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  1. Greetings all, A little preface here on relative skill level: The issues I want to talk about get more obvious and more of an issue the better a player is, hence this preface. This is sort of an inverse of "Get gud". However, it may appear I am asking to make the game easier in general, that is not the case. I would like the game to be harder if anything, but at the end where it makes sense for it to be hard and not at the beginning where it doesn't. More on that later... A note on my own skill level: I've completed pretty much every decent strategy game on the hardest possible difficulty, that includes games like: XCOM (The originals, terror from the deep excepted as I never got into it), XCOM (The Remakes), Jagged Alliance (even the awful reloaded one), Panzer General, Peoples General, etc. Also, some hard realtime stuff like EUIV (One-tagged the world), Shogun II total war (Impossible Ironmanned it), etc. I also have a youtube where I do hardest possible turn based Ironman campaigns, though that is mostly battletech. If your interested in that or simply want to verify, you can find it at www.youtube.com/TheEdmon and I hope you enjoy it :). My two key issues with XCOM type games are thus: 1) In the early game no-one seems to know there is a war on and it determines everything. 2) Win-More, Lose-More gameplay. The early game: Most of these turns based games are won in the first 6-10 hours and the rest of the game is just a walk to the victory screen, provided you don't make some critical mistake. But if you are winning hard enough, early enough, the odds of a critical mistake drops: 1) You win early missions with no losses and get more stuff. 2) So you have more money to expand, upgrade and research faster, with no losses to replace. 3) You are powering faster than the difficulty curve due to the above and can afford more coverage (when applicible). 4) You win more easily, due to your powering, which leads to less/no future losses and more money. 5) The cycle repeats, with your A-Team carrying you to the victory screen often without any losses at all. Dont you know there is a war on? The early XCOM game has this weird tone, situational as well as gameplay issue. You start off weak, barely any better or the same as a standard military of the time period. Then the game pretends like other militaries don't exist or are unable to mount even the slightest defence. So, where you are and what coverage you can get early is all that matters. This means that (often randomly), the game is determined by how much of the early hostiles appear near you (so you can deal with them) and is a race for you to power up as quickly as possible so you can protect the earth. The game balance revolves around this, making it so that you can get more ahead very quickly because you are 100% of the force being exerted against the aliens. That 100% can be vastly different between a good player and an excellent one, let alone a weaker casual player. You are totally and 100% critical in the early game, so balancing that early game becomes very difficult. I have always thought a good way to solve this problem would be to have the player be more like 10% of the force in the early game. NPC Military, coverage, airforces, etc. So what if we do this instead: 1) NPC's have military bases, airforces, coverage just like you do. 2) There is a lot more alien activity in the early game, but NPC militaries can barely handle it. The scramble interceptors, shoot down hostiles, airstrike, etc. 3) You can place your base to try and protect a country with a weak military, like africa, or place it where activity is high to protect a stronger NPC so they are useful for longer... The early game then consists of a world at war against the aliens and actually holding it's ground. You are there, to shoot down what appears in your general area, steal technology, go on missions, etc as usual. But you are not 100% of the fight, more like 10% of it. Of course, as the game goes on, your technology improves and so does the aliens. But your human allies do not. So in the mid game, they start to lose and some very badly: 1) You can see NPC bases and interceptons getting crushed. 2) Gaps appear in earths defence, relations sour. 3) It becomes clear that you must fill in the gaps, protect your allies, etc. You can afford to make the general alien presence that much more, when there is a lot of NPC defence around to handle it. Taking the pressure off the early game. In the late game: 1) NPC presence is all but gone, now it's all down to you. 2) Difficulty can be much higher 3) You've had time to put coverage in place, but the pressure you are under can also be higher than in a normal XCOM like difficulty curve. In conclusion: The early game matters too much, player skill level cannot effectively be balanced for, due to the snowballing effect that is caused by the player being 100% of the force against the aliens. The tone is also odd, where is everyone else, don't they know there is a war going on? My thought is to try and shift this to the mid game, while also fixing the weird lore and tonal issues. What do you guys think?
    7 points
  2. This version is outdated, see announcement for 0.35 instead. Version 0.34.3 of Xenonauts: Community Edition has been released. Installation (Windows Steam users): Switch to the Community branch in Steam by right-clicking on Xenonauts, selecting Properties, going to the Betas tab and selecting Community. No access code is needed. You can enable/disable mods in "Modding Tools" in the game launcher. You can revert to the standard official game by switching back to the NONE branch in Steam. Installation (other users): 1. Download the base mod and the mod package. 2. Launch the old version of the game, install the base mod using Modding Tools. Alternatively: extract the base mod into assets/mods/xce, overwriting everything. 3. Exit the game launcher. 4. Run the new executable from assets/mods/xce. It should display the version 0.34.3. Using this launcher, go to Modding Tools and install the mod pack. Say Yes when asked about overwriting mods. 5. You can now play from assets/mods/xce, or optionally copy the files to the main game installation folder. What is the relation between X:CE 0.34.3 and Xenonauts 1.6x? The official Xenonauts releases incorporate some features/fixes from an older X:CE version, and some have intentionally not been included. X:CE 0.34.3 should contain all relevant Xenonauts 1.6x fixes and new features. If you already play X:CE, there should be no advantage to switching to Xenonauts 1.6x. X:CE 0.34 can read saved games from Xenonauts 1.5x or Xenonauts 1.6x, but Xenonauts 1.6x cannot read normal X:CE 0.34.2 saved games. Switching option saveCompatibility in assets/gameconfig.xml to "gh15x" before running X:CE should produce saves in a format that Xenonauts 1.5x or 1.6x can read (keep the option as "xce" for normal play, otherwise some new X:CE values may not be kept in save files). Note that Xenonauts 1.6x may still be unable to load such a saved game if it includes objects it doesn't know (e.g. researches from the Lore+ mod, or incendiary grenades from X:CE). Changes from 0.34.2: This version has some stability improvements and updates to the bundled mods. System The game is now large address aware. This allows better stability / performance with very big mods. Sound effects are now stored uncompressed in memory. This only uses a bit more memory but should significantly improve sound-related stability problems, such as freezes due to ambient sounds and similar issues. Bug fixes Corrected loading of psionic defence values in saved games. Fixed the delete button in the modding tools with relation to the Steam Workshop. Prevented a freeze during ground combat if a map with a bugged door is encountered (door that opens into a wall). Fixed loading of some saved games that get corrupted by having incorrectly "cloned" planes. When retaking Xenonaut bases is enabled, fixed problem of that not applying to undefended bases. Fixed some UFO loot in the Furies mod. Modding In config.xml, a variable has been added (MeleeVehiclePriorityModifier) to tweak the priority with which melee aliens attack vehicles. The default value does not change gameplay. Modded Xenopedia screens can now display more information about combat armour suits. Included Mods Xenonauts Fix Pack by Policenaut has been updated with multiple fixes, with credit to Charon. Tropical and Swamp tileset - updated from version 1.6 to 1.61. This version is significantly more stable.
    7 points
  3. With October over, it's once again time for our monthly update. The big news this month has been the release of Closed Beta V22, which is a fairly significant upgrade on previous builds. This is currently only on our Experimental branch but I think it'll be making its way to the main / default Steam and GOG branches in a week or two when it has had a bit more testing. We've done three hotfixes for this build since it was first released and there is a fourth due out shortly that should iron out the most serious remaining bugs we're aware of. Our priority for V22 has been to improve opening hour or two of the game, which we've done in several ways. The first is to establish the game setting more clearly right from the start of the game, which we've done by adding a short text intro that is played when you start a new campaign. Some of you may remember that we've set Xenonauts 2 a little before the alien invasion properly begins, with the player first having to deal with the Cleaners and transition from being an intelligence agency into being a military organisation, and this is the clearest way we could think of to explain this to the player. Of course, we've also put some further lore and explanation in the first Research project popup that the player gets (which I rewrote for V22). The second thing we've done is to continue to improve the visuals. The new UI visuals for the loading screen and strategy topbar have been added to the game, and all the Xenonauts are now using their final 3D models in the tactical combat. Another cool little detail is that we've added a lot more hairstyles to the 3D models, so now a soldier in the ground combat will change hairstyle and colour to (roughly) match the hair shown in their soldier portrait - something that took a surprisingly long time to implement, but makes your starting squad much more distinctive from one another. The visual updates to the tactical mission environments continue too, with the Polar biome getting some attention this month. I'm pretty pleased with how it's looking now - it's very clean and readable, but I think it also looks pleasant in an unobtrusive way. We'll be moving onto the fourth Biome (likely the Dock) next month. Thirdly, we've added another dozen maps to the game. There's a lot of Raid missions in the early part of the game, but there was previously only one Raid map per biome. There's now three Raid maps per biome which means there's way more variety in the early missions, something that will improve further once I set up the new mission types in the early game in the next major build. Finally, I also did some more writing / rewriting. I worked on about 10 of the early game research projects and either wrote them from scratch or rewrote them from what we already had. Anyway, all that content generation has been quite time consuming to do so I think that represents good progress for this month. I'm taking a couple of weeks off in November (it's a long time since I've had a break) but I'm still expecting a decent amount of progress to be made and hopefully we can get V23 out before we break for Christmas!
    6 points
  4. 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!
    6 points
  5. So, first thing to say - our Kickstarter will not be launching today (4th May), and is going to be pushed back a couple of weeks so we can finish up the video and the Kickstarter page. Things are progressing well but there's a few key assets that we want finished before the launch, as it'll make everything look a lot more professional - and I will of course keep the forums updated when we settle on a specific launch date. However, if you're interested in hearing about the Kickstarter then please make sure you're signed up for our mailing list. We very rarely use this list, but we'll be sending out a notification about the Kickstarter several days before via the mailing list and then sending another notification when we press the button and set the Kickstarter live! We're going to have an internal team meeting next week to discuss the draft page text / reward tiers, then later that week we'll be revealing more information to the community and asking for your feedback. A couple of major points of interest from the the last month: We've released what is possibly the final version of the free public combat builds (V0.23.0) on GOG Galaxy. We've fixed up a lot of the gameplay and stability issues and assuming nobody encounters any major issues, we'll be using this build for the free Kickstarter demo. It'd be great if people could test this because it would be nice to find any bugs before it goes out to the whole world! We've released a load of information on our planned changes and improvements in Xenonauts-2. These choices may continue to change and evolve during development, but those threads are fairly good guide to how the game will look in the closed beta - and then we'll think about further changes or expansion based on the community feedback from that. Onto general development news - things have continued to progress well, as we're predominantly working on adding content to the game these days. Although it breaks frequently because it's so complicated, the work on the merging of the strategy layer and the ground combat is largely done. Missions are loading the correct maps in the correct biomes with the correct combatants and equipment, and the correct items are being recovered and experience and health of your soldiers is now being tracked back to the strategy layer. What we're doing now is starting to add the various types of alien to the game and giving them their various different weapons and special abilities. Some of this has been rather straightforward, but other equipment / alien abilities requires new code to support the way it interacts with the game mechanics so is going to take longer - we'll probably be working on this in the background for another couple of months. We're also working on making the maps load the crashed / landed variants of UFOs correctly, which is kinda complex because the UFOs now have to support destructibility, but I think we'll have that working in its basic form soon enough. The strategy game also has all of the major mechanics in place now too - the base, the interceptors, the research / engineering projects, the soldier equip screen, etc. What we're concentrating on now is making small changes to existing mechanics to make the game play better - e.g. tweaking the Agent Actions, enhancing the new interception system, etc. The gameplay experience is steadily improving as time passes but it's certainly not ready for public consumption yet! There's a lot of places where the game is still lacking, but the biggest two issues with the gameplay are challenge and content. The combat AI is incredibly basic and doesn't present any real challenge to the player, which makes it somewhat difficult to balance the gameplay. The other issue is the lack of maps and differentiation between the aliens; it's possible to play a single mission and have some fun but we can't support a proper campaign until we have a good variety of maps and all the different variants of alien to fight against. These are two of the big areas that we'll be focusing on in preparation for the post-Kickstarter closed beta. We'll post more details up about the closed beta once our Kickstarter preparations are out of the way. There's lots for me to do so I'm going to get back to work now, but thanks for reading and I hope we'll be seeing you again when the Kickstarter launches!
