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Chris

Xenonauts 2 Easter Update

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I hope everyone had a happy Easter, and I figured that I should probably post something up to explain what we've been working on lately with regards to Xenonauts 2 given the unveiling of the game has not yet happened.

That unveiling may be a little further away than we thought thanks to a few snags coming up with the promotional art. The most obvious of these centers around the design of the UFOs, which we haven't yet finalised. The artist who was working on them (the UFO artist from Xenonauts 1) has had to drop out because of the demands of his full-time role, and the work was already proving more difficult than we expected.

What we want to avoid is a repeat of the UFO problems we had in X1, where we designed some cool-looking UFOs and then found putting them in the ground combat missions to be a rather painful experience. This negatively affected the gameplay too, as it forced us to make the UFO hulls indestructible (reducing tactical possibilities) and it led to situations where players found tiles around the edge of UFO hulls to be unexpectedly blocked for line of sight / fire purposes when the tile grid failed to cope with the curve of the hulls.

We're therefore making sure we get things right with the UFO designs this time, but this is awkward from an art perspective because the "main promo image" (the X2 equivalent of the "command room" image from X1) features a captured UFO in an underground Xenonaut hangar, surrounded by the various Xenonaut staff etc. It's going to be a really cool image and the captured UFO is a major plot point ... but if we're not 100% certain what the UFOs will look like yet, it's a bit difficult to finish it.

The other art issue is that of in-game screenshots; we're not yet in a position where we can show off high-quality in-game art assets. To be honest, Xenonauts only started looking presentable about 50-60% of the way through development and the real polishing didn't come in until it was 80-90% done. Xenonauts 2 has some way to go before we're at that stage, particularly because now we're working in 3D it takes more effort to make even good-quality art assets look good (in a 2D game you just stick the pretty art in the game and that's that, but in 3D you need to make sure all the materials, lighting and render settings are all done right to get maximum effect.)

So that's the bad news; we need to at least finalise the UFO design language before we can properly announce the game ... so now I'll try to give you some good news to counter-balance that. We are obviously still working on the art despite that, and we're developing a more realistic and cohesive style for the Xenonauts and their world than before. As an example, here's the rough concepts for the Xenonaut uniforms for X2.

uniforms.jpg

From the left, the characters are: you (head of the Military Division), the Chief Scientist (head of the Science Division), Operations (head of the Politics & Operations Division), and a (unnamed) Xenonaut soldier. We've tried to make the soldier look a bit more modern than before; the basic uniform was pretty lame in X1 but this retains the essence of the original design whilst also looking a bit more believably military. The other three characters have been designed and coloured so the three divisions of the Xenonauts look distinct from one another, but clearly all belong to the same organisation. I think the dark grey also looks more "secret organisation" than the designs from the first game.

We've added a new character to the game for plot reasons, but also because I want there to be another voice in the game other than the Chief Scientist - I want to keep his personality the same as it was in the first game, but I'm concerned the joke will get a bit old if he's the only person talking to you in both games. Splitting the Xenonauts into three divisions doesn't have any gameplay effect, but it should help us add a bit more character to the world and help with the storytelling; your character is very much the junior member of the trio at the start of the game.

Also, I finally bit the bullet about a month ago and learned how to code so I could properly prototype the Xenonauts 2 strategy layer. I implemented most of the strategic game in Excel / Visual Basic, using an auto-resolve system for the air combat and ground combat missions. A bit of experimentation allowed me to figure out which of my ideas for the strategy layer was the most fun, and I'm confident that the one I settled on is going to work for us - even playing the spreadsheet version of it is quite enjoyable!

I imagine most of you will be pleased to know that we think we've found a way to integrate the Xenonaut ground missions into a wider strategic struggle; the final design incorporates elements from a number of the different strategic designs I've raised on the forums in the past and even some elements from our previous concept Pathfinders. In the absence of pretty pictures, I'll give you a bit of information on what we're planning:

Strategy Design:

Defensive Perimeters: The basic idea is that humanity has five "defensive perimeters" against the aliens, with the most remote and least important regions of the planet being the first perimeter and the Soviet / NATO heartlands being the final fifth perimeter. There's no longer any concept of regional funding etc; you lose the game when the final defensive line falls to the aliens (although there may be some kind of super-hard mission that appears if you fall *too* far behind, either getting you back in the game or ending it immediately).

