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Chris

Debating Xenonauts 2

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I've got back from a brief holiday and I'm once again considering the options for the next game(s) we release. After some pondering, I've decided Xenonauts 2 might be a possibility.

Xenonauts 2 would be an upgrade on Xenonauts rather than a direct sequel, so would cover the same events. This thread is about the changes you would want to see if we were going to start from scratch - I want to see if I can come up with a design that improves sufficiently over the original game to warrant us actually making it.

Why a remake rather than a sequel?

I've been considering ideas for sequels to Xenonauts for a while. Sadly the tech level of the humans at the end of Xenonauts is so powerful that narratively I don't think there's anywhere we can go that would not take the series into completely different territory (e.g. dealing with a societal collapse caused indirectly by alien technology, fighting aliens across different dimensions, fighting a Skynet-style entity etc).

If we're going in a different direction, we may as well start with an entirely blank slate rather than tenuously tying the game to the events of Xenonauts. We'd get much more freedom that way, so in my mind there's no sense in making a Xenonauts 2 that covers different events.

But what about your other games?

This is just something I'm thinking about - remember we've not made any final decisions yet, and I'm just gathering ideas to see how tempting I can make Xenonauts 2 look as a proposition. It has to be different enough from Xenonauts 1 to work as a standalone game (albeit we may give a discount to people who already bought the original).

Still, it's no secret that we've been working on other game design concepts recently. All of these have been squad-based combat games with split tactical and strategy layers. We've been working on tools and code that will support us making any game of that type - the difference between each design is just the story / setting, the design of the strategy layer, and a handful of specific tactical combat mechanics.

Therefore moving to a new design wouldn't cost us too much in terms of development time (this is why I've been bouncing ideas around so much). Moving to Xenonauts 2 would actually be far easier than developing a new game because we know the first game inside out ... although because we could pretty much develop it on autopilot, we'd probably develop it alongside another squad-based tactics game that would be rather more innovative.

Intended Improvements:

These are the improvements to Xenonauts that I'd like to make in a sequel:

  • Full 3D - We'd make the game in full 3D with a (90-degree) rotatable camera. I'd also want to replace soldier paperdolls and painted screen backgrounds etc on the strategy layer with 3D models.
  • Aliens - I'd like to add some more aliens, rework some of the existing ones mechanically to be more interesting and also redesign them so they look more striking and "alien" in the ground combat.
  • Research / Development - I want to add the concept of 'development' to the research tree, allowing you to continue researching "hub" technologies (like laser weapons etc) to increase their effectiveness if you choose. Choosing whether to improve existing tech or research new stuff should add more choice to the research tree.
  • Destructible UFOs - the UFO outer hulls should be destructible, which means we'll have to redesign them visually too.
  • Vertical Terrain - we should have hills etc in the game, rather than purely flat maps with buildings offering the only verticality.
  • XCOM Cover System - I think the cover system in XCOM was very easy to understand and also integrated 'leaning' in an intuitive way, whereas our cover system was a bit of a mess. I think we'd probably switch to their cover system.
  • Soldier Colour Customisation - I want to redesign the armours so they are more recognisable from silhouette, allowing people to customise their colours of their troops (including having role-specific colour schemes).
  • UI - the existing UI is a bit of a mess, particularly with regards to the strategy layer, so we'd redo that.
  • Air Combat - I'm not sure exactly how I'd redesign this yet, but I think it could do with further improvement.
  • Tutorial - the game should use the Iceland Incident as a playable tutorial that explains the setting and the basic game mechanics.
  • Modding Tools - we've been working on some pretty cool game editors and level editors, so the modding / translation / level creation tools will be much better than in Xenonauts 1 and will handle the "modular mod" stuff automatically.

Two questions - one, would you buy an improved version of Xenonauts again if we made it? Secondly, what annoyed you about the first game and what do you think we should improve?

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-- Full 3D - We'd make the game in full 3D with a (90-degree) rotatable camera. I'd also want to replace soldier paperdolls and painted screen backgrounds etc on the strategy layer with 3D models.

I dont have any problem about doing the game with 3D elements but not sprites. BUT as the game atmosphere of X-Com's, i would rather have this angle of view and this type of art. Maybe i am a bit old for this ages comminity but xcom, baldurs gate, fallout lost their originality after they tried to be 3D.. again a but, i know how you know this feeling, i trust you to not break this atmosphere even with 3D.. Maybe you became the first one..

-- Aliens - I'd like to add some more aliens, rework some of the existing ones mechanically to be more interesting and also redesign them so they look more striking and "alien" in the ground combat.

What was missing at Xenonauts as aliens? Size difference, mostly for melee combat.. not drones only but flesh creatures of a bit more mech designs from both x-com 1-2.. I need to freak out when i see that alien and make panic.. I am happy with all the creatures in xenonauts.. just needs more fearsome ones.. maybe special boss types too..

-- Research / Development - I want to add the concept of 'development' to the research tree, allowing you to continue researching "hub" technologies (like laser weapons etc) to increase their effectiveness if you choose. Choosing whether to improve existing tech or research new stuff should add more choice to the research tree.

As research and manufacture, creating new or updated parts for weapons/armours.. shields, forcefields.. the best example for this the after**** series for use. I didnt see a better research-manufacture-weapon/armour update/creating system. Let us create our weapon.. this is the new trend out there too. If you saw Fallout 4 videos, you will understand me.. "Laser Rifle" is now history, give the pieces and i make my own..

--Destructible UFOs - the UFO outer hulls should be destructible, which means we'll have to redesign them visually too.

Vertical Terrain - we should have hills etc in the game, rather than purely flat maps with buildings offering the only verticality.

Nothing more to say here.

--XCOM Cover System - I think the cover system in XCOM was very easy to understand and also integrated 'leaning' in an intuitive way, whereas our cover system was a bit of a mess. I think we'd probably switch to their cover system.

I am happy with this to be honest. Because at XCOM EU, it's all about being shot or not, you dont have a chance to stay at open or even light cover.. Your system calculates the most coverable object between enemy and you. But XCom EU its only about the cover you stay behind.. And it's simple but i like to calculate % more..

--Soldier Colour Customisation - I want to redesign the armours so they are more recognisable from silhouette, allowing people to customise their colours of their troops (including having role-specific colour schemes).

Cosmetics, i am older for this.. but again a today trend...

--UI - the existing UI is a bit of a mess, particularly with regards to the strategy layer, so we'd redo that.

Your call.. i am happy with it, but always it could be better ofc.

--Air Combat - I'm not sure exactly how I'd redesign this yet, but I think it could do with further improvement.

The system is good. Needs maybe more details. Additional weapon types, armours, armour penetrating, desabling weapons, force shields..

--Modding Tools - we've been working on some pretty cool game editors and level editors, so the modding / translation / level creation tools will be much better than in Xenonauts 1 and will handle the "modular mod" stuff automatically.

