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Chris

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Everything posted by Chris

  1. These files arent designed for direct editing unfortunately - they have parent files and if a property is the same as in the parent file then that property doesn't appear in the child. When I get a moment tonight or tomorrow I'll upload a file that has those values in it so you can edit them.
  2. Closed Beta Build V18 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 a major update to the game that contains six weeks of hard work from the team but be prepared to encounter some serious stability / gameplay issues when you first start playing. We'll try to patch any issues out as quickly as possible (please report any issues on our Bug Reporting sub-forums) but there's been some changes to important code that affects large amounts of the game. We've tested a fair bit but we won't have caught everything. I've made a lot of small changes to the balance so this changelog is not exhaustive! Key Highlights: Strategy Rebalance: the air combat has had a significant balance pass and I've started a proper balance pass on the strategy campaign. This isn't finished and doesn't yet include the tactical combat missions, but it's still a big improvement over V17 and there's a number of new mechanics in the air combat and on the strategy as a result. We'll continue to improve the balance throughout the hotfixes in the next week or two. Air Combat Armour: the Armour mechanics in the air combat have changed so that units now have both Armour HP and Hull HP, and weapons do different amounts of damage against each type. Effectively this means different types of UFO capital ship can be a bit more distinct from one another compared to Xenonauts 1. Multiple Raids: alien Raid combat missions now spawn in groups of three and give different strategic rewards. You can only respond to one of these Raid sites if you have a single dropship, but players who run multiple squads would be able to respond to more. UFO Sections: capturing a crashed UFO now awards you various types of UFO components that must be dismantled in the Workshop to recover the Alenium / Alloys within (you also get some pure Alloys / Alenium too). This gives your engineers plenty to do in the early game and puts a natural cap on the amount of resources you can gather by grinding crash sites. This system replaces the Unrefined Alloys / Depleted Alenium items we were using previously. Stores Overcapacity: if you exceed your base storage capacity the game now prevents you from constructing new items in the workshop or transferring items to other bases until you have sold enough items to make space (this prevents you getting any usable items until you have space for them). Keybinding support: the settings screen now has support for rebinding keys. Jetpacks: there's new unit animations for jetpacks and they now appear on the soldier model. The process of using them in-game is now much more fluid too. New Artwork: there's new art for the vehicle weapons, new 3d models for the Electroshock weapons and various new particle effects (fire / explosions) in the game. Usability Improvements: after seeing a lot of people bouncing off the Steam demo, we added a large number of usability improvements to the tactical combat controls. If you're interested there's a full list in the changelog below. Balance Changes Summary - Quick Summary: Everything has been slowed down. There is longer between each UFO wave, and Research and Engineering projects now take much longer to complete. Base buildings in particular take much longer to build than they did before. I've done a balance pass on the air combat so interceptors of the appropriate tech tier can fight on a level footing with UFOs of the appropriate tier. Damage on interceptors takes much longer to heal in X2 than it does in X1, so an interceptor at full health can take on a more powerful UFO and win - it'll just be badly damaged for several weeks afterwards. This makes the game a bit more forgiving when you don't happen to have precisely the right interceptor / equipment to take on a particular type of UFO. The game is now balanced to assume only ONE interceptor per battle, so it'll be very easy if you send more than one interceptor into battle! In future it'll be balanced for 3 aircraft but that requires some code changes we haven't had time to do for now. Raids now spawn in threes, scattered across the world. Each Raid has a different reward (cash / scientists / engineers) and you generally have to choose just one - but if you get multiple dropships set up, you could concievably handle multiple sites. Not sure if it's worth the trouble but it's certainly an option! Scientists / Engineers no longer have any wage / hire costs. You now start with 10 of each, and three of each are now added to the hire pool each month for free, plus any gained from Raids and from constructing Command Centers on the Geoscape. Unrefined Alloys / Depleted Alenium have been replaced with UFO components (UFO Hull Sections / UFO Circuitry) that provide resources when dismantled in your Workshop, or can just be sold for cash. This system is a bit clunky and need some more balancing but so far it seems like an interesting idea. Gameplay Changes - Strategy: Feature: we've added support for keybindings which can be accessed in the Settings menu. Feature: exceeding your storage capacity now halts production of any engineering items. Feature: the soldier attribute bars on the Soldier Equip screen now correctly show the modified value when units have either stat increases or stat reduction from items or injuries, and the tooltip now gives a list of the things affecting this. Feature: wounded soldiers will now try to automatically assign themselves back to their slot in the dropship once they return to full health. If their slot is full, they will remain unassigned (mostly useful for soldiers who are only wounded for 1-2 days). Feature: funds can now go negative as a result of upkeep. You lose the game if you have negative funds after the monthly meeting for two months in a row. Art: New artwork has been added for most of the vehicle weapons. UI - Geoscape: clicking outside a popup no longer closes that popup. UI - Geoscape: recurring popups (e.g. UFO Detected) no longer remember their position if you drag them to a new location before closing them. UI - Geoscape: the text that appears when your base turrets are trying to shoot down an attacking UFO has been updated to make it easier to understand and more informative. UI - Soldier Equip: the Undersuit dropdown now shows the quantity of each undersuit you have. UI - Soldier Equip: the Undersuits now show tooltips. UI - Engineering: projects now show tooltips that show the stats of the item that will be built. Performance: we've improved the performance of the prerequisite system, which drives pretty much everything on the strategy layer. This means improves Geoscape performance but may also have introduced a lot of crashes! Bugfix: fixed a crash when a base was attacked by aliens and you had wounded soldiers stationed at that base Bugfix: fixed UFOs attacking a Xenonaut base not being detected if they spawn within radar range Gameplay Changes - Air Combat: Armour now works differently for Aircraft and UFOs. Both now have Armour HP and Hull / Normal HP and all damage is first assigned to Armour HP until there is none left and the Hull HP begins to take damage. Weapons have seperate damage values against Armour and against Hull, so weapons like cannons are ineffective against heavily armoured UFOs but very effective against lightly armoured UFOs (and if a UFO has a mix of both types of HP, you can always strip the Armour off with missiles or energy weapons and then close in to destroy the Hull using a cannon). There's a variety of new items in the tech tree, but the weapons fall into one of three categories: cannons, missiles and energy lances. There are also armour items and aircraft reactor items that tie into the power system mentioned below. The framework of a power system has been added but the system is not yet active. I'd encourage you to self-enforce the rules, though - basically the system is that aircraft equipment consumes power and you can't equip an item on an aircraft if it doesn't have enough power for it. Gameplay Changes - Tactical Combat: Feature: lots of work has been done on the jetpacks. There's new models and animations for the jetpack, and the process of using jetpacks has been cleaned up so they just work far better than before. Feature: The spawn logic for the Base Defence missions has been coded now. Most aliens will try to spawn into Hangars if they are present, but will select one or two random rooms to spawn into if no Hangars are present. Particularly sneaky types of aliens will ignore Hangars and will always spawn elsewhere in your base. Usability: there is now a Soldier Finished button to the right of the UI. Clicking this will mark the soldier as "finished" and then select the next valid soldier, and if all soldiers are marked as finished it will automatically end the turn. Finished soldiers have the following effects: Finished soldiers can still be manually selected and can still spend TU as normal Finished soldiers are removed from the Tab soldier cycling Finished soldiers have a slightly greyed out mini-portrait at the top of the screen Usability: when pressing End Turn the game will check if the player has any "forgotten" soldiers - soldiers that are not BOTH at full TU and not finished. If any of these soldiers exist, the game will not end the turn and will instead select them so the player can move them. You can ignore this forgotten soldier check by Ctrl+clicking on the End Turn button. Usability: the selection cursor now makes it more obvious what camera level you have selected, as it has a "box" effect below the current level. Usability: the controls for the game are now shown in the bottom leftof the screen (you will be able to disable these in future updates). Usability: turning when taking a shot no longer costs TU. Usability: the game now briefly focuses the camera on newly spotted enemies during combat. Usability: clicking a weapon fire mode button no longer activates force fire mode, it just means that fire mode will be used when you hover over an alien or press Ctrl to enter Free Fire mode. Usability: weapon fire mode buttons now auto-disable themselves when you don't have enough TU to use them. Usability: shot fire path now turns orange when a shot goes beyond weapon range, and turns red when the shot falls to 0% hit chance. Usability: bleeding wound popup is now more informative, and units taking bleeding damage now display damage numbers and play injury sounds. Usability: Primary / Secondary weapons now show tooltips when you hover over them in the UI. Usability: Stun damage is now shown above the head in yellow numbers. If a unit is stunned, there is a popup explaining what happened. Usability: Corpses / stunned unit items now specifically say "corpse" or "stunned" to make them easier to distinguish Art: added 3d models for the Electroshock Pistol and Electroshock Rifle. Art: the Colossus armour now has a unique set of animations so it feels like a big heavy exosuit. Art: the aliens almost all have new death animations where they better stay inside their tile, which should stop their corpses poking through walls so much. Art: new explosion particles for the plasma explosion, fusion explosion and EMP explosion. Art: new teleport effect. Art: updated blood pools for humans and aliens. Art: fixed the appearance of several objects that I accidentally broke during my updates in V16. SFX: new teleport sound. SFX: some new door sounds. UI: general cleanup of the Hidden Movement system so it pops up less often when not required UI: general cleanup of the camera during the alien turn, so it focuses on the action more effectively and aliens should "teleport" around less when moving. Performance: explosions should be much more performant now. Bugfix: fixed an AI bug where the AI would try to attack your units but then stop because it thought it was in the wrong tile. This should make the AI more effective at killing your soldiers. Bugfix: fixed a bug where miss shots could pass through destroyed floor tiles and disappear off-map (particularly problematic with the grenade launcher). Bugfix: units that are healed from a stunned state using a Medikit are no longer permanently reduced to 0 TU. Bugfix: smoke now dissipates correctly. Bugfix: smoke can no longer spawn inside solid objects or through solid roofs / floors. Bugfix: smoke no visually longer clips through the floor so obviously. Bugfix: MARS / Androns etc can no longer open doors, and now instead crushes both the door and the doorframe as it passes through. Bugfix: Damage numbers for civilians no longer show in the shroud. Bugfix: Mentarch no longer clips through the ceiling or plays human injury / death sounds. Bugfix: Gun Drone and Cyberdrone now visually explode and disappear when destroyed. Bugfix: the little armoured cover "walls" that exist inside UFOs and alien bases no longer block movement on either side of them. Bugfix: fixed a number of 2x2 paving tiles in various biomes that did not properly support destructibility. Bugfix: mechanical units can no longer crouch. Bugfix: units should no longer spawn inside solid objects when starting an Alien Base mission. Bugfix: fix MARS obstruction shading itself green when it took damage. 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.
