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Everything posted by Chris

  1. Chris

    Why do we need vehicles?

    You must have needed animated 3d models to generate the 2d sprites for your X1 mod, though?
  2. Please be aware these ideas are only at an early stage of testing, so there's a good chance that they will change substantially during development - assuming they survive at all (we're pretty ruthless when it comes to cutting new features that aren't adding much)! This thread is intended to explain a number of ideas collectively intended to make the Geoscape rather more interesting to play. It was a rather passive experience in the first Xenonauts because all you were doing was reacting to waves of attacking UFOs, and I think it can be made more reactive and strategic. So here's a few ideas I think might help: Starting Relations / UFO Relations: Assume that you start with 100 Relations in each region, and that the game does not give you any Relations for shooting down UFOs - although of course shooting down a UFO does prevent that UFO from inflicting Relations damage (assuming it was on an aggressive mission and not a passive resupply UFO etc). Orbital Bombardment: The first idea is the simplest one: the game opens with an alien space station appearing in orbit above Earth. Every 10 days, the station fires a powerful energy beam and obliterates a city in the region with the highest Relations, causing -20 Relations in that region. Other ideas below provide ways to counterbalance this regular loss (the damage could be lower on easier difficulty settings too). I feel like this raises the stakes of the game. The aliens aren't messing about; the casualties are mounting with every passing week and you have to consistently be making adequate forward progress in order to stop the aliens from bombing your funding regions into submission. Falling behind the invasion curve for any length of time in an X-Com game is effectively game over, so this system ensures that a losing game doesn't drag out for literally months like it could in the first Xenonauts. Technology Proliferation: The first way to gain Relations in the game is to research new technology that is useful to your funding regions - weapons, armour and aircraft. When you research a new tier of these items you will immediately be granted +10 Relations to every region in the game. Local forces soldiers on relevant missions will be equipped with the appropriate weapons / armour 30 days after you have researched them. Aerial terror sites will now include a squadron of friendly local forces interceptors and these will also be upgraded to the new aircraft type 30 days after you've researched it. Signal Uplinks: Each funding region contains between three and five signal uplinks, which are permanent icons on the Geoscape representing a local government with which you can co-ordinate (or possibly their local equivalent of the X-Com program). For $250,000 you can "buy" the signal uplink and gain control over it. This will give you +10 Relations and +$100,000 funding in the local region, and will also add 2 scientists and 2 engineers to the hiring pool. Clearly these uplinks quickly pay for themselves ... assuming you can defend them. Alien bombers can permanently destroy signal uplinks you control (which causes -10 Relations and wipes the funding bonus), and if you lose the region then you also lose all signal uplinks in this region. The eagle-eyed among you will probably recognise this as being very similar to the satellite system from the first XCOM. It failed a little in XCOM because the "satellite rush" was clearly the best strategy, but I think this only happened because there wasn't much of a strategy layer - if you could keep winning your ground missions, there was no penalty to overextending. I actually think it's a much better fit for Xenonauts where you need to be able to protect them with your aircraft to keep the benefits. I like this idea because it's fundamentally quite satisfying to physically expand your organisation across the world, but it potentially opens up new ways to balance the Geoscape base positioning. Right now the most important thing is to cover as much territory as possible with your bases, so also having to take into account the resources contained within those regions could make for more interesting decisions (particularly if we made different uplinks worth different values etc). Infiltrator Assassination Mission: Finally, I want to mention the VIP Assassination missions. These missions involve attacking a military base in the local region to kill or capture an alien infiltrator (a human with control implants) within the base. Capturing the infiltrator alive would award you an experienced soldier, although they need to recover from their brain surgery. I'm not quite sure how we'll tie these into the Geoscape - potentially some of the Signal Uplinks will be blocked by Infiltrators at the start of the game? Anyway, the key thing is that you lose Relations in the local region based on how many innoncent guards you kill. This means you'll want to research decent (ranged) stun weapons before you tackle an Infiltrator mission ... and you'll also want to consider proliferation. If you've just researched a new tier of weapons or armour, you'll probably want to do the Infiltrator missions before the local forces start carrying those shiny new Plasma Rifles you just shared with them. Conclusions: These ideas are all quite nice individually, but I particularly like the way many of them seem to dovetail nicely together. Proliferation is great, but you want to deal with Infiltrators before the locals get their new tech. Building new Uplinks is great, but if you're at 100 Relations in a region you have to consider whether it's better to grab the scientists / engineers / money now and waste the Relations bonus, or wait until the next Orbital Bombardment hits to extract maximum value. There's a bit of push and pull that was lacking in the first game. Of course, these ideas will probably change a lot once we start testing them in the game - but I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts and suggestions on this stuff!
  3. Yeah. While I appreciate your efforts, I honestly wouldn't do any more testing right now - save yourself until the next release (just over a week from now). Too much has changed and the last build was too broken for it to be of much value, unfortunately!
  4. Hmm, that's a very good question. A long time ago we had an X-Com style cover marker system, but we removed it (and it'd struggle with diagonals anyway). So I guess we've just forgotten about it. I'll create a task to add them in.
