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  1. Hi, I wanted to buy in the near future Xenonauts, I've seen many video of the game in various youtube channels, I thought it was very well done but I had some questions: 1) I noticed that the first part of the game is always the same: "to use the fighter to drop the UFO on the ground, sending a team to kill all the aliens, develop new technologies." I wanted to ask if another happens throughout the game? Or for all the game you just have to crash the UFO and then go and kill the aliens? 2) You can capture the aliens? I have not seen anything about it ... You can examine, study or query? 3) How many maps has the game? In the video I saw only two, one in the city and one in a farm. 4) The maps are generated randomly? 5) The game has an end? something important happens? or is it always the same routine? All for now, thank you.
  2. Hello everyone, I bought Xenonauts on Desura and I have a couple of questions. The game definitely seems playable but I am not sure there is much to do. is it actually possible to progress through the campaign? How may different types of aliens are there? I have only seen 2 so far. are psi-onics part of the game later on?
  3. Hey There, Played the demo when this was on kickstarted and recently downloaded the full version. I just wanted to find out a few things about the current build (which I have played quite a lot in the last few days). What is the highest level of ship that spawns? Can you shoot down bombers and landers (so you can send the troops in)? Is there a rank higher then capt? Is there any further techs then the demo versions? (heavy plasma, lasers, wolf etc.) Are the corvettes electronics useable, or just not yet? Is there any tech to be gained from the alien bases yet? Is there a more upgraded aircraft? Can you make a laser for your truck, or just not yet? Couldn't find the answers on the forum or around so this may be useful to those that have played a bit
  4. Just a quick question, will all the maps in the final product be preset, or will the game implement random tile generation as in X-Com? If the answer is the former; do we know roughly how many maps the game will contain? Thanks.
  5. 1. How can I secure an UFO? 2. Is it possible to research and manufacture PLASMA RIFLE? (What is needed?) 3. Is it possible to manufacture anything so far? I am just thinking that are not available features right now, I am right?
  6. Hi! I hope this is in the right forum, mods, feel free to move if not. I have not played any build of Xenonauts yet, because I would prefer to wait for a 1.0 release, and a stable Mac version. However, it looks great so far! Great to see a successful indie title! I have played, in order, XCOM: TFTD, UFO: EU, XCOM: Apocalypse, UFO: Aftermath, and most recently, the open-source “UFO: Alien Invasion”, in both the 2.3 version, and the most recent alpha build, as of last week. Therefore I feel qualified to pen a few questions to the dev team, if and when they have the time. First of all, while playing UFO:AI, I noticed that the team have, despite the impressive amount of art assets and interesting ideas, succeeded so far only in creating a totally broken game. This is not intended as a rant on a team which has produced a free game on their own time – more a springboard to explore some central game dynamics and design choices. Of course, everything here is only my own opinion, which may also be a load of rubbish. The primary reason that UFO:AI is broken, is due to the ratio of combat missions to geoscape progression. Because the XCOM series is really two totally different games connected only loosely, as with the Total War series, it may be better to call the combat missions “Game 1” and the the geoscape, base management, and research areas “Game 2”. Therefore, in AI, the ratio of “Game 1” is way out of proportion with “Game 2”. This means that you have to play through dozens of missions before you get even the slightest upgrade to your troops. It becomes a totally pointless grind, with no sense of advancement. I think I must have done well over 30 missions, and I was still stuck on researching a stun rod. In every case, you simply become so bored with it that you quit. The rationale given by the developers, going by their forums, is that so long as some game features remain unimplemented (like psionics), there is no point in trying to balance the game until all elements are in place (?!). This would be the total opposite of my opinion – get the basic balance right first, and then rapidly iterate features… In the classic games, the Game1:Game2 ratio seemed acceptable, though it is a while since I last played them. I usually play only in Standard difficulty, I feel having different skill levels can be a bit of a cheat. Therefore, first question – how is the ratio between advancement in Game1 and Game2 conceived? My preference is for less, but more interesting missions, with a steady progression in Game2 reflected in Game1, so that the gameplay is constantly evolving and does not get boring. (The German writer, Bertolt Brecht, once said: “A movie may be anything, so long as it is not boring!”