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Xenonauts 2 July Update

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I think it's time for another update on Xenonauts 2. Lots to say but I'm going to try and keep it short, as things are moving quite fast at the moment. 

Where are we right now?

  • We have a playable ground combat mission
  • We have a playable version of the new strategy layer
  • We have a working level editor which we have used to build the level for the ground combat mission.
  • The strategy layer and ground combat are not linked together, and all three elements still need lots more work before they're a finished game

This week we hit our internal milestone to have both parts of the game playable, and we've got both the ground combat and strategy layer working outside Unity as standalone executable builds. This is pretty big news for us, but for the sake of brevity I won't go into exactly why (basically the game logic and properties are not tied directly into Unity, which gives us some advantages but means we needed to do extra work getting the standalone builds working).

Playable does not include ALL the mechanics, just the core ones - the ground combat contains basics like walls and prop objects, time units, line of sight, shooting, cover, destructibility, basic AI, overwatch, etc. The strategy layer has working research, alien / UFO generation, item recovery, air combat and ground combat autoresolve, soldier leveling, etc. As an example of a missing feature, soldiers don't currently have inventories - you just pick their current weapon from a list of all those that exist in the game.

It's therefore definitely a playable game, but there's still a lot missing. The question we're asking ourselves now is "do we want to show the game off yet?" and so far the answer is "no". This is why we've not announced the game, even though we're putting in place all the pieces that will let us do so as soon as it becomes a "yes" - for example, upgrading these forums etc.

The main reason for this is that we've been concentrating on functionality rather than aesthetics recently, and now we have standalone builds functioning I expect us to make significant progress in terms of visuals, game balance and usability in the next few months. Please don't take this to mean that there will be an attractive and mostly finished game appearing in a month or two, but I honestly do think the extra time will dramatically change the reception to the game when we announce / confirm / whatever it.

What needs to change before full announcement?
The announcement of Phoenix Point by Julian Gollop (the creator of the original X-Com) demonstrated to us that a few nicely-chosen pieces of promotional art can be very effective. Historically we've taken the reverse approach where we get the game functioning first and start implementing the art when we have a better idea of the parameters it has to exist inside, but we've decided that spending a bit of money now should reap rewards.

The two specific areas we're waiting on are the 3D character art and the UI art. We've got a production-quality Xenonaut soldier being modeled up at the moment, which we can use for promotional showbox renders and also to replace the more primitive Xenonaut we're currently using in the ground combat. On the UI front I realised it's going to be important to have some screens to show off that will show customers the visual style we're aiming for, even if the actual game doesn't look that way yet. The UI artist currently working on the "look and feel" pieces has recently worked on Destiny, and if he can nail the "military command-centre" vibe then it'll really help the game stand out.

I'm also writing a series of long forum posts on a (currently) hidden sub-forum that explain a bunch of new mechanics or discuss design decisions made on Xenonauts 2, and I'll make that visible when we're good to announce. It's quite detailed and involved stuff, but historically the forum has liked that sort of discussion. If I've not been replying to posts on design suggestions or sounding grumpy when I do, it's probably because I'd just spent a couple of hours writing a post on that exact issue but I'm not able to show it to you yet :)

What happens after the full announcement?
Other than the fact we'll open the Xenonauts 2 Design sub-forum mentioned above, we'll most likely also make an early version of the strategy part of the game available free. I'm internally referring to this period as the Free Alpha and the purpose of it is to create as large a community around the game as possible prior to the Kickstarter that will follow it (which will be the first time you'll be able to buy the game).

I've chosen the strategy for this free release because it's much faster to iterate than the ground combat. It also gives a better representation of the "feel" of the game (more opportunities for lore / worldbuilding text), and you can play through a whole strategic game by autoresolving the ground combat. At the same time, it should still give people plenty to look forward to - it'll obviously be a dramatically different experience once the real ground combat is added in, which will only happen in the paid version of the game post-Kickstarter.

I don't know exactly when the announcement will come, but I'm looking forward to sharing the strategy layer with you all. I'm sure the design will improve dramatically when there are hundreds of people contributing ideas to it instead of just a few of us - and I hope the experience of seeing the game change and evolve through player feedback will convince people to support the Kickstarter!

(Looks like I failed to keep it short!)

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Nice to hear.

You've kinda been having bad luck with "other party" announcements. First XCOM popped up soon after the Xenonauts kickstarter and now Phoenix Point. 

