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  1. Hi everyone, I've been very excited about this game since I read about it over a year ago but put off buying it yet because I wanted to play the finished game and couldn't trust myself with having access to the alpha and latterly the beta. My question is should I give in to the temptation and play the beta now or should I wait patiently for the finished game in all its splendor? GoatFetishBob
  2. I never played the original xcom, I must have missed it in my teens, but I played the UFO After series to death. Anyway, here was my experience in point form as feedback for the devs. I have played the steam build up to March 1980 with 4 bases up and running getting 3 million each month in funding. Things I like 1 Those battleships filled with autons that come out at you in waves, Love it. I kill 30-35 so its a great stand up and hit em fight that ends with victory so I dont have to clear out the ufo. Keeps things varied so each map has differences. 2 The balance at the start of game really gives a great challenge upgrading from M16s to lasers. Annoying things. 1 I once spent real time 30 minutes chasing a wraith around the map that teleported every move. It was farm map so there were many LOS obstacles. Very frustrating. 2 Air is very unbalanced since the big ufos come in 3 months and the better interceptors require a lot of build time and money. The build time is more of a problem. 3 It takes about 2 months to set up a new base properly. 4 The UFOs come in waves of like 12 at a time. Great revenue opportunity, but it means each base needs a lot of interceptors to take advantage of it all. I found it balanced for me well when I had 5 marauders at each base. Modifications I made to make the game more fun for me. 1 Increased the damage for magstorm and plasma blaster fivefold. 2 Reduced the build time for the interceptors to 100 for corsairs and 150 for marauders. 3 Reduced cost to 320 for corsairs and 400 for marauders. 4 Increased base sight range for soldiers to 22. 5 Reduced build time on the armor to 30 days for wolf, 90 days for sentinel. Xenonaut bugs I have noticed 1 When the last enemy on a map was a zombie, I killed it, out came the reaper.. and then it showed mission complete. And I lost points for letting an enemy get away. 2 When selecting a plane to build without an engineer on the project, I went to the geoscope, the money was taken off me, went back to the manufacturing plant, removed the project and no money was refunded. It was gone. 3. When putting on the sentinel armor while having a weapon equipped in the squad screen, the weapon disappears. Usually the weapon might go back to inventory, but in this case it actually disappears and I have to reload and unequip the weapon to equip it. 4 Using the shrike to visit some areas such as terror sites leads to a crash to desktop. I used the maps someone had altered to allow a shrike to land since some maps didn't have proper shrike deploy slots. Later on in the game, I was unable to add more soldiers to the shrike and trying to click on the grayed out shrike button to assign a soldier to it led to a crash to desktop. I had to spend time getting the valkyrie going or rely on the chinook. (I was secretly hoping for a Macross Valkyrie for a cool mech battle but ... yeah) 5 The game would crash to desktop if I tried to transfer a soldier to another base. This led to me having to level up soldiers from scratch at each base, so getting soldiers with 55 TUs to take on a downed battleship - not fun. Weird less important bugs 1 When attacking a downed ufo that severe damage was inflicted on, after the first turn, I win the map! There were no aliens. 2 Healing someone with a medkit counted as an action that aliens could react to with a shot. 3 When deploying with the valkyrie, the deployment phase seems mixed up with the first phase. That led to a nice terror mission opening where the aliens took out 3 of my team members. To get around this, I saved the game after deploying my troops, then I reloaded that game and I was able to take the first move. Recommendations 1 I cannot see the aliens when they are just on the edge of the viewable space during a night mission. I have to wiggle the cursor around the area the alien should be to find it and on that note, when you enter a ufo during night, the ufo interiors go dark when you cant see them (eg when moving soldiers) which does not occur during the day. Pie in the sky recommendations 1 More in game indications of where the story is going. 2 Perhaps you could “retire” soldiers when they reach a certain point and put them into some sort of training academy to give rookies a boost when they hit the field. This would give players a way to get rid of super soldiers and make rookies more effective, keeping players interested in leveling up soldiers in the field. It makes the ground missions more rewarding. 3 Upgrading radar stations to improve detection?
