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Chris

January Update & Planning

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Hello everyone - happy new year! Now we've returned from the Christmas holidays and had a few days to settle back into things, we've had some internal meetings about our plans for the coming year. This post is a quick summary on what we've got scheduled.

Next Build:
In the short term, we'll be releasing a new public build of the game. We're hoping for the tail end of next week (Thursday?) but it might be pushed back into the week after dependent on how the work goes, and it should include these features:

  • Outlines for soldiers hidden behind solid objects
  • "Cutaways" for objects that are above the current camera view level (e.g. trees, building roofs, etc)
  • Smoother and more responsive unit movement animations
  • A new map in an Industrial dockyard tileset, hopefully supporting layout randomisation in some form
  • Potentially also a reskin of the GC UI

First Development Milestone:
We talked a bit more about the longer term planning and did some worst-case financial forecasting. I think it's important for us to plan appropriately for alpha funding so there's minimal chance for our backers to get screwed over, and what this means is that we've decided our priority should be to deliver the minimum viable product for Xenonauts 2 as soon as possible. Once we reach that point we can ship the game at any point and our backers will have a completed game that they will hopefully enjoy, and any extra money can be used to extend development and improve the game further. This avoids a situation where we have an incomplete game and no money to finish it.

This sounds like common sense, but it feeds into a deeper question about Xenonauts 2: what do we want the sequel to be? Well, in my view, the minimum viable product for Xenonauts-2 is the first game with enhanced 3D graphics and map randomisation. 

Of course, this is just the first phase of our development plan. We're not planning to stop there and, if funding allows, then we'll continue to add new content and balance and improve the game mechanics (or add entirely new ones). But I am specifically trying to avoid a situation where we start experimenting with new systems too early, run out of money, then end up with something that is incomplete / worse than the original game.

The reason why I mention this is because over the coming few months you're going to see some of the content and systems from X1 reappearing in the sequel, apparently with very little changed. Please don't take this as a lack of originality on the part of the developers; we're just sprinting towards a working proxy of the first game before we start attempting any big changes because that's the safest way to develop. This has the advantage of allowing you to test these new ideas and systems in a live game, so you can test the game before and after the changes and then give us an informed opinion on how they change the experience of playing the game (which is usually much more useful than theorycrafting about abstract ideas that nobody has played yet).

Please also remember that all this is worst-case scenario planning - if the game raises anything like the funding that the first game raised on Kickstarter or Early Access, we're not going to have any financial issues at all. I'm probably being overly cautious here, but that's probably better than the reverse.

Oh, and one more thing - I know Xenonauts 1 with better graphics sounds kinda dull, but even our minimum product would be a substantial upgrade over the first. Here's a promotional screenshot we're currently working on ... although not actually in-game, this is all posed in-engine using game assets and taken via the in-game camera, except the UI (a Photoshop mockup based on the X1 UI). Doesn't look too bad, does it? That's the "worst" you can expect from X2.

x2_ui_mockup.jpg

Kickstarter & Commercialisation:
We've been talking about all that stuff (and working on the promotional screenshots etc) because we're moving into active planning for the Kickstarter. We're hoping to do this at some point in March. Free builds will continue until the end of the Kickstarter, at which point we'll start preparing for the Early Access launch (likely testing the EA builds using beta testers drawn from the Kickstarter backers).

This means we'll be starting active promotion of the public builds soon, either with the next major update or the following one - I think addressing the UI, the view-blocking objects, cleaning up the animations and finally adding a new map will get us to a state where the game is presentable to non-hardcore fans.

In terms of the Geoscape, we might also be able to cobble together a reasonably functional proxy of the X1 Geoscape in the next six to eight weeks. It's a big job but some of the functionality is already there, and we'll also take the opportunity to add in our dialogue screens which tell the new story and provide exposition beyond that contained in the research projects.

The specific non-build things we're currently working on are:

  • The new Xenonauts.com is nearly ready, and will be a hub for both X1 and X2 (Xenonauts2.com will just redirect to it).
  • We're working on some nice promotional artwork of the various environments (e.g. the image posted above).
  • We're pushing ahead with the randomisable soldier portraits, which we'll need for the rewards.