I do think this next KS will need more of a build up (which you seemed to have planned for) since people aren't as X-Com starved today as they were 3-4 years ago. Having something substantial to show will definitely help be required.

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What happens if the kickstarter fails? Not saying I want it to because I love you guys, Xenonauts was awesome and am just worried if the kickstarter fails that means no xenonauts 2.

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We'll still make Xenonauts 2 if the Kickstarter fails - it's going to be pitched like the original one, where raising the money just lets us spend longer developing the game and make a better final product. We might have to scale back elements of the design if the Kickstarter gets a poor reception but you'll still get Xenonauts 2.

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Please let me tell you what i think, as a big xenonauts fan and mod maker:

1. Pure X-Com style is still a thing and Xenonauts is doing this as i hope at 2. too.. so  Phoenix Point and Firaxis X-Com's are totally different games at my point of view.

2. About money.. Chris, i think you stop to develop this game and it was a wrong decision. I mean as DLC or even an expension wise. Yes i know that you hate the engine

 you wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible and you still patching the game for years but i think you should continue to work on it a bit more.

I don't know that you are following the moding community here but you could do some mod support and extra material to the game as DLC's to help your foundation. XCE project tried to that to a point but it could be much better if you support it as company and i would ready to pay more 5-10 maybe 20$ for a professional mod friendly DLC with some new UFO's, maps, weapons, enemies, planes, maybe little new game aspects.. 

This game is so easy to add everything. You could easily add another race even space humans.. Adding all the human equipment and airplane/ufos are just 2D art. Some nice maps won't be problem for your map makers.. I mean i don't see any reason when it's so easy to add many things to this game. People are using this DLC's to support their next projects and this is accepted by the fans. I would like to support you with DLC buying rather then a kickstart. It's easier for your costumers too.

As i see at moding of Xenonauts, there is tons of way to improve it and you missed that opportunity. I don't think you will do it now too.

But if you ask me, it's still a thing to make a DLC and announcing it as a support for 2. game would give you nice support as money with less efford. Kickstart could be fail because people's point of view to the early access and kickstarts and they want to pay something finished rather then gamble on things. But if you give them something solid, they want to support you even they thing the material is not worth or even overpriced, because they will know the reason and will get something for their money.

 

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3 hours ago, drages said:

2. About money.. Chris, i think you stop to develop this game and it was a wrong decision. I mean as DLC or even an expension wise. 

The problem with DLC is that the pool of people that could buy it is limited to the pool of people that own the original game; that's only about 220,000 people (and about 100,000 are Humble Bundle buyers who may well have bought the bundle to get other games). Let's say that means there's 150,000 people out there that have intentionally bought Xenonauts at some point.

It's impossible to know what percentage of them would be interested in buying a DLC, because it will be impossible to tell all the owners about the new DLC that's available on sale, not everyone will have enjoyed Xenonauts enough to buy a DLC, and some people just don't like DLC on principle. But for the sake of argument let's say 10% of all users buy the DLC (which I think is *far* too high) and are prepared to buy it for $10. That's only $150,000 of revenue, and once Steam's cut and sales taxes are taken off we'd only have about $90,000. If only 1% of users bought the DLC, we'd only get $9,000.

To be honest I'd say the second figure is more likely because we saw almost no increase in sales or player count after we announced our big V1.5 update and did some promo work on it; most of our sales just seem to come from being featured by Steam. Anyway, as you receive about 90% of the money that is pledged to you on Kickstarter, so you don't have to sell many copies of a $30 game to make that sort of money. I don't really think the maths works on DLC unless you've sold a lot of copies and have a game designed for it in advance that allows you to produce it for minimal effort. It's unfortunate but Xenonauts only partially fits into the first category and definitely does not fit into the second one.

And as you say, even if I did make the wrong decision, it's probably too late to start making DLC for Xenonauts now :)

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At the age we live in, people just even buy some photoshop recolor for textures. The DLC's i talk about is something even a modder could do it.. So without any big effort i try to say.

I know that you got the numbers but i think it could be bigger then those numbers. And a game with some DLC's and free updated (with content) got much more attention then a game done with everything.. Of course a game with 50 DLC will get hate too.. but they are many people who got money to throw to same where even they don't know or care.. You need to think about the sale progress and all the economical steps you can use. You can be a best developer but if you don't know how to sell your product, it's no point.. I don't say your are, i just give an example.. but %10 is very low for people who like to buy DLC.

