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Chris

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Everything posted by Chris

  1. Thanks for the heads up. We fixed that after your message, it was a badly setup redirect from xenonauts2.com that was causing it in the end.
  2. Chris

    Dynamic window resizing

    I don't actually know if it's possible or not. I'll ask the coders; if it's something simple then yes - but I'm a bit concerned that it might not work well with our UI structure. Can't hurt to take a look though.
  3. Thanks for the suggestions. A few of these things will be making it into the game, or be easily supported via modding. Others are good usability suggestions I'll consider. The soldier field of view is a value in a text file, and it's easy to change it to 360 if you want to mod it. Weapon modules are largely supported in the game already too; I'll be looking at them later in development but even if I decide they are too complex for the basic game and don't add them in, I wouldn't be surprised if Community Edition may make them available to modders that want to use them. I think your suggestions for options to speed up the enemy turns, and the alien heads being greyed out when units go out of vision are interesting ideas that I'll have a think about putting in the game. Regarding JA2, I'm a big fan of the game and we do quite often get requests about adding various mechanics from JA2 into Xenonauts. Other than maybe the discount for taking repeated shots at the same target, I think most of the mechanics in JA2 are great in JA2 but unncessarily complex for Xenonauts 2 (particularly prone). The structure of the two games is similar, but not similar enough that all the mechanics would work in X2.
  4. Chris