  3. Hello, I've been playing Xenonauts for a while now, but stopped back around November or December to give the developers some time to work out the bugs that kept crashing the game. When I saw it appear on Steam, I figured I'd give it another go. Here are my opinions so far, just shy of one month in on normal. (My memories of the previous build are hazy, feel free to correct me when necessary.) No Jackal body armor to start with: Can't say I'm thrilled with the decision, but it does bring back memories of throwing legions of disposable rookies at the aliens from the first x-com, so I suppose I can work with it. Except for... Decreased capacity of the choppers: (I forget the exact capacity from the previous builds (12 soldiers, or-8/1 maybe?), but I'm pretty sure that it was more than 8 troopers or 6 troopers/1 armored car.) Excuse me?! Part of why I preferred Xenonauts over Enemy Unknown was because you could have enough soldiers on a mission to provide decent overlapping fields of fire, and losing one soldier wouldn't cause an entire flank to cave in. I'm ok with making do with lots of fragile troops on missions, I could accept being limited to a smaller number of armored troops, but being stuck with small squads of unarmored soldiers at the beginning is not acceptable. No starting armored car. I was never a big fan of the early game armored cars, but they did have their uses. (i.e. moblile cover for stun-stick capture teams) I'm not sure that it improves the game to have us spend time and resources to research and manufacture them rather than have them available to purchase. (Now that armored cars drop the already meager squad size down to 6, I don't think I'll use them much at all anymore.) Can't afford 2nd base right away. My previous games always started with me breaking ground on the second base the first month, usually before the first UFO was spotted. You pretty much had to if you wanted any kind of decent global response capabilities (given the limited range of our choppers) by the time the alien terror raids began. I'm trying to save up enough to get Base 2 funded, but given the rate I'm bleeding money replacing armored cars and soldiers I expect the world to be their playground by that point. No cover symbols: There used to be symbols that indicated the level of cover you could expect from a piece of terrain when you moved by it. I've been confused at several points now whether a given piece of terrain blocks line of sight, provides cover, or is just decoration. Better stability: Hasn't crashed once yet. This alone makes it worth coming back to the game, and I want to give my heartfelt gratitude to the developers for fixing the issues that made playing before so aggravating. (If it can make it past month 4 without seizing up I'll be really impressed.) Path of fire display: This is an excellent feature and I'm glad it's included. In addition to providing indications on how much you can expect cover to affect your aim, it gives you an idea how close you're going to be to shooting your teammates in the back. Squadsight is still present: I'd heard rumors people wanted to see it gone, I'm glad to see it's still with us. Considering how short soldier's range of view is, I think squadsight is a necessity. (Besides, the only people that have much hope of hitting at extreme ranges are snipers (who have every right to hit at long range) and machine gunners (who spray so much lead they're bound to hit something. Improved graphics: Maybe it's just me, but the ships look much better than they used to. Also, I have yet to NOT see a civilian due to invisibility, or have an alien corpse remain standing. Those are all the points so far, I'll update as I get farther in. In summary, I like that the game looks great and is a much more stable play, but several changes to recalibrate the difficulty went too far. I'll admit the last version I played may not have been challenging enough in the early game (Going the first 2 months without a KIA doesn't seem right), but the current arrangement is a huge disappointment and I hope a compromise can be reached. (I may start another game on EASY and see how it goes, but my pride really doesn't want to take that hit.)
  4. Hi! Because we are now in Beta stage and on Steam, there is one important issue for me and maybe others - will upcoming new versions be save-compatible? I am asking because Steam updates games automatically (maybe it can be turned off but it's on by default) so save incomparability could we very frustrating for gamers. Also because there will be longer periods of time between updates, gamers could be quite far away in game when new update arrives and automatically destroys their progress.
  5. So Build V18 marks the semi-official beginning of beta on the project. As I stated in the V18 thread, this doesn't mean that the game is finished, but rather that it is possible to play the game from end-to-end and we don't have any more integral features left to code. Instead, our focus has shifted to improving the usability, stability, and tweaking the design to make the game as fun as possible. The community has been of great help in development so far, but it can be of even more help during beta. Previously a lot of "bugs" or complaints people have raised were due to features that we hadn't finished implementing, but the only major missing part of the game at the moment is the updated user interface. Everything else is now fair game to suggest improvements on. I will be creating a special beta sub-forum with threads for: Geoscape Balance discussion Ground Combat Balance discussion Missing animations (where a unit is invisible, displays the wrong animation or appears unarmed when it is definitely shooting at you) Missing text strings (displayed as ####) Missing sounds These will be created fresh with each build, with the old ones put in a sub-forum. This is to ensure that we don't miss things because everyone thinks it is a "known issue" and stops reporting it. A UI issues thread will follow once we've put the new UI in place. Feel free to post general things in that forum. There are absolutely no restrictions on spoilers in that forum, so feel free to post whatever you like in there about advanced aliens or technology and my answers will not have any filters on them. I will probably post a work list soon of features we want to implement in the beta. The biggest one will be the new UI, which we may start to import in V19 as we've now completed 3 of the screens and are working on the fourth...but right now the current UI lets you play the game fine, so it's not holding back the balancing at all.
  6. haven't played since late alpha and had a go just now, LOVIN' IT Cheers Xenomonkeys!!
  7. I just want to say that i love the new x-com EU. I have also played Ufo extraterrestrials gold with all the good mods, really enjoyed that to. I am on the fence about this though. See i dont know if enough content is in it for me to enjoy it. I herd there are not a lot of maps or tech to research yet. As well as being limited on what you can do with your troops. I really just want to know if its worth it to purchase at this time?