Xenonauts is an old game and things were different at those days. If you act same for Xeno 2 today, you will fail.. as you talked about the art decision.

Xenonauts could live longer or it can give you enough time to make Xeno 2 without making people to forget what you did. We know now at a age of DLC and Mods.. You do DLC, we do mods, everyone happy. Fraxis Xcom was a failure before Long War and with that mod, they could make the 2. game. Fallout 4 is a game with mods.. How many time did i see you at mod community since i am here? I don't want to be lie but nearly none. You started XCE project, it was a well done move.. really well done for start, but after that? Couldn't you give some more options, some more soft coding, some more helping when you already work on 1.5+ patches? Would it be so much to make some standart wishes of the modders (when there is much more modders)? I think you though that, it would be not worth. I wish you had helped us a bit for some years.. yeah there were Ilunak, and only Ilunak but he was not enough when Solver left the project too.. I am just sad..

I don't know it changed anything or not but weeks left for our mod "X-Division" next version.. it's a 3-4 GB mod.. it has many people already at Nexus even at old-beta versions. But people are getting curious when they saw a mod for a game which is double size of the main game. People is returning, other peoples are buying.. even they somehow get it free they remember the game and waiting for 2. maybe.. BUT i begged for XCE coders for softcoding and some little bug fixes for years in my life.. i really begged and still begging and this is the only place i beg someone in my entire life, as a someone who don't have any gain from it.. I am just very sad and angry to be ignored so badly.. and i am usre that you can do what we wanted as modders, in one week.. because they were so easy to do.. adding some more topics for manufacture UI, a code to delete old manufactures, able to add more weapon types to air battle, 2 weapon vehicles, aircraft armor code fix, making melee creatures to hit vehicles and like those.. really how much hours could be spend for those?

And i did not care the 1.5+ patch you done. I don't have a reason why u did think it will add more sales.. A patch which done already mostly at XCE project and without ANY content to use for players.. I finished the game with 1.09 without any problem or bug to bother.. I would like to see a full of softcode/mod helper patch to open the game for more modders with tools and other things.. it would be much more, useful..

So i hope you give enough modding support and after release progress for Xeno 2.. 

 

(and please fix the forum signature picture bug, i can't delete what i added to it and now i got a signiture for full page..) 

Edited by drages

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There's an interesting discussion on dlc and game budgets on ask a game dev. Here's a snippet from it. 

 

Quote

I suppose I should have taken a step back and not skipped explaining the part about how budgets work. I’ll try to do that now. Fair warning - this explanation is likely to be lengthy. You have been warned.

At the very core, we have basic units of developmental resources. Let’s call them “zots”. Each zot represents a specific unit of developmental resource. Zots have a monetary value, because development costs money - each zot represents a certain amount of money spent hiring, training, and paying salaries and benefits of developers. Zots also have a time value, because all development must be constrained by a release schedule. As such, the publishers and developers agree to a budget with an allocated number of zots.

By the time the publisher and team agree on a budget, they have a rough idea of how the zots will be spent - the kind of game it is, the major features, the general critical path and/or storyline, and so on have all been decided and each has a rough number of zots allocated to it. Also by this time, several proposed features have already been cut, due to not having room in the zot budget for them, or for not having the right sort of zots for them (e.g. feature A requires more programming zots, while feature B requires more cinematic designer zots). The published and team then agree to a certain budget of zots to spend on the development of the game over the agreed-upon time frame.

You must understand that when we sit down to hammer out a budget for a game, we are not saying that the final game will beguaranteed to include all of these features. These allocations are still just estimates, after all. Things often change during development - maybe feature X turned out easier/cheaper than expected, but feature Y was just a huge can of worms that ended up costing way too many zots. However, the budget is still important. It gives us a capped amount of time/money/people/resources to spend. 

So let’s break this down using an analogy. This is a balloon drop bag. It is a big plastic bag that holds a bunch of balloons.

Imagine that the finished game is like the drop bag, and that each feature or piece of content in the proposal is like a balloon inside the bag. The drop bag has a minimum size requirement for any balloon to be placed inside it, just like every feature must meet certain minimum acceptance criteria in order to be considered fit for public consumption. If a feature crashes, breaks any certification requirements, fails to meet its acceptance criteria, doesn’t work right, etc. it cannot be considered shippable. Thus, anything smaller than the minimum cutoff size will not be allowed into the bag in order to ensure a consistent base level of quality.

