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First impressions - build V9

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I've just downloaded Build v9.0 and played it a little (first time I've played Xenonauts but big fan of Xcom). I thought I would share my first impressions (mostly tiny niggles) as I went through each phase. I'm sure most of these have already been reported and I'm not expecting a full blown answer from the dev(s) but hopefully it might give a few pointers on making the game a little easier to use, especially for new players. Oh, and the first few points are real nitpicking so I doubt anyone will pay much attention! :)

I ticked "windowed mode" but it still went to fullscreen.

Restarting the game didn't remember my settings.

Clicking the first ok button had no visual clue that it had been pressed. In today's GUI I would expect visual feedback (ie. show the button being depressed)

ALT-tabbing back to Windows shows a default icon in the toolbar - needs a Xenonauts icon. ALT tabbing back the game is mostly blank until I click somewhere.

Starting a new game - can't select Explanatory Tooltips

Base screen:

Construct new building - the icons on the right are 'squished' compared to those already built - makes it that bit more difficult to tell what's what. I would suggest having the building icon at the bottom (where there's more space) and show it as the mouse hovers (not clicks) over the type of building. This gives an immediate feedback to the player what they are looking at. Perhaps a right-click could take you to the Xenopedia about the building.

Just found some tooltips in the base - they seem very slow to appear. They ought to show more information about what each building does - ie. tell me whether it's worth building something new now. For example:

Stores should show how much is used and available.

Just realised the other tooltips (eg. Labs, Living Quarters) DO show their used/available capacity!

Maintenace Costs:

I assume these are per month? Might be worth stating that.

I don't seem to be able to rename my base.

Starting constructing a few new buildings. Seemed painless enough!

Research screen:

Definitely should have something to research to begin with. Either looking at improving some Earth based weaponry or even just digging out the old archives of the Iceland incident (could just make it available in the Xenopedia).

Workshop screen:

Also nothing can be done - although this matches X-Com so probably not much can be done here. Having said that, I always thought it odd that X-Com could manufacture alien weapons but couldn't build a normal tank or whatever...

Stores screen:

Nothing to see. I assume this will come into play later.

Personell screen:

Start training doesn't seem to work.

Trying to assign another soldier to the Chinook gives no indication it's already full (perhaps just the text showing (8/8) next to the name would be useful)

Soldiers screen:

Initially selected is the unassigned soldiers - seemed odd. I'd suggest selecting the first troop transport craft by default since these are the soldiers I'll first see when we get to the battlescape.

Weapons list wasn't immediately obvious there were more if you scrolled down. A little up/down arrow on the scrollbar might be a good idea.

Carried Weight - should have something to indicate the maximum weight this solder can carry before he starts to be encumbered. I changed weapon and the weight went red (I assume he'll get less Action Points now?)

Just realised all my existing soldiers are already Corporals! Hiring a new Private fixes the Start training button. Hopefully once the tooltips are implemented this would say the reason I couldn't train my soldier.

I've not changed the default equipment as I don't know enough about what's good and what's not.

Vehicles/Aircraft screens - I'll leave these for now.

Back to the Geoscape:

Just noticed it might be good to have a Xenopedia tab in the bases screens rather than having to go back to the Geoscape.

Tick box for "Radar Ranges" is nice - but it should select/deselect when clicking the text too, not only on the checkbox (makes it much easier to hit it)

I've set an F-17 to go to a waypoint and sped up time. Geoscape feels quite sluggish when moving the cursor around and highlighting different areas. Time seems to jump occasionally.

Just realised I can slide the map by dragging. VERY sluggish behaviour here.

I could really do with seeing the fuel level of my F-17. Hovering over it doesn't show it. Clicking it does, but that would get awkward when several things are going on at the same time.

Ah, zooming in shows it! But that would be useful on the zoomed out map too. How about a toggle near the "Radar Ranges" instead?

UFO Detected! Nice, I can select multiple aircraft - but that wasn't obvious from the UI (I already knew about it from the forums). Checkboxes on the left might make it more obvious.

Like X-Com, the planes seem to be flying directly towards the target rather than an intercept course. Seems odd for the best pilots in the world :)

As my planes get closer I want to zoom in a bit more to see how close they are to the UFO. Any reason the zoom stops where it does?

Planes are chasing the UFO all over Asia. The ability to right-click the map and centre on that point would be useful at this point to keep up with things (a la X-Com)

First UFO engagement!

Why can't I zoom out far enough to see the whole play area?

Yay - crash land! Feels like I could do with being told a bit more about what's going on here though. I remember there were key assignments for this screen in the initial Game Options, but I can't remember them. Still, I'll be back on this screen later I'm sure.

Back to Geoscape - trying to intercept the crash site with my Chinook. Awkward to select the crash site because my planes are there (and I can't zoom in as far as I'd like).

The option to choose from multiple similar waypoints (a la X-Com) would be useful here.

Zooming in on the mousewheel seems to zoom in on the centre of the map. It would be far more useful to zoom in on the cursor.

The white text of the intercept planes is almost unreadable over the North African desert (where my base is). It should probably have a dark-ish background.

Just thinking an Options tab (or even a 'Menu' tab) might be useful on the Geoscape screen. Not everyone will know to press Escape!

Just saved, quit and re-loaded. There was no warning about quitting the game (maybe it doesn't bother if you've just saved? But otherwise that could be a very nasty mistake!)

