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Chris last won the day on September 16

Chris had the most liked content!


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  • Location
    London, UK
  • Occupation
    Project Lead, Xenonauts

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  1. We're in the process of changing our marketing partner to ensure that our Early Access launch gets as much attention as possible (I found a company that really impressed me) so I'm not completely sure what the plans for the open beta are yet. In an ideal world I'd like to run some kind of beta to ensure the game is properly tested before it goes on sale but I'll see what our partners think about it, as if they've got data that suggests it's financial suicide then it'd be best not to. And it's also a bit dependent on the development timetable.
  2. Apologies for the delays to this update. Some big news this month - we're planning to launch the game into Early Access in February next year, and I've been underwater with preparations for that. We're also going to be putting out another tactical mission demo as part of a Steam event later this month, which is also eating into my time. I'll be writing a much longer post later this month explaining our plans for Early Access in detail, so I'll just focus this post on what work we did last month. Abduction Missions: The biggest feature we've been working on are Abduction Missions, which are a new type of tactical mission intended to provide a bit more variation to the ground combat. In these missions the aliens have captured a number of civilians and imprisoned them within teleporter pods, and you have a certain number of turns to free as many civilians as possible - once the timer runs out, all surviving aliens and any pods that have not been opened teleport away. You win the mission by rescuing at least 50% of the civilians, so these missions are no harder than a "normal" mission where you kill all the aliens. However, you receive a small amount of money resources for each opened pod and killed alien (as they do not teleport away) so the player can potentially obtain more rewards on these missions by playing more aggressively than normal. Personally I think this makes them an interesting change of pace from some of the other mission types. These were way more effort than I was expecting them to be, but they're basically done now (just ironing out a few bugs) and so should be included in V24. Grenades: We've now done the final part of the grenade implementation - setting them to use arcs, so they can be thrown over walls or intervening cover. This is surprisingly tricky from a design perspective (arcs and abstract 3d tile grids don't go together well) and even more of a pain to implement, but we know it's an important feature to a lot of players. We're just fixing up a few bugs and some issues with the visualisation, but this feature is also pretty much done and should be in V24. Achievements & Cloud Saves: Achivements are now complete, including artwork, and set up on Steam and GOG. You'll be able to earn them (well, most of them) starting in V24. I'll also shortly be turning on Steam cloud saves, but because our save games were previously absolutely enormous (up to 20mb for some tactical saves) we've spent some time optimising the files so they are much smaller. They should now only be about 20% of their previous size, so only a few mb each, and won't totally destroy anyone stiill on a metered connection. Terrain Tiles & Maps: Last month I spent a bunch time fixing all the problems with the UFOs in the game, using a new tool to find and fix all the line of sight "holes" which could cause the interior space to be revealed by soldiers who were still outside. I also fixed the non-walkable tiles that occasionally appeared inside the UFOs, and finished setting up the styling on the Harvester and Battleship UFO interior spaces. I've also added a LOT of new terrain tiles to the game. These will be most noticeable in the Xenonaut Base biome, which is now mostly complete and looks much more polished than it did in our last public release (there's just a few more rooms left to complete). This is also reflected in the Cleaner Base plot mission, which has been completely restyled and now looks much better than before. UI Updates: We're continuing to work towards having the strategy UI refresh complete for our Early Access launch in February. I've implemented the new visual style for the Main Base and Stores screens, and we're nearly done with designing the Soldiers screen. Once that is complete we only have the Research, Engineering, Aircraft and Soldier Equip screens to implement. Additionally, we're working on an updated visual style for the Geoscape map itself. This won't be dramatically different but we want a map that looks a bit more distinct from the one in the first Xenonauts, and is just a bit neater and less noisy. We're still at an early stage of this but I'm hoping it'll come out well! Campaign / Tech Tree: In preparation for V24 I'm doing another balancing pass on the campaign. One small thing we implemented here was the ability to randomise the spawn times of missions and UFO waves, which has helped make things less predictable, and in general I've just been working through the game and ensuring everything unlocks correctly so you can actually make it to the final mission. I'm looking to get the tech tree locked down for the Early Access release shortly, as there is still quite a bit of art and writing that needs to be added. However this month I did write all the research entries for the entire alien / Cleaner plot chain from the start of the game right up to Operation Endgame (this was about 15 entries in all). This means the hardest part of the writing is now done, as "normal" research entries are less narratively connected and much faster to write. I think that's everything. We are working on V24 still but I'm not going to give a firm date for when it'll be released as I'm conscious I've got the demo to sort out first. But hopefully in the next couple of weeks!