Kickstarter Rewards:
I'm floating this early because I know community feedback on our proposed Kickstarter rewards was very valuable last time around! We're currently planning a £40,000 / $50,000 Kickstarter pitched like our first one: we've got enough budget to ship the minimum game, but we're trying to raise money to fund extra development time that will allow us to improve it further.

I can currently think of two Kickstarter tiers that would work well:

  • $25 - a copy of the game
  • $50 - a copy of the game, plus you get to put yourself in the game as a soldier (creating a face via the face creator tool)

Unfortunately, I can't really think of much more than that! I'm *very* keen to avoid physical rewards because I think we made a net loss on those in our first Kickstarter once you include shipping, even if you ignore the cost of the hours I spent organising them - the art book in particular was a massive endeavor!

On the other hand, putting yourself in the game as a soldier was immensely popular during the first Kickstarter even though the custom portraits were only available at the $200 tier. Unfortunately having our artist hand-paint a portrait from photographs cost most of the $50 marginal cost of these portraits, so we can't really do that this time round either. Instead, we're hoping people will be able to create a reasonable approximation of themselves using our face generator.

Because the portraits in our game are split into layers (e.g. head, hair, eyes, eyebrows, nose, ear, facial hair, etc) it's possible to generate lots of different portraits and we should hopefully be able to avoid the portrait repetition of the first game. But we're also going to put together a program that allows people to manually cycle through all the options for each layer to try and make something that resembles them. We've not yet done enough facial feature variations to give it a test but we hope it'll be a nice way of letting people customise "their" soldier without being incredibly expensive to the dev team.

I'm going to throw it open to the floor here - do you like the sound of that? Would you pay $25 extra to create a custom soldier for yourself? Can you think of digital higher tier rewards (other than creating more custom soldiers) that aren't too expensive for us to deliver?

Happy to listen to thoughts and comments on any of the above. More details on the next build will be provided as they come in, and we'll discuss the Kickstarter in more detail as it approaches!

 

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Xenonauts 1 is a success even with the engine flaws and non-finished aspect on details over original UFO. This is very important point.

So if something works, don't break it policy, is very important but mostly ignored thing. When the developers goes to next games, they want to "change" things to have something "different" then the first one. Many developers lost their ways for this reason and even they created one legendary product, they failed so badly at second. The biggest example was SOTS 2 in my entire life. I still cry sometimes.. MOO 3 could be a nice old example too.

Is "having a fully functional, 3D supported, all the missing parts added, good coded and fully mod support Xenonauts 1" bad as Xenonauts 2? I would say a big "NO" here. Xenonauts done it's job as a original UFO clone with every bit of soul. People wanted it and you win. There are tons of openXcom fans out there, only Xenonauts missed the exact point to be become the ultimate clone because of the limits you got.. money, engine, planning.. If you succeed to finish what you start with Xenonauts 1, this game could be the best turn based game of the year.. 

As i read all the reviews and steam and the forums who does not like Xenonauts,

- the biggest (%90) reason is the ground combat bugs about LOS, shooting, bullets passing by objects, grenades falling to the feet, not able to picking from corners, as short ground combat bugs because of engine. A proper ground combat will give you already tons of buyers.

-then some linear, a bit boring at late game progress, which you will handle it with some more stuff probably like random missions without UFO landing, different weapon types with different roles, more resistance/damage type combinations to make more tactical approach, different ammo types for weapons, a simple skill system or armors with different tactical things.

-Missing things like alien containment, different melee weapons, different sized more scary real aliens,very shallow alive alien capturing research line from original UFO.

-Animations and graphics are a bit dull and lifeless, which is already handled.. and btw add some idle animations to the maps too.. maybe some lights.. breaking walls with animations.. you got what i mean.

So i am saying this from the beginning. I am sure that you will improve all the Xenonauts experience even you finish what you missed at first game at next game. I hear some crazy ideas here but this game does not need crazy different ideas. It needs to be working as intended without bugs which can kill your tactical experience and to have the missing parts. All of the XCom players are happy to go to the crush side with a lame slow chopper.. So no need to change it with a teleporter or rocket, as an example.

