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Solver

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Solver last won the day on December 1 2021

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  1. I love how you retain this optimism after ten years of full-time gamedev
  2. X:CE had support for this by the way, I liked the concept. Narratively, it said the aliens will repurpose captured bases rather than destroy them. The rules then were, if you lose a base you get a 72 hour timer during which you can send a mission to retake it. If you win, the base is yours again, if you lose (or don't try to recapture) then the base just turns into an alien base. I was perhaps unclear, I know it increases healing to 1.8 HP/h, my point was that this rate becomes relatively less useful as my soldiers get better. Soldiers get more HP, they take more damage and need a longer time to heal 5 months into the game than in the second month. No, auto-completing autopsies still fits fine IMO. With auto autopsies (heh), tying indicators to them would still accomplish the main purpose, a sense of mystery when you first encounter the alien. Getting indicators the second time you fight that alien is fine. There's likely some problem with the numbers being off, which should be simple enough to fix. But if sniper rifles aren't getting this bonus, that suggests to me a better solution could be to make this bonus weapon-dependent. Maybe keep as is for rifles (I think their balance is really good now and high-accuracy troops matter) but make the bonus stronger for shotguns. I really tried to make good use of shotgunners but I can't make them nearly as useful as in X1. Average soldiers can still easily miss from 2-3 tiles away with a shotgun, which of course also exposes them, making shotgun charges a very risky move. Yes, my high-accuracy troops can hit with a shotgun at such close ranges but with 75 accuracy they're better off using a rifle for the extra versatility. If shotguns had a stronger distance bonus than rifles, that could make the shotgun close-in tactic useful while keeping the rest of what you're trying to achieve with this new system. Yeah, you'll probably get there through balance, but right now it's just off - Destroyers and Observers go down to pure-torpedo Angels, and the same loadout works vs fighters and bombers (for a bomber you need a quick rearm and second flight, or a third plane). Torpedo only is the loadout that works against everything I've encountered so far, and the UFO only occasionally scores one hit in return. The idea of changing aircraft speed (and perhaps fuel consumption?) depending on the loadout seems really interesting, that adds a whole new layer to which loadouts work well for a particular purpose. Perhaps even choices like taking off armour plates could become situationally useful. Thanks for the detailed responses Chris - parts of the game are clearly a work in progress but I'm really enjoying most of what I've seen in V23.
  3. Came across a design issue that seems a bit less straightforward. So aliens can attack your secondary bases. That's almost certainly a good thing. The issue is, how are players expected to defend against that? With the weird mechanic of attacks just happening, defence through airpower X1 style isn't option. Just risking the loss of a base isn't an option either - losing a small base sets you back a couple million and loses a lot of strategic advantage. I enjoy games that punish mistakes but even so recognise that losing a base is a huge setback, most players would probably just reload. To defend secondary bases, you need to build defensive facilities. They're good but you still cannot rely on them exclusively because of the risk analysis. Defences could destroy the UFO but if they miss or do partial damage, you lose the base, regardless of whether the UFO took 0% or 99% damage. Then the only right option, strategically, is to station soldiers at every base so that you can run a base defence mission. Here it gets a bit problematic, the idea of having soldiers everywhere makes narrative sense and could be fun but it's not viable in the game's economy. The minimum requirement then is an additional Living Quarters and at least 6-8 soldiers (if counting on missile batteries to do a lot), and even that's risky, you'd really need to ship proper equipment to the soldiers. A squad of privates with ballistics won't do great if defending against Androns and Wraiths. At that point the resource overhead of defending a base becomes huge, you just cannot afford that. I'm not sure what a good solution is here. If the intention is for each base to have a defensive force, that needs significant economy tweaking to be viable. If the intention is to rely on defensive batteries at secondary bases, I think that would not be a satisfying mechanic as it amounts to a periodic die roll that determines whether you lose the base.