At modding, everything should be softcoded and somehow be able to edited. Even it's not at game, there should be door open. For example at Xenonauts.. cant put 2 weapons to vehicles, why? Cant put different ammos, why? can't put my aliens to a special building, why? and like these.. and modding and mapping are totally different. Mapping always can be easier with more better map maker tools. But for moders? Can you give us for example a weapon maker, something we can just play with every stats and abilities and directly add to game, rather then fighting with many files same time? A creature editor, an ufo, an airplane, a base building editor.. mod making would be so enjoyable with those.. with those creators, i can make you an expansion :)..

The worst part of 3D game modding is to add items. At xenonauts i find weapon arts and edit it to put in game but if everything goes 3D at new game, i dont know how to do that.. and i hate to put same thing with different names..

Let's come to what should be there.. Events.. new mission types. Random researches. Random special manufacturer or researchers. To be honest Xenonauts got everything a XCOM fan could have. But as i said some special, random missions.. some unique items.. would make it more colorful and repayable..

I would love to see a remake.. Nobody would bother about it, because Xenonauts was a finished product. After many years, an updated and flawless version would be very welcome.

I was not here at 1. ones development but if you do a second one, i will be here shouting.. :)

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-- Full 3D - We'd make the game in full 3D with a (90-degree) rotatable camera. I'd also want to replace soldier paperdolls and painted screen backgrounds etc on the strategy layer with 3D models.

I couldn't agree more with Drages here. Being a big fan of XCom and Baldur's Gate I think the change to 3D wasn't a good move. Specially when you have "oh my god these sprites are sooo beautiful" like in Baldur's Gate 2. You can imagine my disappointment when I played Neverwinter Nights. So beautiful sprites can be better than plain and simple 3D, and a game like Xenonauts doesn't need to go full fantastic 3D. That being said, 3D could easily solve several limitations, like adding weapons just by giving them their own 3D model, instead of making tons of new soldier sprites holding them.

-- Aliens - I'd like to add some more aliens, rework some of the existing ones mechanically to be more interesting and also redesign them so they look more striking and "alien" in the ground combat.

Some variety just for the sake of it is good. Xenonauts' AI by itself can be varied to allow different races with different combat behaviours and you could improve that. I missed non-standard aliens, like a Celatid-like creature that shoots acid, because you know, Xenonauts armour does protect against chemical attacks. Ahhh and please remove the Harridan's ears, they look like space goblins to me.

-- Research / Development - I want to add the concept of 'development' to the research tree, allowing you to continue researching "hub" technologies (like laser weapons etc) to increase their effectiveness if you choose. Choosing whether to improve existing tech or research new stuff should add more choice to the research tree.

I didn't like the very linear and predictable upgrades for weapons (just more damage), the instant upgrade for aircraft and vehicle weapons while soldier weapons are expensive and take long to manufacture (makes no sense at all), and the several unlimited items. I also think we need more uses for capturing alien tech. Don't make humans able to build everything they research, plasma weapons use graviton emitters, so cold war scientists should be "how the f*** they do that? Well, let's grab the emitters in their weapons and use in ours" and things like that. Much like you did with alien alloys.

--Destructible UFOs - the UFO outer hulls should be destructible, which means we'll have to redesign them visually too.

Vertical Terrain - we should have hills etc in the game, rather than purely flat maps with buildings offering the only verticality.

Yes please. But I don't think you really need to redesign them visually. You can cut the 3D hull and have them as separate tiles, with interior tiles representing machinery and all that. In fact it could be done even with the current game and is something I'd like to try if I don't get buried in another thousand things.

--XCOM Cover System - I think the cover system in XCOM was very easy to understand and also integrated 'leaning' in an intuitive way, whereas our cover system was a bit of a mess. I think we'd probably switch to their cover system.

Yeah, forget fixed % for cover. The alien shoots you, the path for the projectile is determined by accuracy, then you check what is in the path and what isn't. It looked ridiculous having a small rock under my Hyperion block my shot when I was actually hovering.

--Soldier Colour Customisation - I want to redesign the armours so they are more recognisable from silhouette, allowing people to customise their colours of their troops (including having role-specific colour schemes).

Not really necessary, but being able to select colors for things in general could be nice. Modders could create new weapons and use the game's weapons with other colors.

--UI - the existing UI is a bit of a mess, particularly with regards to the strategy layer, so we'd redo that.

Its ok in my opinion. A remake of an old game from a time UIs could be extremely simple or extremely clunky. Its not like I have to click 100 buttons 100 times per minute to be good in this game or memorize 100 hotkeys.

--Air Combat - I'm not sure exactly how I'd redesign this yet, but I think it could do with further improvement.

Again I share Drages' thoughts. The system in itself is good, just think about adding relevant stats such as armour, because giving things more life doesn't work the same way. This opinion works for ground combat objects too, if I'm shooting UFO hulls I'm not supposed to break them with a ballistic pistol, doesn't matter how many bullets I use.

--Modding Tools - we've been working on some pretty cool game editors and level editors, so the modding / translation / level creation tools will be much better than in Xenonauts 1 and will handle the "modular mod" stuff automatically.

That's great! The more you support modding, the more we will produce, and it has the potential to bring more players to the game since they can play it in so many different ways. One of these days I had a conversation with my cousin about making a zombie apocalypse mod for Xenonauts. Why not? We should be able to do that. The coding for the engine should follow a simple rule: "would people try to mod that? They probably would, so let's help them with that". If something can't be made softcoded at least add limited modding support. Let's say softcoding damage types isn't possible, then instead of creating just the types you will use for the game, you include "unuseddamagetype01" up to "unuseddamagetype12" or something like that so modders could rename them and put them to use. These small details make the whole difference when supporting mods.

--Two questions - one, would you buy an improved version of Xenonauts again if we made it? Secondly, what annoyed you about the first game and what do you think we should improve?

Yes, I would buy it, specially if you give me a discount for buying the first one. I can't say anything really annoyed me, I like the game a lot and I'm still learning to mod several things and testing what can and what can't be done. From a pure player's point of view I didn't like the tech and research decisions as I mentioned before, but I can solve those with mods, so that's not a real issue.

How about a tutorial in Roswell? ;) The Iceland incident was with a large ship it seems and we know how it ended, it isn't good for a tutorial.

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Your biggest asset in this game is the setting. One of the fascinating aspects of the cold war was the arms race, the development of weapons were bigger, better and more destructive than what the other guy had. Without this arms race we never would have had the invention of ICBMs, supersonic interceptors and the plot for 1001 spy movies. The results of this arms race were weapon systems that were vastly different for NATO and Soviet powers.

Introduce alien technology and I'm sure governments of the time would react by trying to get that tech and use it for their own purposes. The idea of competing alien hunter groups would be an awesome game mode (perhaps unlockable?).

Different groups could also have different starting equipment and research.

eg.

NATO starts off with agile short range fighters and fast but small capacity transports

Warsaw pact starts off with long range but high damage interceptors and slow but large transports

The tech trees could be different in the way the different cultures apply the alien technology to their military operations and even the way they research. Soviets may research captured aliens faster and create weapons that fire reaper zombie seeds.

Maoist China may develop human guided cruise missiles where the pilot is hardwired in like a harridan and unlock a brainwashing technique to combat psionics. Or boarding torpedoes where an onboard takeover of a large UFO is attempted.

