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Chris

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Everything posted by Chris

  1. One of the changes we are planning to include in Xenonauts-2 is a "modular armour" system, which is intended to give the player much more flexibility in terms of how they equip their units - and if all goes well, it should also be visually more "cool" than the armour system in the first game! Problems with the Xenonauts 1 System: The first Xenonauts game had six suits of armour in it which could be simplified down into three tiers of technology that contained a "heavy" armour and a lighter and usually more mobile "light" variant: Basic Armour (starting) / Combat Armour Wolf Armour / Buzzard Armour Sentinel Battlesuit / Predator Battlesuit The light armour typically offered less protection but had a jetpack, and the two battlesuits also offered 360-degree vision or maximum Strength respectively. This sytem worked fairly well in general but there were a couple of instances where it ran into difficulties. The pace of the campaign and the sheer number of armour suits meant that you were constantly unlocking new armour, which meant you were often replacing your shiny new armour every two or three missions. Such a short lifespan rather detracts from the cool factor of getting new gear. There was no way to customise armour - e.g. a Buzzard jumpsuit would always have a jetpack, but on missions like Alien Base attack missions a jetpack was completely useless. There was no option to drop the jetpack and, say, use the reduced weight to bring along a few more grenades instead. The Xenonauts-2 system is designed to take everything good about the Xenonauts 1 armour system and fix the problems that it had. How the Xenonauts 2 Modular Armour System will work: In Xenonauts-2 those six armours would be collapsed down into three suits of armour that each have a number of "modules" that allow you to customise them. For the purposes of this thread I'll use similar names for the armour: Tactical Armour (starting) Wolf Armour Battlesuit Armour The modules currently planned for the Tactical and Wolf Armour are the following: Heavy Armour (+armour, +weight) Rebreather (gas immmunity, -acc) Tactical Visor (+acc, -armour) Jetpack (+weight, vertical movement) It is a little deceptive that there's now only three armours, as you can easily recreate the six armours from X1 - the Buzzard is just Wolf Armour with a jetpack, whereas removing the jetpack and equipping Heavy Armour gives you the equivalent of the X1 Wolf. It's better than that, though: there's no reason why a particularly strong soldier can't equip everything at once (although ideally the penalties on the items mean it'd be suboptimal to do so from a min-maxing point of view). The modules are controlled by a series of toggle buttons shown below the armour dropdown. You can see a simple (programmer art) concept for how it will look in the image below: Each of the buttons is toggled independently from the others, so each soldier can equip any combination of the modules for any given armour. They will also be compatible with the loadout system so you can say all your Assault troops have Heavy Armour and Rebreathers, while all your Snipers have Tactical Visors and Jetpacks (obviously you can also customise individual soldiers too). The art will also update to reflect the equipped modules, which I think is going to be one of those "cool" moments when people when people first see it happening and start to mix and match different components on their armour. Research, Progression and Armour Modules: Clearly, not all of the modules for the armour are available from the start of the game - the jetpack and tactical visor are unlocked via research and then can be shared across multiple types of armour. But the idea is that individual modules can also be upgraded. The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed the first image has three different armours in it, and this is because the first image represents the basic Tactical armour and the second image shows the Tactical armour with the Heavy Armour (Kevlar Vest) option enabled. The third armour shows the Warden Vest, which is an upgraded version of the Heavy Armour that is unlocked by early game research. Similarly, we could also put a SENTINEL Visor in the game that is an upgraded version of the Tactical Visor that also grants 360 degree vision. We need to spend some time working through the UI / UX of how this could work, particularly if the module items are limited quantity, but it the potential is definitely there for a cool system. Finally, I should say that it would definitely be possible to make a more complex system with loads of different modules for each armour if we wanted to, but I don't think it would be practical. The art requirements get really complex really fast (because each module needs to work with any other combination of modules), and the user interface would also start to fall apart. Having four or five modules per armour tier means we can have a UI button for each, which means changing modules is quick and easy for the player - anything more complex would need a seperate menu (which I think would be pretty laborious to use).
  2. Today we're releasing a hotfix for the Beta Build V9 on our Experimental Branch, which fixes two crashes that were introduced in V9.2. Changelog: Farm maps should no longer crash when you try to load them. You can no longer dismiss the "choose which base to build the interceptor at" pop-up when building an aircraft in the workshop. Doing this would cause the interceptor project to be created but not have a target Hangar, which would break the engineering queue and then crash the game on completion. Please continue to report bugs in V9.2 if you encounter them.
  3. Chris

