry such small teams. Or that eight dudes with M16s in blue overalls are going to do a better job than the SAS / Delta Forces / whatever, particularly if the alien invasion thus far has consisted of a couple of small UFOs flying about causing crop circles and the local forces are still in good shape. Ultimately, though, nobody really cared about the logical inconsistencies. We tried to come up with plausible reasons for all of it and that contributed to making X1 feel more realistic than XCOM did, even though fundamentally the game is deeply unrealistic on a number of levels. I think with a translocator there could definitely be potential uses for it that are too much and give a jarring / immersion-breaking moment; not everything I suggested in the OP is necessarily something that we will do the translocator. It's just stuff that we could do. If it makes the game better, I imagine people will turn a blind eye to the inconvenient truths just like they did with various aspects of X1.
  4. If I set up arbitrary rules for the setting and then break them, the setting has consistency errors and that's a problem for everyone ... but if someone else sets up arbitrary rules and the setting breaks them, that's only a problem for them. Whether an alien race advanced enough to travel to Earth has the technology to be able to disguise its infiltrators as humans is up for me to decide, and the precise parameters of how mind control or whatever "space brain magic" that the aliens are using to infiltrate governments for plot and gameplay purposes is also up to me to define. Sure, if I come up with rules for how those things work and they break the pre-existing X2 lore, by all means raise that as an issue. This isn't that, though. Whether intentionally or not, your posts just read like you're arguing about tiny details for the sake of it - I'm genuinely curious as to how you know for certain that these advanced aliens have no way to disguise their operatives as humans? And that there's no way I could ever plausbily write one into the setting? And that the logic chain therefore means that the entire setting has to be abandoned? That without passing as humans, the aliens therefore have no way of infiltrating governments, which therefore means that world governments can't be unreliable actors, and therefore that the entire of humanity would immediately and complete unite against the aliens as soon as a single alien body or craft was recovered by anyone, and therefore that the "secret war" idea can never work? Even if it were to provide a much better overall gameplay experience than the previous setting where a dozen soldiers and three or four jet planes stop the entire might of an interstellar alien civilisation?
  5. So the intention is that the grenade launcher is used primarily for terrain / cover destruction. Having different ammo types is something I would ideally like but there is an element of balancing difficulty if you allow the player a portable 6-round grenade launcher that can fire explosive grenades that are effective against infantry targets - the blast radius on grenades is often big enough that even a miss will land nearby and inflict damage on the target. There's a real danger that it makes grenade launchers more effective than conventional weapons (especially with inaccurate rookie soldiers) and the optimal loadout is to give everyone a grenade launcher, which was only really mitigated in X1 by the rocket launcher being a rather impractical weapon in many situations. You can balance it, particularly once you add mechanics for damage falling off with range, but it's something that needs to be carefully considered. I must admit I still don't see a valid gameplay reason for keeping the rocket launcher over the grenade launcher, and I don't see the point of duplicating the functionality to support both. A grenade launcher is just a nicer "skin" for the ability to fire explosives at the aliens from a distance. That's the reason why it's a direct fire weapon, too - because it's essentially a smaller and more portable rocket launcher that doesn't require reloading every single turn. Sure, that's not exactly how real grenade launchers function, but I imagine people will get over it. Grenade launchers have a much flatter trajectory than hand-thrown grenades anyway, so their indirect fire capabilities were never going to be *that* great. We're not planning to change standard grenades much, no - although we may indeed reduce the accuracy of grenades thrown indirectly / out of vision. There's also work to be done on the grenade scatter trajectory to get it more realistic, which will both reduce the chance of your soldiers throwing grenades at their own feet but also reduce the chance of "miss" grenades ending up right next to their target like they usually do in X1. The biggest problem with X1 grenades is that they were too reliable at doing damage to aliens, except when they weren't (which usually ended with your soldier blowing himself up). There's probably a happy medium somewhere between. I think you need to take a step back and chill out a bit - nowhere in this thread have I said anything about removing normal grenades or removing the ability to throw standard grenades over walls. This thread is about swapping out a rocket launcher for a grenade launcher, and for balance reasons (because it's still effectively a smaller/ more portable rocket launcher) that grenade launcher will not have indirect fire capabilities. Lobbing a grenade over a wall is a different matter from being able to safely and invisibly bombard enemies with explosives at long range. I kinda resent the fact that so many of your posts are so combative that I feel the need to respond to them else risk seeing the thread get derailed. Perhaps in this case my original makes a reference to "disallowing indirect fire" that could be misconstrued as a blanket removal of that functionality from the game, but I still think you could get your message across equally effectively in a calmer tone - I'd appreciate it if you could dial it back a little in future.