    Weapon Asymetry

    The tech tree is far from final or balanced at the moment, but this thread illustrates pretty well how difficult it is to please everyone! The plan is to have each tier of weapons be better than the last in *most* situations, and for each tier of weapons to have unique quirks like the recharging lasers. But that stuff isn't really playtested yet, and it's a difficult balancing act to decide just how much better each tier of weapons should be from the last. I don't know exactly where I stand yet. Note the MAG weapons are now called Gauss weapons, and have switched places with the Plasma weapons in the tier structure. So it now goes Ballistics >> Lasers >> Gauss >> Plasma. This is relevant because some aliens have resistances to particular types of damage, so in some circumstances if you know you're facing a particular race you may want to downgrade your soldiers to a lower tier of weapons. Yes, all the properties of weapons / armour / aliens / the research tree can be modded easily.
  5. Yeah, so the plan is to add in tier 1 stun weapons which are the stun baton, the stun gas grenade and probably a relatively weak taser pistol, and then later on in the game you get the Electroshock (or just Shock) weapons which would be a grenade, a pistol and a rifle that all do stun / EMP damage. The reason why I want to add pistols is because the new secondary slot makes them quite a handy thing to carry alongside a "proper" gun.
  6. There's a couple of posts on the development update subforum for those that want detailed news, but there's going to be a new build arriving on the Experimental branch in the next week or two.
  7. This is the second hotfix for Beta Build V12 that fixed . You'll need to be on the Experimental Branch to access the build. Changelog: The game should no longer crash once your interceptors close to interception range of a UFO if there is an alien UFO on an Air Superiority mission anywhere on the Geoscape. Units (particularly the MARS) should no longer die at the end of a mission if they have +HP gear equipped and end the mission on low HP (they were going negative when this bonus was stripped off in the return to strategy and dropping dead as a result). Please let us know if you encounter any further issues with V12. If you do, we'll consider putting out another hotfix before we push it out onto the default branches. Just as a warning - I'm off on paternity leave now so this build has only had very minor testing!
  8. In X1 an Andron with 30 Armour would be literally invulnerable to a shotgun that did 20x3 damage, but pretty vulnerable to a sniper rifle that did 50 damage, even though those weapons were the same tech level. Because having entire classes of weapons be completely useless against armour was bad game design (and unpopular with the community), we added an armour destruction system where 10% of the damage stopped would be removed from the armour (i.e. shooting 80 Armour with 50 damage leaves 75 Armour). Problem is, this means that literally any unit can be destroyed by any weapon if you shoot it enough times - and "enough times" was frequently not very many times at all. This was one of the reasons late game aliens in X1 had to have so much HP bloat, and it means high rate-of-fire weapons like the Ballistic Machinegun were disproportionately effective even against end-game enemies. Now UFO hulls in X2 are destructible, it's even more obvious - the armour shred effect is so strong that even the armoured hull of a UFO can be breached by emptying a dozen pistol shots into it. Of course, you can tone down the armour shred effect ... but then it's not doing what it is supposed to be doing and shotguns become almost totally ineffective against Androns again. The new system deals with this much more elegantly. A shotgun has less penetration than a sniper rifle, so against an armoured enemy it might well suffer a 50% damage reduction whereas the sniper rifle has no reduction at all. Shotguns are not a good choice against an armoured enemy, but they're thus also not completely useless. The armour of the UFO hull on the other hand can be set to be so tough that ballistic weapons will never even scratch it. In X1 you can't have both those things at the same time. Basically it just smooths the hardness / penetration curve out a bit, which gives us a lot more space to differentiate our equipment. It's easy to say that the old system works fine if only you just spend enough time trying to balance it, but in practice it's way too simplistic to support weapons and armour that are anything more than straight numeric upgrades over one another.
  9. And did you manually do the maths each time on how much damage a weapon does against each alien, and how much damage alien weapons do to your suits of armour? If not, you're not going to notice the difference - use the best armour in Xenonauts 2 and your soldiers are more likely to survive than otherwise.
  10. Yes, if our new mechanics don't work that well, we can of course revert to the system from the first Xenonauts - just like we took out the resistance-based armour and changed it into this new model which we thought might be an improvement. We're not permanently committed to this system. Bear in mind the X1 system is incredibly simple and has some serious problems with it though. One of the big ones is that most armour isn't protective enough to fully absorb all the damage from an incoming shot, which makes the armour penetration of a weapon meaningless. If you have 20 armour, getting shot by a weapon that does 30 damage is the same as getting shot by a weapon that does 25 damage and has 5 armour penetration. So you may as well just throw away the idea of armour penetration entirely under that system. It sounds like the way X-Division handled it was just to make armour very protective but suffer serious shred damage in combat, which is fine but falls foul of the reason why you're claiming ablative armour is bad - most units don't get hit very much, and when they do you can just rotate them out. Similarly, any armour system where every individual body part has its own individual armour is going to be way too complex when you're managing up to 16 soldiers in your squad, so that's a non-starter too. Honestly, the new mechanics aren't that complex. It's ablative armour but if the armour hardness is higher than the weapon penetration, the damage is reduced. If the weapon penetration is higher than the weapon effectively inflicts extra armour shred. The goal is not to use weapons that have rubbish penetration against high-grade armour, because they'll be ineffective. Using overly penetrative weapons on low-grade armour will ignore the armour and shred it but doesn't inflict extra damage on the unit below. The reason it's set up that way is that the ablative armour can then be set up to have a relatively low number of HP. In X1 advanced armour has to have higher significantly armour values than lower tier armour because that's the only possible way it can be better; if your Wolf armour has 40HP then your Sentinel has 60HP and your Predator has 80HP. It just leads to all the stats getting super bloated. Whereas in this system a light mobility-boosting Exosuit like a Sentinel could still have 40HP and thus be quite vulnerable against aliens of similar tech level .... but if you rushed the tech tree and unlocked it early in the game it'll still be extremely effective against low-end weapons because they don't have the penetration to deal with it (as advanced tech should be). EDIT - oh yeah, I should mention that the damage reduction from high tier armour continues to apply even if you exhaust the Armour HP. In X1 you could strip the armour off literally anything just through sheer weight of fire, so the strongest Andron was vulnerable to basic pistol rounds if you shot them enough. That doesn't apply here, which I think is more realistic and helps balancing.
  11. The old armour thread isn't gone exactly, it's been hidden. But we've done because we've rolled all the info about the various new systems into several new summary posts that will be unlocked next week. Most people don't really know what mechanics are and aren't in the current design for X2 because it has changed a lot over the past few years. That specific previous thread also included several other mechanics that haven't all made it into the game, which would be confusing.
  12. Just to expand on the final section of my update, I have decided to release a new build in the near future before we start breaking all the existing maps. I'll let you know when to expect the build once I've got a few more research reports done. Oh, yeah - whooops! Fixed that now
  13. Chris