. I would say this goes double for games) The secondary reason is that in UFO:AI, the enemies are also far too weak, so that combat missions present no challenge. Therefore, the missions are both too frequent, and too easy. They are too easy because: The AI is totally simplistic – aliens, when they see you, simply run towards you firing, maybe lobbing the odd grenade. There is no apparent strategy, even in terms of adopting basic defensive / offensive postures. Therefore, my second question: how are you planning to develop an effective, and varied, AI? Secondly, the Aliens themselves are, from the start, woefully under-equipped and under-strength. There are basically two types – worker aliens, and soldier aliens. Worker aliens are less well armed. Thus it happens that in your first 30-50 missions, the majority of the aliens in a crash site may not even be armed with ranged weapons. Your team easily wipes them out with no casualties. Now, all these variables are easily accessible and can be modded. When I beefed up the starting stats of the aliens, and gave them better default armour/weapons loadouts, the game actually started to become more interesting. It was actually possible to lose one or two men in a mission if you were not careful. However, by this point, I was already bored with the game, due to its lack of destructible scenery and alien variety (there are basically only sectoids or mutons). In conclusion, I feel it is better to have a game that is challenging from the start, and where the game remains challenging, not by just increasing alien stats, but due to an expansion in the variety of aliens you go up against and the development of alien counter-measures to successful early-game tactics. For example, in UFO:EU, you started out fighting only against Sectoids, but moved onto diverse enemies like Chryssalids, those dinosaur tank things, and floaters. Thus you moved from simple soldier versus soldier gameplay, to fighting against tanks, fast melee attack units, and flying units. Then you had to deal with effects of psionic warfare… Or in Apocalypse, the big slug alien (forget the name) exploded when shot, and when it died, a swarm of little baby aliens emerged out of its corpse to attack your soldiers. The point is: the player must keep adjusting his strategy depending on the mix of aliens in a mission, which evolves throughout the game. An example that could be introduced might be stealth aliens in the late game – they are designed to closely resemble (externally) normal humans and blend into crowds. They can only be detected by using a (researchable) scanner, or by shooting them and see if they explode in a cloud of green goo. Their combat idea is to get close to your troops and get sick all over your soldiers face, or fart KO gas, or some such. Therefore the player is given a dilemma – when they see civilians running towards the squad, are they seeking to flee from the aliens, or are they themselves aliens? Ergo, my third question: are you planning to challenging gameplay from the start, and do you intend to have a diverse variety of enemies? A further worry I would have is that of story and what is called “flavor” text. In the original games, if you notice, there is actually not that much text in the UFOpaedia. This is actually a good thing, why? Again, two reasons: One: This is quite obvious in UFO:AI. Instead of concise descriptions of what various facilities or items do, one has a couple of hundred words of preamble, followed by military/technical sounding gibberish, followed by a paragraph of actually pertinent information. This simply wastes the time of the player. Because the gameplay in UFO type games is player-directed, it helps when the information is presented in a neutral, unobtrusive way – the player gets on with creating his own narrative, rather than feeling he is “discovering” one already written for him. This becomes especially obvious and irritating in replays. Two: The more text there is, the greater the chance for bad writing to become more obvious and jarring. In UFO:AI, various “plot” emails or reports on research are in my opinion badly written, because they have a rather melodramatic tone (“This stuff is really scary, commander”), which seems inappropriate for a military bureaucracy. It is hard to write well, so focus on the essential. Therefore, my next question: How do you solve the contradiction of providing an overarching “narrative” with the essentially player-directed nature of the game? I notice that there is a desire to stay faithful to the original, PC-based, nature of the original series, which is well and good. One could, however, do with a certain bit of expansion in certain areas – after all the original two games were produced under tight deadlines and with definite hardware limitations. One aspect that occurred to me while reviewing this was the research aspect of the game. This is an area of the game that is quite simplified and rather generic and that does not totally fit with the theme of the game. Howso? The theme of the Geoscape part of the game is essentially one of developing an economy from one of basic autarkic production to one based on trade and specialization. You start with a simple base, in which all functions are integrated (detection, interception, training, storage, research, production), but due to space restraints, are only available on a low level. As the game progresses, you develop additional bases that focus on each of those attributes to a high level. For example, in a typical late game you may have 5 or 6 bases – one is your command centre, one is research, one is manufacturing, an additional one or two houses interceptors, and so on. You transfer goods between these bases, and sell things to the outside world for more cash. Consider, though, the world of science as presented in