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Chris

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Chris last won the day on July 31

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About Chris

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    London, UK
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    Project Lead, Xenonauts
  1. We're now at the end of July and it's time for my monthly update. There's been no public releases this month (the stuff we've been working on has taken us off in some unexpected directions), but we'll resume those next month. This month we've spent a fair bit of coder time improving the tactical AI. It now has a much better understanding of the battlefield and the weapons it is equipped with (certainly better than the X1 AI did) and is ready for some combat balancing next month. We're also planning to look into some "advanced" behaviours as part of this, whether it be squad behaviours that allow alien units to move and fight as teams or unit-specific special abilities (e.g. you could imagine a large Sebillian having something akin to the XCOM Berserker ability where it moves a couple of tiles towards anyone that fires a shot nearby). I think making the aliens feel more intelligent and the different species feel more distinct would give the game a lot more character! We've also worked on various other aspects of gameplay. Performance on the Geoscape has been improved significantly, and we've implemented difficulty settings (although I need to balance the campaign properly before I make them too different from one another), and we've revisited the soldier medals and finished implementing them. We've also had support in the game for Landed UFOs for quite some time, but someone on the forums pointed out recently that UFOs weren't actually landing. I spent a bit of time looking into that and the coders fixed some related bugs, and now UFOs are landing like they should. Rather a lot of new art assets have been added to the game as well. The last of the remaining Xenonaut armours was modelled up in 3D and sent off for rigging today, so I expect all the final Xenonaut 3D models to be in the game by the end of August - you can see a couple of the designs in the images in this post. There's also been a new alien model added to the game, the Cyberdrone. This was previously a big white sphere but now actually has a unique design. There's now at least one 3D model for all of the aliens in the game, and we're going to turn our attention to making the different variants distinct from one another (so you can better tell an elite alien from a standard alien of the same species, etc). There's also new 2D art. We redesigned the Gauss weapons and have new 2D art for that entire family of weapons, as they could previously be quite difficult to tell apart and the art wasn't as good as some of the other weapons in the game. We've also added the top-down art for the two advanced dropships (as seen when arranging your troops inside them on the Aircraft screen), and as the 3D tiles are already complete we just need to paint the background art on the Soldier Equip screen for those and then they are done. That should be done next month too. Finally, we've brought back a freelance artist who was working with us on improving the look of the ground combat tiles. The quality of the ground combat environments still varies wildly from the dockyard maps we used in the Steam Demo which I think look pretty great through to biomes like Arid or the American Town which I think look rather less great. We'll be working hard on retexturing some of the less attractive assets to bring them up to final quality, and we'll also be adding the final destruction states to them too. It might take a few months for this to bear fruit but I think you'll see quite a big improvement in the way the game looks when it does! Oh, one more thing on the art front - the new UI art style also continues to develop. Hopefully next month you'll see the new main menu screen and it's various sub-panels in the game (the start new campaign screen, load game screen, etc). Maybe even the new topbar too if things go well. Aside from the gameplay things, there's also been some time spent on technical stuff. We're continuing to work on translation support, but that hit a speedbump this month because we had previously been linking items / projects together via their name (e.g. when specifying which item unlocks a Research project). Unfortunately this system falls apart once the name becomes a value that changes based on language, so we had to rewrite quite a lot of code relating to that too. But hopefully next month translation support will be finished too. So yeah, that's what we've been working on this month. It's been a busy month. I had intended to be working on the actual game balance but I got pulled into all the stuff listed above. Fingers crossed I can get back onto it next month though!
  2. Hmm, yeh. Some movement noises do get stuck on sometimes, although I've not looked into why that might happen yet. Is this happening during the alien turn (i.e. are the drones being killed by reaction fire)?
  3. Thanks. Yeah, I can reproduce this now. We'll get it fixed.
  4. This hotfix addreses a few crashes in Beta Build V20 but you'll need to be on the Experimental Branch to access the build. Fixes & Gameplay Updates: Tooltip delay now set to be 0.5 sec, as they were popping up too fast. This change will reset all options you might have set in previous versions. Fixed a crash that could occur when you changed soldier loadout in strategy. Fixed a crash that could occur at turn end in the tactical combat. Fixed another issue in the AI that meant it could be ineffective when using long-range weapons, causing it to run towards your soldiers without attacking. Fixed the tooltips not working well with dropdowns. Scrollbar in the resolution dropdown on the settings screen now scrolls much faster than before. Please let us know if you encounter any further issues with V20.1 as we will continue to make additional fixes as required.
  5. The only thing to remember is that units that are killed via explosives will have their items destroyed. So I guess if you've lost soldiers to alien grenades you've probably lost weapons as a result of that. Maybe that shouldn't be something that happens, thinking about it.
  6. Thanks for the bug report. However that save game looks like it's from v18.2 rather than V20 so I can't load it.
  7. Chris