    Xenonauts-2 April Update

    Yup, there's a new update out here: Not a firm EA date yet, but still some interesting news there!
  14. Hello everyone - I've been rather quiet on these forums for the past couple of months, but here's an update to keep you all posted on our progress. The reason why I've not been posting much on the forums in recent times is because I was lucky enough to welcome my daughter into the world just over five weeks ago. I took two weeks as paternity leave and then returned to work, but learning how to work from home with a baby around has been quite a learning experience for me! Although I am able to fit a full working day in around the babysitting, my time is more limited than before and I've had to be much more focused on game development, which means I've spent less time on the forums than normal. However, I'm starting to use my phone and laptop in quiet moments in the evenings and this hopefully will give me a bit of time each day to browse the forums and catch up on a bit of research writing. So, basically, the lack of activity here does not indicate lack of activity on the game. It's just that interaction with the community is the first thing to get squeezed out of my schedule when I'm short on time. What have we been working on over the past two months? Quite a few things: Implemented the new armour / penetration system Improved the way grenade scattering works so its more sensible Reworked the ground combat inventory so it works better and displays a lot more information Improved the way the Soldier Equip and dropship soldier arrangement screen works Set up the local forces to upgrade their equipment based on your research efforts Got the EliminateVIP missions functioning (although they still need proper maps) Done some more research text writing and added a couple more research images Added jetpacks to the game Fixed the issue where weapons in backpack didn't properly contain ammo (which also lays the foundations for modular weapons) Added a simple geoscape Agent system that allow you to boost Relations in a specific region Designed a couple of new UFOs You'll be seeing more of those new things in the next week or two when we put out a new build, but for once I'm actually going to stick to my plans and only write a short update. I just want you all to know that we've not forgotten you!
  15. This thread is intended to act as master index for all the forum threads related to the design changes and new features that will be included in Xenonauts-2 ("X2"). Basics & Setting: Xenonauts-2 is a large and complex strategy game loosely inspired by the classic X-Com games from the 90s. It is not a direct sequel to the first Xenonauts but rather an updated and improved portrayal of similar events. The time period of the game is no longer the 1970s but instead the modern day, however the action now takes place in an alternate history where the Soviet Union never collapsed and the Cold War never ended - you can thank extraterrestrial interference in human politics for all of this! The Xenonauts have already existed for decades when the game begins, having been formed as a joint NATO-Soviet organisation to secretly study the fragments of a crashed extraterrestrial craft found in Iceland (the discovery of which nearly sparked a nuclear war until the Americans agreed to share it). Unfortunately, little useful knowledge is gained from the remains and the Xenonauts fade into irrelevance as time passes - despite having circumstantial evidence that the aliens are continuing to visit our world, they are unable to prove it. The game begins when the aliens begin an open invasion of Earth. Half a dozen hostile UFOs appear in our skies, attacking several major cities. The various world powers attempt to defend themselves in vain, unable to track the UFOs and suffering heavy losses on the few occasions their fighters manage to find their targets. When the UFOs retreat after a day of sowing terror, both superpowers agree a united global front against the aliens is needed - as long as the other isn't in charge of it. Despite being an intelligence / research organisation, the Xenonauts are chosen as the compromise candidates to co-ordinate the defence of Earth. The Commander is the only military officer sufficiently highly regarded by both sides to be an acceptable candidate for leadership of the organisation, and is put in charge of assembling a "first response" force capable of operating anywhere in the world. The price of their support is that any research acquired by the Xenonauts be shared with the funding nations. The game therefore begins with the player taking charge of a small organisation and having to quickly grow it into something capable of defending the planet. The aliens, meanwhile, are broadcasting messages promising that any who surrender will be spared. Humanity begins the game united behind the Xenonauts, but failure to effectively defend their territory will lead entire regions of the world to conclude that they are better off taking their chances with the aliens! Finally - a few familiar faces are returning in the alien and Xenonaut ranks, but remember that nothing from the first Xenonauts is considered canon for the sequel! Key Changes & Improvements: The threads below explain most of the changes we are planning to make in Xenonauts 2 compared to the first Xenonauts. The design of Xenonauts 2 has morphed somewhat over its long development period and our guiding principle is now to deliver a game that improves and expands the first Xenonauts rather than radically changing the fundamentals! Game Setting Geoscape Invasion Balance & Reactivity Liaison Offices (Scientist & Engineer Recruitment) Orbital Bombardment Alternate Ending Other Mechanics Base Mechanics Power System Structure Personnel Slots Stores Capacity Further Ideas Research Tree Game Lore Research Structure & Equipment Tiers Modular Armour Soldiers & Vehicles Inventory & Secondary Slot Stat Modifiers Vehicles Further Ideas Ground Combat Mission Types & Mission Mix Alien Composition Breachable UFOs Improved AI Further Changes Aircraft & Air Combat: Current Implementation Modular Aircraft Potential Future Implementation
  16. So with the release of Closed Beta V12.1 it's time for another update on our progress. It'll probably be a month or so until our next public release, because with V13 we're introducing a number of new features that will hopefully leave the Geoscape feature complete (if still a little unpolished) and we need to address some of the backend stuff that has accumulated over the past few releases. Our Direction: So the first thing to talk about is what we're aiming to achieve with Xenonauts 2. Over the last eighteen months the design of the game has morphed away from being something rather different to the original Xenonauts to something that is intended to build upon the foundations of the first game and further develop the features people most enjoyed. What this means in practice is doubling down on offering strategic and tactical options, and trying to make the setting more immersive by adding more "simulation" systems to the Geoscape that make it more responsive to your actions and help suggest there is a wider war against the aliens occuring on in the background. I won't discuss the new strategic mechanics in too much detail here, as you can read about many of the systems in this thread and this thread. The mechanical changes to the game have led us to update the setting so the covert "shadow war" idea