  3. You're not really giving any examples of what can be changed to make the game more skillful, though - just saying "make the Scout faster and more maneuverable". Sure, I can do that and reduce the arc of the main weapon, but I think in most cases you'll still get a very similar result if you let it play out automatically than if you manually control it. I think you'll need to explain to me with a few screenshots what you can do that's more skillful in your suggestion - because it sounds like you'll just have the same experience as when you are fighting a Fighter UFO. You can change the numbers yourself and test it if you want. The files you want are: find "scout.json" (not the one in /3planes/), and replace the existing file with this one: scout.json ufo_scout_beam.json The values to edit are: AirCombatSpeedComponent: this is the aircombat speed of the UFO. Max is the max value and val is the starting vale. AirCombatTurnSpeed: just set the third (max) number here, this controls the max turn speed of the UFO AirCombatTurnAcceleration: set this number higher if you want the UFO to reach max turn speed faster search for "AcEscapeAiBehaviour" and replace it with "AcEngageAiBehaviour" if you don't want the UFO to flee in "ufo_scout_beam.json", search for "AirCombatWeaponArc" and replace the 180 with whatever you want the new value for the fire arc to be (the game doubles it, so the 180 is actually 360 degrees in-game)
  4. The other thing to consider is the question I've been puzzling over - how can we make the air combat less repetitive? A particular interceptor fighting a particular type of UFO always plays out exactly the same way, whereas ground combat missions can be totally different even with the same set of soldiers vs the same set of aliens. I have a few ideas myself but I'm always willing to hear suggestions of what we can do to make things less repetitive.
  5. Thanks for the thoughts. Yes, we are planning to update the UI and the UFO armour will be visualised more clearly at that point. I think in the short term we can just add a little line on the UFO that shows their armour % too so it's clear what's happening. The reason why that UFOs have wider fire arcs than before is because the air combat is balanced around the idea of the interceptors taking a certain amount of damage when they fight a UFO, and damage taking a long time to heal on the strategy layer. Aircraft with good equipment can therefore shoot down more UFOs than the same aircraft with bad equipment (because they spend less time being repaired so can fight more battles over the course of a month). I do agree that there should be an element of skill in each UFO encounter, but the problem is that being able to fly behind a UFO and escape its weapons means that the damage dealt by your weapons becomes much less important. Once an interceptor is behind a slow UFO it can hold position while taking no damage and it doesn't matter if it takes that interceptor 5 seconds to kill the UFO or 20 seconds to kill it (because the interceptor ends the battle on the same health in both cases). The quality of your weapons matters a lot more if the UFO is continually hitting you. Some UFOs therefore have a 360 fire arc and will fly away from your interceptors - so you take less damage if you have fast interceptors that can close to weapon range more quickly, and you take less damage if you have powerful weapons that kill the UFO quickly. The more aggressive UFOs do still have the space behind where your interceptors can shoot them without taking damage. So I'm happy to discuss what we can do to make the air combat more skillful or listen to suggestions on that topic, but you need to bear those limitations in mind. For example, we could give the Scout a secondary weapon that fires a slow projectile that can be avoided with evasive roll, so a more skillful player can dodge that projectile. Or maybe the Scout could itself be able to evasive roll, so when you have multiple planes there's an element of skill in positioning the planes or stagger firing the missiles so more of them hit than normal, etc?
  6. The three Raids all last 12 hours and act like standard Raid sites. You could potentially fight two sites with the same dropship if you can reach the first battle in less than 12 hours, your soldiers aren't that stressed and you don't take many casualties in the first battle. The starting dropship might be a bit too slow to manage it though. Perhaps it'd be easier with the more advanced dropships - I've not really tested it myself but I'd be interested to see if it becomes a viable tactic. If you've got a second dropship and enough soldiers you can send them both out to different sites before they expire, and claim the rewards for completing two of the missions instead of just one. Regarding the UFOs, no - UFOs still spawn in squadrons of up to three. However right now your interceptors have 3x as much health as normal and their weapons do 3x as much damage, because each interceptor has been given the stats of an entire squadron of interceptors until we make the code changes we're planning to make.
  7. Actually, figured it out from the logs, thanks. Weapons equipped from the backpacks don't show fire cursors like the weapons that start equipped do. We'll get that fixed!
  8. Yeah, that's the idea (hopefully). It's kinda doing the same thing as the fatigue system but perhaps in a more interesting way. So basically scientists and engineers are strategic rewards. You start with a certain number of them, and you get more at month-end or by completing certain Geoscape missions or building Command Centers on the Geoscape in various regions to gain bonuses. Once they've been given to your organisation they sit in an off-base hiring pool and they can freely be hired to any of your bases provided you have living capacity there. They've got no salary or hire costs, so you move them between bases by firing and rehiring them. Yup, if we can figure out what's going on here we'll hotfix it. In the interim you can use Ctrl to free fire with the soldier as a workaround. EDIT - actually, it only affects weapons brought to battle in the backpack. We'll fix it in the hotfix but it's not a critical issue given you can also work around it using Ctrl free fire.