    Modular Armour System

    Yeah, this is something that we're hoping to develop the system into. It's a bit difficult to know how it would work but it'd be nice if the LMG-stabilizer functionality of the Predator was something that could be incorporated into these modules. Or equipping the heavy armour variant reduces your carrying space, and so on - or possibly the standard variant gives you a TU boost that is lost if you equip the heavy variant (which might replace it with a strength boost instead), etc. There's quite a few different options there. That's relatively fine detail in my book though so we'll do the simple implementation first and then see if we can make the end-game Exosuit a bit more exciting in terms of specialisation afterwards. But it is certainly something I'm interested in given the final armour should probably feel a bit special somehow.
  4. Chris

    Xenonauts-2 November Update

    To be honest it's unlikely to happen for Early Access if we've only got about eight weeks because we've got quite a lot of other things to tidy up in that time, but yeah there is a lot of room for optimisation. That is quite a low-end laptop but maybe we can get the game running acceptably on it. A performance thread in general might be interesting reading, as we don't have much data on it at all really.
  5. As we get towards the middle of November I feel like we've been making good progress in recent weeks. Our latest release Closed Beta V9.2 went up on the Experimental branch yesterday and has a long changelog of gameplay fixes that smooth some of the rough edges off the gameplay. We've also made good progress on the big things we said we were targetting in our last update - mostly finishing off the Air Combat and fixing up the broken / missing parts of the new UI. Both had a lot of small updates and fixes that needed to be made but I feel like both have now reached the standard of the rest of the game (i.e. working, but need some more visual and usability polish before the game releases). Core Completion: From my point of view the biggest change in the last four weeks is that the completion of the Air Combat means all the "core" gameplay systems are functional, and the game is now playable. I've therefore been regularly sitting down and playing the game in short sessions to see what missing features, bad game balance, usability issues and bugs are affecting the gameplay. There is, of course, rather a lot of those things to fix up before the game can be considered finished. But these are generally fairly small issues when taken individually and the V9.2 shows that we can quite a few of them in a single update when we're not tied up working on "big" features, so I think you'll be seeing the gameplay improving quite rapidly from here on out. I know I've been promising this for a while but this time it's already happening - and I consider this quite a big milestone for the project! Modular Armour & Updated Artwork: Now we're starting to nail down the mechanics, we're also starting to work on some of the final artwork. The artwork above is a rough preview of the new soldier armour designs, which have come about as a result of the Modular Armour system we will be implementing in the near future. This system should make the choice of what armour to equip your soldiers with more flexible and interesting than it was in the first game; you can read all about it by clicking link! As you can see, we've also taken the opportunity to redesign the armour visually (the two figures on the left represent the starting Tactical and Combat armours respectively). We didn't get the look of the starting armour quite right when we did the previous version of it a few years back, so this time I wanted to give it a more military feel. The advanced armours have also had a bit of a redesign and are now looking much cooler than before - what was previously the Wolf Armour now looks particularly badass, and I'm looking forward to putting in the game in V10 or V11. We're also adding more artwork to the game for the aircraft and the base tiles. The first new aircraft design (the Phantom) is in the game, replacing the Corsair. I've got some plans to switch up its role from the dual-cannon bruiser that the Corsair was in X1 to something else once we get the upgradeable interceptor components worked into the research tree, but for now it's just a Corsair that looks different. We'll be adding updated artwork for the other interceptors in future updates too. The base tiles need more work; they're better than reusing the old X1 art but they're still not quite right. There's a fine line between having a base that looks grey and boring and a base that is way too visually noisy or garish in terms of colour, but I'm sure with a few more iterations we'll be able to find a happy middle ground where the base looks more detailed and "realistic" than before without looking dull. Early Access & Current Priorities: I don't yet have a firm date for you guys about the Early Access but we're currently eyeing January next year. This date would only be two months away (and people will be off for Christmas for some of it) so we're having to choose our planned work rather carefully. This is my thinking at the moment: General gameplay polishing and balancing Modular Armour system Adding item replacement functionality to the tech tree (so you can upgrade an item into something else) Some writing / artwork for the early game tech tree Getting all the Kickstarter backer soldiers into the game Getting the base structures, aircraft and UFO stats out of the code into editable JSON files The idea for Early Access is to have a rough but playable game and then spend the Early Access period polishing and adding new content to it, and I think these changes would get us quite some way towards that goal. Anyway, that's it for this month - comments and thoughts welcome, as always.
  6. Chris

