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Xenonauts-2 October Update

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2 hours ago, Elendil said:

Yep, i hated all advent stuff from Enemy Within. The plot was horrible, non-sensical, no x-com feel at all. I liked the idea of having bio-engineered supersoldier, but the execution was pathetic with canister "droping from the skies" intact with timers(?!), man what a mess.

I would prefer to transform X-Com into Space Marines than to play against "advent-like" humans. At least you didnt came up with the idea of gimmick scamper, that would be even thought and i would leave xenonauts for good.

Well, by the answer i get that this already under production and will not be dropped no matter what people say(or what i say, for the matter), so, good luck with the project. I will chase other more "x-com" titles.

Alright, but you seem to be talking about something completely different from everyone else. Enemy Within had EXALT who worshipped the aliens and appeared in specific human-only missions in their own slightly ridiculous side-chain.

What we're actually talking about re: XCOM is ADVENT, who appeared in XCOM2 and were weaker (not) human police forces that appeared alongside the aliens to pad out their forces and make the aliens feel more "special".

I can see why you might not like the idea if you've got the two mixed up.

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Hi, I really like almost all of the new ideas from this October Update. Looks promising, again!

Concerning the need of scientists in some missions as I have been reading above... Maybe instead of dissecting the bodies in a lab, there is a reason that this has to be done in the field as well as possible (e.g. because the alien bodies are desintegrating at a quick pace?). Or maybe some technology would be self-destructive if one doesn't act quickly? Anyway, there are probably many reasons why a good scientist can be handy... Maybe the doctoring skill can be linked to this as well or the opening of some access points in some alien crafts, etc.

Two aspects I have some remarks about.

I like the idea of fixed character profiles. Actually, I don't really have a preference, as long as a feature is implemented well. In this case the implementation sounds promising, but I only hope that there will be enough characters to choose from. From other games I know that there will be always favourites and those you really don't want in your team, just because you don't like their appearance or their stats don't suit your playstyle. I do not think it is a good idea to force a player to play with most characters. You need characters who stand out, because they are a good value for money, and some that stand out for their stats, but in order to get these you need the opposite as well... So, I was thinking more like around 120 characters. I think it would be a waste to not fully use that face editor you already have designed and have been talking about (I am still really curious about it), so why not create a few more? In my opinion it does not matter if some profiles are similar, as they will differ in price, appearance, etc. A question that comes to mind: I hear numbers like 10-15 characters at the end of the game, so I was wondering if there will be only one Xenonauts base or more?
(The original Jagged Alliance 2 base game had around 70 playable characters in total, which was really on the low side. It is not without a reason that the v.1.13 comunity platform expanded on this, resurrecting like 50 characters from the first game + adding an additional amount of first-person characters that became also hireable. Anyway, I think 120 is a lot more comfortable... and it is more fun to play with characters that you choose than that you have to pick because you don't have an option).

Another thing that I have some ideas about is that missions will be all at night. Maybe this is a decision based on context (that everything has to be done in secret?), but it has some implications. In the original Xcom:Ufo Defense and Xenonauts game night missions (apart from bringing variety) gave an extra thrill, because the aliens had a vision advantage, which they did not have in daylight. If you now make night missions the default missions, I think part of that thrill will get lost. Also, I really enjoy the graphics of daylight missions... the atmosphere, clearness, brightness of the environment etc. In my opinion it would be really a pity if these missions would be cut from the game. Anyway, I'm sure that the characters need to rest sometimes also. Is it really not an option to keep it more in the line of Xenonauts 1 and keep research, rest, special missions / government raids etc for at night, while the bulk of missions occur during the day? I mean, some special technology could probably cover up a lot also if that were the problem. Whatever you decide, I hope that there will at least be some missions during the day also.

 

Edited by Viking1978

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Ugh.  It really sounds like you're taking all the bad things from the new XCOM games and the older UFO clones and throwing them into one game.

I can't stop playing Xenonauts 1, I've probably been through it 20 or more times now.  (I like long games.)  I will certainly give X2 a try, because I will always support you as much as I can, but this is really sounding like something I will play once and never again.

The general 'Secret War' idea just does not sound like it will translate well to this game.  It's the WORST part of XCOM 2, being stuck to just one ship and attacking from the shadows.  Don't go that route.