  3. July is now done so it's time for our monthly update. I usually get to proclaim that progress has been good but unfortunately this month has been heavily disrupted, so while the project has continued to move forward we have not covered as much ground as I'd have hoped. Why? Sadly covid has been everywhere in the UK recently and all of the team based in the UK managed to get it last month, and on top of that I also had to deal with food poisoning last week too. Seperately our Tech Director had a house-related disaster that meant he needed to take an extended holiday, and as we're a small team that resulted in a lot less working hours than we'd expected. Although this meant we were not able to release Build V24 last month as planned, we are hard at work on it right now. There's been a lot of crashes to fix that have been introduced by all the new systems we've added since V23 but I think we've found and fixed most of them now, so we're now at the stage of adding and polishing the new content. The biggest thing I've been working on this month is adding many of the terrain tiles we've been working on over the past six months or so into the game and putting them into maps. I've mentioned many of these tiles in previous updates but in V24 you should now see new (or revamped) buildings in various biomes such as the Jungle biome now having ancient ruins, the Desert maps now having trailer park-style mobile homes, a new type of barn and storage shed in the Farm maps, and a whole lot of new tiles in the Xenonaut Base Defence missions. We're hoping to have the terrain tiles pretty much done in the next month or two, barring ongoing visual polish during Early Access. There's still a few base buildings that need tiles done for the base defence missions, and the Soviet Town biome is still incomplete (we're working on the buildings for it right now), and then it's just a case of checking through everything we have to ensure all the assets have the correct metadata set up etc. We've got a wide selection of tiles across a lot of different biomes now so we should have everything we need to ensure the game has far more maps than Xenonauts 1 did. We've also been adding other types of art to the game too - a few new autopsy paintings have been added to the Xenopedia, plus the Stealthsuit now has its final painted art. The UI update continues to progress with the Funding Report and the Xenopedia getting visual updates this month. We're currently working on the designs for the Base and the Base Stores strategy screen, and hopefully we can start to implement them later this month too. There's not many new features that have been added this month because the coders have mostly been supporting other work. The map editor had become painfully slow due to all the data we've added to maps associated with the alien movement system (all the AI waypoints etc) so quite a bit of time was spent on improving performance there, and there was also work to be done related to the UI styling and functionality. Some of this is purely visual but other things benefit the player (e.g. the Xenopedia is now accessible in ground combat). One thing we did add is the "tutorial notification" system, which you'll have encountered in other games - the little pop-up notifications that appear at certain points in the game to explain information. For example, the first time you get a bleeding wound on a soldier it pops up a notification explaining how to heal them. Spotting a door pops up a notification telling you that you can right-click on the door to open it without walking through it, etc. The first batch of these will be V24 once I've had time to write out the text for them. So that's been the progress over the past month. Not great but not exactly terrible either. Hopefully next update things will have gone more smoothly and we can talk more about our future plans in more detail!
  4. With June complete it is once again time for our monthly update. There’s three main things to talk about: accessibility, the end of the game, and the release of V24. Accessibility: We recently noticed that a lot of players were misunderstanding game mechanics, and given the people currently playing the game are Kickstarter backers who usually know the first game well this set some alarm bells ringing at our end. As a result we've added a lot more information to the game this month, which should help experienced players easily understand how the different mechanics are interacting and should (hopefully) make the game much less intimidating for new players. The first element of this is a "hit calculation" panel in the tactical combat, which explains exactly how the hit chance of a shot is calculated (see above). This is a relatively simple change that makes it much easier to understand the ground combat, as it previously wasn't always obvious what you could do to improve the hit chance of a shot. The second improvement is to the Xenopedia (research) reports, which now show the stats of the corresponding alien / UFO / aircraft / piece of equipment / etc. To make things even clearer, we've also added in a section for "abilities" that allows us to explain any unique properties - e.g. the basic Sebillian aliens have the "Regeneration: 20" and "Scaled Hide: 5" abilities and hovering over either of these displays a tooltip that explains exactly what those abilities do and how they work. The result is a clear summary of what each thing in the game does. Importantly, this does not require the player to read the wall of text that comes with each research report - although lots of players like reading the lore, I suspect there's also a lot who would rather not have to! As a final improvement here, we're also working on making the Xenopedia accessible in the tactical combat via the Esc menu! Next, we’ve added mission briefings at the start of tactical missions that make it clear what the objectives and any special rules / alternate win conditions are. Previously this wasn't required because almost every mission boiled down to "kill all the aliens" but now we've started adding more mission variety via more complex objectives it is definitely needed - we were finding a lot of people were getting confused on the non-standard missions. Lastly, we’ve re-enabled the loading screen tips and added quite a few new tips. These are surprisingly