Continuing this analogy, we see that every balloon on the list starts off empty and we have a finite amount of air in our air tank to fill them with. Similarly, each feature or chunk of content in the plan starts off as a bare bones concept that we developers need to bring to a shippable state by filling it with zots. However, these balloons are not necessarily uniform in size or shape. Some of them will require more air and some will require less. Some might have holes in them and we won’t know until we try to pump it with air and notice it shrinking. Some balloons might even pop during the inflation process. For the balloons that leak or pop, any air that was pumped into them is essentially wasted, just like some features are just dead ends or killed because of outside sources (like publisher or license disapproval). But for those that do hold air, we have to start looking to the cutoff size.

The problem comes when we are nearing the end of the air in the tank and we have a number of balloons that are not yet inflated enough to make that minimum cutoff. We can’t just connect one partially-inflated balloon to another and try to squeeze the air across, it doesn’t work that way. Usually what that means is that the balloons closest to being full or considered more important are prioritized over those needing more air. All of the acceptable balloons get put into the bag, and the bag is then given to the customer. All of the balloons that didn’t make the cutoff are left in the assembly shop, and the customer doesn’t get them even though they are partially inflated. It isn’t that we wouldn’t like to inflate them, but we’ve run out of air in the tank. Sometimes really dedicated developers will blow the balloons up themselves (like I talked about in my last post) but, in the old days, these were mostly just discarded.

One thing you should note - we never skimp on the air for the balloons. We always try to use up all of the air that’s in the tank. We won’t send back a partially-full tank to the publisher, and the publisher doesn’t want us to send back a partially-full tank anyway. The publisher wants the best (earning) game they can get for what they put into it, and that generally means making something that is engaging, sustainable, and profitable. Thus we developers try to use all the air that’s in the tank that we possibly can. Nobody raids from the finished balloons from the bag for selling later because we have the list of deliverable features firmly established from way back before we even started inflating. We get the one tank to pull air from, and we spend it all on the balloons that we said we would back at the planning meeting mentioned earlier.

The thing is that we can’t guarantee a certain minimum number of balloons with this development method - if the inflation process wastes a lot of air on popped or leaky balloons, then the finished product won’t have as many balloons in it. It might be because we inflated a big balloon that turned out to be leaky, or a bunch of small balloons that ended up popping. Regardless of the cause, if we have too many discards or failures, we might have to cancel selling the bag altogether because it’s too empty. Whether a bag is completely cancelled varies from vendor to vendor, just like the criteria for a game to be cancelled depends on the publisher. 

Before DLC became a viable business model, the partially-inflated balloons that did not meet the cutoff were generally discarded. Occasionally, the developer would get a new tank of gas to build an expansion pack, and they would fill it with some brand new balloons and some of the partially-inflated old balloons that the customer never saw. This scenario, however, was on the rare side. It took a lot of time to fill those balloons and, by the time the new add-on bag was ready, customers had often moved on and weren’t as interested.  

With today’s DLC business model, we developers are now granted smaller tanks to inflate balloons for smaller add-on bags. We can actually start rescuing some of those partially-inflated balloons and, using the air in the smaller tanks, bring them to full size. Each individual gas tank via the DLC method is smaller, but the total amount of air in those tanks put together is generally much larger than what we used to get for expansion packs - mostly because they sell much better than the old expansion packs.

This includes Day 1 DLC. You must realize that even though Day 1 DLC is released on launch day, it still has its own budget. The air that went to fill that DLC balloon up did not come from tank used to fill the rest of the balloons in the bag. The presence of day 1 DLC content means that there is some other balloon that got air instead. That balloon may have made it into the bag or may have been a failure, but you have to believe that the air was spent elsewhere.

It’s also important to note that today’s publisher and developer have a rough idea of the sort of scope, revenue target, and zot budget there will be for content like paid and free DLC from early on. These budgets tend to be fuzzier than for the game itself because they’re often based on how well the game does, but it’s all built into the plan and renegotiated as the project progresses. The important point here is that all DLC and additional game content has its own budget. When I say “everything has to be paid for somehow”, this is what I meant. Because the DLC has a separate budget from the core game, it’s like having a separate gas tank to fill up more balloons.