A defensive perimeter contains Infantry units, Armoured units and Interceptor squadrons. Infantry units are the most numerous and soak up most of the damage from alien attacks; if an alien unit attacks your defensive perimeter it will generally kill several units of Infantry before being destroyed (the effectiveness and survivability of Infantry depends greatly on how advanced their gear is). Armoured units are few in number but act as a counter to armoured aliens like Androns; you will automatically lose an Armoured unit to counter a unit of attacking Androns if one is available (if not, expect to lose a LOT of Infantry).

The Interceptors are the planes you control in each region. You use these to counter alien UFO activity in the perimeter, but they are a precious and non-replenishable resource (and attacking a UFO *is* going to cost you a number of planes). However, the key thing here is that the only reliable way to capture most technology for research is through shooting down UFOs and doing the crash site mission - and the UFOs bombing your defensive lines are not necessarily the juiciest targets for this. You've got a limited number of planes and you need to balance protecting your territory against shooting down the UFOs that offer the best potential research rewards.

Event Timeline: The Event Timeline displays all the alien events occurring in the next ten turns / Geoscape days. The Xenonauts start with only limited visibility of the Timeline (e.g. only three days of warning for each attack) but investing in improved intelligence / code-cracking will allow the player to see further into the future.

The Timeline is split into aerial and ground sections, and alien units spawn at Day +10 and work their way towards the player one turn at a time. If they have not been dealt with by the end of Day +1, they will attack the current defensive line and reduce the number of defenders. To prevent this, the player is able to attack any visible alien unit on the Timeline with their Xenonaut soldiers / interceptors. Successfully winning the mission removes the alien unit from the Timeline entirely, and if a defensive perimeter falls then the entire Timeline is cleared and recalculated.

The player can launch one ground mission and one air mission each turn, but in practice the soldier fatigue system and the limited number of interceptors means that this cannot be sustained for long. What actually happens is the player has to makes choices about what rate of attrition is acceptable for their defensive line, and pick off any alien units that look too strategically threatening by running a ground mission against them.

Obviously, this is made more complex because the aliens all have different abilities and some are far more dangerous than others at any given time. For example, in the current draft:

  • Alien "thralls" have no special abilities, so generally are not worth wasting time on
  • Psyons (aka Caesans) gain +1 ATK for every Infantry unit in the defensive line, so are extremely dangerous early on
  • Harridans kill a single Infantry unit every turn, but take no damage in return. Never the most urgent threat but can accumulate a lot of kills if left alone too long!
  • Androns are harmless if you have an Armoured unit available to deal with them, but are extremely powerful otherwise
  • Wraiths will raid your Interceptors or Armoured units and destroy a unit of them if you have any left in the defensive perimeter, if not they will take on your Infantry (which they are much less strong at)

Therefore the strategic calculation is always changing. Letting a unit of Wraiths destroy a full squadron of five Interceptors would almost certainly be a mini-disaster for the Xenonauts and in that situation the player would probably want to intervene to take them out before that happened ... but if there was only one or two planes left in that squadron, it might not be worth protecting them. But in that case, you'd have to keep your air force grounded until the Wraiths had come and gone - after all, if you lose a couple of planes on the next mission, those Wraiths are suddenly targeting a full squadron of five Interceptors again, etc.

Similarly, if you can see from the timeline that a defensive line is about to fall but there's only one alien unit marching towards it in the next three or four days, it might be worth doing even a tough ground combat mission in order to win a few more days of "free" research before the aliens overrun the territory.

Proliferation & Resistance: One of the key mechanics in this system is proliferation of newly discovered alien technology from the Xenonauts to the rest of the world. Doing this brings major benefits; firstly the Xenonauts get access to an unlimited quantity of the proliferated technology (e.g. laser weapons), and secondly it improves the stats of all of the Infantry Units holding the remaining defensive perimeters ... effectively slowing down the alien invasion and buying you extra time to complete the game. We're not sure yet if you'll get controllable local forces backing you up on ground combat missions supporting the defensive perimeter, but if you do then they will also only have access to proliferated technology (so will be much more useful if you've proliferated them some good gear).