I think most of us can see that how beautiful that SS is with the new game engine and old lovely UI. I see everything at a nice panel there but the new UI u use at demos is everywhere.. I need to look every part of the screen to get my needed info.. why? This is not a android game. Everybody got at least 15'' monitors so you don't need huge UI all over the sides of the game. The old one is practical, useful, simple, not confusing. I like all the UI's of the X-1. We just added some more things with Solver and it became perfect.

But please give this Xenonauts a proper name like X-Com.. give them a flag.. a symbol.. it's so important to connect the player and it's soldiers.. 

This game will be my 2. pre-order.. I pre-ordered SOTS 2 before and i thought, if a dev made a game like SOTS 1, they can't make a disaster with a 2. game.. but they did. So after that, you will be the next one, i trust in gaming sector. I would give as much as i can without thinking what to get.

Edited by drages

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With regards to the extra tiers of digital goods, here are my suggestions:

  • Design cosmetic armor/etc for the soldier: hats, gun attachments, body armor, facial hair, tattoos, backpacks, etc. Starbound had something like this at the 500$ tier. (This all hinges on soldier customization, which itself sounds like a good reward tier!).
  • Design a callsign and logo for the aircraft.
  • Choose an under-represented country or people to get prime treatment.
  • Design something relating to the base... the apparel of an employee? I don't have many ideas here.
  • Design a floorplan for a UFO.
  • Design a floorplan for a city building. (ie, their own home)
  • Design a string for the event-ticker, if there is still one. (ie, "Farmers dumbfounded as cows now glow in the dark").

If I think of more I'll share them. If these serve nothing else than to get the ball rolling, that's okay with me!

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((This is going to contain a lot of things I didn't get to voice earlier, so expect "things everyone has already said everywhere".
Also, loads of ramblings, obviously.))
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Game Development-talk:
The "more of the same with slight improvements" is a completely fine approach in the case of "Xenonauts 2", as it has been already said many-many times.
And in fact I too also welcome the idea of "Xenonauts 1 but in new better and otherwise flexible game-engine"; if this for example allows more variations of how the alien-ship have (crash-)landed, then this already is a huge improvement in my eyes (I.E. instead of the UFO-entrances pointing "south-east", they could be direct north and such). Of course this would also require more heavy use on the camera-rotations (which i recall has already been enabled in the public-test-builds).

Also I like the semi-cel-shade-style; it looks quite really good in my opinion.


Perhaps the greatest challenge Xenonauts (might still have) is to keep their identity, considering the markets are getting little by little more saturated.
That being said, this leads me to:
((Worth noting: I am using the terminologies and such very liberally.))

"Xenonauts 1" strengths:
- Starting the (main / really-heavy) Alien Invasion during Cold War (late 1970's -early 1980's) just surprisingly clever move (especially for someone you simply semi-blindly pre-ordered the game when it was first released in the "Alpha-section" of Desura). The setting seemingly gave very good inspirations when it came making the Xenopedia-entries (player / fan-made content included, especially the ones included in "Community Edition" like "Lore+").

And this is where I highly praise Xenonauts over the Xcom (skin-wearing)-attempts by Firaxis: Lore-writing.
Whereas Firaxis went the "in-your-face" cinematics alongside otherwise "gamifying" the games far too much (in the opinion of many including myself), Xenonauts kept the old-Xcom "Ufopedia"-style and made the "meaningless"-researches not only useful in practice (E.G. giving damage-buff against aliens), but also the writing is simply meaty and scientifically-logical (and easy enough to read a "blue-collar" like myself even understand new scientific concepts; yes "DR. Snidley", as cynical he is, he still thinks best for everyone; superb character writing in my opinion, and no joking, deserved the spot in my list of favorite characters ever!).

On a funny note: Rather than just me being really patriotic, in this game it was simply the most logical solution to setup the first base in the Archipelago Sea (although you could also semi-blame the "Finlandization" too...); legitimately gotten maxed funding from both USA and USSR says I apparently indeed mastered "the art of bowing to the East without mooning the West".

