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Chris

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  1. From the start of the Kickstarter to roughly one week in, anyone who backs the Kickstarter will be able to vote on what they think the order of the stretch goals should be. If we hit the funding target required for a stretch goal, we'll do everything in our power to put that system in the game for testing during Early Access. Some of these features may make it into the game even if we don't hit the required funding level, but the idea is that the community can use this vote to tell us which ones they REALLY want to see in the game so we can prioritize them. (Please note that implementing and testing a system does not necessarily mean that it will be included in the final game - in the unlikely event that the system doesn't work very well or the players don't like it, we might end up taking it out again.) We will hit the first stretch goal when we hit the initial Kickstarter target of £50,000, and each £50,000 above that up to £250,000 will unlock another reward as follows: £50,000 - #1 Voted Stretch Goal £100,000 - #2 Voted Stretch Goal £150,000 - #3 Voted Stretch Goal £200,000 - #4 Voted Stretch Goal £250,000 - #5 Voted Stretch Goal These are the proposed stretch goals: MARS Weapon Platform & Sentry Guns Modular Weapons & Armour Location Injuries & Medical Care Orchestral Soundtrack Recording Improved support for Xenonauts: Community Edition / Modding / Translation Reaper Hives Weather Conditions Geoscape Situations Okay, so here's the detailed information on each of the different stretch goals available! MARS Weapon Platform & Sentry Guns: Xenonauts-2 will not be including multi-tile vehicles like the X1 Hunter Armoured Car because they kinda don't work within the combat rules (detailed explanation why here). Single-tile vehicles would not suffer from the same problems and so we would like to implement a small "MARS" battlefield weapon platform loosely inspired by the real-life MAARS robotic vehicle, and we'd also like to include single-tile Sentry Guns that you can build and deploy on base defence missions. In both cases these vehicles would be equipped with infantry weapons of your choice - by default the LMG, but you can experiment with other weapons and upgrade them as you develop more advanced weapons. The Sentry Guns would be immobile, but the MARS would be able to crush light walls and cover much like the larger vehicles could in X1, allowing it to clear a path for your troops through fences etc. The MARS would also provide mobile cover to your units, and its smaller size would allow it to go inside UFOs. There's also scope for research and engineering projects to upgrade the base stats of these units, perhaps eventually allowing you to build flying MARS variants and so on. Modular Weapons & Armour: We would like to add an extra layer of customization to the weapons and armour in the game by making them "modular" - i.e. giving them sub-slots into which you can place new components. For example, a suit of Jackal armour would have a base set of resistances against various types of damage plus a "plating" slot that you could add various types of plating to: No Plating - if the slot is left empty, the unit gets a TU bonus Ballistic Plating - these are starting equipment that provide extra kinetic resistance Ceramic Plating - these is early-game research that provides energy resistance Alloy Plating - this is mid-game research, providing strong energy and kinetic resistance Both the suit of armour and the plating items are manufactured items built in the workshop. This system allows you to customise your suit of armour based on the specifics of the mission or the particular role of your unit, and would also create more interesting choices with regards to the tech tree. For example, when you research Alien Alloys do you need to build shiny new Wolf Armour for your team or can you make do by manufacturing some Alloy Plating for your existing Jackal Armour? For the weapons the system would be similar - researching new technology would give you ways to "upgrade" older tiers of weapon. Alien Alloys might give you the opportunity to build shiny new MAG Weapons but also allow you to build magnetic barrel accelerators that could boost the damage of your old ballistic weapons. More detailed customization like different scopes for each type of weapon (with advantages / disadvantages) is possible, but those systems would need to be designed that most equipment works fine on its default settings so players don't feel obliged to customise every weapon if they don't want to. Although I like this idea, I think it is much riskier than the other ideas on this list because it is so tightly interwoven with the tech tree. There's always a chance that we'll find a better way to handle some of the issues solved by modular equipment (e.g. "upgrading" older equipment tiers can be done with modular equipment, but there's plenty of other ways we could do it) and that the idea will end up being changed / dropped as a result. Locational Injuries & Medical Care: Getting shot in Xenonauts is fairly binary in terms of outcomes - either your soldier dies, or they fight on at full effectiveness. We are considering expanding the bleeding system to an Injury system that could alter the effectiveness of the soldier in various different ways. The system is relatively simple - every time the soldier loses 10% of their HP, they have a chance of suffering an Injury. Different Injuries have different effects, for example: Permanent: (persistent until healed on the Geoscape) Broken Ribs: start each turn with reduced TU Leg Wound: each tile of movement costs extra TU Left Arm Wound: minor reduced Accuracy Right Arm Wound: major reduced Accuracy Head Wound: reduced Accuracy, reduced vision range Temporary: Concussed: reduced TU and vision range for 3 turns Blinded: 0 Acc and 0 Vision Range for 1 turn Bleeding Wound: soldier loses 5HP per turn until healed The "permanent" injuries last for a certain number of days on the Geoscape and are independent of HP values. You CAN keep deploying your best soldier into battle if he has broken ribs or some injury, but he's not going to be as effective as useful - but you might be fine with that, depending on his injury and the mission type. Because we don't want to make injured units useless, we could add a couple of extra battlefield items to help keep them in the fight. Bandages and Painkillers could be belt items that stop bleeding and temporarily reduce the negative effects of Permanent Injuries respectively. Medikits would be able to do both of these things, and also recover lost HP. Orchestral Soundtrack Recording: The soundtrack to the first Xenonauts is frequently mentioned as a highlight of the game, as it's one of the major sources of tension in the game. For Xenonauts-2 the same composer is returning to create an entirely new original soundtrack for the game (a free digital download for all £25+ tier backers!) and he has been telling me for some time that the biggest thing we can do to improve the quality of the soundtrack is to get the music recorded by a real orchestra rather than using his library of pre-recorded instruments like we did for X1. This isn't exactly cheap, but it's not absurdly expensive either. There are orchestras that specialise in this sort of thing and he's found an affordable one in Macedonia that he considers particularly good. If it's something you guys are keen to see happen, we could feasibly get it done as a stretch goal! Improved Support for Xenonauts-2: Community Edition / Modding / Translation: Xenonauts-2 will run a Community Edition program and have some form of support for modding and translation even if this stretch goal is not achieved, but us setting aside extra time to document the codebase and improve the mod / translation tools means that there will likely be more and higher-quality community content available in the long run. If you think that is important, you should vote for this stretch goal! Why is this necessary? Well, for example, the creation of Xenonauts: Community Edition was actually a pretty big drain on our time. Preparing the codebase for external coders to start working on it, writing documentation for the key stuff they need to know and then answering their questions all takes time. I think the Community Edition project for the first Xenonauts was a huge success and if others are keen to see us devote extra time to making sure the Community Coders have all they need for Xenonauts-2, you should consider voting for this stretch goal. We will also need additional time to create modding tools for mod creators. You can still mod Xenonauts-2 by editing the text files in a text editor, but it's more complex this time because we're using compressed JSON files rather than easily-readable XML files like in Xenonauts 1. The structure is also more complex because objects now have inheritance, which means it's much easier to create new variants of items etc but rather harder to edit them with a text editor because the values are often spread across multiple files. We therefore will want to create a Unity plugin that allows you guys to view and edit the files in the same way that we do ourselves, and that automatically handles the "mod-merging" tech used in Xenonauts 1 that allows multiple mods to change the same file without breaking the game (this had to be done manually in X1 and was hard work). In an ideal world we'd also like to create a game editor that allows people to easily mod the game files without needing Unity - although this is probably best done in collaboration with the Community Coders, as they'll need to maintain it as they continue to change the codebase post-release. We also want to make a translation system for Xenonauts-2, which allows anyone to translate the game into another language just by reading all the English strings and typing the same words in the new language into the line next to it. These translations would then be distributed as a special type of mod. I don't think we can afford to pay for professional translations for Xenonauts-2, but we'd love to make it easy for other people to do it if they want to! Reaper Hives: Although the Reapers from Xenonauts 1 will be making a reappearance in Xenonauts-2, they don't fit as neatly into the new "secret war" setup as the other aliens do (being mindless biological terror weapons). I would like to create a new type of early-game mission that is a variant on the late-game alien base assault missions. This mission would be an assault on an unmanned / abandoned alien outpost infested by dormant Reapers and perhaps a few robotic Androns. The idea is the Reapers become a biological defence system, staying in hibernation until a human stumbles upon the facility and wanders inside ... at which point the Reapers wake up and promptly infest the human, expanding the ranks of the Reapers. This would mean expanding the ranks of the Reapers a bit, maybe adding some larger Reapers with a range attack into the mix, and some kind of cocoon that wakes up if the player accidentally damages it that we can spread throughout the map. We'd probably also have a "hive" somewhere in the base that spawns a new Reaper every turn or two until you destroy it. The idea is that you need to balance your need to push through the base and destroy the hive spawning the Reapers with your need to carefully sweep the base so no Reapers get the jump on you. I think adding Androns and ranged Reapers into the mix would also be interesting, because players will have to kill them whilst being careful not to accidentally hit any dormant cocoons with and spawn additional Reapers while doing so. Although this is ultimately just a variant of the alien base assault missions, I think it would be a rather unique and memorable (read: "terrifying") experience for the player to add a bit more variety to the early game. Dynamic Weather Conditions: In the Kickstarter video you can see a brief clip where we have sand blowing past in a desert map. We'll likely have something similar going on with the snow on a Polar map, and maybe with the dust on an Arid map etc. At the moment this is purely cosmetic and exists just to add a bit more visual interest to the screen. Weather conditions could affect missions by reducing sight ranges for all combatants. We would like to have several different levels of weather effect, for example the sandstorm effect could have the following levels. Even "None" would have some sand flying about, but the sand clouds would get thicker and stronger as the levels increase: None: no effect on unit vision Bad: all units get -25% vision range Terrible: all units get -50% vision range Extreme: all units get -75% vision range Most missions would have "clear" weather conditions, which means there is no chance the weather falls below "None" and so it will not affect gameplay. However, other missions may be marked as having "Changeable" conditions. These missions start clear but there is a chance the weather changes each turn - a 50% chance it stays the same, a 25% chance it gets worse each turn, and a 25% chance it