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  1. 2 points
    UOO-1 Unknown orbital object one first showed up in the GRACE satellite network, originally designed to map the surface gravity of Earth, as a systemic error that was thought to be a simple bug in the analysis software. Since then, we have been able to infer the existence of a 200km spire-like object which actively avoids collisions with the rest of our satellite systems. Of major concern is that UOO-1 seems to pick orbital paths which maximize lines through major cities. Of minor concern is the fact that we've been unable to detect any further evidence of its existence through even our best EM listeners. It was unknown what would happen if we send a probe directly to UOO-1, but with no further investigative options, we decided on that course of action. Yu-Chang Wide Spectrum was launched 14 hours ago. It was the most expensive object we've ever put in LEO outside of the ISS itself and it flew a direct course to UOO-1. As expected, it changed orbit shortly before impact, Yu-Chang adjusted to match and UOO-1 made and impossible maneuver. We know of no material that could have survived such an acceleration, even solid steel would have rendered itself into molten slag subject to those forces. The moment Yu-Chang began its own course correction we lost contact. Six minutes later, we lost London as I'm sure you saw all over the news before boarding the Skyhawk. High-speed photography, as part of our nuclear war early warning systems, indicate the city was destroyed by a light-speed beam (most likely a laser) in the exa-watt range burrowing through the atmosphere, turning our own sky into super heated plasma and allowing it to detonate like an air-burst nuke. The resulting EMP should have only been powerful enough to knock out local electronics, not the worldwide shut down that's rendered most modern military technologies fried and useless. Why and how UOO-1 created this beam is unknown, but the immense heat has revealed some orbital anomalies in the IR-spectrum. We are currently investigating. Considering how quickly it went from a passive to an active agent, further London events are not out of the question and may happen again soon. The good news is that the nations of the world banded together over this event rather than starting World War 3. The bad news is that we are at war and know next to nothing about our enemy. This organization was created in 1957 shortly after the Iceland Incident (see attached briefing) and sadly has had very little funding since. Much of our equipment is obsolete by today's standards and while our budget has been massively increased as of this morning, we are no where near ready to take on the alien threat. You are in charge, commander. This is the only international cooperative and it may be humanity's final hope. What are your orders?
  2. 1 point
    Even in the original X-Com, building more bases always felt like it was just another place to store radars, hangers, and whatever you ran out of room for back home. I've been thinking back to other games let you build multiple bases around the world and fill them how you like and the one that I enjoyed the most came from Endgame: Singularity. While in that game you're an AI that goes from renting server time, to building warehouses, to labs, to camouflaged bases. Each with their own set of bonuses and debuffs, prereqs and research enablers. Translating that mechanic would look something like your typical starting military base. Perhaps even having it on the surface to start. Researching the alien engine from your first UFO would unlock a catapult for your airships. "We can't activate the reactionless fields outside of laboratory conditions, but we can convert our hangers to support those conditions. While the range is only line of sight outwards, it will give our fighters and dropships a boost on launch. Incidentally this also enables to launch any vessel we want without a runway, finally enabling us to run an entire war from underground. At the very least, a few feet of rock will completely protect us from the aerial attack runs we've been seeing." With the hyperwave decoder, you'd be able to shield a new, smaller base from detection and get a chance to evacuate a base before it comes under attack. "Until now, we were unable to determine what the aliens use for sensors. Certainly they don't use radar or range finders, I imagine we're at least smart enough to hear their pings if they're done in a more conventional medium. With the discovery of hyperwaves, however, we finally have a way to listen and they have much to say. All of it encrypted beyond belief. Thankfully, our own experiments have given us some insights into hyperwave pings and it should be easy enough to disguise a complex military base as nothing more than stone, assuming the base is small enough and built from the ground down in the required acoustic shape." By figuring out the shields of the later ships, you'd be able to build a larger base which can't be destroyed by the orbital laser and, importantly, gives you a ten day respite from city destruction the first time they try. "Right now, we're a hard target surrounded by easy prey. Though the aliens certainly won't give up their efforts to stop us, at the least, we've bought ourselves some time." Alien alloy reforging would let you build a base underwater, making it completely safe from outside attack. "Perhaps the most remarkable feature is that it self-seals under even the lightest pressures. The days of leaks and wall maintenance are over, so long as you don't mind the colour. Alien paint has yet to be discovered and I don't have the time to invent it, perhaps after the invasion I'll find a way to keep my lab white without worrying about repairs every time something explodes. Speculation aside, the applications of alloy reforge are uncountable and of special note to some of my MarineLab colleges, we'll be able to construct underwater labs (and bases) which not even UOO-1 can breech." Singularity fields (like the naked singularities from Xenonauts 1) would enable tiny labs with massively increased research speeds. "The equipment maintaining it would be too sensitive to allow anyone untrained inside, but with a space to work without fear of detection or oversight, we can perform the high energy research that we've been missing since the targeted destruction of all our particle accelerators." Plasma weapons research would unlock magma bases for cheaper, faster, and less resource intensive manufacturing and otherwise be a base with unlimited energy. "More an equation than a device, the aliens have been using the energy of the plasma itself to keep their rounds contained. Indeed, this equation applies to anything hot enough that with even the tiniest paramagnetic imprint and like all equations, it can be reversed. With just the right starting conditions, we can turn the mantel of the earth itself into a nearly endless battery. The heat of the magma would power the internal cooling and anything else we can bring along. Those engineers have been asking me to find a way to run an arc furnace full time and I can honestly say I've outdone their request." And finally, an end game base when you research the drives powering the largest UFOs. "They have their base in the skies. It's time to make ours."
  3. 1 point
    I don't have early access but have been waiting patiently for X2 for a while. Every few months I dip back into the forums to see how much progress has been made. I don't necessarily say this in a negative way, but it sounds like a large number of changes planned for X2 have been replaced by exactly the same mechanics in X1, often after (maybe not as a result of) complaining on these forums. Things that spring to mind are base mechanics and air combat. Whereas I hoped X2 would be able to evolve X1 in some positive ways, it seems that is not happening. Rather it's going to be the same thing with better graphics. That probably suits a lot of people here, but I can't help thinking it could have been more adventurous.