This lore-usage extends to the actual researched weapon-designs and functioning; I'll keep that thing this brief.


- Riot-shields
Even if for the most part they simply were just "damage / shot-sponges", they were simply one of the most "innovative" things added to this game.
The drawbacks, making the player-character-tokens "heavy" thus disabling the vaulting and flight for them, was just-right.
If we can get actual "deflecting"-chance feature in "Xs2" (primarily to deflect grenades), then in my view this would be one of the most innovative things in video-game history.
((The full-on 3D-engine should bring up some really nice possibilities to grenade-patch, especially if you add the code for "bounces" and such (E.G. throwing a grenade behind a corner by bouncing it via wall. A "billiard-AI" should be able to mimic this tactic.))


- Keeping up with OpenXcom development
Or is it other way around?
Well regardless, my point is that implementing and perhaps even improving further various features found in other relatable games indeed was a good choice (E.G. showing TUs left once moved). Generally just making this game "Xcom with different skin" made jumping into this game far less of a hassle. In fact, once again semi-referencing to lore, a lot of the simplifications / removal of annoying micro-managing (E.G. making sure to have enough ammo-clips bought) was really good move (OpenXcom introduces a lot automation-toggles, hence saying "keeping up with them").

Perhaps on a related terms I really hope there will even more things to tinker outside the mod-scene.
Although it is true some of micro-movements have already been addressed in the public-builds (E.G. soldiers automatically ground behind cover, because "why wouldn't you obviously?". And the choice of using the reaction-shot-chance is very clever "risk-reward"-feature; I've lost so many "reactors" because of the far too trigger-happy scouts...).


I suppose the the summary to this section is that "Streamlining is okay if you're still able to retain or even give more control / agency over to players", which seems to be the good direction "Xs2" is going for.


- No (just only) "ultimate-stuff"
Obviously the "worst"-stuff get's completely replaced eventually in this game (so in this regard E.G. "marauder-interceptor"; I'll kinda get to this later). But at least there isn't "Avengers / Leviathans" which simply are "master of all".
Weapons-wise almost everything stays usable throughout the whole game (almost 200-battles fought and I am still using ballistic / non-research non-pistol-guns), because how the tactics allow this all (E.G. shooting androns enough times degrades their armour).

I hope there will be more "piecing" happening in the next game; For I certainly would have wanted to use the gadgets that enhance the field-of-view in forms of visors or maybe even having a small camera recording the back-side (while still leaving the sides "blind"). 


- Down but not necessarily out
This is somewhat conflicting: Lore / time-setting-wise it is understandable that players don't have portable defibrillators (I mean look at the batteries the "Mobira-NMT-phones" had; I know by first-hand how heavy those were!"), so it sometimes miffs me that I wasn't able to revive a person I had accidentally knocked-out with gas-grenades. On the other hand, this sort of makes capturing extraterrestrials slightly too easy, since there is no reviveing from unconsciousness in this game. But then again, this also makes the battles not drag too long either in case someone / something wakes up again. Perhaps some sort of "cuffing" feature could be introduced (which admittedly would introduce some extra micromanagement).

The "zero-hp" not necessarily causing death is a nice "recovery-chance".
And although this related feature makes playing with interception perhaps a little reckless, it's still very logical sounding (especially since the recovery-time seems to be affected by the distance where the plane fell down).


- Suppression
While many lament for the lack wielding the psionic powers, I personally am totally with it, especially since the in-game-lore more less explains this (E.G. the aliens you fight don't have the concept of "surrendering" and otherwise are expendable).
Suppression a very nice mechanic to gain a "mental"-advantage over the aliens, and some regards-wise (but it's far more consistent things to pull of as a player).