Staff members being static in every game - The UFO series of games did this.  It wasn't fun then, I can't see it being fun now.  I think the only bonus this really had in the UFO games was that they all had different voices/voice actors and very unique faces/portraits.  Somehow I don't see that happening in X2.

Staff members having multiple roles - I actually do like this idea.  It definitely adds a new layer to the game.  Do I REALLY want to send my best scientist/engineer into the field and have them die, setting me back hours, if not days on research/repair?

Quality over quantity with Aliens on missions - Nobody wants to fight a big boss alien over and over and over and over again.  And with humans?  That's boring.  I'm not looking to play WW2 with the occasional alien in it, I happen to LIKE the concept of getting overrun by aliens and having to beat them off with a stick like the originals (and X1) did.  Instead, this is going to be more like Sectopods and Mutons in The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.

Only night missions - Um, what?  You take the absolute WORST part of any X-COM game ever, and make it MANDATORY.

I haven't tested the beta (or alpha?) since I think the first release.  I'll have to fire it up when I get home tonight and see what has changed, and how it feels.

So you don't want to make an X-COM clone.  My question is, WHY NOT?  Why break the mold, fix what ain't broke?  X1 is so loved BECAUSE it's an X-COM clone.  Don't fall under the assumption that changing the formula is going to attract more people.  If anything, it might chase away more than it brings in.

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So missions are FLOWN at night, but not always FOUGHT at night (the X1 tradition of unrealistically fast dropships has continued). It's really just a convenience thing so dual-class soldiers can still do a day job and don't get unduly penalised for going out on a mission.

I've updated my original post because on re-reading it I can see how that was left rather unclear.

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11 hours ago, Chris said:

It's cool if you don't like the sound of the idea, but I hope you enjoyed X1 enough that you'll at least try X2 once we put out the new builds and give us some feedback on what specifically you don't like?

Its hard to get a feel for how tense a game is just through text imo.

You can count on my support for the X2, do not hesitate. In some way your completly right, but in some way people can imagine that teh game mechanic is coherent with flavor, in some way stealth missions sound more Metal gear/Jagged Alliance oriented than the terrorific moment when you face sectoids for first time on Enemy unknown.

Im pretty sure you will find the right balance between strategy mechanics and flavor.

Good luck pal

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48 minutes ago, TacticalDragon said:

You can count on my support for the X2, do not hesitate. In some way your completly right, but in some way people can imagine that teh game mechanic is coherent with flavor, in some way stealth missions sound more Metal gear/Jagged Alliance oriented than the terrorific moment when you face sectoids for first time on Enemy unknown.

Im pretty sure you will find the right balance between strategy mechanics and flavor.

Good luck pal

Excellent. No doubt I'll make some bad decisions along the way and I'm cool with people telling me they're bad decisions, provided they're willing to keep playing the game while I try to fix those problems :)

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I actually think that the Science idea for the SCIENTISTS is great, it makes it harder to research the laser weapons in the first 3 months.

What I actually despise is that your SOLDIERS need Science to handle weapons, like you said.

I don't think having SOLDIERS need Science to handle weapons is a good idea, in the end, so please, don't even think about putting it into the game.

A P.S.

Here's my little suggestion before leaving and waiting for your next response:

Why don't you add voices for Soldiers, Civilians and Local Forces.

Now you might think I've gone crazy or something, but hear:

You could add voices for your soldiers, local forces and civilians when: They spot an enemy, when they go panicking, when they spot a dead squadmate or civilian, when they kill an alien, when they throw a grenade... Etc.

It's my little idea and it will probably make the game feel more real. (As long as an Alien invasion simulator can be real)

P.P.S

Okay, this idea will never get put into the game, but hear me out.

Why don't we put an action cue when there are more then 3 aliens? Obviously this action cue won't be Xcom level of action, but it would still be more fun to hear than the ambiance music you hear every damn time you are in a ground combat mission.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Your new recruit to the forum,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Fabevil

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1 hour ago, Chris said:

So missions are FLOWN at night, but not always FOUGHT at night (the X1 tradition of unrealistically fast dropships has continued). It's really just a convenience thing so dual-class soldiers can still do a day job and don't get unduly penalised for going out on a mission.

I've updated my original post because on re-reading it I can see how that was left rather unclear.

Great to hear, Chris! Sounds perfect to me... Also nice that to read that the Xenonauts need some sleep. Cheers!

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The other point I've seen raised a few times that I'll elaborate on a bit more is about the pregenerated characters and how they work.