Just some ideas, but this setting is great because people rarely create functional multinational organisations.

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I just have to make this emotional post:

**** YES!!! Go for it, Goldhawk!!!

To serve as placeholder until I get time to wipe my drools and gather my thoughts to write something cohesive.

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Hi all,

I'm just playing Xenonauts for the first time. I am a big fan of the UFO series, played the original 3 ones as well as the Altar Games (After...).

The game I think was the best was Xcom Apocalypse. I know it got pretty mediocre critics mostly because of some bugs and unfinished stuff. But in my opinion it presented the most complete package - you had a whole living city to protect, many organizations that were evolving throughout the game, you had the police and could make some enemies. The strategic part of the game had huge depth, you had your weapon suppliers, the prices were changing or products could be out of stock. You could control all your vehicles when the UFOs invaded, even destroy buildings in the city. And there were many types of UFOs as well as your cars/planes you could buy and later research.

During the combat you had the option to play it turn-based or real-time, which both worked very well. As most of the battles took part in the city, you always had multiple structures with many floors which you could explore to find the aliens. The maps were also a little larger than in Xenonauts and more diverse.

In Apocalypse there were pretty many Alien species with special characteristics (remember the Brainsucker launcher?).

To the end of the game, you would build a large army of advanced planes and invade the alien dimension.

All in all, I really wish someone would make a Xcom-Apocalypse remake. With up-to-date graphics and maybe just some little adjustments / bug fixing. Like I said, to me the single best UFO game with regards to the game-structure and complexity as well as player motivation and entertainment.

Just my idea/wish. If you could consider it...

Anyway, keep up the good work!

D.-nop

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Full 3D - We'd make the game in full 3D with a (90-degree) rotatable camera. I'd also want to replace soldier paperdolls and painted screen backgrounds etc on the strategy layer with 3D models.

Sounds great. But please no first person view in a tactic/strategic game. It can be used to check for gun view perspective, but I don't think that will be necessary as long as the aim/hit calculation is reliable enough.

Aliens - I'd like to add some more aliens, rework some of the existing ones mechanically to be more interesting and also redesign them so they look more striking and "alien" in the ground combat.

I did not have a problem with the aliens in Xenonauts, a “standard alien” exists only in games and movies :). However, other alien races or alien classes would be great. I can also imagine seeing aliens that adapt to the earth atmosphere/gravitation/temperature/whatever, so that aliens encountered before change in abilities, features and armour/weapons without being a new class or type of the alien. Furthermore aliens could adapt to the weapon and tactics you use. If you settle on gas grenades the aliens use gas masks after some time. If you use snipers a lot, they will use smoke launchers. If you use laser weapons, they use reflecting armour.

Class/types can exist too but with adapting aliens you have more diversity of enemies and will have them around a bit longer during the game.

Drages wish for fearsome aliens is valid, but for me “just fearsome looking” aliens will wear off after some time. I was pretty afraid when encountering Reapers, because they are so dangerous to my units. Reapers sounded fearsome, but I have never experienced a lot of there capability; they seldom used the “beam behind, fire, beam away” tactics, what is their most dangerous feature.

Androns were also quite hard to tackle, but luckily they could be destroyed and would not fight further if they were damaged. Imagine an Andron that is shot down loosing its legs and crawls further to attack you, like in the Terminator movies. Man what a horrible situation when fighting those in close proximity.

The Aftershock series had one fearsome alien too: It “shot” a cloud of insect that approached and followed and made a hell of damage. Although it could fire not often, it was pretty much my Nemesis, as I was loosing people often, and whenever I saw it on the map I despaired to go further.

Research / Development - I want to add the concept of 'development' to the research tree, allowing you to continue researching "hub" technologies (like laser weapons etc) to increase their effectiveness if you choose. Choosing whether to improve existing tech or research new stuff should add more choice to the research tree.

The research tree in Xenonauts was pretty boring once you knew what was coming to you, stopped my wish to replay it a bit.

I think a research tree that splits into different branches like the Techtree in the Civilization series would be better, so that you can not achieve anything directly or only to a certain degree. Having different ways of technology allows for different playstyles.

Yes I imagine balancing will be a hard task then, but with my above mentioned adaptability of the aliens, I guess it can be handled.

I agree with SoulFilcher that the cannibalizing of alien technology and weapons to adapt them to humans or updating human technology with theirs would be great way. Actually this can be a whole research tree in itself. Adapting/improving alien weapons and technology for human use instead of analysing and rebuilding form scratch (the other research tree). Both trees can merge after some time, so you get the fancy final design weapon eventually, but with the adapting tree you can focus on other trees as well.

As an engineer I always try to imagine how this research would happen in reality. I am not talking university research here where each and every last bit of the theory is tested and investigated in fine detail. I mean industrial research where you need usable results fast because of money.

So rather than saying “research weapon X” then “technology Y”, you put your resources (money, people and time; yes three different resources) in topics. The topics will be presented with possible outcomes, a time-line, costs (amount and type of resources). Sure, one result will be new brancches of research topics. You as the commander have to decide which way to go. So as an example, researching plasma technology for some time, will bring bonus effects for similar technologies, but not for lets-say force field technology. So if you after some time decide a change of plan, you have to invest a lot, maybe better to go the one way you know more about? That doesn't mean that you can't research everything, but expect to have the results later when splitting research. Maybe the war will be over before the first results will surface, and the one laser weapon could have helped some month before...

Destructible UFOs - the UFO outer hulls should be destructible, which means we'll have to redesign them visually too.

Nothing against what will enhance the tactical ground combat.

But maybe the aliens will counter act that with some defence weapons, reactive armour or whatever.

Vertical Terrain - we should have hills etc in the game, rather than purely flat maps with buildings offering the only verticality.

Oh please yes.

In Apocalypse I definitely liked to search for aliens in tall buildings. However, please no tedious room to room, looking in every corner. You should know with technology or other if there are aliens around when you are in a certain vicinity.

And yes the aliens should do something there, not lurking around watching TV and emptying the refrigerator of the original inhabitants.

XCOM Cover System - I think the cover system in XCOM was very easy to understand and also integrated 'leaning' in an intuitive way, whereas our cover system was a bit of a mess. I think we'd probably switch to their cover system.

OK, but I did not have that much problems with Xenonauts.

Soldier Colour Customisation - I want to redesign the armours so they are more recognisable from silhouette, allowing people to customise their colours of their troops (including having role-specific colour schemes).

Uninteresting like achievements (a cheap excuse for real content) in my eyes. But for modders interesting I guess.

UI - the existing UI is a bit of a mess, particularly with regards to the strategy layer, so we'd redo that.

I did not think it was a mess, maybe a bit clunky. As it was related to the original game, I thought it was OK. Tool-tips and more description would have been handy in the beginning of the game though.

Air Combat - I'm not sure exactly how I'd redesign this yet, but I think it could do with further improvement.

Like the aliens the UFOs should adapt their tactics to the playstyle of the player, I can't remember if kabills of Max_Caines mod did that a bit. Your units should have more abilities, 180° loopingn turns, afterburner, flares, whatever. The time stopping during combat was OK but a bit annoying when close and fast actions required to start/stop within a second.

