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Chris

Xenonauts-2 Version 0.10.0 (Public Combat Test) Released!

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This new version of Xenonauts 2 is a free public test build, released free because it is still an early build and we don't yet think we can justify charging for it; full details on where to get the build can be found in this thread. The next update is due on Tuesday 6th June, although if necessary we will also release hotfixes for any game-breaking bugs encountered in this build.

This development cycle the programming team largely dealt with some of the code debt we'd accumulated over the past few months - in addition to the stuff listed below, there was a big rewrite of the soldier inventory system, the creation of an automated build script, a load of fixes for the level editor and bunch of work on the strategy layer. This means the changelog this build is smaller than usual, but we expect the next build in two weeks to have a lot of cool stuff in it!

More on that below, but we'd really appreciate a few people playing this build and reporting any bugs they find - we'll hopefully be unveiling our first urban maps in the next build so we want to know of any serious stability bugs in advance! :)

CHANGELOG:

  • Biome Visual Updates: we've continued to visually update the biomes in an attempt to make everything look better, and I'm pretty pleased with the results so far. Two main areas of improvement:
    • The Arid biome now resembles the Middle East tileset from X1; we've made it much grassier and a bit greener in general. This makes the maps look a bit less like barren moonscapes and they're a lot more pleasant to play through now.
    • We've invested in Speedtree, the industry-leading way to make trees, and replaced and resized many of the trees in the game. Most of the biomes (but the Temperate in particular) now look substantially better as a result.
    • General cleanup of visual issues like grass clumps in the middle of the road, etc.
  • Crash Fixes:
    • Healing an alien no longer crashes the game
    • Healing a dead soldier no longer crashes the game (because it is not possible)
    • A healed soldier gaining a promotion no longer crashes the game
  • General Tweaks / Fixes:
    • Move path is now drawn over the shroud / fog of war
    • Suppressed Xenonauts no longer automatically uncrouch at the start of the turn
    • Soldiers no longer disappear waist-deep into the ground when you change weapons
    • Camera zoomed in by about 10%
    • Fixed the red hostile halo appearing for invisible aliens (this was a bug, not a "last known location" UI marker - but we'll probably add one of those in future now!)
    • Units no longer rotate to face north when healing themselves
    • Can no longer heal soldiers at range with the medikit
    • Fixed an issue where some soldiers could not vault a fence even if they had sufficient TU to do so
    • Can no longer see the "suppressed" label for suppressed non-visible aliens
    • Non-visible aliens no longer have their weapons poking out from the fog of war
    • Dead Reapers no longer show an outline
    • Reapers no longer bleed red human blood; all aliens now have special alien blood of varying colours

As I mentioned above, we're hoping to move onto the elevation stuff in the next build - although there's no guarantee it will be finished in a single two-week cycle. This will give the player the ability to see and move onto higher levels of the map, and is a requirement for the camera to interact correctly with the roof of buildings and UFOs (at the moment the UFOs just don't have roofs). So this will allow us to release our first urban areas and will also allow units to climb up cliffs etc to gain a height advantage in the existing wilderness maps. We've also moved one of our senior coders onto the combat / strategy merge full-time.

Grenades are still giving us problems but will hopefully be in the next build - although I feel like I've been saying this forever. Specifically, they've been causing crashes and issues in the animation system, and the system we use to show the outline of units hidden behind solid objects is giving us issues with the explosion graphics. The functionality is there but it'll take us some time to debug all those problems and get it all working. Here's a gif to show you why they missed the cut:

grenade_issues.gif

For the next build we're also going to do another pass on the maps, and as well as adding new types of map we're also going to make some changes to the designs. I'm planning to cut down on the clutter in the maps (there's too many cover props at the moment) and also we're going to be adding more barriers that block line of sight and force you to split your team, as the current wilderness maps are very straightforward and there's not much scope for tactical play. 

As always, comments and feedback appreciated!

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Here are some bugs I've spoted:
1. As someone mensioned before, the camera free rotation buttons sometimes 'stick', so the camera starts spinning non-stop. (reported)
2. The red-marked area should not have any chance to be hit from that position. (assuming bullets fly straight). Or, if the rifle is considered to be higher then the red area, the blocking chance should be equal to zero.
 xeno.png
Self-healing seemes to work fine.
I like the new camera zoom.
This time I tried a better graphics quality and on low/average fps the camera is 'skidding' too much for me.
No crashes expierenced.

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Those huge full tile height los blocking square rock formations are still super fugly and they just don't fit in their surroundings or look natural at all. You definitely need to do something to them in the future tileset revisions. I've never seen such lone rock formations sticking out of the ground in the middle of a forest. Maybe it's a map design issue though... adding half height ground tiles around them could maybe plant them better into their surroundings?