 

- Alternative objectives and win-conditions
Sure, there is only like two of them (Holding the UFOs for 5-turns, and finding the command-center of the cases to reveal the stranded guards).
But even these two are better than nothing; maybe in future one could get some extra rewards for exploration and securing the civilians on the map.
((True, I've yet to play a Terror-mission in Xenonauts since I've been really lucky. But seems lie there also has been some !quality-of-life" improvements implemented (like "air-reconnaissance".))
One of the better things I also liked was the announcement of the "need-this-now"-capture-target, and on that extend also making each of the rank of aliens distinguishable. This was a super-huge improvement for the O-Xcom in which one eventually just ended up gassing / freezing everyone for the sake of randomly being lucky to get the needed commander or something similar.


- Multifunctional facilities / base-buildings
Right on the related note to previous section, the already-included alien-prison in laboratories was a huge removal of annoying micromanagement.
And generally making buildings auto-upgradeable and otherwise "smarter" was a good move.


- Increase of alien-mission
And the way how they are implemented plus discovered.
I really like how the world in this game is quite alive especially when a random army shoots down and creates a UFO-crash-site for you to raid.
Or your intelligence-agends spot that first alien-base hidden in "dark-zone".
I really like the addition of "air-superiority" and "strafing"-missions too, since it enforces me time for the correct moment to send air-forces to correct-places.



"Xenonauts 1" fumbles:
- "It's too organized"
This is a rather broad topic. But I'll keep it as simple as possible: I really hope the next game has more "chaos".
While I really like the fact that the UFOs come in variable and in increasing waves (sometimes ranging from a singular to many in a single moment), I kinda of wish this could more random without modding.

Point is, I hope in future game things could be even more unpredictable.
Like I said this is not a simple topic.


- "No charts / graphs!!!
Absolutely the biggest gripe of mine in this game, especially when considering that (by default) the funding countries are keeping their wallet shut-tight once you reach the max-funding levels!
But yeah, having the graphs in the next game would be grand for us "number-nerds".
And perhaps one could extend the graphs into a similar post-game "histogram" you see in say "Civilization V". 


- "Signposting"
Generally this goes to clarity on information what players are given.
Sure, a lot of "meta-data" can be freely dug-up via the XML-files and such. But in overall I wish there was options for more less-obvious things (perhaps even making them to be togglable).
Perhaps the starter thing is to make the instruction-booklet / manual to be par or even batter than the original Xcom-game had; do not be afraid of going "too in-depth"; going more in-depth is better than players noticing some nasty oversights the developers slip-through  (E.G. new players with zero-experiences not knowing you can turn around Xenonaut-player-tokens and open doors with "right-click").

Some players keep "complaining" about the lack of tutorials. I however am in the boat is disliking "lazy-tutorials" (sharing the same sentimentals as many of the Reto-Moto-folks).
Xenonauts could probably have a "shooting-range" or similar "sandbox" in which the players could practice the ground-combat mechanics and strategies (maybe also with help with hint-boxes and skip-able pop-ups).


Perhaps "Xenonauts 2" could optionally also use a "last spotted there"-feature in order make tracking the alien-movements less of a hassle (unless it is already there; I've been killing the aliens so fast in the test-builds I can't remember noticing).


One of things I hope could more properly implemented in next game are the "senses":
We already have "hearing" for the "off-screen"-noises, to which the camera-focuses on during the "AI"-turns. But I hope there was some markers left afterwards (I think OpenXcom allows this optional to leave "tracer trails").
So maybe having some sort of sense-stat for soldier could allow some the off-screen-spotting (pretty much one of the very few things I'd "steal" from 2012 Firaxis Xcom).
Of course if we also were to complement counter-tactics to sense-attribute, this could turn too into "Fallout"-territory (E.G. explosions and other loud noises could temporarily disable hearing and bright-flashes temporarily disable the seeing / sight).


((Granted, I have yet to play "X-com-clones" like "UFO - Alien Invasion" or "Xenowar" or "UFO - Extraterrestrials", alongside many, many other titles, so a lot of things I wish "Xenonauts 2" (and to some extend the 1st too) would have could possibly been tried&tested in these games before.)) 


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Kickstarter backer-rewards-talk:
((I might sound somewhat "patronizing" here, especially I've yet to run any of these kinds of campaigns; apologizes if I sound like so. All I am doing is just voicing my opinions and observations as a customer.))
The 50K$ seems "humble enough" margin to cross, especially since it was successful last time too.
Now that you have the reputation of making "good enough"-game which you have maintenanced and have endorsed the community-editions too (like the "X-division"-team also having the access to source-code more or less, if I've read correctly), I'd say the Kickstarter campaign is going do well.