This is why the publishers don’t usually include stuff for free. They have set aside a certain budget to spend on the development of project X for a projected revenue Y, and that’s all that gets to be spent. DLC has its own additional budget with its own projected revenue, and has the added benefit of being able to pick up the partially-completed but discarded content from the development process. In that way, the developers can leverage the “wasted” air from the original development and finish a feature or chunk of content and bring it up to a shippable quality level. Without this additional infusion of zots, that content would have never been released.

PS. I’ve seen a few people in the replies talk about CD Projekt Red as a counterexample, but they are more of an exception than the rule. If you want to know why, I can explain in a future post. But suffice it to say that CDPR shares several of the same qualities that make Valve a similar exception to the rule.  

 

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While Goldhawk does not have a publisher, it did have a budget - the number of people who either paid in the Kickstarter or bought the game. That represents a finite number of zots that can be spent on the game, and all the zots were spent on bringing the game, 5 years in development, to reality. At this point Goldhawk had two choices.

 

1) Spend whatever zots it got from sales on Xenonauts.

2) Spend whatever zots it got from sales on developing a new game.

 

Spending what you have left on further development of the only game in your stable is an incredibly risky idea. You're betting the farm that more people than those who already bought the game will be attracted to it, and you're also betting that the people who bought the game will be invested adequately enough to by DLC for the game. This may be true when the game is hot off the presses, but as time passes, interest in the game itself wanes. Without DLC NOW NOW NOW from the moment the game is released, it's difficult to maintain interest. Take PayDay 2. It was release din August 2013. The first 2 for-pay DLC packs were in November, then January 2014, then May 2014, etc. etc. In addition to that were persistent free updates in-between each for-pay DLC pack. The budget and development structure of PayDay 2 was set up from the get-go to squirt out DLC very quickly (in development time) to maintain interest in the face of any competition (read: everything else). It's clear that landing Xenonauts was a monumental task which was budgeted and designed as "produce a complete game". Goldhawk has no publisher to ask money from to make DLC, nor it appears to have the infrastructure to rapidly support Xenonauts, given that a fair part of the original development team went bye-bye either during or after the game was released. So Goldhawk's survival depends on either developing a stable of games which can support it in lean times, or hyper developing a single game which supports everything that Goldhawk does. A stable of games spreads the risk of studio collapse due to one game failing. Which, if you were a responsible founder who likes game development more than he likes working in an accountants' office, would you choose? 

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They are more and more "1" man game developers out there, no company, no publisher, one computer...

Don't compare Xenonauts to the fancy AAA products as the requirement to create a DLC. It's a very good game with simple material. You are the most worked modder here Max. You know this game more then me. Adding some new weapons as a tier, "1" day work... Making 1 Ufo needs only a map for it and an artist to draw some pictures for it.. Adding airplane? I can make it in 15 min. Adding new aliens, recolor the old ones a bit, another "30" min. More maps? 1 week hobby for a dedicated map maker.. Maybe the only challenge would be a new set armour and weapons sprites at ground combat, and it would be still an easy task if you got the one who made it for main game.. The softcoding i told, already a weekend job..

This is one of the easiest game which you can make any kind of DLC's.. so tell me "zots" you need to make them? If i would be in this games development team, i could create 3 big sized expansion ( i don't say simple DLC because i can't count how many we can make) with a artists and that 3D sprite maker with minimal of zods..

I know it because i am modding this game for more then 1 years, easily 2.. so i know every lame thing about this game except XCE coding. IF i had a XCE coder in my modding team, i can't imagine what i can do.

So please.. :), if you even give me a 2D artist (because of the trademark) and a game developer who can add/fix the code i wanted, for 1 month,i could create "10" different kind of DLC's for you with my team with every testing done and ready to launch. And i would do it for free, at our free time just to make the game better. So only "zots" for artist...

I still can't see why you think, it's so hard to find resources to make some DLC/Expensions to this game. 

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1 hour ago, Max_Caine said:

While Goldhawk does not have a publisher, it did have a budget - the number of people who either paid in the Kickstarter or bought the game. That represents a finite number of zots that can be spent on the game, and all the zots were spent on bringing the game, 5 years in development, to reality. At this point Goldhawk had two choices.

 

1) Spend whatever zots it got from sales on Xenonauts.