improves. This idea is that these missions are unpredictable, with vision ranges potentially changing every turn. Certain missions might also be marked as having Bad, Terrible or Extreme weather - these are treated like Changeable conditions except the weather starts at the appropriate level of reduced visibility rather than at "None". We will likely have to write special code for this to ensure that it does not apply inside buildings and we'll need to be careful that weather problems don't happen too often, but overall I think this might be a cool way of dynamically adding a bit more gameplay variation to the combat layer! Geoscape Situations: One thing that could add a bit more interest to the strategy layer is the addition of random text events - where the game pops up some text about an event and then allows the player to choose how they want to proceed. The player would have the option to ignore these events with no consequences, or take some risks to try and gain a reward. To keep things interesting, not every text event would occur in each game. For example, when the player researches Laser Weapons there might be a 25% chance that the following event is generated: Overcharged Emitter: A scientist approaches you and tells you that he has an idea for how he can overcharge the emitter and boost the damage on your new Laser Weapons - although he's not completely certain it would work, and the consequences of failure would be that the overcharged emitter explodes. The player has three choices: Attempt Experiment: (60% success) pick a soldier to attempt to test fire the overcharged weapon. If you fail, both the scientist and the soldier have a chance to suffer serious injury / death. If successful, Laser weapons receive +20% damage. Remote Experiment: (30% success) build a remote testing rig that costs 3 Alloys, which are destroyed if the experiment fails. If successful, Laser weapons receive +20% damage. Abandon Experiment: the experiment is abandoned Although this sort of choice can seem somewhat straightforward in many cases, I think if done well they could generate interesting moments for the player - I'm fairly sure that most players would just hand the laser to their most junior soldier and march him straight into the testing chamber. But that doesn't stop it being a cool little story when the guy survives ... and suddenly Pvt. Johnson isn't just a faceless rookie any more, he's the guy who successfully test-fired your awesome new overcharged lasers! Maybe he doesn't have to be the first through the UFO doors next time. I also imagine modders could have a lot of fun with this system
  2. ATLAS Base replaces the base viewer screen from the first Xenonauts. The overall base management simulation is significantly deeper this time around, but there have also been some fundamental changes to the way bases work: ATLAS Base is not displayed on the Geoscape and is your only "main" base (e.g. you can't house personnel or store items etc at any other base) Interceptor aircraft are housed in separate Geoscape airbases rather than in ATLAS Base This actually changes relatively little in gameplay terms - in the first game, the vast majority of players had a "main" base and then just expanded their coverage of the globe by building additional bases that contained only hangars and radars (this was definitely the most efficient way of doing things). Formalising this allows us to better focus the narrative, exapnd the mechanics, and also frees up a lot of UI space that can be used for other things. (Yes, that's a nuclear missile.) These are the topics discussed in this thread: Base Structures & Personnel Slots Power Capacity Stores Capacity & Upkeep Training & Base Comfort Base Defence Missions Base Structures & Personnel Slots: ATLAS Base has a total of 18 building slots into which you can place a structure. Many of these building slots start off derelict or blocked by debris, so Engineers must be assigned to clear the slot before you can place a building into it. Buildings of the same type placed in horizontally adjacent slots will gain adjacency bonuses - and if we can afford the additional art, we'd like them to visually merge together too. This is all pretty straightforward stuff that will be familiar to anyone that has played XCOM or Fallout Shelter. The more interesting part of the system is the Personnel Slots that come attached to most structures, which come in one of three types - soldier slots, scientist slots or engineer slots. The effect of assigning staff to a slot varies on the structure; e.g. assigning a Scientist to a Laboratory will generate research points each turn, but assigning them to a Medical Room will boost the casualty survival rate and healing rate of all injured soldiers. There are also three "command" structures that exist on the top row of the base and cannot be demolished (the header image is outdated and only shows two) - Operations Command, Research Command and the Hangar. Each has a non-interactive "character slot" that houses one of your command staff (e.g. the Chief Scientist) and provides a powerful bonus, but they also have five personnel slots where you can assign additional staff to gain additional strategic bonuses. For example, the Hangar building houses the helicopter pilot ("Skyranger") who grants +5% Readiness generation per turn, but each additional Engineer assigned to the Hangar grants an additional +1% Readiness. The idea is that there are a lot of useful structures for the player to build, but they cannot easily build all of them due to space and funding constraints. I'd ideally also like to allow the player to upgrade their structures, making them more expensive but also more space-efficient, because that gives the player another set of decisions about how they build their base. I felt that your main base in the first Xenonauts didn't really need to expand much - once you'd built a couple of extra radars and another lab on the first turn, there wasn't really much more to do for the rest of the game. We want ATLAS to be continually expanding and improving as the game unfolds, ending the game as a highly efficient fortified facility bustling with the staff you need to support a global planetary defence operation. Power Capacity: The player must stay within ATLAS Base's power generation capacity when assigning staff - but it's important to note that buildings themselves do not consume power, assigning staff to the personnel slots on them does. You can always reshuffle your staff assignments if you are short on power. There are two ways to generate additional power. The first is to build additional power generation capacity, for instance by building another Generator base structure. The second option is to assign one or more Engineers to the Generator building slots, granting a small amount of extra power for each Engineer assigned. Aside from limiting your access to the power-hungry "command" slots in the early game and making you think about where you place your generation structures, this system could be used to support some interesting buildings - e.g. a building with a huge power draw, but produced a certain amount of Alien Alloys per day when active. This would be very useful, but would also force the player to shut down a bunch of the less essential parts of their base while it was running. Basically, it would be nice if base management could be an active process rather than just you assigning your staff to a building and then forgetting about them for the rest of the game! Stores Capacity & Upkeep: The base now has a Stores Capacity that represents how many items you can store in your base and can be expanded by building additional Storerooms. At its most basic level this just limits the amount of stuff you can stockpile in your base unless you're willing to build some extra Storerooms, but we're hoping to make the mechanics a bit more involved than that! We're experimenting with a system where the player has a store that they can buy items / hire staff from, but each order costs Readiness as the helicopter has to go and pick the supplies up. This means you naturally want to place as few orders from the store as possible, otherwise you're wasting Readiness that could be used to run more combat missions and improve your strategic position. This can be expanded by replacing upkeep costs with Rations and Materials. These are inexpensive items you can purchase from the store - each staff member eats a certain amount of Rations each day, and base construction and engineering projects etc consume Materials. You can happily stockpile as many of these as you want up to the limits of your Stores Capacity, so having extra storage space means you can survive for longer without having to do a supplies run with the helicopter. I think there is also scope to make the recovery of alien materials a bit more interesting with this system - recovering a particularly bulky part of a UFO might be worthwhile if you were going to research it immediately, but if it's just going to sit in your base stores for weeks whilst you research something more important, it might be worth selling it immediately (or you might want to build another storeroom). Similarly, I'm considering adding "unrefined alloys" to UFO Crash Sites, which act like alien alloys but take up MUCH more stores space - if you've got a lot of storage space at your base they're worth recovering, but if you've only got one Storeroom they'll be prohibitively large and you'll want to leave them behind. This stuff has been implemented but not fully playtested within a full campaign. I'm hoping it will add some interesting decisions to the game, but there's also a chance it'll just be annoying - so we'll have to evaluate it as development continues to see if it's a feature we want to include in the final game! Training & Base Comfort: A couple of quick words on some of the base systems around your soldiers - as your soldiers don't have much use within ATLAS base compared to scientists or engineers, they are assumed to be "battle ready" for combat deployment in the dropship unless assigned to the Geoscape as a field agent or assigned to the Operations Command room. The training system is covered in more depth in the Soldier thread, but the basic principle is that you can build Training Rooms that allow you to assign a certain number of soldiers to train a specific skill. They gain a certain number of skill points each day even if sent on a combat mission that day - they just have to be "battle ready" to be eligible for training. The more troops you have, the more training space you'll want - although note that training weapon skills and gaining combat experience are different things! Secondly, there is a "base comfort" stat which controls how much Stress / Fatigue a soldier regenerates each day. This is currently not used, but it's possible we'll add structures like a Rec Room that will allow your troops to recover from a mission more quickly (and if not, the option is there for modders to use). Base Defence Missions: The last thing to talk about is how base defence missions work. In a purely mechanical way they function the same as they did in Xenonauts 1 - you get access to all of your soldiers rather than just the ones in the dropship, and you can set them up in advance to defend a central area from an alien attack. We're also hopefully going to be adding sentry guns, which are immobile vehicles that can be equipped with an infantry weapon and are useful for guarding side corridors or beefing up your defensive chokepoints etc. There's also a possibility we could allow players to manually move around defensive structures like sandbags, and place blast doors to block off certain corridors, etc. However, you will not be getting the classic X-Com / Xenonauts feature of getting to fight in an exact replica of your whole base - instead you fight in a replica of the upper command level of ATLAS base (which has a pre-set layout). Whilst we're losing a cool feature here, this was already a time-consuming feature to implement in 2D due to the code requirements and art requirements for stitching together a map from any possible arrangement of the various buildings in the game ... and the way lighting works in 3D and the way levels are loaded in Unity makes the job an order of magnitude more complex in Xenonauts-2. Using a pre-set map layout allows us to make a more tactically interesting map - e.g. adding all sorts of chokepoints, access tunnels that allow flanking, secondary entry points for the aliens, deployable static defences, etc - and it also makes it much easier for us / modders to add in extra types of base structure during development (as we don't need a full 3D equivalent for each one). I realise that some people may be disappointed that one of the cool features from the previous game is being dropped, and I understand why they feel that way - but I'm not sure it's worth sinking a such disproportionately large amount of time into a cool but ultimately somewhat minor feature. The silver lining is that you'll likely get a more interesting gameplay experience as a result, and we'll be freeing up dev time that can be used to improve other things as well.