    6 points
  6. X - Division New Dawn V 1.00.10 for 0.35.0+ XCE We are in the sky ... We are on the ground ... We are a paramilitary organisation ... We have the best of the best - with some personal issues here and there. Real characters as you say nowadays ... We do everything, from stealing to protecting transports, smuggleing weapons for those who can pay for it. We destroy organisations if the price is right and provide safe routes from A to B, even through hell if it has to be ... Sometimes we also do some good guy stuff, but dont ask for it, except you can put enough money on the table ... Our people are unhonorable discharged veterans or geniuses who dont feel quite valued in their former organisation. Some average guys as well who are attracted to the way we do things ... but honestly they have to be a bit crazy to be hanging around those guys ... say us ... ... everybodys a bit crazy here ... We have been hired by some wealthy individuals who think we can save the earth and believe in our methods. This group has put their faith in us ... and most importantly, their money. I guess it is time to do some good guy stuff again ! Whats my spleen ? World Domination ! Everybody ought to have a goal, no ? But if these aliens do as they please there will be nothing left to rule over. What is yours, commander ? Welcome to X-Division ! The Team Drages - Lead Modder and Art Manager Charon - Code Manager Draku - Debugger and Tester Sfarrelly - Writer AI Advisor and XCE Support - Kabill, Solver, Ilunak Dedicated Testers - Phoenix1x+52, Marandor1 Support - Max_Cain, Kabill Special Thanks - Nuclearstudent, odizzido, Xany, Squaddie Perseus, Woz2, asierus24, Blackwolf, Reactorcore, Alienkiller, CherryCoke, XCOMJunkie, Brandon, Maera, Trueman11 Special Thanks to Content Contributors: Max_Caine, the XNT team, Axiomatic, Pandi, Svinedrengen, Z01, We are thanking Chris for a wonderfully modable game and all the experience we could make because of this What people say about X-Division "Before all of this, the aliens were fighting seriously with jokes, then we gave them actual weapons and now they are fighting seriously, jokeing about you" - Drages "Your blinking dots on the hull look so awesome that its the first time i actually looked at the UFO in over 600 hours of gameplay time" -Charon Table of Content 1. Game Overview 1.1 Game Details 2. Questions & Answers 3. Installation 3.1 Latest Patch 3.2 Troubleshooting 3.3 Linux Installation Advice 4.Known Bugs 5. Some things before you start 6.Credits 1. Game Overview X-Division is a complete overhauled game experience, featuring an vast amount of different enemies to capture, a new and improved, aggressive AI, 288 new weapons including katanas, 9 vehicles and 3 mechs and 13 sets of armour. New revised Aircraft game , crafted by me which builds and extends on the existing aircraft mechanic and polishes it to the extreme. New mechanic, hit and run tactics, new alien weapons and more .. so totally not what drages planned :). 22 new aircrafts from which 5 are alien interceptor to recruit and 48 aircraft weapons. Enemies feauture different armor resistances, different strenght points and weaknesses. Every alien race is good and bad in and against something and you better find that out quickly before its too late, commander. Terror and base attack missions will happen frequently and will be of importance all the way to and in the end game. Captureing aliens is immensly important in this mod as it will open up all the vital and better tech for you. Unique specialists you can only capture at terror sites, crash sites or base attacks. Special UFOs with a special goals which carry special units into battle. Special Officier Units for every phase of the game to capture to give you that special research boost you need. Aliens will adapt to your style of playing with different strategies of aggressive overwhelming force. " Every phase will have their own weapon branches. Ths branches will be mostly energy or ballistic based. Addidition to this your arsenal will make updated versions we call as MK in the mod. You will get the MK 1 versions as prototype and easy. For MK-2 versions, you will need to capture alien specialist and for MK-3 ultimate versions you will need to get specific things. Vehicle Weapons, Grenades and Explosives will have updated versions too. Special UFOs with a special goals which carry special units into battle ! UFOs with their own puposes and missions. You will see huge ufos for terror and base attacks, nearly impossible to stop at the air. You will see shuttles and special cargo ships along others. You will see any kind of ufo nearly at every phase with their upgraded stats, weapons and crew. Near endgame, you will see the real force of the Alien menace with the all mighty dreadnought and motherships." - Drages An detailed manufacture and disassembling system for alien weapons, grenades, UFOs. A chance based, incredible intrigues, complex research tree featuring around 900 xpedia entries and lively maps with civilians and local forces appropriatelly equippted. All of this over 4 balanced Phases over the game presenting a long and hard journey to menkinds destruction or, temporary, survival. It is in your hands, commander. 1.1 Game Details Weapons and Ground Combat Aircraft and Aircraft Gameplay Manufacture, Research, Xenopedia Maps, Graphics and UI, Miscancellous Picture Gallery 2. Questions & Answers 3. Installation 0. The base vanilla version has to be 1.65+ . 1. To avoid complications unsubscribe to all other mods on steam, and delete your your whole mods/.. folder. Then make a fresh install of xenonauts. X-Division 1.00.00 is not compatible with earlier versions. 2. Install the latest XCE version. For windows steam users right click on Xenonauts in your library > Porperties > Betas > community - Xenonauts: Community Edition branch For GOG/linux steam users follow the latest installation instructions here: http://www.goldhawkinteractive.com/forums/index.php?/forum/23-xce-release-announcements/ Linux steam users will need to run X:CE through WINE or a similar program. 3. If you downloaded the steam workshop support mod install it now. This is to show some support but has no other purpose than that. 3.5 Start up the game at least once and exit it properly. 4. Download all 3 parts of X-Division 1.00.00: Download ( Part 1 MD5: d46af869d5435a9c425d51acd1442897, Part 2 MD5: c57b4fb563ca419c9e455f0908701fe9 , Part 3 MD5: c8ca596b39d920e45a9a45fc71611892 ) 5. Deactivate your ANTIVIRUS/UAC program, it can intervene with the installation. As soon as the installation finishes you can activate it again. Have all 3 files together and open part 1 ( = unrar the multi rar archive ). Double click the .exe file. Follow the instructions of the installer. Winrar or Peazip have been confirmed to work. 6. The advanced installation has some options to choose from, namely: There are some optional mods you can activate/deactivate. Lets go through them one by one: 1. X-Division Easy Airgame/X-Division No Airgame There are 3 ways to play the airgame, 1. Manual 2. Autoresolve 3. No Airgame . No Airgame removes the necessity to play the airgame and replaces it with a 1 click solution. With No Airgame you only have to build the latest fighters and bombers and hit autoresolve. If you quickly want to jump into the Ground Combat this is the option of your choice :). Note that this tilts the balance in the favour of the player and is not representativ of the economic balance of the game. Recommended state: ON if you want to skip the airgame. 2. COM - Ambient Sounds/COM - Ambience Forest This mods add ambient sound and add the least amount of instability to the game - it still makes the game more unstable. Recommended State: OFF if you dont want to risk a higher instability for beautiful sounds. XCE 0.34.3 should fix the instability. 3. COM - [V1.08] Jsleezy's Real Fighter Portrait Pack Adds alternative soldier faces to the game. Deactivate Khall´s more Portraits if you are using this to avoid art inconsistencies Recommended State: OFF if you dont want to play with more realistic faces. XCE 0.34.3 should fix the instability. Checklist in case you want to change something later on: You only have X-Division Workshop Support if you subscribed and installed it from the steam workshop The modloader needs to be EXACTLY in the priority order the installer sets it. The modloader needs exactly this active mods. The mods you can still change after the installation are No Airgame, Khalls and Jeezlies different portraits ( only one active at a time ), both Ambient sound mods ( either active for ambient sounds or deactivated for more stability ) and the No Click sound ( removes mouse click ). You shouldn`t play X-Division with any other mods than stated. Only cosmetic mods are allowed and only if you know exactly what you are doing. Keep in mind every savegame is unique to its mods its saved with. 7. Apply the latest available patch - 3.1 Latest Patch section ^^. Every patch contains all prior changes as well. 8. Installation video by Mulligan/LeEdgyMemeKing if you need more help https://youtu.be/Jwwn9bU6y10 - Mulligan https://youtu.be/l439koiq0_8 - LeEdgyMemeKing 3.1 Latest Patch ( theres a patch history in the third post - with downloads ) Notes: X-Divison has gone the step to replace vanilla files. There has been an original file added for every replaced one in case you want to deinstall the mod. In case of doubt make a reinstall of the game or verify game integrity through steam. Before applying patches withdraw all scientists and engineers from their current projects. You can reapply them afterwards. You only need to download and install the latest Patch avaialble, it contains all prior fixes as well. The .00 to .01 patch is savegame compatible As a basic rule, never patch during Ground Combat Installation: The Base for this patch has to be version 1.00.00 or higher. This update is not available for versions lower than 1.00.00 . Download the X-Division 1.00.01 Update: https://www.goldhawkinteractive.com/forums/index.php?/files/file/31-x-division-latest-patch-09945/ ( MD5: 489d03269506927ae5981dbb0de816be ) Deactivate your ANTIVIRUS/UAC program(s), it can intervene with the installation. As soon as the installation finishes you can activate it again. Start the executable provided in the file. Follow the instruction of the installer After you have used the installer there is no need to change ANYTHING anymore, everything has been taken care of, including scripts, modloader priority, and everything else you may think of. The only time you might want to change something is if you are activating/deactivating No Airgame or change the soldier models. Enjoy . For reference, this is how the modloader can look like after the installation, plus/minus optional mods on/off. DAY X Unofficial WiP Version 1.00.11c "New Dawn" Notes: X-Divison has gone the step to replace vanilla files. There has been an original file added for every replaced one in case you want to deinstall the mod. In case of doubt make a reinstall of the game or verify game integrity through steam. You only need to download and install the latest Patch avaialble, it contains all prior fixes as well. The .10 to .11c patch is NOT savegame compatible. If you want to make it savegame compatible you need to make a backup of your researches.xml, run the installer, and immediately copy your backup over the new file again. You will miss out on the fixed researches but you can continue the campaign. As a basic rule, never patch during Ground Combat Installation: The Base for this patch has to be version 1.00.00 or higher. This update is not available for versions lower than 1.00.00 . Download the X-Division 1.00.11c Update: https://mega.nz/file/lYwRBaZJ#Nu7Vt08i0LHEV2FqOTX9uCM9sVSHXoEl_Bee_3M_XqM ( MD5: e852cdedc43f0c7b6aaa4f4c60300601 ) Deactivate your ANTIVIRUS/UAC program(s), it can intervene with the installation. As soon as the installation finishes you can activate it again. Start the executable provided in the file. Follow the instruction of the installer After you have used the installer there is no need to change ANYTHING anymore, everything has been taken care of, including scripts, modloader priority, and everything else you may think of. The only time you might want to change something is if you are activating/deactivating No Airgame or change the soldier models. Enjoy . Changelog: DAY 978 Unofficial Version 1.00.10 "New Dawn" The .01 to .10 patch is NOT savegame compatible. Installation: The Base for this patch has to be version 1.00.00 or higher. This update is not available for versions lower than 1.00.00 . Download the X-Division 1.00.10 Update: https://mega.nz/#!dQQwCQRC!gzlksCzX9l91PAJfViyyAyXzd_VN0weUL1X5GZmeuvU Link ( MD5: f82bbe1f12c7e97a7b86c7ec3de19e11 ) Deactivate your ANTIVIRUS/UAC program(s), it can intervene with the installation. As soon as the installation finishes you can activate it again. Start the executable provided in the file. Follow the instruction of the installer After you have used the installer there is no need to change ANYTHING anymore, everything has been taken care of, including scripts, modloader priority, and everything else you may think of. The only time you might want to change something is if you are activating/deactivating No Airgame or change the soldier models. Enjoy . Changelog: You did it. Welcome onboard, Commander ! 3.2 Troubleshooting This mod is %98 stable. If you got any weird problems like aliens without guns, strange visual errors, game crashes, they should be about wrong install or mod loader issues. Be sure that you got X:CE, X-Division and X-Division Patch is installed and then come to our topic with your save game and we will help you. Sincerely yours, Drages I think i got a bug, can you help me ? If you want some help, make a bug report or think that something is not the way it is supposed to be, add a full screenshots of your whole modloader and your savegame ( geoscpae only ). I cant get the 3 multirar files to work, any help ? The first step to troubleshoot this on your own is to make sure your files are the correct ones. Generate your md5 sums of all 3 files and compare them to the official ones provided with every download. If they are the same, you got the correct data files. After that its just making sure all 3 files are in the same spot and open the first one with either WinRar or Peazip. Why does the first start take so long to load ? Thats normal. X-Division is quite a big mod so loading all of its ressources takes time. Help ! I cant click on anything in the geoscape ! Hotkey are working though. Make sure that everything is the way it should be and then: Simply start up the game, go straight to new game, start a new game, load your current save, save it, exit and restart the game. This should now be fixed. The top part of this Cruiser does not get transparent. What do i do ? You change your view option by pressing the button right beside your inventory one. Cycle through until you find one that works lets you see inside the UFO. 3.3 Linux Installation Advice We know that linux users love to tinker endlessly in order to get their software working, and we dont want to take that joy (and countless hours ) away from you. But if you are struggling and want to get some advice into the right direction, here it is. You will have to start XCE through a windows compatability layer, WINE or Proton for instance The installer might not work for you, because it expects Windows variables you dont have. The assets.7z contains all the X-Division data you need, and you can copy and overwrite your vanilla assets folder with it. You will need to manually rearrange the mod loading order. Section 3.1 should have some pictures how that should look like. Find the linux equivalent of %APPDATA%/Goldhawk Interactive/Xenonauts/internal/scripts and delete the scripts folder once after step 3.5. You propably know better what i am talking about than i do, because i dont keep track of 10 different distros and how they handle stuff. People have reported that that should lead to a working version, mostly depending on how well the windows compatability layer handles the sys calls. You can now celebrate that you have a working game on linux :). 4. Known Bugs ( at least until the next patch ) Units can spawn outside map tiles in base attacks - If that happens make sure you did in that mission what you wanted to do, then save and exit. Start the game with the Xenonauts_gc_editor.exe in mods/xce/... and load up your save. Press "V" to kill every non xenonaut unit. Save and exit and continue to play like normal. 5. Some things before you start 6. Credits A big thank you from the team for being such an awesome community. You made it possibly that we are able to release the final version of X-Division now. I especially want to thank the team who made it possible and accompanied X-Division through its various stages of development. @Solver Who is totally not a member of the X-Divison development team. I want to thank you for giving the much needed code support and all the new and fantastic features X-Division players are capable of experiencing now. Without him the growing of the game would have already stopped when custom Terror UFOs wouldnt obey the Terror Site Intervall. He made it possible that passionate modders can do what they do best, while silently removing obstacles from the back. In honour of your service i grant you the title of "External X-Division Teammember" @drages The main developer and creator of X-Division. Without him all of this Insanity would have never started. He had the vision, made the plan and strifed to fullfill it throughout many years. It is only because of him that we can finish this game today. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. @DrakuOne of the oldest members of X-Division. He did most of the grunt and testing work during the most active development cycles. Aint no Palace without somebody to actually do the work. @sfarrelly The string guy. He wrote most of the research preview entries. If you know what you are going to research than it is totally because of him. @Phoenix1x+52For doing the total insane hercules task of playing through the game from A to Z. He tested everything from the working things to the not so working things and recorded everyhing for sake of me examinating every pixel in the recordings. That X-Division is in such a bug-free and balanced state is mainly because of his work epic. He has been supporting X-Division through all its stages ( hm, installer ) and has been a loyal friend to the end. Many Kudos to you. @Maerafor giving moral support and a lot of enthusiams for new maps. @Marandor1 The second tester in command. He tried his hardest to convince me to make the game more fun than me trying to make it challenging. You can judge for yourself if he succeeded. @SvinedrengenFor making some good maps. and ofcourse ... @community for all the advice, suggestions, support and love that you gave for the game. Without you the journey wouldnt have been worthwhile. You created, enriched and made the game into what it is today. Thank you for being there on this journey. I will see you in the game . Thank you for everybody who i didnt mention but was still part of this journey. A big thanks to @Chris for making Xenonauts. Enjoy ! The next three posts were the continuation of the OP, please take a moment to glance over it.
