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Chris

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Chris last won the day on March 29

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About Chris

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    London, UK
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    Project Lead, Xenonauts
  1. Hi guys - I'm still only working part time (although I'm getting more work done than I anticipated) but I thought I'd post up this thread so the community have some time to post their thoughts before we start work on the AI. AI Testing Theory: Getting the AI working properly is a very difficult task because it's tricky to code and even more tricky to test. When the AI does something "dumb" in a mission, it's difficult to know if that represents a bug in the AI code, an incorrect AI value on that AI combatant, or the AI working properly but the overall design of the AI being incorrect. For instance: it makes sense for an alien shooting through a doorway to close the door at the end of their turn, because that protects the alien from human return fire. If that doesn't happen, it might be because the AI doesn't understand that it can close doors, or it might be because that specific alien is marked as being unable to use doors (e.g. an Andron) or having very low self-preservation, or it might be because the AI incorrectly thinks maintaining good sight lines for the alien is more important than preventing the human player from being able to attack the alien. All of those things are problems, but they require entirely different fixes. As these situations are difficult to understand when they occur mid-mission, we're planning to set up a large number of AI test scenes. Each of these scenes contains one or more aliens set up in a particular situation to check that the AI does the correct thing in that situation. This should hopefully expose most of the AI bugs, making the AI much more competent than it currently is and giving us a good foundation for experimenting with more advanced squad behaviours. How you can help: What I want from the community is suggestions for what these scenarios should be. These should be relatively simple scenarios with a clearly "correct" outcome, and I'd like you to explain what outcome you are looking for. Here's a few examples: An alien and a Xenonaut are placed near each other, and the alien has a weapon that can fire two shots at 50% accuracy or one shot at 75% accuracy for the same TU cost. The alien should attempt the two 50% accuracy shots, as this has a higher overall chance of hitting the Xenonaut. An alien moving between two waypoints opens a door and sees a Xenonaut soldier. The alien should immediately stop moving and attack the Xenonaut. An alien starts with an unloaded weapon and an ammo clip, and a Xenonaut in shooting range. The alien should reload the weapon and attack the Xenonaut. Basically, we want as many situations as possible that test whether the AI properly understands the rules of the game and knows how to use its equipment - any bugs in that sort of thing could cause the AI to do stupid immersion-breaking things. Advanced Scenarios: Not every alien will act exactly the same. Some aliens may be more intelligent than others, and others may favour aggressiveness over self preservation. Once we have the basic scenarios working, it'd be interesting to experiment with other behaviours that can be tied to specific scores on an alien. Feel free to make suggestions about these too, for example: Self Preservation: an alien with low self-preservation is more likely to spend its TU shooting at visible enemies, rather than moving into cover. Self Preservation: an alien with low self-preservation would be willing to throw a grenade even if it would be caught in the blast area, whereas an alien with high self-preservation would not. Intelligence: an alien with high intelligence would prioritise attacking a Xenonaut soldier over a civilian, even if they have more chance of successfully hitting the civilian. Intelligence: an alien with high intelligence would prioritise attacking the Xenonaut they have more chance of killing (taking armour and current HP into account), even if they have a higher chance of hitting a different Xenonaut with a non-killing shot. However, all of these situations are a sliding scale rather than absolutes. Even the most cowardly alien might spend all their TU shooting if the nearest cover was a long way away and there's a lot of easy shots against nearby enemies, and even the most intelligent alien would not attempt a killshot against an enemy if it had a 10% hit chance when there was a 80% chance of hitting another enemy. The purpose of these scenarios is just to identify behaviours that we want to have in the game and then test them in isolation so we know they affect the AI decision-making without causing it to do things that look totally crazy. Looking forward to hearing your suggestions!
  2. Hello everyone, and welcome to our March update. The first thing to mention is that I'm currently working reduced hours because a terminally ill relative is reaching the end of their life, which means it's unlikely there will be any public releases (including the open beta) for the next four weeks or so. I'm now not sure exactly when the open beta will happen, but I'll let you know once my plans do start to return to normality. However, the time I do have has been spent on project management and I'm therefore hoping overall progress on the project won't suffer too much as a result of my absence. We've also made some decent overall progress this month. Air Combat: A lot of the work we've done this month has been on the air combat. Beta V18 arrived at the start of the month and that contained our new air combat damage model where UFOs / aircraft now have both Armour HP and Hull HP, with weapons doing different amount of damage to each (damage is always assigned to Armour HP first). This allows us to differentiate between different types of tough UFOs, as different weapons are stronger against UFOs with lots of Armour HP compared to those that just have vast amounts of standard Hull HP. This change added some welcome variety to the air combat, but it didn't change the fact that the air combat can be very repetitive. We've therefore spent the last couple of weeks trying out some new ideas to make it more reactive - the key change being that we've added a vision radius to all air combat units, added clouds that block vision (and weapons cannot fire though), and set UFOs to only go into attack / escape behaviour when they spot your aircraft. The basic idea is to generate more interesting combat scenarios. The early tests suggest that these new systems do make everything more interesting but we'll probably need to build further upon them to make the most out of them. We've got a whole bunch of cool ideas but I won't talk about them yet, as I suspect not all of them will work as well in the game as they do in my head! Item Accuracy Effects: We've added a generic system that allows us to set basic logic on items that modifies their accuracy - e.g. if a soldier has less than 60 Strength, give -1 Accuracy for each Strength below 60. This is interesting because it allows us to add unique values to certain weapons, for example we could say Laser weapons are easy to use so a soldier gets +0.5 Accuracy for each point of Accuracy below 65. This potentially means Lasers would remain viable weapons for rookie soldiers even towards the end of the game, without making them overpowered in the early game. We've also been looking at how to support Recoil. We can now easily add in the system from the original Xenonauts (the 60 Strength example given in the paragraph above) but we've been experimenting with a system where the accuracy of each subsequent shot in a burst is reduced by a set percentage. For example, a weapon with 20% recoil and 50% hit chance would have the following hit chances in a 5-round burst: 50%, 40%, 32%, 25%, 20%. This setup means we should be able to permit the option for longer bursts. Short bursts are relatively accurate but cost a lot of TU per shot, whereas longer bursts are more TU efficient but waste ammo. This becomes interesting because you can do two things - firstly, we can add in a recoil penalty for certain weapons depending on whether they have moved (representing a bipod). So a machinegun might be able to shoot relatively accurate long bursts provided the shooter had not moved, whereas only short bursts would be worthwhile if the user had moved. Secondly, we can use the generic system mentioned above to modify Recoil based on the Strength of the soldier so that stronger soldiers suffer less from the effects of recoil. Taken together these systems just allow us to differentiate the weapons a bit more and give the player a few more tactical decisions, without rendering weapons like the LMG completely useless if they aren't fired from a stationary position. I imagine modders will also find them useful tools. General Progress: We've added quite a lot of new art for various vehicle weapons, we've added support for keybindings, we've made a number of usability improvements to the tactical combat based on feedback on our Steam demo, and we've added proper jetpack movement to the game too. There's also been lots of smaller fixes / additions not worth individually mentioning. That's it from me for now. I'm probably not going to be very active on the forums for the next month or so, but I'll update you on our progress as usual at the end of April!
  3. Hello everybody. Unfortunately I need to take some time out from the project as a relative with a terminal illness is approaching the end of their life and need to be cared for, so I'll only be working about half my normal hours for a while. I'm not sure yet how long this will be continuing for but my best guess is probably about four weeks (although it's always very difficult to tell with this sort of thing). Because I only have half my normal time available, I'll be concentrating on the project management side of things - basically ensuring that everyone else working on the project has what they need to work effectively. Hopefully this means that the final release date for the game won't be affected too much as everyone else will mostly be continuing as normal, but it does mean that I won't be able to organise any public releases (including the open beta) until I'm back properly. I just don't have time for it right now. Thanks for your patience. I'm not likely to be very active on the forums until I'm back working full time either, so please just point people at this post if they are unsure as to why the project has suddenly gone quiet!
  4. Thanks. I couldn't reproduce it from that save but we've had a look at the logs and we think we've been able to fix the problem!
  5. This hotfix addreses a few more minor issues in Beta Build V18. You'll need to be on the Experimental Branch to access the build. If there are no more major issues (at least easily reproducable ones) reported for V18.2 then we'll do a release version of this and put it out on the defualt Steam / GOG branches too! Fixes & Gameplay Updates: Fixed a bug where units killed in Base Defence missions would remain in the dropship and prevent it from launching. Fixed a bug where the aircraft armour might not heal to max in some circumstances. Soldier Equip - tooltips for Undersuits now work correctly. Soldier Equip - scalesuit / silksuit now correctly boost Armour on the soldier. Soldier Equip - fixed up / down button scrolling being inverted. Soldier Equip - fixed red error text flashing up when you hovered over an ammo item. Xenopedia - fixed some broken xenopedia projects for the aircraft, which weren't popping when when they should. Please let us know if you encounter any further issues with V18.2 as we will continue to make additional fixes as required.
  6. I tried to fix this today and put them back in, but the spawning isn't working for some reason. However I'll be rebalancing the strategy layer to not use agents in V19, so I'm not going to waste any more time trying to debug why it's not working.
  7. Hmm, I can't reproduce it from those saves either unfortunately. If you see it again then let me know!
  8. Chris