has morphed into a scenario where the war against the aliens occurs in plain sight - the aliens have demanded the surrender of the various world governments, but instead they have chosen to unite behind the Xenonaut global defence program (in exchange for access to the ongoing research efforts of the Xenonauts). The aliens have a wider selection of ways to raise Panic in the funding regions and force them to surrender, but the player also has a wider variety of tools that can stop them. Early Access: I'm hoping that we'll have most of the mechanics we need to support this new vision of the game in place when V13 is released. This would logically point to an Early Access release in the relatively near future, but we're currently choosing between two different options about how to proceed. The first is that we decide to release in the near future; perhaps two months after V13 is released. We'll create a special Early Access build that ends about a third of the way through the game (shortly after Destroyers start spawning regularly) and then frantically polish that build until the launch arrives. The (rougher) full game will still be accessible on the Experimental branch, but fixes and content that doesn't appear in the Early Access build will be ignored until after the launch. That way, players will be able to get a better feel for what the final game might be like at launch and are likely to leave better Steam reviews. The alternative involves signing a deal with a publisher to market our game in exchange for a cut of the profits above a certain level of sales (i.e. the sales we think we'd make without their involvement). If this were to happen then we'd be pushing the Early Access release back to something closer to six months from now to ensure that the game is really polished and the marketing has time to generate the interest we need for a really successful launch. If we went down that route, we'd expect to have almost all the game systems in place and Early Access to involve primarily polishing and adding content. Assuming we can make the financials in the deal work, pairing up with a publisher my preference - I'd much rather be writing research reports than marketing blurb, but the community need more frequent communication and game needs better marketing in the run up to the Early Access launch. Having professionals working on that (and investing their money into it) would be more effective and more efficient than me trying to do it myself. Anyway, hopefully we'll have a decision one way or the other in the next few weeks. New Artwork: With more certainty about what shape the final game will be taking, we've now started working with a few new artists. You can see the painting above which we'll be using as a promo art piece and quite possibly also the updated Main Menu screen for the game. I think it's come out rather well and hopefully the same artist will be doing some additional paintings to help set the mood in the game. We're also having another look at the background art for the various management screens on the strategy layer with a different artist, which is something that should make the game feel much fresher (seeing the art from X1 in the sequel really doesn't help the feeling that the sequel is just a rehash of the first game). The UFO artist from the original Xenonauts is also working with us once again. If all goes well there we'll be switching back to using the old style of UFOs from X1 (introducing some new designs and revising some of the old ones) but also trying to integrate partial destructibility into them in the ground combat. The current "grey box" style of UFOs does offer nicer tactical possibilities but their designs get repetitive very quickly so if we can combine their looks with better destructibility I think we'll have the best of both worlds. Coronavirus & Personal Matters: A few words on Coronavirus - we don't expect this to affect us too much as Goldhawk is made up of youngish people who already work remotely. But there is likely to be some disruption nonetheless, as I'm sure some sick days will be required and closed schools some of our freelancers might end up having to do childcare instead of other work. So I'd expect progress to be slowed a little over the coming few months but it shouldn't be anything too dramatic. Finally, I've got a child arriving shortly so I'll be disappearing for a couple of weeks in the near future. I'll still be doing the management work required to keep the company operating but I'm going to be avoiding the forums and game design / balancing / writing duties during that time. So don't worry too much if I vanish and stop answering your questions for a bit - I will be coming back (quite possibly in the form of a sleep-deprived zombie)!
  17. Hello everyone - quick design question to discuss with our community that revolves around how the game should handle equipping soldiers who are not assigned to dropships. I'd like to know what system people would prefer in their game out of the three options below, given the choice. 1) If a soldier is not assigned to a dropship, they cannot be assigned equipment: This is the current system in Xenonauts 2. If a soldier is not assigned to a dropship, you can view them in the Soldier Equip screen but all their equipment slots are greyed out and they hold no equipment. Unassigning a soldier from a dropship clears their loadout, which means all your equipment is always available when you're equipping the soldiers in a dropship (unless you've got two dropships). Assigning a soldier to a dropship attempts to auto-populate their equipment based on their loadout. 2) If a soldier is not assigned to a dropship, you can equip them as normal: This is the system used in Xenonauts 1. You can freely equip items to soldiers who are unassigned, but this means it can be difficult keeping track of your equipment - e.g. you might have a spare Laser Rifle on one of your unassigned soldiers somewhere without realising it, and you'd have to search through them to check that isn't the case. 3) If a soldier is not assigned to a dropship, you assign them an intended loadout which is only filled when they enter the dropship: This is a sort of experimental mix between the two setups, where you are able to assign items to soldiers who are not in a dropship but this simply represents the items that would try to use if assigned to a dropship. For example, if you have a Laser Rifle in your stores that could be assigned to all of your unassigned soldiers but when you assigned them to the dropship only the first one would actually get the Laser Rifle. This means you never "lose" items by having them not assigned to active duty soldiers ... but might be kinda confusing for the player. Any thoughts / suggestions about those modes? The system in the original Xenonauts was the simplest and easiest to understand, but it did make it a little hard to track how many items you had sometimes (especially when certain troops would get automatically unassigned due to injury, etc). Or was that not something people had issues with? I don't have a particular preference myself here, really, so I'm happy to listen to what the players would prefer!
  18. As an aside, V13 is probably going to see the addition of some alien bombs on Terror / Raid missions that contain Alenium. You're right that Terror missions don't really give you much tangible as a result of fighting them (despite them often being quite difficult) so I figured I'd fix that.
  19. Chris

