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What is Xenonauts: Community Edition & how do I get it?


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Xenonauts: Community Edition (X:CE) is an unofficial community-made update for Xenonauts, produced by volunteer programmers who have been given access to the source code of the game by the developers of the original game.

The intention is: To enhance and improve the original Xenonauts gameplay experience without fundamentally altering the gameplay, whilst also allowing improved mod integration and offering a larger range of optional game customisation options to those that wish to use them.

X:CE is therefore meant to be an improved version of the original game, including additional bugfixes and various new features that do not fundamentally alter the intended game experience (rather, they just make it play better).

It is also intended to include a number of optional improvements and a more advanced mod loader than the original game. This will make it easier for people to change the game if they want a non-vanilla experience.

A more detailed summary of X:CE and answers to some common questions are in the post below.

Please bear in mind that X:CE is not an official Goldhawk product. It is community owned and community driven, which means Goldhawk cannot be held responsible for the content of the updated game or any bugs it may introduce, nor provide any customer support for it. That too will have to be handled by the volunteers who produced X:CE in the first place.

How do I get it?

If you are on Steam and on Windows, all you need to do is to change to the Community branch:

  • Right click on Xenonauts >>> Properties >>> Betas >>> Community
  • You can revert to the standard official branch at any time by selecting the "NONE" option from the same list.

If you are not on Steam / Windows you will need to install it manually. Download the desired version from the X:CE Release Announcements subforum and follow the install instructions in that thread.

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Community Edition is the ultimate way to experience Xenonauts, while offering players the freedom to disable additional new content and remain extremely close to the official Goldhawk version. The goal of the Community Edition has not been to fundamentally alter the gameplay. Rather, the project has fixed many bugs in the original game, improved the interface, and significantly expanded the possibilities of modding.

X:CE vs. the official game

The official, or "vanilla", version of Xenonauts has also incorporated some of the feature of X:CE. The official patch 1.5 added many X:CE features into the game, and the 1.65 patch was a further addition of critical X:CE features. However, X:CE has more features and fixes than the vanilla games, and is updated more, continuing to enhance the game. There is therefore no advantage to playing the vanilla version instead of X:CE.

New features of X:CE (non-modding)

Community Edition has numerous new features that make gameplay more convenient for all players, bug fixes, and some new features. A selection of optional mods is also bundled with X:CE.

While the X:CE code has well in excess of a thousand commits, making it very hard to provide an exhaustive list of changes, here are some examples of what X:CE accomplishes.

  • Better performance for game loading and most gameplay.
  • Significantly faster alien turns, even on large maps.
  • Better base management screens with, for instance, mousewheel support, sorting by columns, etc.
  • A smoother soldier equipment experience, for example, soldiers in the sick bay remembering their equipment.
  • Many more hotkeys that can be used for various actions in the game.
  • A memorial screen: your Barracks can now also show the list of soldiers who have fallen in the battle against alien scum. Information about their service and last mission lets you better remember their Earth-saving efforts.


Bug fixes

X:CE fixes a large amount of bugs in the vanilla game. These range from minor bugs such as scrollbars appearing when not needed, to serious crash bugs. Many bug fixes relate to game features now working as originally intended by the devs. For instance, quantum radars will correctly detect the target of terror missions, armours with jetpacks will allow floating over water tiles, shields also protecting soldiers standing behind them, and so on.

Smarter AI

The AI is smarter in general, this applies to your soldiers, aliens and civilians. Panicking soldiers will not run directly towards aliens, unarmed civilians will seek out safe areas instead of running around randomly. Alien decision-making is also improved, this applies in particular to special abilities like Wraith teleportation - Wraiths will try to get into your blind spots and attack from there.

It's hard to say whether the smarter AI makes the game more difficult. I would lean towards saying that there is an increase in the difficulty, but a small one. Some changes make the game harder - for instance, a bug fix preventing aliens from occasionally freezing for a turn, or aliens now having a better understanding of when to throw grenades. On the other hand, other AI changes make the game easier - panicking soldiers will usually be safe, local military or armed civilians are less suicidal.