  4. 1 point
    Hello! First and foremost - thank you for creating Xenonauts 1! When I first saw the screenshots my reaction was "oh my goodness, it's xcom but with ja2-level graphics! I got so tired of 90s 480px resolutions and bitmap fonts so I was so happy :)" Background: games I've played - ufo, tftd, ja2, wh40k chaos gate, new xcom, xenonauts 1, fallout 1 & 2 Ideas (I'm going to put some prefixes where's the main origin from idea): (JA2) ability to move while crouched, without standing up - IIRC the cost in JA2 was 150% of normal walking (JA2) ability to go into prone position and to crawl (JA2) when prone giving even larger accurancy bonuses / removing strength maluses from heavy weapons (TFTD / CG / JA2) melee lethal weapons - at least two kinds - machete/heavy drill for high TU cost->high damage; knife/smaller drill for low TU cost->low damage (JA2) ballistic weapon addons - tripods make sniper riles & MGs be more accurate when prone, but even more unwieldy (using more TUs) when not prone (CG) radiation grenades - hard radiation makes beings in 3x3 tile area take damage; radiation does not disappear - so think twice before nuking the only passageway (or maybe only cause little damage when passing, but larger when you end turn in one) (JA2) ability to have agent get into flat roof of a low-level building without powered systems (JA2 / CG) ability for "continued fire" for rifles - the model in JA2 (and in CG with Heavy Bolter) was that first shot costed more, as you'd draw the rifle and then press the trigger; drawing costed ~15% of TUs (like 3AP?), and firing ~50% (let's say 10AP?), but the following shots at the same target / target close not needing rotation of agent would cost only 10AP (the rifle would have been close to your face). So TLDR: first shot more expensive, more shots into the same area less expensive, as you keep doing the same stuff. (generic, configurability) faster turns, ability to turn off viewing "locals" (sometimes my turns in X1 are 0s of watching aliens that are hidden and 20s of locals crawling, running around - waste of real-life time) (generic, usability) when I lose vision of enemy during my turn, do not remove enemy's icon, but grey it out - otherwise it's putting strain on player's brain that should have been "please remember that this tile was observed to contain an alien" (I'm talking about a situation when in X1 you see alien, then turn around - there's nothing pointing out that enemy is still there what I consider confusing) (generic, personal preference) agent's field of vision configurable or disablable - let's say there are reasons I love sentinel armor :( (generic, personal preference) no hard time limit in the game / ability for infinite game if you manage to do so (i.e. to be so successful like in UFO/TFTD/X1) so that we can keep shooting down aliens and shooting the ground missions without being hurried to finish the game (this is contrary to the "mothership destroying LA" idea that's visible on this forum) Thank you for your work again! Would love to see X2 as even-better X1 with more stuff, just like JA2 was to JA1, or TFTD to UFO. So fingers crossed!
  5. 1 point
    @Solver those are great ideas. I notice that they mostly have an ulterior characteristic rather than being pure damage dealers. A lot of support-type actions. Although you've not got a healer in there, which seems the obvious choice, to me at least. Along that line of thought, a support-class alien could just be one that uses psi to buff friendlies or lower the stats of enemies. Anything from TUs to morale. If psi is the mechanism, then the alien doesn't need to be toting at gun. The Psions from Enter the Breach were just floating octopuses. @ApolloZani yeah those poisoned headcrabs were the worst. And by worst I mean best. Having an annoying enemy is good design - if it can get you really riled up but still want to play so you can smash them to bits. @Xeroxth fair point that the aliens aren't exactly making a covert war what with that giant death ray in the sky. I guess I'm trying to scope out what the feel of the game is going to be. XCOM:EU had the Etherials and their assembly of different races. XCOM2 had something like the storm trooper vibe. But I don't think X2 is going for either the zoo or the SWAT team. Like I said, I don't know what the vibe is, apart from cold war alternative universe. I use the term 'realistic' aliens to mean the type of aliens you would expect to see. Douglas Adam's Hooloovoo is probably the best alien I've ever heard of, a super intelligent shade of the colour blue. Great imaginative sci-fi and really, truly alien. But it'd make a crap enemy in a computer game. You need something that looks like it belongs in ground combat. Normally I'd be against a conservative recommendation, but in this case I think the aliens should be, for the most part, on the less extreme side of things. For the bread and butter aliens, just give them a few backwards facing joints, maybe a spine that doesn't form a straight column or a tail or something. But if you start filling the game with quadrupeds ... at some point it risks the feeling that you're fighting an invasion of horses or something. And for something like a crystalline alien, just think what it would look like fighting against a rock. I think it is important to remember the perspective of ground combat, it is a top-down view in a tile-based environment. That is how you see the aliens, so the really imaginative ideas kind of need to take a back seat to what is easy to animate in a computer game. Having said that, I think that for the special boss aliens, the ones that aren't clone-grown Earth-ready foot soldiers, the visual appearance should be really mind blowing. These would be the true extra terrestrials, with homes vastly different. These few could be the crystals or the AI mainframes or the gas clouds.
  6. 1 point
    The Geoscape is the central command and control screen of Xenonauts-2. It is here that the war against the aliens unfolds, with extraterrestrial units and UFOs appearing on the map to threaten the funding regions and you deploying your aircraft and soldiers to defend them as best you can. The goal for our changes in Xenonauts-2 is to give the player more choices and make the strategy map feel more reactive to what the player is doing. These are the systems covered: Invasion Balance & Reactivity Liaison Offices (Scientist & Engineer Recruitment) Orbital Bombardment Alternate Ending Other Mechanics Invasion Balance / Reactivity: The strategy layer in Xenonauts had a few problems that would show up when the player was doing well. The optimal way to play the game was to gain interceptor cover across the entire planet as quickly as possible, and once you had sufficient numbers of interceptors (assuming you kept them appropriately upgraded) spread across the world the strategy layer ended up being rather simple - the UFOs would spawn and immediately get shot down. One of the problems this caused was that the player would ONLY encounter crash sites from the point they gained air superiority. Almost all alien activity in X1 was driven by the UFOs, so shooting them down shortly after they spawn stops them from even spawning terror sites, creating alien bases or attacking your bases. Clearly, this doesn't make for a very interesting player experience and it's something we've addressed in X2 - the creation of some terror sites and alien bases is now independent from UFOs, so achieving complete air superiority will not lock you out from ever seeing those missions (in the final game ideally about half of them will be spawned from UFOs and thus preventable). The other problem was that long stretches of the game could be kinda boring when you were doing well. You gained Relations with a region by shooting down UFOs, and shooting down the UFOs also prevented them from damaging Relations - so any region where you had strong air forces would quickly trend up to max relations / funding and just stay there for the whole game. We're tweaking the way Relations (now "Panic") works and adding more strategic pressure from the Orbital Bombardment mechanic (see below) to try and balance this out. Finally, we're trying to make the alien activity more closely related to the player's actions. For instance, the aggressive UFOs on Air Superiority missions that will attack any of your aircraft that they encounter now possess squadsight, so they if you approach any other UFO within a certain radius they will light up their afterburners and attempt to protect it. Alien base missions now spawn resupply missions like in the original X-Com, and we plan to make alien base attacks more likely to be targeted at bases that house your most active interceptors, etc. In conclusion, we're aiming to make the strategy layer more interesting through a number of subtle improvements and balance changes that should collectively make for a much more engaging experience. Liaison Offices (Scientist / Engineering Recruitment): One of the larger mechanical changes to the strategy layer is the addition of Liaison Offices, which add a degree of territory control the strategy layer. Conceptually the construction of a Liaison Office represents the Xenonauts setting up an embassy / local command center to co-ordinate with the local region, granting permanent bonuses to both your organisation and the local region. There's about 25 of these in pre-set locations on the map, with 4 to 5 in each of the six funding regions. Construction costs $200,000 and takes 10 days. On completion, funding in the local region will be permanently increased and local Panic will be lowered, and a number of Scientists and Engineers will be added to your recruitment pool. This is your only source of scientists and engineers, so players will need to expand across the world to grow their research / engineering efforts. Crucially, you need to protect these Liaison Offices once constructed, as alien Bombers will frequently target them and attempt to destroy them. If they succeed, you lose your investment and will suffer a significant panic increase in the local region. Building a bunch of Liaison Offices you then can't defend is an expensive and potentially terminal mistake! Orbital Bombardment: Within a couple of minutes of starting the game, you'll learn that the Chief Scientist has discovered an unknown orbital object designated UOO-1. A few days later you'll learn that it is not friendly. The alien space station hovering above Earth is in fact an alien superweapon that will destroy a major city from orbit every 10 days, causing a large Panic spike in the affected region. Although there's nothing you can do to stop this, if the player is progressing through the campaign at a reasonable rate the orbital bombardment mechanic will not affect the game very much. The repeated Panic increases are balanced out by the passive Panic reduction that you now gain from completing important research, and the bombardment will always hit the region with the lowest Panic (i.e. the one furthest from surrendering to the aliens). The purpose of this system is to quickly close out games where the player has fallen behind and would eventually lose anyway. Thematically, it is intended to make the invasion feel more dangerous - even if you have complete control over the skies of Earth, the aliens will still be slowly bombing humanity into submission. Naturally, you'll get your revenge on the