    Modular Armour System

    I may have been answering your question, but my reply wasn't actually aimed at you - I'm well aware that you're not going to agree with what I'm saying, as your stance has always essentially been that we should add as much realism and complexity as possible irrespective of the consequences. The reply was for other people who might have been wondering the same thing and might be less opinionated on the topic. It doesn't surprise me that you disagree that putting key information in a sub-menu rather than having it accessible on the main screen is in any way more complex or more cumbersome than having it accessible directly, but it's a well-established principle of UI and is the exact reason why things like desktop shortcuts were created 20 years ago. I obviously don't think any players would fail to understand how a dropdown worked but it would definitely make the screen harder to use. What you're therefore advocating is that we make gameplay worse for the 80% of players that don't play mods so that modders have the flexibility to add a more detailed system post-release. Any serious mod is probably going to be built on the foundations of X2:CE, which is an opt-in product, so I'll let them (or us in a DLC) worry about switching the display to a dropdown. Then hardcore players get to have the toys that they want without making life harder for everyone else who doesn't want that level of complexity, which I think is a happy middle ground for everyone.
  7. We'll be releasing a hotfix to fix it, probably today
  8. Chris

    Modular Armour System

    Mutually exclusive combinations like the rebreather / tactical visor will be supported out the box, because you can just assign them the same slot (e.g. head) and a slot can only contain one item at a time - although that's not how those two items will be set up in the vanilla game, but of course modders can take advantage of that functionality. Detrimental combinations aren't supported though; I think that would make the implementation significantly more complicated.
  9. Chris

    UFO Roofs Indestructable?

    Unassisted soldiers can't, no - but if you think carefully, you might remember there was a device in X1 that allowed you to move vertically
  10. We'll get it fixed up in a hotfix, I think it's a fairly easy (if a little time consuming) one to fix.
  11. Oh, actually, I can reproduce the crash just by playing your save on a little later. The problem is actually your engineering projects, you've got two Foxhounds in production but it looks like they're being built to the same Hangar. Any idea how you managed to do that? EDIT - looks like if you start building an aircraft but dismisss the base selection windows that pops up, it doesn't cancel the aircraft construction project. And then when the project finishes the game crashes.
  12. Chris

    UFO Roofs Indestructable?

    So yeah, all floors and roofs are indestructible at the moment - I suppose we could try making it destructible though as we do have support for units jumping down levels now.
  13. Thanks, but the save game you've attached there is a ground combat save game called "Breach" - I'm guessing that's not the one you meant to attach?
  14. Thanks. Looks like there's some missing files in the Farm biome. I'll take a look.
  15. Chris

    Modular Armour System

    For usability reasons. The idea of this system is to take the X1 armour system and make it better, and once you start adding a big complicated drop-down into the UI then a whole bunch of people are going to think "why have you made this harder to use?" because equipping each soldier is going to take substantially longer. And then the coolness factor of this system is reduced because there is a downside to go with all the advantages it brings. However, it seems like it's actually easier for us to write this system with full support for slots etc, so a dropdown like you want would be possible - but I think that's probably something best left for X:CE or some future DLC where people can make a choice whether they want to use it or not. Hardcore people obviously will want to have a big and complicated modular system, but we can't assume all of our players have that mentality.
  16. Chris

    Modular Armour System

    I wasn't proposing that you had to individually upgrade each of the Visors - the two courses of action that I see are: You have an engineering project that builds Tactical Visors, and later you unlock another single-use engineering project that upgrades all existing Tactical Visors into Sentinel Visors and replaces the Tactical Visor production engineering project with a Sentinel Visor engineering project. You build the Tactical Visor as normal, and when you unlock the Sentinel Visor you can then build that too and an extra UI button appears so you can equip that. The existing Tactical Visors don't get upgraded; you have to build a new set of Sentinel Visors to replace them and then you can keep the Tactical Visors as spares for the B-team or just sell them off. I imagine your preference for the first solution still stands (it's currently my preference too), but I just wanted to make it clear I wasn't suggesting we had a special engineering project that turned one Tactical Visor into a Sentinel Visor.
  17. Chris