  3. The research tree in the first Xenonauts was functional but rather straightforward, so we'll be making some changes in the sequel to make things a bit more interesting. The main objective is to make the research progress less of straight line full of simple numerical upgrades on previous tiers, giving players the ability to skip certain tiers entirely and pump resources into others to make them viable for a longer period in the game. Because we're making the research tree wider and adding in development projects, we're likely going to be making the research tree flatter - for example, instead of three distinct tiers of weapons and armor we'll likely limit ourselves to just two tiers but add more stuff in to each one (that way your tech doesn't become obsolete after a few missions like it did in X1). We'll hopefully also be adding more items that interact with the battlefield in interesting ways, so as the game progresses you get some items that keep the combat feeling fresh and novel. These are the new systems that are discussed in this post: Development Projects Alenium Cells Weapon Tiers Multiple Ammo Types Development Projects: Everyone is familiar with the idea of Research projects and how they are used to unlock new tech, but in Xenonauts-2 we have added the concept of "development projects" as well - rather than unlocking new technology, these improve the performance of technology that already exists. These projects can either become available immediately after the technology is researched or can be triggered at a later date by further technology advances; e.g. researching Alien Alloys may unlock Wolf Armour research but could also unlock a development project to boost the stats of the Jackal Armour you already own. The idea is that these projects focus on a specific characteristic of the equipment that has been researched rather than providing bonuses to everything. For example, if you research Laser Weapons then the following projects may all immediately become available for research: Laser Weapons - Charged Emitter (provides a small damage boost) Laser Weapons - Beam Focus (provides a range boost) Laser Weapons - Battery Efficiency (expands the ammo capacity) Laser Weapons - Ergonomics (reduces the TU cost of firing the weapon) Which of the projects you want to research depends on how you use the technology; if you're primarily using Laser Shotguns then slightly boosting the range might not be particularly useful, and if you're mostly using Laser Snipers then the shot TU reduction might not be so valuable. This system is going to need a LOT of balancing to get right, but I think it could be one of the coolest new additions to the game when it's all set up correctly! Alenium Cells: In Xenonauts 1 there were two types of alien materials used to build advanced technology, Alien Alloys and Alenium. In the sequel Alien Alloys are used in the same way as before, but Alenium is treated rather differently - it is not actually consumed when you build new technology, but it is required to power advanced technology when a soldier takes it into battle (this does not permanently consume it either). Alenium therefore represents a "power limit" for the equipment your troops can bring to battle. If Laser weapons require 1 Alenium and you have 2 Alenium, you can happily build a variety of different Laser weapons but you can only ever take two of them into battle on any given mission. Getting more Alenium is not particularly difficult, but it is recovered from Abduction mission sites rather than Crash Sites (which provide tech and Alloys), so the player must choose their missions appropriately if they want to collect more. This mixes up the tech tree in an interesting way; in most cases the player will not have enough Alenium to kit their entire squad out with advanced gear, so starting equipment or specific types of advanced tech that do not require Alenium stay relevant even once you've researched ostensibly better gear. Luckily, the development projects allow you improve the stats of this lower-tier gear if you find yourself using it a lot! Weapon Tiers: These new systems allow us to have multiple types of weapon type in each tier that do different things - for example, the first tier of weapons could have Laser weapons, which are powerful but require Alenium, and Coilguns which do not require Alenium but are less powerful than Lasers. This immediately poses questions - should the player go for Lasers even though they only have enough Alenium to give them to half the squad? If so, is it worth upgrading the starting weapons so the rest of the team can be more relevant ... or do you pile all your research into improving your Lasers? Or do you pursue both Lasers and Coilguns at the same time so everyone has an advanced weapon, knowing neither type of weapon will ever be "maxed out"? Or forget Lasers entirely and use Coilguns exclusively? I'm also keen to make different types of weapons operate differently from one another - a good example being that Lasers might not have ammo in the conventional sense, instead just having a battery that recharges a set amount each turn. With more weapon tiers and the Alenium system in the game, you can also potentially make different types of aliens (and different types of soldier armour) strong or weak against different types of weapon - e.g. some kind of Electro Rifle would predominantly be used as a a ranged stun weapon, but it might also be very effective against robotic enemies ... but potentially it might heal a specific type of alien (e.g. Wraiths) if you try and use it against them. So being able to swap out elements of your loadout depending on the enemies you are facing on the mission could add another dimension to the game. It's harder to do this for other types of equipment - even armour just doesn't have as many variables to play with as weapon do - but we do want to add in some of the cool stuff from earlier X-Com games or other spiritual successors / mods. Much of this is dependent on how much money the game raises during our Kickstarter / Early Access, but it'd be great to have things like proxy grenades and motion detectors and all that stuff if we can! Multiple Ammo Types: One of the features most requested by the community is the ability to create alternative types of ammo for weapons in Xenonauts-2. This has been implemented in the game already and there are a few instances where we plan to use it to give existing weapons new capabilities - although we still need to give the UI for swapping ammo types mid-battle some thought! An example of how we might use this is to give the player access to researchable Taser slugs for the shotgun, allowing them to apply stun damage from range rather than having to run right up to a target and beat it with Stun Batons. These would be particularly useful in specific missions like the DEFCON missions, where you are attacking fellow humans and suffer a relations penalty for killing them. I'm not particularly keen to add loads of different types of ammo for each type of weapon in the style of JA2 (I think it'll be hard to combine that with having lots of new weapons types that do different things), but the functionality will exist and I've no doubt modders will make extensive use of it!
  4. Vehicles in Xenonauts-2 are going to be changed quite significantly if they make it into the game at all - which is mostly down to how much money we can raise during our Kickstarter / Early Access phase. Larger multi-tile vehicles are going to be removed but hopefully we will have enough time in Early Access to bring in smaller vehicles to fill the gap! The topics being discussed in this thread are: Multi-tile Vehicles Removed MARS Weapon Platform (stretch goal) Sentry Guns (stretch goal) Multi-tile Vehicles Removed: Including large vehicles in the first Xenonauts was a mistake - I chose to do so because the original X-Com included them, but really I should have implemented smaller vehicles instead. However I know some people liked playing with proper armoured cars and hovertanks and therefore I owe you an explanation as to why they are a bad idea The primary problem with large vehicles is that they stretch the combat rules to breaking point - they were designed to represent infantry vs. infantry combat and it is very difficult to model the sort of heavy machineguns / tank cannons that come mounted on a vehicle within them. If you can kill something with an M-16, I'm pretty sure a burst from the dual HMGs on the Ferret would make mincemeat out it ... and similarly, if something can put a hole in an armoured vehicle, it'll almost certainly instakill any infantry unit that it hits. As you can imagine, this creates major balance issues. (An amusing example of this in the early development of X1 came when Androns were extremely heavily armoured and we had special anti-tank rockets to deal with them. However players quickly figured out these rockets did enough damage to instantly kill any non-Andron unit in the game and started using rocket launchers like giant shotguns, some even going so far as to field entire teams of soldiers armed only with rocket launchers.) Contrived solutions like nerfing vehicle weapons to have ridiculously low stats are possible here ... but a lot of people like the "realism" aspect of Xenonauts and having jarringly unrealistic power levels for these weapons doesn't seem like a good idea to me. Fundamentally, Xenonauts is a game about squad-based combat and I think adding large vehicles to the game detracts from that. MARS Weapon Platform: (stretch goal) I think most of the problems with vehicles are fixed by using small single-tile vehicles. The tiles in Xenonauts-2 are 1.5m x 1.5m so you can actually fit a decent-sized robotic / remote vehicle in that space, but it should still be small enough not to cause the balance issues mentioned above. Please note that these are things we would like to put in the game but we do not consider them part of the essential "core" functionality; whether we include them is dependent on how well our fundraising goes! The early-game vehicle would be a "MARS Support Platform" - loosely inspired by the real-life MAARS robotic vehicles, but significantly larger. They would have the following properties: They have relatively high TU and HP, but low Accuracy They replace a single soldier in the dropship They can be equipped with any infantry weapon (secondary weapon slot would have multiple options, unlocked via research) They are able to crush fences and light cover They have a higher blocking chance than normal units, so they can be used as mobile cover They cannot vault over obstacles or climb ladders They do not gain experience They would be built by your Engineers, and fill Stores Capacity at your base The two key features are the ability to crush terrain and the requirement to use infantry weapons. Being able to crush terrain or make a hole in a fence is extremely useful early in the game, so I can imagine a lot of people bringing a MARS along just for that purpose. Using infantry weapons ensures that the MARS stay balanced, but also means that there is no extra UI required to support vehicles. This is time-efficient from a development perspective but also attention-efficient from a player perspective; we're adding a lot of new stuff to the game for the sequel and just adding loads of extra UI panels without also removing some risks making the game confusing. The old garage / vehicle equip screen is an obvious candidate for removal because it is essentially just duplicating existing functionality. Finally, giving the player a wide selection of weapons to choose from allows people to experiment. The default weapon for a support vehicle like this would probably be a LMG, but it might be more effective with a Grenade Launcher or a Shotgun or anything else - and I'm fine with letting the players experiment with all sorts of weird and wonderful combinations. This also means you can easily upgrade your MARS as you develop new technology - just swap out the gun for whatever new piece of tech your Engineers just built! There's also scope for new types of chassis, too - an advanced MARS that uses hover technology rather than tracks is an obvious choice. Guess we'll have to see how much funding we can raise! Sentry Guns: (stretch goal) A sentry gun would share certain characteristics with a MARS, but would be cheaper to build and only available for use in base defence missions. Given the new map has quite a few side corridors and defensive chokepoints, having some manufacturable but largely expendable units to help out on defence would be cool given that the Threat meter gives you plenty of warning about when an alien attack is about to happen. Sentry guns would have the following additional limitations: They don't replace soldiers (because they are only used on Base Defence missions) They are immobile once deployed They have a limited rotation arc once deployed (this limitation could be removed via research) Again, these sentry guns would be equipped with infantry weapons - which potentially gives you a reason to keep some old technology around rather than selling it, or to make sure you do the various development projects that boost the stats on your starting ballistic weapons as the game progresses!
  5. Chris

    X2 Audio Design

    Thanks. We're in the process of starting work on the first batch of new sounds for X2 right now actually. Feel free to send me an email (address in signature) with a link to your portfolio; maybe it'll come to nothing but there's no harm in seeing if there's anywhere you might be able help us out
  6. Chris

    Ground Combat Items

    This stuff is already in Xenonauts 1, no?