  4. Got a bit more gameplay in. I'm curious about reaction fire and doors now. In X1, I remember you were ultimately satisfied with the reaction fire design, which included not firing when opening doors. In X2, it seems to work differently, but there's no mutual surprise rule from xcom? Am I misunderstanding what I'm seeing, or have you changed your mind about reaction fire? Bug/QoL. I had a soldier with a laser machinegun and a laser pistol, and spare laser clips. When the MG ran out of ammo, I managed to reload the MG with the smaller laser clip (5 shots) and so couldn't fire at all. It should be clearer by displaying the right clip above the right weapon. Related QoL: those ammo clips should have a tooltip. With the HEVY for instance, you can carry smoke and explosive reloads but you can't tell which button is which, you have to remember the graphic of each ammo type. QoL: why are base building construction times shown in hours? I don't want to think about 360 hours, the game's in days. Balance: Defender armour is too cheap at 10k per suit. It's basically disposable, and I can easily crank out a suit for everyone even early on. Balance: the accelerated MG upgrade seems fairly useless. It's expensive (100k and 20 alloys) and takes valuable engineering time. MGs rarely hit anyway, they're for suppression, so 20% extra damage isn't worth much, especially not when you get laser weapons soon enough anyway. Related: is it intended that the laser MG only has the big 10-round burst and no lower-TU burst? UI/QoL: the soldier bar should show current armour somewhere (next to HP?). Armour makes a big difference in the game but you currently have to open the soldier's inventory to see it. Bug? Sebillian Brutes can go berserk, which renders them harmless for the turn as they're melee. Everything about air combat now is weird. Turns out the only correct move is to arm all interceptors with torpedoes only. 2 Angels with full torpedo loadouts take out Observers and Destroyers without taking damage, and without you having to do anything, just deploy behind the UFO. You don't even need Alenium torpedoes, the basic ones do it. Also the same loadout works against Fighters that for some reason do not dodge. In X1, you needed Foxtrots for speed - very early on, UFOs would show up (Scouts) that were faster than your starting Condors. Here in X2, I entered the fourth month without encountering a UFO that could outrun Angels, which makes the faster Phantom seem much less important. The Medical Center should perhaps have upgrades to increase the healing rate? It remains static, as far as I can see, which messes with the progression. As my soldiers gain more HP, the base heals at the same 1.8 HP / hour, so if my high-level soldiers get wounded, they're out of action for 3-4 weeks.
  5. Yes, there's a temporary download for it at https://www.goldhawkinteractive.com/xce-035.1.7z
  6. Thanks! Clearly a tooltip would be in order. Yes, the default rifleman layouts are bad, though I understand if they're like that for narrative purposes perhaps. Still annoying to fix them at the start of each campaign - same as in X1. The rifle mags are especially useless. It's rare to reload a ballistic rifle at all and I don't think I've ever come close to needing a second extra mag. I disagree on the grenades though, both smokes and flashbangs are very useful for me. Undecided on current LMG accuracy - the primary use for LMGs is suppression, not damage, but maybe they could use a slight accuracy increase. I also (re)discovered the feature after my post, which made me realise another thing about the system. I raided a Cleaner facility, lost one soldier but picked him up, carried him to the dropship and he survived. Then I realised the game never explains you can do that - not with soldiers, not the more general rule that, if you abort/extract via dropship, you get the items in the landing area back. This mechanic is something every classic x-com player knows but it needs to be explained explicitly. And for soldiers specifically, when you pick them up then the wounded soldier is described as "corpse", which gives the opposite idea if anything, suggesting the soldier is already permanently dead.
  7. Yeah, I also cannot immediately think of a solution that feels right. Chris will know that my recent work is also strategy game design. There, I try to stick with the principle that bad things that happen to the player should be a clear result of the player's actions. Then even if the bad thing cannot be avoided when it happens, you at least know what you did earlier to make it happen. While base attacks are fun, they're still a "bad thing" in-game and just dropping one on top of you doesn't feel right. My best suggestion is to spawn base attack UFOs during a wave, and have them go pretty much straight for the base. Give the player like 2-3 hours to shoot it down, not more. So if your planes are already chasing some other UFO, you don't have enough time. If your planes aren't rearmed, not enough time. Maybe that's a step in the right direction but I'm really not sure.
  8. A few more: I'd recommend reducing the radius of demolition grenades. I love the idea of a handy grenade focused on environmental destruction, as that really makes combat more fun, but such a grenade should IMO be a "let me blow a hole in this wall" tool. Right now it's more like "I want this whole wall gone". It should give you an alternate entry and reduce enemy cover, not leave anyone in a building completely exposed. Came across an abduction site but didn't really understand how the mission differs from a crash site. It played just like a crash site with no UFO. Could be a good opportunity for a mission that focuses on rescuing civilians perhaps? Speaking of civilians, this is probably a known issue, but their AI needs work. Like X1, they should probably run away from aliens instead of wandering randomly, and the armed civilians should be less aggressive. They're now so aggressive that they even run into the UFO and chase aliens down, they end up being more of a hurdle than anything. The text says Warden armour is lighter and stronger than Defender but they're the same weight. Airplanes get rearmed almost instantly, seems to be just minutes of in-game time. I'm quite sure it's unintended because it of course leads to all sorts of problems.