    Andron art style

    Ironically enough that's exactly the same model as it's always been - if anything the Androns are smaller than they used to be, because that's quite an old screenshot Likely what's different in that screenshot is the sense of scale. In X2 tiles are 3m tall instead of 2.2m like they were in X1, so walls are significantly taller than before and the scale can look off as a result. The walls and props in that screenshot are more like the X1 scale relative to the Andron, so it looks more "normal" height. Unfortunately the Xenonauts themselves look like children because the props are too big. Anyway, it's something we're looking into.
  20. The Foxtrot was removed because we've set up interceptors to have multiple different configurations; the idea is starting interceptor can now fulfil both the Falcon and the Foxtrot niche from X1 depending on what you equip it with. Why have we done this? Because it sucks to have to build an entirely new interceptor when you need to use a particular type of weapon, and this way the role of a particular interceptor can be changed as it becomes increasingly obselete. Also, I've never quite understood why people fixate so much on there being no Soviet stuff in the game. Sure, in one sense you're correct; there's currently nothing explicitly Soviet in the game. But there's only one plane, one helicopter and six (?) guns in the game from NATO nations; the vast majority of the game content is entirely fictional. Most people also seem to assume all the characters are American, even though they deliberately don't have names or nationalities and could just as easily be Russian. So, yeah, while we probably do need to add some stuff into the game that is explicitly Soviet at some point, I think you guys are overestimating how much NATO content is actually in the game.
  21. Yup, this isn't a bug (although I can see why it might appear that way) - I've set the game up so most secondaries can also be put in the Primary slot if you want.
  22. Thanks, this should be now fixed in the most recent hotfix!
  23. Thanks, this should be fixed in the most recent hotfix.
  24. The limit is just a number, so it's easy to change while balancing the game - but it does go up as the dropship becomes more advanced. It exists because vehicles have to be better than soldiers otherwise it wouldn't be worth researching them and spending the money keeping them upgraded, but if vehicles are better than soldiers then players would be incentivised to replace everyone with a vehicle. I'd consider setting the limit higher, but it might mean nerfing vehicles a bit ... and I'd want to test the campaign properly first anyway, as upgrading your dropship and getting to bring an extra vehicle along would become a much less cool moment if the starting dropship could already hold several of them.
  25. Yeah, the original "secret war" idea has been replaced although some of its spirit lives on. An open warfare setup worked better with the new mechanics we've been testing (the orbital bombardment by the aliens and the Relations gain from sharing tech with the funding regions) so we shifted the setting around to fit the mechanics. That said, one of the things I do want to continue to emphasise in the setting if possible is that the alien invasion hasn't actually caused everyone in the world to band together and sing happy songs while holding hands - the various world powers still do not trust one another and don't particularly trust the Xenonauts either (a mutual feeling), they've just been forced into working together by circumstance. The VIP Elimination missions are an example of this; you're literally assassinating (or capturing and brainwashing) a local VIP who is opposed to the region supporting the Xenonauts. They're not alien infiltrators; from the perspective of the Xenonauts they're simply people with misguided views that are endangering humanity and therefore need to be eliminated. And then probably lying to the locals and claiming that they were actually an infiltrator. So, yeah, I want to retain the feeling of the suspicion and misdirection that was part of the secret war setting even though we're returning to a setting where the warfare is more overt.
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