  7. With preparations for the closed beta of Xenonauts-2 very much underway here at Goldhawk HQ, it's time for me to give you all an update. As I talked about the strategy layer last time around, this time I'll be focusing predominantly on the ground combat. I'll also be giving a little information on the timelines and progress towards our closed beta. First up, apologies for the radio silence here on the forum. The harder I'm working the less time I have to spend reading and commenting on forum posts, and this effect is magnified when I'm working on a few big tasks rather than working on lots of little things because I have far fewer 5-minute gaps in my day where I can grab a moment to check out the forums. I've spent a lot of time making maps recently, which is definitely a big task! Map Variety: Having a decent number of maps in the beta is pretty essential to keep people interested as we release our updates, because seeing the same map over and over again really kills any excitement in the ground combat. I've made roughly 35 maps for the early-game UFO crash sites and alien base missions in the past two weeks, and I'm still working on more (Terror maps, crash sites for the larger UFOs, etc). I'll write up a longer forum post on the map editor at some point, but these maps support more randomisation than the equivalents in Xenonauts 1 so those 35 maps should go a long way - although naturally we'll continue to make more as development continues. However, please note that we're concentrating on quantity rather than quality right now. Some of the buildings / props / ground textures look pretty rough in some biomes, but I'm more interested in the gameplay variety than the visuals at this point and so I've just thrown them into the game anyway. These will be polished and improved once we've got basic versions of all the tiles and terrain we want in the game. We're both expanding old biomes from the first Xenonauts to contain more variety, and also adding new biomes to Xenonauts-2. This should give a really great end result in terms of keeping the gameplay experience feeling fresh and giving the game a suitably "global" feel, but the scale of the work required is significantly more than was needed for the first Xenonauts (which itself contained a LOT of environmental art) so we ask for your patience as we work our way through it all! New Mechanics, Weapons & Abilities: Although the focus has been on some core gameplay systems over the past month, we've quietly finished up a quite a few more self-contained mechanics and battlefield items. Fans of the original X-Com will be pleased to hear that we've implemented proximity detonation for grenades, so the classic proxy grenades are now functional and in the game. We've also got the Reaper "infect" ability working, so units are turned into zombies if killed by a Reaper ... and those zombies hatch into Reapers if killed or after 5 turns. We're now moving on to adding the psionic alien abilities, starting with Mind Control - and we'll probably be adding a psi-amp item to the game for testing purposes so if we do want to give the human side psionics it's going to be very easy to do. We've also revised a couple of gameplay systems to make them cleaner and easier to understand. Stun Damage used to be a pretty complex calculation but now it just starts at 0 and counts upwards as soldiers take Stun Damage. This is displayed as a small yellow line under the HP bar of the soldier, and if the yellow bar ever reaches the current HP of your soldier then they are knocked unconscious. Same gameplay effect as before; just displayed more clearly. The other revised system is Armour Penetration and Armour Destruction. Armour now provides a set of resistances - e.g. a suit of kevlar armour might give you 40% resistance against kinetic damage, which reduces incoming kinetic damage by 40%. Armour Penetration is just a percentage set on the weapon that controls what % of the weapon's damage ignores this resistance (e.g. if a rifle does 100 kinetic damage and has 20% Penetration, a target will take 20 damage even if they have 100% Kinetic Resistance). Armour Destruction is another percentage set on the weapon, and it controls how much armour the weapon destroys with each successful hit. A sniper rifle with 30% Armour Destruction will leave the target with 70% of their starting armour after a successful hit. This means it only offers 70% of the protection (against all damage types) it did when it was undamaged; e.g. that kevlar armour that offered 40% kinetic resistance would only offer 28% kinetic resistance after being hit with a sniper rifle round. Similar to what we had in Xenonauts 1 but a bit simpler for players to track. Inventory: I mentioned last month that we were implementing the full soldier inventory system from Xenonauts 1. We've got this system working now, which is a pretty big deal given it touches on all the following: All inventory items have grid sizes and weights, and soldiers have grid-based backpacks / belts and suffer TU penalties for being overloaded Units can open their inventory on the battlefield and spend TU to change their equipped weapons or drop items on the ground Units drop the contents of their inventories when stunned or killed, and other units can pick this up Items from the battlefield are transferred back to strategy (or not), including stuff picked up by your soldiers and brought back in their backpacks, etc This is a pretty huge system, and it's also pretty notorious for having even more "invisible" work in it than other parts of the game. For example, once you finish all that and start testing it you rapidly realise that there are certain special-case items that actually should not be dropped by a stunned / killed unit - e.g. the claw weapons from a Reaper, or the body armour of a stunned Xenonaut. Today we set up the "integrated" tag that allows us to specify those items, which wasn't a huge amount of work in itself but was just yet another small special case that eats up our development time. This sorta thing means that the inventory system took quite a bit longer to finish up than we expected, and as a result it's now working... but it's not yet working well. You can do pretty much everything you want with the system, but there's a load of obvious usability functionality missing - e.g. dragging and dropping an item on top of another item doesn't swap the position of those items, so if you want to change the weapon of a soldier on the Soldier Equip screen you first have to unequip their current weapon before you can assign a new weapon in the empty slot. The question over whether this is good enough for a beta release brings me onto the next part of this post. Progress Towards Beta: The closed beta for the £35+ Kickstarter backers is slated for the start of next month - the internal date we were looking at was the 6th or 7th of November. We are sprinting as fast as we can to get things ready, but I'm also very conscious that releasing something too rough means there simply won't be much useful feedback you can give us. A good example of that is the inventory system mentioned above. Fixing bugs and doing all the "invisible" work means we've not made as much progress as we'd like in recent weeks, so we're simply not going to be able to finish on the obvious usability issues with the Soldier Equip screen before the planned beta date - as we're concentrating on actual critical game-breaking bugs at the moment. I think those bugs will be fixed by 7th November, so we *could* release a working build on that date... but I think we'll be wasting everyone's time by doing so. Here's why - anyone who has played Xenonauts 1 for any length of time immediately pick up on the usability problems with the Soldier Equip screen and will flag them up... but we're already well aware of those issues, we just haven't had time to fix them. There's enough of these problems scattered throughout the game that I think we should try to address them before the beta, else we'll be wasting the enthusiasm behind the first few beta builds just collecting information on issues we're already got on our work lists. Player feedback is a valuable commodity and I think spending a few more weeks fixing the gameplay would make the experience more worthwhile for everyone. We're therefore going to delay the start beta by few more weeks. I'll announce the updated beta date next week, as we're still working on a couple of areas where fixing bugs revealed yet more bugs hiding underneath - we can't really do any meaningful planning until we've got those things working, as we still don't know how many bugs there are left hidden under the bugs we're currently working on. Anyway, I hope this post has explained the logic behind the delay - but I nonetheless apologise to anyone disappointed by the news!
  8. 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, improved destructibility and more exotic equipment should keep it feeling fresher for longer. These are the topics that are discussed in this thread: Planned Mission Types Planned Environments Map & Mission Variety Alien Racial Abilities Breachable UFOs Planned Mission Types: All of the mission types from the original Xenonauts are returning and two new ones are being added, giving the following list: UFO Crash Site Abduction Mission Terror Site Alien Base Attack Xenonaut Base Defence DEFCON / VIP Elimination The UFO Crash Site and Abudction missions are both resource gathering missions. Crash Sites involve attacking a downed UFO to capture new technology and recover Alien Alloys, and these generally take place in wilderness environments with lots of cliffs / trees and maybe one or two small buildings. Abduction sites allow you to gather Alenium and are set in a rural area with a lot more buildings around - e.g. a polar research outpost, a farm, a logging camp, etc. We may put a timer on the Alenium in these missions, tempting the player to play aggressively in order to secure all the Alenium ... even though carefully and cautiously will still allow you to recover a decent amount of it. Alien Base Attack and Xenonaut Base Defence missions operate much like in the first Xenonauts in terms of objectives. Both are set underground and the former involves clearing an alien facility of the resident aliens, whilst the latter involves defending your own base against attacking aliens (with the ability to set up your troops and defences anywhere on the map before the battle starts). Terror sites also work much as they did in the first Xenonauts, being an attack on either a Western or Soviet town full of civilians that need to be saved. The DEFCON missions are a new addition where you attack either a Soviet or Western military base in order to capture or kill a VIP who is pushing the world towards war. Doing so lowers global tensions, but killing the VIP or his guards causes relations damage with the local region (stunning them is fine). I suspect this will be an interesting change of pace for many people and I'm keen to see what tactics people come up with to achieve their objectives whilst causing minimal relations damage to the local region! Planned Environments: We have planned a total of 10 environments in the game. The first six of these will be used for the Crash Site and Abduction missions and should give us a good variety of maps to suit a crash site in any region. They are: Polar - Research Outpost Boreal - Logging Camp Temperate - Farm Tropical - Dockyard Arid - Village Desert - Junkyard All of these biomes share a core set of props that have been reskinned or replaced according to the biome (e.g. cliffs, rocks, trees, etc) but a successful Kickstarter and Early Access period will allow us to add unique features to each of them that make them behave differently from one another. There are also two unique tilesets that are used for the Alien Base Attack and Xenonaut Base Defence missions. These missions are fought in cramped underground tunnels and rooms so pose a very different tactical experience to the other types of environment! Alien Base Xenonaut Base The final two biomes are used for the Terror Sites and the DEFCON missions, representing either a Western or Soviet town or urban military base. Western Town Soviet Town The mapping of our biomes to the tilesets used in Xenonauts 1 is not an exact science, but the environments will be more varied overall - we've added a couple of extra biomes and we can use each one as multiple things (e.g. the Temperate biome can be used to make a farm for the Abduction missions, but it also works as a forest for a UFO Crash Site). Having much better support for verticality and waist-high raised areas of terrain also makes things look and feel more interesting than before. Map & Mission Variety: 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). This problem has several facets, and we think we can improve on all of them. The first way to do this is just to add more mission variety. 