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  1. 5 points
    You're saying this as if an improved Xenonauts is a bad thing and it has to be something completely different.
  2. 5 points
    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.
  3. 4 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.
  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. 4 points
    Mechanically, it was interesting, but LW2 also felt really soulless to me. Plus side, there's no need to choose, LWOTC is actually out. WOTC was made for Mass appeal, and it's board game setup of strategic layers wasn't meant for thinking too hard about the logistics, it's kind of like comparing a game show and an army base. But yeah, with the soulless problem fixed, and improved performance, LWOTC is a really interesting setup. That said, it only works in that setting. Seeing the infiltrator missions turn into a missions might be a neat way to implement this, but the Xenonauts are basically responding to things instantly, they don't have time for prep, that's what makes it work. (Then it brings the question of why more units aren't sent on either side, why they didn't bring heavier vehicles, why there's no air, and any of the other "why can't we have full military porn, I like guns a lot" greatest hits. ) XDiv seems to walk the line pretty well between the two. You get heavy armor and a free vehicle, your planes are constantly trying to keep some semblance of control above, and there is no point where you don't have a goal to go after. There's lots more locals, and the battles feel very believable. Random Takeaways: Keeping the tech tree crazy over stocked seems to handle keeping the rut away. More enemy types keeps larger battles from getting tedious. Reliable armor keeps RNGesus at Bay. Also feels really good when you break a unit's armor and shred them down. Basically mostly low health and high armor, except for the tanks. Weapons changing mechanics on an individual basis keeps things fresh, LW did this too. Having a free vehicle makes it feel like your people are always doing their best. More weapon types on planes, swapped every Phase, makes the air game feel like aliens are responding to your advances.
  6. 4 points
    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.
  7. 4 points
    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.
  8. 4 points
    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).
  9. 3 points
    - Human (thrown) grenades: Has anyone checked the percentage of self-damaging throws? I think this issue came up before, but unless a soldier is wounded or impaired in some other way or facing high obstacles, I think the percentage of throws that land close enough to kill or injure the person throwing should be about 5%, max. For soldiers to throw a grenade right down in front of themselves, we're talking either dropping it when it is thrown, or being seriously depressed and wanting to end it all. If they're that depressed, it's probably because they were stuck in the wheel of the drop ship the previous turn... - Alien Alloy Starvation This has also been discussed somewhat, but for the 3rd or 4th time in a row, my game will be ending due to being unable to make more advanced anything because I don't have alien materials and can't make better aircraft or weapons or much of anything else. Perhaps the humans might be able to pick up some working weapons and ammo on the battlefield sometimes?
  10. 3 points
    Thanks for the tip. I was saving myself for marriage, but the next build seems like a more practical goal..
  11. 3 points
    Hello everyone - hope you all have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year in whatever form you may celebrate it! Although progress on the project has been a little slower than we would have liked over the past month or so, things are still moving forward. The biggest roadblock for recent releases has been this bug on the Experimental branches where the game sometimes freezes up on the loading screen when you try to start a new game. This is obviously quite a serious bug but it has proved rather difficult to track down - and it's now looking like it may be an issue with Unity rather than Xenonauts 2 (it's an issue that occurs when we try to quickly load multiple Asset Bundles at the same time). We're still considering our next move; it's not an easy problem to solve. I've spent most of my time working on writing the research projects in the game, including the plot-related research that drive the game forward. Unfortunately this is something that requires a lot of focus; I can't write effectively if I'm being distracted every ten minutes (this is why I've not spent much time on the forums recently). I've come up with acceptable explanations for fundamental things like Alien Alloys and Alenium, and some of the key alien technologies - if all goes well the next build the early stages of the game will have the first draft of their research text in place rather than just blank space or bullet points! At the same time I've been doing basic testing of the tech tree with regards to the strategy layer. This involves playing the game but using the developer cheats to just auto-win every ground combat without playing it, so it primarily ensures that all the UFOs are spawning correctly and dropping the correct items that unlock the appropriate research which itself unlocks all the correct items and aircraft at the appropriate time. However as I am playing the strategy layer "properly" it has exposed quite a few issues on the Geoscape and in the Air Combat that I've now fixed, e.g. it was previously almost impossible to get beyond the point where Destroyers began appearing (they were just instakilling all your planes at great range), and there were still some missions floating about where powerful aliens were appearing far earlier than they should, etc. The rest of the team have been working on several features that are mostly complete but not yet functional, the biggest two being the Modular Armour system and the