Tutorial - the game should use the Iceland Incident as a playable tutorial that explains the setting and the basic game mechanics.

Yes please.

Modding Tools - we've been working on some pretty cool game editors and level editors, so the modding / translation / level creation tools will be much better than in Xenonauts 1 and will handle the "modular mod" stuff automatically.

Yes please, always wanted to do maps for GC and UFOs but the editor and the sorting of submaps and items annoyed me a lot. I wanted directories for each type (trees, cars, houses, house props, UFO props and so on). Never could remember where or in what region folder I have seen that one wall type or ground type and scrolling like hell through the directory....

I would definitely buy that game, regardless of refund for having the first one.

And don't bother to repeat the same setting or that it is not a real sequel. Civilization is the same game since forever (played Civ 1 on my Amiga 500) And love to play the current version. One game that doesn’t get old, forever replayability.

What I did not like in Xenonauts?

- The short ending!!

- Bugs in GC

- Money shortage. Always thought it is a lame idea to limit advancing the game with a setting like this. Come on, the Xenonauts were established to fight aliens, and then they have money shortage? Maybe at the beginning as it was unclear what the aliens where up to, but after some terror missions, abductions, and what-else it should be clear that it is necessary to do something against them.

- Loosing nations due to the money shortage.

- Repetitive maps (over and over and over again)

- The cold war atmosphere did not come through for me.

Possible improvements?

- Missions (like everything what drages said)

- Research tree overhaul and adapting aliens like mentioned above (PM me if you want, I have a lot ideas for this)

- More maps

- Some special tactics for GC (calling reinforcements, air strikes, ammo drops, whatever).

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Awesome. I was thinking a good idea for a Xenonauts type game is one where the Elite of the world have taken the alien technology and are using it to their own wickedness pushing to depopulate and enslave the world by using robots to kill and police humanity. Also in order for the Elite to live forever they have put themselves into some deep underground unknown base into deep hyper sleep and cowardly use certain synthetic androids as avatars to exist through by transferring their consciousness remotely. The resistance in the game will be Xenonauts who were disbanded then came together to fight this Elite menace. It doesn't necessarily have to involve aliens invading but our own misguided Elitists wanting to seize control by any means and live forever through androids. The goal would be to fight off the Elitists attacks, find their main base and give them a rude awakening.

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I am all for the intended improvements.

But instead of just redoing the game why not take it from the aliens perspective. Really want to play the aliens terrorising planet earth.

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We'd like to keep any sequel following pretty much the same events and plot as the first game (for the reasons stated in the first post), so really we're looking for suggestions specific to Xenonauts here rather than possible alternative concepts for a sequel.

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Two questions - one, would you buy an improved version of Xenonauts again if we made it?

I'd definitely buy it, or if it were to go the Kickstarter route, back it to at least the same level as before.

Secondly, what annoyed you about the first game and what do you think we should improve?

Probably just seeing how much that early engine decision hamstrung the game and made lots of other things so difficult. If you were free of that... then you must have simply loads of things you'd like to change.

Intended Improvements:

These are the improvements to Xenonauts that I'd like to make in a sequel:

•Full 3D - We'd make the game in full 3D with a (90-degree) rotatable camera. I'd also want to replace soldier paperdolls and painted screen backgrounds etc on the strategy layer with 3D models.

As someone has noted, there's an atmosphere around the original games. But since you know that, so I'm sure you'd know what you're after there.

•Aliens - I'd like to add some more aliens, rework some of the existing ones mechanically to be more interesting and also redesign them so they look more striking and "alien" in the ground combat.

I grew to quite like them. It's going to be really tough to top the X-Com greys and Chryssalids. But you had decent stand ins. A bit more oomph in their execution, losing the star trek outfits although it was nice pretending they were Wesley Crusher before opening fire:) etc. Perhaps not being able to use their weapons - leading into a more "believable" reverse engineered look for Xeno-weapons?

•Research / Development - I want to add the concept of 'development' to the research tree, allowing you to continue researching "hub" technologies (like laser weapons etc) to increase their effectiveness if you choose. Choosing whether to improve existing tech or research new stuff should add more choice to the research tree.

Losing the linearity of this would be good, and the hub idea opening up multiple further channels is a good start. I'm sure the economy and all the instantly appearing stuff could be looked at too.

•Destructible UFOs - the UFO outer hulls should be destructible, which means we'll have to redesign them visually too.

Yup, and also for the tactical changes blasted hulls made in the original.

•Vertical Terrain - we should have hills etc in the game, rather than purely flat maps with buildings offering the only verticality.

Definitely. A better tactical landscape offers all sorts of possibilities.

•XCOM Cover System - I think the cover system in XCOM was very easy to understand and also integrated 'leaning' in an intuitive way, whereas our cover system was a bit of a mess. I think we'd probably switch to their cover system.

•Soldier Colour Customisation - I want to redesign the armours so they are more recognisable from silhouette, allowing people to customise their colours of their troops (including having role-specific colour schemes).

A relook at stats, skills, training, roles and customisation would be great in addition to the customisation. Having the ability to note memorable actions/mission notes for each would be nice too.

UI - the existing UI is a bit of a mess, particularly with regards to the strategy layer, so we'd redo that.

I was generally OK with it, but there's always room for improvement in everything.

•Air Combat - I'm not sure exactly how I'd redesign this yet, but I think it could do with further improvement.

I ended up really liking this. It still stands out...probably more than it was possibly intended to.

•Tutorial - the game should use the Iceland Incident as a playable tutorial that explains the setting and the basic game mechanics.

There's also the possibility of having a couple of things appear alter, depending on how you do in the tutorial. Certain personnel perhaps appearing later.

•Modding Tools - we've been working on some pretty cool game editors and level editors, so the modding / translation / level creation tools will be much better than in Xenonauts 1 and will handle the "modular mod" stuff automatically.

Always great to have.

Other thoughts

An more immersive cold war experience where countries shift allegiances, not only against the alien threat, but against each other would add another layer to the game. Tying resources/r&d to certain countries/ regions would be good too. Making the world part of the game, rather than just an interesting backdrop would make it a more memorable experience.

Additional mission types, even if it's an increased number of secondary mission objectives.

A motion scanner, sentry gun and a Reaper Hive :)

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I'm all for a sequel/remake.

What I would want (and granted mods definitely helped in this area) are more maps/variation and a slower but larger progression in terms of adapting technologies. For example maybe be able to make modifications to existing aircraft rather than purely have to build new craft, at least in the early stages. I would like to feel like I'm still cobbling together alien technology for human purposes.

Maybe more options with land vehicles as well: Troop transport, mobile medical station, sensors/IR, calling in tactical strikes? Just throwing ideas out.

I love Xenonauts and I trust you'd do something great. Glad to hear you're considering another iteration on the game!

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Xenonauts: remake? Sure, why not? You know what you did wrong, you know what you did right, you could make this the definitative version. Only issue I immediately see that you'd have to make sure that fans of the game don't feel they been made to buy the same game twice. I feel that people would be happier about a sequel than they would be about a straight-up remake "So why did I spent $20 on this game again?".

