Chris

30 August Development Update (V19 Stable)

34 posts in this topic

As V19 Stable has just been released, this development update is mostly concerned about what's been going on in the background recently and what we have planned for the immediate future. I think the first thing to do is to remind everyone of the huge amount of progress that has been made over the last three months since V18 Stable - there's been massive improvements to almost every aspect of the game (balance and AI most obvious amongst them), and it's easy to forget quite how much has been done.

The V20 series of builds is intended to be mostly polish, with an emphasis on getting the new UI installed / fully functional. The rest of the game will see more tweaks, but it's not likely to change quite as much as it did from V18 to V19. There will be further balance work, further AI improvement, new maps, reworking of the way jetpacks work and probably the Geoscape UFO intelligence too.

Aaron and I have been discussing internally and we would like to have the game finished for Christmas. Goldhawk is has never been particularly good at sticking to deadlines, so please do not take that as gospel...but we're hoping for a Christmas release.

The biggest missing component is the new UI. We've actually been working on this for a loooong time now (it's been keeping me busy) and it's basically complete in functionality terms. We're now working on finalising the formatting of each screen - making sure all the text is aligned correctly and all the scaling works correctly and so on. The only completely finished one is the Research screen, but they're 90% done at this point.

There also needs to be further work done on the existing UI, such as the Geoscape notifications, Main Menu screen, combat Inventory screen and the pop-up menus. A different coder is working on these, but they all need to be skinned correctly and set up so the text scaling and so on is no longer a problem.

It would be nice to have all of the game assets in place by the end of November - so all of the tiles are painted over, all the Xenopedia art is in the game, every UI background is painted and so on. I've been able to find a bit of time for the writing and I'm hoping to have a final Xenopedia complete next week, as I've now done about 65 of the Xenopedia entries and have another 23 to do. I know there have been delays there, but I'm just as keen as anyone to have that finished and locked down so translators can get to work.

All in all, we've had a really good three months and the game is really quite playable at the moment - so I'm hoping that with three months more we'll have a genuinely good game that will deliver on what we've been promising for the best part of four years.

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First off, great job on everything, it's really coming together quite nicely. :)

I have a few questions:

In the new UI, will there be included a system for vehicle secondary weapons, both in the vehicle equip screen and in the geoscape?

I know you want to have the xenopedia finished as soon as possible; if we (meaning people on the forum) make logical suggestions to slightly alter some articles (for example, changing the condor and foxtrot entries to not mention the titanium / magnesium alloy as armor, but to mention adding redundant systems to allow the plane to continue working even after taking heavy damage) would you be willing to implement them?

We've started a "Realism Concerns Center" in the General Discussion board where we've found 3 or 4 places that could have some unrealistic explanations or descriptions ironed out. Of course, any changes would be approved by you (after all, it is your game) but we think that a few alterations to the existing descriptions would make the game a lot more believable when it comes to descriptions of human technology.

A main goal of ours is to not be bothersome and to create as little work for you as possible, so believe me when I say we don't want to add to your work load by making the suggestions. Hopefully it'd just be as simple as reading the more realistic proposal saying yeah, that sounds good, and changing some lines of text in excel. Otherwise, you'd simply read the proposal, say no, that'd be that.

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Has been a great improvement A+

Was thinking about vehicles a bit myself lately, but the scout/tanks weapons. Would like to see some less aggressive weapon options like gatling laser etc for the tanks as atm you have a super explosive weapon options which destroy everything (which is good in certain situations), but would like to have a high-rate fire machine laser/plasma/mag weapon option for them in the future for minimizing collateral damage?

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Thanks for the update. Aaron's been doing a great job it seems, both internally (dev stuff) and externally (communication). Good call bringing him in.

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This is great to hear, good job Goldhawk! d(^_^)b I have a concern with flares and ammo, mainly i would think it would be really cool if we could pick up flares and re throw them. This would allow you to reduce the number of flares each soldier has on a night mission, and would add to the tension. I can't tell you how many times in the original UFO Defence I nervously held my breath a i told a soldier to retrieve a flare we desperate needed to spot an enemy. This would add a layer of tactical options/decisions I feel is sorely lacking at the moment IMO. The other hope was that we could have at least a small cargo bay in our transports for spare equipment, just in case we feel we might need it. Also, I REALLY am personally bothered by having free unlimited ammo, even for earth weapons. I feel we should at least have to order it in, at relatively low cost i guess, but that's just me.:P

Edited by Malachai13

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@PRiME

@E4D

Vehicles having secondary weapons would allow things like having a machine gun with a heavy cannon.

For the Hunter, there is room for putting both the machine gun and the rockets in the artwork at the same time, so perhaps we could make the rockets a secondary weapon (and cut the number of rockets down from the current 8 to 4, making it less powerful).

For the Scimitar, we can give it a coaxial machine gun, and we could also give it a 40mm grenade launcher (make it similar to the Hunter's rockets).

For the Hyperion there's already a set of rocket pods on the back of the tank, so those are an obvious choice. I'd make that a cluster rocket, so, it fires 4 rockets simultaneously and it has 6 shots of that. A machine gun would also be useful there as well.