space station at the end of the game! Alternate Ending: The core storyline of Xenonauts 2 is learning enough about the aliens to figure out how to stop the invasion and destroy the orbital superweapon. Following a fairly straightforward research chain and winning a couple of unique story missions (an alien facility assault and a unique UFO assault) will eventually unlock the final mission, allowing you to save humanity and win the game when you've got an appropriately experienced and equipped squad to carry it out. However, the game will also include a second (better) ending that any player interested in reading the research text and learning about the aliens will probably achieve. It's not exactly going to be a hidden ending but it will require a bit more effort to achieve; capturing high-ranking aliens and reading research text will be a necessity. The idea here is that players can engage with the game world / lore as much as they like. If people want to ignore the research text and just blow up some aliens, that's fine - they can happily complete the game without ever knowing where the aliens come from or what they're trying to achieve. But I've done quite a bit more work fleshing out the aliens and their society / empire this time around, and if players want to take the time required to delve into that information they'll be able to engineer a better outcome. Other Mechanics: Some other smaller mechanical changes that don't warrant a multi-paragraph explanation have also made it onto the Geoscape: Panic: each region now has a Panic score rather than a Relations score. This doesn't change much except countries are lost at 100 Panic, rather than being lost at 0 Relations. Static(ish) Funding: regions no longer increase their funding as your Relations with them improve. Instead, any region not lost to the aliens gives you a set amount of funding each month. This funding is reduced by 25% if Panic is above 50, and 50% if Panic is above 75. Geoscape Agents: these are a simple strategic resource that will reduce current Panic by 10% when assigned to a region. I think there's scope to expand this system in the future, but we'd likely only look at this at the end of development. Tech Proliferation: completing certain research projects will give a global Panic reduction and equip the local forces with the appropriate equipment after a certain amount of time has passed. For example, once you've researched Laser Rifles you'll get an immediate Panic reduction and will see the friendly AI forces in terror missions etc start to use them ~30 days later.
  7. 1 point
    Some ideas for aliens that are, behaviour wise, a bit more interesting than "soldier with a gun" (of which you still need to have several types). Shield Drone. Something like the light alien drones, but stays close to friendlies, and can project a shield around a friendly alien in range. So you either fight the tougher, shielded alien, or try to first take out the agile drone. Heatlamp alien. No gun, but has a damage aura some 3 tiles around it, so it just damages all enemies within range, doing more damage if it's closer. Somewhat low damage overall, so it's not an instakill, but you want to get rid of these before they get too close. Dangerous due to their area of effect ability, their weakness can be low TUs or HP. Fire-using alien. Fire was very underused in X1. You can have an alien that, by itself or with a gun, causes fires, which would be fun due to the unpredictable spread of fires in some biomes, and generally being a completely different type of hazard. The second-form alien. Upon being killed, it produces a weaker form of itself, or splits into two smaller aliens, or something else along those lines, the idea being that it creates a new, smaller threat. Mobile shield robot. The alien version of your shield soldiers essentially. Doesn't buff anyone else, instead it's just a big shield that aims to stay between your soldiers and other aliens (probably said to be remote-controlled in-game). Unarmed, but with very high HP, requiring you to shoot around it or to take it down with concentrated mass fire.
  8. 1 point
    The air combat mechanics in Xenonauts 2 are another area of the game that have seen substantial changes throughout development. Way back in the original stages of the project the Geoscape was actually turn-based, so we had a turn-based air combat model to go along with this. We started properly experimenting with this once the Kickstarter was done and despite several iterations it became clear that the turn-based design we had was pretty bad and thus we reverted back to the X1 air combat model. Although we've added a few features to add a bit more variation, I still think there's potential for improvement. This is discussed in more detail under the following headings: Current Implementation Modular Aircraft Potential Future Implementation Current Implementation: We're currently using the air combat model from the first Xenonauts in Xenonauts 2. Some people really liked this air combat, some people really hate it, and I'm somewhere in the middle. However, the important thing is that if we are unable to improve on a specific part the original Xenonauts we should at least not make it any worse - so we're committed to the X1 model unless we can come up with something I think is definitely better. As there's a good chance the game will ship with X1-style air combat, I've looked over the mechanics and made a few changes to try and make things a bit more varied. For example, some UFOs now have shield bubbles on the map that absorb incoming damage, but you can fly your interceptors inside the shields to bypass them entirely. Some UFOs won't engage your fighters and will instead try to fly away from them while slowly gathering speed and peppering your jets with beam weapons capable of slowly rotating to track targets. Additionally, most of the UFO designs will be new. I therefore think the air combat will still feel fairly fresh to most players if we stick with this combat model even if the fundamental mechanics haven't changed a great deal. Modular Aircraft: The original Xenonauts had four combat interceptors with different capabilities and weapon slots. This setup worked, but I feel it artificially limited the freedom of the player and the lifespan of any given aircraft. Once your Condors became obselete and were too fragile to use in a dogfight, you couldn't for example convert them to carry heavy missiles and fight weaker UFOs at long range because they were physically incapable of doing so. Instead, you had to scrap them. In X2 we're experimenting with a setup where there are fewer interceptor types, but a wider variety of equipment available to them. Your starting interceptor type can carry any kind of weapon and can either be configured as a light fighter (capable of performing an evasive roll) or a tougher and more heavily armoured fighter that cannot roll. That way, it's possible to set the starting fighter up in either of the "dogfighter" (Condor) or "missile mule" (Foxtrot) roles from X1 - and the player can switch between configurations in a matter of hours if the need arises. More advanced interceptors have do have better base stats than the earlier interceptors and are superior to their older counterparts, but aircraft now have an armour slot as well as weapon slots and the early interceptors still have access to the same upgradeable armour as the advanced interceptors do. This means that even the starting interceptor remains somewhat viable throughout the game, because it'll become tougher as the game goes on. Honestly, we don't yet know whether this is an improvement - it's kinda cool to research and build a shiny new advanced fighter, after all - but it's easy enough to switch back to the X1 setup if we want. The feedback from people playtesting the game will probably play a big factor in which way we decide to go. Potential Future Implementation: I haven't entirely given up on the idea of finding a better air combat system. On reflection, I think our last attempt at the turn-based air combat failed because it was trying to do a very similar thing as the X1 air combat system, but doing it worse. Coming up with something fundamentally different is more likely to be successful. So, what are the aims for any new system? Each battle is relatively fast to play through The skill comes from playing percentages / weighing up the risks and rewards of different moves, rather than "twitch" skills like pressing a button with perfect timing To keep things varied, battles shouldn't always play out the same way each time even if the same combatants are involved Ideally, the system would allow pilot progression I'm currently experimenting with a system I think works quite well. The battlefield has 5 range bands between your interceptor and the UFO, and weapons have different damage / hit chance % at different ranges. All the player does each turn is issue their fighter a stance, the key ones being Close Distance, Fire Weapons or Evade, and this controls which types of weapons can fire - Heavy weapons only fire if you give the Fire Weapons command, whereas Light weapons can also fire while moving forwards (Evading prevents any weapons from firing). This system works because the UFO is made up of a series of modules with different effects and cooldowns, so the UFO does different things each turn. A UFO might have a powerful long-range main cannon that can only fire every three turns and a short-range secondary cannon that can fire every turn. It might also have a shield generator that provides a shield every 4 turns that dissipates over several turns. It might have a point defence weapon that destroys all incoming missiles, but takes 3 turns to recharge once it fires. Picking what action to take is mostly dependent on which systems the UFO has on cooldown that turn, and which systems your own interceptor has on cooldown. The nice thing here is that the player attack specific systems on the UFO (although this incurs an aim penalty) - e.g. if you think the shield generator is going to cause you problems, you could try to pick it off at the start of the combat with a long range volley of missiles. There's also a random chance modules suffer damage when you hit the hull of the UFO with a normal attack, which can change the way the battle plays out. There's also room for pilots that can level up with experience, because the weapons have hit %s and pilots could simply grant a +hit % bonus as they level up. Another interesting idea is that each UFO type might have several slightly different module configurations to increase variety, or that the modules on a particular class might level up and become more effective as the invasion goes on. Maybe a Fighter UFO with a Plasma Blaster isn't too dangerous an opponent, but once the aliens start deploying Advanced Plasma Blasters then those same Fighters suddenly become much more of a threat. The system still needs more iteration before I think about trying to integrate it into the game, but I'm going to keep working on it in my spare time. It's pretty quick to play but does still offer up interesting situations and there's some quite exciting ideas there (being able to shoot off specific UFO components, having pilots that level up), so if I can solve a few of the thorny design issues that still remain then perhaps the dream of an improved X2 air combat model will rise from the dead!