One of the big things that you express unhappiness in the art book about is not making use of the setting. If you decide from the many ideas bouncing around your head to remake Xenonauts, then this time around please make use of the setting! How you want to use a world at war which is already a world at cold war is ultimately your choice, but the two Great Powers of the time had their fingers in EVERY pie, every country, every conflict, every technology, every ideology. The feeling of Us and Them was tremendously polarising, and I'd like to see that in the game.

This means adding political ramifications to the decisions that you make in the game, in a similar way to games like Last Federation. Doing something as simple as where you put a base would have a tremendous emotional impact "Comrade Commander, why have you put your second base in the heart of the Imperialist Capitalists? Is our money not good enough for you?", perhaps adding some kind of 4X-like diplomacy and negotiation to the the game "Gee, you sure ran quickly to help those commies, leavin' us to do the work ourselves. We'll remember that next time you need some money!". Perhaps you might want to make Xenonauts the tip of the spear, rather than the tip, head and shaft! It may be possible to simulate a world at war which is fighting but ultimately loosing, I mean, the Cold War saw every country invovled in it spend a tremendously disproportionate amount of the GDP on arms, so when the aliens invade they get to use those arms they spent so much money on. There's a game called Heavy Gear where on a fictional planet two super-states gear up for a war they never fight because they get invaded by a third interplanetary force and they spend most of the war materiel they had been building up on repelling the invader. This is a similar situation, where both sides stockpile for a super-war that doesn't happen but always seems to be on the verge of happening.

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Why a remake rather than a sequel?

I've been considering ideas for sequels to Xenonauts for a while. Sadly the tech level of the humans at the end of Xenonauts is so powerful that narratively I don't think there's anywhere we can go that would not take the series into completely different territory (e.g. dealing with a societal collapse caused indirectly by alien technology, fighting aliens across different dimensions, fighting a Skynet-style entity etc).

If we're going in a different direction, we may as well start with an entirely blank slate rather than tenuously tying the game to the events of Xenonauts. We'd get much more freedom that way, so in my mind there's no sense in making a Xenonauts 2 that covers different events.

A sequel is a bad idea, for the reasons you stated. Part of the fun in this type of game is starting with conventional, relatively weak/weaker weapons and then improving over time until your force is full of badassedness (a new word!).

I would like to see some innovation in a remake though - possibly exploring different avenues for the aliens or location of the game. Living ships like Moia from Farscape or the Wraith Hive ships from Stargate. Although in saying this I liked how the aliens were similar in some ways to the original X-Com but there were enough differences to feel unique and not copied.

I'm rambling on now but mentioning Stargate... some kind of Xcom/Stargate mash up would be awesome I think.

But what about your other games?

This is just something I'm thinking about - remember we've not made any final decisions yet, and I'm just gathering ideas to see how tempting I can make Xenonauts 2 look as a proposition. It has to be different enough from Xenonauts 1 to work as a standalone game (albeit we may give a discount to people who already bought the original).

Still, it's no secret that we've been working on other game design concepts recently. All of these have been squad-based combat games with split tactical and strategy layers. We've been working on tools and code that will support us making any game of that type - the difference between each design is just the story / setting, the design of the strategy layer, and a handful of specific tactical combat mechanics.

Therefore moving to a new design wouldn't cost us too much in terms of development time (this is why I've been bouncing ideas around so much). Moving to Xenonauts 2 would actually be far easier than developing a new game because we know the first game inside out ... although because we could pretty much develop it on autopilot, we'd probably develop it alongside another squad-based tactics game that would be rather more innovative.

Again, as I mentioned above, I would prefer some innovation than just a pure remake of Xenonaughts 2.

Intended Improvements:

These are the improvements to Xenonauts that I'd like to make in a sequel:

  • Full 3D - We'd make the game in full 3D with a (90-degree) rotatable camera. I'd also want to replace soldier paperdolls and painted screen backgrounds etc on the strategy layer with 3D models.
    Like several over posters have said - many games that weren't originally 3D but had sequels in 3D lost some of their charm. I don't think it's just nostalgia talking either. I know some people would like a rotatable map - maybe that's a good middle ground?
  • Aliens - I'd like to add some more aliens, rework some of the existing ones mechanically to be more interesting and also redesign them so they look more striking and "alien" in the ground combat.
    More striking/alien is good. I'm a little worried that it won't feel like XCom (if the aliens are too different) but you guys seem to have a good grasp on what makes an xcom game so I'd like to see some unique stuff if you can pull it off.
  • Research / Development - I want to add the concept of 'development' to the research tree, allowing you to continue researching "hub" technologies (like laser weapons etc) to increase their effectiveness if you choose. Choosing whether to improve existing tech or research new stuff should add more choice to the research tree.
    More options = more ways to play + replayability so thumbs up :) Maybe certain parts of the tech tree only unlock after you've researched hub technologies a certain number of times etc.
  • Destructible UFOs - the UFO outer hulls should be destructible, which means we'll have to redesign them visually too.
    For a new game I would like to see completely new UFO's as mentioned above. Interesting and unique UFO's would be very fun (read deadly!). Automated defences? Living ships? Shields still active (especially if UFO is undamaged) - you'd have to kill an alien who was outside the UFO and hope they were carrying something that would deactivate the shields. You might even have to abort the mission with the device in tow, research it and how to use it so that you could actually enter the UFO in subsequent missions.

  • Vertical Terrain - we should have hills etc in the game, rather than purely flat maps with buildings offering the only verticality.
    Thumbs up
  • XCOM Cover System - I think the cover system in XCOM was very easy to understand and also integrated 'leaning' in an intuitive way, whereas our cover system was a bit of a mess. I think we'd probably switch to their cover system.
    The only issue with the cover system in Xenonaughts is how the calculation for multiple "covers" are worked out.
  • Soldier Colour Customisation - I want to redesign the armours so they are more recognisable from silhouette, allowing people to customise their colours of their troops (including having role-specific colour schemes).
    Would like to see this very much. Maybe individual colouring for each unit? I'm an older gamer as some previous posters so it's not just a younger thing.
  • UI - the existing UI is a bit of a mess, particularly with regards to the strategy layer, so we'd redo that.
    Honestly it's not bad imo. It was close enough to Xcom to play fine. For some reason, the second time I played Xenonaughts (after a longish break) I couldnt find where the "Build new base" key was for 10 minutes or so lol.
  • Air Combat - I'm not sure exactly how I'd redesign this yet, but I think it could do with further improvement.
    Turn based? ;) Just an idea. I can't really think of anything else to add.
  • Tutorial - the game should use the Iceland Incident as a playable tutorial that explains the setting and the basic game mechanics.
    A dlc for original Xenonaughts yes.
  • Modding Tools - we've been working on some pretty cool game editors and level editors, so the modding / translation / level creation tools will be much better than in Xenonauts 1 and will handle the "modular mod" stuff automatically.
    Great!