The current system is pretty basic and ripe for expansion, but I've intentionally started simple to test it out before we start expanding it. The end goal is something deeper and more complex but we need to build that one step at a time, with the community helping us test it out each time we change something about how it works.

The staff are all going to have a unique portrait. There's 40 available to be hired each game from the set pool and then additional staff available as a result of random Geoscape events - any Kickstarter characters etc go into the second pool and don't appear every game.

The number 40 was chosen for two reasons, neither of of which are set in stone. The first is that 40 is the most portraits we thought we could display on a single screen with competencies in 4 categories. It'd be nice to show all the info on a single screen if we can, although we can bin that requirement if it turns out to be too limiting.

The second reason is because there's only 4 skill ratings at the moment, and they're currently 0-5, so there's not actually that many combinations available. For comparison I believe Jagged Alliance 2 has 7 or 8 skills and they are out of 100, so they can have many more different character archetypes and thus more unique characters.

Having just 4 skills on a 1-5 rating is something that may well change once we've done some testing. We might switch to a 1-10 rating, and I think there's some potential for additional skills - e.g. medical skills are currently rolled into Science, but this could be separated out into two skills (as could engineering and explosives competency). Maybe fatigue resistance becomes a skill. These are all decisions that require quite a bit of planning and discussion, but the idea is the current simple system gets expanded with time.

So the 40 characters may go up with time, but all of this really depends on how the character system develops.

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On point with the pregenerated characters:  Will they still grow in stats like X1?  Do they still have the same stats they did in X1?  Or is it just "soldier" "scientist" and "engineer" that get raised in points?

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1 hour ago, Fabevil said:

I actually think that the Science idea for the SCIENTISTS is great, it makes it harder to research the laser weapons in the first 3 months.

What I actually despise is that your SOLDIERS need Science to handle weapons, like you said.

I don't think having SOLDIERS need Science to handle weapons is a good idea, in the end, so please, don't even think about putting it into the game.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

I think you're still thinking a bit too much in Xenonauts 1 terms. Say these three staff with the following stats all cost the same:

- 5 Combat / 1 Science

- 1 Combat / 5 Science

- 4 Combat / 4 Science

There's also two levels of laser rifle available:

- Laser V1 - 10 days to research, 3 Science required

- Laser V2 - 10 more days to research, 0 Science required

The lasers from X1 are Laser V2, and Laser V1 is an early lab prototype that works but doesn't necessarily handle much like a conventional gun.

Anyway, choice is up to you whether you want to pick specialists or multi-role staff, but there's advantages and disadvantages to both.

Your pure soldier has the highest accuracy % in combat and your pure scientist puts out the most research per turn, but your multi-class soldier / scientist guy can use experimental weapons before a pure soldier could. Of course, once you get Lasers V2 then the pure soldier is more effective than the soldier / scientist because he has a higher accuracy due to his higher Combat score.

Does that explain things a bit better? You get the old X1 setup if you don't hire the 4 / 4 guy in the above example, he just opens up some extra options if you do.

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51 minutes ago, endersblade said:

On point with the pregenerated characters:  Will they still grow in stats like X1?  Do they still have the same stats they did in X1?  Or is it just "soldier" "scientist" and "engineer" that get raised in points?

Yes, that's an excellent point. So Accuracy and perhaps Bravery are derived from the Combat / Military rating directly, and the other stats like TU / HP / Reflexes are now set on the armour. 

Heavier armour now boosts your HP as well as potentially adding armour (which may be a % damage reduction by type), whereas lighter armour boosts your TU so you can move further. We'll probabaly also set weapons to use flat TU costs rather than percentages so lighter armour actually allows you to potentially fire more shots too. This should make armour selection a bit more interesting than in X1 anyway.

Regarding soldier progression, it's currently pretty lacklustre - after enough combat experience you go up in Military like you go up in rank in X1 (the other stats are raised on the strategy layer, like working in a lab slowly raises Science).

This is one of the main reasons why I'd like to expand the soldier progression stuff. Moving from a scale of 0-5 to 0-10 allows more frequent progression, and adding other skills like medical or explosives or bravery allows you to level up more than just a single stat. Problem is, the existing four big stats are always going to be more useful than something like medical competence is (because they are used much more often) ... so maybe we need to make them minor stats or perks instead or something.

Lots to think about there really, it's definitely a weak spot in the current design.