    5 points
  7. With June complete it is once again time for our monthly update. There’s three main things to talk about: accessibility, the end of the game, and the release of V24. Accessibility: We recently noticed that a lot of players were misunderstanding game mechanics, and given the people currently playing the game are Kickstarter backers who usually know the first game well this set some alarm bells ringing at our end. As a result we've added a lot more information to the game this month, which should help experienced players easily understand how the different mechanics are interacting and should (hopefully) make the game much less intimidating for new players. The first element of this is a "hit calculation" panel in the tactical combat, which explains exactly how the hit chance of a shot is calculated (see above). This is a relatively simple change that makes it much easier to understand the ground combat, as it previously wasn't always obvious what you could do to improve the hit chance of a shot. The second improvement is to the Xenopedia (research) reports, which now show the stats of the corresponding alien / UFO / aircraft / piece of equipment / etc. To make things even clearer, we've also added in a section for "abilities" that allows us to explain any unique properties - e.g. the basic Sebillian aliens have the "Regeneration: 20" and "Scaled Hide: 5" abilities and hovering over either of these displays a tooltip that explains exactly what those abilities do and how they work. The result is a clear summary of what each thing in the game does. Importantly, this does not require the player to read the wall of text that comes with each research report - although lots of players like reading the lore, I suspect there's also a lot who would rather not have to! As a final improvement here, we're also working on making the Xenopedia accessible in the tactical combat via the Esc menu! Next, we’ve added mission briefings at the start of tactical missions that make it clear what the objectives and any special rules / alternate win conditions are. Previously this wasn't required because almost every mission boiled down to "kill all the aliens" but now we've started adding more mission variety via more complex objectives it is definitely needed - we were finding a lot of people were getting confused on the non-standard missions. Lastly, we’ve re-enabled the loading screen tips and added quite a few new tips. These are surprisingly useful to communicate minor gameplay or usability features that even some experienced players are not aware of. What comes next on usability? The two main things we're currently planning out are the tutorial and little pop-up notifications that explain mechanics to players as they play (e.g. you can right-click on a door from an adjacent tile to open it, etc). I'm hopeful the game will be fairly easy to learn and play once those systems are done, given our tooltips are already in a reasonably good state! Operation Endgame: We've been working on the final mission of the game for a while now. Last month I blocked out the maps and we did the fundamental code required to support two missions back-to-back. This month I was doing proper gameplay testing on the mission which has led to a lot of bugs being fixed and quite a few amendments to the levels and the balancing. Anyway, it's now possible to unlock the final mission and win it. However, we want to make the experience of winning a game slightly more rewarding than it was in the first Xenonauts, where the game just flashed up a couple of lines of congratulatory text and then booted you back to the menu screen. We've been implementing a campaign stats panel to show the player (e.g. "Total Aliens Killed", "Total Soldiers Lost", etc) and I'm also planning a more substantial epilogue to the game too. Build V24 / Public Release: We're hoping to release our next closed beta version towards the end of this month, likely some point during the week commencing 18th July. The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that the things we're working on at the moment are some of the biggest things blocking an open beta / Early Access release (people need to be able to understand the game and win the campaign), and this is not entirely a coincidence. I'm not going to publicly announce any plans yet but we're making a concerted effort to get the game ready for sale soon. Perhaps we'll have some dates to announce next month. Thanks for reading!
    5 points
  8. Hello everyone - apologies for this update being a little late, I had a couple of things I wanted to finish up before I started telling everyone about them. The first thing to discuss is public builds, and the fact we haven't released one recently. We've been working on a couple of big systems that required a significant campaign rebalance once implemented, some systems that required UI updates, and we've also been working on the Cleaner missions that happen right at the start of the game. Anything we put out before that work was finished would have been almost unplayable. Hopefully the next public build will be coming in about two weeks - but with all these changes, I'm expecting it to need several iterations on the Experimental branch before it becomes a better gameplay experience than the most recent V22 build! The first big change we've been working on is the Armour system. For simplicity, we've now unified the armour system in the tactical combat and the air combat so Armour is a flat reduction on incoming damage (e.g. 30 damage hitting a target with 10 Armour does 20 damage). However, there's a wider variety of armour penetration and armour destruction on the various weapons in the tactical combat compared to the first Xenonauts, so the player is now presented with more decisions about the best order to use their attacks. We've added a new grenade that inflicts limited damage on units but is excellent at removing terrain and shredding armour, and we'll be experimenting with armour-piercing ammo for ballistic / Gauss weapons this month too. These armour mechanics have also been applied to the Air Combat, along with quite a few other changes. I've done another balancing pass on the air combat because Xenonauts 2 has added a new type of weapon to the air combat - the energy lance (alongside cannons, missiles and torpedoes). Previously this weapon type lacked any real individual identity and part of the rationale for the armour changes was to give all four types of weapon their own niche: Cannons are short-range, high DPS (damage per second) weapons with 40 ammo. They do low damage per shot so armour reduces their damage significantly, but they also shred armour relatively quickly. Cannons will kill most things but require you to get in close and stay there, which can be very dangerous against UFOs with powerful weapons. Missiles are long range and high damage weapons, but only have 4 ammo. They do excellent burst damage so are great at destroying unarmoured UFOs (e.g. Fighter UFOs) before they can attack you, and can also quickly kill other types of UFO if another weapon is used to strip the armour off them first. Torpedoes are long range weapons with excellent armour destruction, but only have 2 ammo and are slow and easily avoided by agile UFOs. Hitting an armoured UFO with torpedos will quickly strip away its armour and leave it vulnerable to other types of weapon. Energy lances are medium range weapons with medium DPS and good armour destruction, and 15 shots. They act somewhat like torpedoes, but trade a shorter range and a slower rate of fire for more ammunition, more versatility, and the ability to hit agile UFOs. In addition to this, there's been two other major changes to the air combat. Firstly, there is now a "deployment phase" at the start of the air combat where you can set your interceptors up anywhere around the edge of the map, allowing you to group them together or split them and approach the UFO from multiple sides. The type of tactics you want to use are likely to vary based on the type of UFO and the fire arcs of its weapons (and whether it has weapons capable of attacking multiple interceptors at once). You don't get to deploy freely if UFOs on an air superiority mission attack you, however! Secondly, I've reverted the change where interceptors are always built in squadrons of three. We're back to the original system where aircraft are built individually, and our new approach to balancing the air combat is that UFOs gain some additional HP and Armour for each additional interceptor taking part in the battle. It's still advantageous to send more interceptors into battle against a UFO, but this just gives the player more flexibility in their approach - a single well-equipped advanced interceptor can often now be just as effective as a full squadron of three more primitive interceptors (the latter was almost always better in X1). The convenient lore explanation for this is larger squadrons are more easily detected as they approach the UFO, giving it more time to power up its emergency shielding and prepare for combat. I'm aware this doesn't 100% make sense, but I think the gameplay benefits are worth it. The other significant new mechanic has been the introduction of the morale system in the tactical combat. This a similar system to the first Xenonauts but has a few improvements to make it easier to understand and interact with, and hopefully to make the alien psionic abilities feel less random. There's also now a "Focus Mind" button that allows a soldier to spend TU in order to boost their morale, which gives the player a way to defend themselves against potential morale events or psionic attacks if they want. The problem here is that our current tactical UI design has been straining under the weight of all the new mechanics and UI elements we've added since we implemented it 2-3 years ago, and having to add Armour / Morale bars and this new Focus Mind button has been the final straw. We've therefore been working on the final tactical combat UI design that brings the visuals up to final quality and properly integrates all the new stuff. This is a massive job because it's one of the most important and complex UI elements in the game, but I think we've found a layout that works well - it displays more information than the current UI does and uses less space to do it! This post is getting really long now, so I'll just mention a few more things in passing - the Cleaner missions at the start of the game are now a pre-set sequence of four missions with some unique mission objectives to mix things up a bit (as opposed to randomly generated missions that filled a meter that eventually revealed the Cleaner base) a few more screens have had a UI facelift, a few more 3d civilian models and alien armour models have been created and are waiting to be rigged, and we've created some stone ruins to add a bit of variety to our jungle maps - and I'll just leave all the smaller things out entirely. So we've been busy, and we're working on a lot of big things. Apologies for the lack of public builds but when the next one eventually arrives, I think you'll all be impressed by the progress!
    5 points
  9. As November draws to a close it's once again time for our monthly update. This month we've mostly been working on turning the experimental builds of V22 into something ready to be released on our main Steam / GOG branches. This has involved a total of 6 hotfixes, which might be a record for us! Anyway, V22 is now out. This is the first major update on our main branches since March (sorry!) and I think anyone who hasn't been playing on the Experimental branches is in for quite a treat given how much the game has changed since then. The reception to the V22 Experimental builds overall has been very positive, both in terms of comments and the pattern of play that we're seeing from users. Part of the reason that we released so many hotfixes for V22 was that many of our testers have been playing much further through their campaigns than previously, so they're encountering bugs in areas of the game towards the end that haven't yet been tested (or balanced) properly. A couple of the late-game UFOs had broken teleporters that meant you couldn't actually complete those missions, for example. It's very encouraging to see that people are already able to spend 5+ hours playing a campaign, when we as developers know we've still got a lot of improvements left to make. There haven't been too many new features added this month. The coders have been busy fixing bugs and I was off for a couple of weeks on paternity leave, so there's not been too much time. Nonetheless a few pieces of new content have arrived - a couple more research projects have been written up, some new terrain tiles have been added and more destruction states set up on existing tiles, various corpse art for the aliens has been done, and a little bit of new UI art has arrived. We've done quite a bit of work on 3D characters this month too. Now the Xenonaut models are complete, we're working on the final high-quality 3D models for the local civilians in each map. This is quite a big job as there's probably about 30 different clothing items that need to be modelled and combined in different ways to give us all the variants we need to have realistic-looking locals across the many different biomes in our game, but the progress so far is looking good. We're also starting to work on the rank / armour variants for various aliens, which we want to look a little more distinctive than they did in Xenonauts 1. We've now finished the Psyons and will be moving onto the Sebillians next. The one new code feature we spent some time on this month was trying to make controlling multiple soldiers easier in the tactical combat. We've done this by setting up Spacebar to accelerate unit movement - pressing Space while a unit is moving causes them to finish their move pretty much instanteously. Pressing Space when a unit isn't moving causes the game to mark that soldier as having finished their turn and automatically select the next nearest soldier that hasn't finished their turn (of course, you can re-select "finished" soldiers manually if you want). Once all the soldiers have been marked as finished, Space will end the turn. You can now play through a turn relatively quickly if you want, which can often be useful towards the end of a mission. That's pretty much it from me. With December including the Christmas holidays we'll be having another truncated month but with V22 done I'm hoping we can get some cool new features in for you guys to test in January!
    5 points
  10. Hello everyone - with August now finished it's time for me to write the monthly update. I know it's been a long time since our last release but we've been hard at work on Closed Beta V21 and we're planning to release it this week (hopefully in the next few days). The biggest new feature in V21 is that we've implemented the final visual style for the Main Menu / Game Settings screen, and all the related sub-panels (Settings, Load Game, Save Game, etc). We've been working on this new UI style for quite some time now, and it's nice to finally be able to put it in the game - but there's also been a lot of time an effort spent on improving the usability and general polish of the screen too. This includes everything from adding support for mass-deletion of save games to adding new UI sounds. Overall, it's a much more slick and stylish experience and it should make a much better first impression when you first boot up the game. We'll continue to roll this new UI style out to other parts of the game as development continues. We've also worked on a number of things that haven't really made it into V21, but will be arriving in V22. We've updated the early game so the war against the aliens starts a couple of months into the game, and you begin the game fighting the infiltrator faction called the Cleaners who are intent on suppressing knowledge of the alien invasion. Because the Cleaners are spread across the planet and have numerical superiority over the Xenonauts, this allows us to have mission objectives that don't make sense when you are fighting the aliens. For example, wave survival maps, VIP escort / assassination missions, extraction missions, objective capture, etc. Some of these should arrive in V22 and make the early game a bit more varied and exciting! More work has also been done on the visual side of things. The updated Xenonaut models aren't quite ready to go in the game yet but should be fine for V22, and we're now working on modelling up a series of hairstyles for them so your units are more varied and easily recognisable. Work also continues on the tactical combat environments. The final visual pass on the Western Town tiles is now mostly complete (one of the biggest environments due to the number of different buildings in it) and we'll put them in V22, after which we'll move onto some of the other environments that need some visual upgrades. There's also been some work on wall destructibility, as once a tile is visually finished we can do the final destructibility setup on it and then put it in the game as a finished asset. The wall "frill" system is designed to ensure destroyed walls have a natural-looking irregular edge (rather than the perfectly straight-edged hole you get if you just remove the wall). However, we also don't want these "frills" floating in the air if there's no adjacent wall for them to attach to, so we needed to do some work detecting whether there was a suitable wall on either side and only placing the frills if so. Anyway, the important thing is that our destruction system should now be finished, which allows us to start doing the final destruction states on all of our finished assets. We also implemented a couple of smaller tasks this month too - difficulty settings are now complete, and there's a number of options we have to customise difficulty. However I've not done this yet because I've not balanced the full campaign yet and I think tweaking difficulty levels needs to be done once I'm happy with the "standard" difficulty. The other new system is directional sound, which is intended mostly to allow us to play sounds when certain things are on screen (fire noises, the noise of engines running on vehicles, etc). Again, this is just useful for making the game feel a bit more alive. Finally, we've made a start on the soldier dialogue / barks system. This is a simple system that generates (non-interactive) text dialogue from your soldiers based on things that happen on the battlefield. As a basic example, a soldier might say "I'm hit!" if they are shot by an alien. We're hoping to implement that in its basic form next month with some test dialogue to see if it's a good addition to the game (there's potential for it to be annoying if we get it wrong), and we'll spend some time making it as varied and natural as possible. I'm hopeful that this system is going to make the combat feel a lot more reactive to your actions, but we won't know for certain until we've had a chance to test it! That's probably enough for this update now, as I need to get back to work on V21. Thanks for reading!
