Chris

Xenonauts 2 Easter Update

66 posts in this topic

As a huge X-Com fan, when i saw the first ss of this game, i though the graphics and it's style is very bad.. I did not give chance to them. After i bought and played it, i felt like i am home.. it was the X-Com.. and for more then a year i am still moding this game..

When i was playing original X-Com with dosbox with my endgame computer, many people did not understand..

Graphics.. overrated..

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For what it's worth, I really liked the digital paintings in the game. 'More graphics' does not necessarily make something prettier.

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I like the aesthetics of the game, brings me closer to the original x-com.

Except the aliens which were too modern to be scary.

:P

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I like the aesthetics of the game, brings me closer to the original x-com.

Except the aliens which were too modern to be scary.

:P

Yes.. i think this is the worst part of X1.. the aliens are not scary and there is no big,bossy types. Even i can't put a creature of a Drone size to game with mods because Drone type enemies don't have animations like humanoid aliens. I mean i can't make a creature with attack animation, game does not accept it.

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The problem isn't in the art or lack of skill. What I saw as an issue with X1 was more to do with design and artistic vision. Of course there was lack of certain polish, which is completely understandable when you take the budget and team size in consideration. Things just take time. It took me for example 2 full days of work to fix and polish desert mesa graphics for my improved tile art mod:

http://i.imgur.com/tI7nYQC.jpg

And even those are far from perfect. It's quite a lot of work for such a minor improvement in a game with thousands of tiles. For small team you just need to make compromises. But the artistic vision and direction - that's the thing even the smallest of teams need to have. And that was the thing that was a bit of an issue with the original game.

A skilled and perfectionist art lead is an indispensable asset for a game studio. (Hire me? ;))

Edited by Skitso

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Ha ha ha, YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS, hire Skitso :cool:

The transition to 3d may improve the situation, we'll see.

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Ok, so it's primarily money. That's fine, I simply wanted to know where the differences came from.

I understand you don't have the resources of, say, Firaxis. Therefore, I don't expect Xenonauts 2 to look as good as X-COM 2 or even X-COM 1.

I guess if you honestly think the 2 pictures you linked are actually nice art then we must have different concepts of good looking. Maybe I'm spoiled by the many games out there which have large investors behind them. I'm sorry if I offended you, that was NOT my intention. I'm actually really glad someone made a more faithful X-COM game.

Luckily, your gameplay / mechanics is a LOT better than the dumbed-down Firaxis version. Also, your price setting is way better (especially considering the incredibly annoying DLC packs games nowadays have).

That's what made me buy X1, and that's almost certainly what will make me buy X2.

Fair enough, if we do just have different definitions of what is good art - I do think those two linked images are genuinely good artwork. It's not quite AAA-quality, but the guys that paint the cover art / key promo art for the top games are *hugely* expensive and they spend weeks working on each image on a full-time basis. Anyway, no offence taken, I think you just caught me at a bad time and one of my bugbears in general is people on the internet who ask (otherwise valid) questions in a needlessly inflammatory manner. Maybe I read too much into it.

I definitely agree the aliens were pretty boring though. Part of that is down to the limits of a tile grid, but most of it was just sucky art design that will be rectified in X2.

@Skitso - sure, I'll send you an email. I'm not sure we agree on everything design-wise but you've sunk enough time and effort into this community that I think you deserve an opportunity to at least put your ideas forward :)

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I think the art in Xenonauts looked very drab and schematic, but not "bad." The same is true for the UI, which was tidy and flat in comparison to the original XCOM, which had gaudy, bevelled buttons everywhere.

hmm, what about low-poly-nauts

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"Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder" is an old Greek saying by Plato or some other guy.

When I read this:

... don't expect Xenonauts 2 to look as good as X-COM 2 or even X-COM 1...
I shudder inside with pictures of rainbow-color-paletteously, chewing-gum-fantastic, Warcraft-like comic-book graphics that are too typically nowadays to portrait "futuristic" environment. (I know that Warcraft and "future" are biting each other here).

Satellite Reign has that approach too, although the mood is a bit differently.

I could have written this on the Firaxis forum for X-COM2: "..don't expect X-COM 2 to look as good as Xenonauts", but I didn't. There are people who likes this and then there are those who like something else.