  9. 1 point
    This is the first hotfix for Beta Build V13, fixing a few bugs including those to do with signal uplinks. You'll need to be on the Experimental Branch to access the build. Changelog: The game should no longer crash when a signal uplink mission / aerial terror site is failed. UFOs will no longer incorrectly attack every signal uplink mission you construct. Instead, a mission will periodically spawn that will attack one of your signal uplinks. Aircraft armour now functions correctly again. Fixed a crash if you threw a gas grenade into a region that already contained poisonous gas (i.e. anywhere in the Icelandic Outpost map). Autocomplete researches like autopsies and UFO datacores no longer force a pop-up aftwards that says "no new research unlocked". Added research autopsy text for the Wraith, Reaper, Psyon Engineer and Sebillian Brute. Psyon Engineers now don't spawn until the second UFO type, and Sebillian Brutes don't spawn until the third UFO type. Corpse items and their research triggers have been rationalised a bit; there's now only one corpse item for each size of Pyson on the strategy layer. Fixed an issue with the Orbital Bombardment research art being incorrectly sized for the window. Please let us know if you encounter any further issues with V13, as I suspect there are plenty more bugs in there - I've just made these fixes because they were preventing a lot of players from getting very far into the game!
  10. 1 point
    The setting of Xenonauts-2 has needed to change a lot throughout development as the mechanics of the strategy layer have changed around it. The current setting of the game is explained below and forms the rules within which the game operates - as with the first game, we've made a big effort to ensure the game remains as internally consistent as possible! Alternate Timeline: Xenonauts 2 takes place in an alternate timeline to the original Xenonauts (and our own world). In the world of Xenonauts 2, alien interference in human politics ensured the Soviet Union never fell and the Cold War never ended. Start of Game: When you take control of the Xenonauts at the start of the game, the year is 2015 and the alien invasion is already underway. The extraterrestrials launched a wave of attacks on Earth a few days prior, causing only relatively minor damage but proving the various regional governments were completely unable to defend themselves against alien UFOs that were invisible to radar and equipped with devastating energy weapons. During hurried bilateral talks, the NATO and Soviet nations agreed that a single unified planetary defence organisation was required to co-ordinate humanity's war against the aliens (provided, of course, the other power was not in control of it). The obvious candidates were the Xenonauts, a long-forgetten extraterrestrial research organisation founded in secret decades earlier. This mysterious organisation had used an unarmed reconnaissance plane to conduct the only successful interception of a UFO during the first wave of attacks, gathering a wealth of data and sharing it with both superpowers. The Xenonauts are therefore formally appointed as the "first response" force against extraterrestrial attacks, with full jurisdiction to establish bases and operate military forces anywhere in the world. They are granted significant amounts of funding to expand their (initially limited) operations, and an esteemed military officer palatable to both superpowers is provided to take charge of the military dimension of the strategy (i.e. you). This is done on the understanding that the Xenonauts will share all research data with all participating nations. The Aliens: Little is known about the aliens at the start of the game, although persistent reports of extraterrestrial sightings have been circulating for decades and numerous suspicious instances of important politicians or generals abruptly changing long-held views to advocate military action against geopolitical rivals have occurred over the years. Once the invasion begins the aliens offer to spare any nation that surrenders unconditionally to them. At the start of the war, all major governments and civilian populations support the fight against the aliens - but if any region suffers too heavily at the hands of the aliens, they are likely to lose hope that victory can be achieved and surrender to the aliens. Iceland Incident: The Iceland Incident that led to formation of the Xenonauts was a political crisis that occurred in 1963. Officially, the discovery of a secret American missile base under construction in Iceland led the Soviet Union to mobilize an invasion force in an attempt to sieze the island before nuclear warheads could be deployed. A large-scale face-off between the American and Soviet navies almost led to a nuclear confrontation - but the situation was eventually deescalated when the Americans agreed to abandon the missile base and allow Soviet inspectors to verify the closure of the site. In reality, the confrontation was sparked when American engineers building a secret missile base in Iceland discovered fragments of an extraterrestrial spacecraft embedded in a nearby glacier. When the Soviet high command heard reports of this discovery, they assembled an invasion force - fearing that extraterrestrial technology might give their opponents a permanent advantage in any conflict. De-escalation occured when the Americans agreed to hand control of the artifacts to a jointly-established research organisation that would study the recovered technology and report to both sides. This organisation was known as the Xenonauts. The Xenonauts: In the end, less than half of the crashed UFO was ever recovered from the glacier and no sign of the extraterrestrials themselves was ever found. No major scientific discoveries were made as a result of the research work performed by the Xenonauts, and with no obvious signs of futher alien activity, the superpowers eventually lost interest. Undeterred, the Xenonauts continued to operate over the following decades (on ever-smaller funding) and developed several important pieces of technology that would prove invaluable in the coming invasion. The first of these was the inference radar; an extremely sensitive radar capable of tracking UFOs via the disturbances created by their energy shields as they moved through the air. The second was the X-24 Angel interceptor - a small reconaissance jet equipped with an small inference radar and designed from scratch specifically to resist alien weapons. When the invasion began, the Xenonauts were thus the only organisation capable of tracking UFOs and also possessed the only human aircraft that would not immediately disintegrate when hit by energy weapon fire. This proved enough for them to be put in overall command of the defence of Earth.