  6. Yeah, that could work. You just have to reduce a Sebillian to -X HP before it fully dies, and it continues regenerating until it's actually dead. Reducing its modified max HP to zero could also kill it, although that wouldn't be a very efficient way of doing it). That would still give the initial shock when a "dead" Sebillian gets up for the first time, plus the tactical choices you mention in your above post. But it's much simpler than what I suggested.
  7. If it wasn't initially clear, the idea is that the aliens translocate their UFOs with the crews inside them when they are doing stuff that requires UFOs - e.g. scouting missions, raising tension levels by flying into restricted airspace while disguised as enemy bombers, etc. However, the aliens no longer have to deliver their ground troops via UFO any more because they can just translocate them to the destination directly, so not all alien activity is linked to UFOs any more ... but that's not a bad thing, because as discussed in the "Air War" thread we need to decouple at least some of the ground combat missions from UFOs to prevent a player with air dominance shutting down the entire invasion. Some UFOs would still be needed to support ground forces, though - e.g. a mission where aliens were abducting civilians would probably still need a UFO because the aliens could load the captured humans into it before everything "snapped-back" and took the humans with them. They're still useful for transport, just in a more limited set of roles than before. I'm less keen on the idea of a translocator exit you need to defend though (especially if aliens can use it to get into your base). I just don't think it'd fit with most of the missions - I'm not sure it'd actually be fun to have to leave half your soldiers defending the translocator instead of carrying out the mission. I think people will forgive the inclusion of the translocator even if they find it unrealistic provided it doesn't affect gameplay too much, but if it limits your gameplay choices by forcing you to leave units defending it every mission I think some people would rightly be angry.
  8. No problem, I appreciate at the feedback. At the moment there's no damage randomisation in the game (because it's easier to debug problems in the calculations if everything does fixed damage), so once we add back in the functionality for weapons to do 50% - 150% of normal damage then not every shot will be an insta-kill any more. That'll arrive in a month or two I think!
  9. We could set up the translocator deployment to work like the final dropship if we wanted, but I'm a bit concerned that it's just adding potential busywork. Shuffling troops around in a small deployment zone doesn't really give that much utility for the time spent doing it, whereas choosing between multiple drop sites would be cool - but also requires a bit of a rethink about how the map is set up, because you'd need visibility over the whole map to make educated choices (likely plus some kind of minimap to make navigating the map easier). So we could do it, but we can't just slot it into what we currently have and have it work nicely. Yup, we'll likely use a soldier stress / fatigue system of some kind. That could indeed factor into the decision to keep troops in reserve or not - although maybe that's not a capacity the player would have at the start of the game. Perhaps the translocator is pretty basic in terms of functionality to start out, and the emergency evac / troops in reserve / etc functionality is unlocked via research? I think having both dropships and the translocator actually gives us the worst of all worlds, so I'd like to avoid that if possible. I do like the idea of translocator tech being inherently unreliable in some way (at least until you do some research on it) but I imagine that would get frustrating if you don't have dropships too and are therefore forced to use it. Might be interesting, though. This will be the last post I discuss the lore - but a qualified yes to both points. The Xenonauts would need to translocate in *something* to block the alien ability to translocate out, but it wouldn't necessarily have to be a team of soldiers. But the aliens would be able to send a UFO or a second team to be pick up the first within a reasonable timeframe, so killing the aliens and translocating out their bodies and tech is the optimal way of doing it. But yeah, potentially it opens up a way to "autoresolve" ground combat missions where you use your translocator to block the alien escape and then let local forces deal with them. Also, yes, the aliens could send in reinforcements to block the Xenonaut ability to translocate out if they wanted to - but Xenonaut troops being stranded on Earth isn't *that* much of a problem as they can be evaced through other means. The aliens might also not realize that their units are under attack in time to do it, even if they considered it important to do so. I'm more interested in why you have a negative reaction to the "easy retreating" - what's your logic behind it? Using the dropship to evac a mission in Xenonauts 1 was a rare occurrence because it was very fiddly and doesn't actually provide much useful functionality. The situation where one of your soldiers runs up to an alien and misses a point-blank shot, or walks around with limited TU and comes face-to-face with a Reaper is just a death sentence for that soldier because there's no hope of them getting back to the dropship. They're just dead. Sure, you'll likely argue that that's an acceptable trade-off for taking risks and losing out - but in most cases the player will lose the soldier and win the mission anyway. That's still an option here; you just have the additional choice of throwing away the entire mission in order to not lose that soldier (which is probably the wrong decision). I don't think any player is going to succeed at the game if they abandon missions at the first sign of trouble so I wouldn't get hung up about how it'll allow bad players to do better than they should. If anything it'll give cool-headed players a further advantage.