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Taking away the stats from the first one and they way they leveled is going to be a serious downfall to this game.  That was the best part of your soldiers.  Leaving parts of it static (like from armor as you mentioned) is too much like the new XCOM.  You're taking away customizability, and that's never a good thing.

Stats progress naturally as your guys see combat.  Some get better at shooting, some get better at throwing, some scouting, etc.  Sure, given enough time they all basically become super soldiers, but that's the thing, it's a CHOICE.  And having all the stats we had in X1 gave us the opportunity to chose what we leveled and by how much.  You are trying to homogenize things, I don't think that's going to end well.  Making it so all the original combat stats get rolled int one 'military' stat or whatever, where's the fun in that?  What does that actually denote?  And then making, from your previous post, more skills for each weapon type...that's pigeonholing people into playing each character a certain way.  While some may be good at science and some at engineering, the combat stats need to be separate so we can still tweak them the way WE want to play them, rather than being forced to play a certain way by the game.  FREEDOM is the key here.

I get where you're going with the skills.  Rifle, Grenade, RPG, Medicine, etc, I think Jagged Alliance did that?  Been too many decades lol.  IF you want to go down that route, how about giving us the choice?  As in, whenever a 'staff member' levels (or however you denote experience), let us pick which skills they learn, instead of them being set in stone.

You could do it like this:  Each person has three core stats:  Military/soldier, Science/Scientist, Engineering/Engineer.  These get leveled as they get used.  Once one of them hits a level, you get to pick a sub skill for that particular branch, which requires a specific core stat level (or combination of core stats) to pick.  For example, you hit Soldier rank 4.  Maybe you can now pick Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, but Sniper Rifle requires Rank 5.  Or Grenade/Grenade Launcher, but that requires Soldier 4 and Engineer 5.  Then each perk can be leveled as it is used, giving you a bonus to whatever it is.  Shoot more accurately, increased damage, crit chance, etc, each perk will tell you what each level in it does.  This would also give YOU the freedom of virtually unlimited skills to make.  Science could have ones that maybe increase their ability to research specific things, or help in combat (I have no idea along that line, I'm sure you could think of something).  Same with Engineering - "Ship building" and the person builds ships faster.  "Mechanic" and they repair things faster.  And so on.  And once Alien tech gets involved, you can start cross referencing skills:  Say, everyone can USE an Alien-based rifle, but if you actually have the skill for it, Xeno Rifles, you do more damage, are more accurate, etc. But now that training requires higher Soldier/Scientist/Engineer skills to use.  That way end-game isn't everyone running around in Power Armor and Mag Cannons just obliterating everything in sight.

The point being, you can keep your skill tree and not do the X1 stats, but it still gives us the ability to build our soldiers the way WE want.

Edit:  Sorry I just sort of breezed through your previous post, it looks like you already commented about doing this lol.

Edited by endersblade

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@Chris

I have to especially agree with this point TacticalDragon made:

17 hours ago, TacticalDragon said:

The plot sounds weak, the layer of strategy uninteresting and the worst part is not original at all.

And this:

17 hours ago, TacticalDragon said:

The real success of original XCOM is based on the inmersion of fear...

I really enjoyed XNT's alien AI feel. Maybe you should take TacticalDragon onto your staff:)

But I also especially agree with this point Chris made:

On 19.10.2017 at 6:56 PM, Chris said:

As a result of the setting shift, we want an alien to be something that the player should fear on the battlefield (not something a random dude with an M16 can deal with).

I feel like maybe a few very-very tough aliens, with the AI and skill set that REALLY makes them behave differently, would be the thing. And not like in X1, where behaviour didn't really change from one alien to another, and yeah, they went down TOO easily. Although it should be mentioned, that in the original Enemy Unknown the aliens weren't that tough, but still much scarier than in X1, maybe through a better designed atmosphere, that actually made everything feel ALIEN, the whole situation. And the music, the music is VERY important too. X1 didn't impress on that front, although I kind of liked the music itself.