  8. I've been playing the beta for a few days now, and I wanted to post some feedback on my experiences with it. I played the alpha for a bit as well, but I didn't get too far due to not wanting to get too much of the game spoiled. Starting with the most important thing first: The Tactical Layer: Squad Size Landing parties currently feel very small, especially in the early game. It doesn't allow for that much flexibility in tactics, and combined with the fact that bringing a vehicle instead of 2 more soldiers is a no-brainer, you really don't have many ways to approach any given problem. From reading the forum I've noticed that reducing it to 8-10-12 is under consideration. I'm hoping you'll consider increasing it as well, to something like 12-16-20, and making a vehicle take 4 soldier slots, so that bringing one is an actual decision, rather than being the best course of action. Maps Overall I think the maps are very well designed, allowing for multiple routes to an objective, and such. Despite this however, they manage to feel very linear. In the majority of the maps I've played, you have the landing craft on one side of the map, and the UFO on the other side. Most of them also don't seem to be very wide, making them feel more like corridors than anything, meaning that despite not knowing where the UFO is, I always know exactly where to look, even if it's the first time I play the map. Difficulty So far I've found ground combat to be incredibly easy and thus unrewarding. While I'm sure a lot of this stems from the AI being unfinished, I believe a lot of it is also a product of the corridor-like map design and low unit cap. I'm currently able to cover most of the map with a line of soldier, leaving very few dark corners for aliens to hide in and flank me from, and the low unit cap means that the alien presence needs to be proportionally low, which limits their options, just like mine are similarly limited. Another thing would be that since the first encounter, I've felt on even footing with the aliens. Assault rifles vs plasma pistols, lasers and armor versus plasma rifles, plasma vs plasma, I was never really playing catch-up, never really that one step behind. I did actually take a bit of a beating at first, but this was mostly because I was still learning how to best use the games features. In fact I still have 4 people on in my 6-man team that have been on every mission so far (meaning they have never even been heavily wounded in combat), which really illustrates how little danger the alien threat actually poses. The Cover System I really like the cover system overall, but it does feel a bit wonky and unintuitive at times. Take this situation for example: One unit is behind a cover that is 2 squares long, aiming at another unit that is not behind cover. The game ignores the first square of cover for the sake of aiming, but the cover in the next square is taken into consideration, even though you wouldn't logically hit it from that position unless you were aiming for it. Another thing would be shooting past several unconnected pieces of cover. From the way game presents it, it seems that each piece of cover is taken into consideration individually, instead of considering how much of the target is obscured by all the pieces of cover between you as a whole. I don't know exactly how the game calculates this however, so I might be wrong about this. Miscellaneous The sight range of your soldiers is pretty low. I'd love to see it increased a bit to allow for longer-range combat. The Reapers feel a bit underpowered in my experience. They'll wreck havoc on your team if they get close, but that doesn't seem to happen much unless they catch you by surprise. Could probably benefit from a small health boost. The Strategic Layer: Research & Development It's currently a bit strange. Research seems to be easily handled by a 15-man team through most of the game. Having autopsies done instantly seems strange as well, basically boiling down to being a damage bonus for meeting a race for the first time, rather than something you'd prioritize when you need it. Manufacturing scales up nicely at first, but suddenly jumps immensely, to the point where you suddenly need to build 3-4 extra workshops to get things done in time. A smoother increase to that point would be nice. Economy Feels a bit strange. Sometimes I'll be scraping by, until the council bails me out. Other times I'll be rolling around in cash, not even sure what to do with it all (though that is not a "problem" I have for very long). One thing is always constant though: I never really seem able to afford building, expanding and outfitting a second base. I'd make an argument for allowing manufacturing to be profitable, but that is already being discussed elsewhere it seems. Miscellaneous Air Combat: Feels pretty balanced, and it's quite fun. Kinda trivial once you get the hang of it, but that is to be expected really. Xenopedia: Love it, looking forward to it being complete. If possible I'd love to have individual pages about each weapon, displaying their stats, TU requirements, firing modes, etc. Especially for alien weapons, so I can better work out if they have any flaws I can exploit. Stats: I'm lacking a general overview of alien activity. It's hard to get an idea about what is going on in the world outside of my radar range. Bugs: Vanishing shots: A weapon will sometimes shoot, but not produce any projectiles. Seems to be related to the weapon running out of ammo while burst-firing. Equipment disappearing: All of a soldiers equipment will occasionally disappear forever. Seems to be related to an injured soldier being fully healed. Item duplication: At one point I was able to duplicate plasma rifles. I got the pop-up that my plasma rifles were done being manufactured. When I entered the manufacturing screen through the button in the pop-up, it still showed 1 still being in production, but 99% complete. I then went over to the soldier loadout screen, and removed a plasma rifle from a soldier that showed 0/10 (or whatever the ammo count is for it) left in the magazine. When I re-added it to the soldiers inventory, my stock of plasma rifles were not reduced, and I was able to remove and re-add it to duplicate as many as I wished. Buzzard armor: Throwing a grenade uses the unarmored sprite. When moving the soldier wearing it will often vanish, but a very large image of him moving will appear somewhere on the screen. The jumping mechanics is wonky, and often doesn't work at all. Fire and smoke will occasionally be visible in unexplored areas. Taking a wounded soldier with you into ground combat will allow you to fully heal his wounds with a medkit. Displayed chance-to-hit a target behind cover seems off. I am able to hit targets displaying 4% hit chance way more often than should be statistically possible. Soldiers that are KIA, and reported as such on the score screen, sometimes seem to show up injured in the medbay. Throughout the game magazines are incorrectly referred to as clips. These are not interchangeable terms (I know this seems like a small issue, but this is what it sounds like when you know the difference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRhGPVYRsOY ). Encountered a door I was unable to enter: With all that being said though, I'm having a blast with the game. It's a lot of fun, even in its current unfinished state. Good luck with the beta, and I hope this wall of text is at least somewhat useful.