    5 points
  11. From what I gather, there's been a lot of talk about how armour should be handled in the game. Whether it should be ablative (HP), whether it should work like a spring (% damage reduction), or whether it should work like armour. A scifi setting can justify ablative armour, or DUNE like armour that increases defence according to the level of the threat. But when you're talking about human armour, you're talking about level III kevlar vests using level IV ceramic inserts. It makes sense for human armour to be well within our understanding and seem plausible. Otherwise, what makes the alien scifi armour special, if you start with inertial dampeners or pseudo-magical armour? % Based Armour The issue with % based armours is they feel downright magical, and that any improvement in armour has massive effect, and yet is pretty darn pointless and useless at lower levels. If you have 100 HP and a 5% reduction to damage (we'll ignore types for now), there is very little it can do for you. Any hit above 105 damage will incapacitate you. If damage averages high relative to your health, those 5 points don't make a difference. And if damage averaged even as low as 1 HP of damage, it just means it will take 105 hits to kill you, instead of 100 hits. Meanwhile, if you make it 80%, boy does it look weird. A pistol that inflicts a maximum of 60 damage now only does 12, shaving off 38 points, but still taking off more than a tenth of your health. A .50 cal rifle of 500 max damage is reduced to 100, shaving off 400 points. So, with any damage variance, you can quite easily survive a shot from an anti material rifle, yet can be killed by 9 pistol shots. Balancing % based armour is also really annoying, and it's the same work as balancing straight-damage armour. Ablative Armour Chris covered one of the points against this in the past, HP-based armour. Skilled players make good use of cover, so rarely get shot. Ablative armour is also basically a free hit, which allows you to perform suicidal tactics. If you know you can take three hits before dying, then you might as well act like a maniac until you get hit at least once. You can then rotate other troops in with full armour, until everyone has had a turn playing Rambo. This might be interesting for an action game, but for a tactics game it's just a droll sort of meta game strategy which makes you feel totally secure while fighting 'horrifying' aliens. It also has the issue of turning everyone into MMORPG style bullet sponges, as the game progresses. If you have an armour upgrade, of course it will give you more HP. Whereas before gunfire might've been dangerous and intimidating, it becomes laughable. The suicidal tactics I mentioned become the obvious strategy, as there's no reason to fear Reaction Fire as you rush through the open. To get things back on track, you add in guns with massively more damage, fixing the armour and undoing what it did. Soon, you all wear increasingly bigger pauldrons and use sillier looking axes, until you look like this. The weapons at the start of the game become toys, and you enter an epic league beyond human interest. Balancing ablative armour isn't really hard, it is just pointless. It's great for padding out recent games by turning them into mind-numbingly boring RPGs, that sell XP boosters so you can get them over with faster. Real Armour Real armour has some of the qualities of the above. Like the Ablative, you can try to tank some hits, and play things more riskily. And it is risky, Since like % armour it is possible to be killed by enough pistol shots, so long as one of them goes through your visor. You can't ignore tactics, you still want to use cover and avoid fire, in case your armour fails you. Yet you still get that feeling of power, from wearing armour that lets you shrug off attacks that would surely kill your unarmoured allies. Still, you never shake the feeling of dread, of when an enemy sends a plasma bolt your way. There's not a lot to say about genuine armour... because there isn't anything wrong with it. Straight-damage armour serves its purpose, and it does it well; even if it does it without the fanfare and flashy numbers of modern games. Balancing this isn't as easy as Ablative armour, where you can just pick whatever numbers you feel like, but it is straight forward. Armour is built to withstand certain levels of gunfire, and weapons are designed to pierce that armour, each piece of equipment has its class and its uses in the tactical meta. Additional details: Below are some additional ideas and details for the handling of armour.
    5 points
  12. You're saying this as if an improved Xenonauts is a bad thing and it has to be something completely different.
    5 points
  13. I have to say this shows why Goldhawk is an amazing studio. There's a real willingness to try new ideas, but without necessarily committing to them - you can admit when something simply doesn't work. And offering refunds to people who specifically wanted now-changed features is very admirable and honest. On the gameplay front, while I liked the bold ideas behind the "shadow war" on the Geoscape and all that, I'm also really pleased with where the game is headed now. X1 is one of my favourite games, and I'm definitely in the camp that will be pretty happy with an improved X1. While the strategy layer is currently an almost exact copy of X1, I'm very happy about the improved tactical layer. There's a bunch of really small improvements but it adds up, and the boxy destructible UFOs are my favourite feature.
    5 points
  14. We're probably overdue another development update, so here's a quick post letting everyone know what we've been working on recently. Quite a bit to talk about actually! Firstly, a public service announcement - we're going to be ending the Xsolla pre-orders on our site on August 29th. Anyone who has an Xsolla pre-order at that point will then be sent an email asking their preference for a Steam key or a GOG key, which will be sent to them at the end of September (non-responders get a Steam key). We're doing this partially because Xsolla is proving a pain to maintain relative to Steam / GOG, and partially because we want to build up a backlog of interested customers prior to our Early Access launch. We're still not completely sure when Early Access is going to happen. The game is continuing to progress but I'm sure most of our beta testers would agree the game isn't ready for primetime yet; we're just going to keep adding things and fixing things until it is. The first thing we're working on right now is implementing the remaining missing or broken parts of the game - e.g. night missions, base defence missions, multiple dropship support, updgradeable dropships, further expansion of the air combat, etc. Switching back to the classic X1 base mechanics has been quite a bit of work but the job is largely done, we're now just at the stage where we're updating the other systems that have changed as a result of this - e.g. we've had to update the Aircraft systems now they are stationed in actual bases and need to appear in Hangar base buildings, and need to support construction to them and relocation between them. The second thing we're working on is overall usability and game balance. Over the past month or so we've been regularly talking about balance issues with the community and making adjustments, but we've also been fixing various gameplay bugs and design issues (such as suppression not functioning correctly, TU values being flat rather than %s, etc). We've nearly finished the tooltip system, too, which should make the game far easier to understand than it currently is ... right now there's not even a way to view the stats of a piece of equipment! Finally, we're also spending a bit of time looking at the visuals of the game. In the ground combat we've switched to genuine isometic / orthographic camera rather than a perspective one trying to mimic it, which makes the battlefield a bit easier to read. On the strategy layer I'm looking at doing a pass on the UI to clean it up a bit, removing a bit of the visual clutter and probably moving to a visually similar but more modern font that renders more cleanly (and supports lowercase letters and special characters). The visuals of the game are a lower priority right now than finishing off the game mechanics, but the issue is on our radar and we are slowly improving things. So, where does that leave us? I'm not exactly sure when Closed Beta V7 wil be due, as we first need to work through all the bugs / changes forced by the base update. I've also got another quite significant upgrade planned for the air combat that shifts the combat from a 1D grid to a 2D gride with "proper" movement. I'm guessing V7 is likely to arrive towards the end of this month, so we may release a (highly) experimental build in the interim that has a semi-broken strategy layer but will let us test some of the updated ground combat mechanics / balance changes. Anyway, thanks for reading - we'll keep you guys informed about our plans as they progress!
    5 points
  15. By the end of this month everyone who backed the Xenonauts-2 Kickstarter will have their Steam / GOG keys and going exclusive with Epic wouldn't involve taking them away, so using that logic I'm assuming you wouldn't actually mind us signing an Epic exclusive deal? Everyone would have got what they paid for and no promises to backers would have been broken ... but in reality I think there'd still be a big backlash if we did so. I personally find the whole Epic Store debate quite interesting. In principle I like the idea of Steam having more competition, because whilst overall they've been a huge boon to independent developers, they represent about 90% of our sales and yet our only contact with them is one guy who probably replies to our emails less than half the time. Having a competitor to keep them on their toes and make them more responsive to what users and devs want from them can only be a good thing - but then having games be exclusive to just one platform is kinda annoying as a consumer (although Battle.net / Origin / UPlay / whatever have been doing that for a long time so it's hardly a new phenomenon). Anyway, I suspect Snapshot were offered more than enough money to make the backlash they are facing worthwhile. I think it's a very dangerous thing to break promises to your backers and I can certainly see why people are angry, but everyone has their price and if there was enough money on the table then I could also see how that would be tempting for the dev team.
    5 points
  16. I don't think we'd be given the chance to have that kind of deal, even if we wanted it - we're not as sexy a game as Phoenix Point, who have already signed a lot of deals with various parties for a lot more money than we have. So I doubt there's any risk of us ever becoming an Epic exclusive!
    5 points
  17. Hello everyone - time for our development update for March. Apologies for this being a few days late, the intention was to time the update to coincide with the release of V23 but we've found a couple of crashes that need fixing that have pushed release back. For those interested, we'll be releasing V23 on our Experimental branches at some point this week. The main thing I've been working on this month is the campaign balancing, which is always a significant undertaking given a full campaign playthrough is probably 15-20 hours long (i.e. at least two full working days). Each attempted playthough results in a number of balance changes that need to be made, bugs that need to be fixed, usability changes to be made, gameplay mechanics that need to be checked out because they may not be working properly, etc. We therefore don't have many "big" features to talk about in this update but there have been a lot of smaller ones. Strategic Pressure / Orbital Bombardment: The main new change on the strategy layer is an attempt to introduce more strategic pressure. The Orbital Bomardment mechanic has made a return in a somewhat altered form, and it's now effectively a monthly performance target communicated in a slightly more thematic way. I know people have been a bit concerned about it in the past but I don't think there's much to worry about in its new form! At the start of the month Orbital Bombardment increases Panic in all regions by a certain amount (e.g. +25 Panic) that increases as the game progresses. If any region has over 100 Panic at the end of the month is surrenders and is lost to the aliens, so the player must try to generate enough Panic reduction during the month to cancel out the Panic gain. Monthly funding from a region is tied to its Panic, so success means funding goes up and failure means funding goes down. Panic reduction is achieved by defeating the alien invasion - shooting down UFOs and completing ground missions like Terror sites. These generate a local Panic reduction, but also a global reduction. The regions you are protecting best will have the lowest Panic but even undefended regions will have lower Panic if it looks like humanity is winning the war against the aliens. The gameplay effect of this is much like the monthly funding evaluations that appear in every X-Com game, but it serves to reduce the amount of damage that can be caused if UFOs spawn repeatedly in undefended regions due to simple randomness, and it also ensures that the game ends more quickly if the player was underperforming (it was always a bit silly that it took 3-4 months to lose the game in Xenonauts even if you never shoot down a single UFO or win a tactical mission). Base Defence Missions: We've spent quite a bit of time this month fixing gameplay issues to do with the Xenonaut Base Defence missions, as we've introduced a base attack on your main facility by the Cleaners to increase early-game mission variety. While this biome still looks a bit ugly (it hasn't had the visual pass yet) the gameplay is more solid. The first thing was to get the Sentry Guns set up. These are the cheap and durable vehicles are only used in base defence missions, and they had some display issues that have now been corrected and their LMGs should now be upgraded appropriately as the player progresses down the tech tree. The second thing was the spawning / deployment phase of the mission, which had apparently got broken at some point in development. The player can now deploy anywhere in their base at the start of the mission except in the rooms that the aliens have spawned into, and the alien crews are now correctly splitting into assault teams and choosing the correct type of room to spawn in. Most types of aliens spawn into Hangars as normal, but certain other types of alien (e.g. Reapers) are able to spawn in random rooms due to their ability to climb through vents or teleport. Other features: We also spent more time this month on updating various strategic UI elements to our new style, and I've got the updated graphics for the tactical combat UI sitting in front of me too so there's a chance that might make it into V23 too. The Air Combat has also had a few more updates to ensure the new formation / deployment system works properly, and we've also set up the autoresolve up to allow the player to manually fight the air battle if they don't like the result the autoresolve gives them. The protects players from the situation where the autoresolve unexpectedly destroys all your planes (usually due to low fuel). The balance here has changed a bit too. There's now four classes of weapons that have different roles - cannons, missiles, torpedoes and energy lances. These have varying ranges, ammo capacities, and damage profiles vs armour and HP. The ability of an interceptor to perform the evasive roll maneuver is now also tied to the weapons they have equipped, so while energy lances are relatively powerful weapons they also make the interceptor carrying them more vulnerable to certain enemy attacks. Finally, we've been working on the blockouts for the final mission this month too. I won't give too much away but there's a few unique rules on this mission that have required a bit of code work too. Hopefully the final mission will be playable in V24 even if the final art pass on the map probably won't happen until closer to release. This has turned into quite a long post so I'll leave it there as I need to get back to working on V23. Thanks for reading!
    4 points
  18. Heh, I guess this is karma for the sort of posts I used to make back when I was a modder What you say is true to some extent. Development on X2 has been harder and taken way longer than I expected. There’s quite a few things I’d do different if I went back in time - maybe I’d even do something else entirely with my time and money. Nonetheless, your post seems written from the perspective of a modder - someone who comes in when the game is complete. You’re working with mature tools, a mature set of game mechanics and a complete set of game assets provided by the game developer. That’s the sort of work that gets done in the final 5-10% of development, and without wanting to diminish the good work modders do, it’s a lot easier than the stuff that gets done earlier in development. You’re not dealing with any moving parts. It’s not possible to write a list of features that will be in the final game early in development, nor do the same for the final assets. Game dev is an iterative process, and the more complex and interconnected the project the harder it is to identify exactly how well any part works until you can test it. And you can’t *properly* test anything until you’ve implemented the whole game and connected all the different pieces to one another. That’s why so much gameplay iteration is happening now. Minimal code changes are required to change the armour model, and I can play and test the mechanics in a proper campaign in a way I couldn’t a year or two ago, let alone near the start of development when the game was just a few boxes on a grid. We’re doing the final civilian assets now because we know the final technical requirements for them, because we know the final lighting setup we’re using in map, which itself is tied to many things including the final method of how we handle terrain destruction, etc. Doing them earlier risks throwing away 30+ models. I don’t agree there’s been no visual improvement over X1 either. Maybe you disagree, but playing a mission on one of our finished biomes I’m personally struck by how much better it looks than the first game. Anyway, I wish the game was finished as much as anyone. I know it sucks it has taken this long. But there’s no point us coming this far and releasing something bad, and I’m sure most people will forgive us the delays if we release something good.
