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  1. 6 points
    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!
  2. 4 points
    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!
  3. 4 points
    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. 4 points
    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!
  5. 3 points
    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.
  6. 3 points
    Ok ok, i think everbody is getting a bit heated here. Lets relax all a bit and take a deep breath. Well, reality doesnt care about tech level. And that a weapon like a shotgun which works like a big sledgehammer on targets is only effective against soft targets is intended behaviour. If you look at ballistic warfare from a physical side you want to transfer as much kinetic energy as possible into the targets body. Im sure you are aware that water stops kinetic bullets quite effectiviely. The reason for that is that water molecules have a big cohesion factor, and therefore take in a lot of the bullets kinetic energy very quickly. You can experience that effect when you hit water with your hand - the faster ( more kinetic energy ) your hand is, the more you feel like hitting a hard surface. The least resistance you will feel when you gently put your hand into a body of water. The first advice when you potentially will get into a firefight is "Empty your bladder". If a bullet hits your bladder in a firefight and it happens to contain a lot of fluid it will take in an excessive amount of kinetic energy, and then disperse it through your body. You basically build a grenade in your body, with a bullet as the trigger. If such thing should happen you are unsafeable dead. On the other hand if a bullet just shoots through your body ( little amount of transfered kinetic energy ) especially with a small caliber you have a high chance to make it, it could literally just be a scratch. Why am i writing this out ? Well, i want you to put your focus on the fact that Weapons having little effect isnt a Xenonauts only problem - most of militaristic research focuses on how to effectively transfer energy, not restricted to kinetic, into the target body. Lets first get the defensive definitions out of the way. Target Body - This is the body you want to transfer energy into. Transfer enough energy and the material of the body will cease to function and transform. This is your goal. Armour - A protective measure usually in the form of material in close proximity to the targets body. The key to understanding armour is to understand that the function of armour is to disperse the energy intended for the target body over a maximum amount of area. An assault vest doesnt negate bullets - all it does is increasing the area of effect for the impact, transforming a deadly amount of energy for an area into a withstandable amount of energy for the area. The function of ceramic plates against a plasma bolt is to be a material which has very bad thermal energy transfering properties. Shield - A measure to stop the energy intended for the target body to even reach the armour. Common examples of this are riot shields, missiles which target other missiles, and recently i have also been informed that the german military has implemented lasers which cut and trigger missiles intended for vehicles right before the missile hits the vehicle. Because of this 3 definitions we usually split the offensive measures into 3 categories. Anti-Personel Ammunition - The problem of your average bullet could be that it passes through the target body transfering very little energy into it, still having most of its energy after exiting. This kind of ammuniton focuses on transfering as much energy as possible into the target body at all costs. Take a look at the following example: >>> For slightly worse aerodynamic this bullet increases its impact area in the moment enough resistance is encountered, transfering most if not all of its energy into the target body. On soft targets this usually leaves behind a fistbig hole. The drawbacks of this kind of ammunition are usually that they have a shorter range than better aerodynamic models. Also the lethality of this ammunition could be a drawback if you want to do anything else than kill. If this kind of ammunition encounters enough resistance to trigger the impact area widening effect on the target body lethality is mostly guaranteed. This kind of ammunition is also ineffective against armour because it basically does what the armour should be doing in the first place, helping the armour in its use. Normal Ammunition - Your standard bullet, not very lethal, not very far range, but cheap and your first choice if you want to pierce medium grade armour. Depending on the caliber and the weapon range you get what you pay for. AP, Armour Piercing Ammunition - The answer to better normal bullets is better armour, and the answer to better armour is armourpiercing bullets. Did you ever hit a wall with your fists, and it hurt ? From the physical side it doesnt really matter if you hit hit a wall, or the wall hits you. If two objects collide and an impact occurs what matters is the relative kinetic energy to each other. You take