Two questions - one, would you buy an improved version of Xenonauts again if we made it? Secondly, what annoyed you about the first game and what do you think we should improve?

It depends on how "Improved" it was. I would want more of a unique experience than another upgrade of Xcom. I wanted an upgrade of Xcom, and Xenonaughts gave me that.

I can't really think of anything that annoyed me about Xenonaughts. Some things weren't readily apparent e.g. how the smoke in smoke grenades actually work - 1) can you throw them at the aliens, 2) only cover your own units, or 3) can you throw them in between your units and aliens as cover 4) Are Andron's/other mechanical units affected etc. Maybe just a more verbose xenopedia would solve that kind of issue.

Thank's for airing your thoughts!

Edited by RandomDude

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Since everybody is going through your intended improvements, I'll start off with the same and move on to things you didn't mention but would excite me to the extent I would go for by modding them in myself (or begging kabill to!)

Full 3D - We'd make the game in full 3D with a (90-degree) rotatable camera. I'd also want to replace soldier paperdolls and painted screen backgrounds etc on the strategy layer with 3D models.

I didn't have any issue with the way the game looked but knowing of your frustrations with the engine this sounds like a necessary improvement. The rotatable camera will be an asset, especially in tight spaces. +1, as long as you strive to preserve the original Xenonauts atmosphere which is one of the major reasons I am still following you. The game has a soul.

Aliens - I'd like to add some more aliens, rework some of the existing ones mechanically to be more interesting and also redesign them so they look more striking and "alien" in the ground combat.

I agree strongly here. I'd like to see each alien race broken down to more intriguing branches, each race with a specific combat flavor making it unique but in the same time each branch adding a different tactical layer during GC. Increasing ranks of each alien should also be preserved. Also, more races. If you intend to make it reasonably accessible for the community to mod in their own creatures and races it would help, but IMHO you would do well to get 4 or 5 races in, keeping Xenonauts 1 aliens but mixing them with reinforcements. Maybe one unique super-creature that is rarely encountered outside special events per race, too.

I think you could use branches to form the crew of each tier of race-specific UFOs. Branch 1 would be weak expendable grunts, Branch 2 - special forces, Branch 3 - tactical units like snipers, Branch 4 - leadership and super creatures. Then fill each Branch with 3 different creatures, toss in ranks and we get plenty of variety in terms of opposition we could face in each mission. Just off the top of my head.

Research / Development - I want to add the concept of 'development' to the research tree, allowing you to continue researching "hub" technologies (like laser weapons etc) to increase their effectiveness if you choose. Choosing whether to improve existing tech or research new stuff should add more choice to the research tree.

That's alright. You would basically allow the players to focus on the areas they like, but if you combine this with actual difference between weapons and not just an increasing damage curve, you could truly allow everybody to customize their gameplay to their own taste by empowering the specific elements they enjoy, like standard assault guns / shields / explosives / heavy machine guns, etc.

I am not a fan of weapon variety for the sake of having each cool weapon one can think of make an appearance without bringing anything significantly different from a tactical point of view. For the same reason I would be underwhelmed if there are a ton of options to customize each weapon just to be able to play with it. Not saying you shouldn't do that, too, but I recommend considering another approach:

Do some research of what gameplay players prefer in terms of tactical approach (maybe a poll?) - I don't mean do they like machine guns or pistols, but how they enjoy to conduct a fight. Slow and steady advancement with firm LoS control? Separate two groups to clear the map while guarding each other's back? Rambo style suicide rush? Nuke them all? Pick the approaches that are most popular and enjoyable, or maybe even think of some yourself. Then redesign the entire weapon system to serve each of those approaches and focus the additional improvements and upgrades on enhancing them, giving the player the choice to become stronger and have the playstyle of choice more viable. At the expense of being weaker in everything else. Make players choose carefully what to upgrade and when, if they want to be able to Rambo the map let them, but they would also be taking the risk of lacking option B when it's needed. Alternatively balanced all-round tech advancement would make specific missions tougher than if the proper upgrades were present, so that there would be no winning formula that is discovered once and applied forever after.

Destructible UFOs - the UFO outer hulls should be destructible, which means we'll have to redesign them visually too.

I will be in the minority here but I don't want UFO hulls to be destructible, or at least not all segments. Could you leave the option to have completely indestructible tiles, at least for modding purposes?

In the same time there is room for some tactical or technological variety with this.

Let's assume UFO hulls have different composition. You need special items/weapons that have the necessary firepower (and from certain stage on, upgrades) to breach. Here is something that can tie in with my suggestion about enhancing different playstyles. Players who like to breach UFO hulls would have to dedicate a soldier for the purpose, and/or keep up with the technological curve to be able to employ this strategy, while paying some tactical cost for it.

Or they could just shoot it down with hand guns and go through the hole - uninspiring.

Vertical Terrain - we should have hills etc in the game, rather than purely flat maps with buildings offering the only verticality.

Sure, this sounds great. Can't wait to see what Skitso will do with it when locked in a room with the map editor for a couple days!

XCOM Cover System - I think the cover system in XCOM was very easy to understand and also integrated 'leaning' in an intuitive way, whereas our cover system was a bit of a mess. I think we'd probably switch to their cover system.

Haven't played that game. If you believe it will work better, I'm with you. Xenonauts 1 cover system did take some suspension of disbelief to work. But keep in mind being frustrated by it is also a significant part of the charm which makes it feel so close to the spiritual ancestor. You change one detail too many of those links and the added sum of those relatively insignificant parts might equal regression in atmosphere and general feel.

Soldier Colour Customisation - I want to redesign the armours so they are more recognisable from silhouette, allowing people to customise their colours of their troops (including having role-specific colour schemes).

I don't personally care about this as much, but I'm glad to see you acknowledge the players who do. One of my tiny bothers with the game is soldiers are just faceless disposable meat to the grinder, which I find a wasted opportunity to engage the player on yet another emotional layer of attachment. This would be a decent step in addressing it.

UI - the existing UI is a bit of a mess, particularly with regards to the strategy layer, so we'd redo that.

Not really a mess but could be improved. Footnote - that's another detail you should be careful not to get away from the original for the sake of something fancy but soulless.

Air Combat - I'm not sure exactly how I'd redesign this yet, but I think it could do with further improvement.

There are numerous ways to tackle this one but it largely depends on the significance you want to give it. It wasn't massively distracting in Xenonauts 1 but it wasn't enjoyable once the novelty of each new UFO wore off. Also had 0 appeal during replays.

An avenue you could consider would be putting the player interceptors in different, fluid, changing conditions. You attack a Landing Ship and it summons help if there is another UFO nearby, etc. Get additional features to each UFO from a tactical point of view, not just combat. Make the player think a couple moves ahead of the different scenarios that could occur not only during the fight but also after it.

Like others have already pointed out (and I think kabill discovered it after attempting to make a mod) the predictability of Air Combat is its downfall. You get the knack of each UFO and repeat with same result - how many times before it gets boring, then frustrating, then stops feeling relevant at all.

Tutorial - the game should use the Iceland Incident as a playable tutorial that explains the setting and the basic game mechanics.