    4 points
  19. Hello everyone - September is now over and it's time for another update. We released V21 earlier this month with a number of cool updates and are planning to release V22 in the next week or two. Progress this month has been slower than normal, as two important members of the team were on holiday for a couple of weeks and other members of the team ended up getting ill (sadly I was in the latter group rather than the former!), but nevertheless we have made some improvements. As well as doing a number of bugfixes on V21 after its release, we have mostly been working on the strategy balancing / air combat and some of the new art assets for the tactical combat. Improved Tactical Art: Firstly, the new art. We've done a texture pass on the entire Western Town biome now, which is one of of the biomes used in Terror Missions. This had some very inconsistent visuals before but it's now looking much neater and more detailed in general, and we're now working on the final damaged / destroyed states for all of these tiles. Next up is the Boreal biome, which has already seen a lot work done to the sawmill building. Hopefully both biomes will be ready for the release of V22. We're also in the process of hooking up those final Xenonaut 3d models. They're now all rigged and have the various hair models set up, but we need to do a final bit of code work to ensure that soldiers display the correct ethnicity / hairstyle / hair colour in the tactical missions to match the portrait of that soldier. Again, hopefully this will be done in time for V22. Strategy / Air Combat: Next, the strategy balancing. I spent several days doing this, which involves multiple campaign playthroughs of the game where I manually fight all the air combat battles but automatically win all of the tactical battles (because that way a campaign only takes an hour or two, rather than an entire day). During this time I was experimenting with various ways of making the air combat more interesting, and I've settled on a number of changes. The first is that interceptors are now built in squadrons of three, which all share a single 2x2 Hangar (dropships are build individually and also fill a 2x2 Hangar). Once constructed, these interceptors are controlled as normal so it's possible to send a squadron out with fewer than three aircraft, or even send out a squadron with a mix of different interceptor types. If an interceptor is shot down, you can either wait for it to be replaced automatically as normal or you can pay a certain amount of cash (plus alloys / alenium in the case of advanced interceptors) to replace it within a few days. I've made this change because 1v1 air combats are much less interesting than 3v3 battles, and it's easier to balance the air combat if you know the player can always send 3 interceptors to fight a UFO squadron if they want. It also makes it faster when building a new base - in X1, building a base in the early game usually forces the player to build at least three planes and possibly more if you want a mix of capabilities (e.g. you might want 3 Condors and 2 Foxhounds, which is 5 interceptors to build). Under the new system you just build a single squadron, or perhaps two if you want a mix of capabilities. The second major change is to give the aircraft a wider selection of equipment, but also give them a maximum weight capacity. In X1 if you wanted an aircraft with heavy torpedoes, you had to build an entirely aircraft capable of carrying them. In X2, the starting interceptors are actually capable of carrying heavy torpedoes, but they need to unequip their cannons and light missiles to do so. The advantage of this is that it gives the player more options to react to a changing situation - if alien capital ships start appearing, you can rearm your existing aircraft rather than having to build an entirely new set of interceptors. It just makes the strategy layer a bit more flexible than before. The actual air combat has seen a few additions, too. The combat now supports rotating weapons with limited travel, which means we can have side-firing weapons or turrets that track your aircraft. The Afterburner ability from X1 has also been added to all the interceptors. Other Systems: We also added a couple more systems to the strategy layer. The first is a solution to the problem of your engineers or scientists sometimes not having anything to do: now any idle engineers or scientists will automatically generate income for the player at a rate high enough to pay their wages and still generate a small profit (it's assumed they're helping out with maintenance work you would normally have to pay for, etc). This is a lot like the ability to manufacture and sell items for profit in classic X-Com, except it requires less micromanagement and is a bit more intuitive for new players. The effect of this is just to smooth out the difficulty curve on the strategy layer a bit, as having idle staff could previously be financially crippling. There's also been more work done on the tactical combat morale system. We need to do a bit more work to get the actual panic / berserk / etc effects working correctly, but there's now a proper morale system like there was in Xenonauts 1 and the original X-Com. This also ties into the Stress system - when we reactivate this system, soldiers will suffer Stress based on what has happened to them in combat and their Bravery score rather than just suffering a flat Stress penalty for going on a mission like they did previously. This is getting to be quite a long post now so I'll leave it there. The team is back to full strength next week and we'll start planning for the V22 release as soon as that happens!
    4 points
  20. We're now at the end of July and it's time for my monthly update. There's been no public releases this month (the stuff we've been working on has taken us off in some unexpected directions), but we'll resume those next month. This month we've spent a fair bit of coder time improving the tactical AI. It now has a much better understanding of the battlefield and the weapons it is equipped with (certainly better than the X1 AI did) and is ready for some combat balancing next month. We're also planning to look into some "advanced" behaviours as part of this, whether it be squad behaviours that allow alien units to move and fight as teams or unit-specific special abilities (e.g. you could imagine a large Sebillian having something akin to the XCOM Berserker ability where it moves a couple of tiles towards anyone that fires a shot nearby). I think making the aliens feel more intelligent and the different species feel more distinct would give the game a lot more character! We've also worked on various other aspects of gameplay. Performance on the Geoscape has been improved significantly, and we've implemented difficulty settings (although I need to balance the campaign properly before I make them too different from one another), and we've revisited the soldier medals and finished implementing them. We've also had support in the game for Landed UFOs for quite some time, but someone on the forums pointed out recently that UFOs weren't actually landing. I spent a bit of time looking into that and the coders fixed some related bugs, and now UFOs are landing like they should. Rather a lot of new art assets have been added to the game as well. The last of the remaining Xenonaut armours was modelled up in 3D and sent off for rigging today, so I expect all the final Xenonaut 3D models to be in the game by the end of August - you can see a couple of the designs in the images in this post. There's also been a new alien model added to the game, the Cyberdrone. This was previously a big white sphere but now actually has a unique design. There's now at least one 3D model for all of the aliens in the game, and we're going to turn our attention to making the different variants distinct from one another (so you can better tell an elite alien from a standard alien of the same species, etc). There's also new 2D art. We redesigned the Gauss weapons and have new 2D art for that entire family of weapons, as they could previously be quite difficult to tell apart and the art wasn't as good as some of the other weapons in the game. We've also added the top-down art for the two advanced dropships (as seen when arranging your troops inside them on the Aircraft screen), and as the 3D tiles are already complete we just need to paint the background art on the Soldier Equip screen for those and then they are done. That should be done next month too. Finally, we've brought back a freelance artist who was working with us on improving the look of the ground combat tiles. The quality of the ground combat environments still varies wildly from the dockyard maps we used in the Steam Demo which I think look pretty great through to biomes like Arid or the American Town which I think look rather less great. We'll be working hard on retexturing some of the less attractive assets to bring them up to final quality, and we'll also be adding the final destruction states to them too. It might take a few months for this to bear fruit but I think you'll see quite a big improvement in the way the game looks when it does! Oh, one more thing on the art front - the new UI art style also continues to develop. Hopefully next month you'll see the new main menu screen and it's various sub-panels in the game (the start new campaign screen, load game screen, etc). Maybe even the new topbar too if things go well. Aside from the gameplay things, there's also been some time spent on technical stuff. We're continuing to work on translation support, but that hit a speedbump this month because we had previously been linking items / projects together via their name (e.g. when specifying which item unlocks a Research project). Unfortunately this system falls apart once the name becomes a value that changes based on language, so we had to rewrite quite a lot of code relating to that too. But hopefully next month translation support will be finished too. So yeah, that's what we've been working on this month. It's been a busy month. I had intended to be working on the actual game balance but I got pulled into all the stuff listed above. Fingers crossed I can get back onto it next month though!
    4 points
  21. June is coming to a close so it's time for me to post up the monthly development summary for Xenonauts 2. This month saw the release of Closed Beta V20 on our Experimental branches, which saw further improvements to the skeleton of the game campaign and some general gameplay improvements. This month I added the tactical combat tiles for the Battleship and Harvester UFOs (the two largest types) and also added the tiles for the two advanced human dropship types, and played a campaign all the way through to Harvesters. I made quite a few balance changes along the way, and I think we now have a rough skeleton in place for the campaign. There's still a lot of fine tuning left to go but there is some basic challenge to the game and it's reasonably enjoyable to play - assuming you can look past the similarities to X1 and the obvious rough edges! The focus for the next month is the content. I've shuffled the research tree around a lot in the past two or three months, so even some of the initial research projects are "dummy" projects without text or research artwork. As I'm now reasonably happy with the shape of the research tree I'm going to start filling those in, and updating any existing research text to reflect any mechanical changes we might have made since they were written. I'll also be doing a proper pass on the tooltips and making an effort to ensure all objects, buttons and concepts are written up and accessible in the game. This will hopefully put us in a decent place to do the first stage of the open beta. Recently we've also been working on various other things that should improve the playability and usability of X2. The first thing is improvements to the AI, which is still basic but is getting steadily better. The AI in the first Xenonauts was purely dynamic so aliens would read the battlefield and choose where they wanted to position themselves based on preferences (i.e. being in cover vs out in the open, etc) whereas in X2 we've moved to a system where aliens have waypoints set around the map that designate good places for them to move to / lurk in (when a hostile unit is sighted they go into dynamic "combat" mode and ignore the waypoints). All maps are now set up with these waypoints. The effect of this is that in X2 you the alien movement should be more varied and dynamic, and you'll encounter enemies in a variety of positions (more like in classic X-Com). They might be stood in the open, or crouched behind cover, or looking out of a window with a good field of fire. In X1 they tended to run into corners and just stay there because those were the "best" locations based on their preferences. We've also been working on trying to fix the really stupid behaviours the AI makes - which usually revolve around times when there's a really obvious way for it to kill one of your soldiers but doesn't. In future builds we'll be doing further work on this, but also trying to add more advanced behaviours like allowing us to partner up aliens that have abilities that work together so they form a little squad on the battlefield. As always, we're also working on some odds and ends. The soldier medals system was largely implements a couple of years ago now but never quite finished, so we've finished that and set up the 8 medals your soldiers can earn in battle (each one gives +1 to all soldier stats). Mind Control has been rebalanced so its effectiveness drops off with range, which should make it less annoying. We've also implemented proper drag-and-drop functionality for the engineering queue and the soldier lists on the Soldier Equip / dropship screens. There's various other small usability changes too, plus further work on the tactical combat camera to ensure it tracks the action better during the alien turn and some more work on the Reapers to make the zombifying / Reaper hatching effects work better under all circumstances. In summary, I think once I've done the early-game research writing we'll be able to say that Xenonauts 2 is a playable (if unfinished) game. The standard disclaimers apply - the game needs another pass on the art (which we're working on in the background), we still need to do more to differentiate it from X1, and there's still more polish and content to be added. But the game is already quite fun to play as long as you're not expecting a finished game and it'll only improve as we continue our work on it!
    4 points
  22. As April is now almost over it's time for our monthly update. As mentioned in the last monthly update, I spent some of March and most of April working part-time as I had to deal with a death in the family. Although I returned to full time work at the beginning of this week, progress has been slower this month as a result of my absence. The coding team have mostly been working on features that didn't require my input over the last month - large "backend" tasks that need to be done at some point before release, but weren't major gameplay priorities. The first of these is the final part of the change from a single-base Geoscape to a multi-base Geoscape, which is the final separation of the base stores so that each base is pulling from its own inventory just like in the first game (previously items, soldier equipment, etc were shared globally across all bases). This is now done and bases have been fully seperated from one another, but this is quite a significant change and it's almost certainly caused quite a few bugs. The second thing was adding "nested tooltips" that contain hyperlinks to other tooltips, similar to those seen in Crusader Kings 3. It's tricky to explain this in words, but you can see a quick example of it in action in CK3 here. Basically this system allows us to simulatenously reduce information overload and increase the amount of explanatory information in the game, as you don't need to explain everything - you just display the most relevant information in each tooltip, and if a player is unfamiliar with how a particular concept within that works (e.g. they don't know exactly how Armour works) they can hover over that word and get a new tooltip that explains it in depth. Each tooltip ends up being shorter and more focused, but more overall information is available than before. The third major thing is setting the game up to support translation. This is actually a very big task, but we figured we'd tackle it now given we're going to have to write a lot of text into the tooltips. Essentially we have to find every piece of text in the game that is displayed to the player and reference it into a single giant file that can then be translated into other languages. This system is made more complex because this system also needs to combine with our planned modding system, so that new text added in mods could also be translated if needed. In terms of art, we've started work on the final set of Xenonaut 3d models and we've been working on an updated design for the alien Gun Drone. We've also been working on the final designs for the two advanced dropships (up to this point we've just been using the old X1 designs as placeholders). There's also been some work done on the 2D art for the aircraft weapons and equipment, and further work on the new strategy UI concepts we've been working on for a while now. We should be able to start putting public builds out again in May. I need to get on top of all the design work that's accumulated over the past six weeks before I start thinking about that so I'm not sure exactly when, but it shouldn't be too long!
    4 points
  23. 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!
    4 points
  24. Version 0.34.2 of Xenonauts: Community Edition has been released. Installation (Windows Steam users): Switch to the Community branch in Steam by right-clicking on Xenonauts, selecting Properties, going to the Betas tab and selecting Community. No access code is needed. You can enable/disable mods in "Modding Tools" in the game launcher. You can revert to the standard official game by switching back to the NONE branch in Steam. Installation (other users): 1. Download the base mod and the mod package. 2. Launch the old version of the game, install the base mod using Modding Tools. Alternatively: extract the base mod into assets/mods/xce, overwriting everything. 3. Exit the game launcher. 4. Run the new executable from assets/mods/xce. It should display the version 0.34.2. Using this launcher, go to Modding Tools and install the mod pack. Say Yes when asked about overwriting mods. 5. You can now play from assets/mods/xce, or optionally copy the files to the main game installation folder. What is the relation between X:CE 0.34.2 and Xenonauts 1.6x? The official Xenonauts releases incorporate some features/fixes from an older X:CE version, and some have intentionally not been included. X:CE 0.34.2 should contain all relevant Xenonauts 1.6x fixes and new features. If you already play X:CE, there should be no advantage to switching to Xenonauts 1.6x. X:CE 0.34 can read saved games from Xenonauts 1.5x or Xenonauts 1.6x, but Xenonauts 1.6x cannot read normal X:CE 0.34.2 saved games. Switching option saveCompatibility in assets/gameconfig.xml to "gh15x" before running X:CE should produce saves in a format that Xenonauts 1.5x or 1.6x can read (keep the option as "xce" for normal play, otherwise some new X:CE values may not be kept in save files). Note that Xenonauts 1.6x may still be unable to load such a saved game if it includes objects it doesn't know (e.g. researches from the Lore+ mod, or incendiary grenades from X:CE). Changes from 0.34.1: This is a version that mostly focuses on modding, bringing numerous new options for mod creators to take advantage of. There are also bug fixes and mapping fixes in this version. Crash fixes Fixed a rare crash when an alien would attempt to mind control multiple enemies. Fixed a rare crash with air superiority missions. Bug fixes AP-damaging weapons should now work even if the weapon does 0 normal damage. Airplanes that have 4 weapons, of which 1 is a cannon, will correctly show all 4 slots in the air combat UI. Vehicles can now take EMP damage. This should not affect the base game, only some mods. Fixed Saviour Medal / Crux Solaris display (from 1.65). Loading a saved game will no longer reset the minimum cooldown of Terror or Base Attack missions. Quantum radars will now properly identify the city targeted by a Terror mission. Fixed the text shown if an alien base is detected by an airplane. Avoided duplication of alien base if detected by several airplanes. Balance Reapers will now attack vehicles as they were intended to (change in the X:CE Balance mod). Modding Melee aliens can now be allowed to attack vehicles, on a race/rank basis. A LockManufactures command has been added, which will remove the ability to manufacture an item. Added ability to add custom categories to the Manufacturing UI. Allowed control over zombification and Reaper spawning. Aliens can now turn enemies into any race/rank type. Such zombies can now also spawn any alien, and with a customizable timer. Allowed a configuration where lost continents can be retaken. If enabled, lost continents will automatically spawn one alien base, and the player has to kill that base (and any others on the continent) to regain it. Descriptions for manufacture projects can now be added. Add a new string with the ID ManTech.X.Description, for instance, ManTech.MiG32.Description. It will be shown in the workshop screen. Custom sort order for the stores screen can be provided in items.xml in the "Sort order" column. More building sizes now supported for base buildings, such as 3x2 and all the way to 6x1. Extra sizes for alien bases that can be used to create custom missions. Allowed creation of new gas types that can do damage multiple times per turn, that is, for each tile passed with that gas. UI In the Stores screen, items are now sorted. Players can sort by a column, by clicking on it. Categories in the Manufacture UI are now sorted. Xenonaut soldiers holding a medkit and a weapon (the usual being medkit + pistol) will now appear with the weapon in their hands instead of empty-handed. Maps Included a fix for many bookshelf tiles across different maps. It was previously impossible to stand next to them. Updated maps in Skitso's Ultimate Megamix pack, fixing issues with stairs in desert scrap yards. Included the Xenonauts Fix Pack mod by Policenaut that fixes many small issues in various maps. Included Tropical and Swamp maps as an optional mod. Included Mods Xenonauts Fix Pack - new mod by Policenaut, on by default, fixes many small mapping issues across the game. Tropical and Swamp tileset - new mod by Policenaut based on work of Khall, TT3, Frankel and others. Adds new tropical and swamp maps to the game.