 

Also another visual thing: I'd prefer the trees to be fully visible always if there are no units behind them. Only remove upper parts when needed. This way you'll retain more visual flair in the wilderness maps and they feel more like forests.

Edited by Skitso

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3 hours ago, Skitso said:

Those huge full tile height los blocking square rock formations are still super fugly and they just don't fit in their surroundings or look natural at all. You definitely need to do something to them in the future tileset revisions. I've never seen such lone rock formations sticking out of the ground in the middle of a forest. Maybe it's a map design issue though... adding half height ground tiles around them could maybe plant them better into their surroundings?

Sometimes they do:

Stone Forrest China

Stones in the Forrest

More stones in the Forrest

But I am still for a better integration, it looks too blocky, though not exactly ugly.

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Again two games past and will report my observations.

Funny that Skitso mentioned adding some half height ground tiles. There are some "quarter-half" ground tiles like sand and snow already there. The soldiers feet clip right through.
feet in sand.jpg

Spilled blood hovers near/around the obstacles. Might look good from one perspective, but when rotating the map it looks weird (Maybe not visible with images).
Also, all blood puddles are too shiny out of one viewing direction and turn white.
blood 2.jpgblood 1.jpg

Some UFO interior got visible between turns, but no soldier looked in that direction.
reveal.jpg

Sebillian came near - never seen them move so near in one turn and not shooting first - and ended on top of a structure, i.e. higher ground. None of my soldiers could hit it for two rounds, not even suppressed him, and there was an LMG. The alien could not hit too. The Sebillian was killed o that spot in the third round.
Is there something wrong with the hit calculation when shooter or target is on different ground levels?
no hit.jpg

Self-healing works.
But when a tree is in front the crosshair jumps away. Trees cannot be healed :(
healing tree.jpg

Shooting through walls when next to them is still possible, maybe because the gun protrudes into the wall? The spot near the start of the yellow arrow is not the gun tip, but alien blood splatter.
Aliens also could shoot through the walls. My soldiers were not near the walls.
UFO walls.jpg

UFO wall problem still exists. Reaper come near the door frame but do not cross.
door.jpg

Inside this UFO the Reaper the visible Reaper is immobile, maybe it can't pass the hallway?
By doing this the smaller alien couldn't get past it.
After the Reaper was killed, a second Reaper appeared from the yellow circle, went to the spot of the then dead reaper and stood there too. It also stopped the smaller alien from moving.
alien vs alien.jpg

And now the record files:

recording_1.rec

recording_10.rec

Wow, guess I haven't forgotten anything to report this time. :)

 

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For some odd reason fog of war doesn't work for me at all. I mean the map is revealed correctly as I'm advancing through it, but the revealed areas that are not in my current field of view are not displayed as black and white any more... Is it a bug or have I accidentaly activated some hidden option?

One extra request: As the game is getting more and more optimisations and polish, I'm getting more decent performance on my old and slow computer. This build is very playable in every other tilesets, but the jungle one seems to cause huge problems to my GPU. I'm playing on 1080p and amazing settings and the game runs just fine otherwise. So this got me thinking... could you add an on/off toggle for just the foliage?

Edited by Skitso

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Thanks for the comments, all.

@Skitso - you can press the eye icon on the UI to go back to classic Xenonauts FOW mode, or press the keyboard shortcut that displays it temporarily (although I've forgotten what it is off the top of my head - Left Alt maybe?)

Regarding the Tropical tileset, the artist reckons there's not much more foliage in that tileset than the Temperate one. Do you also get much slowdown on the Temperate maps? The issue sounds like something we should try and fix up though.

@Thixotrop - thanks. Regarding terrain height levels, you get +10% hit chance and -10% enemy hit chance for each level higher ... so the Sebillian should be a little harder to hit and a bit more accurate, but it shouldn't hugely affect things.

@ToNo - thanks.

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17 hours ago, thixotrop said:

Sometimes they do:

Stone Forrest China

Stones in the Forrest

More stones in the Forrest

But I am still for a better integration, it looks too blocky, though not exactly ugly.

I agree that there can be large stones in the woods.  Having lived in Alaska in a glacial valley we had enormous boulders all over the woods.  There was one right beside our house that you can use to get on the roof and was easily larger than two cars stacked on top of each other.  The problem is that the stones in the game look like the sides of a stone house or a human built stone wall.  Squared off and appearing to be made of dozens of smaller stones.  Most the stones I saw were single boulders and were smooth and grey and oddly shaped.