  9. Been quite a while since I played a build of X2. Had some time now to put into a campaign, so here are thoughts on a variety of areas. I'm really enjoying the feel of the game. Even in terms of production value, the game feels well ahead of X1 already, with good tooltips and general maturity. I'm getting a clear feeling that this can be a great sequel to Xenonauts 1, perhaps not radically different but the improvements really add up. Mission variety is already handled a lot better than in X1, and it's very nice to see some inspiration from the Firaxis Xcoms (like Cleaners) yet with a different spin on it. The only thing I don't really enjoy is the air combat - I know I'm about the only one who liked the turn-based air combat of 2 years ago but the current iteration of X2 air combat is just a harder version of X1 air combat at which I already sucked bad enough. Now I need two Angels to kill a Mimic, with both planes taking heavy damage, and it seems like doing better is primarily about twitch reaction to hit pause at the right time and then order rolls or course adjustments. Nothing new, same complaint I had with X1 really. Separate points: QoL: there's no notification when a soldier dies. A dead soldier's selection button should probably have a tooltip reminding you of their name and class. QoL: Infantry and Rifleman default loadouts seem to be the same. There should be a Shield loadout. Text issue: the Hyperdrive research, available early, mentions a Mentarch, possibly before you encounter one. That happened to me at least. QoL: in the aircraft launch dialog, it would be very good to somehow see the plane's loadout. If I have a torpedo Angel and a missile Angel, I'd like to see a tooltip or text reminding me which is which. I'm undecided on having enemy HP clearly indicated. It's probably a good addition to the gameplay but it makes the first meeting with an alien less impactful. I'd suggest enabling HP indicators, per alien race, once you've completed an autopsy. That would make the initial meeting more interesting (you don't know how strong that creature is!), and even make more sense in-universe. For your soldiers (with their combat computers?) to recognize how damaged an alien is, they need a rudimentary understanding of the alien's biology or construction. Missions with alternate rules need to be better explained. I'd go much more explicit with the explanations. For example, the Cleaner intel hub mission where you go capture data sticks. There's two rules - get data sticks from computers, and Cleaners will spawn endlessly. I read the research report but still managed to get it wrong. Many players don't read. I think you can't go wrong with popups (that can be disabled) that very explicitly spell the rules out when the mission starts. Combat balance: I find myself really missing the close-range accuracy bonus of X1. Without it, I get ridiculous stuff like soldiers right next to an alien with a 20% rifle burst hit chance, or a 50% shotgun hit chance. I think the X1 system where accuracy got an extra bonus when super close should return and it was one of the best tweaks to X1 combat - it just makes a lot of sense. Combat balance: not sure if I'm understanding it right but shields seem to always be destroyed in one hit? They were definitely too powerful in X1, but if they really are one-hit only in X2 then I think that's too weak. I don't like that the campaign counts "Day 52" instead of a date. Less obviously clear how long it is until the end of the month and it's just less immersive. I'd understand if the goal were to make an ambiguous timeline but the game's pretty clear about when it begins anyway. QoL: need a notification if a base has unpowered buildings but has enough power capacity to turn them on. QoL: in the navigation bar, it would really make more sense to have Soldiers/Armory adjacent and then have Stores before or after Aircraft. It's not very clear if dismantling alien weapons is good for more than getting alloys or not. An alien magnetic weapon sells for 10k. It dismantles into 2 alloys, which cost 5k each, so there's no benefit economically. If it's only for alloys, it'd be good to somehow make that more clear. QoL: stores screen lets you sell all with Ctrl-click but doesn't have a way to sell 10 at a time. Alien reaction fire can trigger on crouching. Not sure if per design or a bug, but feels a bit weird. Is the "chance to revive" mechanic still there? Doesn't seem so, but I'd like to see it. The gameplay effect was marginal really but it added some very good suspense. I've been a fan of base defence missions ever since Xcom but I still don't feel happy about the forced base attack the game does now. I understand why it's done, we want to avoid players easily shooting down all UFOs before they can attack a base. But it feels jarring and very gamey to me. In a game where everything is tied to Geoscape events, suddenly it throws a base attack at you which just screams "hey we really want this to happen but ran out of better ideas". I'm not sure what a better solution is though. UFOs that go straight for the base so leave little time to respond? Special mention - I love the writing, much as I did in X1. On the one hand it's fairly typical sci-fi stuff, but it strikes a great tone with not taking itself too seriously while also not being silly. It's hilarious at times, I loved the quip about traditional burial of soldiers in their own armour. Will probably continue with some more notes if I manage to play a few more missions!
  10. X:CE always had its own Downloads category, perhaps the categories were not that visible previously. Download links pointing to xenonauts.com are currently down - but they will be restored.
  11. Those are of course good points, but the source isn't public. That's not a decision I ever made, rather it's that Chris chose to release the source to specific people only, if they agree to certain conditions. I started X:CE from there, there was also the possibility of other people doing alternative source builds but that did not happen. If Chris ever decides to make the Xenonauts source code completely public, I'll happily do the same with X:CE code on top. But I don't get to make decisions on Goldhawk's behalf - if you want to see the source be fully public as the ultimate ending to the community coder program, you'd have to talk to Chris!
  12. I imagine others could theoretically pick it up - if Chris approves - but it'd be quite a pain. One of the reasons why I wrapped up X:CE development is that I no longer have a machine capable of building the game. It uses some ancient technology (the engine had been abandoned before Xenonauts even released) and so there's "fun" stuff like it only compiling with MSVC 2008. But if somebody really wants to work on it...
  13. Sorry for the downtime - I only noticed Sunday afternoon, and noticed something spamming the database with queries. I added some monitoring and warnings, and restarted the forums earlier today, and will be keeping an extra close look for the next few days to see if the issue reoccurs.
  14. Those are dead civilian sprites. I guess somehow a dead civilian ended up on a higher level, and visibility to those objects got bugged, so they appear sporadically. That's a new one admittedly, but the game never ceases to surprise!
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