    4 points
  25. 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.
    4 points
  26. Actually this was the one part that I hope would change with Xenonauts 2. The dynamic of the Cold War was something woefully underused in the first game and I hope would be more emphasized. The whole MIB aspect could lend to a multitude of ways to deal with civilians on a map like just non lethally taking them down so that they wouldn’t run around like headless chickens and get turned into zombies by the Reapers or standing in the middle of a firefight blocking your shots. Not to mention the tech sharing possibilities. Maybe each bloc of the Cold War can offer different pros and cons for you to choose a side to tech share so that the war against the aliens will not only change the fate of humanity but the course of the Cold War as well. For instance gaining the favor of the Soviet Union by ruining a coup perpetrated by the US with some help of the aliens in exchange for a missile scientist. Or stealing cargo from a GDR convoy for the FDR to gain a some funds and a communications scientist. This will force the player to either play a game of tight rope balancing the power of two sides to avoid nuclear Armageddon or go all out to support one faction to eventually create a united world against the aliens. At the end there could be three different outcome. 1. You help the capitalist side win and collapse the Warsaw Pact 2. You help the communist win and establish a world government 3. You prolong the Cold War further into space
    4 points
  27. Closed Beta Build V12 has now been released on Steam and GOG. Note that this build is only available on our Experimental branch so you'll need to switch over to get this update (instructions on how to do that here). This build expands on the new MARS vehicle, and formalises the Orbital Bombardment and Signal Uplink mechanics we added in the last build into proper systems. Annoyingly, several new bits of content were close to being complete but didn't quite make it into the build - aerial terror sites, the new armour / penetration mechanics, and a new early-game escort UFO. Instead, they'll be coming in the next build. After this release and the various hotfixes we'll need to put out for it, we're going to take a bit of time to fix some backend stuff that's been causing us problems for a while, and perhaps also add the final Geoscape mechanics still required before we can call the Geoscape feature complete. This is quite a bit of stuff to get through, so it might be a month or so until the next update - but I think it's going to be a cool one, as there's also some new art incoming too. More about that in a proper developer update though! Key Changes: Relations becomes Panic: to make things easier to understand, each region now has a Panic score instead of a Relations score. This changes very little except a region is lost when Panic reaches 100, so any effects that reduced Relations (e.g. Orbital Bombardment and UFO activity) now increase Panic instead. Orbital Bombardment Notification: you now get a notification when the aliens destroy a city from orbit. Setting this system up also involved adding cities to the Geoscape and giving them all a population (and priority score for how likely the aliens are to blow them up). Signal Uplinks: these are now proper Geoscape objects rather than hacked-together Strategic Operations. You no longer need to assign a soldier to them to complete the mission, and the costs and effects are shown more clearly. You have an Uplink Capacity which controls how many uplinks you can have operational at once; there is a new base building called the Comms Room which increases this. In the next major build aliens will be able to attack and destroy these signal uplinks, so it's a bad idea to construct them in areas that your interceptors cannot cover! MARS / ARES tech tree: the MARS support vehicle we added in V11 has undergone some changes and now has a tech tree associated with it. Note that most of these changes are experimental so they're not yet reflected in the artwork of the game - it's all still pretty placeholder! The ARES becomes available in the mid-game. This is a small hovertank (currently represented by the X1 Hyperion) that is slightly less tough than the MARS, but has better Accuracy and more TUs. The MARS and ARES now recieve armour upgrades whenever your aircraft get armour upgrades, meaning they get tougher as the game goes on. Both the MARS and ARES have an optional armour module that fits extra armour plating, boosting their HP but reducing their TU (this is independent from the researchable armour upgrades). You can therefore choose whether you want your vehicle to act more like a scout or a tank. Vehicles now have a Primary and a Secondary slot, but no Belt. Vehicles can no longer equip infantry weapons, and must choose a Primary and Secondary from the following list: Primary: HMG: this is a stronger version of the infantry LMG. Cannon: a powerful weapon with a small blast area and decent ammo capacity. Rocket Launcher: fires powerful rockets with a large blast area, but has limited ammo capacity. Secondary: SMG: this is a 100-round version of the infantry SMG, designed to be a backup weapon if the primary runs out of ammo or is inappropriate for the situation. Smoke Launcher: this is a 4-shot grenade launcher that can only fire defensive smoke rounds. Rangefinder: this is not a weapon that can be used in combat, but it boosts the Accuracy of the vehicle by +10. You are now limited to one vehicle in the starting dropship, and the advanced dropship can carry two. Strategy: Bases now have a "radar tracking" value, which is larger than the "radar detection" value. What this means is that a detected UFO can be tracked for some distance beyond detection range, preventing the detection alert spam that could occur when a UFO was flying in and out of a base's detection range. You can now get your hands on the Tactical Visor armour module by completing the Alien Electronics research. Added proper map co-ordinates to the bottom right of the Geoscape screen. The "pop-up" text on the Geoscape (e.g. region names, "construct new base" text, etc) now appears in a set location at the bottom of the map. The cost of building a new base is now displayed when the construct new base mode is active. Tooltips can no longer get stuck to your mouse cursor. Repeatedly clicking the Funding Report button no longer queues up lots of copies of the same pop-up panel. Exosuit now has some armour modules, although there's no art for them yet because we're still painting up the final Exosuit design. Kickstarter soldiers should now be fully set up and any soldier generated by the game has a 10% chance of being picked from the custom soldier pool. Soldier hair should now work properly with helmets (this turned out to be a lot more work than you'd expect!) The names of save games should be slightly easier to read now, and ground combat save files now print the turn number in their file name. There's been quite a few performance improvements on the strategy layer. The Exosuit now boosts your soldiers TU by 12. Equipping the heavy variant removes this bonus, but provides extra armour and boosts your soldiers' Strength to 100 instead. Countries now start at 20 or 30 Panic, rather than at 50. Ground Combat: The MARS should now be able to crush vaultable objects; previously the vault logic was taking precedence (and as vehicles can't vault, it was preventing the MARS from driving through fences). In an alien base, if you clear the Command Room of aliens and have one of your own units present, all remaining aliens on the map will be revealed at the end of the turn. As always, please let us know if you encounter any issues with the build by posting in our bug reporting sub-forums and we'll do our best to patch the issues out!
    4 points
  28. 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!
    4 points
  29. 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.
    4 points
  30. Also, given I perhaps went off a bit on a tangent there, it's worth mentioning a few specific points about the base mechanics and the air combat. Not sure if you read the associated threads but the base already supports individual scientist / engineer staff assignments to specific buildings, has a power system and we're going to be looking at adjacency bonuses for buildings in the future. In the air combat the interceptors have additional customisable components beyond just weapons and we're looking into adding cover to the battlefield in the form of clouds, adding several new weapons and AI behaviours, experimenting with hit and evade chances, having a "proper" autoresolve formula, etc. Whether you class that sort of stuff as sufficient improvement over X1 is up to you really; it's definitely evolutionary rather than revolutionary change and your mileage may vary. But as I've outlined in several recent posts on the topic it's necessary to first copy the X1 mechanics before you are able to start testing changes to them.
    4 points
  31. I think it's a valid question to raise, and I'll probably write a longer post on the topic at some point because I imagine you're not the only person thinking this. I guess the question really boils down to what an individual considers sufficient innovation / gameplay change to be "different" to what came before. Over time the design Xenonauts 2 has drifted from being full of bold new ideas to something far more akin to the first game, which mostly happened as a result of those bold ideas colliding with reality and coming up short. The community has definitely played a role in our decision to move X2 closer to X1, but that could be interpreted either as hardcore fans hating change or just people flagging up new ideas that are outright worse than what they were replacing. Both of the changes you mention are in service of a deeper strategic layer than was originally planned in X2. I guess over time I've realised that that complexity in the tactical and strategic layers relative to other games in the genre pretty much IS Xenonauts; a lot of people liked Xenonauts 1 because the strategic layer was more freeform than the modern XCOM games and simplifying the strategy layer as we originally planned in X2 may not actually have been the adventurous choice given that is also what our main rivals have done. I've also found that the various mechanics in X-Com games are so heavily interconnected its difficult to change a major element without negatively affecting other parts of the game; having a simpler air combat model limits the Geoscape more than you might initially think. In general, I think within video games and the strategy genre in particular there's a proud tradition of sequels refining the original game without having to fundamentally change the mechanics. Civilisation II and Master of Orion II spring to mind, but something like Doom II also works for the comparison. If we deliver Xenonauts 1 with updated graphics, better stability and usability, address a number of the gameplay problems, add some new aliens / technology / other content and maybe a couple of well-chosen new gameplay systems to give players more options - is that not enough? Ultimately that's a question of personal taste, really. That said, I do feel bad for people who backed our Kickstarter or bought a pre-order on the basis of our bold promises about new features that have since changed; I think anyone in that situation has a legitimate case to argue they had been missold (which is why I'm happy to offer refunds to such people).
    4 points
  32. I guess it's time for me to spend 100 hours on a playthrough of X-Division then
    4 points
  33. This is more of a "feels over reals" kind of explanation, but bear with me. I wanted to show a match wih my modded stats, but Bandicam seems to hate X2 and will crash it without fear or remorse. It's the start of a new game. It's a wood map. You turn a solider in the chopper and spy a Psyon maybe slightly half a tile away. Perhaps 16 spaces or so. It's in the open. You take aim with a solider, aimed shot, 83% chance to ht. You hit, congrats! That's 26 damage. The Psyon returns fire. It hits, that's 55 damage, instant death. You sigh. You get some more soliders out of the chopper and a few more shots later, the Psyon who killed the first soldier is dead. It's now the alien turn. A Psyon appears. It targets a solider who isn't quite in position. The Psyon hits, does 67 points of damage. That soldier is dead. You grit your teeth. Another Psyon appears. One of your soliders takes an overwatch shot. She misses. The Psyon returns fire. A miss! The Psyon fires again. A hit. that's 59 points of damage. Instant death. At this point, you're ready to cinduct experiments on the terminal velocity of monitors vis. 3rd storey windows. Early game, every fight with a Psyon can go pear shaped very, very quickly. The impression, and please forgive my language, is that you don't fuck around with Psyons. If I know that I'm fighting Psyons, I'm carrying lots of smoke. I have my lines of exit clear. The third man (I never fght in twos against Psyons if I can help it) is always ready with smoke in case the other two morons manage to mess it up. I would rather spent all my TU and re-position my team to lure a Psyon to me than get into a shooting match with a Psyon, because I know I will loose that fight. That's all thanks to the plasma rifle. You learn to respect it very quickly, and the plasma rifle gives the Psyon character. Now, same situation. You're facing Sebillians. The Sebillian fires off a burst. One catches the solider. He takes 32 damage. You think "I can handle that". The Sebillian fires off another burst. Another shot hits, that's 25 damage. That's a kill. But it feels different. You feel like the Sebillian has spent a lot of effort trying to kill the solider, that it's been blasting away even though it's actually only spent the same amount of TU and effort that a Psyon does firing the same number of shots. You feel like you can take Sebillians in a shooting war, and you better be able to because Sebillians soak a hella lotta damage, so you have to be able to hold your ground against Sebillians. Shotguns are a vital weapon in the fight against Sebillians, and you need to be able to go over the top to get in close enough to kill a Sebillian. The mag rifle could give the Sebillian as much character as the plasma rifle gives the Psyon, ust based on how it feels to fight them. Or look at it like this. The mag rifle. As dangerous as the plasma rifle. In the hands of an enemy with 45% more health (100% more health for the Brute) who can regenerate. Seriously? I'd almost rather face Androns. I mean, I notice there are both modifiers for armor penetration and armor destruction in the weapon.json master file. Linear weapons are noted as much for their penetrative capabilities as their power. It's one of the common memes in computer games, that railguns typically can penetrate several enemies at once and/or terrain. Perhaps fiddling with armor penetration/destruction as easy numbers to alter would be of value? EDIT: For those interested in my edits, I append my currently edited files. You'll have to replace the current files with the edited ones, which means 1) make backups and 2) don't report bugs with edited files, because even though this is just number editing, editing numbers can have unforseen effects in-game. Xenonauts2Mods.zip
    4 points
  34. Aaaaand we're spiraling into drama again. indaris, if you want to have a slap fight with Dagar, you're not going to have it on this forum. Thread locked.