support for vehicles (the MARS / ARES one-tile vehicles). The coders responsible for these features are now off on their holidays but both features have already been fully implemented in terms of game logic, and we're now just at the stage where we're fixing bugs and usability problems with them. It's impossible to know how long this process will take with any given feature, so both systems might be in the game and ready to play with a couple of days after we return to work ... or we might still be battling through the bugs a couple of weeks later. Let's hope it's the former! The other thing we've mostly completed is setting up all the Kickstarter backer soldiers and portraits. This is a big task that involves a lot of data processing and quite a lot of code work to hook the properties of the custom soldiers up to the rest of the soldier systems that control "normal" soldiers, but it's mostly done - again we're just working through the bugs (like none of the custom soldiers having faces). I expect this feature will only take a few more hours of work to be completed. To conclude, I expect the early parts of January will mostly involve finishing off all these systems and hooking them up to the research tree while I try to fill in as much of the text as possible. That will form the basis of the next public build, at which point I will start working on testing the game as a whole ... which I suspect is going to involve a lot of map design work!
  12. 3 points
    As we get towards the middle of November I feel like we've been making good progress in recent weeks. Our latest release Closed Beta V9.2 went up on the Experimental branch yesterday and has a long changelog of gameplay fixes that smooth some of the rough edges off the gameplay. We've also made good progress on the big things we said we were targetting in our last update - mostly finishing off the Air Combat and fixing up the broken / missing parts of the new UI. Both had a lot of small updates and fixes that needed to be made but I feel like both have now reached the standard of the rest of the game (i.e. working, but need some more visual and usability polish before the game releases). Core Completion: From my point of view the biggest change in the last four weeks is that the completion of the Air Combat means all the "core" gameplay systems are functional, and the game is now playable. I've therefore been regularly sitting down and playing the game in short sessions to see what missing features, bad game balance, usability issues and bugs are affecting the gameplay. There is, of course, rather a lot of those things to fix up before the game can be considered finished. But these are generally fairly small issues when taken individually and the V9.2 shows that we can quite a few of them in a single update when we're not tied up working on "big" features, so I think you'll be seeing the gameplay improving quite rapidly from here on out. I know I've been promising this for a while but this time it's already happening - and I consider this quite a big milestone for the project! Modular Armour & Updated Artwork: Now we're starting to nail down the mechanics, we're also starting to work on some of the final artwork. The artwork above is a rough preview of the new soldier armour designs, which have come about as a result of the Modular Armour system we will be implementing in the near future. This system should make the choice of what armour to equip your soldiers with more flexible and interesting than it was in the first game; you can read all about it by clicking link! As you can see, we've also taken the opportunity to redesign the armour visually (the two figures on the left represent the starting Tactical and Combat armours respectively). We didn't get the look of the starting armour quite right when we did the previous version of it a few years back, so this time I wanted to give it a more military feel. The advanced armours have also had a bit of a redesign and are now looking much cooler than before - what was previously the Wolf Armour now looks particularly badass, and I'm looking forward to putting in the game in V10 or V11. We're also adding more artwork to the game for the aircraft and the base tiles. The first new aircraft design (the Phantom) is in the game, replacing the Corsair. I've got some plans to switch up its role from the dual-cannon bruiser that the Corsair was in X1 to something else once we get the upgradeable interceptor components worked into the research tree, but for now it's just a Corsair that looks different. We'll be adding updated artwork for the other interceptors in future updates too. The base tiles need more work; they're better than reusing the old X1 art but they're still not quite right. There's a fine line between having a base that looks grey and boring and a base that is way too visually noisy or garish in terms of colour, but I'm sure with a few more iterations we'll be able to find a happy middle ground where the base looks more detailed and "realistic" than before without looking dull. Early Access & Current Priorities: I don't yet have a firm date for you guys about the Early Access but we're currently eyeing January next year. This date would only be two months away (and people will be off for Christmas for some of it) so we're having to choose our planned work rather carefully. This is my thinking at the moment: General gameplay polishing and balancing Modular Armour system Adding item replacement functionality to the tech tree (so you can upgrade an item into something else) Some writing / artwork for the early game tech tree Getting all the Kickstarter backer soldiers into the game Getting the base structures, aircraft and UFO stats out of the code into editable JSON files The idea for Early Access is to have a rough but playable game and then spend the Early Access period polishing and adding new content to it, and I think these changes would get us quite some way towards that goal. Anyway, that's it for this month - comments and thoughts welcome, as always.