  9. Build V18 is our beta candidate. This means that it will be our first beta once all the major issues with it are fixed; so game-stopping bugs or major features that aren't working as intended. Our focus here at Goldhawk in the immediate future will be fixing these issues, and releasing updates to V18 until it is complete enough to be called "beta". Just to clarify, even when V18 reaches beta status, it does not mean that the game is finished. It will be possible to play the game from start to finish, but likely will not be particularly well balanced and it will still contain placeholder art. It just means that that focus of the development team has moved from adding required features to improving the user experience and making the game as fun as possible. Build V18 is at this status: The standalones are available on Desura here (sidebar on the right). Once V18 is confirmed not to have any game-breaking bugs in it, we'll roll it out to the Desura auto-updater too. At the same time, we'll send it off to be ported to Mac / Linux by our porter. In short, we're going to try V18 as a standalone first to see if it works, while leaving V17.91 available for download. So, onto the changes / additions. NEW FEATURES / IMPROVEMENTS: More Maps: We've added about 20 more maps. There will be more added, but there should no longer be any crashes due to missing maps any more and the early game should be nice and varied. Shot Path: When you shoot at a target in the ground combat, the projectile path is now shown along with the stopping chance of intervening obstacles. This should make the factors affecting a shot more obvious. UFO Art: We've now done all the final Landed art for the UFOs, and the Crashed art for all UFOs up to the Landing Ship. One of the later UFOs still needs a painted floor and interior added, which will come in the next update. Crash Site Auto-Generation: To make the early game less reliant on blind luck, there are now two crash sites auto-generated in the first two weeks, a Caesan and a Sebillian Light Scout. Bullet Deviation: Lots of complaints about "unrealistic" bullet deviation over the past few months. We've improved this a bit (let me know if it works better for you), but the main purpose of this fix was actually to stop "miss" shots from having insufficient deviation to actually miss the target and ending up hitting them anyway. "Miss" shots are now unable to hit the target. AI Improvements: There's been some more general AI improvements, but the biggest improvement is to Reapers. They don't mill around uselessly any more, they now properly try and eat civilians / Xenonauts. Final Mission: This has been added in its blocked-out state. You can play it if you want, but personally I'd wait - it's not been balanced and the briefing screen explaining what you're meant to do hasn't yet been added More Research Art: We've added a few more pieces of art to the Xenopedia. There's still plenty of missing images, but it's filling up. Updated fonts: One from the forums: a333 has dived into the horrors of our engines and managed to fix up our fonts so they now display unicode characters, which will allow the game to be translated into other languages. We'll be thinking about what to regarding translation shortly, but it wouldn't be possible at all if he hadn't done that, so that's good news for everyone. BUGFIXES: Light Scout UFOs should no longer spawn without crews. Large props no longer appear black on night missions. Soldier equipment no longer vanishes when the soldier is wounded. Soldier hiring pool being empty bug is now fixed. Geoscape notifications no longer vanish if a crash site times out. Projectile impact sprites are now correctly visible on props and units, rather than just on the ground. Hay bales and crates should no longer appear inside the Chinook. Corvettes should no longer give you millions of dollars (this should actually be fixed now). You can no longer see through the doors of UFOs. Pressing Esc on the Soldier hiring pool window no longer causes a crash. Alien corpses should display correctly in most cases, rather than displaying a Xenonaut corpse. Reaper Autopsy research project has been connected up properly. Sebillian Guards no longer suffer from dwarfism. When you load a save game, the game no longer notifies you about every workshop project you've unlocked. BALANCE CHANGES: This is mostly about the research tree / progression being simplified: Autopsies no longer take up research time (they pop-up automatically after a mission) but no longer give a damage bonus. There is now a single "explosives" research for each tier that unlocks the aircraft heavy missile, the aircraft light missile, the infantry rocket and the infantry grenade. When researched, missiles (aircraft and infantry) and grenades are now available in unlimited quantities. Advanced ammunition no longer costs Alenium, just money. We've removed one of the interceptors from the game, as we had more researchable interceptors than we did weapon tiers and 8 researchable aircraft in all. We've scrapped the Dreadnought UFO - the Battleship is already enormous and we don't realistically think we can make larger in-game maps. If you want to discuss these changes, this is the thread to do it in. Hunter Rocket turret is researchable as soon as you've built the Hunter. Jackal armour now costs $30,000. Corsair requires far less Alien Alloys than before. Advanced aircraft weapons now only improve damage; like-for-like replacements are otherwise identical as you go up through the tiers. This is just to stop air combat getting overcomplex. Laser weapons have had a damage buff because previously they were worse than ballistics. Amount of Alien Alloys per crash site increased somewhat. It is also worth noting what we are still working on for this build and still needs to be added before it can be considered beta: Once the shape of the tech tree is more settled, I'll add the Xenopedia text for projects that do not have it. I'm chopping and changing quite a bit at the moment so it's a bit out of date in places too. We need a "replace" function for the research tree, as when new unlimited weapons are unlocked you still have to manually rearm all your troops / aircraft. If an item is a like-for-like swop with increased damage and unlimited quantity, it should be done automatically. I've been seeing invisible civilians on some terror sites again. I'll try and find that bug and kill it, though repro seems hard. There's a bug where manufactured weapons are duplicated if you drag them to an invalid location in the Solder Equip screen. There's a lot of very aggressive UFOs in the game at the moment. We'll make it so only the Air Superiority alien missions will actively engage your aircraft, as it's happening too much at the moment. Seems some are still getting the launcher startup crash. We'll try to fix this, but there's now a LauncherFix.bat file in the game directory that will run the launcher without a video. If people complain about the launcher crash issue in the meantime, please direct them to that. For comments about our beta plans in general, see this thread.