Sounds pretty useful, right? Unfortunately, the aliens gain increasing resistance to your newly-developed technology the more it is used against them. Tech that is not proliferated will stay effective for much longer against the alien forces (particularly if you use it sparingly), whereas the aliens will quickly build up a resistance to tech being used against them on a global scale. Coupled with the fact you can further improve and develop tech once it has been researched (e.g. Laser Weapons V2, Laser Weapons V3, etc), the choice of which tech to research next and whether you should proliferate it should be much more interesting than the research choices in Xenonauts 1.

Regional Infrastructure & Population: Under this strategic design, the X1 system of building bases in various regions doesn't really fit in any more. However, I'd like to preserve an element of base-building that exists beyond the abstract main Xenonaut base; I think we can do that by adding infrastructure to each defensive perimeter.

These ideas haven't been tested so they remain just ideas right now, but we'd like to have buildings in each perimeter that they player can build and buy. A lab provides a fixed amount of science, but buying a lab behind the final defensive line would be much more expensive than buying one behind the third line. If you can hold it long enough, the cheaper lab would be a much better investment. But doing so might force you into proliferating tech earlier than you might have wanted to, etc.

Similarly, things like the intelligence level (how many days you can see into the future on the Timeline) could be tied to buildings constructed in each perimeter. That gives the player choices about how much they want to invest in defending a specific defensive line.

The other mechanic I'd like to implement in some form is an evacuation mechanic for the local civilian population in each perimeter. A certain number of turns would be required to evacuate the civilian population, but launching an evacuation too early would prematurely abandon all the local infrastructure and deprive yourself of resources you would otherwise receive. However, allowing civilians to be overrun and harvested by the aliens is also bad news for humanity, as it gives the aliens major bonuses. Maybe this could be made more interesting if there's a random element to how smoothly the evacuation goes; so in some situations players may find themselves needing to hold out longer than they originally expected.

Overall:

That's not a full explanation of everything in the strategy layer, but hopefully it explains the basic principles that we are working towards. I've been working hard on a design that puts the actions of the Xenonauts in a wider strategic perspective and I think the "defensive perimeter" system and the proliferation mechanics mean that the player will have to think about more than just their own soldiers.

Playtesting suggests that the basic strategic mechanics are good fun, and they should also take Xenonauts 2 in a rather different direction to that of the other X-Com successors that have been and gone. X1 always had the trappings of a somewhat realistic military wargame, but the mechanics never really matched up ... hopefully this time around we'll be able to deliver on it.

This is all I'll be revealing about Xenonauts 2 for now, but I just wanted to thank everyone for their patience and assure everyone that things are coming along nicely at this end. It may be disappointing for some that we're not announcing quite as quickly as we initially suggested we would, but hopefully this post gives you some insight as to why that is (and reveals just enough to keep you interested!) :)

 

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Haven't read the whole post yet, but just want to say thanks to you and the team for the hard work. Can't wait!

On another note, I think it'll probably be nice to have a thread where people can sort of throw out some ideas for Quality-of-Life improvements that were missed or didn't make it in X1. I for one have been trying to find a way to make a custom namelist for Xenonauts that the game draws directly from, instead of manual renaming, but to no avail.

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I just found out about Xenonauts 2 right now. Amazing! Thanks for the update - I'm looking forward to throwing pre-order-money after you :D

Nice, updated tactical combat sounds great, but I must say, that I'm already deeply in love with the new unique direction that the strategic level is taking. I think it will demand lots of wonderfully hairpulling decisions from the player, and provide a whole new sensation of immersion and involvement in a global conflict.

Edited by AradoX

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Nice work Chris, this is sounding great. I really like the defensive perimeter idea. Hopefully Australia isn't behind perimeter 1 only and is first to fall like it usually is in X1!!

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I'm very happy to see the Chief Scientist is making a comeback in Xeno 2, and it's a very interesting strategic game you're preparing - reminds me of games like Risk.

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I would love to see some concept art, or screenshots of this! It sounds like those open world strategy games (eg: Homeworld; Starcraft, etc)

I, can NOT, wait to hear more of this. I just beat X1 today, (first time) and am excited for more! :D

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All of that sounds fantastic. A big grip with games like these is not knowing what your actions entail, despite it being deterministic. Being able to 'see into the future' and measure your risk and reward sounds like a lot of fun.