    4 points
  35. Closed Beta Build V6 has now been released on Steam, GOG and Xsolla. Note that this build is only available on our new Experimental branch so you'll need to switch over to get this update (instructions on how to do that here). As usual, please note this closed beta is only open to Kickstarter backers and people who have pre-ordered the game via Xsolla on our website. This is a major update for the game that contains a number of significant new features. We're currently working on getting the remaining "core" systems into the game as fast as possible, so many of these new features are still largely untested. This is why we've set up the Experimental branches - this new build may well be full of game-breaking bugs, but we're extremely busy with feature implementation and so we won't be able to put out a hotfix as quickly as normal. Having V6 on an experimental branch means people can switch back to V5 if they want a more stable experience, so we're not forced to drop what we're doing to patch the game immediately if there are problems. Be aware that you're probably still not going to have any idea what's going on with the new air combat because we've not yet had time to add tooltips into the game (they're coming soon) so there's no way to view the stats of any of the combatants or the weapons. Given the air combat is now based more heavily on percentages like Hit Chance, Evade Chance, Range etc this means it's still largely unplayable unless someone has explained what is happening in advance (although reading the changelog below will help a little). Key Features: Air Combat Update: there's been a substantial update to the air combat. The new mechanics are explained below in more detail. Alien Psionics: certain ranks of Psyon now have access to the Mind War psionic ability, which they automatically use every turn. The mechanics are a bit different from the X1 psionics and are explained in full below. Soldier Assignment System: there's now a central soldier management system that ensures soldiers can only be assigned one task at a time (e.g. if they're on a Strategic Operation, you can't then deploy them in combat). Strategy Upkeep / Funding Screen: your personnel, aircraft and base structures now have upkeep costs. You can now access a preview of the Funding Screen from the Geoscape at any point, which also gives a breakdown of all of your predicted income and upkeep costs. Crash Site Airstrike: the "airstrike" functionality from X1 that allows you to receive a cash bonus in exchange for removing a crash site from the Geoscape has now returned. New Artwork: we've added new art to various screens. This includes everything from strategy screen backgrounds and new UFO artwork to additional alien combatant models and new energy weapon projectiles. More Alien Variants: the crews of alien ships are now more varied, with each alien race now have multiple unit variants like in X1 (i.e. not every alien is a generic soldier, so some of a UFO crew will be lightly-armed non-combatants that fly the UFO etc). There's also Elite aliens with better equipment that start appearing later in the game. Air Combat Update: Air combat now auto-resolves rather than requiring you to issue all commands manually, which makes interceptions much faster and less fiddly Your interceptors have AI that will automatically attempt to close to the appropriate range with the UFOs and fire weapons, but the player can also manually issue orders if they choose Weapons will auto-fire if the interceptor is range, but fire permission can be toggled off by clicking the weapon icon on the new interceptor status panels on the right of the screen. Weapons now have % hit chances, and combatants have a % evade chance. The weapon first rolls to hit, and then if a hit is scored the defender rolls to see if they can evade. Weapons also have an Evade Modifier which controls how easy they are to evade. Torpedoes are powerful but have a 2x Evade modifier, making them ineffective against Fighter UFOs that have 50% base Evade score (giving them a modified 100% Evade vs torpedoes). However, they are much more effective against cumbersome UFOs like Destroyers which have a base 0% Evade score and are unable to dodge even the slowest weapons. Alien Psionics: Alien psionics are now in the game in the form of the Mind War ability, which several types of Psyon and the Praetor-equivalent possess. Each alien with the Mind War ability will cast it against a random Xenonaut each turn. Line of sight is not required but each Xenonaut can only be hit once per turn. All Xenonauts affected by Mind War are flagged at the start of the player's turn. At the end of the player's turn, Mind War is resolved. This is done by comparing the Psionic Strength of the attacker to the Bravery of the defender, along with a random element that is added to each. If the attacker is successful, the Xenonaut is panicked and will drop their weapon and flee. If the attacker beats the defender by more than 30, the attacker scores a critical success and the Xenonaut is instead Mind Controlled. The defender will receive a bonus to their Bravery equal to their Bravery multiplied by their remaining % of TU - so if you don't spend any TU on a soldier, they will receive twice their normal Bravery in the defence roll. Strategy: General - we've added a central soldier management system that ensures soldiers can only be assigned one task at a time (e.g. if they're on a Strategic Operation, you can't then deploy them in combat). General - there are now monthly upkeep costs for your staff, aircraft and base structures. These are deducted from your monthly funding each time it is received. General - there's new strategy / air combat art for four of the early-game UFOs General - UFOs now contain a wider range of possible races, and each race has a larger number of possible variants with different weapons and armour General - we've added support for sorting items in the Research Projects / Engineering Projects / Base Stores list General - added a little more writing for some of the early-game research reports General - prevented saves occurring while the game performing tasks that would break saves (this fixes a bug where users would end up with corrupted saves) Geoscape - a preview of the funding screen can now be accessed at any time, showing your predicted funding per region and also giving you a breakdown of the upkeep costs of your organisation Geoscape - the X1 "Airstrike" functionality has been added to the game, allowing you to pass on doing a crash site mission and receive cash instead (if a Crash Site times out without you completing it, you're automatically granted the airstrike cash) Geoscape - Strategic Operations now take less time to complete if you assign more personnel to them Geoscape - clicking near multiple interactive objects will now give you a pop-up allowing you to specify which object you'd like to select, as it did in X1 Geoscape - landed UFOs now function correctly, although right now there's no difference between a crashed and landed UFO in gameplay terms (there will be in future) Geoscape - there's been some visual changes, with an updated layout more akin to X1 and some new art. Geoscape - Alien Bases now start undetected and can either be detected passively (you have an increasing % chance each day to detect the base), or can be detected by flying an interceptor over the base Geoscape - Infiltrator markers spawned onto the Geoscape by Alien Bases now spawn in same region as the base Geoscape - hovering over a region now displays the region name and the Relations score rather than the "health bar" that we had in previous versions Geoscape - lines in the log are now linked to the events on the Geoscape like it was in X1 (i.e. hovering over a log message should highlight the appropriate object on the Geoscape, etc) Geoscape - improved the performance when there are multiple UFOs flying around at high speed Geoscape - the notification you receive when completing a base structure now correctly displays the building name, not simply "." Geoscape - fixed the Bomber UFO icon being inverted Personnel - Soldiers still appear in your personnel list immediately after being hired, but their status is now set to be In Transit for 3 days. Personnel - Soldiers now have starting stats ranging from 35-65 in each attribute, rather than 45-55 Soldier Equip - soldier medals are now visible. This system needs some additional work before it is finished, but the (placeholder) medals that currently exist are working. Soldier Equip - clicking the soldier portrait now allows you to change the soldier in that slot Dropship Equip - this screen is now capable of supporting additional types of dropship with different troop capacities and so works slightly differently now: The soldier portraits are now shown in a horizontal row beneath the dropship and are numbered by hotkey, and they no longer re-order themselves when you move units around in the dropship. Holding down shift when you move a soldier icon over another soldier icon around will swap the hotkeys of those two soldiers. Hovering the mouse over a soldier portrait will light up their soldier icon, making it a little easier to see which icon belongs to which soldier. The soldier assignment menu now marks the soldiers that are already assigned to the dropship. Ground Combat: Specific ground combat items now recover items on the strategy layer (assuming they survive). The UFO power cores are now the only source of Alenium in the game, so be careful not to blow them up! UFO crash site maps are now roughly 50x50 for all UFOs rather than expanding in size as the game goes on - clearing a bigger UFO is already much more time consuming than a smaller UFO, so also enlarging the map as well made for very long missions. The Overwatch toggles on the new GC UI now work correctly for each weapon (so you can disable the Primary weapon if you want to reaction fire with the Secondary instead, etc) Reloading weapons manually in the ground combat soldier inventory should now have the same effect as the quick reload button in all instances We've redesigned several of the UFOs, updated their interior layouts and added a number of new props Two new armoured elite Psyon variants have been added to the late game Added new projectiles and impact effects for the Plasma and Fusion energy weapons Fixed a number of animation issues for the humans and Psyons (made shooting snappier, fixed some flickering in the run cycle, etc) Laser Weapons now have updated inventory artwork Alien Magnetic Pistol and Alien Fusion Pistol now have 3D models A number of visual updates on the Farm biome Civilians now have more biome-appropriate clothing, although they are still placeholder Some improvements to the roof-hiding system, although there is more to do here Some improvements to the way the camera tracks alien activity during the alien turn, although there is also more to do here Bugfix - Terror missions should no longer freeze at 99% loading Bugfix - fixed a hang where you couldn't complete a mission if one of your soldiers was stunned Bugfix - fixed several mis-set assets, including train cars that units could walk into and some windows that could not be seen through Bugfix - fixed some missing move tiles Bugfix - fixed an issue with C4 giving the player multiple detonation crosshairs with incorrect detonation costs Bugfix - fixed a bug where crouched units would appear to be standing if you loaded a save game
    4 points
  36. Hello everyone - we've just gone into June and there's not been much news coming out of Goldhawk HQ recently, so I thought I'd write a quick forum update to keep everyone informed about our progress. We released our last update just over two weeks ago, which was a big hotfix for Closed Beta V5 and fixed quite a few of the stability issues we had in V5. Since then we've moved back to adding content and features to the game. We've already finished up a few features that will be in the next update such as the Crash Site airstrike mechanic that was in the original Xenonauts, the recovery of strategic items from specific ground combat tiles (e.g. a UFO Power Core grants you Alenium unless you destroy it), and the soldier management system that means you can no longer assign soldiers to multiple tasks that should be mutually exclusive (being in an airborne dropship, being on a Strategic Operation, being wounded, etc.) However, we're also starting work on some bigger tasks. We're updating the Air Combat to make it deeper but at the same time less fiddly - we're doing this by adding some new mechanics, but automating a lot of the clicking the current air combat requires you to do. Although you can pause the combat and issue your interceptors detailed manual orders if you choose, the new model of the air combat will automatically play itself out in the same way that the air combat in the original Xenonauts did. However, as the combat is now turn-based there's less reliance on split-second timing on your pauses. Anyway, I'll explain all the changes in more detail when the next major update arrives! As you can see from the example above, we're also working on adding new art to the game. In recent months we've brought on some new freelancers to start painting up the final art assets for the game and this is starting to bear fruit. These are some of the final art assets that are working through the pipeline: Strategic UFO Artwork Strategic UI Backgrounds (in full 21:9 glory) Weapon Inventory Art Alien Autopsy & GC Corpse Art Soviet Town terror maps This is being coupled to some new gameplay content as well. We've created some new props for the UFO interiors so they're more interesting to play through, and I've updated the UFO crews so there's a better sense of progression through the game - the alien crews get bigger and better equipped as time goes on, and once the larger UFOs start appearing you could be facing Psyons, Sebillians, Wraiths or Androns each time a combat mission spawns. The balancing isn't final by any means but it's another step closer to being finished. I've also taken some inspiration from what we did in X1 with the UFO crews, and added several new variants of each alien. For instance, there are now unarmoured Sebillian non-combatants (pilots / engineers / etc) that spawn inside UFOs and only have pistols, rather than every Sebillian being a well-equipped soldier. This process is more complete for some races than others (the Androns in particular are short on variation) but once some of the new alien variant models start appearing I think we'll have a more varied set of aliens than we did in the first game. We'll also hopefully have a bit more of the writing done by the time the next major build arrives. The tech tree is starting to solidify and I'll be starting to put more attention into the research reports now we have more idea of how things might slot together in the final game. There's some other cool things in the works but I'm starting to run out of space so I'll save them for the update announcement. Sorry for the lack of communications on the forums recently; unfortunately I've just been working too hard to spare the time!
    4 points
  37. The development of Xenonauts 2 has reached a major milestone today, as we are releasing our first Closed Beta build to our Kickstarter backers. This is the first time anyone outside the dev team has played a build of the game that contains both the ground combat and the strategy layer linked together (although the first build is intentionally *very* limited in content). This closed beta is only open to Kickstarter backers who have backed the game at the £25+ tiers. If you're one of those backers, Humble will send you either a Steam or GOG key at roughly 11AM PST today (28th November). If you're not a Kickstarter backer, I'm afraid you won't be able to buy the game until our Early Access launch around March 2019 - we're not allowed to sell those private beta keys. Please be aware that the primary purpose of the closed beta is testing. The early beta builds are not going to be fun to play; they have deliberately limited content and will probably have quite a few issues. If you want a fun and playable experience I recommend you wait until the Early Access launch in just over three months! Finally, please don't stream this build - the game is not yet ready to be shown to the public, and even if your viewers were impressed they can't buy the game yet. Once the game has released into Early Access you'll be able to stream it without any restrictions! Features & Feedback: This build contains all of the key strategy systems, but only allows you to play on the Geoscape for one week. We want to find out how well the fundamental mechanics are working, so please try as hard as you can to break the game. We're particularly interested in the following feedback: Does the game work properly on your computer? How is performance on the different graphics settings? Do the graphics / UI display correctly on your monitor? Are you getting any crashes? Do all the strategy game systems work properly? e.g. Do your planes intercept and shoot down UFOs properly? Does building structures and managing staff on the Base screen work properly? Do the dummy research / engineering projects work as you'd expect? Is the ground combat <> strategy link transferring the data correctly? e.g. Are your soldiers bringing the correct equipment to battle? Is the correct ground combat map being loaded, with the correct aliens and UFO and civilians etc? Are the correct items being recovered from combat? Is soldier experience gain / death in combat being correctly brought back to strategy? Does saving and loading work properly? Are any parts of the UI confusing or difficult to use? Is there anything that's particularly annoying and ruins the experience for you? etc We've simply not had time to work on the game balance or spend much time iterating and improving our new mechanics (e.g. the Air Combat and the Base system), so please wait a few more builds before giving us feedback on those topics. We'll be asking your opinions and suggestions on the new stuff once we've had time to develop it a bit further. You should also assume that most of the re-used art you see from the first Xenonauts is placeholder art. We're going to start adding the missing research art during the closed beta and there will be a final UI and art pass on the game during Early Access when the mechanics are more settled and we know the final UI layouts for the various screens. Where to report issues and give feedback: Simple bugs: you can press F11 to send an in-game bug report, or report them here on the forum in this thread Crash bugs: if you've got Error Reports enabled in-game, we'll get some useful info on what went wrong. But it also helps if you can tell us in this thread what you were doing that might have caused the crash. General feedback: posting this up on the forums is best, either in this thread or in a new topic in Xenonauts-2 General Discussion We're not sure exactly when the next build is going to be, as it's somewhat dependent on how broken Beta Build V1 is - if there's major crash bugs in the game we'll probably try and hotfix them within a day or two, whereas anything else is likely to be rolled into a larger build that will be coming in around two weeks from today! EDIT - a few updates since I originally posted this thread: The bug reports we recieved were so useful we released a hotfix the following day that addressed a bunch of crashes, changelog here. We now have a dedicated sub-forum for bug reports, so please post any bugs in there! Please read the bug formatting rules first though - it makes it much easier for everyone to see if a bug has already been reported!
    4 points
  38. So for roughly the next month (until late August) I'm only going to be logging onto this forum occasionally - and I'll be responding to emails and direct messages much more slowly than normal. Why? I'm getting married next week, and then I'm going to be heading off on my honeymoon for a couple of weeks a few days afterwards. The rest of the team will still be busily working away in my absence, but I won't be around to do the usual community management stuff. If you see people on the forums asking questions for the devs and getting annoyed that they're not getting a response, please point them to this thread! I'm very much looking forward to having a holiday - I'm sure those of you here who are married will know all to well how stressful it is to organise a wedding, and to do all that while also running a Kickstarter campaign and doing all the planning required to keep Goldhawk running for a month has been pretty exhausting! It'll be nice to have a couple of weeks to chill out before I come back and have to start worrying about the upcoming closed beta I don't have time to write a proper dev update unfortunately, but these are a few of the things we're planning to be working on in the next month: Finishing up the realtime Geoscape and interceptor / UFO movement etc Adding the basics of the new air combat prototype into the game Adding the soldier backpack allowing units to switch weapons in combat Making units drop their equipment on death, and allowing soldiers to pick things up from the ground Some upgrades to the ground combat AI Adding few unique weapons (e.g. combat shield) and weapon properties (lasers recharging their clips, etc) Adding explosive terrain objects / units that can explode on death Getting the MARS vehicle working properly in the ground combat (crushing things, exploding when destroyed, not screaming when shot, etc) Rewriting the unit movement logic so you can move multiple soldiers simulatenously A bunch more fixes / updates to the map editor to help us support semi-randomised maps I'm sure I'll be brimming with enthusiasm when I get back, and hopefully most / all of the above will be waiting for me when I do!