all of the relative energy and ask "Which object is softer ?", and then transfer most energy on the softer target. The reason why your hand hurts when hitting a wall is usually becaise the wall is a lot harder than your hand, thuse more energy gets transfered into your hand. If you can make your fist hard enough you can hit walls and the walls would get damaged instead. Armour Piercing rounds focus on decreasing resistance and impact area, in order to transfer as little energy as possible into the armour, so that some remaining energy reaches the target body. The armour piercing rounds make a full circle of where we started, which was trying to get as much energy as possible into the target body, while armour piercing rounds try to decrease resistance and energy transfer into armour in order to increase the chance of armour not stopping all the energy intended for the target body. The downside of armour piercing is that it is less effective against soft targets, and that it usually carries a higher production cost. The upside is that the impact philosophy usually means it can afford a good aerodynamic, and with it a better range. Now ofcourse how you transfer such a system into a game is another question. If we try to simulate it as close as possible than "damage" for its possible energy transfer into the target body, and "mitigation" for its penetration properties is propably as close as it can get. Mitigation only negating armour and not increasing damage is realistic, since you cant decrease the lost energy to armour to less than zero. Mitigation also negates shred, because shred only applies if armour absrobs damage, which it doesnt if armour gets mitigated. Shred is also a completely valid battlefield factor. Try to roll up a piece of paper. When you are rolling up a piece of paper you induce energy into it. Afterwards it will try to assume its original state, but depending on the amount of energy you induced it cant quite get back to its original form. Now, in order to get the piece of paper 'almsot' back into its original form you have to induce the same energy - by rolling it up the other way. As far as i am aware armour is only supposed to get punched from one side, and with it will inevitably get closer to a failure as more energy is induced into it. Not quite as much as 10%, but maybe more in the direction of 2% - 3%. "Damage" "Mitigation" and "Shred" are propably the most realistic concepts put into a military simulation game. Now you mentioned a problem with Shotguns not being effective against heavily armoured units - well thats the point, or is it ? The realistic approach to a similar problem in the real world would be to design ammunition for each purpose. If we take an andron with 30 armour as a "haevily" armoured unit as our example. Anti Personal Ammunition: 30 damage. In total zero damage. Normal Pellets: 25 damage 10 mitigation. In total 5 damage. Piercing Rounds: 20 damage and 25 mitigation. 15 total damage (per bullet) As far as i can see it all you need to have is proper mitigation values balanced against proper armour values. In the above example you can also see that Piercing Rounds against targets with no armour are worse than Anti-Personel Ammunition. Ofcourse this would be if somebody would want to flesh out a diverse ammunition system. If you confine weapon viability to weapons alone ... than you will always end up with a weapon either being a very good anti-personal, normal or piercing weapon. But if you think of weapons as delivery platforms instead of damage platforms, you could make very interesting weapon-ammunition combinations. This would mean that certain delivery platforms could have certain advantages, but also being able to be used in different scenarios, with less efficiency. Hm ... --- I agree. Isnt the definition of at least being somewhat useful that you just need more rounds to achieve the same goal ? less damage and more mitigation would have done wonders in that case. The less damage it has the less armour it can shred. Props shouldnt be affected by shred, including UFO walls. more mitigation, less damage. So what you are saying is that "this means that literally any unit can be destroyed by any weapon if you shoot it enough times". Wink just joking. (Clears throat) Anyway. We all support you in the journey you want to make <3.
  7. 3 points
    To be honest I prefer the X1 Caesan than new one, the X2 one is more cartoonish and i still think a slim little grey man is authentically better than some pet-like goblins considering the background settings. X1 alien races did a really good job and i cant see why changing them. I did like to see more human enemies like enemy within, the idea of fighting human terrorists can let you take a break from fighting endless waves of Reapers and Androns, and i really like to see the lore of such organisation if they have any. Also I'm having an idea of doing alien vehicle, so instead of always fighting foots soldiers and grunts, you can also destroy alien APCs and alien Tanks, It would be interesting if the aliens bring their own tanks to the party, although this might be impossible because even human vehicles are cut from the current build.