+1

Modding Tools - we've been working on some pretty cool game editors and level editors, so the modding / translation / level creation tools will be much better than in Xenonauts 1 and will handle the "modular mod" stuff automatically.

+10

Two questions - one, would you buy an improved version of Xenonauts again if we made it?

Can I pay you now?

Secondly, what annoyed you about the first game and what do you think we should improve?

I wouldn't say those things annoyed me but any of the following would greatly improve my personal experience, in addition to the things I already mentioned above.

- There could have been better, more detailed plot progression, tied in with different objectives that also interweave with actual gameplay. Think about Final Mission - why not trigger several more of these as the Invasion progresses, building up the atmosphere and providing much welcome variety? Make the player race towards several objectives that can be met (knowing the game won't be lost upon failure but will proceed at a disadvantage). Breaking those down to actual steps that are more interactive will engage me a lot more with what's going on and how I'm progressing with research, base coverage, etc. Obviously would need some randomization or triggers to not pop up at the same time each playthrough. In two words, I'd like the story to be more interactive and actually impact my play directly at least on several occasions! Maybe I will need to save Tokyo from a Terror Attack because there's incredibly valuable research going on there? Or find and raid an Alien Base to retrieve precious components the USA needs for their civic defense turrets? Just examples, the more of these or similar I find in Xenonauts 2, the more I'll be excited!

- More mission types, more aliens, more UFOs, many more variations of each. Rare but bigger missions. My enthusiasm started fading when new opponents stopped appearing. It became repetitive way before I was willing to consider closing the playthrough, effectively telling me the game ran out of things to offer before my hunger was satisfied. But up to that point I freaking loved it!

- Make better use of the Geoscape - both in terms of Regions (I prefer Nations!) and Cities. Add more meaning to those. In Xenonauts it doesn't matter if a Terror attack devastated Paris, Rome or London. Maybe each city could have a popularity rating that determines how your crew will be meat by the locals, they could help or put you at disadvantage? If not, think of something else in this direction. I'd love the world to feel like a grid of relevant components. Just setup some basic factors and let modders play with it, it could flow so much new blood in the game!

- Better final mission - I wouldn't say the current conclusion is poor, but it could be better. Definitely lacked the feeling of a culmination, even if it made perfect sense storywise.

- Play on after beating the game - I don't want my game to throw me out when I've beaten the final mission, especially if there is enough intriguing additions/changes to keep my interest going - let me play on if I want to!

- Reinforce the atmosphere of ALIEN INVASION going on! Especially as the game progresses! I'd like to see changing battlefields, showing progressive signs of invasion the more time goes on. I'd also like to see people fighting, both in AC and GC (and losing miserably). Let me sense the despair and hopelessness.

- I absolutely loved the music, but it needs greater variety. Way greater.

- More sounds. It is so sterile without mods at least adding voices to your soldiers. Sounds are a good way to translate the progressing Invasion sentiment btw. Everything is brooming with life at first, then gets more and more quiet, screams and explosions in the distance, things like that, rotated to match the location you are fighting at. It can be real creepy if balanced properly!

- Interactive elements in GC. Usable extendable bridges. Turrets or even tanks at key locations (which the aliens could guard as points of strategic interest). Destructible things are one way to make the battlefield interactive - doesn't mean you should neglect other possibilities.

- Make the world feel real. Instead of the Monthly Summary screen why not have several (real?) political figures interact with you, on a regular basis. Heck, you may even hire an actor or two and deliver actual voices! I don't care about South America or Southeastwestern Asia. But if the mayor of New York pops up on the phone desperately asking for help while I'm on my way to recover crucial components off an alien base on a Moscow assignment it would feel so much more alive! Just think of the possibilities you can explore from this point on - political relations just the top of the iceberg (which are much more realistic reasons for having your funding decreased/increased btw).

- Furthermore, right now the only status you can get from each Region is... Lost. But this could be a dynamic world instead. Especially in that time period. If the US get this crucial research component to reinforce their defenses and the Soviet Union is being battered and hasn't picked up sufficient help from you for months... what's to stop the desperate commies from waging war on the US? If Nations can get in war with each other it would create even further more interesting settings to play with (different maps if you happen to be there for example, different music, etc) - there is potential for unique missions (a chance to stop the war by assassinating key political figures before it's too late, or some other way?) and of course your funding would suffer, or you could think of yet another resource to make this relevant, some new currency that's not in the game yet. Wars could last a month and result in stalemate (and severe diplomatic breakdown, forcing you to pick a side), occupation, complete destruction, take your pick.

I can keep going but this is getting so long... If you'd like me to, let me know and I'll think of more. Or if this is taking you away from the direction you'd like to commit to - fair enough, at least I tried :)

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Terror from the Deep, anyone?

Just imagine:

"From the creators of Xenonauts™ comes a new evolution of evil."

note: I'm not fully serious, but X-Com 2 had interesting idea in terms of setting but never truly realized full potential of that idea.

Edited by Maniac

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This means adding political ramifications to the decisions that you make in the game, in a similar way to games like Last Federation. Doing something as simple as where you put a base would have a tremendous emotional impact "Comrade Commander, why have you put your second base in the heart of the Imperialist Capitalists? Is our money not good enough for you?", perhaps adding some kind of 4X-like diplomacy and negotiation to the the game "Gee, you sure ran quickly to help those commies, leavin' us to do the work ourselves. We'll remember that next time you need some money!"

I really enjoyed the hell out of this game but agree that you (Goldhawk) made zero use of the 1979 timeframe, other than a few scattered lines in the doctor's reports (Internetwork, lol). Nothing would be significantly different if somebody went into the game files and changed 1979 to 2009.

Just look back at how many close-calls we had involving nuclear weapons, both real and fictional (Able Archer 83, Fail-Safe, etc.)...feels like you need to capitalize on that tension a lot more. In the game everybody just goes, "oh, aliens? Isn't that what Xenonauts was founded for? Cool, thanks guys, let us know when you win." Hawkish military brass on both sides probably would have read the initial unidentified air contacts and attacks as the handiwork of the other superpower and resulted in at least a brief shooting war. Nothing cataclysmic, but at least in the fiction I've read, authors like to ramp up the tension with a progression of initial provocation -> scattered air and naval aggression without actual shots fired -> isolated skirmishes -> one deadly battle -> nukes fly. Dunno how, if at all, that turns into an objective for the player to somehow prove the aliens are real or otherwise get the superpowers to look up rather than at each other.

Then, to upvote the idea above, both the USA and USSR should basically be vying for your complete attention. Each should be able to offer you something the other guy can't: usually the difference has been represented as the USA having a tech advantage while the USSR gets a sheer numbers advantage (which isn't strictly true but hey, that's the popular conception of the era). You've already had the Foxtrot being an adaptation of the high-altitude, high-speed MiGs which were designed to catch and kill U-2s and SR-71s, but if you take things in the direction of exclusivity, maybe if you piss the Soviets off, they won't give you any more MiGs? If you ignore the USA, you lose out on advanced radar and electronics, or stealth tech? I dunno, just throwing stuff out there. How you conduct your operations should also have some bearing on it; the Soviets don't care if you cause collateral damage and killed a bunch of civvies as long as you stopped that terror site, but the American media will crucify you for blowing up half of Anytown USA even if you did get rid of the aliens. And those opinions could obviously influence how much support you get, how many troops they'll make available to you, etc.