  5. Hi everyone - we've not released a build for a while, so it's time for another update to tell you what we've been working on and when you can expect to see a new release arrive. Delays & Disruption: The Christmas holidays are always disruptive to a business, but we've also had to spend a lot of time and effort trying to fix the loading bug that starting appearing in the V10 Experimental builds (basically the game would sometimes lock up when starting or loading a game). This has been a very thorny issue, as it's related to how Unity loads the asset bundles it uses to store game objects, so it's controlled by code deep within Unity rather than being anything we have any real control (or even visibility) over. We thought we'd found and fixed the issue on several occasions, but sadly it seems we've only managed to make it happen less frequently. This is an annoying bug, but it's not game-breaking given you can always just restart Xenonauts-2 and it'll probably load fine the second time around. We're therefore going to leave it for now and see if we can get some help from Unity themselves. Anyway, this bug has been a big reason why we've not been putting out many builds recently. New Features / Content: Despite the delays, we've actually done quite a bit to the game since the last public update. The two main features we've been working on are the mechanical units and the modular armour system, but I've also spent some time balancing the strategy layer and doing some of the plot-related writing. The Kickstarter soldiers are now all set up and working, and we're now starting to make a few visual updates to the ground combat missions and it's a short-term priority to add some more mission and map variation; if all goes well we might see some of the new mission types (item recovery / VIP Assassination) appearing in the game. Strategic Balancing / Writing: I'll talk first about what I've been doing. The strategic balancing involved me playing the campaign fighting the air battles but using developer cheats to auto-win the ground combat missions, so it allows me to check that all the UFOs are spawning correctly and functioning in the air combat, the missions are loading up properly and unlocking the appropriate research items, all the research and workshop projects are joined together correctly, and eventually that the final mission can be unlocked and won. It also means I need to ensure the escalating power of the UFOs can be matched by the player's interceptors and their weapons, because I can't progress through the game if I can't shoot down the UFOs. It was literally impossible to shoot down some of the UFOs in the last public build, so this is a good thing I then locked myself in a room for two or three weeks to write a whole bunch of the key research text - projects like Alien Alloys and Alenium that explain the fundamentals of how alien technology works, and then the 8 or so plot-related research projects starting with the Alien Invasion up until the stuff that unlocks Operation Endgame. This is why I've not been on the forums or posting news for a while; I needed to focus on that and once I got it done I had about three weeks of project management stuff to catch up on instead. Anyway, the first draft of those projects is now complete and will be in the next build (of course about two days after having finished the writing, I had a really good new idea for a new game mechanic that would subtly change the setting and require some more rewrites!) Vehicles: I'm pleased to say that mechanical units are now in the game and functional. No doubt there's a whole host of bugs and weird behaviour with them that we'll need to iron out over the coming months, but you can build a MARS in the workshop and equip it with any kind of infantry weapon, then assign it to a dropship and drive it round ground combat maps blasting aliens. It crushes things like the X1 vehicles did, which is fun but still pretty janky - it'll happily smash through solid brick walls but not little tables, and if it tries to go through a door it stops, opens the door and then smashes down the doorframe. All stuff we can fix though. Modular Armour: The modular armour system will hopefully be done in the next few days, but we've been thinking that for weeks now. It's a cool system, but it's a complex one due to all the different combinations of the modules and the way that they need to control the appearance of the soldier both on the strategy layer and (eventually) in the ground combat. Miscellaneous: All the Kickstarter backer soldiers have now been added, along with a large number of the custom portraits - another surprisingly time-consuming job, but it's another task crossed off the list. UFOs on the Geoscape can now have escort craft like they did in X1. We've updated Strategic Operations so they now add scientists / engineers to a hire pool rather than putting them directly into your base, which means Living Capacity checks now work properly and modders can entirely revert to the X1 hiring mechanics if they prefer (this also means we can more easily support splitting personnel by base like in X1 if we want to). We've done a bunch of other smaller things too, but I've already written a massive wall of text so I'll just stop here. Build V11 Plans and Priorities: So for V11 my priority is to get the modular armour finished, and then I want to start spending some time on the ground combat - both in terms of level design / variation, and game balance. After spending a lot of time improving the strategy layer over the past 6+ months I feel like we can now start looking at the game as a complete experience. That said, I'm also looking at a few new Geoscape systems that I'm hoping will mix things up right from the start of the game. I'll throw some threads up on those so you guys can discuss the ideas and give us your views - although these are still at the early stage of testing, so it's far from certain they'll survive! When can you expect V11? I suspect it'll be out on Tuesday February 4th.
  6. I don't think it's worth debating in detail the random chance of getting screwed over by orbital bombardment in theoretical terms; it'll be best just to test it (there's a good chance a test version of it will be in the next release). But from my perspective the fact that the bombardment hits the region with the highest relations means there's very low chance of that happening, as any region that falls below the others in terms of relations just doesn't get hit by orbital bombardment so the chance of being tag-teamed by both the bombardment and the random UFO spawns (which are also not fully random any more) should be very small. But we'll see how it plays out. Yes, signal uplinks could be handled via strategic operations - in fact that's how we're testing them at the moment. I'm not sure it's a good idea to give recruitment benefits based on the level of the soldiers involved because you don't get Colonels etc until towards the end of the game, but there's any number of ways the construction of signal uplinks could be handled if the basic setup proves weak. In the current design if you rush Signal Uplinks then you'll initially be monetarily rich but you'll be wasting the Relations gain, and you're then likely to permanently lose a lot of those Uplinks (i.e. you can't rebuild them) because you can't properly defend them. Again I suspect it'll just come down to testing and fine-tuning over Early Access - assuming we like the overall feel of the system.
  7. Yeah, all this is subject to balancing - but at first glance it seems more likely to me that the effect isn't powerful enough. If you assume no other relations gain or loss, it'd take the orbital bombardment 310 days to reduce six regions from 100 Relations down to 0 Relations. Ten months is a long time in a game like this. Also remember that, ironically, the regions that have taken damage from UFOs are the last ones to get hit by the bombardment (it targets the regions with the highest relations each time).
  8. No, you're right to point this out - it's not working the way I thought it was. I'll have a chat to the coders about it on Monday.
  9. Chris