What have I noticed however is that the lower (or more "humble") the initial goal is, the more like these "kickstarter / pre-funding"-campaigns tends to get genuinely funded (as is not only just funded but also less of fake-pledges percentage-wise).
Length of the campaign also affects a lot to this.


Alternatively you could simply just start taking pre-orders to say how "Natural Selection 2", "Starbound" and "Wreckfest" was conducted (pre-orders sold via "Humble-Widget"). After all, you said that you already "got enough budget to ship the minimum game"; increase the amount of middle-men then?
 

Price-wise the 25$ for pre-order seems to quite reasonable (I personally bought the "Xenonauts Premium Preorder" for 21,99€ in Desura on 21 November 2011 (the price is here to show the price-evolution).

Most lucrative rewards indeed are the ones in which the players gets to be put into game in a way or another, which of course could lead to to the biggest pile to work off, as you mentioned.
Names in the credit-section as early-backers would be the most simple thing to offer
((which reminds me: If you must add a "credits"-section, try to make them manually-scrollable; that would something far too few people do especially when the credit-sections are huge and generally cannot be interacted with)).

Physical rewards really in my opinion aren't all that important, especially if you make the other extra content (art books, soundtracks, etc.) archivable to begin with.
((And generally endorse archiving.))


Of course, I am speaking as a person who lives currently only with the "basic income", so my money is tight pretty much always.
But I'd be certainly more than happy to pay ~50$ for a look-a-like solider that will get his face blasted-off while grinning like a like little toddler in a bouncy-castle...or something like that, I think...

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Edited by Pave

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Kickstarter reward ideas:

- Alpha and Beta access
- Digital poster
- Digital artbook
- Create an aircraft (vehicle) callsign, which will be randomly assigned to new craft (vehicle) like soldier name
- Name a craft/vehicle/enemy/main character
- Create or expand the random name list of a country of your choice.
- Translation in a language of your choice.

P.S. I have no desire to make my appearance in a game, so I am not interested in the custom soldier option, but that's only me.

Edited by Sheepy

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One of the other limitations on our Kickstarter rewards that I should have mentioned earlier is that we're not willing to give out creative control on the game to high-level Kickstarter backers - e.g. allowing people to name or design a character or alien in the game. The main reason is that they might do a terrible job of it, and then we would have made the game worse for everyone by chasing the money of an individual Kickstarter backer (which would be lame). The second is that those things don't really scale, as there's not that many alien races or characters etc to name.

The ideal would be things like creating a custom soldier. You get a code for your custom soldier to input into the game and then that soldier always spawns in your starting combat team, but doesn't necessarily ever appear in other people's games. It's something specifically for the backer that doesn't affect other users, and therefore we could sell it to twenty thousand people just as easily as you could to a single person.

Nonetheless, I appreciate the suggestions - coming up with good reward ideas is hard! :)

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While I do understand the reasoning behind "just getting something out there", I'm a bit concerned with just how much the early stages of X2 seem to copycat of X1. Specifically, this may leave a general vibe of "we copycatted the old game to a 3d engine and decided to rehash it as a sequel...".

 Their needs to be more in terms of design that makes it stand out from the previous game. I think that a new UI would go a long way for that (just new colors, fonts anything really would be better then copy pasting the old one not cause it was bad, but cause it leaves people with the idea that its essentially the same game). In that context, once you do bring up new pictures online of the game, make sure to put it with old+new units/aliens. Put in there anything that can highlight that this is a sequel and not just a clone of the first one. This just might be my own concerns of the new game not standing  out in any meaningful way over the old one but i'm sure other potential customers will think it as well (with an emphasis on the non-Xenonauts hardcore fans). Show a new base layout, new aircraft...new...something really. I do love the cel-style graphics you put up in your original post, in fact i'd be more then thrilled to have them as the game's actual graphics in-engine if that feat is indeed achievable (actually kinda reminds of crusader no remorse to an extent which was a freakin awesome game in my opinion)