2) Spend whatever zots it got from sales on developing a new game.

 

Spending what you have left on further development of the only game in your stable is an incredibly risky idea. You're betting the farm that more people than those who already bought the game will be attracted to it, and you're also betting that the people who bought the game will be invested adequately enough to by DLC for the game. This may be true when the game is hot off the presses, but as time passes, interest in the game itself wanes. Without DLC NOW NOW NOW from the moment the game is released, it's difficult to maintain interest. Take PayDay 2. It was release din August 2013. The first 2 for-pay DLC packs were in November, then January 2014, then May 2014, etc. etc. In addition to that were persistent free updates in-between each for-pay DLC pack. The budget and development structure of PayDay 2 was set up from the get-go to squirt out DLC very quickly (in development time) to maintain interest in the face of any competition (read: everything else). It's clear that landing Xenonauts was a monumental task which was budgeted and designed as "produce a complete game". Goldhawk has no publisher to ask money from to make DLC, nor it appears to have the infrastructure to rapidly support Xenonauts, given that a fair part of the original development team went bye-bye either during or after the game was released. So Goldhawk's survival depends on either developing a stable of games which can support it in lean times, or hyper developing a single game which supports everything that Goldhawk does. A stable of games spreads the risk of studio collapse due to one game failing. Which, if you were a responsible founder who likes game development more than he likes working in an accountants' office, would you choose? 

Although this is exactly why its hard to to further develope a game into the ultra best state. It simply costs too much zots, with too much risk at hand. You cant make the best game possible if you have to think on how you will feed your family. You have to make predictable steps to with a certain amount of ressources and a predictable goal which leads to predictable game with an predictable income. The outcome is is somewhat predictable, but mods dont give you any predictable money/none at all.

 

A good example is Rome 2. Why did the developers make it ? They were game developers and needed to feed their family. Thats their job. So they decided to make a modern game which will net them a predictable income.

On the other hand we have Roma surrectum 2 the best Roman Total war mod/game ever created. Roma surrectum 2 is infinitely better than Rome 2, as a game you want to play and inverse yourself in, comparing to a game which delivers you a mostly hollow experience with fancy graphics. They almost made every single feature worse than it was before. Why ? Because it needs some serious work to deliver the same experience on a new platform. Some ballons became just what they are now because better versions need too much air and it was not deemed cost efficient to pump more into that balloon which other ballons needed to ship the whole product.

A few words on Roma Surrectum 2. Its an incredible game on a dying platoform with no support in the future. The engine can only use single core which limits all future plans to zilch. Just like the settlers 4, it calls on specific hardware components which might not be available in the furture and have to be emulated to keep the game properly running.

Is it the better game ? Undoubtly. Is it the better financial choice ? No, it would be a horrible choice for a game developer who needs to think how to feed himself and the people under his care. It would be like putting money on a sinking ship. You know its going to sink, you just dont know when.

But i wouldnt even buy Rome 2 if someone would give me the money for it, its not worth my time.

 

This is the outcome of the system game developing is in today. Sometimes i think games are just there to feed a money cycle to further our technological advances. Software and Hardware have an incredible short half-life period. Take a look on emulateing older hardware components will tell you why. To accurately emulate a 300 mghz hardware you need more than 3 ghz, and even that is not enough.

Emulators explained.odt

This is the reason why i support inconditional basic income and paying money on things you are actually playing, not buying and never touch it again. Thats a long walk until we are there.

 

So do i understand that Xenonauts 2 is the better financial choice as a game developer who needs money to live and eat ? Undoubtly, but because the system of game developing forces developers to it. Playing X-Com in a MSDOS box doesnt put money ijn a cycle where people can actually feed themselve. This is true to most free software programs out there. They are developed by people who think that software is something useful but are ditched by a developer team that have to think about an predictable income source.

All software needs adjustements over time and even redevelopment to stay on top of changing soft and hardware components. If no money is put into it they will be forgotten quicker than myspace accounts.

Do i think that mods will undoubtly produce better games ? Yes, because they can inflate balloons with air they provide themselve and polish them to a degree which a team which has to think about a budget can not.

This is ultiamtely also the main problem. No money gain from mods = no future for the mod. No redevelopment. No nothing. Good games are rotting on the software graveyard because they are not believed to produce a positive money evaluation. And the software and harware windmill presses on and on, new and changed things everyday, and the guinea pig runs and runs a bit more in the treadmill.