  10. Hi guys, sorry to be such a noob here, I bought the game yesterday, and if I'm correct it looks like a new build came out today, where do I get that from? Do I need to register my game on the forum somehow? Or has Desura already done it? How do you check which build you have? Thanks in advance!
  11. We've been fairly busy this week (when I say "fairly busy" I mean I've been working till 10 every day) working on the beta candidate build - i.e. the build that will become our first beta when the bugs and obvious flaws in it are ironed out. I was hoping to release it today, but that's not going to happen. Hopefully I'll finish it up over the weekend as it's now mostly balancing and testing work rather than adding more content, but either way it is unlikely Desura will be authorising stuff over Easter. I've posted this thread to let everyone know what is going on, as I've been hinting at beta arriving this weekend so I felt I should let people know for definite what was going on. I'll keep everyone posted with my progress over the weekend; I'm off to see my family next weekend and as I'll be working half-days for just over a week when I do that, I'm not too bothered about working through Easter. In short, we've done quite a bit this week. Aaron has now finished all the landed UFO tiles and we're a few days off getting the interior art for them all done, and we're halfway through doing all the damaged art. The final mission is blocked out and we're testing the special functionality of that at the moment, and I've made a lot of new maps (added another 17 this week) and balance changes and Giovanni has fixed a lot of bugs. Even when stable, our beta will not be super well balanced, will still have some placeholder art it in and it probably won't be brilliant fun at first - but you should be able to play the game from start to finish. That should be in the next few days, and things will only improve from there! Have a good Easter, everyone!
  12. As I wrote in the V17.9 Release thread, there's a bunch of stuff we're working on prior to the beta release. This is not an exhaustive list, but it'll give you some idea of what's going on and why V17.9 is the way that it is: 1) Maps: We've only got enough variation for Light Scout maps at the moment. We'll need about 50 for beta, including Terror Site and Alien Base maps. We may also use some of the tiles from the Soviet Town tileset such as the wooden cabin and rural roads to create a rural Tundra tileset for use in places like Canada and Siberia. Anyway, lack of maps is one of the major reasons why we didn't hit beta this time around. 2) AI: This is improved but needs more work. The code should be finished shortly, then we'll be paying much more attention to specific behaviours. Initially to stop the aliens being obviously stupid (at present some of them don't seem very keen to shoot your troops), then to make them do cool stuff and to differentiate the species. 3) Final Mission: This is blocked out but needs to be mechanically finished (detailed playtesting can happen in beta). 4) UFO Art: We still need to do the final art / layout for the biggest UFO, and then we need to do the damaged versions of all of the UFOs. 5) Overlay Tiles: We need a function to make ground tiles overlay on whatever tiles would appear beneath them. This means we can have the dropships placed anywhere on any map and still have shadows, rather than having the parking lot around them as currently happens. 6) Auto-Crash Site Generation: One of the balance problems in the game is that the UFOs have random behaviour, so it's not possible to guarantee that a player will encounter a UFO in the first two weeks of the game. This makes balancing a nightmare, because a player can be two weeks behind (or ahead) in the research tree through luck. I want a feature to auto-generate a couple of missions. I think this will be limited to two Light Scout crashes in the first 10 days of the game to ensure that the player has access to everything they need to get started, and then an alien base later in the game to ensure a player isn't punished for being too good at the game (it's possible they could be so good at shooting down the UFOs that the aliens can never get a base built, depriving the player of the technology inside). This means that we can increase the time between UFO waves so it's not so overwhelming as it is now, but also not be worried that the player won't be unable to start the tech tree as a result. 7) Hidden Movement Camera: At the moment this isn't showing all the projectiles, which means your guys can be killed without you seeing it. Obviously this needs to change. I think once those things are all sorted, we can go into beta. Yeah, there'll still be a lot of missing assets and plenty of balancing and probably even some new systems to add as a result of feedback - but it should be a game you can play from start to finish and therefore qualifying for the beta tag.