Edited by trueman11
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@Chris As I hear that the character system is still in development, here is some feedback: I personally think a 0-5 range is too limited indeed and this may sound blunt, but don't waste your time on it. I think the "levelling up" of soldiers is a good part of the fun in xcom: ufo defense, the previous Xenonauts game, and also in the Jagged Alliance games, actually. It feels like you are achieving something, you see that your favorites get better and you get some lesser soldiers to become useful. A 0-10 range sounds already better, but it could be a good idea to have both a 0-10 and a 0-99 system combined. Let's say you will see an area with stats, a 0-10 system (5 stars - actually 10 halve stars), but when you mouse over it a tooltip pops up that shows all the actual stats in a 0-99 system. Both micro & macro, everybody happy.
Also, I would have set profiles that still allow for a degree of randomness for replayability reasons, so call them semi-set, if you will:
- In the price there could be something like a 30% randomness per profile
- In the stats there could be a 10% randomness: the 0-10 star system may stay the same in every start of the game, but the 0-99 stats from the tooltip may be different.


An example to make this clearer:
In my first game I recruit John X for $7200. Stats: 4 stars in Combat, 2 and a half stars in Science, etc. He actually has 72 in Combat, and 45 in Science when I browse over the stars and read the tooltip.
In my next game I am able to recruit John X for $6000. Stats: 4 stars in Combat, 2 and a half stars in Science (the same as in every game), etc. But he actually has 78 in Combat and 41 in Science in this game.

It is just nice to compare soldier stats and find a good deal.


Concening your argument to fit everyone and all info in one page... Do you really think that this weighs up against the advantages of having more choice? I think that if you go for a basic set of 40, it will be one of the points you will get most criticism on and so probably will regret. Look at Jagged Alliance 2 for inspiration... Some sorting buttons will do the trick for multiple pages and I think you will want some sorting options anyway.
I suppose there are two kinds of players: those that really get into the game and those that are less involved and just want to finish the game and get some steam achievements, the kind that miss part of the fun that others have, but are result-oriented. Anyway, I think both would like to have many soldiers to recruit. One group to have a lot of choice & variety (replayability), the other to have a lot of replacements.

@endersbladeMore skills can be nice, but I definitely prefer a system that you gain experience by your actions rather than by allocating some kind of bonus points.

Edited by Viking1978

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@Chris

Regarding the similarities to XCOM: Enemy Unknown... You might be able to pull those mechanics off better than that game.. But PLEASE don't make it feel more like it!

I feel the way is to make it feel more realistic, more immersive, and not so arcade-like as XCOM: Enemy Unknown is... The 3D setting gives you the field for acieving more realistic and immersive feel, please don't waste that possibility..

About fighting humans. I like the idea humans collaborating with aliens itself. But hybrids are a step too far, I feel. Maybe make those humans tougher giving them better armor, weapons, technology, make them cooperate with aliens in ground combat making use of alien's abilities. So that even human, they in a way feel quite alien.

On 20.10.2017 at 7:22 PM, Shoes said:

will we be capturing human defectors?

I LIKE this idea!

On 20.10.2017 at 7:22 PM, Shoes said:

Are the local-government raids going to suggest non-lethal gameplay?

Non lethal weapons against humans (even though they're alien collaborators) and a kind of different ending (maybe for the X-COM..sorry, the Xenonauts organization itself) depending on how you choose to treat your own species feels an interesting idea to me))... Provided humans do feel alien, like I mentioned previously.

On 21.10.2017 at 8:07 AM, Elendil said:

Xenonauts was a success basicly because x-com stopped being x-com. If you go the same way, we just lost a great franchise forever.

I kind of agree a lot with this too... Fighting humans if they feel human – is a huge step back, as I feel it.

On 21.10.2017 at 10:14 AM, Chris said:

so you need additional weaker enemies to make the aliens seem strong

Disagree completely. XNT made the aliens feel REALLY strong, and there were basically no weak ones. To make aliens feel strong you need to make them REALLY smart, and come up with some interesting abilities that make them surprising and hard to deal with.

On 23.10.2017 at 4:38 PM, Fabevil said:

you could still add two modes, 1 with humans and aliens fighting togheter, or basically aliens with aliens

This is one option. Although I have to say, I WOULD like to fight humans, if they FEEL ALIEN. It is all about the atmosphere, as I mentioned before. But many of those original X-COM fans won't like fighting humans at all.

On 23.10.2017 at 9:38 PM, Dranak said:

you guys are doing something bold and different

I wouldn't describe it like this at all. This is a rip-off of the XCOM: Enemy Unknown's mechanics. Just telling it as it is.

8 hours ago, endersblade said:

The general 'Secret War' idea just does not sound like it will translate well to this game.  It's the WORST part of XCOM 2, being stuck to just one ship and attacking from the shadows.  Don't go that route.