  9. The air combat mechanics in Xenonauts 2 are another area of the game that have seen substantial changes throughout development. Way back in the original stages of the project the Geoscape was actually turn-based, so we had a turn-based air combat model to go along with this. We started properly experimenting with this once the Kickstarter was done and despite several iterations it became clear that the turn-based design we had was pretty bad and thus we reverted back to the X1 air combat model. Although we've added a few features to add a bit more variation, I still think there's potential for improvement. This is discussed in more detail under the following headings: Current Implementation Modular Aircraft Potential Future Implementation Current Implementation: We're currently using the air combat model from the first Xenonauts in Xenonauts 2. Some people really liked this air combat, some people really hate it, and I'm somewhere in the middle. However, the important thing is that if we are unable to improve on a specific part the original Xenonauts we should at least not make it any worse - so we're committed to the X1 model unless we can come up with something I think is definitely better. As there's a good chance the game will ship with X1-style air combat, I've looked over the mechanics and made a few changes to try and make things a bit more varied. For example, some UFOs now have shield bubbles on the map that absorb incoming damage, but you can fly your interceptors inside the shields to bypass them entirely. Some UFOs won't engage your fighters and will instead try to fly away from them while slowly gathering speed and peppering your jets with beam weapons capable of slowly rotating to track targets. Additionally, most of the UFO designs will be new. I therefore think the air combat will still feel fairly fresh to most players if we stick with this combat model even if the fundamental mechanics haven't changed a great deal. Modular Aircraft: The original Xenonauts had four combat interceptors with different capabilities and weapon slots. This setup worked, but I feel it artificially limited the freedom of the player and the lifespan of any given aircraft. Once your Condors became obselete and were too fragile to use in a dogfight, you couldn't for example convert them to carry heavy missiles and fight weaker UFOs at long range because they were physically incapable of doing so. Instead, you had to scrap them. In X2 we're experimenting with a setup where there are fewer interceptor types, but a wider variety of equipment available to them. Your starting interceptor type can carry any kind of weapon and can either be configured as a light fighter (capable of performing an evasive roll) or a tougher and more heavily armoured fighter that cannot roll. That way, it's possible to set the starting fighter up in either of the "dogfighter" (Condor) or "missile mule" (Foxtrot) roles from X1 - and the player can switch between configurations in a matter of hours if the need arises. More advanced interceptors have do have better base stats than the earlier interceptors and are superior to their older counterparts, but aircraft now have an armour slot as well as weapon slots and the early interceptors still have access to the same upgradeable armour as the advanced interceptors do. This means that even the starting interceptor remains somewhat viable throughout the game, because it'll become tougher as the game goes on. Honestly, we don't yet know whether this is an improvement - it's kinda cool to research and build a shiny new advanced fighter, after all - but it's easy enough to switch back to the X1 setup if we want. The feedback from people playtesting the game will probably play a big factor in which way we decide to go. Potential Future Implementation: I haven't entirely given up on the idea of finding a better air combat system. On reflection, I think our last attempt at the turn-based air combat failed because it was trying to do a very similar thing as the X1 air combat system, but doing it worse. Coming up with something fundamentally different is more likely to be successful. So, what are the aims for any new system? Each battle is relatively fast to play through The skill comes from playing percentages / weighing up the risks and rewards of different moves, rather than "twitch" skills like pressing a button with perfect timing To keep things varied, battles shouldn't always play out the same way each time even if the same combatants are involved Ideally, the system would allow pilot progression I'm currently experimenting with a system I think works quite well. The battlefield has 5 range bands between your interceptor and the UFO, and weapons have different damage / hit chance % at different ranges. All the player does each turn is issue their fighter a stance, the key ones being Close Distance, Fire Weapons or Evade, and this controls which types of weapons can fire - Heavy weapons only fire if you give the Fire Weapons command, whereas Light weapons can also fire while moving forwards (Evading prevents any weapons from firing). This system works because the UFO is made up of a series of modules with different effects and cooldowns, so the UFO does different things each turn. A UFO might have a powerful long-range main cannon that can only fire every three turns and a short-range secondary cannon that can fire every turn. It might also have a shield generator that provides a shield every 4 turns that dissipates over several turns. It might have a point defence weapon that destroys all incoming missiles, but takes 3 turns to recharge once it fires. Picking what action to take is mostly dependent on which systems the UFO has on cooldown that turn, and which systems your own interceptor has on cooldown. The nice thing here is that the player attack specific systems on the UFO (although this incurs an aim penalty) - e.g. if you think the shield generator is going to cause you problems, you could try to pick it off at the start of the combat with a long range volley of missiles. There's also a random chance modules suffer damage when you hit the hull of the UFO with a normal attack, which can change the way the battle plays out. There's also room for pilots that can level up with experience, because the weapons have hit %s and pilots could simply grant a +hit % bonus as they level up. Another interesting idea is that each UFO type might have several slightly different module configurations to increase variety, or that the modules on a particular class might level up and become more effective as the invasion goes on. Maybe a Fighter UFO with a Plasma Blaster isn't too dangerous an opponent, but once the aliens start deploying Advanced Plasma Blasters then those same Fighters suddenly become much more of a threat. The system still needs more iteration before I think about trying to integrate it into the game, but I'm going to keep working on it in my spare time. It's pretty quick to play but does still offer up interesting situations and there's some quite exciting ideas there (being able to shoot off specific UFO components, having pilots that level up), so if I can solve a few of the thorny design issues that still remain then perhaps the dream of an improved X2 air combat model will rise from the dead!
  10. Hmmm, thanks. Definitely something we should fix but while I can reproduce that issue with that solider in the save game, I can't figure out how to reproduce it in my own games. It's not as simple as switching weapons breaking the targetting though, or having secondary weapons selected at end of turn. Did you do anything else with that soldier? Did they reaction fire maybe? Do you remember the sequence of steps you did when you swapped weapons? Incidentally you can work around the issue for now just by pressing Ctrl and using free fire mode to fire the weapon.
  11. This months' update is coming slightly early because I wanted to explain why V18 hasn't arrived early this week like we originally planned (it's likely to come out Friday this week or early next week). Progress has been good overall but we've been working on somewhat different things to what we originally had planned. Most of this has come about due to the Steam Demo that we released earlier this month. The reception to this was generally good, but we also saw a lot of people who bounced off the game because they just didn't understand what was going on and how the controls worked. Reading the feedback from players and seeing what streamers struggled with when they played the game gave us a good opportunity to try and improve the controls and accessibility of the game, as a lot of the pre-release feedback we get tends to be from experienced X-Com / Xenonauts players who already know the controls. Usability Improvements: We have therefore implemented a number of systems that make things easier for players. Many of these things are small things - the fire path better shows when weapons are being fired beyond range, the camera briefly focuses on newly-sighted aliens, bleeding wounds are more clearly displayed, etc - but we've added a number of larger new systems too. The first of these is the "soldier finished" system that exists in classic X-Com and was added to Xenonauts by the Community Edition. There is now a "done" button you can click to select a soldier as finished for the turn, and it will automatically select the next soldier that is not finished. If you click it and all your soldiers are now marked as finished, the turn Ends. Additionally, clicking the End Turn button will now check whether there are any "forgotten" soldiers (i.e. not marked as done, and have not spent any TU) and automatically select them if there are. This just ensures the player doesn't accidentally forget about their soldiers, and I think in practice there won't be many situations where it's annoying (although you can just Ctrl+click the End Turn button to instantly the end turn if you want). We've also updated the "ability buttons" that appear above the UI in the tactical combat and allow you to select the different weapon fire modes and reload / throw grenades, etc. The most important change is that these are now a "stance" - clicking a button to set a fire mode as active just means that fire mode will be used when you hover over an alien, or when you activate free fire mode by holding Ctrl. Clicking the button no longer activates "sticky" free fire mode (which can only be cancelled by pressing Esc) unless it's a specialist item like a grenade or a medikit. This change to free fire mode is probably the biggest usability change we've made. Free fire mode allows you to target anything, so it's very fiddly and it's easy to accidentally click a nearby object such as the ground tile that the target is standing on rather than the target themselves - we saw a lot of people doing this in the demo. The standard targetting method where the game only shows a fire crosshair over things you actually want to shoot at is the best method of targetting in most instances, and if you do want to use free fire mode then it's much easier to simply hold Ctrl as you can then cancel it by letting go of Ctrl (having to press Esc is much more clunky). Key Rebindings: We've also been experimenting with some changes to the control system. I'm unsure if we'll persist with these control system changes, but we've implemented key rebinding functionality so people can switch them back if they don't like our changes (plus it's something we'd have needed to implement before anyway). This system was a surprising amount of work but we're in the process of ironing out the final few kinks with it right now. Air Combat Rebalance: I've mostly been busy with the air combat for the past couple of weeks. The first balance pass is now complete, so interceptors and their equipment are now balanced to inflict and recieve the appropriate amount of damage when fighting different tiers of UFOs. The various items are set up in the research tree, and as part of V18 we'll now be able to start balancing the air war in the context of the campaign (are aircraft too expensive, do they unlock at the right point in the tech tree, etc). Several new systems / changes will be made to the X1 air combat model. Only the first of these (a change to the way Armour works) has been implemented so far, but you'll likely be seeing more polish added to the air combat in the next month or two. Animations & Particles: A curveball recently thrown our way was that our animator / particle artist needed to finish up his contract with us sooner than we anticipated, so we had to devote some extra resources to making sure all his work was done before he departed. Various kinds of new explosions have been added to the game and we've got some gib animations done too, but the two big things we've been looking at are the jetpack movement animations and the Reaper zombie transform animations. The jetpack animation work is fairly straightforward (it works the same as in the first Xenonauts), but we're planning the Reaper zombies to work a little differently. Instead of replacing the unfortunate target with a generic zombie unit, what will now happen is that the target falls dead to the ground and will then rise back to life with a special set of zombie animations and an additional "covered in blood" texture. Not only does this look cooler, we might be able to make it more interesting from a gameplay perspective too - e.g. the zombie could retain any remaining Armour HP that the unfortunate victim had when they were killed. The jetpack work is now mostly done and the animation work on the new zombies is now done too, but we still need to implement all the code for the zombies. I'm not sure if they'll arrive in V18 yet or whether you'll have to wait until V19, but they'll definitely be a big improvement over the current zombification visuals when they do arrive! Performance Improvements & Stability Issues: We've done a load of other work, but I'll close out by mentioning that we've dramatically improved the speed of our prerequisite system. This system is a piece of code that governs many different parts of the game - everything from when research projects are unlocked, when UFOs spawn, which units can equip which items, anything to do with the power capacity / living capacity / stores capacity systems, etc. We've rewritten this to speed it up and give us access to more functionality, and in some cases it's made the Geoscape up to 100 times faster than before. There are still plenty of other slowdowns on the Geoscape that are caused by other things, but it should hopefully fix the persistent slowdown that starts to occur as the game enters the mid / late game (particularly if there's an alien base on the map). Sadly, because the prerequisites are used so widely we have ended up having to deal with a lot of bugs in a lot of different systems. I think we've now found and fixed most of them but I imagine V18 is going to have some stability issues when it is first released! As I mentioned at the top of the post, we're hoping to put V18 out either at the end of this week or the start of next week. We've been working hard on it for a while now but we keep finding little gremlins that slow us down .. but we're nearly there now. Should be quite a few new interesting things to play with when it does arrive, so keep your eyes peeled!