    Xenonauts-2 November Update

    Potentially, not really sure at this stage. I've not heard too many people complaining about performance though - in what part of the game are you experiencing the performance issues?
  18. Chris

    Modular Armour System

    Yes, that's correct. Some items are shared and some are not, for instance the Battlesuit tier item doesn't allow you to equip a Rebreather because it already has a gas-immune enclosed helmet. But the Wolf and the Tactical armour would both share the Rebreather as soon as it is unlocked (and if it were a limited quantity item, they would pull from the same common Rebreather item). As you're delving into the details and probably trying to figure out where the system begins and ends, I'll outline the grey areas I see at the moment. There's two main complexities with the system that I forsee: 1) The same item might have different stats depending on what armour it is equipped on - e.g. the Tactical Visor gives -Armour, so it makes sense that sticking the Tactical Visor on a Battlesuit with high Armour would give a larger -Armour penalty than if you equipped it on the starting Tactical Armour that has a much lower base Armour rating. Problem is I suspect the implementation is going to get really complex if the Tactical Visor is a manufactured limited quantity item and you've effectively got different versions of it for each armour that pull from the same source item. Two solutions: If we can set the item stats on the Armour rather than the item itself, this problem would go away. But that's something I need to discuss with the programmers. It would also mean you couldn't easily view the stats of the item on (say) the Base Stores via a tooltip or in the Xenopedia, because the -Armour value depends on context (unless it was %-based, I guess). One alternative is to not set unique stats per armour, and just accept that putting a Tactical Visor on a Battlesuit gives you neglible disadvantages compared to early-game armour. The other alternative is just to have the modules unlimited in quantity, probably unlocked by a one-off Engineering project. But it'd be cooler to have to actually build those cool new jetpacks you researched one by one. 2) Because there's only one toggle button for each slot, upgrading items becomes difficult if they are limited quantity. Say you build six Tactical Visors and then you research the Sentinel Visor which is an upgraded version; if you don't upgrade all the Tactical Visors into Sentinel Visors you'll lose access to your six Tactical Visors because the toggle button now controls whether you're equipping Sentinel Visors and there's no way to equip the outdated Tactical Visors. The two solutions are: You get a one-off Engineering project that updates all your existing and future Tactical Visors into Sentinel Visors. You add a new button onto the UI that shares a the visor "slot", so you can only have one of the Tactical or Sentinel Visor active at once. This is probably more technically challenging to implement, and there's not much space on the UI so I think this would be a bad idea. I need to get an accurate picture of the implementation complexities from the coders but the simplest implementation is to make all the modules unlimited in quantity, and unlocked by one-off Engineering projects. Whether we go for the more complex implementation depends on how much harder it would be to implement, because this is one of the places where the complexity of the task may increase exponentially with each new gameplay feature we try to add in so what is ideal from a gameplay point of view might end up being so complicated to code and set up that it's just not worth it.
  19. I'll post a link to our plans for the Modular Armour here: https://www.goldhawkinteractive.com/forums/index.php?/topic/20813-modular-armour-system/ I think that is a change that sounds quite small when you just mention the name, but might have a rather large effect on gameplay. As I mentioned in an earlier post I feel like a lot of this discussion comes down to what you consider a "big" gameplay change and for a lot of people I think a few well chosen upgrades such as the Modular Armour in addition to a general refresh of the graphics will be plenty to justify the existence of X2 - but that's a question of individual taste, really.
  20. Indeed, but that's already supported. It's not possible to demolish a building that would leave another building disconnected from the Access Lift so that part of the code doesn't need to change. Also, I probably should rephrase the question - do you see any good gameplay reasons why it should not be allowed? It's definitely more convenient to allow building next to in-construction buildings, but it does mean you'll be able to throw an entire base together very quickly. Does anyone think that'll affect the game in a negative manner? The big complication is actually what happens with the Power system given you need to have the Power capacity required by a building up and running before you start cosntruction on it (which means finishing the Generator).