  13. 3 points
    I did an X2 UI mockup in a hidden thread at least one years ago, may be two. Here it is. I was also proposing a slightly more flexible secondary scheme, so you'll see three tools instead of two. That was before X2 reverted to backpack. Otherwise, I hope it would be pretty intuitive. It may be too late in the development cycle to revamp now, but for what it is worth: (Click to Enlarge. Image is 1920x1080.)
  14. 3 points
    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!
  15. 3 points
    In a spot of unfortunate timing I'm going to be out of the office from Thursday this week until the end of next week, which means we've had to move a few of our plans for V9 around to minimise the disruption caused by me only being able to work from a laptop (one that sadly cannot run the developer version of X2). Beta V9 Pre-Test: Beta Build V9 is a fairly large upgrade over V8 as it contains both the new realtime air combat model and also the first section of the strategic UI reskin (updating all the strategy management screens except the Geoscape), and a few smaller things like building aircraft in your workshop and wall hiding in the ground combat. The air combat is almost entirely functional with the only remaining updates being either visual polish or some UI improvements (e.g. there's currently no indicator for missile lock, etc), but the updated UI has taken longer than expected as is causing some issues. The problem with the UI is that we've taken the opportunity to change the layout or functionality of some of the UI while we reskin it, or add UI elements for functionality that doesn't exist yet. However it takes longer to write the code for those UI elements than it does to do the skinning work, so we're in an awkward situation where various sections of the UI don't work properly / at all. It should be pretty obvious where this is happening to anyone who has played previous versions of X2 and it should be possible to work around it, but it makes things akward enough that I doubt anyone is going to be playing any long campaigns until we've fixed that stuff up. However, I don't see it as necessary to delay the release of V9 until my return. Assuming V8.2 Hotfix fixes most of the remaining issues in V8, I'm planning to push that out to the Stable branches towards the end of the week and then release a "pre-test" version of V9 on the Experimental branches. As long as people are aware that parts of the UI are unfinished, I think this will be fine - there's still plenty to test and comment on. That way we can get a headstart on identifying and fixing any major crashes etc before the "proper" V9 release. Other Work: I'll also quickly mention some of the cool new things we've been doing over the past month or so. The first is the custom UI skinning system we've written as part of the UI skinning work, which should make managing the UI more manageable in the future. We've probably got about 200 different UI screens / panels / pop-ups that are each seperate entities within Unity, and there was previously no way to link them - which meant that even if I wanted to change something small like the font size or font colour of the basic text in the game, I'd have to open every single one of those entities and update every text string within it (a task that that could literally take days). We've now implemented something like a bit like a CSS stylesheet where I can specify a style for each text string, and if I update that style to use font size 16 instead of font 14 then all of that text will update everywhere in the game. This is cool because it not only makes my life much easier when working on the UI but also gives us a way to support something like an optional "large font" mode for those people with small screens or bad eyesight. We can also easily switch text from being ALL CAPS to normal text, which is nice because we've switched to a new font that is similar to the X1 font but also supports lowercase letters and special characters. Gives us a bit more flexibility in terms of making sure the UI is as readable as possible. The first draft of the wall-hiding system in the ground combat has also been added to the game now. This is the system that hides walls that are blocking the view of the selected soldier or around the cursor, which makes it much easier to navigate within buildings or in underground maps like the Alien Base or Xenonaut Base. It's especially important in X2 as walls are now taller relative to soldiers than they were in X1 and thus get in the way more (they are now 3m tall instead of 2m tall). Anyway, this system needs a little more visual polish but it's already working and will be included