What about gameplay differences? Is X:CE harder than vanilla?                                                                                                  
One of the goals of X:CE is to retain a gameplay experience that is very close to the original vanilla Xenonauts. For this reason, gameplay-affecting mods that are bundled with X:CE are disabled by default, and core X:CE itself takes a very conservative approach to modifying gameplay. However, X:CE does have a few gameplay differences, some introduced explicitly to implement the original design goals of the game, and some other differences simply arise due to fixing bugs present in the game.

Saying whether X:CE is harder than vanilla is difficult. There's no intention to change the difficulty specifically, but of course even small details can potentially affect it. Considering the changes in X:CE, some help the aliens, some help you as the player, so I think the overall difficulty should be almost the same.                                                                                                                                                          
What is it that makes X:CE harder? Primarily it's that the reaction fire mechanic has been enabled when opening doors, that is, aliens can fire at your soldiers when you open a UFO door. This makes it harder to assault some alien positions while being immune to counterfire. Other changes that make X:CE harder include some general improvements to the alien AI (for example, aliens won't decide to just stay out in the open without firing or moving to a better position), and Reapers not being blocked by vehicles anymore.                                                                                                               
What makes X:CE easier then? A bigger individual change is that incendiary items have been reintroduced (they were in the early versions of the game but bugged), and they provide a smoke-like defense against Sebillians, which are immune to normal smoke. In vanilla there's no special defense against Sebillians. Then there are many individually small bug fixes that collectively make the game easier. For example, psionic combat is fixed so that higher Bravery provides the desired defensive effects, and Bravery is easier to gain. Panicking soldiers will generally flee towards safety and not run straight at the aliens. Shields act like mobile cover, protecting the soldier standing behind the shield-bearer as well. Local armed forces act in a less suicidal manner.

On the balance of things then, X:CE shouldn't be particularly harder or easier than the vanilla game.

New modding features

A major component of X:CE is better support for mods. There are dozens of new modding abilities unlocked that give modmakers new possibilities. For this reason, most mods for the game now require X:CE. With the Community Edition, modders can create branching tech trees, base buildings with complex effects, allow retaking of lost continents, create weapons that paralyze enemies or demoralize them, and much more.

A separate thread focuses on modding features.

Extra maps and bundled mods

X:CE bundles some community-produced mods. Those are some of the most popular, highest-rated small mods for Xenonauts. Following the commitment of X:CE to keep gameplay changes minimal, most bundled mods are disabled by default since they affect the game balance or progression.

Of particular note are the map packs, which are enabled by default. Community mappers have created many high-quality maps that are bundled, and there are also hundreds of randomly-generated maps included. This essentially solves the issue of map repetition - if playing the Community Edition with the bundled map packs enabled, you will probably not encounter the same map twice on a single playthrough.


Q: Is X:CE compatible with vanilla saves?

A: X:CE can load saves from vanilla versions of Xenonauts, although ideally you would start a new game.


Q: Is a new version of X:CE compatible with old X:CE saves?

A: Yes, X:CE can load saves from any previous X:CE version. You can update your X:CE in the middle of a game.


Q: Is X:CE compatible with mod X?

A: Almost certainly. Most bigger mods require X:CE in fact. A mod made for some version of X:CE will also work with later versions of X:CE.


Q: What is the best way to get X:CE?

A: See the first post in this thread. By far the best way is if you're using the Steam version of Xenonauts, it lets you skip a manual installation and therefore prevents you from getting the installation wrong. 

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  • 2 years later...
  • 1 year later...
On 8/17/2016 at 9:51 PM, Charon said:

NEVER USE THE MODLOADER DELETE BUTTON, ITS BUGGED AS HELL. Rather delete the mod folder from your mods/... folder directory. If you have a subscribed workshop mod then unsubscribe first then manually delete the folder in your mods/... directory.

But i can delete FR versions of mods, if i don't need them?

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