I look forward to preordering this one too!

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The character concept art seems a bit uninspired and generic. Nothing makes the characters stand out and feel distinctly Xenonaut. You'd definitely need to think ways to make the designs stand out more - something that people can subconsciously connect with Xenonauts even without any further reference.

You'd probably want to design a new logo for Xenonauts and incorporate that (both logo and color) in the uniforms and also add one or two unique design details into them.

Edited by Skitso

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Chris, may be this too early to answer but do you plan to make the Xenonauts 2 full moddable - that means having access to the Unity 3D content and scripts/code ?

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I doubt we'll release the entire source code for the game, no - even with Xenonauts 1 only the Community Coders had access to that. There's good commercial reasons not to publicly release your entire project code and assets to everyone for free.

However we do want to keep Xenonauts as moddable as possible, so exactly where we draw the line is something we'll decide closer to release.

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Thanks Chris.

I'm concerned with the new take of the strategy in the Geoscape. Is it possible I could ask some questions in this thread?

Other than the passage of time and making sure to intercept and neutralize/destroy Alien aircraft. (preferably overland), and construction of bases to cover the most dry land possible, I would hope you put more into this part of the game.

Just a peak of something cool I'd like to see in Geoscape mode, is the ability to launch from Naval Aircraft Carrier bases, and if an alien craft did land in the water, you could include some (Terror From the Deep) tech for soldiers to splash down and recover the fallen vessel. Just saying. The opportunity would add to the game.

Also, I play on iMac so I'm sure I'll get the game after PC, but I am excited to see that you've allowed this much of your development to be posted. I hope it means we can all have a say and hopefully give you some new or better ideas to think about.

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First: I'd like to apologize if this is the incorrect thread to post my topic of discussion. If it is please have a moderator place it in the correct thread, Thanks.

Second. I was replaying the Xenonauts 1 and I was left wanting in the area of Engineers and Scientist.

I know a few Engineers and, ok, one Scientist.

I felt the need to post this in hopes of helping relay my(ok MY opinion ) as a thought to the development crew.

(To the Development crew Please give this a good read, Thank you. It's just a thought I had playing your Xenonoughts game.)

It may not be a thing you had considered or even want to add to the new game. I just humble offer my thoughts here.

-----------

The game lets you hire additional personal to "speed up" the process of building or researching tech what ever the case may be so you can get the tech or item faster. Hmmm. Ok that makes sense.

If i may offer my humble suggestion to the dear fans of the game and it's creators? Please accept my suggestion as only that. A plain and humble thought to help create a better game. Thank you.

---------

I would like to see attributes for scientist and engineers, maybe a list like soldiers with attributes listed. Generally you would be able to choose if you would like to keep said personal or disregard based on attribute skill.

Please let me give a broad example:

Engineer: Mechanical Skill: 23, Work Ethic: 42, Reliability: 45, Accident Prone: 23

Mechanical Skill: This would be the knowledge the person has obtained through schooling, experience, hands-on training and so forth.

Work Ethic: This would be the ability to get the job done in said amount of time, with positive attitude to help others meet deadlines. (very rare)

Reliability: This is a constant fact of missing work, due to being in sickness and in resolving personal responsibilities. This would hinder or help the scheduled factors into the time the item needs to be finished. Maybe he/she has family, maybe lazy, maybe always on time, maybe ready for more work, or just don't care.

Accident Prone: Could be an addition to a computational factor that adds more time to the completion of a project due to a mishap with a mechanical device, or prone to in-advertantly hinder the project completion or other contributing individuals, goofing off with him/her.

Multiple low personnel with this factor could hinder production considerably. Any above 65 should be considered for reassignment.

Scientist: Random Thought: 23, Meticulous 34, Organized 23, Communication 45

Random Thought: An inspirational moment of cognitive thought that propels rational thinking. Could accelerate research by a day, or more based on an equation.

Meticulous: Could help or hinder other Random Thought personal and Communication Personal. The Random Though person never keeps a record of what they said. The communication person has difficulty recalling what they said. A good Meticulous score will help the equation balance to a positive result (or negative if under alien influence). He or she notes on everything and has a memory if not notes to display for auditing facts.