  12. For Xenonauts-2 we are retaining all the core elements of the ground combat in Xenonauts 1, but making the experience more freeform and less repetitive. The classic "Time Unit" system is not seeing any fundamental changes but more varied missions and environments and more exotic equipment should keep it feeling fresher for longer. The topics of discussion are: Mission Types & Mission Mix Alien Composition Breachable UFOs Improved AI Further Changes Mission Types & Mission Mix: One of the biggest complaints with the first Xenonauts was that the missions and maps repeated far too frequently - and this was entirely warranted (even though Xenonauts had over 100 maps in it). The average campaign of Xenonauts probably involved 80-90% UFO Crash Site missions, the only variation being the size of the UFO. Ironically, a player that was doing well could actually shoot down all the UFOs before they could spawn anything else ... so ALL they got was Crash Sites. It's not difficult to see why this made the game a bit repetitive! In an ideal campaign, we'd expect a player to fight approximately 20-25 missions. This would include the final mission and roughly 4 terror missions, 3 alien base assaults, 2 base defence missions and the remaining 10-15 being crash sites (there's planned to be eight different UFO types in the game, all of which are new designs). We'll be introducing terror missions and alien base assault missions earlier in the game, and we'll be adding code that tries to pick biomes and maps you've seen less frequently where possible. We're also adding a bit more content in the form of the new Boreal and Tropical map biomes, and a new Eliminate VIP mission type. Terror missions have been updated because they often felt like a chore in X1 due to the lack of strategic rewards for their completion, so we've added some alien bombs to the maps which award Alenium on victory. Taken together, we expect these changes will make the campaign quite a bit more varied than the first game! Alien Composition: I prefer the classic X-Com model of having UFOs populated by a specific alien race to the XCOM model where every mission will contain a mix of aliens of different species. However in X1 we ran into some limitations - for example, if Sebillians aren't very accurate and prefer short-range weapons it becomes pretty easy to fight an entire map full of them. This is part of the reason the aliens in X1 felt somewhat generic; they all had to be reasonably capable of fighting at all ranges. In X2 we're going to maintain the distinction between the species but expand the roster of each race family a bit so more interesting units are possible. For instance, the Sebillians come in a standard variant who are fairly capable soldiers but they also have Brutes, which are bigger and tougher and carry a heavy machinegun, but are easy to hit and relatively inaccurate. They'll also be supported by small numbers of Mantids, which are small insectoid aliens that are weak but have good aim, and are backed up by Reapers in terror sites. Hopefully this will make each individual mission a bit more varied compared to the equivalent in X1! At the moment the three race groupings are the Psyons, the Sebillians and the Wraiths / Androns, and if goes well in Early Access we'll likely be adding a fourth that appears a bit later in the game. Breachable UFOs: The UFOs in Xenonauts 2 are now being designed by the same artist who designed the UFOs in the first Xenonauts. Earlier in development we experimented with fully-destructible grey box UFOs, but even though they offered gameplay advantages over the X1 UFOs they just didn't get people excited about seeing what was coming next. The air combat in particular looked pretty bad when every UFO design was a fairly simple geometric shape. We are however also going to attempt to fix the only major problem with the UFOs in the first Xenonauts - their indestructible hulls did not allow you to create additional breach points so every assault involved going in through the front door. An impressive mod for the first Xenonauts called Fire in the Hole (packed with Community Edition) laid the groundwork for our planned UFO destruction system; there's specific points in the hull of each UFO that can be destroyed and if you inflict enough damage on them (the C4 charge is good for this) then this removes a section of the hull and gives you an alternate entry point. Although this system hasn't been tested yet, we're hoping that we can visualise these weak points by showing areas in the hull where the outer hull plating has been broken. In an ideal world different breach points would be available in different missions so the player has to vary their tactics a bit. This is all a bit complex because of the wall hiding system we use for our UFOs (where the hull vanishes as soon as you can see inside the UFO) but if all goes to plan our new UFOs will offer the best of both worlds. Improved AI: The next area of planned improvement to the original Xenonauts is the enemy AI. I've always thought the AI in the original X-Com from 1994 felt pretty solid despite the age of the game; the aliens moved around a lot and often did smart little things like checking outside the doors of their UFOs for enemies. The system that powered this was actually pretty simple, and we're going to be adapting it for our own use. If you're curious as to how it works, it's explained below - if not, all you need to know is that the aliens will be more mobile than before and will pick more interesting locations to end their move in! The system works by manually placing AI waypoints into the map. Aliens will randomly choose each turn whether they want to go into overwatch mode and remain in place, saving all their TU for reaction fire, or go into movement mode and or attempt to move to a nearby waypoint within a certain range. The chance of selecting each mode is dependent on how aggressive the aliens are; e.g. a melee alien like a Reaper will almost always be choosing movement mode. When any alien spots a Xenonaut unit, the system above is abandoned and for the remainder of the turn all TU is spent either trying to kill the hostile unit or moving to better cover. If the alien kills its target or its target escapes, the alien will resume choosing between overwatch mode and movement mode the following turn. A good example of why this AI system is an improvement is a UFO assault. In Xenonauts 1 the AI was based around finding optimal tiles to move to based on how good the cover and sight lines were, which is why you'd usually find the aliens crouching behind cover in the middle of the UFO and refusing to move (because they were already in mathematically the "best" position). This means they would rarely check outside the UFO to see if there were any enemies there, or go for a stroll through the interior of the UFO, or really do anything particularly interesting beyond camping the door. In the new system, the tile outside the door is just one tile on a semi-randomised patrol route. Some of those tiles might be good defensive locations watching over the door, but others might be checking outside the UFO, standing inside small rooms, working on an alien console, etc. A level designer can probably do a better job picking interesting places for aliens to stand than an algorithm can. This means breaching a UFO is likely to be a more interesting experience, and when you're inside a UFO the aliens will patrol around more and so are more likely to surprise you. Finally, the waypoints allow us to specify the behaviour of the aliens standing on them - e.g. you can set an alien to face a specific direction, or crouch. This means the AI doesn't need "cheat" like it did in the first game, where the units would often turn to face the closest Xenonaut unit (even if they couldn't see it) when attempting to defend a UFO. Because the AI didn't know which doors were the ones the player was most likely to breach through, without this hack the aliens would all be facing random directions when you entered a UFO and wouldn't put up much resistance to your assault. Problem is, this hack would cause problems with destructible UFOs - even if you blasted a hole in the hull to make a side entrance for your team, the aliens would still be facing towards you. The new system means we can tell the aliens which way they should be facing (i.e. towards the big door to the outside) and that gives you the opportunity to surprise them by taking advantage of destructibility. Rewarding smart play is important, and the new AI system will help us to do that. Further Changes: Some of these changes are actually quite significant changes to the way combat and damage works, but for the sake of brevity I'll just give a quick summary of each system. Rotatable Camera: the biggest advantage of a 3D engine is you can now rotate the camera. You might not realise how much you want this now, but trust me - you'll miss it if you go back to X1 afterwards! Alien Weapon Tiers: the aliens aren't using plasma weapons right from the start of the game. They now start using magnetic weapons and begin to deploy energy weapons in the mid-game, and eventually advance to a third tier of even more powerful weapons. This is important because weapon penetration is now relative (see below). Armour HP & Penetration: Armour HP is now a separate pool of hitpoints that are drained before damage is applied to the unit underneath. However, armour resistance and penetration are relative values and if the armour resistance is higher than the weapon penetration, the incoming damage is reduced. If penetration is higher then a portion of the damage penetrates through the armour and damages both the Armour HP and the HP of the unit. In practice this means that the tech progression is a bit more interesting. Power armour like the Predator Exosuit from X1 is totally