The picture that Chris posted is a good example:

I think it is a stupid style, simplistic water-color Kindergarten in every graphical way. Boring to look at despite the intension of the artist. Others like it, I don't.

I guess Plato was right.

On Xenonauts:

In respect to the game setting the graphical presentation of Xenonauts (1) was really great, in my eyes. I loved the hand drawn art and the look of the 2D animations. Everything was a neutral mood and in lack of a word...non-chearfully, fitting to the 70's setting and the alien terror. Yes the overall gameplay did not convey this as much, but the art could compensate a lot for me.

And there was even a (visual) mod that dragged everything down even more. More dark, more depressing, more sinister mood themed. I guess it was from Skitso.

Ah and yes: Hire Skitso for mapping!

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@Skitso - sure, I'll send you an email. I'm not sure we agree on everything design-wise but you've sunk enough time and effort into this community that I think you deserve an opportunity to at least put your ideas forward :)

Working on it! :)

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top20_most_expansive_paintings_14.jpg

I like this $120,000,000 painting because it both sums up my reaction to your post and illustrates the concept of personal taste :)

In any case, Xenonauts 2 is largely 3D so your personal tastes in 2D art won't matter as much as they did for Xenonauts 1.

More relevant version:

xheWKwd.png

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More relevant version:

xheWKwd.png

Exceptional :)

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If I may throw in my 'request' as well.

If possible, please, consider adding dialogue ('voices') to the soldiers under the player's command. Stuff like 'Enemy spotted', 'Target down' etc. It doesn't even have to be top notch (everyone who played Men of War remembers the allied dialogue), just to exist. More importantly, make said dialogue easily moddable, so we can create our own voice packs.

I'm sorry if my post seems to be 'just asking for stuff', but this idea's been floating in my head forever, mostly because I have created voice packs for other games in the past, and it gives so much more variety.

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Hi.

I registered on this forum to share my opininon on game art because it was an interesting discussion.

I bought Xenonauts but unforntunately i could not play it for more than 2 hours, and the reason is the art-style. I know it could seem a snob behaviour but i pretty liked almost all 2d isometric games, the old ones (90's) and the lastest (PoE, Shadowrun, Crowntakers, Battle Brothers, Chroma Squad), even the "cheap" browser games (i'm still referring to the art side)

I don't wanna diminish the artists work behind the game, i'm pretty sure they worked hard, in fact it is more a personal taste matter than a quality critic.

Don't know why, maybe is the setting who feels a bit cold\sterile (kinda cold war '70), maybe if it was more scifi oriented i would like it more.

I hope i will like the Xeno 2 art direction, but i don't know if 3d is the best choice, it is a lot harder to give visual pleasure with low budget 3d than2d, expecially if trying to represent a serious tone (cartoon style 3d is easier for low budget, for example).

Maybe a Scifi direction switch could give more character to the game

The original Ufo Defense may have not the best art, but the comic\cartoonish colorful style gave it lot of personality.

Edited by Mazi

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The art in Xenonauts lacks a lot of direction, and is very dry. But dryness in itself is a British thing, and that signature distinction is what I like about it. It's not easy to make something that looks uninteresting, unappealing and at the same time doesn't look bad.

I remember some guy from somewhere said Xenonauts was like "an X-Com designed by a depressed British accountant" and I was like "that's fantastic. I'd play the hell out of that."

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I loved the art style for Xenonauts so I personally hope it does not change much making the transition to 3D.

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The art in Xenonauts lacks a lot of direction, and is very dry. But dryness in itself is a British thing, and that signature distinction is what I like about it. It's not easy to make something that looks uninteresting, unappealing and at the same time doesn't look bad.

I remember some guy from somewhere said Xenonauts was like "an X-Com designed by a depressed British accountant" and I was like "that's fantastic. I'd play the hell out of that."

I think it's setting fault. If they went more modern or sci-fi it would've been more appealing.

The '70 cold war feels like soviet\chernobyl depressive architecture, visually speaking

Edited by Mazi

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I think it's setting fault. If they went more modern or sci-fi it would've been more appealing.