If you really wanted to take it to an extreme, maybe if you cuddle up to the Soviets, the Americans get so suspicious of what you're up to that they become outright hostile, and convince some of their NATO allies that you shouldn't be trusted, etc.

But, you interject, wouldn't an alien invasion make everybody be friends and work together? For my money, I doubt it. Even if you don't want to implement any of the USA versus USSR stuff, you've got to think that there would be opportunists elsewhere in the world who saw their big chance to take over that disputed border territory that's rightfully theirs, or those oil fields that their infidel neighbors really shouldn't be allowed to keep, etc. China thinks: you know what? I bet we could expend a hundred fighter planes to shoot down one of those UFOs, take their tech, find a way to beat them, and become the saviors of the world. That would show those Yankees and Rooskies who's really in charge around here.

TL;DR version: more Cold War politics/vibe, please.

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I'm sure whatever you guys decide to do it will be just fine. The only thing I think is really important is to stay true to the formula and to try to keep it where regular PC's can still play it. Thanks for your concern and generosity.

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Adding more of the Cold War setting to the mechanics is a bit of a tough ask given the way that the game is set up, as it really does risk moving the focus away from the big old alien invasion and turning the game into more of a political simulator ... and it sort of flies in the face of the "we're all in this together" wordwide X-Com vibe.

Nevertheless, I'm happy to think about how we can use it more effectively. One of the existing problems with Xenonauts is that the game has definite "right" places to put bases because of how much territory they cover, and other places that are almost not worth protecting at all because they're so isolated (looking at you Australia).

Without changing the shape of the world's landmasses there's not much we can do about this, but perhaps the Cold War political setting might be used to add a new mechanic or adapt existing ones that makes the initial base placement less constrained?

It would also be a bit of a retcon, but potentially a sequel could actually see you choosing either Nato or the Soviet Bloc to play as. That way you're trying to compete with the other great power for influence and technology as well as defeating the aliens ... and it'd also give us an excuse for human vs human missions.

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Chris, Xenonauts was a very good clone. If you want to do a 2. one, the question should be; "Will we stick to original and make another clone but handled much more better this time OR will we go further and advance it over the original?"

Let me give some example;

- Assaulting alien orbit forces.. like alien bases, but at space and special missions or events about this..

- Different shaped human bases with pros and cons..

- The timeline, maybe could be at original x-com age, a little bit at future..

- Different organisations with politics. Not only xenonauts, maybe 2-3 more even as choosable sides. In they this organisations turns evil at alien side or just work for them selves.. like last after**** game (afterlight? i always forget), there could be zones for every organisations even main alien types. Getting trade, assaulting eachother, making alliances even let aliens fight with eachother with random events. You can make this a reason for not a direct invasion; aliens couldn't do an agreement which part to get.

- For air, different airplane concepts, torpedo bombers, interceptors, probes.. with their own hangars and requirements, even make them as parts, like i could update only engine or armour for same plane rather then getting one new directly.. So making our own bombardments or other ground missions and other organisations and aliens will try to stop us..

- About cold war, if you watched Star Gate SG-1 there was Russians side too which uses the gate and interfere with aliens and such.. so this kind of relationship could be integrated to game.

- Sea ships, carriers, floating bases.. outposts, radar bases...

- Research webs rather then threes.. let everything connected.. live alien/researcher/prisoner capture for key techs..

Some of those ideas are over complex for an xcom game maybe but at apocalypse they made it.. just wanted to say more ideas..

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1. I would buy an improved Xenonauts or a Xenonauts 2. However, I would not buy a remake. I probably also wouldn't buy it if it is 3D; I prefer 2D because I think it is more timeless/looks better artistically speaking.

It would have to be a new plotline, different than the first one. I don't want to rehash the same old alien invasion scenario. How about the original Xenonauts from the first game become corrupted/mind controlled through alien technology and you command a rebel faction, possibly assisted by "good" extraterrestials? Yeah.... Feel free to use that.... ; ) Add in some new types of battles too. Like capture point and defend against waves of aliens? Yeah.... awesomesauce.

2. (a) I would prefer a deeper, more varied color palette; (b) randomly generated maps would be great, missed this; © the UI requires a lot of clicking to do everything, less clicking/more integration would be good; (d) more varied combat options, i.e. new battle types, new objectives, more story missions, special abilities?

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Adding more of the Cold War setting to the mechanics is a bit of a tough ask given the way that the game is set up, as it really does risk moving the focus away from the big old alien invasion and turning the game into more of a political simulator ... and it sort of flies in the face of the "we're all in this together" wordwide X-Com vibe.

Why did you decide to place the game in 1979? Serious question.

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Adding more of the Cold War setting to the mechanics is a bit of a tough ask given the way that the game is set up, as it really does risk moving the focus away from the big old alien invasion and turning the game into more of a political simulator ... .

Since the focus of Xenonauts was always the ground missions, there's a balance to add depth and choices to the game without it getting in the way, or turning into a board game. Much like the good air combat sometimes seemed to have too much importance at times.

...and it sort of flies in the face of the "we're all in this together" wordwide X-Com vibe..

It does a bit. But since all the nations are really stingy in funding Xenonauts in the first place, their money must be going somewhere in the face of an alien invasion. :) Possibly setting up their own plans and units with a view to taking advantage of the invasion, even as they fight it. You'd get to reuse a lot of the human sprites by making them enemy spies, agents or soldiers too.

...One of the existing problems with Xenonauts is that the game has definite "right" places to put bases because of how much territory they cover, and other places that are almost not worth protecting at all because they're so isolated (looking at you Australia).

Just off the top, but having a politically linked world helps here. You want to help Australia because they are key US allies in Oceania. If they go, then there's a domino affect both politically and in local forces being able to coordinate defences against the aliens.

A look at facilities could also help. Perhaps Australia is the place where medical research is a premium. Labs located there get a bonus to medi-kits, surgeries and later technologies such as nanotech, cloning etc. Lose them, and the technology may be found elsewhere, but it will be harder to come by.

Australia is also the place where the Castlemaine XXXX non-lethal cannon to capture aliens is being developed, as everyone knows.

Without changing the shape of the world's landmasses there's not much we can do about this, but perhaps the Cold War political setting might be used to add a new mechanic or adapt existing ones that makes the initial base placement less constrained?

It would also be a bit of a retcon, but potentially a sequel could actually see you choosing either Nato or the Soviet Bloc to play as.

Yup, having the player not only look out for humanity, but potentially a certain part of it. This could take the part of an overarching theme of the game. But it could also be horse trading in the middle of it. The US will increase spending on that new tank technology but only if you help that Engineer escape Berlin/ rescue him form the aliens etc. The Middle East will increase funding, but only if you don't give alternate energy technology to oil dependant nations. Little deals that then affect the game, change the globe and promote those important missions.

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