Staff members being static in every game - The UFO series of games did this.  It wasn't fun then, I can't see it being fun now.  I think the only bonus this really had in the UFO games was that they all had different voices/voice actors and very unique faces/portraits.  Somehow I don't see that happening in X2.

So you don't want to make an X-COM clone.  My question is, WHY NOT?  Why break the mold, fix what ain't broke?  X1 is so loved BECAUSE it's an X-COM clone.  Don't fall under the assumption that changing the formula is going to attract more people.  If anything, it might chase away more than it brings in.

And I HAVE TO agree with these point maid by endersblade.

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@Chris

Also. I just went and looked at the X2 demo ground combat gameplay again, and those square "hills" and "mountains" just break the feel of immersion completely. On an otherwise beautiful battle map.

And as I mentioned the music before, I'd like to mention the game sounds. All of them. Starting from mouse click sound, then to weapon sounds, and the ambient sounds or really  lack of them. This I feel requires a lot of attention, if you're going to make progress from X1.

And would it be completely impossible to make the map more organic, by getting rid of that black hole ouside the map, maybe doing it Fallout: New Vegas style, seemlessly hiding the edges of the map?!?.. I have a feeling that's a too big of an ask...

P.S. I really want the X2 to evolve without losing the original game's feel, but rather evolving it. Thanks, Chris.

Edited by trueman11
added some stuff
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Well the good thing is that there's already lots of people giving suggestions and their thoughts on how the game could be improved - there's still quite a long way to go with the game and feedback from the community is the best way to improve the game. Some of it is negative feedback but that's fine as long as it's constructive, which it nearly all has been so far. So this is great.

I'll likely pick through the thread in more detail next week, as I'll do a second post with some art etc in the next few weeks as promised. If anyone else has thoughts or opinions in the meantime then put them in here.

Regarding the 0-5 skill progression stuff, as I mentioned before it's placeholder. But we need to implement something simple first as there's no point discussing complex improvements until everyone has tested and understands the basic building blocks of the system. Lots has changed so I don't think even I have a totally complete picture of how all the parts of the new design slot together yet.

PS - yeah the current build looks terrible, I'd wait for the new one before playtesting the game again!

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@Chris I understand your reasoning concerning placeholders etc. I just think these are aspects that will be difficult to test in a tactical mission or in a short demo. I mean, maybe it requires more game-time, but I can be wrong... As I can be wrong about what I said in other threads. If I were making a placeholder, I would go for the middle-ground, like a 0-10 system, but that's your choice, of corpse. :) Anyway, looking at Xenonauts 1, I'm sure you guys will create a great game! Looking promising for sure!

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Got to thinking last night about the soldier-scientist concept. Gordon Freeman sprang to mind - crowbar ninja with PhD. And Batman/Ironman too, both valiant geniuses. Hell, even Plato was know for being broad of shoulder and mind. So I'm sure it would be easy to accept for most players that you have a small group of all rounders. Plus, them not being pure super soldiers explains why they can't even shoot forwards in the early missions and why you only have a dozen units, not whole platoon or company  

Maybe people would be happier to go along with the change if the Scientific stat were replaced with something like Technical. Sounds a little more battlefield appropriate. Makes sense too, I wouldn't know for sure, but I'd hazard a guess that operating the higher tech in today's military is pretty damn complex and not that feasible for the stereotype of a jarhead.

In the book of Starship Troopers, the protagonist explains that the training for using power armour is of the level of Master. Ok, so they don't all have doctorates and are still fairly gruntish troopers in that story, but their skill set is much wider than just combat capabilities. "Everybody works, everybody fights".

As for the stat progression itself: we're never going to have everyone agree on this because there are loads of ways to do it. I reckon that the only way Goldhawk are going to please everyone is in the extent to which they can make the stat mechanics be approachable at more than one level. So if ideas get put forward, they don't need shooting down because that might not be something overly visible when you play.