  13. A few people have been asking me if the beta is arriving today as previously planned. Unfortunately, it is not. This has been known for some time, but unless you're a regular forum-goer and read the other announcement threads, perhaps this is not as obvious as it should be. This post is just a short announcement to ensure everyone is aware of this and can easily find the information if they come looking for it. There will be a release either tomorrow or Friday which will contain some new features and the first proper incarnation of the AI model, but it will not be a full beta yet. We'll release a more accurate timeline and details of what still needs to be done (and a revised ETA) along with that build too!
  14. Probably time for another update here. This week I've mostly been working on the level design stuff in preparation to start iterating the maps with the community. I've got three main maps in production with their layout mostly done - one Industrial and one Farm map that can be used for Light Scouts, Scouts and Corvettes plus a small alien base map. These will be the first few maps we'll be iterating. There's a few things holding up their release. Firstly, there's a few annoying issues with the Level Editor we'll need to resolve (should be done today and tomorrow) but will vastly increase the usability of the program when they're finished. Then we need to set levelsetup.xml to control the starting equipment of the Xenonaut troops in the mission too, as this'll be necessary for the small alien base mission. I figure the player should have laser weapons and Wolf armour by the time they encounter bases. Thirdly, we're being held up by the AI. It's not strictly necessary to play the maps, but would add a lot. GJ has been having a few issues with the way the game mechanics work. Apparently it's unusual for a game to have random outcomes in the AI turn; for example in the new XCOM if you save the game and press "End Turn", exactly the same series of events should happen if you loaded the game up a second time and pressed "End Turn" again. The downside of this is that the AI knows in advance whether it is going to kill one of your men or not, and can plan around it. In our system, the AI has to react to whether its own shots get lucky or not, which is difficult. So he's busy with that at the moment. Oh, and I'm playing with the layouts of the new UFOs using the new UFO interior / exterior system that was discussed on the forum. These layouts will be in the new maps for community iteration, but they're blocked out using soil blocks and generic ground tiles. The implementation of this is nearly done. I'll talk about the plans for our iterative testing at the bottom of this post. Next up, our ground combat coder has been working on the Desura file packing stuff. There's good news and bad news. The good news is that it works, and will reduce the Desura files down to a workable level. The bad news is that the game engine is once again causing problems. Essentially, it can only ever support 1.3gb of packed files, so we're not going to be able to pack up all of our spritesheets so we'll still have tens of thousands of files. Our ground combat coder has therefore been working on a tool that lets us filter which files go into the archive and which folders they are drawn from. Basically this just lets us stick the .XML files associated with every spreadsheet and all the ground tiles and associated XML files in the archive, which comes to about 250mb and reduces the files number of the dev version from 120,000 files to about 40,000. We can reduce that still further just by packing up more files into the remaining 1gb of archive space we have, so I think our Desura issues may be a thing of the past. The only complication with this is that you'll likely have to download the standalone if you want access to all the game files for modding purposes, as that won't be packed up. But that's a relatively niche thing, so it shouldn't affect too many people (installing mods is still easy even with the files packed up, don't worry). Excitingly, I also implemented the company's accounting system on Monday. This is basically because I had to do a load of admin to get the payroll set up now Aaron is here and has a salary (I don't have a salary), which means both he and the employer have to a pay a variety of taxes on it. We've also sat down and had a bit more of a think about the new UI for the game. Giovanni is on holiday this week but is in the process of implementing the the new GC UI background, so that should be in the next version. We're also getting the topbar of the current Geoscape UI redone by the same guy to be prettier and easier to use, which will be a prelude to the final upgrades of all of the screen. Next week I'll probably be looking at the research tree in a bit more detail to make sure all the required items for the research tree spawn in the UFOs, and blocking out the sizes and interiors of the larger ones. This should allow the game to be played right the way through. I'll also be finishing up the level design, which neatly leads me onto the iterative testing. Initially I just wanted to do this for the levels, but the more we've thought about it, the more applications it will have. GJ has done some work implementing a server that records gameplay stats, which I'm very interested in. The long game we're working towards is releasing a few ground combat scenarios for public consumption, say 4-5 in all. The purpose of this would be to get some really wide-ranging feedback on the game balance, all of which would be collected automatically. How many aliens were killed and how many soldiers lost in each mission on each difficulty setting would be automatically collected, as well as loads of other stuff we can use to get a picture of whether the missions are too hard or too easy or too long or if some weapons are not properly balanced etc. The most valuable information, though, would be on the AI itself. It's a bit difficult relying just on you forum guys for testing because you're all X-Com (and usually Xenonauts) vets and therefore you'll be better than average at the game. Discovering if an inexperienced player can beat a mission on Normal (and if so, how many troops they generally lose) would be incredibly valuable for us. We're looking into this stuff at the moment. Also, GJ has a few concerns that he might end up making an AI that is just too good at the game to beat, despite them not cheating. I'd be very interested in seeing if that is the case - though I think you underestimate gamers at your peril. It'd be good publicity if they are indeed that good though!