in V9. It's definitely a good quality of life feature. There's a few bits of new art, too - the Gauss (formerly MAG) weapons have some new art, there's some updated Sebillian autopsy and corpse art, the base structure tiles have updated (although not yet finished) graphics, a new UFO has been painted up, etc. We're also currently doing some concepts for some additional soldier armour designs, as I feel the current armour designs are too similar to one another. Depending on how much more time the UI work takes up I may also be able to get on with some gameplay balancing and writing work, too. Finally, we're also planning in some work over the next couple of weeks to get all the Kickstarter soldiers added to the game and to start moving more of the game data into JSON files that can be accessed by modders. The immediate targets are things like aircraft, UFOs and base structures, but with a bit of work we should also be able to put all of the other associated data (alien missions, UFO crews, alien equipment loadouts, etc) into JSON files too. These are less readable than the XML files we used in X1 so all but the most intrepid modders will still need to wait for our mod editor in order to make changes, but it's still an important step along the way. So yeah, there's quite a bit going on right now. If you want to help out the most useful thing you could do would be to give V8.2 a bit of a test to ensure it doesn't have too many massive bugs in it, which will hopefully allow us to put out the V9 Pre-Test build later this week!
  16. 3 points
    How is that not a special base? It's only one that actually matters I never liked, nor ever will like that "all eggs into one basket" concept. It makes no sense and there's no real risk involved. Research should be globalized (all science labs can work on the same project, regardless of which base they are in. The magic of internet and data sharing.) Production should be localized, so you would have production bases, with a practical limit as to how many people can work on something (simply throwing more people on something only works up to a point, especially when working on smaller things, like a rifle) Resources should be shared between bases with the logistics abstracted. Could be as simple as a connection/line between bases that simulates supply lines. Aliens could attack those lines damaging your supply lines, which would impart temporary maluses to the base (increased production time, staff morale penalty). Would make SAM sites more valuable and give your interceptors more to do - like chasing off enemy craft. Could even generate convoy defense missions.
  17. 3 points
    I regularly check these forums but rarely post; this thread’s title did make me take notice though, because I’ve been thinking along the same lines for a while. I bought into the earlier bold ideas for X2, and although they may have eventually proven to be unfeasible, I do feel a bit disappointed every time something is “rolled back”. Still, I’m sure Chris and co. will make something awesome. I suggested some ideas a while back for X1 that didn’t make the cut, but in the spirit of positive contribution, will throw them into the hat again My main idea is to have a new mission type where you’re exclusively controlling local forces. The situation could be something like an allied military bunker is under attack by aliens. There’s not enough time for the Xenonauts to get there, but there’s a radio link set up so you (the player) can command the local forces. Imagine controlling a large team troops armed with basic weapons (rifles, shotguns etc.) against a horde of Reapers. It could lead to great Aliens-esque missions. The odds of your team all getting wiped out are high, but in contrast to regular missions, it’s not a game over / rage quit situation if that happens. There are a lot of ways in which you could use this kind of a premise. Maybe if your troops hold the base’s hanger for x turns, then your main Xenonaut troops turn up as reinforcements and take the fight to the enemy. Or if the aliens take the radio room then you lose contact and it’s mission over. Basically, I think this could be a way of mixing up the gameplay as a sequel arguably should, and adding more variety in a way that hopefully isn’t a huge burden from the development side of things (i.e. it would use existing assets such as character models). Separate to this, secondary mission objectives that crop up unexpectedly (e.g. rescuing a civilian and carrying them back to the chopper) would add more variety to core missions too. I made a huge list of options in a forum thread what must have been literally years ago, but can’t find it now!