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 Xenonauts-2 we think the average campaign should have roughly 25 missions, roughly split out as follows: 1 final mission, 3 terror attacks, 2 alien base attacks, 2 base defence missions, 2 DEFCON missions and the remaining 15 missions split between UFO Crash Site and Abduction missions as the player sees fit. This is all subject to playtesting and we might find it is possible to add some additional types of mission that can further reduce the number of Crash Sites and Adduction missions ... but an average of just under 30% of your missions being Crash Sites would still be heck of lot better than it was in the first game! The second aspect of the solution is to stop the maps repeating so often. This tended to happen in Xenonauts 1 because the earliest UFOs shared the same pool of "small UFO" maps, of which there were only three per biome. That would have been fine if the player shot down UFOs across a variety of different biomes, but naturally this was limited to where your first base was placed - e.g. if you put your first base in Africa, there was basically no way you could shoot down a UFO in a region that would give you a Polar map ... but you'd get plenty of Desert and Middle East maps! The net result was that your first two or three missions picked from a pool of perhaps nine different maps, with no code in place to prevent the same map being played repeatedly. There's some easy solutions here: There's naturally going to be extra map variation as a result of the extra mission variation; your first two missions won't always be UFO Crash Sites so you'll have a bigger pool of maps to pick from! We'll weight the number of maps in the game so the early-game missions have more maps than the late-game ones (you generally only see the end of the game once, but you often see the beginning multiple times) We'll set up some code to ensure the game will always pick maps that it has not used before (wherever possible) Given the more abstracted interception mechanics in X2, we can deliberately spawn UFOs over specific biomes to ensure the player sees a good variety of environments (in X1 we just had to hope the UFO was flying over something interesting when it got shot down) Full map randomisation is likely to be difficult simply because fully random maps tend to look pretty bad, but our map editor does support the same level of randomisation as XCOM2 and we just need to experiment to see how effective it is for making maps that aren't set in futuristic scifi cities where the architecture is deliberately designed around supporting randomisation (my bet is "not very effective", as we already tried a similar system in X1). In any case, we should be able to get far better value out of our maps in X2 than we could in X1 ... and if it turns out that there's still not enough map variation, we'll just make some more maps! We're planning to introduce Skitso to the map editor later in development, which should also help Alien Racial Abilities: The aliens in Xenonauts-2 are also going to be revisited so they have more interesting visual designs and combat abilities, as they did lack a certain amount of character in the first game. The gameplay in X2 is not yet advanced enough that the composition of the alien forces can be evaluated in the context of a campaign, so we've still got some experimentation to do - but our current thinking is we'll be creating several different variants of the same alien with different equipment, so fighting a mission against Sebillians might see you encountering a mix of fast melee berserkers, tough short-range shotgunners and artillery lizards with long-range grenade launchers that create poisonous smoke clouds. This is all still conceptual and my ideas may well change as development continues and we start testing stuff out, but the idea is that you get a bit more tactical variety when you face an alien race than you did in X1 as every race would have (different) short, medium and long range capabilities. The racial abilities of the different aliens have not yet been implemented, but this is what I'm currently thinking: Reapers - their attack is no longer always an insta-kill, and the zombification only occurs if the melee attack damage does enough to kill the target Sebillians - they regenerate to full HP at the start of their turn if not killed, although their max HP is slowly reduced as they take damage (possibly they will be unable to regenerate damage from Laser weapons). Androns - robotic, plus explode like Cyberdiscs when destroyed unless you kill them with EMP damage (in which case you can recover some Alenium from them) Wraiths - a few possibilities for these guys: "Fade" when they take damage, reducing your chance to hit against them for the rest of the turn "Defensive Teleport" that teleports them to a new location after taking damage Heals off electrical / EMP damage Psyons - I'm still not sure about these guys, but there'll probably be some interplay between the small weak Psyons and the larger Officers! The other mechanic I like but haven't thought up an alien to put it on yet is the "swarm" mechanic, where an alien with 50 HP is actually made up of 5 aliens with 10 HP each. This makes them naturally weak against burst weapons and explosives, but very strong against high-damage single shot weapons like sniper rifles that end up "wasting" a lot of damage with each shot. Just need to figure out something to put it on! This area is likely going to be in flux right until the end of development, as the abilities, stats and equipment of the various different aliens plays a huge part of game balance and we'll be iterating and changing it based on our testing and feedback from the community at every step of the journey! Breachable UFOs: The last thing to mention is that the UFOs in the game will no longer be invulnerable - you will be able to breach the hull in specific places (although it may only be the C4 Breaching Charge that allows you to punch a hole in a UFO hull). You may also find some of these breaching spots have already been cracked open during the crash if you're attacking a crashed UFO rather than a landed one. Mechanically this is pretty straightforward stuff, but I think the ability to make new entrances in the UFO hull is definitely going to be a good addition to the game!
  9. Chris

    Xenonauts-2: ATLAS Base

    Yeah, if we end up using the single-base approach then the missile is indeed going to be plot related in some manner. The type of base mechanics we end up using are subject to gameplay testing though
  10. Yeah, you raise some valid questions but I think in many cases you're overestimating the advantages of the solutions you'd prefer and underestimating the disadvantages. The single / multiple base question is still one we're undecided on. We may go back to the X1-style base mechanics but I think the single-base concept has potential and the only way to find out is to give it a proper test, and we can have a clear-eyed assessment of the advantages and disadvantages properly then. However I'd be cautious of leaning too heavily towards incentivising multiple "proper" bases though; we tried it in the early stages of X1 by setting the dropship not to have global range (forcing the player to have multiple combat teams) and people hated it because it felt super-inconvenient. Reducing the range of the dropship in X1 is something you can do in like 2 minutes with a text editor and it might give you a bit more perspective on whether that's a change you actually want or not, as it has a variety of knock-on effects on gameplay. Moving to Unity from our old engine was definitely a good idea; without going into too much detail Xenonauts 1 was built on an ancient engine that had been abandoned by its creators and caused us no end of troubles throughout dev and afterwards. It'd have been amazing if we'd built our own specific engine for the game, but instead we built a game held together with sticky tape on top of foundations made of sand. So keeping the same engine / codebase was never a viable option for us, hence why we never did any DLC. Re: the combat stuff - we'll have to experiment in more detail when we hit beta. Xenonauts with 10% of the complexity stripped out is still an extremely complex ground combat so I don't necessarily think we need to announce another feature to replace the loss of the defence bonus from crouching (which is effectively a tiny balance change, as effectively is changing the tanks from being 3x3 to 1x1). But in any case I very much doubt you'll feel the game is any less complex overall once you start playing the finished version of the game; I don't have time to list out where the changes net out with each other but the idea is that they should. In short, I know it's always tempting to say "instead of the devs removing complexity, why don't they just add it!" in pretty much every situation but that leads to an unwieldy and overly complex game (as well as requiring far more dev time and resources) ... and in many cases it actually makes it the gameplay experience less fun, as the ill-fated short-ranged dropship in X1 illustrates.
  11. With the Kickstarter just around the corner, I think it's important that these design threads accurately reflect our plans for the game. As such I've amended a few of the posts - the Geoscape, Air Combat and ATLAS Base. If you've already read those threads, I've summarised the changes here so you don't need to read them again. If you've not read those threads then skip this one and read them directly as the new information will make more sense in context. The major change to the design since I released all these threads has been to move the Geoscape from being turn-based back to the real-time setup that was used in the first Xenonauts, which also has ramifications for a couple of other systems. Why Realtime? I'll start by running you through the setup we had with the turn-based Geoscape. Basically, each turn was initially 24 hours long and UFOs / missions would last multiple turns on the Geoscape. You could launch each interceptor once per turn, and when you attempted an interception you were given a % chance of successfully catching that UFO based on the speed of your aircraft vs. that of the UFO. If you successfully caught the UFO and shot it down, a crash site was immediately spawned on the map. Most of what happens on the Geoscape in an X-Com game involves organising the air defence of your territory, so not being able to directly control your interceptors and control the speed of time just led to the strategy layer feeling a bit dull and uninteractive. We made three important changes to try and address this - the first was shortening the turns to 8 hours, the second was making UFOs move position and spawn Geoscape events between turns, and the third was to increase the interception chance based on how close the UFO was to the base the interceptors were stationed at. This resulted in a pretty close approximation of the X1 Geoscape mechanics in a turn-based setup ... and whilst it did have some advantages, it just didn't feel as interesting or complex as the X1 systems did. As I don't think it's wise to change the mechanics in an existing franchise without a compelling reason to do so, I decided we should switch back to the familiar realtime Geoscape and try some new mechanics to fix the weaknesses in the X1 Geoscape. Implementation Time: Changing from a turn-based to a realtime Geoscape isn't that difficult from a game logic perspective, but we are going to have to spend a bit of time getting the new interception mechanics working. Our previous abstracted interception mechanics meant that units didn't need a position on the Geoscape in the same way that they do in the simulated approach used in the realtime Geoscape, so we don't currently have a proper co-ordinate system that controls exactly where units are and which direction they are heading etc. This will take some time to implement but it isn't a *massive* task. It should be fully functional before the Kickstarter ends, assuming nothing unexpected crops up. X1 Geoscape Weaknesses & Potential Improvements: The first issue is information display - a turn-based Geoscape clearly presents you all the UFOs / missions / choices at the start of the turn. I think the X1 Geoscape could get annoying when batches of events may as well all have been presented at once, but instead kept popping up and interrupting you one at a time and making you reshuffle your units each time. So for example we'll probably make an effort to spawn a wave of three UFOs all together, rather than spawning the first at 12:07, the next at 12:09, etc. The second issue is the interception chance. In X1 the chance of an interceptor successfully catching a UFO had a large random element, because the UFOs would frequently change course and fly in a random direction. If they decided to fly directly towards your interceptor then even a slow interceptor could catch a fast UFO. If the UFO turned around and flew out of radar range, even a fast interceptor wasn't going to catch it in time. I think here the solution is just to make UFOs fly straighter for longer towards their targets, and limit the course changes to more shallow turns. This means the interceptions will have less random chance involved in them and the speed of the interceptor will be a bigger factor. Importantly, though, it also means UFOs will necessarily spawn further from their targets and have to cover more ground / sea to get there. This means the Geoscape Events spawned by UFOs will actually be useful in areas without radar coverage, as they'll show a rough trajectory of the UFO so you can make an educated guess about where it is heading and when it might reach your territory. The third issue is reactivity. In X1 the only UFOs that react to your aircraft are the air superiority fighters, which home in on your aircraft and attack them. I was thinking that it would be nice to add some additional behaviors to the UFOs that the players can manipulate; for example fast UFOs might not travel very fast most of the time but might speed up dramatically if an interceptor closes to within a certain range and then fly directly away from it. Because you can control the angle of attack of the interceptor, you could then use one interceptor to steer a fast UFO directly towards a second interceptor. I'm not sure how well something like that would work in practice, but I'm keen to try it out and see! And, hey, if none of those changes work, the worst that will happen is you're left with the interception mechanics from the first Xenonauts! Ramifications For Other Mechanics: Right now the plans for ATLAS Base being an off-map HQ and the airbases being where you station your interceptors on the Geoscape is unchanged, but that particular mechanic comes under more pressure under a realtime setup. The dropship is now something you'll see flying around on the map ... but if ATLAS is off-map, where does it come from? Narratively ATLAS is placed in Iceland, but in a realtime setup the flight time of the dropship actually matters in some situations (even if the dropship has global range). So having a main base that you cannot place where you want may be limiting for the player. Changing back to the X1 interception mechanics means that we could set the Field Agents up in a more interesting way. Rather than assigning staff to an abstracted region slot, we could allow the player to send ground teams out on the geoscape in the same way that you can send out interceptors (except they are much slower and don't run out of fuel). They would actually be travelling the world map to do their various activities - improving relations, recovering crashed UFO sections, removing alien infiltrators, recruiting staff, etc - having to physically travel between each of the different points of interest. If we went with that, this too would further suggest we should switch back to the X1 base style - your secondary bases might be more than just interceptor bases if you want to use them as a staging post for ground team operations in that area. Anyway, I'll keep you updated with how that all goes.