  15. Hey guys. Quick question: What exactly is the difference between Alpha and Beta? Does Alpha still mean it is putting everything together and Beta means all the features/maps/AI/etc are in- just need to work out bugs? Just curious what to expect going into Alpha gameplay vs Beta. Thanks!
  16. First I spent 10 minutes searching for an answer to this question, so I apologize if this is a repost. (I can't believe I'm the only one asking this). So here it goes! Can I preorder the Mac OS version of the game? Is the Mac version available as a beta testing? Side note... I just finished a 14 hour straight marathon playing Fraxis version of Xcom on the Xbox... I enjoyed it but it felt empty, that is not that much depth. Great game and I enjoyed it but I wanted more... I wanted Xenonauts!!! Time to get some sleep thanks for you time. Have a great weekend!!!
  17. This is my attempt at a catchy roadmap to the beta stage of the game, as I think having some kind of overarching structure to how we're working towards completion would help. The idea is that we'll have three more major releases until beta. This isn't three Desura releases total - there'll be plenty of hotfixes and minor patches, I'm sure - but three new release versions. What we're shooting for, hopefully, is to be able to announce our beta at the same time as Firaxis release their new X-Com game (9th October - so about two and a half months). We may not succeed at that, but it's something for us to work towards. For those unfamiliar with our plans, the beta will allow the players to play right through the game from start to finish for the first time. It will contain all the enemies and the full tech tree. Basically, we would be able to release the game in that state and call it finished (although it wouldn't necessarily be a good game). During beta we will continue to polish the experience and improve balance, and will add more maps and probably new terrain tiles and possibly one or two new aliens or enemy abilities etc. But the focus of alpha is to get the game mechanics finished, and the purpose of beta is to make the game enjoyable and fun to play. In order to do this, all the following work must be completed (although which build contains what may be subject to change): Build V13 (29 July) - All dropships fully functional and with all required tiles in the game (though Chinook will be the only one available until beta) - Cover in adjacent tiles to shooter is disregarded from the accuracy calculation, so shooting through windows / over walls is much easier - Final mission can be launched from the Geoscape and loads a unique map with unique victory conditions, though map is placeholder - Three day delay before purchased equipment / personnel arrive at a base - Bleeding wounds system for soldiers - Collapsible buildings are in place, where if you shoot out a certain % of the structural walls on a particular level, all walls on that floor and floors above will be destroyed and units within killed - Soldier medal system has been added as is functional (though no way to display them on the Geoscape yet) - The rate at which soldiers gain rank and attribute points is customisable in gameconfig.xml - A unique weapon that isn't in the alpha is added and functional - The C4 charge is in the game as starting equipment - The Flashbang has been added to the game as starting equipment - Middle East and US Desert ground tiles are all added to the game - Middle East and US Desert buildings are modelled in 3D and the unpainted tiles are in-game - Combat shield code is functional and in-game - All renders for the Xenonaut non-power armours are done (possibly except for the combat shield derivatives) - Xenonaut power armour limited to certain (ie. heavy) weapons - Reaper Zombie model is modelled and textured - Advanced buildings code (upgrades for some of the starting structures) is complete - Alien clips are converted into Alenium after battle, rather than sold - Mac port available - AI coder recruited - 3D modeller to work on tileset-specific civilians and AI soldiers recruited Build V14 (19th August / 26th August) - All Xenonaut and civilian renders complete, including vehicles - 3D base tiles for the Arctic tileset buildings are complete - First batch of new levels from level designer are in place - All weapons on the GC have a melee attack function - Air combat UFO weapons have fire arcs settable in a 360 arc (at the moment they always fire forwards) - Air combat battlefield is larger for larger UFOs - Air combat large UFOs have correspondingly larger hitboxes and interceptors will tail them at an appropriate distance, rather than flying "inside" them - Alien psionic powers coded - Reaper Zombie model rigged, animated and rendered - Terror missions have a red Geoscape icon, Alien Bases have a purple Geoscape icon - All Xenopedia text written - Height level LOS issues fixed - New tileset-specific friendly AI soldiers modelled - Linux port available - Firing accuracy formula takes into account windows and hypervelocity projectiles if the weapon is powerful enough to shoot through them and still hit the target Build Beta V1 (9th October) - Soldier Role assignment and auto-equip system - All aliens rendered and in-game - All UFO exterior tiles in place - Soviet Town buildings complete in 3D - Flamethrower - All "in-construction" images for the aircraft and vehicles - Clicking on two icons on Geoscape near to each other beings up selection menu - Majority of Xenopedia art done - New tileset-specific civilians and AI soldiers rigged, animated and rendered - Final game launcher - AI working to a playable (though not necessarily finished) level - Lots and lots and lots of bugfixes So, that's the vague roadmap to beta. It's missing a few things that I'm yet to work out how we'll slot in, notably the new UI and the tiles for the alien base / Xenonaut base / final mission. Nevertheless, if we can hit those targets then I think we'll be in a valid position to say the game has reached beta. Now it's just a question of making that happen