  8. 3 points
    Contentious topic: realists versus the fantasists. My take is that if you're going to make a sci-fi game, then make sci-fi enemies. There is definitely scope for a theme where the aliens use mundane looking foot soldiers that are cloned humans (plays into the secret war and explains how the enemies can survive in the environment). But I'd be disappointed if there were nothing that looked startlingly alien once you get past the front-line troops. Ideally, the big boss type aliens would be something really monstrous, something that picks up on anxieties around the way insects move or the the visceral grossness of internal organs. In that other thread I think someone mentioned breaking the norm of aliens being two-armed, gun-toting bipeds. Androns could certainly get an update to look like the T1 model from Terminator, although even that has something of the human upper body about it. Sebillians did have a good effect of looking tough, but they also gave off vibes of a crocodile wearing half a suit of armour. I think you've got to lean one way or the other. Either it is a bio-engineered somewhat nonsensical fighter species (like a Reaper) or it is a regular tool-using species that grew up the old fashioned way, in which case it has to have some kind of hand(s) and sensory organs but you can go wild other than that. I think the things to avoid are the drooling types (like in Alien) or the types that are so clearly a blend of some animal and a human (like a lot of Star Wars races).
  9. 3 points
    Sorry, yeah. I guess I'll finally comment on that thread given you've asked me about four times now! Yeah, it sort of depends what you want to achieve with those missions; most of them would work rather well in XCOM where it's a sequence of missions that really bear no relation to the actual strategic situation or the in-game world but they don't necessarily logically fit within the structures of Xenonauts 2 so well. In fact, XCOM2 has a much better setup from a lore perspective because the aliens represent an occupying police state so it makes sense that XCOM are rescuing prisoners and all that. To give an example of what I mean, the ideas "capture alien leader", "assassinate alien leader", "clear command post of all aliens" are basically all descriptions of an alien base assault mission, right? Whether you're choosing to capture or kill the alien leadership is something that is down to the player's strategic situation - something that I'd consider a strength of the game in that you get to choose how to handle a mission rather than having to jump through specific hoops. If I look at the list from a mechanical point of view, the ideas fundamentally boil down to: Defend something ("Defend a landmark" / "Defend supplies") Protect VIP ("Escort VIP to exfiltration area" / "Rescue downed pilot" / "Free prisoners" / "Rescue local soldiers under attack by aliens" / "Rescue hostage") Destroy / reach something ("Destroy alien transmission beacon" / "Activate missile site via panel in control room" / "Retrieve information local agents have compiled about aliens" / "Destroy alien mind-control device causing humans to fight you") I guess the tricky thing is to think of ways that many of these things can get into the game. The defence missions seem the easiest candidates; adding some form of non-base defence mission is an idea I've been kicking around for a while and may well make it into X2 before release. As you say, it doesn't really require new mechanics or assets to add them in. But if you take a mission like "destroy alien transmission beacon", you've got to ask yourself how it would be meaningfully different from any other kind of mission. In practice, isn't it going to involve the player just marching through a map and killing all the aliens like they would a standard terror site? It only really becomes something new and interesting if, for example, the aliens have unlimited reinforcements and the player is actively encouraged to focus on the objectives rather than just wiping out the aliens. But then where do those unlimited alien reinforcements come from, and why don't they appear in other missions, etc? It'd be difficult to explain within the context of the game lore. So there's potentially a few ideas there but the key thing is to focus on how the missions would play differently, otherwise the different types of mission wouldn't feel much more different in gameplay terms than fighting a Terror Mission on a American Town map is compared to fighting a Terror Mission on a Soviet Town map. It'd just be the same mechanics with a slightly different flavour on top.
  10. 3 points
    You're entitled to your opinion, but the data that I have and you don't (i.e. Steam wishlists) suggests that the game isn't actually about to die despite the lack of promotion the game is getting beyond our forums and our Kickstarter, whatever the Steam forums and videos might tell you. The focus at the moment is figuring out exactly what the final shape of the game is going to be. We already unveiled one vision for the game during our Kickstarter and had to walk it all back over the past 18 months because it didn't work anywhere near as well as we planned; I'm not going to do that a second time. It's much easier to sell people on a game when there's a clear set of features and a roadmap to release, and to have we need to finish testing our ideas. Sure, non beta-testers might be annoyed at the lack of communication right now but I'd be very surprised if those people are going to tune out when we start showing off all our new features and artwork just because we've gone a bit quiet since our Kickstarter a little under two years ago. We're a small team and it doesn't make sense for us to waste time on marketing when there's nothing for people to buy; we'll start pushing things on the marketing front once we announce our Early Access launch. Until then our time is best spent on the game itself.