  18. 3 points
    I have to admit, I've been a little disappointed that X2 seems to be on a path to being X1 with a new lick of paint. I think that there needs to be some more emphasis on making the gameplay a bit different, especially with tactics in the combat missions (e.g. I really wish you would bring in crouching and prone position that affords greater bonuses for use of terrain and positioning, i.e. lower chance of getting hit and higher accuracy, at the expense of TU), some more tech like claymore mines, proximity mines, and individual additions to weapons like night scopes, grenade launchers, thermal imaging that you have to develop earlier in the game. In the strategy view, it would be great to turn the strategic op missions into a playable mission in their own right (including dealing with human collaborators). I'd also like to see bigger base maps with more tech like base defences, interrogation units etc.
  19. 3 points
    I can guarantee you that dealing with runners and campers is a very lame experience. Do you know why people in ego-shooters dont like campers ? Exactly. If you get a good position the defender has all the advantages, while the attacker takes all the risks. Thats even more true in a game like Xenonauts where moving up to a position will cost you TU, and in the moment of the encounter you only have 50% of options left. Think about it like a camper camping for 30 seconds, and the first opponent wandering into his zone will be frozen in place for 30 seconds. Thats what it would be. Camping good defensive position and retreating when you are discovered would be the best tactical approach for the aliens, and the worst gameplay experience for the player. If there is a pacing issue, the map is too big, or the aliens too few. In X-Division we solve that problem that we divide every map into 3 distinct phases: 1. Fight on the map 2. Fight to get inside the UFO 3. Fight for the command room That creates a very nice pacing, since the aliens are so aggressive they will sooner or later find you will mean: 1. All aliens on the map will make a fast or slow approach towards you. Which means a firefight until you killed the last alien. 2.Break and safety until you enter the perimeter of the UFO 3. Once you engage the UFO the aliens will defend the UFO while taking maximum advantage of their defensive position (doors, etc ... ) 4. Break until the command room and relative safety. 5. Firefight in (into) the command room. 6. End of mission This creates a nice pace of firefight - break timings, where players mostly know what to expect. One of the core principles in X-Division. This stands in opposition to Xenonauts, where aliens could literally be anywhere and strike anytime. Making the player always having to advance slowly and methodically, which leads to the pacing problem.
  20. 2 points
    Hi everyone - we've not released a build for a while, so it's time for another update to tell you what we've been working on and when you can expect to see a new release arrive. Delays & Disruption: The Christmas holidays are always disruptive to a business, but we've also had to spend a lot of time and effort trying to fix the loading bug that starting appearing in the V10 Experimental builds (basically the game would sometimes lock up when starting or loading a game). This has been a very thorny issue, as it's related to how Unity loads the asset bundles it uses to store game objects, so it's controlled by code deep within Unity rather than being anything we have any real control (or even visibility) over. We thought we'd found and fixed the issue on several occasions, but sadly it seems we've only managed to make it happen less frequently. This is an annoying bug, but it's not game-breaking given you can always just restart Xenonauts-2 and it'll probably load fine the second time around. We're therefore going to leave it for now and see if we can get some help from Unity themselves. Anyway, this bug has been a big reason why we've not been putting out many builds recently. New Features / Content: Despite the delays, we've actually done quite a bit to the game since the last public update. The two main features we've been working on are the mechanical units and the modular armour system, but I've also spent some time balancing the strategy layer and doing some of the plot-related writing. The Kickstarter soldiers are now all set up and working, and we're now starting to make a few visual updates to the ground combat missions and it's a short-term priority to add some more mission and map variation; if all goes well we might see some of the new mission types (item recovery / VIP Assassination) appearing in the game. Strategic Balancing / Writing: I'll talk first about what I've been doing. The strategic balancing involved me playing the campaign fighting the air battles but using developer cheats to auto-win the ground combat missions, so it allows me to check that