    4 points
  39. I rather enjoy the claustrofobic feeling that restricted vision cones give. It's not just a gameplay topic, but a fundamental thing that changes how the game feels.
    4 points
  40. I've made a UI mockup with UI elements that I'd like to see: Bigger Everything! Well, except the weapons. See major equipments of all soldiers. See heal-able HP and stun damage. TU, HP, and main weapon above everyone (friends, foes, and 3rd parties). Outline move area, move + shot area (before turning), and vision cone. When selecting move location, show line to all enemies, and who can be shot from that location (after turning), and whether each can see you (red eye icon in the mockup, above the left alien). Default to move + fire instead of ignore move and fire. When hovering over target, see accuracy of all modes. See hovered target's TU and HP but without numbers. Full UI mockup (understandably most clustered): Animated mockup (Not always playing correctly; did my best): X2.mp4 Fine touches: See all inventory on screen (slot based), Selecter soldier's skills, Silhouette for human and alien, Replace shot mode text with icons, Firing hint. TU has a blue overwatch marker to represent snap TU. Tried adding current firing mode marker, but a bit redundant with moving shot boundary and live TU prediction. Floating TU and HP is white to emphasis coloured status icons such as the red eye for sight. If a walk plan renders you unable to fire at a target after turning, it can be conveyed by "not-attackable line" to that target. I think we can also rotate vision cone with mouse move, and update TU prediction (and maybe cone colour) to indicate whether there is enough TU left for overwatch. In hindsight I could have made the alien indicator smaller and add their weapon icons below. And add reaction shot indicator next to sight indicator.
    4 points
  41. Heh, I've been explaining this concept for almost a decade now and I don't think I've ever managed to express it as succinctly or as effectively as you did there
    4 points
  42. This has been interesting to read, but I have a question to ask. How many people here have played ALTAR Interactive's AfterX series of X-Com-like games? ALTAR Interactive tried doing many of the things that people have suggested here. In Aftershock, there was a large array of competing weapon types - projectile, laser, plasma, psi, sonic and warp, with each type being introduced later in the game. Each weapon tier was different in terms of damage, range and accuracy. They also introduced ammo types and modifications for each weapon type, and every enemy type had different resistance types to the different weapon tiers. But the takeaway from AfterX was people used projectile weapons throughout most of the game. Accuracy didn't matter. Want an accurate weapon? Make a scope and a gyrostabiliser and stick it on a rifle. Raw damage didn't matter. Put AP or explosive or Acid rounds in a projectile weapon and go for headshots (the only kind of shot) with your snipers. ALTAR did to Aftershock what usually only modders do after a game has been released but it was easy to boil down from the massive list of STUFF which weapons were the most accurate, fired the most shots and did the most damage with the appropriate mods (it was projectile weapons - the first tier that you get - all the way). In Afterlight, they dialed back the weapon types, but projectiles STILL lead the way. The ALTAR experiment over 3 games shows that trying to vary things based on key statistics doesn't work. What happens is that the weapons with the best stats bubble up from the pool and everything else is ignored. You end up with perhaps the sniper rifle from lasers, the assault rifle from projectiles, the shotgun-esque weapon from plasma etc. etc. If weapons from different tiers were intended to be the same but different, then those differences have to be radically different but not keyed to stats, as keying them to stats didn't work in the AfterX series. Furthermore, the differences in later stage tiers have to be sufficiently enticing for people for put work and time into them. Let's take.. plasma weapons, for example. A nice late-tier weapon. If a plasma weapon did as much damage as an earlier stage laser, what would set it apart? Perhaps the plasma weapon sets things on fire. cover, for example. Or people. Perhaps instead it instantly destroys terrain, so you can destroy cover quickly with a plasma weapon Perhaps all plasma bullets have a 1-tile detonation radius. Perhaps it does everything. Take lasers. Why would I put research into lasers when I have guns? Perhaps lasers are a beam rather than a bullet style of weapon, which affect every tile they cross into. Perhaps laser have infinite ammo, and overheat harming the operator. Perhaps lasers can blind enemies. Perhaps all of the above. Who knows! But for different tiers to be the same but different, extra effort would have to be put into having those tiers behave differently on the battlefield.
    4 points
  43. With the Christmas period only six weeks away, I thought I'd take a moment to tell everyone what exactly we're working on at the moment. The short version of it could be summed up as: we're connecting everything together, and things now work ... but are also clearly broken. What? Things work... but they're also broken? Let's start by talking about exactly what "connecting up" is - essentially it means we're now joining up all the information on the strategy layer and the ground combat layer. On the strategy layer you can hire your unique soldiers and put them to work in the base or send them out on missions, and if you send them out on a mission then we need to create a battlefield map with all the parameters sent from the strategy layer. That includes the type of mission (UFO crash site, VIP rescue, etc), the type of biome and sub-biome (arid wilderness, temperate farm, desert military base etc), the number of Xenonauts involved and their stats and equipment, the number and type of aliens, etc. The good news is that this all now works in the sense that data is correctly passed from the strategy layer to the ground combat, then results are passed back up to the strategy layer again once the mission is complete. However, making the gameplay correctly reflect all this information is an ongoing process that be going on for a long time. We're making a lot of progress fixing up the obvious issues, but whilst the code is indeed working the gameplay just isn't there yet. Anyone who played Xenonauts 1 more than six months before it was released will know very well what we mean when we say that! Can you give a bit more detail on where exactly you are and why this is so hard? The key issue here is the the missions in Xenonauts require a long list of design work, art assets and code in order to play like a game should play, and if any one is missing then the whole thing looks totally broken. I'll take the example of us implementing the VIP rescue mission which we put in the game a few weeks ago, because that both clearly works but is also obviously broken. These are the (simplified) steps required to get it working: Have a functioning Geoscape where missions can spawn Have the ability to hire and equip soldiers on the strategy layer Write the spawn logic on the strategy layer for when the opportunity for a VIP Rescue mission appears on the Geoscape Write the intended alien units that you should be fighting on the mission (these should change and get harder as the game goes on) Write code that defines the victory / loss conditions for this specific type of mission and implements anything new (e.g. you fail if the VIP is killed, you win if the VIP is evacuated even if everyone else dies) Have a level editor that can create a level for the game Implement VIP spawn regions and evac regions in the level editor and ground combat code Have a tileset with enough models that levels can look good Create a level for the mission with the appropriate layout, meta regions and visual attractiveness Create art assets for all the required aliens Create art assets for the VIP Set up combat stats / equipment for all these aliens Set up combat stats / equipment for the VIP Make sure this equipment also has the required stats and art assets Ensure you have the appropriate variety of maps to cater for all the different places this mission can occur Write the code that pulls this together and loads the appropriate map, mission type, aliens, equipment and Xenonauts when you fire up the mission Ensure the aliens have the correct AI behaviors to deal with the mission objectives (e.g. they will aggressively attack you and try and kill the VIP) Pass the results information back to the strategy layer and ensure the strategy layer acts on it (killing your dead soldiers, crediting you with a new unit if you rescued the VIP, etc) Something that sounds relatively simple - "adding VIP rescue missions" - therefore actually requires a huge amount of work across many different areas of the project if you want it to have an acceptable level of gameplay. And even when you've done all this, there's still plenty more to do ... for instance, the VIP currently doesn't get a little quick-selection minitab in the UI when you get control of him, and he doesn't start sharing his vision cone with your team until you select him for the first time. Those are pretty major bugs that clearly need to be fixed. And even when you've got the obvious bugs fixed, all you've done is created a mission that the player can play. Then the long and difficult process of balancing starts. Is the VIP too close to the spawn area, or too far away? Are the enemies too tough for this stage of the game? Is the map too open, making the VIP too hard to protect against alien snipers? Are shotguns too good? Does that alien have too much HP bloat? I'm sure you get the picture. The point of this update is to illustrate that the "fun" part of game development that everyone wants to help out with is the balancing and polishing stage, which happens right at the end of development. That's when you get to look at the game and say "hey, I've got this one great idea that'll make it much better!" and I find myself writing 1000-word forum posts about tiny details like why ballistic rifles need to have slightly higher armour penetration than they already do. I love that part of game development and we're getting steadily closer to it. We've nearly finished the box that sits around the game that we all want to play, and soon we'll be properly working on the game itself. The level editor and level creation process in general has sucked away a lot of this time, but we've now got pretty much all the functionality we had in the X1 level editor and therefore should be able to produce missions with the same complexity as the first game. Then we'll start pushing beyond it. We've got a few more things to fix up before we can put anything out, but what I'm currently planning for is to re-introduce the ground combat builds in the near future with the new ground mission types in them (currently we're working on UFO Crash Site, Alien Base Attack, Capture Supplies, VIP Rescue, VIP Elimination, Xenonaut Base Defence and they're all mostly working). Hopefully that gives a bit more insight into what we're doing right now, and why we've been quiet - although you'll get to see it for yourself soon enough!
    4 points
  44. Once you stop seeing the entire world as a single unitary block with a collective consciousness I think it becomes a much easier sell. Plus you only have to look at the debates around the scientific claims that smoking was harmful / climate change is being caused by human activity to see that it's easy to muddy the waters of public opinion, irrespective of what "facts" are put forward by each side of the argument. In most cases people find the facts to support what they want to believe, rather than vice versa. Now imagine that the aliens have infiltrated elements of the media and world governments, and are actively trying to discredit the notion that aliens exist. Instead, they're pushing conspiracy theories like the narrative that one of the two superpowers has developed a secret weapon and is regularly using it on their opponents, whilst staging hoax / false flag attacks against their own people so as not to arouse suspicion. The photos of aliens are doctored; the witnesses are just government stooges. Indeed, the aliens might not even need to discredit the theories themselves. If I was living in the UK at the height of the Cold War and one of our aircraft carriers disappeared in mysterious circumstances, and the government explanation was: "Aliens did it, but all we have is few grainy photos to prove it", I'm not sure I'd believe that. If elements of the local media were accusing the government of being soft on Communism and covering up a Soviet attack because they were frightened / secretly supporting a Communist takeover then I might give that some serious thought. It's not likely, but is it more likely than a secret alien invasion? Might well be. Similarly, the Xenonauts can have powerful political support but that only needs be from a few key figures, ideally in a cell structure ... if aliens are infiltrating governments, you don't want a lot of people knowing about the Xenonauts. The aliens might not have enough power to take over the world militarily, but they certainly have enough power to wipe out the Xenonauts if they find them. The whole "men in black" and government conspiracy lore is a rich vein, particularly in the Cold War. I think this type of setting is actually a much better fit than the outright warfare in Xenonauts 1; mechanically it doesn't have to change the game at all.
    4 points
  45. The first Xenonauts public build will be arriving on Monday 24th October and will be completely free to anyone that wants to try it. The game is still too incomplete for us to consider a paid release, but we want as many people generating ideas / feedback and reporting bugs as possible. We'll therefore be making the first few builds free. However, we will also make optional pre-orders for Xenonauts 2 available at the same time. This is purely for people who know they want to support the project, as they won't initially confer any extra benefit - but they will automatically convert into a Steam or GOG key for the game when we transition into paid Early Access later in development. We're planning to charge $24.99 for the game during development and then $29.99 once the game is finished and released. The first build will be a simple test build - a combat mission between eight Xenonauts with basic armour and the starting weapons from X1 (shotguns, rifles, sniper rifle, LMG) and roughly six Psyons (formerly Caesans). The battle map will be an outdoor forest map with no UFO; it'll just be a straightforward deathmatch between the two sides. There will be strong similarities with Xenonauts 1 in the first build, which is intentional - we want to reassure people that we're not planning to dumb things down for X2 despite moving to 3D, and because assets from X1 make excellent placeholders until we create the new X2 assets to replace them. That said, the sequel is not simply a remake of Xenonauts 1 in 3D ... we just want to make a fun and playable foundation for the game based on the first game before we start changing things up. After all, it's much easier to test a new or altered mechanic if it is embedded in a working game and you are able give it a proper playtest. The build that comes out on the 24th is going to be a "soft" launch for us. We'll be releasing the first Xenonauts 2 build and unveiling a new website for the game, but we're not actively promoting it via Twitter or by contacting journalists or by messaging our mailing list / Kickstarter backers. This is because the initial release of any piece of software almost invariably reveals huge numbers of bugs and issues that the developers were completely unaware of, and we'd like to do a small release to our existing community to identify and fix the biggest issues before we then announce things more widely and try and expand the community. We have the first week after the build releases set aside for bugfixes, so we're planning to release updates until the 31st that are just bugfix patches and then do our wider announcement on the game on that date. If you've found this information organically by reading our forums / from the Xenonauts 1 launcher RSS panel / from friends / whatever then please help us out by being part of the first wave of testers (and if you're a game journalist, please hold your coverage until the 31st). Similarly, if you encounter any issues with the new website when we unveil it then please report it to us. If all goes well, we're planning to release a decent chunk of new content for the project every two weeks - we're intentionally holding some back from the initial builds for this reason. This means that in theory there should be a second build of the game with new content available to play on the 7th November (although we may find a fortnightly release schedule a bit of a struggle over the long term), a week after the large-scale public release. We'll continue this pattern of public iteration until we feel that we have a project developed enough for an Early Access launch, at which point we'll likely do a quick Kickstarter and then launch on Steam as a paid-only project. I'm personally very keen to get the game out into the hands of the community, even if it is still quite rough at this stage. I'll release more on this forum as details firm up, so stay tuned for updates and make sure you come back and visit on the 24th! P.S. - As always, if you want to stay informed about our plans, please sign up to the Goldhawk Mailing List here. We're going to start using it very soon!
    4 points
  46. The AI in the first build is gonna be relatively primitive ... however the AI in the finished game should be significantly better than that in Xenonauts 1. And to whet your appetite, here's a preview of how the new main menu screen background looks. Still early days but I think 3D has a lot of promise!
    4 points
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