For all of the vehicles, I just like the idea of a smoke screen, so giving that to all of them as a secondary weapon sounds like a good idea to me. It'd have a relatively short duration for balance reasons, only lasting between one and two turns at the max. Also, it should only have a limited number of uses, maybe 6.

For the vehicle machine guns (besides the Hunter's) I'd recommend just scaling up the Scatter Laser, the Plasma Caster, and the MAGSTORM and calling them "Heavy <weapon name>" to make things simple and easy to understand. They'd be unlocked with the normal rapid-fire laser/plasma/mag researches.

Here's a list of what my ideal vehicle weapon arraignment would be:

Hunter:

-Primary:

  • Dual Machine Guns
  • Laser Cannon, Plasma Cannon, MAG Railgun

-Secondary:

  • Rockets (4)
  • Smoke Screen

Scimitar:

-Primary:

  • Laser Cannon, Plasma Cannon, MAG Railgun

-Secondary:

  • 40mm Grenade Launcher (6 grenade magazine)
  • Heavy Scatter Laser, Heavy Plasma Caster, Heavy MAGSTORM
  • Smoke Screen

Hyperion:

-Primary:

  • Laser Cannon, Plasma Cannon, MAG Railgun

-Secondary:

  • Rocket Pods (I'd like a spread of 4 rockets each, maybe give it 6 shots)
  • Heavy Scatter Laser, Heavy Plasma Caster, Heavy MAGSTORM
  • Smoke Screen
Edited by GizmoGomez

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My only request is~

Don't rush the game out! As a huge fan, I'm more than happy to wait extra time than to have a game that's lacking, although I'm sure it won't

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Thanks for the update. Aaron's been doing a great job it seems, both internally (dev stuff) and externally (communication). Good call bringing him in.

Aaron's been on the team for over two years now. You can thank the Kickstarter and everyone that put money into it for me being able to hire him full time.

Re: the vehicles, we've not decided what we're doing with them yet. Secondary weapons may not make it in at all, may be full-blown secondary weapons, or may end up using the Quick Grenade slot. We don't really know at this point.

For the realism updates, I'll have a look at the thread at some point but I'm making no promises. The whole "graviton" issue, for example, arose out of the fact a bunch of people complained that my original anti-matter based explanation for plasma weapons was breaking the immersion and would be much better if I used gravitons instead. But I will at least read your suggestions.

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Yeah, we've decided that the "graviton" issue really doesn't matter all that much. (I mean, Star Trek got away with Di-Lithium. Am I right?)

Thanks for the time. :)

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You can also use the faster then light particle 'Tachyons' which is a hypothetical particle. It would fit in well with the game however if needed to explain something about the ships or communications?

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I think that the communications is good to go. I'll check the descriptions in the Xenopedia just to make sure, though, but I've not noticed a problem with it.

Good suggestion, though. I like it. :)

EDIT: Nope, no need for tachyons, it all works out really really really well. :)

Seriously, Chris, excellent job on the story. It's absolutely stellar. :)

Edited by GizmoGomez

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I was wondering if aliens using grenades will still be implemented?

That, and the maturation/balancing of the morale and psionics mechanic, as well as the AI taking advantage of higher elevation, are things I'm really looking forward too.

You guys have already created an excellent game. can't wait for the final touches to be added.

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I can't remember seeing higher elevation in general terrain, except from UFO/Buildings. Would be nice to if there was a way to make hill sections you could get on for snipers.

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Yup, the alien grenade AI update is planned for sooner rather than later.

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Oh no... I just downloaded another patch... hopefully my saves are ok! I was doing so well! :)

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@Chris

Just reminded by another thread. Are we going to see a differentiation in dropships in the future? With regards to speed (and range, if I recall correctly) the Charlie, Shrike, and Valkyrie all have the exact same movement speed.

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@Chris

Just reminded by another thread. Are we going to see a differentiation in dropships in the future? With regards to speed (and range, if I recall correctly) the Charlie, Shrike, and Valkyrie all have the exact same movement speed.

That is a good point; also, I've heard people talking about how the get the Shrike really late in the game instead of mid-game like you may expect. Perhaps the progression for that tech needs to be looked at at some point?

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It's been fantastic to watch this progress through the years, you've done an amazing job Chris, and the team. And my thanks for all your work.

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Hills and other terrain elevations are impossible due to the lame engine. :P

[Citation needed]

Srs, I'll be sad if elevation is permanently gone.

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[Citation needed]

Srs, I'll be sad if elevation is permanently gone.

Unfortunately, this is true from what I've read. I don't really miss it too much to be honest. The second story of buildings is causing enough problems as it is. The engine is also responsible for the "black out" display that happens when you enter a UFO. Hopefully, and this is complete guessing, if GH decides to revise, redo, expand the game someday they'll use a more flexible graphics engine. There are a lot of choices out there these days.

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On elevation - a solution was tried but didn't really work out for hills, so it would seem it's gone. It does make a difference,. However, if the AI allows the aliens to make much more use of buildings, perhaps that will fill the gap. Aliens in the top stories and roofs of barns was a mainstay of the original, after all.

Although I've got past only a couple of months in the last few builds, I could see the difference in each of them. So, good job on all of the developments. They were being noticed and did make a difference.

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