XCOM. Scientists are seen as disposable and generic, they can work on anything and be reassigned from investigating the DNA of aliens to working on lasers without missing a beat. Unlike your soldiers, there is no taking care of your best scientists, or choosing who to recruit. They are simply a fixed cost every month. An idea instead would be to divide research into one of three categories: xenobiology, applied materials, and physics. Each scientist available to recruit specializes in one of these fields. Xenobiology covers autopsies, investigation of live specimens, psionics, and other biological stuff. Applied materials covers transformation of theory, or captured items, into usable items and weapons for XCOM. Finally, physics covers investigation of alien craft, materials, and theory. This of course, is only a sketch of the principles, no doubt better / different names could be used. The point is, a xenobiologist is not going to be working on laser theory – it is not his field, anymore than a carpenter can become a surgeon overnight. Therefore, each alien research item is one specific type of research, that can only be researched in a particular type of laboratory – i.e., biolab, materials lab, and physics lab, by qualified personnel. Furthermore, specific scientists could have previous experience that give a bonus to research – for example, one biologist has experience with certain dna-alteration, a physicist has experience with developing nanolasers, whatever. Different countries would have different strengths in scientists, etc. Since scientists are now valuable, they should also be vulnerable – either through base invasion, abduction, or being recalled to their home country if said country is dissatisfied with your progress. I would also note that attempting to make the Game2 part more interesting was attempted by the Gollop brothers in Apocalypse – there, every faction in the game had various preferences you had to be aware of – do you use cyborgs, for example – this makes you popular with one group, and earns you the enmity of the other, or which company do you mostly buy armaments from, etc. The player decides the focus of research and production, and thus creates his own story. One game may focus on overwhelming the aliens with armaments, another player might focus on advanced psionics, etc. It is good to have research trees which are not fully researchable in one game – allowing the player to make meaningful choices, adding to replay value. So, my other question – are you considering expanding any of the other “subgames” in Geoscape mode, which were left in a rather simplistic form in previous games? Finally, my other query would be – how does one explain the strategy of the aliens in a believable way? Consider their behavior. They start out with scout missions and small, weaker craft. They aim to research and infiltrate, rather than outright conquer. But where are they operating from, and why this approach? The only possible answer that makes sense is this: that they are starting from an industrial base, that while high-tech, is at a small scale. In the original UFO, this meant they had a base on Mars, and had to try and expand their civilization to Earth, without being immediately detected. An example could be: the Aliens are a few hundred years technology wise ahead of us. They live in a system say 30 light years from us. With advanced space telescopes they spot our star system, and note a habitable “Goldilocks” planet orbiting the sun. They decide to send a sub-FTL mothership to colonise this star system. It takes 50 years to arrive, and when it does, they note immediately that an intelligent civilization exists on Earth. Rather than risk detection – after all, if their mothership gets too close, those Earthlings might be able to blow it up with a nuclear missile - they hide on the dark side of the moon and send a few small scouts to investigate. When they find out that the natives shoot back, they decide to build up a city base on the moon and start manufacturing bigger ships, more advanced weapons, and breeding more soldiers, while they attempt to infiltrate governments. Of course, this takes time. Their ultimate goal is to become rulers of earth, and integrate Earth biology into their own civilization. They are aggressive because they know us monkeys would never agree to such a thing – we value our identity, they have long since become a “post biological identity” type civilisation. This of course, is an allegory of the forcible conversion of native peoples in the 16th-19th centuries from property systems based on communal ownership, to that of capitalist private property and wage labor, which was totally alien to the culture of these peoples. What is NOT plausible is the following: aliens capable of FTL somehow carry out the same strategy. UFO:AI does this and it makes the plot totally implausible. The reality is: if aliens are capable of FTL, they would simply arrive in a massive battleship(s) and dictate terms. There would be no other reason, save for ones that are massively contrived. Above all – they could threaten immediate destruction of the earth, simply by equipping a few hundred nuclear missiles with FTL drives and jumping them all into the upper atmosphere. There can be literally no defense against FTL-drive equipped aliens. Please do not go down this route. The player needs no “amazing” plot. Just a convincing context. Sorry for the wall of text!
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