  11. 1 point
    Yeah, I broadly agree - although capturing a Sebillian alive so you can extract all its blood more efficiently is a bit dark :P That said there's only so many items that can be created. Adding a whole new screen where you can manage what happens to each alien individually and chop them up into different parts is a nice idea but I think is turning a relatively simple system into something much more complex, and really I'm not sure there's going to be THAT many different types of armour that the game can support. To be honest, it's probably already going to be a struggle to think up a useful item that can be extracted from every type of dead alien!
  12. 1 point
    Thanks for the comments folks. I think various users have raised valid points about the potential complexity the extra items will add to the game, as if taken too far it gets overwhelming and starts to feel like bloat (although different players obviously have different thresholds for this sort of thing). However, if carefully curated then additional content is going to make the game more exciting for everyone. Honestly, most of this stuff is just going to come down to playtesting - what looks great on paper may well fall down because, using the example provided by Ninothree, it might prove really tedious to have a couple of limited quantity rare weapons you have to switch around before every mission for some reason. Or it might not be any more difficult than situations in X1 when you didn't have enough Laser Rifles to go around. We'll only know by testing. Armour Undersuits: One idea that occurred to me that might help the situation is to add an additional class of armour - the undersuit / vest. This would work the same as it does in XCOM, where you have an additional "undersuit" armour slot which can contain a variety of different items that provide various defensive bonuses but do not change the art of the soldier (it'd just be another drop-down under the soldier armour dropdown). This would be cool because it allows us to add a few interesting ideas without messing about with the existing armour progression. For example: Nanothread Vest (+10 Armour) - 2 Alloys Medvest (+10HP per turn regeneration, automatically seals bleeding wounds) - requires 4 Sebillian Serum / 4 Sebillian corpses Nullvest (+50 psionic defence) - requires 4 Psi-Implants / Psyon corpses Chitin Vest (+25 Armour) - 4 Reaper Chitin / Reaper corpses etc None of those ideas are particularly original, but you get the point. Corpses suddenly have a bit more value than just being items to be sold, and after each mission you can craft a couple of additional items (if you want). I guess at that point it's not adding any extra workload to the player, just giving them more items to play with.
  13. 1 point
    This setting is good. Consistent and not contrived. It reminds me of a book, Footfall. Coming from space, the invading aliens have the height advantage so they can decimate any resistance; they hold the world hostage and demand subservience. The military has to pretend inactivity. Unable to launch their regular craft, Earth's fighters fly up on a ship powered by nukes exploding under a lead shell. The authors are really into their scifi weapons tech. The book has parallels in terms of the Cold War setting, and gradual research of the aliens, and a backdrop of a crumbling human society. Of everything in the original post, I think the Cold War setting is the thing that stands out. In fairness, I grew up reading Philip K Dick so am quite inclined towards that theme. A lot of those books leveraged the feeling of an unknown other against and this sense of impending doom. In my opinion, X2 would do well to draw on that theme heavily. There is some departure in this alternative timeline, in that both sides are still fighting in 2015 yet are joining up with the Xenonauts. This leaves me wondering how apparent it will be that both sides stand as aggressors in what would be a 70-year conflict (ongoing from from 1945). Are soldiers from both super powers really going to work happily, side-by-side, in the same bases? Surely there would be visible frictions internal to the bilateral funding body. And will there be elements of mistrust and espionage between the US and the Soviets? Maybe I'm stretching the idea farther than it needs to go here, but without engaging the theme, it seems a little shallow just to reference it for the sake of it. If nothing else, I'd really like to see more of what X1 did with the different art styles for the US- and the Soviet-aligned countries. Maybe have bases that are supplied by one side or the other adopt the corresponding aesthetic. So a site in the States would have guns branded with Colt - but somewhere out in the communist territories would be equipped with Kalashnikovs.
  14. 1 point
    I think @Sheepy said it best here, the random drops should be only for creating attachments to your weapons, armor upgrades, specialized weapons but nothing more than that. Most baseline weapons should only be crafted with Alenium and Alien Alloys. That will make a game session more varied and replayable as the drops are entirely random. Some more active examples: - Combat stimulants: give a soldier back 50% of his/her APs back for a 20% loss in health. Can only be crafted with Sebilian Serums. - Mind Jogger: a taser-like weapon that can cure mind control, single use only. Can only be made with a Neural Mapper. - Escape grenade: can be used with only a tiny amount of APs, let a soldier teleport to a random point on the map to escape danger. Can only be crafted with Intact Wraith Glands. - Heat bayonet: an attachment for your gun, a handy melee weapon when an enemy surprise you from a corner and you don’t have enough APs to switch to a shotgun. Can only be crafted with a Vibro Heater. - Air stabilizer: an upgrade to your Jetpack armor, allow your soldiers to shoot while hovering. Can only be crafted with Quantum Gyroscope. - Chameleon field: an upgrade to your armor, make you invisible for a single turn in a battle (I.e. cannot be shoot at by aliens in overwatch). Can only be crafted using Nanothread and a Ceasan Psychic Enhancer. This combined with regional/factional missions (to do favors for certain countries), could create a choice for the player to support certain regions based on the drops they give you as a reward and the exclusive weapons that needs those drops to be made.
  15. 1 point
    I for one like to rename my troopers, with the names of my mates, and friends which does give them a personal touch, and you can have a connection with these virtual people. For others this will not be important, but it is nice to have the option.
  16. 1 point
    more lore, alternative endings One thing that confuses me is that AAA games always seem to have a pretty weak story line. Sometimes it feels intentional, like they want to spend $$$ on the graphics but only pennies on writers. XCOM2 did a good job of crafting a scenario to fit the gameplay (i.e. guerrilla fighters), but the story line was not at all compelling and didn't drive you to discover things through research. This is not to say that the X1 story line should've won the Booker Prize but the way the story was delivered was interesting, almost neo-noir (yes, I did just look that up). I really like the idea of burying something in the research reports, so you as the player/commander actually have a role in reading them and putting two and two together. For the research structure and equipment tiers - this sounds a bit more like a skill tree for an RPG or something. So each campaign you can create a different 'build' (but if you have the patience you can unlock every upgrade). On that point, I think it is preferable to go down the route of a research-based skill tree for the squad, rather than a perk-based skill tree for each soldier. In terms of the engineering upgrade projects - that better reflects the reality of R&D / R&T. As a suggestion, could this involve live alien captures? Speeding up the project by getting info on advanced tech through interrogation. In line with the above (about creating a tech-based build for each campaign), such games usually involve some kind of crafting or grinding to get the optimal equipment. I think linking actions in ground combat (e.g. captures) to progressing tech would make both aspects of the game more rewarding. Ideally, I love to see some elements of 'snatch and grab' missions, where you specifically target the aliens with heavy weapons, loot their corpses, then leg it before you get pwned.