all the UFOs are spawning correctly and functioning in the air combat, the missions are loading up properly and unlocking the appropriate research items, all the research and workshop projects are joined together correctly, and eventually that the final mission can be unlocked and won. It also means I need to ensure the escalating power of the UFOs can be matched by the player's interceptors and their weapons, because I can't progress through the game if I can't shoot down the UFOs. It was literally impossible to shoot down some of the UFOs in the last public build, so this is a good thing I then locked myself in a room for two or three weeks to write a whole bunch of the key research text - projects like Alien Alloys and Alenium that explain the fundamentals of how alien technology works, and then the 8 or so plot-related research projects starting with the Alien Invasion up until the stuff that unlocks Operation Endgame. This is why I've not been on the forums or posting news for a while; I needed to focus on that and once I got it done I had about three weeks of project management stuff to catch up on instead. Anyway, the first draft of those projects is now complete and will be in the next build (of course about two days after having finished the writing, I had a really good new idea for a new game mechanic that would subtly change the setting and require some more rewrites!) Vehicles: I'm pleased to say that mechanical units are now in the game and functional. No doubt there's a whole host of bugs and weird behaviour with them that we'll need to iron out over the coming months, but you can build a MARS in the workshop and equip it with any kind of infantry weapon, then assign it to a dropship and drive it round ground combat maps blasting aliens. It crushes things like the X1 vehicles did, which is fun but still pretty janky - it'll happily smash through solid brick walls but not little tables, and if it tries to go through a door it stops, opens the door and then smashes down the doorframe. All stuff we can fix though. Modular Armour: The modular armour system will hopefully be done in the next few days, but we've been thinking that for weeks now. It's a cool system, but it's a complex one due to all the different combinations of the modules and the way that they need to control the appearance of the soldier both on the strategy layer and (eventually) in the ground combat. Miscellaneous: All the Kickstarter backer soldiers have now been added, along with a large number of the custom portraits - another surprisingly time-consuming job, but it's another task crossed off the list. UFOs on the Geoscape can now have escort craft like they did in X1. We've updated Strategic Operations so they now add scientists / engineers to a hire pool rather than putting them directly into your base, which means Living Capacity checks now work properly and modders can entirely revert to the X1 hiring mechanics if they prefer (this also means we can more easily support splitting personnel by base like in X1 if we want to). We've done a bunch of other smaller things too, but I've already written a massive wall of text so I'll just stop here. Build V11 Plans and Priorities: So for V11 my priority is to get the modular armour finished, and then I want to start spending some time on the ground combat - both in terms of level design / variation, and game balance. After spending a lot of time improving the strategy layer over the past 6+ months I feel like we can now start looking at the game as a complete experience. That said, I'm also looking at a few new Geoscape systems that I'm hoping will mix things up right from the start of the game. I'll throw some threads up on those so you guys can discuss the ideas and give us your views - although these are still at the early stage of testing, so it's far from certain they'll survive! When can you expect V11? I suspect it'll be out on Tuesday February 4th.
  21. 2 points
    If I throw a grenade far away it should at least land somewhere near to where I threw it, even if it goes way off course. The worse thing in any game that has a throwing mechanic is when your guy fumbles terrible and tosses the grenade at his feet somehow. I can accept people being terrible throws under pressure (I'm sure someone will post a video of someone accidently tossing a grenade, live or otherwise, too close to themselves) but in theory our soldiers are some of the ""best"" soldiers on Earth and they should have a good enough throwing arm. If I toss a grenade 8 tiles away, assuming my character has the strength to make that throw, the grenade should land somewhere near to that throw, even if it deviates three or so tiles to the side away from it, the only circumstance where a grenade should end up landing very close to the thrower is if the person throwing is doing so when there's some object in their way that could catch the grenade, a person, tank or object.