  12. The plans for the main and secondary bases in Xenonauts-2 have been subject to a lot of discussions in the ATLAS Base thread. They have covered so many topics that writing a single post to consolidate and explain the issues is quite a daunting task, but here we go! First of all, there's several different debates being had: Side-on view vs. top-down view Building "slots" vs. X1-style tetris grid Single "full" base vs. multiple "full" bases Let's start by discussing the smaller of the two debates, and leave the single vs. multiple "full" base discussion until afterwards. Side-on view vs. top-down view: The artwork for the bases in X2 has changed perspective so the base is now viewed from the side, rather than being viewed from the top as it was in Xenonauts 1 and in old X-Com. There's only one advantage of doing this, albeit quite a big one - it looks much cooler. I really like the concept art of ATLAS Base because not only do you get to see the sky and ground around the base, it's fundamentally much more interesting to see the contents of a base structure from the side than it is to view it from above. However, there are also some disadvantages: It seems to trigger a lot of people into knee-jerk judgements about us turning the game into XCOM It is worse at supporting tetris-grid base building than a topdown view, as a 2x2 structure implies building downwards through a solid floor (also there's a big missile bisecting the base) Hangars suffer particularly badly, because planes need to get to the surface to get airborne and side-on view emphasises the fact that this would be difficult in the lower levels I'm happy to live with the XCOM comparisons if the base mechanics work well, and it's possible to semi-handwave the Hangars by adding some kind of elevator into the back wall. However the difficulties with the tetris-style base building may cause issues if we decide that's what we want to pursue. Building "Slots" vs. X1 "Tetris" grid: In X1 you have a square 6x6 grid and you can build freely on it, with the only restriction being that you must place new buildings adjacent to buildings that already exist. In X2 we're using a system like in XCOM where your base has 18 pre-defined "slots" and you can click on them to place a building into that slot. The difference between the two only becomes apparent in a few situations. If you're dealing with exclusively 1x1 rooms then slots are actually superior because they allow you to support a cleaner interface. However, you can't build larger rooms using the slot system - unless you do it in a modular fashion, so instead of making a Living Quarters 2x1 slots wide you allow the player to build small 1x1 Living Quarters and then grant an adajcency bonus for putting two next to each other. This falls apart a bit for certain buildings, though - Hangars once again are the best example. You can't split a 2x2 Hangar into four smaller rooms that each hold 1/4 of a plane. So where does this leave us? Taken in conjuction with the above point, if we want to house aircraft in a base then the current side-on view presents problems. The choice then becomes whether we want to not store aircraft at the main base (and have them in seperate Geoscape bases that could use the top-down view), whether we want to move to a top-down view for all the bases, or whether we want to see if we can change the scale on the side-on art so there's more space in general - and less vertical space between levels, making building 2x2 structures something feasible (not sure what we do with the nuclear missile then though). Single "full" base vs. multiple full bases: The player will be allowed to have multiple bases in X2 whatever happens - the debate is just about how much those bases can support. In X1 every base you built was theoretically equally important, as you could build everything in a secondary base that you could build in your first base (although in practice the first base was almost always the most important base). The proposal in X2 is that you have a single side-on main base (ATLAS Base) that acts as the HQ for your organisation and is the only place that can hold your staff, but the only aircraft it can hold is your dropship. You can then build Airbases on Geoscape that act like X1 Bases except you can only build Hangars and Radars there. However we choose to proceed with the bases, I am planning to make your first base your "main" base and have it contain a unique Command Room building. This is where the named characters of the Xenonauts hang out (including you) and it's an immediate game loss if it falls to the aliens. Even if we allow complex secondary bases, this allows us to retain the "Threat" mechanics that trigger attacks on your main base and gives us a way to cut short losing campaigns, and force the player to keep their tactical team strong instead of focusing fully on the strategy layer. There would be costs for moving back to the Xenonauts 1 base system: It obviously takes time to implement the added complexity of allowing multiple instances of each base screen (structures, stores, personnel etc) and then support transferring the contents of those between different bases We have to clutter up the UI with extra elements to support switching between bases and moving things between them - which makes the user experience more clunky and frustrating We'd lose the visually attractive side-on art and have to replace it with the top-down X1 style art You lose the hard limit on the building space the player has available, which means it's much harder to balance buildings based on size rather than cost The logic behind "Readiness" starts to fall down if you can have more than one dropship That doesn't mean that moving back to the Xenonauts 1 system is impossible, it just means that we need a good reason to do so - not only is it a lot of work to implement, if players don't use the new functionality then the gameplay experience would have actually been made worse as a result. So what would be the point of having secondary bases? Secondary Bases - what's the point? It's important to draw a distinction here between Xenonauts and old X-Com, because in Xenonauts we are actively trying to limit the number of ground missions the player can play in a single campaign. In order to keep the air war interesting, we throw far more UFOs at the player than X-Com does - which means a lot more crash sites. We can't possibly expect (or allow) the player to do all those missions, so we've introduced the Readiness mechanic to force the player to choose which missions they consider important. Not allowing the player to do every crash site removes one of the biggest reasons for building up a secondary team on the Geoscape, which means the only real role for secondary bases in the current X2 design is to expand radar coverage and to house interceptors - everything else can be done more efficiently in your main base! However, it's become clear over the past few weeks that a sizeable number of our players like building secondary bases even if it doesn't necessarily make sense in gameplay terms. It makes the game feel bigger and more sandboxy if you have the option to do all that stuff, and lets you roleplay a little. With that in mind, it's worth considering what mechanics might make secondary bases more interesting relative to X1. Here's a few thoughts: Expanding some of the building sizes would make it more challenging to build everything you want in a single base; Hangars being the obvious example. They're 2x1 in Xenonauts but 2x2 in X-Com. Adjacency bonuses would encourage you to build specialised bases where you can connect particular buildings to others of the same type (if you cannot easily recruit unlimited numbers of scientist and engineers, adjacent buildings could make the staff working there more effective rather than just unlocking additional space within them) Perhaps your Power system becomes less efficient the more Power you are generating? It is more efficient to spread your power-intensive buildings across more than one base, but they're easier to defend if you keep them in one place. If there's more stuff at the base to protect than just planes and radars, the player is encouraged to put a garrison there - which in turn means Living Quarters, Training Rooms and a Storeroom A few people have raised the possibility of having some base upgrades tied to ground combat missions; I was thinking it might be interesting if the only way you could generate additional Power in your base is to steal a nuclear reactor from one of your funding regions (likely via a ground combat mission). This would then allow you to build a reactor structure in one of your bases to generate additional power, so you get a nice link between doing a combat mission and getting to expand your base. This would naturally constrain the growth of your bases and could allow different qualities of building - for instance, an advanced lab that makes the scientists working there more effective. This would be kinda cool with regards to the radars, as you could set it up so that you can't stack radars to increase the radar range of a base but instead have to build increasingly power hungry radar facilities. So rushing radar coverage becomes harder because you either have to give up other power-hungry buildings instead, or you have to run a load of nuclear reactor missions in the early game. I'm kinda just throwing ideas out a bit now, so take all that stuff about reactors with a pinch of salt - but it would be nice to do something that made the base mangement more interesting. In X1 the layout of your main base hardly mattered, and once you'd built some more Radars and another Lab and Workshop in the first month there wasn't much else to do for the rest of the game...