  17. 1 point
    Hello everyone - it's been a busy month here at Goldhawk, and there's a lot to talk about in this update! Marketing & Communication: One of the main things we've been working on is how we can keep you guys better informed about our progress. I'm therefore pleased to announce a new face is joining the team to help us out on this front - Paul, who you will see posting under the name "nervous_testpilot". I've known Paul for a long time now, as he was originally one half of Mode 7 Games (who made tactical games such as the Frozen Synapse series and Frozen Endzone) who I leaned on for a lot of useful advice back when I was developing the original Xenonauts. Since then Paul has moved into the publishing world and has published various smaller games under the Mode 7 brand, such as Tokyo-42 or The Colonists. He's therefore the perfect person to help out by handling our marketing, sales and communications work so I can focus on getting the game finished. What does this mean for you? I've written some updated posts that outline what mechanics are currently in the game and what is planned before release (similar to the threads we had up during the Kickstarter) which will be unhidden early next week. We're also aiming to have project updates every two weeks focusing either on the development progress that has been made or diving down to analyse a specific new mechanic in more detail. The Steam page and our website is going to be updated with fresh media, and we'll start monitoring the Steam forums and posting our updates there. You should start to see a bit more coverage about Xenonauts 2 in the news media once we announce our Early Access date, and in general we'll be taking a more active approach towards telling people about the game. If anyone is particularly keen on Discord, we're setting up a Discord for the game where the updates will also be posted (although the forums will remain the primary community hub). If anyone wants to join that, the link is here: https://discord.gg/fG4Xr6q Gameplay Improvements: What have we been working on over the past month in game development terms? Lots and lots of things. Let's start by talking about artwork, because we're making progress on several fronts there. One of the things I feel is important is to replace some of the placeholder art that people encounter early in the game. We've got new background painted art on the Research and Engineering screen (as well as updated character art), and we've also had some additional art painted up for a couple of the early research projects. One specific painting that represents the Orbital Bombardment mechanic (i.e. a space station vaporising a city from orbit) turned out pretty well, I think! We're also working on the designs for the new UFO. We've reverted to the X1 style of UFOs, but we're not planning to just re-use the old designs. The Probe UFO shown above is just a revised version of the old Light Scout from the original game, but most of the designs diverge more heavily than that. Again, I think new artwork goes a long way to making the game feel fresh and interesting even if the fundamentals remain familiar. Finally, I've spent the last couple of weeks talking to some external artists about improving the visual appearance of the ground missions in X2. Although these experiments are still at an early stage, it does seem like we can make some substantial improvements to the visuals by changing our texturing style (the ground textures in particular could be improved a lot). We'll have to see how things progress, but some of the test scenes are looking really nice - with a nice X1-inspired handpainted feel, but with a more "high-res" 3D feel. Let's hope we can translate that into the game in the next few months! On the coding side of things, we've spent quite a bit of time getting the new UFO hull-hiding system set up in the ground combat. This is the system from X1 that makes the walls of the UFO disappear when you see the interior of the UFO, giving the "cutaway" feel. This is a complex system at the best of times, but we're also trying to incorporate destructibility into these UFOs in a similar way to the X1 Fire in the Hole! mod (essentially there are specific breach points on the hull of each UFO that can be blasted open). This work still isn't finished, but things are going well so far and we're hoping we'll be able to start work on the final UFO models in the next week or two. We've also been working on a number of smaller systems. We've set up the systems for night detection on the Geoscape, so the game will load a night mission if the Geoscape night shadow is over the mission site (all the night missions mechanics are still subject to testing). We've done a bunch of work on the soldier equip and dropship equip screens to improve the usability there. The anomalies / events spawned by UFOs as they fly around the map now contain the full variation of text that we have in X1, but now also have biome-dependent tags so we can disable events like forest fires or shopping malls being strafed from happening in the middle of a polar region, etc. I personally have spent most of my non-management time working on the threads about our plans for the game and the research text for the plot research, which so far is 12 research reports / plot-related pop-ups. There's probably another 5 or 6 optional research projects that I need to write that will unlock an alternate ending (for people who like reading research text). These form the foundations of who the aliens are and their capabilities and intentions, which then feeds into all the other research text. I'm aiming to get the early game research text done in the near future so the first 10-15 researches are all properly written up - again, I think it's important that the initial content is in place even if the entire research tree isn't written. Builds: The build I promised in the last update hasn't yet materialised, largely because the ground combat maps are in serious flux at the moment. There are several big changes happening to the levels are the moment which means I'm not that keen to spend time on our existing maps, as there's a good chance I'll have to throw my work away shortly: The biggest one is updating the designs and sizes of all the UFOs once the "hull hiding" system is in place. It's likely that the UFOs end up being significantly bigger, which will affect all the maps and require a redesign. I need to run through all the maps and re-export them to set them up properly to support night missions (as each map now has settings that define whether it can support a day mission or a night mission). Until I do this, no night missions will work. The visuals are potentially subject to some serious upgrades, which will probably also mean the level design will change. Finally, we need to set the maps up to support multiple possible UFOs and dropships that are spawned in at the start of the mission depending on what happened on the Geoscape. At the moment the dropships and UFOs are baked into the maps (a legacy from the days when we only planned one dropship) so if we want to support another dropship we need to make a copy of every single map where we swap the Chinook out for the new dropship, which is way too much work to be worthwhile (this is why the advanced dropships are currently disabled in the tech tree). Hmm, having written all that out, I realise now it probably makes more sense to release the next build as soon as possible using the old maps while they still work - because it's going to take us a while to work through all that code and make all the new maps! Maybe we will try to put out a new build in the next week or so then. I'll have a look into how feasible that is this afternoon, although it'll still feature the old UFOs in ground missions and the night missions won't function, etc. Anyway, that's more than long enough - there's lots going on here even if I'm not paying much attention to the forums right now!
  18. 1 point
    As an Beta-Tester I can say: The most of that implementations could be tested since the last Betas. And they give Xenonauts 2 an hughe improvment against Xenonauts 1. The already implemented Features workes fine. The new implemented ones (Tech Profileration and Geoscape Agents) will be tested in Beta 13 now as well the bugfixed / reworked implemented Features should work finer now. I personaly like this new Geoscape-Features and hope to get more with eventually DLC´s.