    [V20.0] - CTD from loadout screen

    Thanks guys. This should be fixed in the upcoming hotfix.
  8. Hmm. Yeah, there's been reports of this happening for a while but we've not managed to pin down what's happening. Do you have any mission-end / mission start saves where you notice the number of weapons being different to what you expected? I haven't really spotted it in my playthoughs, but then I don't massively use the preset loadout system either. So perhaps it's linked to soldiers with custom / edited loadouts being injured?
  9. Thanks. Can you provide a save game of your campaign so I can test it?
  10. June is coming to a close so it's time for me to post up the monthly development summary for Xenonauts 2. This month saw the release of Closed Beta V20 on our Experimental branches, which saw further improvements to the skeleton of the game campaign and some general gameplay improvements. This month I added the tactical combat tiles for the Battleship and Harvester UFOs (the two largest types) and also added the tiles for the two advanced human dropship types, and played a campaign all the way through to Harvesters. I made quite a few balance changes along the way, and I think we now have a rough skeleton in place for the campaign. There's still a lot of fine tuning left to go but there is some basic challenge to the game and it's reasonably enjoyable to play - assuming you can look past the similarities to X1 and the obvious rough edges! The focus for the next month is the content. I've shuffled the research tree around a lot in the past two or three months, so even some of the initial research projects are "dummy" projects without text or research artwork. As I'm now reasonably happy with the shape of the research tree I'm going to start filling those in, and updating any existing research text to reflect any mechanical changes we might have made since they were written. I'll also be doing a proper pass on the tooltips and making an effort to ensure all objects, buttons and concepts are written up and accessible in the game. This will hopefully put us in a decent place to do the first stage of the open beta. Recently we've also been working on various other things that should improve the playability and usability of X2. The first thing is improvements to the AI, which is still basic but is getting steadily better. The AI in the first Xenonauts was purely dynamic so aliens would read the battlefield and choose where they wanted to position themselves based on preferences (i.e. being in cover vs out in the open, etc) whereas in X2 we've moved to a system where aliens have waypoints set around the map that designate good places for them to move to / lurk in (when a hostile unit is sighted they go into dynamic "combat" mode and ignore the waypoints). All maps are now set up with these waypoints. The effect of this is that in X2 you the alien movement should be more varied and dynamic, and you'll encounter enemies in a variety of positions (more like in classic X-Com). They might be stood in the open, or crouched behind cover, or looking out of a window with a good field of fire. In X1 they tended to run into corners and just stay there because those were the "best" locations based on their preferences. We've also been working on trying to fix the really stupid behaviours the AI makes - which usually revolve around times when there's a really obvious way for it to kill one of your soldiers but doesn't. In future builds we'll be doing further work on this, but also trying to add more advanced behaviours like allowing us to partner up aliens that have abilities that work together so they form a little squad on the battlefield. As always, we're also working on some odds and ends. The soldier medals system was largely implements a couple of years ago now but never quite finished, so we've finished that and set up the 8 medals your soldiers can earn in battle (each one gives +1 to all soldier stats). Mind Control has been rebalanced so its effectiveness drops off with range, which should make it less annoying. We've also implemented proper drag-and-drop functionality for the engineering queue and the soldier lists on the Soldier Equip / dropship screens. There's various other small usability changes too, plus further work on the tactical combat camera to ensure it tracks the action better during the alien turn and some more work on the Reapers to make the zombifying / Reaper hatching effects work better under all circumstances. In summary, I think once I've done the early-game research writing we'll be able to say that Xenonauts 2 is a playable (if unfinished) game. The standard disclaimers apply - the game needs another pass on the art (which we're working on in the background), we still need to do more to differentiate it from X1, and there's still more polish and content to be added. But the game is already quite fun to play as long as you're not expecting a finished game and it'll only improve as we continue our work on it!
  11. Chris