As for the kickstarter - i think an alpha/beta tier would be nice although I probably won't opt into it this time around since I nowadays just don't have the time to invest myself in an alpha/beta while regularly feedbacking for bugs. The soundtrack idea that was suggested is definitely a reasonable addition  as well as the X1 bonus copy (who doesn't want a game for a major discount). Other then that i'd suggest to consider adding a tier regarding an an independent air-combat mini game (as was in the first one). I realize this is probably going to get wiped off X2 (sadly too imho, I loved air combat in the old game, plus just look at how much mods were developed for it). Kind of like Gwent in witcher 3, only as a piece of nostalgia for those of us who would find that kind of casual gameplay entertaining (i'd definitely opt into such a tier if it was priced reasonably).

As for the face generating thing - i honestly don't care much for those kind of things, definitely not enough to pay for them but one of my friends is a CS GO fanatic would contribute an essential organ for a cool weapon skin in game, so yeah...you always got those people... Personally, it was one of the features which I got bored of very quickly in XCOM 2. I honestly don't understand what's the idea of investing so much effort into such a practically useless feature in terms of actual gameplay.

Looking forward for future updates!

 

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On 1/13/2017 at 5:36 PM, raziel1981 said:

While I do understand the reasoning behind "just getting something out there", I'm a bit concerned with just how much the early stages of X2 seem to copycat of X1. Specifically, this may leave a general vibe of "we copycatted the old game to a 3d engine and decided to rehash it as a sequel..."

I expect there to be quite a lot of this in the short term. While some fans are very happy with the idea of X1 but with better graphics etc, other people want a more radical departure from the original game. Unfortunately for the reasons listed in my original post I don't think we can cater to the second group of fans in the short term - changing and experimenting with new mechanics is more time consuming (and thus expensive) than using ones we already know work, so it makes sense to only do that once we're past the stage where it might derail the whole project.

You're right though that the media we put out needs to emphasize the differences between the first and second game where possible. Still, if people aren't clear about what our intentions regarding development are (i.e. sprinting for a working game first) then they might be disappointed when they actually play it and find that the early builds are quite similar to the original game.

Expanding in more detail on the changes that we plan to try out once we've hit the first milestone would probably help; I'll likely do that next week. That might be the difference between the sequel looking like a 3d rehash and looking like a work in progress.

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thanks for your response Chris, I appreciate your attention to my comment. I'll be looking forward then towards your coming posts.

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On 12/1/2017 at 4:51 PM, Chris said:

Well, in my view, the minimum viable product for Xenonauts-2 is the first game with enhanced 3D graphics and map randomisation.

I like to hear this. Map randomisation is very important for replayability.

In X1, when playing different misions I recognized the same buidings/structures (and I learned the best way to wipe out enemies inside), and this made that X1 loses fun over the time. Fortunately, great map modders like skitso gave more fun to X1.

Enhaced 3D graphics of X1 is another succesful choice. The image posted is beautiful. I prefer playing on it rather than playing on new XCOM1 and 2.

Another point that you should take into account is to create a decent AI, sufferinng some casualties in our soldiers. You did a nice job in X1 on this area.

Good luck!!!

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More mission and objectives variety should be a priority for you guys. Xenonauts 1 is an amazing game but it becomes samey rather quickly because almost every ground mission plays the same. Rescuing, sabotage, assassination, defense...

 

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Hm, other than more mod-compliance and more complete... I think variety is needed. Like say the HWPs (as I like to call the ground vics) need secondary weapons even if its simply a MG equiv. A solid secondary (or secondaries if you want) so you don't use your primary all the time would be a decent idea.

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Personally, I wouldn't mind shelling out $25 for an updated Xenonauts 1 provided the following is addressed:

1. Without skill perks of XCOM, xenonauts 2 needs a lot more weapon/tools to keep things fresh - none of that lazy +1 variety of the last game please;

2. Rework the pacing and flow of the latter part of the game so things wouldn't grind to a halt because you have to deal with 3 battleship crash sites every wave;

3. Better ending! I cannot stress how much that phone-in ending of the last game prevented me from starting a new game after I finished it the first time.