  19. 1 point
    The base mechanics in Xenonauts 2 have seen a lot of change since we first started developing the project. Our original plan was to have a single side-on base that housed only a single dropship (much like the modern XCOM games), but after experimenting with that setup we found it left the strategic layer too barebones. We therefore transitioned back to the classic X-Com / Xenonauts base mechanics with multiple bases and dropships etc. The base mechanics in the first Xenonauts were already perfectly servicable, but we've also carried over several of the mechanics we had experimented with when we were using the 2D side-on base. We therefore have a number of new mechanics already implemented into the game that we could use to improve the base screen, we just need to experiment with them to see if they actually make the game more interesting. We also have a few more ideas for things we could add to the game that might make the base mechanics more interesting overall, which we'll be looking into during the playtesting phase. The following systems are explained below: Power System Structure Personnel Slots Stores Capacity Further Ideas Power System: Most people will be familiar with the idea of a power system from XCOM or other games that involve building a base - certain structures generate Power, and you need enough available Power to construct a building. This system is already in the game and fully functional. We'll be evaluating this system as development continues. I'm not sure it adds much to the game right now, but it could be quite interesting in conjunction with some of the systems below (notably the Personnel Slots). If having to manage Power just ends up being annoying, we'll probably disable it for the final release. Structure Personnel Slots: The personnel slot system allows you to assign staff to specific base structures to increase their effect - for example, assigning an Engineer to a Generator would cause it to generate more Power. This system is already in the game and functional, but is currently disabled. The main issue with this system is the complexity of the UI required, as displaying a base with an overlay that shows which buildings have what staff assigned to them (and possibly also the power consumption) proved very cluttered, Anyway, system is potentially interesting because the player does not have access to an unlimited number of scientists and engineers like they did in the first Xenonauts, so choosing to assign them to a base structure could be quite a significant choice. Each slot can also cost power individually, so assigning a Scientist to a Radar might increase the range of the radar by 10% but also cost an additional 10 Power. The question is really whether we can find enough interesting bonuses on different rooms to make it worthwhile to support the extra UI. Again, we'll be evaluating this system as development progresses - it's already set up but we need to be sure that it's actually making the game more interesting, not just more complicated! Stores Capacity: The original Xenonauts had bases that had unlimited storage space, but in X2 we are introducing the concept of storage capacity. If you want to store large amounts of equipment at a base you'll need to build a large base store. This feature is mostly implemented already, we just need to set up the code that forces you to sell items if you go over your store capacity (there's currently no penalty for doing so). There's rather less in the base stores in Xenonauts 2 compared to the original X-Com, though, because ammo and many basic items are unlimited in quantity. But I think it could still add to the gameplay experience, particularly if coupled with some of the ideas listed below (e.g. the low-grade alloys, etc). Further Ideas: These bullet points represent systems that are not currently in the game, but are ideas we are actively considering implementing or experimenting with: Building Adjacency Bonuses: a simple adjacency system that provides bonuses when you placing buildings next to other buildings of the same type would make the placement of structures in your base a more interesting decision, and probably wouldn't be too hard to implement. If handled well I feel like this might be biggest upgrade we could do to the base! Radar Ranges: the X1 system of being able to increase radar range by stacking up to three Radars in a base was a bit strange. Having more than one type of radar building with differing ranges, sizes and power consumption and then using only the highest range Radar in each base would probably be more interesting (this would also allow us to lock the most effective Radar structures away in the research tree). Resource-Generation Buildings: tying specific Engineering projects to base structures is an interesting idea, for example building an Alloy Forge base structure would unlock a repeatable Engineering project that allows you to construct Alien Alloys using only money. Expanded Recovered Items: tied to the newly limited storage capacity, it might be interesting to add bulky recoverable low-grade alloys / alenium to crash sites, which cannot initially be used but can either be sold for profit or could be processed by your Engineers into usable alloys / alenium. Not only would this give your engineers something to do in the early stages of the game, it'd also make it worthwhile to have plenty of storage space at your base!
  20. 1 point
    I honestly don't think that adjacency bonuses are going to work very well in X2. The reason they work so well on FiraXcom is that you only have the one base - ever. Therefore you have strong competition for space between the different room. In X2 I can build a new base, name it "FACTORY" then proceed to build all the workshops I'll ever need and reap the rewards of multiple adjacency bonuses. In fact, with X2 you might want to consider adjacency maluses so that if people want to build a factory or a lab complex they can, but the overspecialization in a base carries its own dangers.
  21. 1 point
    Anyway the problem with several generations of fighters will still exist while the next generation is better than the previous. Just make a look at it as a new player who knows nothing about the game yet and knows nothing about all these generations so he cannot plan his progress in the game in advance. He starts playing, finds that he needs fighters, invests money in them (a lot of money probably) and then... Get a new generation, boy! You invested money in the wrong thing! You are an idiot! Try again maybe? If it was one basic fighter with further upgrades - there wont be such a problem. At least the game should inform player in some way from the start that there will be new generations of fighters later. And maybe let players actually sell old fighters for 50% of their price instead of just removing them without compensation.
  22. 1 point
    The air combat section of Xenonauts 2 has gone through a number of iterations over the past few years, and with the project approaching Early Access we've taken the decision to switch to (an upgraded version of) the realtime air combat mechanics from the first game rather than pursuing the alternative turn-based model I've been experimenting with. I'll explain the reasons for this change below, but let's start by discussing the realtime mechanics and the planned improvements. Realtime Mechanics: We're already working on implementing the realtime air combat mechanics from the first Xenonauts and we're hoping to have them in the next major release (V8). This will also include various supporting strategic systems such as the ability to manufacture advanced aircraft on the Engineering screen, many of which require some extra work now the "classic" base update changed the way Hangars worked. The goal for V8 is therefore to literally have the air combat from the first Xenonauts in the second game as a starting point to test our improvements. We'll probably chuck the same planes and weapons in the game with the same stats, and fit them into the tech tree in roughly the same place, and do the same for the UFO stats. This will make it easier for both us as the developers and you as the community to spot missing features or things that aren't working properly, and it also ensures that the strategy layer has reasonable balance / progression to allow us to test the new features we're planning to experiment with in future builds: Interceptor Components: on the Aircraft screen there are additional slots for new types of equipment that did not appear in the first Xenonauts (armour, engines). One of the main things I want to experiment with is to have fewer types of interceptor but more possible upgrades, making the tech tree more interesting ensuring each type of interceptor can potentially stay relevant for longer. As an aside, it might be interesting to give each aircraft type a Power stat and have the various weapons, engines and armour types draw a certain amount of power. So even basic aircraft can still use highly advanced equipment but can support less of it than the more advanced fighters. Also, if much of the cost of an aircraft comes from its components rather than the aircraft itself, we could re-implement permadeath for the aircraft itself but make most of the equipment recoverable when a plane is shot down. Clouds: these would provide cover on the battlefield and the amount and position of them would be randomised each battle. The idea is that combatants can move through clouds freely but they would block the fire arcs of weapons (and missiles wouldn't make course adjustments while flying through them). Hit / Evade Chances: this an experimental change we're going to try, where combatants have % Evade scores and weapons have % Accuracy scores and Evade modifiers. The Evade roll will no longer be manually triggered and will just play an evade animation (without moving the plane laterally) when an Evade occurs. We'll see if this improves the game and if not we'll return to the old system where weapons would always hit if in range. The % Accuracy on weapons is somewhat required if we're going to add Pilots to the game, as the obvious thing for pilots to do as they gain experience is provide an Accuracy bonus to their weapons and an Evade bonus to their interceptor. The same is true for upgrades like targeting computers or so forth; in the old X1 air combat there's just not many variables to play with and that limits the equipment and upgrade choices we can give the player. Relative Battlefields: in X1 the boundaries of the battlefield are set at the start of the combat, but in X2 the boundaries will always be a fixed distance from the main UFO. This will allow us to set some combats up as a chase where the UFO is trying to get far enough away from