  11. 2 points
    The Geoscape is the central command and control screen of Xenonauts-2. It is here that the war against the aliens unfolds, with extraterrestrial units and UFOs appearing on the map to threaten the funding regions and you deploying your aircraft and soldiers to defend them as best you can. The goal for our changes in Xenonauts-2 is to give the player more choices and make the strategy map feel more reactive to what the player is doing. These are the systems covered: Invasion Balance & Reactivity Liaison Offices (Scientist & Engineer Recruitment) Orbital Bombardment Alternate Ending Other Mechanics Invasion Balance / Reactivity: The strategy layer in Xenonauts had a few problems that would show up when the player was doing well. The optimal way to play the game was to gain interceptor cover across the entire planet as quickly as possible, and once you had sufficient numbers of interceptors (assuming you kept them appropriately upgraded) spread across the world the strategy layer ended up being rather simple - the UFOs would spawn and immediately get shot down. One of the problems this caused was that the player would ONLY encounter crash sites from the point they gained air superiority. Almost all alien activity in X1 was driven by the UFOs, so shooting them down shortly after they spawn stops them from even spawning terror sites, creating alien bases or attacking your bases. Clearly, this doesn't make for a very interesting player experience and it's something we've addressed in X2 - the creation of some terror sites and alien bases is now independent from UFOs, so achieving complete air superiority will not lock you out from ever seeing those missions (in the final game ideally about half of them will be spawned from UFOs and thus preventable). The other problem was that long stretches of the game could be kinda boring when you were doing well. You gained Relations with a region by shooting down UFOs, and shooting down the UFOs also prevented them from damaging Relations - so any region where you had strong air forces would quickly trend up to max relations / funding and just stay there for the whole game. We're tweaking the way Relations (now "Panic") works and adding more strategic pressure from the Orbital Bombardment mechanic (see below) to try and balance this out. Finally, we're trying to make the alien activity more closely related to the player's actions. For instance, the aggressive UFOs on Air Superiority missions that will attack any of your aircraft that they encounter now possess squadsight, so they if you approach any other UFO within a certain radius they will light up their afterburners and attempt to protect it. Alien base missions now spawn resupply missions like in the original X-Com, and we plan to make alien base attacks more likely to be targeted at bases that house your most active interceptors, etc. In conclusion, we're aiming to make the strategy layer more interesting through a number of subtle improvements and balance changes that should collectively make for a much more engaging experience. Liaison Offices (Scientist / Engineering Recruitment): One of the larger mechanical changes to the strategy layer is the addition of Liaison Offices, which add a degree of territory control the strategy layer. Conceptually the construction of a Liaison Office represents the Xenonauts setting up an embassy / local command center to co-ordinate with the local region, granting permanent bonuses to both your organisation and the local region. There's about 25 of these in pre-set locations on the map, with 4 to 5 in each of the six funding regions. Construction costs $200,000 and takes 10 days. On completion, funding in the local region will be permanently increased and local Panic will be lowered, and a number of Scientists and Engineers will be added to your recruitment pool. This is your only source of scientists and engineers, so players will need to expand across the world to grow their research / engineering efforts. Crucially, you need to protect these Liaison Offices once constructed, as alien Bombers will frequently target them and attempt to destroy them. If they succeed, you lose your investment and will suffer a significant panic increase in the local region. Building a bunch of Liaison Offices you then can't defend is an expensive and potentially terminal mistake! Orbital Bombardment: Within a couple of minutes of starting the game, you'll learn that the Chief Scientist has discovered an unknown orbital object designated UOO-1. A few days later you'll learn that it is not friendly. The alien space station hovering above Earth is in fact an alien superweapon that will destroy a major city from orbit every 10 days, causing a large Panic spike in the