Perhaps. Or it may have ended up looking like the new XCOM which looks a little too shiny. Sometimes I reduce the color saturation on the monitor to compensate for shiny games.

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The art in Xenonauts lacks a lot of direction

Do you mean in the sense of integrity as a whole or a distinguishing aspect?

I'd disagree with both of those points :-).

The point of the art (music, visual, atmospheric) was to emphasize the time and setting in which the game was set. The cold war was a very bleak and hopeless time in human history. Combined with the idea of global destruction through alien invasion it is very much "grimdark". Xenonauts has a lethal playing style, and death is grim. Units are not meant to be one-man chrome-finished murder machines. Every aspect of the art direction emphasized and, more importantly, aligned with this overall design principle.

The style just seems to be a very polarizing opinion-wise. Could the artwork be better? Sure at times, but I wouldn't dare call it directionless.

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Sort of but not really. By that I mean, the lack of direction is a direction in itself. No one wants to be the average Joe, and at some point Joe himself becomes his own personality. For the lack of a better analogy, the art in Xenonauts to me is sort of like real life in its truest and most naked state. Uninteresting and does not want to have any fun. Intentionally so.

A bit of an irrelevant rant but I don't know how many times I've had to preface whatever I have to say with "I unironically love this" because the comments I have about things are neither flattering nor disparaging, but rather sincere. Nothing ever is on any extreme end of that spectrum. I embrace and enjoy the intentional badness and dryness a lot in things I consume. And British people are just the best people to do it.

Edited by EvilEagles

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No need to preface your comment, all critique is welcome and with such a diverse community looking at the thought behind the post instead of its literal text is pretty much a requirement ;-)

I suspect that with ' lack of direction' you mean the lack of distinction in the art. Distinction in the sense that nothing necessarily 'stands out'. Again, this is intentional: It is meant to emphasize the atmosphere, to make it more realistic.

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When everything is extraordinary nothing is. I love the idea of mundane vs. fantastical which is, for example, why I prefer the Imperial Guard to Space Marines in 40k, the idea of "average Joes" facing unspeakable horrors. It creates a strong contrast and a grim, desperate atmosphere which is what an X-Com-like needs imo.

The lost mission screen for Xenonauts illustrates it best I think.

LossScreen.jpg

Makes victory that much sweeter.

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When everything is extraordinary nothing is. I love the idea of mundane vs. fantastical which is, for example, why I prefer the Imperial Guard to Space Marines in 40k, the idea of "average Joes" facing unspeakable horrors. It creates a strong contrast and a grim, desperate atmosphere which is what an X-Com-like needs imo.

The lost mission screen for Xenonauts illustrates it best I think.

LossScreen.jpg

Makes victory that much sweeter.

I completely agreed on you pointed contrast... the problem is that the gameplay and "horror" doesn't exist. I don't see a real problem of artwork on xenonauts, maybe EvilEye await more vivid world, characters feels really alive, this dry or tasteless is good enough for 90s games, but not for current game industry.

EDIT NOTE: I love Imperial Guards in 40k too for the same reason :D

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I love the direction this is going! I'm very happy to see that the scientist won't be the only voice. As an engineer myself, I frequently wanted to punch him in the face. If the engineering team has their own voice, and there's back and forth between the two, it'll be a LOT more entertaining.

I love the strategy direction this is going and I'm excited to see the new overworld issues, the research and development complexity, etc. I would like to suggest giving your character art a little more attitude, though. Honestly, this was my biggest issue with the soldiers in X1. They all looked very plain and not in a natural pose at all. The soldier could be excused for just being at attention or at ease. The scientist looks like he has some personality. The Chief of Operations, though, looks very boring. She'd be better if she had her arms crossed and her weight on one hip, like she's standing and listening to someone, prepared to explain why exactly they're wrong in everything they just said and what they should do instead.

3D art, honestly, isn't going to excite me too much. I was fine with the art for the combat that already existed. The greater access to modding, however, will be wonderful!

Looking forward to hearing and seeing more.

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I loved the art in Xenonauts. I really appreciated that most of the people looked normal and that it went for a mostly realistic look. In a strange way it helps the game stand out against a lot of other games that are trying really hard to burst at the seams with personality and uniqueness.

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