  18. I discovered a couple of weeks ago that the only space when my friends and I had a suitable time in our calendars to go off on holiday together for a couple of weeks was at the end of this month, specifically the 22nd September to 7th October. As the last time I took time off was December, I'm going to be in Thailand for those two weeks. The observant among you will have noticed an issue - V15 / beta is due on 9th October. Hopefully work will not completely grind to a halt with me being away even if I'm not able (or willing) to make it to an internet cafe, but in any case that sort of time was going to be busy anyway. Aaron, currently our tile artist, joins Goldhawk full time on the 8th and we're also moving into a proper office on that day (or renting a couple of desks in someone else's office, to be exact). There's quite a few admin tasks required for both of those things, plus there's the small matter of the release of XCOM on October 9th. So lots going on. The likelihood of V15 coming out on 9th October is therefore somewhat reduced - or certainly the likelihood of it actually being the full beta on 9th October is reduced, if it does come out then. Because of this, I'm happy to release a cut-down V15 next week - probably about Wednesday (giving me a day before my holidays to fix any massive crash bugs) with most of the progress we've made over the last couple of weeks in it, if people want. The likely features would be: - More sprites (all friendly AI soldier sprites and some more Xenonaut ones) - Arctic, Desert and Middle East Tilesets added (though unfinished, so they're bsaically flat and open at the mo) - Chinook spawn maps for all orientations been added to all tilesets - Can shoot over crouched soldiers - Armour degradation with damage - Vehicles have shadows, plus an explosion when destroyed - Pop-up windows on Geoscape (UFO detected etc) are now draggable - Lightmap is realistic and changes with seasons rather than being static - Burst delay tag for each weapon added, which allows you to set the time between each shot in a burst - Psionic powers now fully implemented with animation and sound (just need the AI to start using them now) - Autoclosing doors (at the end of the turn) have been implemented, which we'll use in UFOs / bases Bugfixes: - Aliens no longer run inside walls and objects, making them hard to find / kill - Ground combat saves now work again - Suppression system for burst fire is now per burst, rather than per bullet - Civilians spawn again - Massive strength gain after battle no longer occurring - Lieutenant and Captain ranks no longer switched - LOS bug caused by standing on a roof fixed up We'd then probably put out V16 around about 9th October, which would be the aggregated progress made by the team while I was away, plus more sprite rendering work and GJ's first major AI release. There's still some way to go before beta even if we hit these goals (which we probably will), but we're making good progress. It also occurs to me that what we initially advertised as "beta" - ie, it's possible to play the feature complete (if not asset complete) game from start to finish - probably wouldn't be a good thing to advertise too much. I think we may need a couple of weeks of sort of alpha-deluxe before we hit beta, because the game will almost certainly be a bit of a broken, unbalanced, buggy mess for the first couple of weeks of "beta". You forumgoers are used to that, but the last thing I want to do is do a big publicity drive and get a load of new customers to try the game and conclude it's terrible. I imagine it'll be markedly better after a few weeks of tweaks and bugfixes. So apologies for the delays, but I think the "Three Builds to Beta" schedule has got us pretty close to where we want to be even if we've not quite hit every milestone in it.
  19. When the beta rolls around, us eager little beavers will have access to far, far more of the game than we have had previously, especally the tech tree when it's "unlocked", as it were, and we see more maps for a lot more UFOs. People have been making Let's Plays of this game since there were playable versions to put on youtube, and I can't imagine that it will be any different when the beta rolls around, but with so much more of th game available, will Lets Plays help or harm sales of the game? From the harm point of view, one of the big "sells" of the game is the research. It's exciting to research new things in the game, to find out new things and get shiny new toys. But that excitement, that "sell" only works once. Once you know what the aliens are doing, why they are doing it and what you can do to stop them, that excitement vanishes. and if you can see all the research in a Let's Play, then why would you need to play the game? From the help point of view, as the ground battles evolve over time to include new aliens and new technology, a well-crafted Let's Play can "show the goods" as it were. Take the ground battles from all the XCOM:EU videos. They really sell the game and make a lot of buzz for it. If someone watching sees a team of 12 dudes stomping around in power armour blasting the beejezus out of bad guys, heck, that's something everyone wants in on! Personally, I think that Let's Plays taken during the beta could both help and harm the game, and I feel we should agree to show off our l33t skills and the game to the very best of our ability, without doing things (like giving away plot) that would involuntarily harm sales of the game.
  20. Hi. Im a huge fan o UFO X-com but only the old ones. Seen the new site and this game looks promising . I have a question. In what state is the game now if a pre-order it? How many hours of gameplay there are? And when it will be finished there will be te posibility of multiplayer? Thanks
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