impervious to low-tier alien weapons, whereas a powerful alien plasma weapon is going to punch straight through Kevlar no matter how much of it you're wearing. Locational Damage: Weapons no longer do a random 50% - 150% of their base damage on hit, but instead the hit is assigned to either the torso, head, right arm, left arm, right leg or left leg. Hitting the torso does normal damage, hitting the head does 150% damage and hitting a limb does 75% damage. In the future we're likely to add locational injuries as a result of this. Symmetrical Vision: the line of sight algorithm in the first Xenonauts had some awkward spots where it was possible for units to fire around corners without the target being able to fire back (this was because of the way walls worked). This won't happen in X2; vision and shooting is entirely symmetrical. Body Size: as some aliens are bigger or smaller than others, we've added a simple body size modifier to each unit that affects how easy they are to hit - e.g. a particularly big and tough Sebillian might be 30% easier to hit than normal. Just a small thing that helps differentiate different alien units from each other. Alien Night Abilities: the aliens were all pretty interchangeable at night in X1, which in retrospect was a wasted opportunity. It would be more interesting if some aliens are particularly strong at night and others were weaker. Perhaps the Psyons (formerly Caesans) would be a really tough prospect at night because they have perfect night vision and their psionics had more chance of success in darkness. Whereas fighting the Wraiths at night might actually give you an advantage - they've got big glowing bulbs on their head, so we could literally make them glow in the dark.
  13. The Geoscape is the central command and control screen of Xenonauts-2. It is here that the war against the aliens unfolds, with extraterrestrial units and UFOs appearing on the map to threaten the funding regions and you deploying your aircraft and soldiers to defend them as best you can. The goal for our changes in Xenonauts-2 is to give the player more choices and make the strategy map feel more reactive to what the player is doing. These are the systems covered: Invasion Balance & Reactivity Liaison Offices (Scientist & Engineer Recruitment) Orbital Bombardment Alternate Ending Other Mechanics Invasion Balance / Reactivity: The strategy layer in Xenonauts had a few problems that would show up when the player was doing well. The optimal way to play the game was to gain interceptor cover across the entire planet as quickly as possible, and once you had sufficient numbers of interceptors (assuming you kept them appropriately upgraded) spread across the world the strategy layer ended up being rather simple - the UFOs would spawn and immediately get shot down. One of the problems this caused was that the player would ONLY encounter crash sites from the point they gained air superiority. Almost all alien activity in X1 was driven by the UFOs, so shooting them down shortly after they spawn stops them from even spawning terror sites, creating alien bases or attacking your bases. Clearly, this doesn't make for a very interesting player experience and it's something we've addressed in X2 - the creation of some terror sites and alien bases is now independent from UFOs, so achieving complete air superiority will not lock you out from ever seeing those missions (in the final game ideally about half of them will be spawned from UFOs and thus preventable). The other problem was that long stretches of the game could be kinda boring when you were doing well. You gained Relations with a region by shooting down UFOs, and shooting down the UFOs also prevented them from damaging Relations - so any region where you had strong air forces would quickly trend up to max relations / funding and just stay there for the whole game. We're tweaking the way Relations (now "Panic") works and adding more strategic pressure from the Orbital Bombardment mechanic (see below) to try and balance this out. Finally, we're trying to make the alien activity more closely related to the player's actions. For instance, the aggressive UFOs on Air Superiority missions that will attack any of your aircraft that they encounter now possess squadsight, so they if you approach any other UFO within a certain radius they will light up their afterburners and attempt to protect it. Alien base missions now spawn resupply missions like in the original X-Com, and we plan to make alien base attacks more likely to be targeted at bases that house your most active interceptors, etc. In conclusion, we're aiming to make the strategy layer more interesting through a number of subtle improvements and balance changes that should collectively make for a much more engaging experience. Liaison Offices (Scientist / Engineering Recruitment): One of the larger mechanical changes to the strategy layer is the addition of Liaison Offices, which add a degree of territory control the strategy layer. Conceptually the construction of a Liaison Office represents the Xenonauts setting up an embassy / local command center to co-ordinate with the local region, granting permanent bonuses to both your organisation and the local region. There's about 25 of these in pre-set locations on the map, with 4 to 5 in each of the six funding regions. Construction costs $200,000 and takes 10 days. On completion, funding in the local region will be permanently increased and local Panic will be lowered, and a number of Scientists and Engineers will be added to your recruitment pool. This is your only source of scientists and engineers, so players will need to expand across the world to grow their research / engineering efforts. Crucially, you need to protect these Liaison Offices once constructed, as alien Bombers will frequently target them and attempt to destroy them. If they succeed, you lose your investment and will suffer a significant panic increase in the local region. Building a bunch of Liaison Offices you then can't defend is an expensive and potentially terminal mistake! Orbital Bombardment: Within a couple of minutes of starting the game, you'll learn that the Chief Scientist has discovered an unknown orbital object designated UOO-1. A few days later you'll learn that it is not friendly. The alien space station hovering above Earth is in fact an alien superweapon that will destroy a major city from orbit every 10 days, causing a large Panic spike in the affected region. Although there's nothing you can do to stop this, if the player is progressing through the campaign at a reasonable rate the orbital bombardment mechanic will not affect the game very much. The repeated Panic increases are balanced out by the passive Panic reduction that you now gain from completing important research, and the bombardment will always hit the region with the lowest Panic (i.e. the one furthest from surrendering to the aliens). The purpose of this system is to quickly close out games where the player has fallen behind and would eventually lose anyway. Thematically, it is intended to make the invasion feel more dangerous - even if you have complete control over the skies of Earth, the aliens will still be slowly bombing humanity into submission. Naturally, you'll get your revenge on the space station at the end of the game! Alternate Ending: The core storyline of Xenonauts 2 is learning enough about the aliens to figure out how to stop the invasion and destroy the orbital superweapon. Following a fairly straightforward research chain and winning a couple of unique story missions (an alien facility assault and a unique UFO assault) will eventually unlock the final mission, allowing you to save humanity and win the game when you've got an appropriately experienced and equipped squad to carry it out. However, the game will also include a second (better) ending that any player interested in reading the research text and learning about the aliens will probably achieve. It's not exactly going to be a hidden ending but it will require a bit more effort to achieve; capturing high-ranking aliens and reading research text will be a necessity. The idea here is that players can engage with the game world / lore as much as they like. If people want to ignore the research text and just blow up some aliens, that's fine - they can happily complete the game without ever knowing where the aliens come from or what they're trying to achieve. But I've done quite a bit more work fleshing out the aliens and their society / empire this time around, and if players want to take the time required to delve into that information they'll be able to engineer a better outcome. Other Mechanics: Some other smaller mechanical changes that don't warrant a multi-paragraph explanation have also made it onto the Geoscape: Panic: each region now has a Panic score rather than a Relations score. This doesn't change much except countries are lost at 100 Panic, rather than being lost at 0 Relations. Static(ish) Funding: regions no longer increase their funding as your Relations with them improve. Instead, any region not lost to the aliens gives you a set amount of funding each month. This funding is reduced by 25% if Panic is above 50, and 50% if Panic is above 75. Geoscape Agents: these are a simple strategic resource that will reduce current Panic by 10% when assigned to a region. I think there's scope to expand this system in the future, but we'd likely only look at this at the end of development. Tech Proliferation: completing certain research projects will give a global Panic reduction and equip the local forces with the appropriate equipment after a certain amount of time has passed. For example, once you've researched Laser Rifles you'll get an immediate Panic reduction and will see the friendly AI forces in terror missions etc start to use them ~30 days later.