    Hanger Size

    So the logic behind the 2x2 hangars is that the air combat is eventually either going to allow only a single interceptor, or if we keep the air combat at 3 planes then each Hangar will be able to hold a full squadron of 3 aircraft of the same type (the air combat is currently balanced so that you should only need one aircraft per battle, so you shouldn't need to fill your base with Hangars at the moment). The net result is that Hangars should probably end up filling roughly the same amount of space as they did in the original Xenonauts. Dropships need a full 2x2 hangar to themselves, but a squadron of interceptors actually requires less space than before because in X1 that needed three 2x1 hangars. However, the intention is that you shouldn't have enough space to do everything you want in a single base any more. You'll need to move some functions to a secondary base by the mid / late game.
  12. Thanks for the comments. I'd try the new build on the Experimental branch as the balance is somewhat improved on that one (V20) although I think there's some crashes in it we still need to iron out, judging from the bug reports. A few comments: The fighters being repaired / replaced happens a set rate, it's nothing to do with the number of free engineers. The alien base missions should be a bit less difficult in V20, or rather they appear at the appropriate time for their difficulty. I've never tried bringing more than 20 stun grenades on a mission. Does it not work properly if you try to bring more than that? If you're having problems with Accuracy, are you trying to shoot through smoke? Each tile of smoke significantly reduces the accuracy of any shot passing through it so if you're shooting through a lot of stun gas you'll probably have very low hit chance on your shots.
  13. Chris

    [V20.0] - CTD from Terror Mission

    Thanks, I can reproduce this from the save game you provided. We'll take a look and get it fixed.
  14. Chris