4. Mission variety. I don't mean more maps; I want mission goals like recapture army base, assassination, escort, capture Aliens etc. Crash sites gets boring after your 50th UFO clean up.

A purely cosmetic update wouldn't be enough since X1 has its share of problems - problems that are more pronounced after various mods over the years. As the devs for the Banner Saga learned, you can't count on customers who purchased the first game to automatically purchase the sequel (their sequel only sold 1/4 of the original).   

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I'm going to open up the X2 features sub-forum either today or tomorrow; that'll explain most of what will be new and different in the sequel. I'll also give a bit more details about where the next build is right now.

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3 hours ago, Chris said:

I'm going to open up the X2 features sub-forum either today or tomorrow; that'll explain most of what will be new and different in the sequel. I'll also give a bit more details about where the next build is right now.

Hope that'll help keep future update thread focused.  I personally really appreciate the decision to complete a minimum viable X2 and continue from there.

Edited by Sheepy
typo

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Yup, it's up now. Read away and feel free to give us your thoughts!

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$100-$200 tier: you get to design a humorous billboard prop that will show up in city-themed maps.  The donor provides the billboard content (slogan + design) and the art team makes the prop for it.

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On 15/01/2017 at 1:46 PM, Chris said:

I expect there to be quite a lot of this in the short term. While some fans are very happy with the idea of X1 but with better graphics etc, other people want a more radical departure from the original game. Unfortunately for the reasons listed in my original post I don't think we can cater to the second group of fans in the short term - changing and experimenting with new mechanics is more time consuming (and thus expensive) than using ones we already know work, so it makes sense to only do that once we're past the stage where it might derail the whole project.

You're right though that the media we put out needs to emphasize the differences between the first and second game where possible. Still, if people aren't clear about what our intentions regarding development are (i.e. sprinting for a working game first) then they might be disappointed when they actually play it and find that the early builds are quite similar to the original game.

Expanding in more detail on the changes that we plan to try out once we've hit the first milestone would probably help; I'll likely do that next week. That might be the difference between the sequel looking like a 3d rehash and looking like a work in progress.

If you allow a great liberty in modding, everybody gets what he wants ;)

 

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For Kickstarter rewards:

I backed wasteland 3 and one of their tiers was base game + a copy for a friend for a reduced price. So maybe 40 or 45$ for 2 copies? I'm not sure how that impacts overall profit but might be an option. 

I also like "add on items" that would allow you to customize your tier. So 15 or 20 for another copy of the game, 5 or 8 for the soundtrack on top of whatever tier you selected. 

 

This allows a little more flexibility for ppl to choose what rewards they are most interested in. 

 

Keep up the great work! 

 

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Are there any news about the development of Xenonauts2? I was searching for an approx. release date or an date when we can preorder the game (or when kickstarter starts). Maybe i just did not found it, but i thought in one video or thread it says that release was planned for 2017. Is this still the plan or will it be 2018 or later?

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On 17/09/2017 at 10:15 AM, MacGyverDTH said:

Are there any news about the development of Xenonauts2? I was searching for an approx. release date or an date when we can preorder the game (or when kickstarter starts). Maybe i just did not found it, but i thought in one video or thread it says that release was planned for 2017. Is this still the plan or will it be 2018 or later?

I rarely make "snide"-posts, but how on Earth you missed this thread on the "Development Updates"-sub-section of these forums?

https://www.goldhawkinteractive.com/forums/index.php?/topic/14509-xenonauts-2-july-update-pausing-the-public-builds/

 

But I try to be a fair-guy: Since there seems to be no rush with this game, it is possible we might have the "1.0"-version earliest of 2020, maybe; it all depends on the all the additional features added.

Right now the current plan basically is to have "First Xenonauts running in Unity-Engine". So I wouldn't expect for any pre-order-campaigns to start within a month at minimum
( I am simply saying this as a cautiously-patient-person, not as a pessimist ).

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Edited by Pave

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