  14. The research mechanics in Xenonauts 2 are the primary method of storytelling in the game and also the avenue by which the player unlocks all the exciting new equipment they get to use in battle against the aliens. The tech tree in the original Xenonauts was adequate but took some criticism for being too straightforward, so we're hoping to add a bit more player choice in Xenonauts 2. The topics of discussion here are: Game Lore Research Structure & Equipment Tiers Modular Armour Game Lore: How interested you are in reading technobabble about your latest invention and discovering the story behind the aliens you're fighting is really down to personal preference, but I know a lot of people appreciated the fact that Xenonauts makes an effort to maintain an internally consistent universe and justify why the game works like it does. If you're one of these people, good news - this is something we're expanding on with Xenonauts 2. The research writing isn't yet finished, but we're planning to include more lore that the player can seek out if they want to read it - indeed, doing so is planned to unlock an alternate ending. I've tried to make the backstory of the aliens a little more interesting than before, made an effort to make fundamentally unrealistic tech sound a bit more plausible, and made the actual game storyline more complex than just capturing aliens of increasing seniority until the final mission gets unlocked. Hopefully people will enjoy it. I'm also conscious that I don't want to force this stuff onto people if they aren't interested, so you can also safely ignore it if you don't particularly care. Research Structure & Equipment Tiers: The research tree in X1 was fairly straightforward in the sense that it was mostly just unlocks of tech that were universal upgrades over what came before. This didn't really give the player much in the way of research choices - e.g. there was no reason to prioritise plot research over upgrading weapons or armour, and if unlocking plasma weapons requires you to have first unlocked laser weapons then there's no way to skip past tiers of technology to gain an advantage, etc. The first change is therefore to try to differentiate the different weapon tiers more than in the first game. Although more advanced weapons should still be better overall, there's still space to make them behave differently - e.g. the laser weapons could have recharging clips and be unusually accurate. Certain enemies may also have a resistance to either kinetic or energy weapons, encouraging the player to change out their loadouts if they know what type of enemy they are facing. This is a more interesting setup than the "more advanced weapons are always better in every situation" model we used in X1. Swapping out loadouts based on the enemies present is only possible if the player has access to the X2 equivalent of the Hyperwave Decoder, so in the current design the early plot research / missions unlock better radars and the Hyperwave Decoder. It's therefore possible to get these very early on if you prioritise them, but doing so obviously means you're not getting advanced weapons / armour / aircraft etc as early as you would otherwise. Another change is that there's no longer any research projects that auto-upgrade things (like the explosives projects did in X1) - these now unlock engineering projects that take time and resources to do this. In the current design there's also a "V2" upgrade for each of the weapon technologies that improves the stats of an older weapon tier, the idea being that people can either commit to the new weapons or run an upgrade project to try and keep their existing weapons relevant for longer. Overall, we're just trying to make a few sensible changes to the research structure to make it a bit more interesting. We'll only be able to see the full effects of these changes when the game is fully playable (most of them represent fairly fine balancing) so we're not completely sure yet that they are good changes, but I'm fairly confident they'll improve the game! Modular Armour: One of the biggest improvements to the equipment / research system in X2 is the addition of modular armour. In the first Xenonauts most armour tiers had two armour variants - for example, the Wolf armour was heavy and protective, and the Buzzard was a similar tech level but offered less protection and integrated a jetpack. In Xenonauts 2 all of this would be represented by a single suit of armour. Equipping a soldier with Wolf armour would offer them a certain amount of protection and give them access to a number of additional armour modules that can be independently activated, such as: Heavy Armour: this adds extra armour to the soldier, but increases the weight of the armour. Rebreather: this makes the soldier immune to gas damage, but slightly reduces their Accuracy. Tactical Visor: this gives the soldier an Accuracy boost, but reduces the protection offered by the armour. Jetpack: this allows the soldier to move vertically, but increases the weight of the armour. You can probably see how you can create an equivalent for the X1 Wolf and the X1 Buzzard using that system, but there's additional customisation options too. Maybe most of your soldiers want Heavy Armour, but only your close range shotgunners need a Rebreather. You probably want to give your snipers a Tactical Visor, but do they need a Jetpack as well? Individual modules can be unlocked or upgraded by research; e.g. the Heavy Armour can be upgraded to offer better protection via research, and the appearance of the Jetpack module could be tied to completion of a research and subsequent engineering project. Anyway, this system should make your soldiers more flexible than before, and I'm also very keen to see what modders can do with it once our mod tools are released!
  15. If you have Build V18.51 Hotfix 3 onwards (Build V18 Stable included), you have the first draft of the Xenopedia. It still requires some editing, but it's mostly there. If you have issues with it - typos, bad grammar, or you're some kind of science god that disagrees with my technobabble, post it in this thread. There's no guarantee I will update things (creative license, baby!) but I may do.
  16. Your soldiers and vehicles are the brave heroes that face plasma-death in battle against the aliens every time you run a mission. Our plans for these units have also changed over time, with the original idea being to give them simplified attributes and inventory system and then add a skill system on top of that. The simplifications we made to attributes and the inventory proved pretty unpopular with players and the skill system was difficult to visualise (there's already a ridiculous amount of information on-screen on Soldier Equip screen), so we decided to move back to the X1 setup with a few carefully chosen additions. The systems are: Inventory & Secondary Slot Stat Modifiers Vehicles Further Ideas Inventory & Secondary Slot: The soldier inventory system now works much like it did in the first Xenonauts, except units now have an additional "secondary weapon" inventory slot (they can carry an item in their secondary slot even if they have a 2-handed weapon equipped in their primary slot). This slot is limited to small items - pistols, melee weapons, medikits, etc. This is a usability change more than anything else. In X1 if you had an injured soldier it was pretty annoying to have to open their backpack to see if they had a Medikit, and if they did then you'd have to drag it into their primary slot and use it, then open the backpack again and move it back into the backpack and re-equip your primary weapon. Same if you wanted to get out a stun baton and stun an alien; it usually involved a lot of needless backpack interaction. With the new system it's very easy to see which units have which items and using a secondary item only involves a couple of clicks. The backpack and belt are still fully functional and if you want to load your soldiers up with lots of additional weapons and ammo like you could in the first Xenonauts 1, you can still do that. This change only expands the inventory system, it doesn't take anything away from it! Stat Modifiers: The new modular armour system (explained in the Research thread) has much more robust support for stat modifiers than we had in X1, so pretty much any item can be used to positively or negatively modify the stats of the soldier carrying that item. What this means in practice is that you can customise your soldiers for their role more than was possible in the original Xenonauts. For example, each suit of armour has a light and heavy variant available so you can opt for more protection at the cost of more weight, but the light variant of the end-game exosuit also provides a TU bonus. Once you reach the mid-game there are helmets that offer reduced protection, but grant an Accuracy bonus to the wearer. If a soldier is likely to be exposed to dangerous environmental effects, you can issue them a Rebreather which slightly reduces their Accuracy but makes them immune to gas damage. It's possible that this system could see other uses, too - for example, maybe using a shotgun could grant you extra Time Units. I'm not completely sure this is a good idea (it's a bit "gamey"), but those options are now available to us in a way that they weren't previously. I suspect modders will be very interested in taking advantage of them too! Vehicles: Vehicles in X2 are now smaller, filling only a single tile and replacing only a single soldier in the dropship - although the number of vehicles that can be carried is limited by the dropship type (with more advanced dropships allowing more vehicles). This allows vehicles to be more consistently useful by letting them enter small spaces, and although an individual single-tile vehicle is less powerful than the larger 3x3 equivalent from in X1 it is still be faster, tougher and better armed than a soldier (there's quite a bit of cost and research time involved in producing vehicles and keeping them upgraded). The other major change to vehicles is that they too are now somewhat modular and upgradeable. The starting vehicle has two possible configurations even when first built: a light variant that has less armour but has more TUs, and a heavy variant that is tougher but slower. Instead of having to build a whole new vehicle every few missions because new technology the old one becomes obselete, you can instead run upgrade projects to improve the armour on existing vehicles to keep them relevant. Vehicles now have a wider selection of weapons available and also have a secondary slot, which can mount a weaker secondary weapon or support items like defensive smoke grenades or a rangefinder that increases the accuracy of the primary weapon. There's a design choice to be made about how many vehicle types we add to the game. At the moment there's two vehicles: the early-game tracked vehicle and then a late-game hovertank. However, it almost seems more sensible to just have a single vehicle type and make everything an upgrade - I think it'd be cool to be able to keep the same vehicle throughout the whole game, slowly converting it from a small tracked drone to an armoured hovertank. We'll make that decision based on playtesting later on in development. Further Ideas: Stress / Fatigue: at one point we had a fatigue system in the game to encourage players to rotate their soldiers. It's been disabled for a while so would probably need a bit of work to get working again, but we're planning to give it a test once the game is fully playable to see if it adds anything to the gameplay experience. Stat Caps / Diminishing Returns: one of the issues with the X1 soldier stat system is that any stat can reach 100 no matter what level it begins at, so having high starting values doesn't give that much effect. In X2 we're currently using a system where a soldier can only gain 30 points in any attribute, which makes the starting values more meaningful. Having a hard cap is probably a bit too harsh, though, so we'll probably move to a system where soldiers get diminishing returns as they gain skill points - so gaining 10 skill points is easy, gaining the next 10 is harder, etc. This means units with low starting stats can still reach 100 but would require a lot of missions (or training) to do so. Casualty List: One of the new features in Xenonauts: Community Edition was the addition of a casualty list that displayed all the soldiers you had lost, their medals, what date and mission they were lost on, etc. It's a small thing but we're planning to add it into X2 before the game ships.