  10. Do you have the automated crash reports enabled? If so then we should be automatically receiving information on what's causing the crash.
  11. Yeah, it'd be cool if capturing a Wraith or something would allow you to do this. There are ways to balance cloaking armour - you could have it so the cloak a one-use thing that is broken as soon as the unit moves or shoots, so it effectively just removes the unit from combat until they act again. Or it could make the unit immune to reaction fire, as the unit is invisible while moving but becomes visible again at the end of the player turn (or when attacking). Those are exactly the sort of "cool" items that were missing from Xenonauts 1, I think.
  12. So, to move the discussion onto potential combat mechanics of the translocator, what would people like to see? I think the two areas where it allows the most flexibility are arrival and departure from the battlefield. Arrival: Potentially you could deploy soldiers in different areas on the battlefield at the start of the mission? Unsure how this could work though, because then the player will need to be able to see the battlefield in advance (i.e. no shroud). The other thing that people have suggested is to keep extra soldiers in reserve and deploy them to the battlefield when needed - but it's unclear what the advantage would be to having your soldiers in reserve rather than on the battlefield from the start. One possibility is that each soldier only gets X turns on the battlefield, so you call your soldiers out of reserve as and when you need them ... but doing so too early means you might have to hurry to finish the mission before they all snap back to base. But XCOM2 shows that timers on every single mission can be kinda frustrating, so I'm not sure we'd want to do that all the time even if we did include it. Any other ideas? Departure: One potentially interesting mechanic is that you could use the translocator to evacuate your soldiers from the battlefield at any time. In order to make this a difficult decision, this would be for your whole team rather than individual soldiers. This basically gives the player a get-out-of-jail card if they end up in a situation where they think that clicking End Turn is going to go badly for them, so they can cut their losses and evac instead. Of course, this means the player loses the mission - so it's a choice between potentially losing soldiers (those situations often don't go as badly as you might think) or throwing away the mission to protect them. I actually think this would be a neat mechanic; good players will probably never use it but I'm sure there would be situations where they are tempted to do so and have to hold their nerve! Another suggested mechanic is making the translocator energy factor in the amount of loot you can recover - for example, the more soldiers you take on a mission, the less loot you can recover. Also, having to choose which specific piece of equipment you want to recover might make the research tree more interesting. I'm kinda ambivalent on this idea; I think it could be cool but it would require some effort to implement and it's potentially got major gameplay implications. You guys got any suggestions of your own, or thoughts on the above? My favorite idea there is the "emergency evac" one, because it's not much effort to implement and I think it would play mind games with the player when situations start to get hairy.
  13. It's a permanent thing; the idea is that once the translocator link is sufficiently disrupted to be broken then it's broken for good. It can be achieved through other means but using another translocator in the same area is by far the easiest and most effective way of doing it. So I guess it's more of a side-effect of the Xenonaut translocator rather than an actual ability.
  14. Different "endings" is something that we can discuss later; I'm not necessarily averse to the idea but I wouldn't consider it a core feature. Once we have the story locked down I think we can talk more about what variables might trigger slightly different effects in the ending.
  15. Yeah, I am actually starting to reconsider the idea of these cut-scenes - they might be a bit too obtrusive. Receiving research / operations reports triggered from in-game actions beyond just finishing research (e.g. stuff like the Alien Invasion "research" that started X1) could allow better storytelling without forcing it onto the player. My updated Geoscape concepts already have a news tracker running along the bottom; the idea being that when you deal with / fail to deal with alien activity you get an event appear on the Geoscape and a corresponding news item pulled from the local media. This is going to be essential if we go with the "secret war" setting because we need to show the regions blaming the alien activity on their rivals or starting to believe the existence of aliens when the Xenonauts save the day and there is surviving evidence / eyewitnesses. I think that could make a huge difference to making the world feel alive .... I guess like the X1 Geoscape events, but with more world-building. Emails / messages are an interesting idea too, but I'm struggling to think up a way to integrate them into the current UI. The "main screen" is a big command screen so it doesn't really make sense to have the Commander's personal message notifications put up there (although the same thing applies to the research reports, so it's not a deal-breaker). The other way you can do a message is what has been suggested above - having the portrait appear in the top left of the screen with a "call", which you can answer or not. Metal Gear Solid does something a bit like that. That might be going a bit far, though, so it might be better to just use the research pop-ups in a broader sense this time - the reports you receive are not emails exactly, but they wouldn't be far away.