A adjunct example: "I have meticulously recorded and noted our past meetings and you have backtracked into a situation we first deemed inadvisable, due to (X) requirements."

(Alien influence): I have meticulously recored and noted our past meeting and you have miss judged our enemies We need to asses an alternative route that involves their assistance in the matter at hand. I'd be more than happy to relay the message to their ambassador to facilitate a delay in our current plan of action. At least we could by us some time (enemy advantage) to ascertain there intent in the area" (ok someone should shoot this guy, lols)

Organized: Complete and ordered notes will help the process to completion. May increase or decrease research by x days. This person has kept ordered notes, computer files and schematics, calendars and schedules as to proceed with the current agenda and will enhance/hinder completion as to incorrect/complete records of details on the project actively being researched. By reference to notes this person has a 50/50 chance of boosting positive results.

Communication: Ability to express current needs to others in an orderly, logical fashion as to get the required task to completion or comprehend a new hypothesis that will complete the desired task.

Example "Ah, I see what your saying now. Yes! You're correct. It would be advisable to go that direction. Let's formalize a logical solution based upon your analysis, Let's schedule a meeting Thursday and have all administrative staff on hand. We'll order Pizza! "

-------

Ok let's be real here This is a in depth mechanic to add to the process to the game. I concur if this is too much detail, but I express my opinion that it would greatly enhance the (bean counter) experience to the game and let us choose our Scientist and Engineers. At least let my post guide you to think about a direction for these two fun aspects to the game. It can be done if you wish it, Chris.

Scientist and engineers.

They are just as important as the soldiers. Well, at least they are in the game. Let's give them there due.

My Post thoughts:

I think the more detail and enhancement you add to the new game will be that much better. I only wish to express my thoughts on this one tiny bit of the overall game. It is a tiny bit of the game but could be broadened.

I did not mean to disrupt your design but only offer my wishes of what a true game of this could be.

I would like to say that you accept my apology if Ive overstepped my forum privilege. I've posted in forums before and they have been brutal.

Mad Mel

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Chris, may be this too early to answer but do you plan to make the Xenonauts 2 full moddable - that means having access to the Unity 3D content and scripts/code ?

Apart from what Chris already mentioned; the way the codebase is setup this time around will make it *a lot* easier for the modders to fundamentally alter the game.

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Apart from what Chris already mentioned; the way the codebase is setup this time around will make it *a lot* easier for the modders to fundamentally alter the game.

That's good news. Anyways it would be cool to create mods in C#

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@Mad_Mel - there will be a forum for you to make design suggestions once we formally reveal Xenonauts 2, and the research tree will be more complex than in Xenonauts 1. Quite possibly the Scientists / Engineers will also have more stats than they do in X1, but exactly how deep we go will be up for discussion once we're in early access (although currently the plan is more to specialise them into different types of research rather than give them different characteristics).

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Thanks for reading my post Chris. Glad to hear there will be more to the Scientists and Engineers, even if it's not an ability score type of update for them.

I'll keep an eye out for the Forum on design suggestions. Until then keep your weapons loaded and your courage high.

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Looking forward to it!

Also the suggestion forum. I'd like to offer an idea to possibly improving the research and development department so it has some more depth rather than just the good ol' technology tree. :)

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Nice update,

Hopefully, the aliens will be way more visually terrifying and creepy than in X1.

I have to say that in the Original XCOM it was really creepy and terrifying to play at night, even against the basic aliens.

Where the silhouette was barely visible and you only saw a shadow and then suddenly one of your guys was dead.

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I like the idea of aliens gaining resistance to weapon-classes. It think that this single mechanic should help to substantially differentiate each playthrough. Doubly more-so if each class of weapon isn't just a different flavour of rifle, but has its own characteristic with regard to engagement distance, spread pattern, on-hit effects, and so forth. Along with the troop teleporter and the base power, I think this is one of the best features that's been proposed.

I like the system of renting out research facilities, because I think it could be the prime source of strategic volatility to the Geoscape. I see a couple of ways by which you could tune this system. First, what is the number of research buildings that the player will have under his control at any time? Two, six, a dozen? I'd opt for fewer, because I think it makes fighting to keep one more impactful. Secondly, what is the penalty for losing one of these facilities? Do you lose the money that you paid for it, or are you renting it out turn-by-turn? Do you lose all research progress on an item being research in a facility that is captured, or is the progress (partially) saved? If the geoscape game ever doesn't seem exciting enough, I think that nudging these two variables to the "all-or-nothing" direction might liven it up a bit.