  17. The base mechanics in Xenonauts 2 have seen a lot of change since we first started developing the project. Our original plan was to have a single side-on base that housed only a single dropship (much like the modern XCOM games), but after experimenting with that setup we found it left the strategic layer too barebones. We therefore transitioned back to the classic X-Com / Xenonauts base mechanics with multiple bases and dropships etc. The base mechanics in the first Xenonauts were already perfectly servicable, but we've also carried over several of the mechanics we had experimented with when we were using the 2D side-on base. We therefore have a number of new mechanics already implemented into the game that we could use to improve the base screen, we just need to experiment with them to see if they actually make the game more interesting. We also have a few more ideas for things we could add to the game that might make the base mechanics more interesting overall, which we'll be looking into during the playtesting phase. The following systems are explained below: Power System Structure Personnel Slots Stores Capacity Further Ideas Power System: Most people will be familiar with the idea of a power system from XCOM or other games that involve building a base - certain structures generate Power, and you need enough available Power to construct a building. This system is already in the game and fully functional. We'll be evaluating this system as development continues. I'm not sure it adds much to the game right now, but it could be quite interesting in conjunction with some of the systems below (notably the Personnel Slots). If having to manage Power just ends up being annoying, we'll probably disable it for the final release. Structure Personnel Slots: The personnel slot system allows you to assign staff to specific base structures to increase their effect - for example, assigning an Engineer to a Generator would cause it to generate more Power. This system is already in the game and functional, but is currently disabled. The main issue with this system is the complexity of the UI required, as displaying a base with an overlay that shows which buildings have what staff assigned to them (and possibly also the power consumption) proved very cluttered, Anyway, system is potentially interesting because the player does not have access to an unlimited number of scientists and engineers like they did in the first Xenonauts, so choosing to assign them to a base structure could be quite a significant choice. Each slot can also cost power individually, so assigning a Scientist to a Radar might increase the range of the radar by 10% but also cost an additional 10 Power. The question is really whether we can find enough interesting bonuses on different rooms to make it worthwhile to support the extra UI. Again, we'll be evaluating this system as development progresses - it's already set up but we need to be sure that it's actually making the game more interesting, not just more complicated! Stores Capacity: The original Xenonauts had bases that had unlimited storage space, but in X2 we are introducing the concept of storage capacity. If you want to store large amounts of equipment at a base you'll need to build a large base store. This feature is mostly implemented already, we just need to set up the code that forces you to sell items if you go over your store capacity (there's currently no penalty for doing so). There's rather less in the base stores in Xenonauts 2 compared to the original X-Com, though, because ammo and many basic items are unlimited in quantity. But I think it could still add to the gameplay experience, particularly if coupled with some of the ideas listed below (e.g. the low-grade alloys, etc). Further Ideas: These bullet points represent systems that are not currently in the game, but are ideas we are actively considering implementing or experimenting with: Building Adjacency Bonuses: a simple adjacency system that provides bonuses when you placing buildings next to other buildings of the same type would make the placement of structures in your base a more interesting decision, and probably wouldn't be too hard to implement. If handled well I feel like this might be biggest upgrade we could do to the base! Radar Ranges: the X1 system of being able to increase radar range by stacking up to three Radars in a base was a bit strange. Having more than one type of radar building with differing ranges, sizes and power consumption and then using only the highest range Radar in each base would probably be more interesting (this would also allow us to lock the most effective Radar structures away in the research tree). Resource-Generation Buildings: tying specific Engineering projects to base structures is an interesting idea, for example building an Alloy Forge base structure would unlock a repeatable Engineering project that allows you to construct Alien Alloys using only money. Expanded Recovered Items: tied to the newly limited storage capacity, it might be interesting to add bulky recoverable low-grade alloys / alenium to crash sites, which cannot initially be used but can either be sold for profit or could be processed by your Engineers into usable alloys / alenium. Not only would this give your engineers something to do in the early stages of the game, it'd also make it worthwhile to have plenty of storage space at your base!
  18. This thread is intended more of a discussion about ways we could improve the existing Stress system rather than feedback on the existing (extremely basic) implementation of the Stress system. I'll therefore explain how I currently see the Stress system developing and you guys are free to give suggestions about how you think it could be improved. Here's my current thinking. Soldier Stress: Stress exists only on the strategy layer, and represents a combination of how fatigued a soldier is and how much mental stress they have suffered in combat. Sending a soldier with low or moderate stress into battle should have little effect, but highly stressed soldiers should be more likely to panic on the battlefield and more vulnerable to enemy psionic abilities. Soldiers with higher Bravery should suffer less stress in battle than less brave soldiers (although they always suffer some), which means veteran troops are more resistant to stress than new recruits. Additionally, there is a special Undersuit that can be equipped on soldiers to boost their Bravery if needed. Soldier Panic: Panic is similar to morale in the first Xenonauts. It is a stat that all units in the tactical combat possess (ideally including civilians and aliens). It is a number between 0 and 100 that increases and decreases depending on what is happening on the battlefield, and if it ever reaches 100 then than unit must make a Bravery check at the start of the next turn and will Panic (losing an entire turn) if they fail. The relationship between Stress and Panic is that units with Stress above a certain level on the strategy layer will have their minimum Panic increased. If a unit has more than 50 Stress, their Panic might start at 25 and not be allowed to drop below that (making it more likely that unit will panic in combat). Panic will likely also be used as part of the Psionic attack calculation, with soldiers with low Panic being more resistant to psionic attacks - and perhaps powerful abilities like Mind Control would only work on a soldier above a certain Panic threshhold, and would just paralyse a soldier if they were below that threshold. Although soldier Panic is something that generally a player does not have direct control over, all Xenonauts will be given an ability that costs 50% TU and reduces Panic by 25. Therefore if a soldier is under psionic attack or is looking like they might panic, the player can voluntarily spend TU to try and reduce that risk. I hope this takes away some of the unfairness from psionics in X1, as part of the problem was that there was no real defence against something like Mind Control except hoping your soldier rolled well. Tracking Combat Events: I think the easiest way to control both Stress and Panic is to track various events that occur in battle and award a certain amount of Stress / Panic for each one. I think this gives a more "realistic" effect for Stress / Panic, where the soldier's mental state is improved by killing aliens and winning missions, but being shot at / injured / seeing teammates die / etc causes them to suffer more Stress or Panic. This Stress / Panic gain is made up of a flat value that the affected unit would always recieve, plus a "variable" section that is only awarded if that unit fails a Bravery check (i.e. can they roll less than their Bravery stat on a random 100 dice roll). These are the actions I think might affect morale either positively or negatively for the entire team: Alien Killed Xenonaut Killed Xenonaut Killed by Xenonauts Civilian / Local Forces killed Civilian / Local Forces killed by Xenonauts Start of new turn Winning a mission Losing a mission Friendly team only has 1 unit left (most likely to be used for aliens) Friendly unit Panics Some additional actions that we could add that have more specific effects for individual soldiers: Unit sights an alien Unit sights a "fearsome" alien (e.g. a Reaper) Alternatively (or additionally), an additional penalty for seeing someone zombified by a Reaper Unit targetted by a hostile attack (only affects the targetted unit) Unit Wounded (only affects the wounded unit) Friendly killed within X tiles (only affects units within X tiles of the killed unit) Hostile killed by actor (only affects the unit that inflicted the lethal damage) Can you guys think of anything else we should add to that list? Aliens / Civilians: Aliens units and friendly human units would track the same events but would have different values for how their morale would be affected. The behaviour I'm looking for with aliens is that they panic relatively rarely, but aliens that see lots of bad things happen to them might panic and try and run away instead of fighting you (obviously some species will be more prone to this than others). That sort of thing gave the aliens a bit of character in the original X-Com, and it was something missing from Xenonauts 1.