    Xenonauts-2 January Update

    As promised, I've put up a few ideas for some of the new systems we're experimenting with here:
  10. Yeah, grenade scattering is still crap. This is something we've been planning to look into but haven't had time. There's no perfect solution to it though really, if you use a standard shot scattering calculation for the grenades then they end up being extremely powerful because they don't tend to miss by much and therefore almost always catch the target in the blast radius. Once you start forcing them to miss by more than normal you start getting weird behaviour like we're seeing here ... but I'm sure there's improvements to be made. Alloy starvation is definitely a thing; I might have already fixed it up over Christmas but I can't remember. I'll pay attention to it in the next balance pass.
  11. Chris

    Why do we need vehicles?

    I mean, it's not quite the same as a massive ADVENT tank like in that video, but thankfully we do now have our 1-tile vehicles working in the game and they'll be included in the next build. Larger vehicles would require us to implement pathfinding for multi-tile units ... but that's not necessarily too much work. I'm sort of tempted to put some "proper" 2x2 vehicles into the game once we have the core gameplay working properly.
  12. Chris

    Maximum resolution?

    Hi - sorry for the slow reply. The game should scale much better onto higher resolutions than Xenonauts 1 does, yeah. What were the specific problems you had with X1 at high resolution?
  13. Just to reply to this thread (sorry about not replying earlier) - the air war in the last version of the game wasn't very well balanced at all. My plan was to do a big balance pass along with the hotfixes, which I did - but unfortunately those hotfixes never got released because of the loading bug that derailed our release schedule. So the improved balance never made it into the public builds. I think the killer problem was that all the big ships from the Destroyer onwards had their main weapon set up to be a standard beam rather than a missile, which meant it couldn't be dodged. The result was that Destroyers (and any subsequent UFO) would just one-shot any of your jets at long range, so even if you did bring enough firepower to destroy one the losses you took were so crippling it was unsustainable. I'm not saying the balance will be perfect in V11, but it won't be as bad as this :P
  14. So it's a bit of a trade-off here; the reasons those limitations exist is because the save game file can then use that name on the file system, which makes it easier to find the correct save game when you're searching through a directory and trying to figure out which one to attach to a forum post or bug report. The alternative is to allow the player to enter any name they like for a save game, but have the actual save file have a different name to the name it uses in-game. Not sure that's preferable though?
  15. Chris

    No $$$$$$

    I don't particularly care what nationality money is either (it's not like I'm American myself), which is why I use the symbol for the most globally recognised currency to denote money. Sure, it might get replaced by a symbol before development ends, but that requires hiring a graphic designer to make a special icon - whereas every font contains the $ symbol so it's a very easy thing to use and everyone knows what it means. Yup, the fonts are larger this time around so everything should be much easier to read.
  16. Chris