    [V20.0] - CTD from loadout screen

    Thanks. Can you provide a save if you've got one where you can reproduce it? It doesn't seem to be happening for me if I start a new campaign so I'm guessing you've updated the loadout in some way that has led to the issue occurring. It's something to do with the armour the loadout contains I think.
  15. Closed Beta Build V20 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 is another fairly large update to follow on from V19 a month ago. There's not many massive new features, but there's a lot of smaller fixes and updates. I think the game balance is now passable for the first half of the game at least, so in the next build I'll probably turn my attention to creating some additional maps and working on the research images / text. Key Highlights: Polish & Balancing: this update includes a lot of small updates to the game balance and the game usability. See the full changelog below for details! Dropship & UFO tiles: The tactical combat tiles (although not strategy art) for the advanced dropships and the largest UFOs are now setup in the game. AI Improvements: The AI still does some fairly dumb stuff, but we spent some time this month fixing some of the biggest problems. "High-Tech" Lab / Workshops: these are a couple of new building types available to build at the start of the game. They're more expensive and power-hungry than the basic Lab / Workshops, but allow your staff to work at higher efficiencies. You probably want to switch over to these from the basic lab / workshops at some point in the game, but when you do that is a decision for the player! Mind Control: the Mind Control power has been reworked and added back into the game, and it should hopefully be better balanced than before. Proper Drag-and-Drop: We now have proper drag and drop support for the Engineering Queue and the Soldier Equip screen soldier lists, which makes life way easier! Strategy: A "High-Tech" Lab and Workshop are now available to build at the start of the game. These are more expensive than a standard lab / workshop, use more power and have less scientist / engineer capacity. However they provide a +50% speed boost to each member of staff assigned to that building. Added a Credits screen to the Main Menu (this also includes the names of our Kickstarter backers as promised during our Kickstarter campaign) Items being transferred between bases and that have been "claimed" by engineering projects you've added to the research queue now correctly take up space in the base stores (they are all consolidated together under a single item of appropriate size). The Engineering queue and the Soldier Equip soldier lists now support proper dragging and dropping. When viewing an Engineering project, the game now tells you how many you have of each item required to build the project. Tooltips are shown side by side when viewing an upgrade project (existing weapon vs. upgraded weapon) or hovering over a weapon in the Armory (equipped weapon vs. hover weapon). Let us know if this is annoying; I'm not sure it's an improvement. We might bind the functionality to Ctrl or something. Crash Site titles now specify the type of UFO that has crashed. The UI element that allows you to select a base to transfer items / soldiers / aircraft etc to now correctly shows the selected base. Fixed several tooltips that were appearing in needlessly annoying places. Re-ordered a lot of projects in the Armory / Engineering screen so they are displayed in a more sensible order. Equipping a jetpack no longer messed up the soldier paperdoll. Guardian Armour now shows its helmet correctly. The game now tells the player they need to place the Access Lift after building a new base. You can no longer use the Soldier Assignment menu that pops up in an empty dropship slot to add soldiers to the dropship that are injured or stationed at other bases. Fixed an issue where custom soldiers with the United States nationality were displaying as Random. Fixed an issue where zombified soldiers would be memorialised in the Memorial screen as "Reaper Zombie". Fixed an issue where weapons would not disappear from the Armory if sold on the stores screen. Fixed an issue with the Settings menu custom soldier box, and visually restlyled it too. Tech Tree: Added "Advanced" Laser weapon upgrade projects, which work in the same way as the Accelerated weapons that you can upgrade your Ballistic weapons into. Added a "Stealthsuit" soldier armour that doesn't currently do very much, but will soon! Fixed an issue where the Exosuit was not correctly unlocking, and updated the cost and manufacturing time of both the Exosuit and the Colossus armours. Alenium / Plasma Explosives (grenades and missiles) now unlock directly from Alenium and Enriched Alenium, rather than from alien grenades. Jetpack module now unlocks off the Gun Drone autopsy, or the Secton Elite autopsy. Advanced base defence turret upgrade projects now require their predecessors to be completed first, but each upgrade stage is cheaper than before. Tactical Combat: Set up the two largest non-unique UFOs in the tactical combat, the Battleship and Harvester UFOs. Added new tactical combat tiles for the two advanced dropships in the game, although the interior tiles for the final dropship are still in production. The strategy-layer art for these dropships is not yet finished though. All maps now have AI movement nodes painted into them. This should make the AI act a bit smarter than it did previously and lays the foundations for further AI improvements in the current months. The AI still isn't exactly great, but it should now be better at: Spotting the Xenonaut units visible to alien units at the start of their turn. Noticing Xenonaut units when they are already moving, and stopping their move so they can attack them. Taking cover behind nearby objects. Using the appropriate fire mode on their weapon, or switching to a secondary weapon if they have more than one and the secondary is more appropriate for the situation. There's now an appropriate wheeled model for the mobile Sentry Gun enemy unit in the Cleaner Base (the same model is used for your own Sentry Guns). Various button tooltips now show the hotkey button for that button. This is dynamic so will update correctly if you rebind your keys. We've spent some more time cleaning up the Reaper Zombie reanimation sequence, and the visuals for when a Zombie is killed or hatches into a Reaper. These should now work more smoothly than before. Mentarchs and Guardian Armour soldiers now have dropshadows. Fixed an issue where UFO / alien base walls were not quite tall enough, which could cause visual issues when you were viewing the upper levels of an alien base. Improved how the soldier selection / movement logic in the pre-mission deployment phase on Xenonaut Base defence missions works, as it was very clunky before. Fixed an issue where Reaper zombie corpses could block movement in some situations. Fixed various problems with the camera during the alien turn. Fixed some instances where the AI would take control to overwatch fire, but then not actually overwatch fire. Fixed an issue where vaultable waist-high cover could allow units to vault through the invisible walls that prevent you getting into the solid parts of the UFO hulls. Fixed an issue where units would not immediately be spotted on night missions after being lit by a flare. Fixed an issue where the Gun Drone shadow would disappear through the floor as it bobbed along. Fixed an issue where unit move paths / selection circles would randomly disappear. Fixed an issue where Wraiths would flicker as they moved during the alien turn. Fixed some doors not making sounds when opened, or not being interactable with right-click. If a unit falls unconscious by taking damage from burst fire, but then is immediately killed by subsequent shots in the burst, the game will not notify you that the unit has been stunned. Balance Changes: Androns no longer have explosive weapons, and instead are equipped with Plasma / Fusion rifles. Reapers now have less TU, and their attacks cost more TU. They were previously incredibly deadly inside alien bases. Alien noncombatants now upgrade from Magnetic Pistols to Plasma and then Fusion pistols as the game progresses, rather than sticking with Magnetic Pistols for the whole game. Mind Control has been reworked and reintroduced: The base chance of success is now lower than before, and the effectiveness of the psionic power decreases over range. The defence against psionic attacks is purely Bravery (and some random chance). Units no longer get a defence bonus from having TU remaining at end of turn. Units will be Mind Controlled if the alien succeeds by more than 30, and will just panic if the attack succeeds by less than 30. Units that panic now only drop their Primary weapon before running away (instead of literally all of their equipment). The aliens should try and attack your base more frequently than before. When units suffer damage in combat, 50% of the damage sustained is removed from their maximum HP and therefore cannot be healed (up from 30%). The 5-round burst has been removed from the Rifles because it was overpowered - it was extremely effective at short range, making shotguns kinda pointless. Cleaner Base map is now larger, and contains more Cleaners. UFO Bombers have had their damage toned down because it was previously pretty extreme. Alien base missions now spawn a few weeks later than before. Fixed an issue where some Gauss weapons could not be built, and updated the damage on the Gauss Sniper which was previously too low. UFO front doors now all have 200HP, as they were being destroyed way too easily previously. As always, please let us know if you encounter any bugs by posting them up on the Bug Reporting subforums, as we'll release a hotfix if necessary.
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