  22. 2 points
    Instructions could be more clear, yes. Here's clear one. 1. Install Xenonauts 2. Download and install X:CE 0.35 https://www.goldhawkinteractive.com/forums/index.php?/files/file/34-xenonauts-community-edition/ 3. Start game 4. Exit game 5. Download and install X-Division 1.00.00 https://www.goldhawkinteractive.com/forums/index.php?/files/file/7-x-division-10000/ Alternative: https://mega.nz/#!RNBxiYYR!bWJ4oWul3r4U1BKIEXk792pfMbGgVpW1aapmOcJucIY https://mega.nz/#!sVIjXYSa!LeYJCOLqpXF4ebwx115wevT92QRmqEnea7tW8vGzMlA https://mega.nz/#!QEx1RTAA!hZzHDpYEEpf0vru6FeOsWNhOgRsZ8LCiJm290Jk9IyQ 6. Install latest update https://mega.nz/#!dQQwCQRC!gzlksCzX9l91PAJfViyyAyXzd_VN0weUL1X5GZmeuvU
  23. 2 points
    On that note, I'd like to have either a menu, or pop-up, or something that lets you see armor condition and resistances. Would be nice to see the XD thing of a separate armor mitigation stat on weapons. Loved having Axes as an armor piercing melee attack, get those awesome moments of running out of shots, and seeing your international party suddenly all become Danish for a minute. Always wanted a shield push. More medals. I want to be able to do a run where a unit can't be promoted to top rank until they capture one of every unit or something. Or have someone recognized for shotgunning 3 reapers in one round. There's just so much more that can be done with that. Air game has what I always wanted now.
  24. 2 points
    Phoenix Point is good example of how introducing new mechanics that deviate from original for sake of change can harm gameplay. Lot of combat problems there came from developer trying to mix things up by introducing XCOM2-based class and abilities, which unfortunately did not turn out to mix well with the design of UFO Defense. The battle is almost entirely skill-dependent at the cost of other tactical elements, and ironically leads to reduced variety in team composition (if you don't go with "correct" build of heavy/sniper or shotgun/sniper, end game becomes near unplayable difficult). Making power difference between rookies and veteran too strong has also led their difference in performance to be too different, making soldiers less disposable and making gamers less inclined to be favourable toward perceived unfairness of aliens. In short, Phoenix Point is suffering because it's been designed as realistic strategy game while new element has shifted the game towards gotta-nuke-everything-in-single-turn puzzle style of XCOM2 battle. While sequel is good opportunity to add additional mechanics that support the original gameplay, I am glad Goldhawk Studio is choosing to build a solid well-proven foundation first, because then the developer can add new elements based on that foundation and also track how it affects game design.
  25. 2 points
    It's a good point, but if I do that then I pretty much close down the pistol, because the SMG then does everything you could want out of a secondary. I've been experimenting a lot with both SMG and the pistol and my personal conclsion is that the pistol can be a viable secondary but to compete with the SMG it has to be able to do things that the SMG can't do. I haven't fully locked down the pistol yet, but I do have a number of changes to it which makes it more viable. Increase damage from 12 to 20: This is the damage the pistol did in X1, similar to the rifle. This upgrades the pistol to a magnum .50 Action-Express. The kind of weapon you take around bear country. The boost in damage is necessary because the pistol is single-shot, so every shot that hits has to count. Decrease snap TU cost to 10%, and aimed to 20%: The hallmark of primary weapons is they don't have a TU cost below 22-25% for the lowest cost shot. Secondaries can back this up by being cheap to shoot so complimenting the more expensive primary. Reduce ammo count to 7: If I boost the damage up and reduce cost of shots, then exactly why am I using a primary again? By halving the ammo count per magazine, you gotta be more careful about ammo conservaion, something you don't have to be with the primaries. Reduce magazine weight to 0.5: In tandem with the reduction of shots per magazine, you need to carry more of them so reucing the weight makes the pistol a more attractive weapon.