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3 hours ago, StellarRat said:

I agree that there can be large stones in the woods.  Having lived in Alaska in a glacial valley we had enormous boulders all over the woods.  There was one right beside our house that you can use to get on the roof and was easily larger than two cars stacked on top of each other.  The problem is that the stones in the game look like the sides of a stone house or a human built stone wall.  Squared off and appearing to be made of dozens of smaller stones.  Most the stones I saw were single boulders and were smooth and grey and oddly shaped.

They're cliffs rather than rocks. Sure, they're blocky in shape - but then they have to be blocky if they're going to work on a square tile grid. You can make a map look nicer if you use larger props like clumps of trees to block line of sight rather than cliffs, but then you can't walk on top of a clump of trees.

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10 hours ago, Chris said:

They're cliffs rather than rocks. Sure, they're blocky in shape - but then they have to be blocky if they're going to work on a square tile grid. You can make a map look nicer if you use larger props like clumps of trees to block line of sight rather than cliffs, but then you can't walk on top of a clump of trees.

Exactly. The issue is not so much the square visuals (I actually even prefer it as gameplay is always > visuals.) The real issue is, as StellarRat said above, that they look like man made buildings or walls at the moment. I'm sure this issue can be fought with clever mapping though: adding half tile height ground, rocks, plants etc. around them can plant them better to the surroundings. Also, the second floor ground tile rendering that is absent at the moment might help with this too...

 

If you are to revisit the tile visuals, I think making them a bit wider at the bottom and narrower at the top might do the trick. You could also add few new rock props that hug the wall to make the sihouette more organic and random (i.e. not so straight and flat). The old mesa's in X1 were quite good.

Edited by Skitso

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4 hours ago, Skitso said:

Exactly. The issue is not so much the square visuals (I actually even prefer it as gameplay is always > visuals.) The real issue is, as StellarRat said above, that they look like man made buildings or walls at the moment. I'm sure this issue can be fought with clever mapping though: adding half tile height ground, rocks, plants etc. around them can plant them better to the surroundings. Also, the second floor ground tile rendering that is absent at the moment might help with this too...

If you are to revisit the tile visuals, I think making them a bit wider at the bottom and narrower at the top might do the trick. You could also add few new rock props that hug the wall to make the sihouette more organic and random (i.e. not so straight and flat). The old mesa's in X1 were quite good.

At the moment they're just being placed in little "stacks", which isn't how they'll be used in the next set of maps - not only does it look a bit weird, it doesn't "wall off" sections of the map by blocking LOS to a large area etc (one of the reasons why the maps are a bit boring to play atm). They should be used more as cliffs and ridges in the next set of maps, hopefully that'll address some of the problems even without graphical updates.

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8 hours ago, Chris said:

At the moment they're just being placed in little "stacks", which isn't how they'll be used in the next set of maps - not only does it look a bit weird, it doesn't "wall off" sections of the map by blocking LOS to a large area etc (one of the reasons why the maps are a bit boring to play atm). They should be used more as cliffs and ridges in the next set of maps, hopefully that'll address some of the problems even without graphical updates.

Are there going to be some "rounded off" tiles (corner and edge pieces) to get rid of the right angles on the cliffs and large boulders?  I don't know if that causes programming issues, but it would go a long way to making the stones look more natural.  The small boulders you use now look fine.

Edited by StellarRat

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Yeah, so that's the other thing we're looking at in the next few builds - at the moment the cliifs are literally made of walls with a floor on top, just the same as buildings are. Baking them into a solid 1x1 section gives you much more leeway to have irregular edges and generally have things look more realistic, so we'll see if we can do that without causing any gameplay issues as a result.

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---

(( Past few weeks have been more busier than usual due life-changes and such. So semi-apologies for not able to participate as intensively on these test as before.
I still try to maintain at least one play-through per a version to upload the replay-file(s) though. ))

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Well, I did an "automatical reaction-fire"-run this time. And for the most things were the same as before (aside of course not encountering the crashes that had been fixed, and rest of the changes too, and of course my tokens doing the reaction-fire whenever possible).
So my current feedback is same as with the ones on previous version(s) (like "assault / shotgunners having abnormal / inconsistent time-unit-requirements for shooting, aliens shooting out of their view-range / sight, etc. ).

 

 

I didn't get to try out the UFO-AI-changes @Max_Caine offered beacuse I wasn't certain how I would "patch" them into the game; so maybe having in-depth'ish instructions could help.
(( Obviously it is possible these changes could be implemented in the next June 6th update too. )) 

 

Here are some random screenshots though:

 

Find the "Sebillian(s)".

2017-06-04 22_54_14-Xenonauts 2.png

 

Since I was (barely) able to keep my machine-gunner alive on this run, I decided to simply destroy the entrance.
For whatever reason the "Reaper" also decided to move to "their left" once I one of the "drones" killed.

2017-06-04 23_23_14-Xenonauts 2.png

 

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output.log

recording_4.rec

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