    [V.18.1] MARS Vehicle

    Thanks. Yeah, I can reproduce this from those saves. We'll take a look and see if we can fix it for the hotfix!
  9. Thanks. That's a strange one. Unfortunately loading the save game doesn't allow me to reproduce the problem though, as all soldiers are selectable after a load. Do you have the autosave from the beginning of the turn or the end of the previous turn? If it's connected to Mind War then that should allow us to reproduce it. If not, is there any more info you can give? Did it happen immediately from the start of the turn after the soldier panicked? We're not actually aware of this problem. There's a lot of bugs that look very similar to the player but have different causes and need different fixes, so please don't assume we already know about a bug unless it's clearly exactly the same bug other people have reported from the same version or an earlier hotfix of that version
  10. Chris

    [V.18.1] Suits / Vests

    Thanks. Yeah, the tooltips for undersuits seem broken. We'll get that fixed for the hotfix.
  11. Thanks. We'll take a look and see if we can figure out what's going wrong for the hotfix.
  12. The save you sent over was in September / October which is where the timeline runs out, and you've basically played through all the different types of UFOs at that point. I'll add a few more waves that are a bit more battleship heavy in the next version (not the next hotfix) so you can play a bit longer if you want though.
  13. Hmm, yeah, looks like we need to fix up the tooltip then. I can see why it confused you.
  14. OK, thanks. I'll keep an eye on it and see if I can figure out what might be causing it.
  15. Thanks. Do you have a save game I can look at? The armour should immediately reset to full HP after the combat is completed, as the repair process for armour has not yet been implemented.
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