Game developing is like riding a wave. You have to enjoy it while it lasts, take care of bigger waves from behind, and there are also times without waves.

 

But maybe we can change that attitude of thinking.

Edited by Charon

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There are different point of views.. I write what i wrote as a old, hardcore player and as a industry engineer which knows how to calculate different benefits for best result at short and long term.

My calculations about the needs for possible DLC's are minimal after the main development finished. You all talk about the global marketing and standards. I talk about "this" game. Standard rules don't apply for every kind of situation.

Fallout 4 is supporting modding as much it can now with the developers support. Any of the Fallout Mod could be a small DLC. And what happened? Bethesta created little DLC's which you can create with mods but with some modeling and little game coding. And all that DLC's done with minimal efforts to the company. Bethesta can do this until Fallout 5.

When you start a fully new development, standards works

 but when you got already something, you need to look your own position and possibilities. If you use wrong standards, you fail. This is an important step and one of the key ones..

I said what i see. I am done with it. It's up to you.

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Drages, I think you are underestimating the amount of work required to add new art assets to the game.  You are overlooking balance issues.  Yes Goldhawk could easily add things to the game, but balancing/polishing them in a game that was balanced without them also requires additional resources.  Modders can put out free content that breaks the game's balance with few repercussions, but a developer is held to higher expectations and can potentially lose sales over putting out shoddy DLC.

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13 minutes ago, Dranak said:

Drages, I think you are underestimating the amount of work required to add new art assets to the game.  You are overlooking balance issues.  Yes Goldhawk could easily add things to the game, but balancing/polishing them in a game that was balanced without them also requires additional resources.  Modders can put out free content that breaks the game's balance with few repercussions, but a developer is held to higher expectations and can potentially lose sales over putting out shoddy DLC.

"amount of work required to add new art assets"  this part is only cost as i said before. It could be expensive, but an airplane picture/concept or some simple weapon design won't shake anyone. But new unit sprites would be the hard and costly ones.

Balancing, Xenonauts used the most basic abilities of its code. There is no resistances/weapon damage type used ( i ignore very little andron kinetic resistance), nearly no need to stun or EMP damage. So there is only HP/human armour/alien weapon damage to balance. Create an alien type with a bit more HP, give a bit powerful weapons to xenos, add a bit more resisted armours to soldiers, add 2 plane with a bit faster and more HP, add 2 UFO bigger so faster and more HP too, add the req researches and manufactures.. viola!!! you got your new expansion ( i don't say DLC, i say expansion). Even you add 10 to 20 to all new stats you changed (weapon/armour/planes/ufos/aliens...), you will be a %80 balanced add on. Even you got some problems, you can handle it a patch after 2 weeks with feedback.. I know because i done those all :)...

As you all know, i don't say those as a new comer, i am a content maker at hardest (like walking mechs) to this game. Even i go mad, i can create my own 3D human animations and put them to my mod but i can't give that effort.. 

You don't need to try to change my mind, i just give my opinion with the reasons. DLC quality of this days are very bad at gaming community. So even you make a mid quality DLC people will like it.. If you give a little free DLC with content, you became most loved dev in game industry.. I am not a dev but i am following what happens there.

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It's probably best not to turn the thread into a discussion about DLC, as it's a bit of a tangent to the main discussion - it might be that I'm overestimating how hard it is to make DLC and it would be more worthwhile than I think, but with Xenonauts being released two years ago now we're past the window where DLC would be a smart thing to do (plus we're fully committed to developing Xenonauts 2 now). Even if I did make the wrong decision back then, we can't change course now.

Still, hopefully the goodwill towards Xenonauts that would lead people to buy DLC would also lead them to buy a sequel instead :)

(I think that signature issue is fixed now too.)

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You are right chris.. sorry i carried this here.. anyway thinking possible DLC/Expansions at the development would make you help for planning too.. 

About moding, i hope you can use 2D images at all kind of equipment scenes for easy moding. 3D modding is always very hard..

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I have been following the posts about adding more to the old Xenonauts game. I agree with the Devs. When a new game comes out it is almost always better and the old one no longer appeals.

When Xeno 2 arrives I am sure it will be a big improvement. Far better for our Dev Team to work on the new one than try and gild the old one.