affected region. Although there's nothing you can do to stop this, if the player is progressing through the campaign at a reasonable rate the orbital bombardment mechanic will not affect the game very much. The repeated Panic increases are balanced out by the passive Panic reduction that you now gain from completing important research, and the bombardment will always hit the region with the lowest Panic (i.e. the one furthest from surrendering to the aliens). The purpose of this system is to quickly close out games where the player has fallen behind and would eventually lose anyway. Thematically, it is intended to make the invasion feel more dangerous - even if you have complete control over the skies of Earth, the aliens will still be slowly bombing humanity into submission. Naturally, you'll get your revenge on the space station at the end of the game! Alternate Ending: The core storyline of Xenonauts 2 is learning enough about the aliens to figure out how to stop the invasion and destroy the orbital superweapon. Following a fairly straightforward research chain and winning a couple of unique story missions (an alien facility assault and a unique UFO assault) will eventually unlock the final mission, allowing you to save humanity and win the game when you've got an appropriately experienced and equipped squad to carry it out. However, the game will also include a second (better) ending that any player interested in reading the research text and learning about the aliens will probably achieve. It's not exactly going to be a hidden ending but it will require a bit more effort to achieve; capturing high-ranking aliens and reading research text will be a necessity. The idea here is that players can engage with the game world / lore as much as they like. If people want to ignore the research text and just blow up some aliens, that's fine - they can happily complete the game without ever knowing where the aliens come from or what they're trying to achieve. But I've done quite a bit more work fleshing out the aliens and their society / empire this time around, and if players want to take the time required to delve into that information they'll be able to engineer a better outcome. Other Mechanics: Some other smaller mechanical changes that don't warrant a multi-paragraph explanation have also made it onto the Geoscape: Panic: each region now has a Panic score rather than a Relations score. This doesn't change much except countries are lost at 100 Panic, rather than being lost at 0 Relations. Static(ish) Funding: regions no longer increase their funding as your Relations with them improve. Instead, any region not lost to the aliens gives you a set amount of funding each month. This funding is reduced by 25% if Panic is above 50, and 50% if Panic is above 75. Geoscape Agents: these are a simple strategic resource that will reduce current Panic by 10% when assigned to a region. I think there's scope to expand this system in the future, but we'd likely only look at this at the end of development. Tech Proliferation: completing certain research projects will give a global Panic reduction and equip the local forces with the appropriate equipment after a certain amount of time has passed. For example, once you've researched Laser Rifles you'll get an immediate Panic reduction and will see the friendly AI forces in terror missions etc start to use them ~30 days later.
  12. 2 points
    In a lot of strategy game in order to maintain balance between the two opposing (sometimes even human) players there's a fog of war across all of the map. While a fog of war is a good idea I do think that coming by the air to a crashed (or non crashed) landing on your own planet is a missed opportunity to try and change or spice things up. How do you think a battle or your behavior would change if you had at least a basic layout of the map? You'll still have fog of war but you'll know where buildings, walls etc are. Theoretically you'll also have intel from surveillance (via airplanes or satellites) on the amount of enemy troops (even a rough estimate by words like: a few, several, multitude, swarm etc would be enough) I don't know how exactly this would effect gameplay but taking examples from a competitor, they had a stage before they figured out what mechanics to implement exactly where the game just kept changing to check different play or mechanics (like one time line of sight was laser pointers from soldier to enemies and other soldier and the whole battlefield was just laser lines) while not having access to the game myself I think it would make for an interesting test, and since the game hasn't been released as a "beta" to the public I might not be too late to examine new ideas... what are your thoughts on the subject?