- When loading the buttons only seem to work when I press the lower half of them (like the cursor is being displaying slightly offset). Maybe it's something to do with

selecting Windowed mode? I'm running 1980x1080 resolution. Try non-window mode. Nope, same issue. Aha, just realised it's probably using the top left of the cursor not the middle (as it does in the rest of the screens). Confusing. Personally, I don't like that cursor at all anyway (I find getting the middle of the cursor over my intended location is more awkward than getting an arrow point there - especially when the cursor blends into the background sometimes. What's wrong with a normal arrow anyway? - it would avoid all these issues and be easily customisable)

My first mission:

Initial screen - might be a good idea for a "Start mission" button or something. At first I thought it was still loading but realised I just had to click anywhere! It loaded far quicker than I expected, especially considering the warning message about slow load times :)

The Primary objectives - I assume either one will complete the mission based on what I've read on the forums? It's not obvious from this screen though - I think I would have thought both had to be completed based on this screen alone. Just the word "OR" in between the primary objectives solves this.

Ok - I've got 9 men and a tank. Any reason hotkey "0" can't be used for the tank? Seems odd.

My initial reaction was to try and zoom in with the mousewheel to make it easier to select a soldier.

Tank finds the first alien. Fires a rocket (ok I wasn't actually trying to fire yet, need to get used to the controls!) and kills it! Also just found that CTRL-1 selects the tank.

Some parts of the dropship I can't see the square I'm aiming for. Either need to be able to rotate the camera angle, or change it's angle to be closer to a top-down view or perhaps just show the circle 'through' the dropship (perhaps slightly transparent or something).

I'm going to pretty much ignore the layout of the bottom UI for now since I've seen there's a thread on a revamp for it anyway, so it'll be different in the next release anyway.

When I've currently got the tank selected it's a right PITA to select a soldier at the back of the dropship by clicking on him.

Oh cool - walking through fire actually hurts! :)

Just realised the tank is 3x3 not 2x2, so it doesn't fit down the route I was trying to send it. Well duh!

Definitely need the button from X-Com which says I've finished with this soldier, select the next one and don't choose this soldier again. (Although a feature missing from X-Com was the ability to reset this flag if you find an alien and need all available soliders to try firing at it!)

Aha! The alien ship DOES offer some transparency for the cursor to make it easier to select the square you want. Something similar is needed on the buildings/dropship.

Killed second alien with the tank. Didn't like how I can't tell how many Action Points it will take to fire until AFTER I've found the alien and target him. Unless it changes depending on how far away it is etc? Otherwise I think I prefer the X-Com idea when you can see the AP it takes to fire BEFORE you move your unit.

In any case, mission successful (although possibly because the aliens didn't move as has been reported elsewhere). All in all, very impressive and definitely the most Xcom-like game I've played since X-Com! Can't wait for the final version. I'll play more later and probably follow up my impressions here too, although now I feel I can re-read some of the forum suggestions with more of an idea what they're on about :)

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Like X-Com, the planes seem to be flying directly towards the target rather than an intercept course. Seems odd for the best pilots in the world
Who says they are the best? They are just the craziest. (some might say bravest but I'm stcking with craziest)
Some parts of the dropship I can't see the square I'm aiming for. Either need to be able to rotate the camera angle, or change it's angle to be closer to a top-down view or perhaps just show the circle 'through' the dropship (perhaps slightly transparent or something).

The game is 2D, rotateing wouldn't change the way the walls obscure things. it would just make the map look wierd and make all the soldiers lying down... or stand on their heads if you rotate it 180 degrees.

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Um, actually you could rotate the view despite the 2D aspect. Only 90deg at a time and some of the graphics (like the dropship) would need new pics for each angle, but it would work. I actually would like this and was sort of assuming it was just in the works. Didn't XCom have that?

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Nope the originals had no rotation.

I am pretty sure Xenonauts won't either due to the work of making 4 sets of every terrain tile.

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You could not rotate the map in X-Com: UFO Defense/Enemy Unknown. Supporting rotation would also require way more assets.

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There was definitely no rotation in the original Xcom - or TFTD for that matter. I remember Rollercoaster Tycoon implemented a similar view you could rotate and that worked quite well. But I don't think it's necessary for Xenonauts, but something needs to be done to let you accurately see/move units behind walls. I think the Xcom solution was that the cursor was a cube around the entire selection area, so you could always see which bit you were aiming at. Personally I think that's probably the best solution (I saw another thread about 3-D cursors, that might be worth persuing)

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Would probably be only two views for most objects. Anything against a wall for example wouldn't be seen 'through' the wall in two views. In fact now that I think of it most objects would look fine staying the same as the view rotated (signposts gas tanks etc) and a lot already have different 'views' (pipes, walls etc)

Just trying to remember what game I was thinking of that did this. This is going to haunt me till I remember!

Edited by Patupi

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Interesting points, thanks. There's quite a few minor niggles there that I wasn't aware of or had just become blind to over time. Unfortunately we won't be looking at those until beta as there's still game-critical work to be done first and a new UI should fix a number of these issues up. Maybe have another play in beta and give us your thoughts? This is the sort of thing that'd be really valuable then.

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Incidentally, V9.0 is the first build that's actually been bug free enough for me to continue playing past the first one or two missions. It's a big improvement on the builds up to then.

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