Just one request from me. I would LOVE to see Xeno 2 incorporate the soundtrack/music of the very first 1990's XCOM game. This is probably impossible due to copyright issues, but can you either spend some time keeping the CREEPY atmosphere of Xeno, or even get the guy who scored the music for UFO Defense to do yours?

PLEASE don't ever go for a "rock" soundtrack!!

Kim in Australia

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Another problem, many times a feature is cut after partially completion because the developers find it's much harder and complex to code than they anticipated (this is true in all systems not just games.)  So, the easier, higher impact features are more likely to get into the final product.  If you go back and try to get all the features that would have made the game "perfect" it's probably going to take more time and effort than the amount of money you're going to make.  Old programmer adage, "the last 10% of the code takes 90% of the time." 

Edited by StellarRat

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Just made an account to say thanks for all your hard work! Looking forward to Xenonauts 2 and can't wait to see what's cooking.  The new strategy layer sounds really interesting.

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It sounds like progress is much more rapid than it was for Xenonauts 1, which is great to hear!

It's also good that you're making the game playable while it's in alpha.  I think this will really help to make the finished product more strategically interesting, especially if the community makes a commitment finding the quickest and most reliable way to beat each alpha version.

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In theory, DLC is most cost effective when you can have it out not long after launch, when the largest number of people are playing the game. In general companies tend to have artists work on cosmetic DLC starting when the game has gone feature/content complete and is in bug fixing mode, allowing them to keep working to produce content that can go live day 1 or possibly shortly after launch.

On the one hand, I don't like a lot of DLC practices, but on the other hand, you're a small developer who probably needs a bit of a cash boost. As long as it's not too scummy, I don't think people will mind if you release a couple of song packs or bonus character models or something.

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  Looks like alot has been happening, can't wait to try out and even mod up X2

  If I'm going to put my 2 cents onto this, I've think I've preached countless times that Xenonauts  felt like a proper turn based tactical. X-COM seems like an arcadey branch out of the old 1993 series while Xenonauts felt that it gave me a more rewarded complex combat system. Xenonauts is the closest thing that satisfied me is it's 1)TU system and 2)Scriptless approach to missions. XCOM has style, Xenonauts has substance, simply put. But that being said, I still feel that Xenonauts still could do with more depth in it's combat system.

 I can understand the concern of competing games like Phoenix Point(mainstream. I would say that Xenonauts caters towards the niche crowd that prefers a more in-depth combat style close to the old games, given that Xenonauts 2 is an improvement, it's can stand out in it's own as one of the more complex, rewarding Turn Based Strategy games.

 

  Haven't been the forums for awhile so I'd probably rambling without reading too much at the state of things, and I'm typing in the wee hours, still, quite eager to see what X2 offers this time so I can jump back to modding, and pray tell that it's much easier to mod than X1, heh.

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Okay, I have two things to say about XCOM and Xenonauts.

 

1.  In these turn-based tactical games, when a human is facing an AI opponent, I think that tactical situation becomes easier to process for the human player as the turns get more granular.  By "more granular," I mean that a player (artifical or human) gets more opportunities to add input per turn.

For instance, Frozen Synapse and Lethal Tactics allow you one chance to per turn, and both sides move simultaneously.  It's basically the most granular form of strategy.  On the other hand, in UFO:EU and Xenonauts, one particular action consumes a fraction of a percent of a turn; the turns are very granular.  New-XCOM is somewhere in the middle.  I hear a lot of people saying that they think the simplified movement system in New-XCOM makes the game less complicated, but I think they're not looking at it from the perspective that I've just presented.  In fact, they added all of those time-based missions in XCOM2 so that you couldn't just scoot your soldiers along, square-by-square.  It really makes the game more interesting when you're not always allowed to run behind a corner as soon as you spot an alien.

 

I know I've echoed these sentiments in a bunch of different posts in the Xenonauts 2 Suggestion forums, but after thinking about it, the input-granularity really is what really defines the tactical layer of a turn-based strategy game.  (At least in my opinion.)

 

2.  In Xenonauts 2,  I think that right after your soldier makes a round-ending kill, there should be a close-up shot of him delivering a cheesy line that you might see at the end of an action movie from the 80s, right after the bad guy is killed.   You know, something like Charles Bronson or Bruce Willis might say.  I am being completely frank when I say that this one little feature could catapult Xenonauts 2 sales from Indie to AAA-levels.

 

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