  13. 2 points
    Hello everyone - I've been rather quiet on these forums for the past couple of months, but here's an update to keep you all posted on our progress. The reason why I've not been posting much on the forums in recent times is because I was lucky enough to welcome my daughter into the world just over five weeks ago. I took two weeks as paternity leave and then returned to work, but learning how to work from home with a baby around has been quite a learning experience for me! Although I am able to fit a full working day in around the babysitting, my time is more limited than before and I've had to be much more focused on game development, which means I've spent less time on the forums than normal. However, I'm starting to use my phone and laptop in quiet moments in the evenings and this hopefully will give me a bit of time each day to browse the forums and catch up on a bit of research writing. So, basically, the lack of activity here does not indicate lack of activity on the game. It's just that interaction with the community is the first thing to get squeezed out of my schedule when I'm short on time. What have we been working on over the past two months? Quite a few things: Implemented the new armour / penetration system Improved the way grenade scattering works so its more sensible Reworked the ground combat inventory so it works better and displays a lot more information Improved the way the Soldier Equip and dropship soldier arrangement screen works Set up the local forces to upgrade their equipment based on your research efforts Got the EliminateVIP missions functioning (although they still need proper maps) Done some more research text writing and added a couple more research images Added jetpacks to the game Fixed the issue where weapons in backpack didn't properly contain ammo (which also lays the foundations for modular weapons) Added a simple geoscape Agent system that allow you to boost Relations in a specific region Designed a couple of new UFOs You'll be seeing more of those new things in the next week or two when we put out a new build, but for once I'm actually going to stick to my plans and only write a short update. I just want you all to know that we've not forgotten you!
  14. 2 points
    Speaking of Mind War, I can think of 3 different ways to spice it up/make it better, since 1 turn to activate it seems cheap: The soldiers fighting back during the Mind War. 1) The higher his willpower, the higher the penalties on all attributes while the soldier is MC'd. Even if he cannot fully break out of it, he can shoot worse than a star wars stormtrooper 2) The solider under MC gets a semi random TU cost increase for all actions (dependent on willpower) 3) The soldier under MC can at semi-ranom intervals (depending on willpower) simply suddenly stop and loose TU's All of these simulate a soldier fighting back.
  15. 2 points
    Glad to hear that something is being done to mind control. I have played the game for many hours in spite of the fact that I hated the mind control aspect of the game. That alone proves my high opinion of X1 but if X2 still has a aggravating, frustrating, annoying, hair pulling, fist through the monitor mind control, I will seriously reconsider buying it. No, that's a lie. I'd buy it anyway. Love the game.
  16. 2 points
    In OpenXCOM they have your soldiers act as pilots, which seems super cool to me. Xenonauts has the most fleshed-out airgame so I'd totally support it.
  17. 2 points
    Hi all I don't know if this has ever been brought up, or even if its too late too even think about, but has anyone considered that these could be an interesting addition to the game? You could garrison them with a small number of troops and aircraft and use them to patrol areas that are out of your radar/base range, and launch ground/air operations from them. They could be attacked by aliens under certain conditions too. It would add some flexibility to the game without being a necessity. They would take a long time to produce and a lot of funds too, you could even add submersible vehicles if you wanted to introduce a nuatical alien threat like TFTD for some additional variety. Maybe troops that get transferred to them become marines and get some kind of perk/stat/rank alteration? I think part of the X-COM/Xenonauts fantasy is feeling like you are in command of a proper military organisation, which means thinking about air, land and sea in some capacity. The sea is often overlooked unless the setting is specifically the ocean, but it could be useful in any earth setting. Just an idea!
  18. 2 points
    Yes, I'm referring to software errors. In my latest run, one of my fighter craft won't replace and I'm pretty sure it's why I can't do ground sites (it's Beta - waddaya gonna do?). Eh, so it looks as much like weight of numbers are causing problems. I guess that having a hard cap of 2 aliens which can use the squadsight (I'm pretty sure that the current version of Mind War is squadsight) version of Mind War would help, and possibly transferring the Mindshield as an armour module would be good - of course, I guess if the mindshild is an armour module then you wouldn't be able to have things like the tac visor or the rebreather. How about this as a suggestion - have two versions of the Mindshield? One version which is an armour module only affects the wearer of the armour. And you have another version which is its big brother, goes in the secondary slot and has an AOE, so you can designate some soldiers as umbrellas. Perhaps a 6x6 or 7x7 radius?
  19. 2 points
    I think this is really promising, to start in a phase of the game where the alien invasion is still secret. This plays into the whole X-Files style "black helicopter men" mythology that makes the concept of playing as the usual "bad guys" covering up the alien invasion so interesting. And without some kind of DEFCON or other potential conflict between the superpowers, I don't see the point of having the Soviet Union in the setting. It was really underused in the first one and I was hoping that would be rectified here. I really hope some form of this makes it in!