useful to communicate minor gameplay or usability features that even some experienced players are not aware of. What comes next on usability? The two main things we're currently planning out are the tutorial and little pop-up notifications that explain mechanics to players as they play (e.g. you can right-click on a door from an adjacent tile to open it, etc). I'm hopeful the game will be fairly easy to learn and play once those systems are done, given our tooltips are already in a reasonably good state! Operation Endgame: We've been working on the final mission of the game for a while now. Last month I blocked out the maps and we did the fundamental code required to support two missions back-to-back. This month I was doing proper gameplay testing on the mission which has led to a lot of bugs being fixed and quite a few amendments to the levels and the balancing. Anyway, it's now possible to unlock the final mission and win it. However, we want to make the experience of winning a game slightly more rewarding than it was in the first Xenonauts, where the game just flashed up a couple of lines of congratulatory text and then booted you back to the menu screen. We've been implementing a campaign stats panel to show the player (e.g. "Total Aliens Killed", "Total Soldiers Lost", etc) and I'm also planning a more substantial epilogue to the game too. Build V24 / Public Release: We're hoping to release our next closed beta version towards the end of this month, likely some point during the week commencing 18th July. The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that the things we're working on at the moment are some of the biggest things blocking an open beta / Early Access release (people need to be able to understand the game and win the campaign), and this is not entirely a coincidence. I'm not going to publicly announce any plans yet but we're making a concerted effort to get the game ready for sale soon. Perhaps we'll have some dates to announce next month. Thanks for reading!
  5. Yup, there'll be another update coming today, I was out of the office at the end of last week.
  6. This is just a case of me forgetting to set some values, so thanks for the reminder. I'll get that updated for V24.
  7. Thanks. Can you answer the same questions as above? e.g. Do you remember what happened the day before this bug appeared? Did you shoot down any UFOs in unusual ways or anything? Do you have any saves from a little bit earlier on the Geoscape? Basically we have no idea how the game is getting into this situation. It's affecting different users at different times so I think it must be linked to the player's actions somehow.
  8. It takes a bit of time to implement the code to run two missions back to back without going back to strategy in-between, or at least it did for us because of the assumptions in our code, but it's not a particularly massive feature. To be honest I'm not sure there's anything inherently better in having a two-part mission though. Most "final missions" tend to be a deathmatch with special conditions - the Xenonauts 1 one was fairly short but was essentially a timed mission due to the spawning of the Reapers, the XCOM2 one is a massive battle against three Avatars and continually respawning reinforcements, etc. Splitting it over two parts wouldn't work so well with that sort of mission because the concept is about having a large exciting battle and dragging out out would be exhausting. But this time around I wanted to actually go to an alien world (given the title of the game) so something more akin to the Cydonia mission in classic X-Com seemed a good way to show that off, and make the game feel a bit more distinct from its predecessor. It's just a different feel to the final mission really.
  9. May is over and so it's once again time for our monthly update. Today I released V22 onto our standard Steam / GOG branches for everyone to play, as it's in decent shape after the seven (!) hotfixes we have released for it over the last five or six weeks. Obviously all those fixes and releases took up quite a bit of developer time, but there was also a lot of other progress on the project to report. The biggest new feature we've been working on this month is the updated tactical interface, which is a fairly complex beast given the depth of the tactical combat. The UI now looks better, is much less cluttered and (hopefully) easier to use and understand - but more importantly it properly integrates the relevant information for the Morale and Armour systems which were added earlier this year. Additionally, we started working with a couple of new illustrators at the start of the month to start to finish off the remaining research art. Three new autopsy paintings have been added this month and the final dropship has also been done (we also amended the in-mission tiles for this dropship to improve its interior layout and fix some visual issues). Several more enemy units have had their corpse artwork painted too, and that job is now nearly complete. On the 3D front we've now managed to finish and rig all the female civilian models (meaning all the human models are now complete and set up in-game) and several alien armour variants from previous months were also rigged and added. In terms of environment we're still working on the Xenonaut base biome because there's just so many different base rooms that need to be created, but progress is pretty good and the new assets are definitely looking like an improvement! Beyond the tactical UI and bugfixes, the coders also found time to implement a proper re-arming system for interceptor weapons (previously the planes would instantly rearm when returning to base) and then do some work to support the final mission. In classic X-Com style we have decided to make this a two-part mission so we needed to do a bit of work to support this, but it all seems to be working. Both maps need further playtesting and visual improvements but in theory it should now be possible to properly win the campaign when we release the next build. Therefore overall I feel like we've made good progress this month. We'll start to think about putting out the first iterations of V24 towards the end of next month to let you guys play with the final tactical UI and hopefully several more significant improvements too. Take care everyone!