your planes to push them off the edge of the map, while peppering your pursuing interceptors with fire from a rotating turret weapon (or relying on their escorts to cover for them). It's not a huge thing but in X1 literally every UFO would just turn and fly towards your interceptors so it'd be nice if in X2 some UFOs tried something a little different. Special Equipment: we'll also likely be experimenting with some other types of equipment that weren't in X1, such as turret weapons that are capable of rotating their fire arcs, or shields. Not sure how many will provide practical but we've got a few ideas! The main intention of these changes is to add a bit more variety to the air combat. One of the problems in X1 was that a combat featuring a particular UFO versus a particular combination of interceptors would almost always play out the same way every time, and there's a few things we can do to mitigate this. The addition of clouds means that the battlefield itself may cause the tactics to be different in different battles, and making weapons use % hit rolls should also ensure a bit more variation (e.g. a combat may play out quite differently if a long range volley of missiles at the start of combat scores 4 hits compared to if it scores 2 hits). Depending on how the combat changes play out, I think the strategic side of the air combat may also become more complex and interesting. In X1 you were continually building steadily more advanced planes and getting rid of the older models once they became irrelevant, but if specific aircraft gain combat experience through a pilot system and are also more upgradeable than before then I can see more interesting choices becoming available to the player. Do you replace your experienced starting interceptors as soon as a better interceptor becomes available, or do you give them some upgrades and keep them around? Or just play aggressively with them until they get shot down, and then replace them? Etc. What happened to the turn-based air combat model? Up until V7 the game featured a turn-based air combat model. The plan was to add increasing complexity to this turn-based system until we got something that was complex enough to be fun, but was ideally a bit faster-paced than the X1 air combat and used a more similar skillset to the rest of the game. The tun-based air combat in the public builds never got to the stage where it became fun. After the last iteration it was obvious that air combat needed proper 2D unit movement (rather than just 1D moving forwards / backwards) if it was to be interesting enough to support the more complex strategy layer that Xenonauts has compared to XCOM or classic X-Com. With overly simple air combat not only are the interceptions more boring, there's also less scope for research and UFO behaviour on the rest of the strategy layer too. Unfortunately, when we set to work implementing this it became clear that trying to handle complex 2D movement in a fast-paced way was going to be impractical in a turn-based system. Obviously asking players to issue orders to all of their planes every few seconds wasn't an option as every combat would take hours, so we instead developed an "automated" move system based on auto-calculated moves towards your target enemy unit (or movement waypoint). We were hoping it would provide a realtime feel while retaining the turn-based system under the hood, but in practice it didn't work well - it was difficult for the user to understand what was going on and it didn't feel as natural or responsive as the X1 realtime system. This is a bit of a shame, as the turn-based system we had planned had been paper prototyped and worked rather well as a board game. But if the fundamental building blocks of the system don't translate well onto the screen, there's point pursuing it further - it seems like we've taken the turn-based model as far as it could go. The best thing to do would just be to pluck out some of the interesting systems and merge them into the X1 realtime system. I certainly think there's some scope to do this. Ideally, I want to try and minimise the amount of time players have to spend pausing / unpausing to try and pick the optimal split-second to do something (like rolling their planes to dodge incoming fire), so making Evasion auto-trigger on a % roll may help a lot here. Adding more variety to the air combat in general should also improve the experience and replayability for everyone, and new ideas such as clouds and the interceptor components actually work equally well under the old X1 realtime system as they do in the current X2 turn-based system. Conclusion: When development began I couldn't see many improvements that could be made to the X1 air combat, which was one of the reasons I was reluctant to use the same system - I felt like I'd be serving up exactly the same thing all over again. After all this experimentation I'm now pretty sure the air combat can be improved, and it's just a question of whether we can improve things a little (by adding clouds, relative battlefields etc) or if we can improve things a lot (by getting hit chances / components / pilots to work). Perhaps if I spent a few more months working on the turn-based system we'd make some kind of breakthrough ... but the game is now approaching Early Access and we need to make a final decision on what system we want to use because the uncertainty is holding back the strategy layer. It's a pretty simple decision; the X1 realtime system currently works better than the X2 turn-based system does, so we'll be going with the X1 system. Anyway, I'm sure some people are going to be very happy with this change and I'm sure some other people will be a bit disappointed. I can understand both viewpoints, but really the most important thing here is that a decision has been made and in the next build we should be able to start balancing and properly playing the strategy layer. Hopefully that at least is something everyone can get excited about!
  23. 1 point
    I regularly check these forums but rarely post; this thread’s title did make me take notice though, because I’ve been thinking along the same lines for a while. I bought into the earlier bold ideas for X2, and although they may have eventually proven to be unfeasible, I do feel a bit disappointed every time something is “rolled back”. Still, I’m sure Chris and co. will make something awesome. I suggested some ideas a while back for X1 that didn’t make the cut, but in the spirit of positive contribution, will throw them into the hat again My main idea is to have a new mission type where you’re exclusively controlling local forces. The situation could be something like an allied military bunker is under attack by aliens. There’s not enough time for the Xenonauts to get there, but there’s a radio link set up so you (the player) can command the local forces. Imagine controlling a large team troops armed with basic weapons (rifles, shotguns etc.) against a horde of Reapers. It could lead to great Aliens-esque missions. The odds of your team all getting wiped out are high, but in contrast to regular missions, it’s not a game over / rage quit situation if that happens. There are a lot of ways in which you could use this kind of a premise. Maybe if your troops hold the base’s hanger for x turns, then your main Xenonaut troops turn up as reinforcements and take the fight to the enemy. Or if the aliens take the radio room then you lose contact and it’s mission over. Basically, I think this could be a way of mixing up the gameplay as a sequel arguably should, and adding more variety in a way that hopefully isn’t a huge burden from the development side of things (i.e. it would use existing assets such as character models). Separate to this, secondary mission objectives that crop up unexpectedly (e.g. rescuing a civilian and carrying them back to the chopper) would add more variety to core missions too. I made a huge list of options in a forum thread what must have been literally years ago, but can’t find it now!
  24. 1 point
    To be honest, I suspect both I and a lot of people in the community would be disappointed if we don't deliver a game that improves on the gameplay of X1 as well as the graphics. We'll also be doing our best to include features that mean a lot to small groups of people - e.g. good mod tools for the modding community, large font mode for people with bad eyesight / small monitors, etc - but we're also going to be improving the core gameplay experience too. The majority of players just play the vanilla experience so we can't rely on tuning the more specialist things.
  25. 1 point
    Both those things sound like you're asking for proximity grenades ... in which case, yes, we're planning to put them in the game. The idea I'm currently quite excited about is giving the player access to more fun tools that semi-break the game, and then use Alenium to limit them. Essentially Alien Alloys are required to build most types of advanced tech, but certain powerful technology also requires Alenium to use. Each recovered Alenium cell is basically a mini-reactor and isn't consumed when used, but you're limited by the amount of Alenium you can recover from the aliens. For example, if a Laser Rifle uses one Alenium and you've got two Alenium in the base stores, you can only take two Laser Rifles on any mission. If you build Predator armour and that also requires one Alenium to use, you've got to drop at least one of the Laser Rifles if you want to use a Predator suit. There's also a less powerful variant of most things (e.g. Wolf armour) that doesn't require Alenium to use but lacks the potentially unbalanced features. This means you can do some cool stuff without totally unbalancing the game - which was my big worry in the first game when thinking about adding "cool" tech. Maybe one of the armours grants the wearer the ability to instantly teleport into any (squad-sight) visible tile once per battle. Pretty powerful, right? But is it more powerful than a personal shield generator? Or a motion detector? Or a laser rifle? You've only got limited Alenium so you can't have it all. This feeds into the research choices too - is it really worth spending time adding an extra charge to the teleporter pack, even though only two of your troops can use them at any given time? Would it be better to research improved Wolf Armour so everyone has a slightly better chance of surviving the next plasma bolt in the face? Of course, there's a risk that in a few months I might have shelved the idea entirely - but hopefully this gives an example of how I feel we can make the game quite different without actually *fundamentally* changing the rules like we would have to if we made all the characters unique.
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