  13. (This is a cross-post of the Kickstarter update I just posted!) Now the dust has settled on our successful Kickstarter campaign, it's time for a progress update on Xenonauts-2! There's lots of exciting stuff to talk about, even though the lingering admin from the Kickstarter has kept us busy and the summer holiday period means that we've frequently been without one or more important team members! Air Combat: The first thing I want to show off is a very early incarnation of the air combat. The art and design are both still very rough, so try to look past all the placeholder art from the first Xenonauts and the rather simple combat interactions in the video. Our objectives for the X2 air combat were to make something that was fast-paced but still rewarded the same skills as the rest of the game – tactical and strategic planning (I felt the X1 air combat emphasized reactions over good tactics). I've been playing with a lot of different ideas over the past few years, but I feel we've now hit on a good idea that will be able to combine both speed and tactical depth once complete. Essentially the player has a certain number of turns to shoot down each UFO before it engages its jump drive and escapes from your interceptors. Your interceptor weapons have limited ammo and generally do more damage the closer you are (as do the alien weapons). Your interceptors can make one move each turn before they attack, but the UFO is also able to move - which it does by moving your jets up and down the battlefield to represent it speeding up / slowing down. Different UFOs will of course have different strengths and weaknesses, and the system supports up to three combatants per side. I'll likely be writing an entire update devoted to the new Air Combat model once things are a bit more polished and the design has developed further, so I won't try to explain any more about the rules for now – but I just wanted to show everyone that we do already have a basic air combat system working and hooked up to the rest of the strategy layer! Armory & Soldier Equip: The next thing I wanted to talk about is the Armory screen and the soldier inventory mechanics. The UI concept above incorporates two major mechanical changes since the start of the Kickstarter, and also gives you some idea of the direction we'd like to take the final UI now we can afford to divert some of our funds to a dedicated UI artist (although it is only a rough style / layout concept, so don't read too much into the details). The first big mechanical change is the return of the grid-based soldier backpack from Xenonauts 1. We were initially planning to remove this as part of a package of changes to make the inventory system less cumbersome, but we reconsidered our position after the community raised some valid points about why this might make the game less interesting to play. We're currently in the process of implementing the old backpack / inventory mechanics (they'll be in for the closed beta), as well as the other planned changes that were uncontroversial improvements to the system. The second change is my first concept for the modular armour system that forms part of the modular equipment stretch goal. This works by splitting armour into two different inventory slots: the "Armour" and the "Plating", and giving items in both a set of % resistances against different types of damage. The “Armour” is the base layer of armour your soldier is wearing – at the start of the game it's the blue Tacsuit, but your research efforts soon unlock different types of suit that offer better / different protection against the various damage types (ranging up to the endgame Exosuit). “Plating” represents any additional armour you wear on top of this base suit, so the starting Tacsuit allows players to wear either “Light Kevlar” or “Heavy Kevlar” plating (the heavier plating offers more protection but weighs more). As the player progresses through the research tree, the Plating can be upgraded – e.g. Kevlar vests become more protective Alloy vests, etc. This system allows players to mix and match armour to suit the specific mission. If you want good Chemical protection, you can equip your soldiers with a Chemsuit but then issue your assault troopers heavy plating and your snipers light plating. The way that plating upgrades through the game keeps older types of armour relevant, too - that same Chemsuit will still be somewhat viable in the late game if you have sufficiently advanced plating available, although advanced tech like an Exosuit would obviously be better in most situations. Remember that this idea is still at concept stage and not yet implemented, so it may well change prior to release (or even prior to the closed beta!) New Aliens: Finally, I just want to show off a quick piece of concept art for a new alien to go in the game. The 3D art for this alien is not yet complete, but it's planned to be a single-tile psionic support unit. We've got a number of new aliens working their way through our art / design pipeline, and we're making an effort to include some more distinctive aliens in the game this time around. There's certainly a place for humanoid aliens in space jumpsuits in the alien roster, but I think any X-Com successor also needs to embrace some of the absurdity of the original games to properly capture their spirit. A floating alien brain seems a pretty good place to start! Anyway, that's enough from me - there's a lot more I'd like to talk about but I really should get back to work! The closed beta is still planned for the start of November and I'll keep everyone informed on our progress towards that deadline as it approaches.
  14. This version of Xenonauts 2 is a free public test build only available on GOG Galaxy. It is the build we are planning to use as the public demo for our Kickstarter and it is likely to be the last of our free public builds, and you can get it here: https://www.gog.com/game/xenonauts_2_demo We've fixed a few more bugs in the previous version and we think this is a good place to stop updates; things seem sufficiently stable and playable for an alpha demo. We do have extra features in the developer builds we don't want to risk copying them across to the public builds in case they introduce extra bugs (plus this way the beta will seem like a major step up from our public builds!) If you're interested in getting a notification when our Kickstarter launches, please sign up for our mailing list here: http://eepurl.com/4FKe9 CHANGELOG: Main menu now has a "Play Game" option instead of the "New Game" and "Load Game" options. Soldier inventory button now switches weapons (same functionality as pressing "X") instead of just doing nothing. Units moving from roofs down to the ground no longer appear as a ghost for a few seconds. Fixed the crash that occurs when a civilian gets into your dropship for real this time. Small updates to the text of the "do you want to turn on error reporting" and "gameplay tutorial" pop-ups. The game now displays "alpha build" in the bottom left of the screen. No massive changes there, but it'd be helpful if people could give the build a play at some point and let us know if you experience any major issues. It's unlikely we'll make any additional changes or fixes unless there are critical gameplay bugs or major crashes in the build, as any change we make has a chance of introducing further bugs - but if there are any issues we'd definitely like to know about them before the Kickstarter begins. More news on the Kickstarter (and hopefully a firm launch date) later this week!
  15. Ever since Xenonauts-2 was announced I've said my intention for the air combat was to make something tactically interesting, but also something that was over quite quickly. However I also want to have a model for air combat that fits better with the strategic skills required for the rest of the game; the air combat in X1 rewarded certain "twitch" skills in terms of issuing orders and dodging missiles that weren't used anywhere else. I've finished designing the foundations of the X2 air combat system that we will hopefully have arriving at some point during the closed beta (in the meantime, the autoresolve function works much like it does in X1 so you can still play the game without it). This is a rough concept for how the battles may look: Air Combat Rules: A few key things to note before I start explaining the rules: Interceptions are now turn-based Combat supports up to three interceptors versus a single UFO and up to two escorts The battlefield consists of three ranges (Long Range, Medium Range, Close Range) and each of these contains three movement bands Weapons do different amounts of damage depending on their Range, with most weapons doing significantly more damage at close range Note that weapons do the same damage from all bands within each Range; their damage only changes when you move to a new Range! Damage is currently randomised within a range (e.g. 20-50) rather than a hit % So the purpose of the interception is pretty clear - you have to deal enough damage to shoot down the UFO before it escapes or destroys your interceptors. The rules are simple: The player usually goes first Interceptors must move before they attack, and can move a number of bands equal to their Speed stat (e.g. 3 bands) Once an interceptor has moved, it may fire any number of its weapons Weapons have very limited ammo - missiles have 1 shot per battle, cannons have 3 shots per battle (can only be fired once per turn) Once all interceptors have acted, the alien turn begins The UFO always stays at the top of the screen, and "moves" by moving your interceptors forwards or backwards (e.g. a UFO with 2 Speed moves all your interceptors 2 bands forwards/backwards) The UFO then fires its weapons and passes the turn back to the player The UFO also gains one Charge per turn, and when it reaches a certain level (varying per UFO) that will UFO jump away from your aircraft and the combat ends in failure. This means you only have a certain number of turns to win each combat. I've playtested this quite a bit using dice and cardboard and it's pretty fun. It's pretty fast to play but doesn't rely on "twitch" skills at all, and I like the way it's actually somewhat reminiscent of the 1994 X-Com interceptions. But it's much more complex than that was; it's similar to Xenonauts 1 in that respect. Different UFOs will have different strengths and weaknesses and behave differently in combat - Fighters might close aggressively with you and be extremely strong at short range, Scouts might try and outrun you for long enough to escape, Corvettes might be extremely slow and vulnerable up close but very powerful at medium / long range, etc. You can also imagine all sorts of unique equipment that might change up a UFO encounter - perhaps the UFO would have a shield at the edge of medium range / close range, so you can either knock it down from long range or fly inside it to bypass it. Or maybe certain UFOs have recharging shields that absorb a certain amount of damage per turn. Maybe fighters take reduced damage from missiles because they are particularly agile; maybe armoured UFOs reduce all damage by -X so you're encouraged to use weapons that do high damage per shot. I think there's a lot of potential to play with that might keep each UFO feeling different and distinct from the others. Geoscape / Strategic Balancing: UFOs will still come in "waves", where a number of UFOs spawn all across the world at the same time. A few general balance points from the playtesting that made this much more interesting: Interceptors need to repair at a slower rate, so if a plane takes a beating during one UFO wave it will still be carrying some damage into the next wave Upgrades for interceptors should be specific to that interceptor, rather than global across all interceptors (i.e. interceptor equipment is likely to be individually manufactured) It's easy to beat even powerful UFOs by swarming them with multiple interceptors, so we somehow need to limit the total number of planes the player can launch each wave (e.g. pilots) It's important to limit the number of interceptors the player can have airborne at any one time, because otherwise the combat becomes all about weight of numbers rather than tactics. If a UFO is a challenging but beatable encounter for a single interceptor, by definition two interceptors will shoot it down rather easily and sustain little damage doing so. In X1 we balanced the problem by giving interceptors really high upkeep costs ... but many players didn't realise that they had built too many planes, and ended up building so many planes that the air combat was stupidly easy but then having to grind crash sites to pay for the upkeep costs. Not a fun place to be. So this time around I want something more explicit. You can build lots of planes if you want, but you will only be able to use a certain number against each UFO wave. Having extra planes *is* still useful, because it means you can choose the interceptors best suited to the targets and damaged planes can be left in reserve to repair ... but they're not as overpowered as in X1 where there was never any reason NOT to use an interceptor in every wave once you'd built it. The coolest way to do this would definitely be to add pilots to the game. An interceptor can only be launched if there's an available pilot, and pilots need to rest for as long as they were flying for after each mission. They would be recruited in the same way as scientists / engineers would be; certain VIPs appear on the Geoscape and if you send units to convert them before they disappear then you can choose a reward. The player could recruit lots of pilots from these events if they want, but then they'd have far less scientists and engineers etc than they would otherwise. Two problems with pilots, though - one, they're not really a global resource. Being able to launch a plane in China or a plane in America with the same pilot doesn't really make sense. Secondly, having your aircraft blown up around you tends to be fatal for a pilot ... which is problematic when the player has to choose between recruiting a pilot or a scientist (who has 0% chance of death). I think the solution there is probably to make all your interceptors remotely-piloted drones; that means both those problems go away and we can treat pilots as main base staff like everyone else. Or we can just fudge it for now and tweak the mechanics until we have something that works, then figure out the "logic" explanation later. Anyway, lots for you guys to digest there. Happy to listen to thoughts and answer questions!
  16. Chris

    More vertical map design

    So X2 does incorporate more verticality than X1 does, but I'm still quite leery about it - fundamentally the problem is that line of sight / line of fire gets more complex and more confusing when you're shooting from one height level to another, or looking / shooting up stairs and through small gaps in floors / ceilings. The problem is it tends to expose the kind of errors that annoy people; stuff like the "shooting round corner" logic from X1 that makes the game feel unfair. I don't think stairs / ramps are currently in the game (I was initially hoping to get by on just ladders) but I suspect they will make it in fairly soon.