    Maxim 56, please

    Yeah, the topic of artillery gets brought up quite a lot on these forums and my answer is always the same - I understand that it's logically something any military force would deploy in a major battle against an enemy, but it would completely ruin the gameplay. X-Com and Xenonauts is about small squad combat where risking the lives of your troops is a big part of the thrill of the game; allowing you to shell the aliens with indirect fire would make the battles much less interesting to play.
  17. This is a very small hotfix for the Beta Build V10 that we released on the Experimental Branch yesterday, fixing the broken buttons on the Geoscape (which was a stupid mistake I made when updating the UI). Changelog: The three buttons on the Geoscape (Build New Base, Launch Aircraft, Funding Report) are now functional again. Please continue to report any bugs you encounter in V10!
  18. Hello everyone - hope you all have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year in whatever form you may celebrate it! Although progress on the project has been a little slower than we would have liked over the past month or so, things are still moving forward. The biggest roadblock for recent releases has been this bug on the Experimental branches where the game sometimes freezes up on the loading screen when you try to start a new game. This is obviously quite a serious bug but it has proved rather difficult to track down - and it's now looking like it may be an issue with Unity rather than Xenonauts 2 (it's an issue that occurs when we try to quickly load multiple Asset Bundles at the same time). We're still considering our next move; it's not an easy problem to solve. I've spent most of my time working on writing the research projects in the game, including the plot-related research that drive the game forward. Unfortunately this is something that requires a lot of focus; I can't write effectively if I'm being distracted every ten minutes (this is why I've not spent much time on the forums recently). I've come up with acceptable explanations for fundamental things like Alien Alloys and Alenium, and some of the key alien technologies - if all goes well the next build the early stages of the game will have the first draft of their research text in place rather than just blank space or bullet points! At the same time I've been doing basic testing of the tech tree with regards to the strategy layer. This involves playing the game but using the developer cheats to just auto-win every ground combat without playing it, so it primarily ensures that all the UFOs are spawning correctly and dropping the correct items that unlock the appropriate research which itself unlocks all the correct items and aircraft at the appropriate time. However as I am playing the strategy layer "properly" it has exposed quite a few issues on the Geoscape and in the Air Combat that I've now fixed, e.g. it was previously almost impossible to get beyond the point where Destroyers began appearing (they were just instakilling all your planes at great range), and there were still some missions floating about where powerful aliens were appearing far earlier than they should, etc. The rest of the team have been working on several features that are mostly complete but not yet functional, the biggest two being the Modular Armour system and the support for vehicles (the MARS / ARES one-tile vehicles). The coders responsible for these features are now off on their holidays but both features have already been fully implemented in terms of game logic, and we're now just at the stage where we're fixing bugs and usability problems with them. It's impossible to know how long this process will take with any given feature, so both systems might be in the game and ready to play with a couple of days after we return to work ... or we might still be battling through the bugs a couple of weeks later. Let's hope it's the former! The other thing we've mostly completed is setting up all the Kickstarter backer soldiers and portraits. This is a big task that involves a lot of data processing and quite a lot of code work to hook the properties of the custom soldiers up to the rest of the soldier systems that control "normal" soldiers, but it's mostly done - again we're just working through the bugs (like none of the custom soldiers having faces). I expect this feature will only take a few more hours of work to be completed. To conclude, I expect the early parts of January will mostly involve finishing off all these systems and hooking them up to the research tree while I try to fill in as much of the text as possible. That will form the basis of the next public build, at which point I will start working on testing the game as a whole ... which I suspect is going to involve a lot of map design work!
  19. 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.
  20. Thanks. I've found the offending map now and it'll work correctly in the next update.
  21. In what sense are they bugged - are they not working for you?
  22. Unfortunately this bug isn't actually fixed - I encountered it myself when testing V10.1 so I know it's still occuring. Sadly the current logging we have doesn't give us any info about what is going wrong beyond the loading process having hung for some reason, so we'll have to add more logging and release a new patch. Annoyingly, the bug doesn't seem reproducible. After encountering it myself I restarted the game and then it loaded fine, so I'm really not sure what could have triggered it. If anyone notices a pattern then let us know, otherwise we'll just have to patch in the improved logging and work from there.
  23. Thanks for the report. This is a strange one because the logs don't show any errors - but I believe your account of what happened because a 24% freeze happened to me a few days ago (which at the time I assumed was just an error from switching branches so I didn't look into it further). It's a little difficult to know how to proceed at this point. Does the error go away if you play 1080p windowed rather than fullscreen? I'll be pushing a hotfix tonight for some other issues so perhaps that will somehow fix it too.
  24. Thanks. And those soldiers are definitely in the mission? You can press the hotkeys to access them etc? A save would indeed be quite helpful if you see this happen again.