  19. The Skyhawk is the new starting dropship that appears in Closed Beta V7 (currently on the Experimental branches). It is currently using placeholder assets as we'd like to discuss the layout and design with the community before we make the final assets; once we start getting the final 3d model done and get the 2D art painted up it's going to be hard to make any further changes to the layout! Key Points: The dropship troop capacity has been increased from 8 to 10 soldiers The dropship has solid walls rather than open sides It has a rear ramp and two side doors The tail section is now raised above the playable area The dropship internal space is still raised 1m off the ground, but it doesn't cost extra TU to run down the rear ramp (whereas jumping off the sides of the previous dropship did cost extra TU) In visual terms, we've smashed together the previous dropship (based off the V-280 Valor) with the design of the larger V-22 Osprey to create a hybrid that suits the intended gameplay a bit better. Your troops are better protected and the starting vision is more constricted than it was previously, and there's no tail section getting in the way of the gameplay either. The rear ramp means 2x2 vehicles might also be a possibility at some point in the future. The question is whether all of those things are improvements in the eyes of the community, and whether there are further things you'd like to see improved. Is there anything that the X1 Charlie did better you'd like to see incorporated into the Skyhawk? One of the things I'm debating is turning it from a tilt-rotor into a conventional helicopter, because the wings mean the dropship has a bigger footprint and it can make it harder to place into interesting places when designing maps. However, tiltrotors have an inherent cool factor and it'd be a shame to lose that! (BTW, note that we wouldn't be able to perfectly recreate the Charlie from X1 in X2 even if we wanted to, though - the dimensions of a tile have changed in X2 and are now 1.5 x 1.5 x 3m, whereas in X1 they were 1.2 x 1.2 x 2m. But don't let that stop you from making suggestions!)
  20. Chris

    Xenonauts-2 February Update

    Remember the End Turn button only shows you soldiers that aren't marked as done AND haven't spent any TU. Unless you're frequently leaving soldiers waiting on full TU then this system won't affect you at all (except if you do forget a soldier) even if you totally ignore it. Glad to hear you're excited. We don't know exactly when we'll do the release yet, but most likely later in the month.
  21. Thanks. And the game loads that same file fine when you restart X2, or if you try to load it manually?
  22. Thanks, and to you too maxm222. There's a whole bunch of issues to do with the shroud at the moment so I'm a bit reluctant to look into this one right now because I think it may get fixed when we look into the other ones. So probably one for us to check out once V18 is out.
  23. Ah, good spot. I've added a -2 Accuracy reduction to it now like it was supposed to have.
  24. With only a few more working days in January remaining it's time for another update on our progress - and it's been a productive month here at Goldhawk. The project seems to be gathering momentum and I feel like our community are becoming increasingly enthusiastic about the game with each new month. New Content & Polish: We released Closed Beta V17 on the Experimental branches last week and patched a number of bugs yesterday. We'll leave it a few more days and see how many more bugs are reported by the community after the latest patch, and if no further hotfixes are required we'll probably push V17 out to the default stable Steam / GOG branches. The main new feature is an adjacency system for the base structures on the strategy layer. This system makes buildings more effective if they are built next to other buildings of the same type; for example Living Quarters grant additional living space if constructed next to other Living Quarters. Although the system is quite simple in prinicple it makes planning your bases far more interesting than before and I think it'll be one of the first new features in X2 that returning players will notice, because it adds a wholly new dimension to a familiar system. We've also been doing further work on the visuals. The MARS vehicles now update their art on the strategy layer and model in the tactical combat when you change their weapons. We've started working with a new particle artist, which has allowed us to replace the truly awful fire animation we were previously using and we'll be updating the smoke / explosions / etc over the coming months so they look a bit more polished. There's been a few new pieces of research art added, and we're designing the first new dropship for the game and working on the inventory art for the various vehicle weapons. We're hopefully going to start work with a new UI artist shortly too, so there's plenty going on. However we've prioritised improving the stability and usability of the game above everything else. We've fixed upwards of a hundred bugs or small stability issues every month since about August and we're starting to see the results. You still shoudn't expect Xenonauts 2 to feel like a finished game when you play it (it's still a much worse experience than Xenonauts 1) but it certainly seems possible to play it for a time and enjoy it - which is good news, because we've still got lots of polish and improvements planned! Upcoming Work: It's hard to plan too far ahead when so much of our work is responding to issues experienced by the community, but there's a few things we have our eye on. The first thing is to get the final two UFOs that create crash sites into the game. We've finalised the 2D art for these UFOs and we've got the basic model in place, but doing the final texture work and setting up the tiles in the tactical combat is rather time-consuming for UFOs this big (plus we'll have to create maps for them for all the different biomes). However having all the UFOs done will be a nice mini-milestone for the project and will allow us to test the tech tree all the way through to the very end of the game. We're also going to be looking into some optimisations. This month we removed quite a chunk of unused old assets from the game directories, which reduced install size by 20% and sped up load times a little. We've also been working on improving the performance of the Geoscape by optimising the prerequisite system, as this controls everything from what time UFOs spawn and when research projects unlock to whether base structures are being constructed in a valid location or whether a specific unit can equip a specific item. Hopefully this will speed things up noticeably on low-end systems. Other things we're hoping to be able to spend some time on are AI improvements, putting in a penalty for going over your Stores Capacity, and making further improvements to the Stress system so that the stress accumulated by soldiers is tied more closely to what actually happens to them on the battlefield. Early Access: Our current plan is to launch into Early Access towards the end of next month, but we'll be evaluating the game in a week or two and making a final decision on whether to postpone the launch or not. If you've been eagerly awaiting the Early Access launch so you can finally get your hands on the game, fear not - we've been working on alternate arrangements to allow new people into the Closed Beta even if the Early Access launch does get delayed! More details on all that once we've made the decision to postpone or not.
  25. Steam are currently running their quarterly Steam Game Festival, an event where developers can sign up to showcase demos of their upcoming games. It seemed sensible for us to put a demo of Xenonauts 2 into this event to help promote our upcoming open beta and subsequent Early Access launch. We've been busy working on this demo for the past week or so (which is why I've not been very active on the forums) and it is now available for download on Steam. It contains only a single tactical mission but it is set in the updated Dockyard biome that will shortly be arriving in the main game, which has a lot more verticality than other biomes (being based around shipping containers and warehouses). We've also fixed a number of small issues with the tactical combat as part of our polishing process and those will all be arriving in the next build too. You can download the build by clicking the link on the right hand side of the Xenonauts 2 page on Steam (there's a button a little way down the page). Note: unfortunately, because of the way Steam works, it seems like you'll be unable to play the demo if you already own a copy of Xenonauts 2. Sorry about that - not sure why Steam is set up that way but it doesn't seem like we can do anything about it!
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