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Showing content with the highest reputation on 12/09/2022 in all areas

  1. November is nearly over so it's once again time for our monthly dev update. We've had a productive month here overall, making numerous improvements to the game and adding in several new features too. Public Releases: We continued patching V24 this month, eventually releasing V24.7b onto the standard Steam / GOG branches. We got a lot of useful feedback on balancing from the community and I'm actively playtesting V25 at the moment with the intention of releasing it either later this week or some time next week. V25 is going to be our first open beta build, although it'll spend a few days with our existing community beforehand so we can find any critical bugs in it before we begin the open beta. The first (small) wave of invites will probably therefore be going out in mid-December. Alien Abilities: The biggest new feature we implemented this month were the remaining alien racial abilities. These are a bit more "active" compared to the alien powers in the first Xenonauts, with the idea being to pose interesting tactical challenges for the player. I'll give a couple of examples to show you what I mean. The first is the Wraith, which in Xenonauts 1 could teleport around the map (not particularly funny when you were trying to find the last alien in an alien base, etc). Now they instead have an ability called Cloaking Field, which reduces Accuracy by -2 for each tile of distance when shooting at a Wraith. However, Cloaking Field is disabled for the remainder of the turn when the Wraith takes damage from any source. The second is the Cyberdrone, which is a late-game alien unit which has heavy frontal armour and rotates in the direction of any sound - gunshots, footsteps, explosions, etc. Using multiple soldiers (or just throwing grenades behind it) allow you to expose the weaker rear armour and can make it easier to kill. Hopefully this illustrates what we're trying to achieve - basically to make the player think more closely about where to position their soldiers and what attacks or equipment to use. While these abilities still require quite a lot more testing and polishing, once we have them working properly the gameplay will hopefully be richer and the aliens more memorable. Soldier Equipment: In V24 soldiers have an equipment slot called the "special" slot (also known as the "undersuit" slot). This is basically an additional item slot where you can carry one item that gives the soldier a particular bonus - e.g. extra armour plates to boost survivability, a tactical visor to boost Accuracy, a mind shield to boost defence against psionics, etc. As this system hasn't added as many interesting choices to the game as I'd have liked, I've spent this month updating the soldier inventory. Soldiers now have a Primary weapon, a Secondary weapon, and a single 5x5 "vest" grid which contains all the additional items they want to carry into battle (ammo, grenades, extra weapons, etc). Importantly, all the items that previously went in the special slot are now 2x2 items that fit into the vest grid like any other item. I've been playtesting this over the past few days and I think it's a really fun change. The backpack wasn't really being used that much before, but now vest space (and the carrying capacity of the soldier) are much more important, even at the start of the game. Is it worth giving up that spare ammo magazine and two grenades for +5 Accuracy? It all depends on how you want to set up your soldiers, and it's a system I'm looking forward to discussing and balancing further during the open beta. General Development Progress: Other than my work on the two systems mentioned above, most of my time this month has been spent discussing the gameplay experience with our community and ironing out various smaller gameplay / usability pain points in the campaign. General feedback on V24 was pretty good but there's clearly quite a few aspects of the game that are interfering with people's enjoyment of it; many of these should be improved in V25. There's been several content updates to the game, too - the Engineering screen has now been re-skinned into our new UI style, the updated Arid biome is now present (with eight entirely new maps), and the dropships have been retextured in the tatical combat. We've also been busy planning out the tutorial and creating the map required for it, and we'll start work implementing that in December. Finally, we've been working on the load times for the game, and have hopefully now fixed the issue where Windows would think the game had frozen and invite you to terminate the process if you had alt+tabbed out while the game was loading. So overall a rather productive month. I'll wrap up this update there, and hopefully we'll be seeing some of you in the open beta during December! If you want to sign up for the open beta, please post in the previous update thread. I'll be DMing people Steam keys via these forums when the open beta starts.
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