  20. 2 points
    Haha that’s essentially my strategy when playing these kinds of games as well. As I usually want to store all equipment in one base for easy management. Keeping the features of mission restriction can integrate with the added mission types that @Ogilvy the Astronomer suggested. Maybe because you keep shooting down their ships. They instead try to change tactics to better fight your own strategy. Instead of building bases, they started doing vip assassinations using shapeshifters (vip protection), preventing tech sharing (convoy protection), throwing caesan psychics down on Earth using drop pods to mind control civilians in large cities or military bases (killing alien VIP), setting up teleportation stations to directly beam down aliens (destroy their teleportation device to stop their infinite spawning), and directly working with factions or regions that have bad relations to starve Xenonauts of funds (alien meeting assault),... In that case how well you play will directly influence the missions that you can partake in. In addition, I can suggest adding to the game a tech tree of non-lethal weapons to take out human enemies and crazy civilians (who keeps running into reapers and get themselves killed). Maybe an expansion of the shock baton/shock grenade/gas grenade research to give you things like stun guns, psychic powers for your troops, to MIB like Neuralyzers that can suppress the aliens and control the civilians,...
  21. 2 points
  22. 2 points
    Although I appreciate people's concern, as I said in my original post, the publisher deal is just a marketing deal. I don't have time or expertise to market the game properly and it'd be dumb to release an expensive game without trying to market it properly. The publishers aren't giving us any signficant sums of money (if anything at all) and there's nothing in any of the potential publishing deals that means we lose control over the design of the game, have to change the schedule of the game, be forced onto the Epic store, discontinue Community Edition, etc. We're just going to get a marketing partner to make sure everyone knows that Xenonauts 2 exists and what cool features it has rather than have it immediately fade into obscurity when it launches. Please don't extrapolate too much about what that means for Xenonauts 2 based on your own perceptions of what a publisher is / does, as the reality is that publishers can do very different things depending on what point they get involved in a project and how much money they put in. Generally they have a lot of control over a project but if they come in near the end and aren't putting any money in then they're facing much less risk themselves, and need much less control as a result.
  23. 2 points
    On V11.3 (and all the other builds): I have gotten really tired of having to open everyone's backpack during a battle because I forgot who has the explosive or the Alien Taser. Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but if not, would it be possible to be able to cycle through all the backpacks? Currently, using TAB leaves only the first backpack opened, visible on the screen, while the player cycles through the troops.
  24. 2 points
    @Coffee Potato just as a heads-up, this was a really good idea. We didn't initially set the miss shots up this way because it's simpler to check along the path as the bullet as it travels (because that way the bullet always stops automatically when it encounters a 100% blocking object), but after a bit of experimentation we've updated the system so that on miss shots it pre-calcualtes the hit object by checking the intervening objects in reverse order from the first 100% blocking object. Basically what that means is that for all weapons shots are now more likely to hit objects closer to the target than the shooter. It does indeed look much more sensible and it means units are less likely to blow themselves up with explosive weapons.
  25. 2 points
    A good game spreads more by word of mouth really. Not many knew about xen1 when it came out, but it must have done well enough by definition for chris and the team to produce a sequel, otherwise why bother? It's still a great game to play, and always will be, just as the original UFO: Enemy Unknown from Microprose was. Heck, I still even play Rebelstar on a Spectrum Emulator from time-to-time. Or even Lazer Squad. Classics of the past. One bolt from the blue I remember (because it nearly wrecked the 3rd year of my degree) was the Nintendo 64's Goldeneye, which I always say was better than the film. Compared to 1st person shooters from today it's very choppy, but it was dripping with atmosphere and quality. It just came out of nowhere to be one of the top games on the N64. Finally, remember that this game is really a labour of love. Chris personally loves this type of game and loved UFO (which is why Xen was produced). It's in his interest to make sure its a great game because he will probably be playing it himself! Programmers of Big companies cannot put this kind of love into the kind of corporate games they make simply because they aren't really 'engaged' as much in what they are producing. The goal for most of them is just a paycheck at the end of the day. Turn-based strategy is not really catered for these days in comparison to other types of games, yet there is definitely a market for them - as shown by xen1. This is why xen2 is so important.
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