  21. The release of V9.2 sees a bunch of usability and balance updates to the game (mostly the former). The changelog for V9.2 can be found here and my closing remarks on the previous balance thread can be found here where I answer some of the issues raised in the previous threads. A few things to highlight: The changes to the research tree may not all make much sense, particularly with regards to the armour. You should read our plans for the Modular Armour system as you'll need to understand what we're planning to understand why I've made those changes. I've reduced the money and resource income from the strategy layer quite significantly, and I'd be interested in whether people feel like it has gone too far. Things are definitely much harder! Converted alien weapons are being disabled in the next build. I'm open to arguments for re-enabling them but I'm not convinced there's a valid reason to do so, as I feel like there's already a disproprotionate number of weapons in the game and I don't feel there's niches for all of them. But I'm willing to have my mind changed on that point. Combat Armour is now a starting item and it's default equipment for the Infantry and Assault loadouts. Because all your soldiers start out as Infantry, it means everyone has it - one of the priority changes in the next major build will be to restore the weapon / armour mix to the starting troops so it's not all rifles and combat armour (it can make missions a bit boring). Map variation is definitely a problem in the current build, but unfortunately we probably won't be able to fix that until V10 or V11. Other than that, comments are welcome. I'm planning to play a bit deeper into the game in my next playthrough because my previous set of changes were mostly focused on the first hour or so of gameplay.
  22. It's not just the Access Lift itself, though - once it has finally finished you can then only build four buildings around it. This is particularly an issue if you want to build say three hangars next to each other rather than doing some weird arrangement around the starting lift. It was less of a problem in X1 because the starting building there is 2x2 instead, and has a larger surface area to build from.
  23. OK, with the release of V9.2 I'm going to lock this thread and direct everyone to the new thread here. My closing thoughts on a few of the points raised in this thread: I'm a little reluctant to make too many changes to the alien stats right now, I'll reserve judgement until I play a bit more. Potentially the Brutes could be made a bit meatier, I'll keep an eye out for them. The AI in general is very primitive still and I need to sit down and plan it out. The approach we're taking is for me to create a bunch of small maps with an alien in it, and a combat situation where there is a clear "best" move - and then I'll tell GJ what I expect the alien to do, and he can try to create and balance an AI model so it reacts appropriately in those situations. Hopefully this will ensure we get an appropriately deadly AI. Converted alien weapons are being disabled in the next build. I'm open to arguments for re-enabling them but I'm not convinced there's a valid reason to do so, as I feel like there's already a disproprotionate number of weapons in the game and I don't feel there's niches for all of them. But I'm willing to have my mind changed on that point. Comments noted on Lasers, but I'm going to hold off making any changes to them for now because I've not played a campaign far enough to use them properly myself. The dropship is going to switch back to a Chinook because the 1m raised floor of the new design makes movement annoyingly hard. This will have a bigger troop compartment, and we can freely change the number of soldiers as needed. I don't want to get into a long discussion about maps here, but yeah, they're not finished yet. However if you want a totally realistic-looking map that also works on a square tile grid and gives you a readable battlefield you're probably going to struggle no matter how many resources you throw at it, and where limitations are forced upon us by the medium I'm inclined to favour gameplay mechanics over realism. I'll have a think about the grenades / grenade launcher miss issues.
  24. This is the official thread to discuss the balance of the V9 builds and the overall gameplay experience. Now the air combat is complete we've finally reached the point where I'm going to be doing an extended gameplay test and balance session so please post up particular weapons / aliens / UFOs / etc that feel badly balanced. I'd also be interested to know about areas of the game that seem really unpolished in a way that spoils your gameplay experience, too - I know there are a lot of them but hearing other people's opinions will help me prioritise what I should be fixing up or what content I should be adding. I won't be able to act on everything but really the more feedback I have to consider the better. This could be game systems, it could be particular UI panels looking bad, it could be certain parts of the game being unintuitive or hard to use, etc. Just post it up here. I'm aware the game balance hasn't changed much since V8 so I'll be reading over the comments in the V8 balance thread too. The plan is that we'll be releasing an update in about a week which will include a number of UI improvements, balance improvements and generally just should address some of the issues I find in my gameplay testing.
  25. Oh, random straw poll - do people feel like they should be able to build new base buildings next to buildings that are under contruction? Classic X-Com handled it that way but my instinct is that you should be able to do so, as having to wait for the Access Lift to finish building and then gradually build out from that feels a bit limiting.
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