I also really like the part about "choosing an acceptable rate of attrition." A hard timer is often necessary in complicated strategy games like this, simply because the player can usually beat any AI if he's just given an infinite number of turrs. I think this is what motivated Firaxis to include such a high proportion of timed missions in new-XCOM 2, compared to the original new-XCOM. I suppose that the original XCOM and Xenonauts had a timer of sorts, because in both of those games, you can't reclaim a territory once it has been lost. Still, the way you've presented this idea makes losses seem a lot more fine-grained than losing an entire geopolitical bloc. Hopefully, Xenonauts 2 will be balanced so that you can't ever reach a point like you can in pretty much every other XCOM game where it's impossible for the aliens to make any further progress.

Recently, I've been playing a lot of Brogue, a roguelike that is notable because almost every non-consumable piece of equipment in the game can be upgraded at the cost of a scroll of enchanting. What's interesting is that the power of an item increases quadratically, or even exponentially, with respect to its enchantment level, so it's often the case that dumping all of one's enchantments into a single item is far better than spreading upgrades over a few items. Because of this, I think you get a lot more variety in playstyles than would be the case if upgrades provided diminishing returns. Basing playstyle around a single, powerful item leads to a lot more volatile situations than working with an arsenal of moderately powerful items. Of course, Brogue is a game that takes 3 hours to complete and in which even the best players die about half the time; such a design choice might not work so well for a game that takes ten times as long to play through. I just mentioned it because I thought it was an interesting way to design an upgrade system.

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I've played Xenonauts for maybe 20 hours when it came out, and I liked it a lot. The only thing that dissuaded me from playing more were the pretty awful graphics. Looking at the art you added to the first post, I'm afraid it again is going to look really really poor.

My question is : why can't you hire someone who can draw? Sometimes I see other games that look ten times better and always wonder why companies can't hire people who can actually draw well. Is it too expensive?

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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.

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Personal taste? So you honestly think Xenonauts looks even remotely as good as for instance Shadowrun or Invisible Inc? Both are made by indie developers.

Anyway, it was a real question and not a troll. I'm actually curious what made you decide to go for the chosen artist(s). I can remember there was a guy on the forum who remade some of the portraits which looked incomparably better than the stock ones. Why not hire him/her?

Edited by iycgtptyarvg

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I'll take your "not a troll" assertions in good faith, but do you honestly think the artists that painted these paintings can't actually draw?

So yeah, I kinda take objection to your view that every artist who worked on Xenonauts was objectively shit at their job. If that's not what you meant to imply then you should perhaps ask a more nuanced question than "why can't you hire someone that can draw?" and then you might get more than a throwaway answer from a dev.

Do I think Shadowrun looks better than Xenonauts? Yeah, it probably does. Do I think Shadowrun looks "literally ten times better" than Xenonauts? No, I don't think so. Maybe you do, and that's fine ... but plenty of people are happy playing Xenonauts with its current graphics so you might have to accept that not everyone agrees that Xenonauts looks "really really poor".

As you're asking why we decided to use that particular artist for X1; it's because I think he's a good artist and he was willing to work with us back when we had virtually no money at all. Ironically he is actually objectively excellent at drawing because he knows anatomy inside out (indeed he's a full time university tutor on the topic), but his painting skills do divide opinion and we're actually just using him as a concept artist for the X2 3D artists for that reason. Also, the portraits you're talking about are literally just MMA fighter portrait photos resized to fit our armours, so that modder wouldn't be an improvement.

Finally, regarding "indie" developers, Harebrained raised $2m with their Shadowrun Kickstarter (whereas we made ~$150k) and are a significantly larger studio in terms of personnel, and Klei are the guys who have made about half a dozen games already and were rolling in piles of money from Don't Starve when they made Invisible Inc. Both have an order of magnitude more resources available to them than we do even now, and more importantly they had waaaaay more cash than we did back when we were developing X1. It's not the only thing that matters during the development process, but it sure as hell helps things along.

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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.

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