  10. Thanks. This is a really weird one. It's the same bug as this in the thread linked below. Basically what's happened is that a UFO crashsite has been spawned on the Geoscape but for some reason it has no icon (so it's invisible). That times out 24 hours after being spawned and when the game tries to remove it from the Geoscape, it crashes because it has no icon. Do you remember what happened the day before this bug appeared? Did you shoot down any UFOs in unusual ways or anything? Do you have any saves from a little bit earlier on the Geoscape?
  11. Thanks. I think this is the same bug that someone else reported a few days ago so I think it should be fixed in the hotfix I just released.
  12. No worries. Thanks for your thoughts, and I hope your own launch went well - maybe I'll get time to play your stuff soon! Anyway, the weapons already have unique values for their short-range bonus so I'll bump up the max bonus from 40% if adjacent for the shotgun to 54%. That means soldiers with 45 Accuracy get a 71% x 3 shot even when using the least accurate fire mode. @Emily_F I know you've been very pro increasing the short range bonus on the LMG too, and I've increased that slightly to match that of the rifle. It's now +24% when adjacent rather than +20%, but that's actually a fairly big improvement when firing lots of shots. There was also previously a bug where the 10 shot fire mode on LMGs wasn't correctly giving an accuracy boost when firing before moving - so see how the LMG performs after those minor tweaks and see if it makes any difference. I'll put both those changes in the hotfix as they are extremely minor changes so shouldn't cause any issues, along with the fix for the base attack missions not spawning directly on top of your base. It might be a little while before V24 comes out so I guess it's better I address that before we release V23 Stable to everyone.
  13. This is the seventh and hopefully final hotfix for V23. You'll need to be on the Experimental Branch to access the build. If you want to continue playing your V23.6 campaign (as this update breaks save games) then please switch to the Experimental Legacy Branch instead. Fixed a crash if a zombie was killed by overwatch fire and spawned a Reaper. Fixed a crash that could occur if you right-clicked on an alien weapon on the ground. Fixed the post-mission debrief screen not showing the soldier roles correctly. Fixed an issue where pressing Escape when assigning a soldier on the Soldier Equip screen would temporarily break the screen. Laser LMGs now have the same fire modes as other LMGs do, and LMGs can no longer use the equivalent rifle ammo. Balance: UFOs on base attack missions now once again spawn some distance from your base, allowing you to shoot them down with aircraft. Balance: Warden now has weight 12 rather than weight 20. Balance: Demolition grenades have a reduced blast radius. Balance: increased the proximity accuracy bonus on Shotguns and LMGs. I'm really hoping that this is the last release we have to do for V23 - but as always if you encounter further crashes then please post them on our bug reporting forums and we'll do our best to fix them!
  14. Quite a few points here have already been answered by other posters or by me in other replies, so I'll just pick out a few things. HP Indicators: yeah, these pose an interesting question. They'll be disabled on the higher difficulty settings anyway, but yeah I suspect we might try linking them to the autopsies as you suggest. Problem is then it implies making autopsies not auto-complete, and that adds another 15-20 projects to the research tree. I'm already struggling with the sheer number of research projects a player is expected to complete relative to the number of tactical missions they fight. No harm in trying it though. Mission Rules Briefing: yup, the new intel capture mission has certainly shown me that we need to add a briefing screen at the beginning of each tactical mission that explicitly lists the victory conditions etc. Short Range Accuracy Bonus: so this has changed from being a large bonus within the 5 tiles around the target to a smaller bonus earned every tile you are closer to the target from maximum range (sniper rifles don't get any bonus). I agree that's it's currently frustrating to be stood next to an enemy and still not have a really high hit chance, but I'm not sure if that's a limitation of the new design or just because I've just set the numbers too small. Of course, the danger with turning up the numbers too much is that the proximity starts to become more important than Accuracy, and there's not much benefit to high-accuracy troops. Dismantling Weapons: yeah the intention is just that these weapons are a source of extra Alloys (and eventually Alenium). You don't make money by dismantling them, but it gets you Alloys at half the price of building Alloys from scratch.
  15. Agreed on the demo grenades. I'll reduce their blast radius from 2.5 tiles to 1.5 tiles and we'll see how that goes. Warden Armour weight is also a mistake I need to fix. Abduction sites currently are currently just mini Terror Missions. But yes, I think there's scope to give them more interesting objectives in the longer term. Remind me again about the AI in a few months; it's a known issue but it's a back-burner one. One I'm perhaps liable to forget if not regularly reminded though. The aircraft will be rearming "properly" (i.e. not instantly) in V24 when it arrives.
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