  17. So the music is currently planned to be more of the same, unfortunately. What you're talking about is contextual music which changes dynamically based on what's happening on the battlefield, which requires some work from the coders as well as most likely some additional work from the composer. I'm not actually sure how much work it'd be so maybe it's something we can look at later in development as a "nice to have" feature... but right now I'm definitely prioritizing coder hours onto things that are more key parts of the gameplay!
  18. So for roughly the next month (until late August) I'm only going to be logging onto this forum occasionally - and I'll be responding to emails and direct messages much more slowly than normal. Why? I'm getting married next week, and then I'm going to be heading off on my honeymoon for a couple of weeks a few days afterwards. The rest of the team will still be busily working away in my absence, but I won't be around to do the usual community management stuff. If you see people on the forums asking questions for the devs and getting annoyed that they're not getting a response, please point them to this thread! I'm very much looking forward to having a holiday - I'm sure those of you here who are married will know all to well how stressful it is to organise a wedding, and to do all that while also running a Kickstarter campaign and doing all the planning required to keep Goldhawk running for a month has been pretty exhausting! It'll be nice to have a couple of weeks to chill out before I come back and have to start worrying about the upcoming closed beta I don't have time to write a proper dev update unfortunately, but these are a few of the things we're planning to be working on in the next month: Finishing up the realtime Geoscape and interceptor / UFO movement etc Adding the basics of the new air combat prototype into the game Adding the soldier backpack allowing units to switch weapons in combat Making units drop their equipment on death, and allowing soldiers to pick things up from the ground Some upgrades to the ground combat AI Adding few unique weapons (e.g. combat shield) and weapon properties (lasers recharging their clips, etc) Adding explosive terrain objects / units that can explode on death Getting the MARS vehicle working properly in the ground combat (crushing things, exploding when destroyed, not screaming when shot, etc) Rewriting the unit movement logic so you can move multiple soldiers simulatenously A bunch more fixes / updates to the map editor to help us support semi-randomised maps I'm sure I'll be brimming with enthusiasm when I get back, and hopefully most / all of the above will be waiting for me when I do!
  19. It's now the final day of August and about six weeks since the Kickstarter ended. Those of you who frequent the forums will be aware that I've been away for the past month getting married and going on my honeymoon, but I'm now fully recharged and back at work! The team have of course been hard at work in my absence - here's a quick update on where we are on some of the headline features we've been working on recently. Realtime Geoscape For a long time we were experimenting with a turn-based Geoscape model, but we eventually decided to move back to a realtime Geoscape before the Kickstarter because we just couldn't make the turn-based Geoscape feel as interactive and engaging as the realtime Geoscape did (even when we were giving the player exactly the same strategic choices in both systems). This has *definitely* been the right decision; the game feels far more alive now you can see UFOs flying around the world generating events and so on. Two or three months ago I breezily said this was only a few weeks of work, but unfortunately it turns out the rabbit hole went deeper than we expected - we've ended up rewriting essentially all the logic for the alien invasion and the Geoscape map setup. The basic work on the realtime Geoscape was finished a week or two into my absence, but a second pass is going to be needed before the Realtime Geoscape is considered finished. To give an example of what I mean: UFOs currently spawn on the Geoscape and fly around spawning events, and are detected when they enter the radar range of your bases. You can launch interceptors at the UFOs and shoot them down in the new air combat to create crash sites ... but there's no way to issue new orders to interceptors that are already airborne. Thus the functionality is present and the system is largely "complete", but we still need to do a pass on the gameplay aspects of the Geoscape because the player can't yet access everything they need. This is what I'll be focusing on in the short term. Air Combat I mentioned the "new air combat" in the previous post - this first iteration of this is now implemented and linked up to the strategy layer. We're working on a second iteration that improves the experience (UI improvements, combat music, weapon sfx / vfx, etc) that'll be arriving shortly, but even in its most primitive state it's pretty fun. I'll be experimenting a bit with it next week to see how it works within the context of the strategy layer, but maybe I'll post up a video or something so you can see it in action. There's been a LOT of discussion on the new air combat design in this thread. I've got some cool ideas for how we could further expand and develop things, but it's exciting just to play with the basic set of mechanics we currently have. In conjunction with the new realtime Geoscape, the strategy layer is feeling a lot more interactive than it ever has done before. AI Update Our technical director GJ has been working on a number of things over the past month, but his most recent task was to start work on the "non-racial" combat AI. This is the general AI that all combatants will use as their basic way of interacting with the battlefield - it controls how they choose what enemies to shoot at, where they move, how they choose cover, and how they choose to split their TU between different actions available to them. This is by far the most important part of the AI, because it controls whether the AI does obviously stupid things like choosing not to shoot at a Xenonaut caught in the open a few tiles away, etc. Later in development we'll be focusing on the more advanced types of "racial" AI that makes aliens behave differently depending on their racial abilities and equipment - e.g. Sebillians are likely to be more aggressive because they are tough, while Reapers would spend more time trying to stay hidden and lay ambushes, etc. But we need a solid "non-racial" tactical AI underneath before all that stuff becomes useful. GJ is now off on his own holidays for a week, but he's got about a week of work more before we have the first iteration of the new non-racial AI in the game. I do expect the first iteration of it to be fairly rough when it comes in, but it should still be an improvement over what we had in the Kickstarter combat demo and I also expect it to improve quickly throughout development and during the closed beta. Soldier Backpack & Ground Combat Inventory We're about halfway through implementing the soldier backpack on the strategy layer at the moment. Our old design was slot-based so didn't have to worry about the grid size of items, so we're now setting up the grid for the backpack and giving equipment the various properties they need to interact with it. Once that's done we'll be adding in the ground combat functionality for units swapping items to and from the backpack, and dropping / picking things up off the ground. That's everything for this update - there's quite a few smaller things we worked on over the last month too, but I can't be bothered to type any more - and I suspect I'll write another update expanding a little more on this for Kickstarter in a couple of weeks once the air combat has progressed a little more!
  20. I don't really think there's much to be gained by discussing ways we can remove the air combat from the game. I'm pretty intent on putting air combat in the game (indeed it's already in the game); it's just finding the appropriate level of depth for it.
  21. I did toy with the idea of having Sebillians rise from the dead earlier in development, but there's a couple of practical things to consider. Firstly, it's (intentionally) kinda hard to target a dead alien with your weapons so killing them for good might force a rewrite of how the shooting UI was handled. Secondly, how does it work with regards to the end of the mission? If you down the last Sebillian but it's still alive, does the mission end? Might also be annoying if you kill a Sebillian and leave the area, but then later discover that it has got up and run away and you have to hunt it down again. I think in the end I decided it might just be a bit too annoying, so just boosted their HP regen mechanics instead.
  22. After thirty days of the Xenonauts-2 Kickstarter campaign, things have come to an end - and we've raised £191,107 (approx. $250,000) from our £50,000 target! We've raised 60% more than we did for Xenonauts 1 back in 2012, and importantly we did so without committing to any physical rewards... so in reality we've probably doubled the effective useful revenue compared to last time. I feel like that's a pretty impressive result for us - before the Kickstarter began we genuinely weren't even sure if we'd be able to hit our £50,000 goal, and even assuming that things went well I wasn't expecting us to go above £150,000! It's been really great to see the total go so high, and it's also been a major boost to read the many nice messages from people who enjoyed the first game and wanted to express their enthusiasm for the next one. I've written this post because I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone on the forum for helping us achieve that goal. Many of you have helped directly by pledging to the Kickstarter, but collectively you've also provided a lot of useful feedback and support as we moved towards the Kickstarter. All that really does mean a lot to us, and the fact the Kickstarter has done so well means that we can now take more time to read your thoughts and suggestions and polish up Xenonauts-2 into something properly special. So thanks for all your help - it's been a hell of a ride!
  23. I don’t think proposal 2 is a good idea. Proposal 1, possibly - I think that’s just something we’d need to experiment with. I think it might introduce a problem where the soldier turns to make a step he cannot take, and then doesn’t have any TU left to re-orientate to a more useful direction. Not sure whether that situation is worse than the one you are currently experiencing though; we’d need to test it.
  24. Thanks for your thoughts - looks like you got quite into this! I’ll admit in advance I’ve only skim read everything so far, but a couple of thoughts struck me as I did. Firstly, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. It seems like quite a few of the systems you’ve come up with could be supported by my existing mechanics just by changing the balancing - e.g. rolling 4 individual plasma cannons, each with a specific hit chance can be approximately represented by a single plasma cannon with an appropriately wide damage range. Instead of limiting the weapons a plane can fire each turn, you can just set missile racks to have 2 ammo and do half damage so a plane needs to stay in combat range for longer to unload all it’s firepower. This is obviously preferable to re-implementing our existing work! Secondly, I can definitely see the influence of Slay the Spire coming through in your design. That’s not a bad thing, though - we’ve discussed the whole “UFOs displaying their intentions in advance” concept before with regards to how Into the Breach handles it, but I can see how a semi-randomised AI script each turn (eg “powerful attack”, “boost jump drive charge”, “evasive action”) could keep the encounters fresh, given there’s potential for a different sequence each time. Obviously the UFO would need to have a basic attack that it performed each turn anyway though. When I get back I might post up some of the numbers I was using for the paper prototyping, but even then I think you might need to play the air combat in-game for us to properly be on the same page. If I was going to add more compexity to the existing design (although I think it may already have more complexity than you realise) then I’d probably think about adding in lateral movement too, as then you could map the alien attacks in more detail (“first plane in this column takes 3 damage”, “everything in this column hit for 5 damage”). The size of the UFO matters too; a small UFO is only one column wide so multiple interceptors would struggle to fight it effectively (assuming friendly fire is on), whereas a bigger corvette would be wide enough for several interceptors to engage simultaneously. But I guess the problem here is an interceptor could always dodge an incoming attack, as it would be shown to them before they make their move... In any case, interesting thoughts.
  25. Sorry, your diagrams aren’t aligning correctly on my phone. I’m not quite clear what the issue is here though - are you saying that a soldier with an interrupted move will not have their movement terminated as soon as they take their last step (so soldiers can waste TU doing “useless” turns trying to orientate themselves towards a tile they don’t have enough TU to move into?)
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