Take, for example, the air combat of X1. I really like that mini-game but it wasn't for everyone. Fortunately, the option to auto complete engagements meant you didn't need to. Similarly, if the surface of the stat progression can be made to feel something like the lowest common denominator of what everyone is saying in the forum then it wont put many people off - but if deeper and more subtle mechanics can exist which give more flexibility then it will make the game much more interesting. I'd say that having quite separate systems of mechanics for stats, perks, attributes, etc. could provide room for pleasing everyone e.g. have attributes fixed for each of the 40* characters but stats randomised each game, have perks chosen by the player based on xp but medals given out for set achievements. Also, making it so complex that it is difficult to understand is by no means a bad thing - it certainly keeps communities thriving if the forum is full of people discussing how to game the game to make the best sniper/medic/laser-wielding-quantum-physicist.

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@Chris

Concerning the soldier stats and pool of available recruits. How about making it JA2 style, in that sense that making available recruits for a lower and a higher price with corresponding lower and higher stats, making the player choose between a few good ones, or more mediocre recruits, at least in the beginning of the game? Also, JA2 style, making them kind of specialists in one field, and mediocre or bad in others, and making available all-rounders too, but for a really high price.

I agree that staff members/recruits pool being static is a really poor way to do that. Variety is the spice of life. This is a very good point @Viking1978 is making:

On 26.10.2017 at 10:40 AM, Viking1978 said:

(The original Jagged Alliance 2 base game had around 70 playable characters in total, which was really on the low side. It is not without a reason that the v.1.13 comunity platform expanded on this, resurrecting like 50 characters from the first game + adding an additional amount of first-person characters that became also hireable. Anyway, I think 120 is a lot more comfortable... and it is more fun to play with characters that you choose than that you have to pick because you don't have an option).

Static characters have to be REALLY fleshed out and have a large pool to really be able to make a satisfying choice.

22 hours ago, Chris said:

The second reason is because there's only 4 skill ratings at the moment, and they're currently 0-5, so there's not actually that many combinations available. For comparison I believe Jagged Alliance 2 has 7 or 8 skills and they are out of 100, so they can have many more different character archetypes and thus more unique characters.

Maybe make some hybrid system, like Fallout's SPECIAL and skills?? This gives A LOT of room for variety. One of the attractions of the original game and it's successors.

23 hours ago, Fabevil said:

Why don't you add voices for Soldiers, Civilians and Local Forces.

Oh yeah! Although it has to be quality voice acting, as to not break the feeling of immersion. And obviously a variety of voices. Returning to the point made by @endersblade, about voice acting variety for static characters. JA2's success can teach a lot in that regard. Although it seems that depends on the route you're going to take regarding character/staff pool.

21 hours ago, endersblade said:

Taking away the stats from the first one and they way they leveled is going to be a serious downfall to this game.  That was the best part of your soldiers.  Leaving parts of it static (like from armor as you mentioned) is too much like the new XCOM.  You're taking away customizability, and that's never a good thing.

Stats progress naturally as your guys see combat.  Some get better at shooting, some get better at throwing, some scouting, etc.  Sure, given enough time they all basically become super soldiers, but that's the thing, it's a CHOICE.  And having all the stats we had in X1 gave us the opportunity to chose what we leveled and by how much.  You are trying to homogenize things, I don't think that's going to end well.  Making it so all the original combat stats get rolled int one 'military' stat or whatever, where's the fun in that?  What does that actually denote?  And then making, from your previous post, more skills for each weapon type...that's pigeonholing people into playing each character a certain way.  While some may be good at science and some at engineering, the combat stats need to be separate so we can still tweak them the way WE want to play them, rather than being forced to play a certain way by the game.  FREEDOM is the key here.

I get where you're going with the skills.  Rifle, Grenade, RPG, Medicine, etc, I think Jagged Alliance did that?  Been too many decades lol.  IF you want to go down that route, how about giving us the choice?  As in, whenever a 'staff member' levels (or however you denote experience), let us pick which skills they learn, instead of them being set in stone.

A LOT of good points here.

P.S. I'll keep adding some points, seeing as now some of them keep eluding me..

Edited by trueman11
added some stuff

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On 10/26/2017 at 3:59 PM, Chris said:

Having just 4 skills on a 1-5 rating is something that may well change once we've done some testing. We might switch to a 1-10 rating, and I think there's some potential for additional skills - e.g. medical skills are currently rolled into Science, but this could be separated out into two skills (as could engineering and explosives competency). Maybe fatigue resistance becomes a skill. These are all decisions that require quite a bit of planning and discussion, but the idea is the current simple system gets expanded with time.

You've discussed stats being described in a variety of ways. The "Big Four" stats you're talking about now could be described as Ratings, and the rating increases as the unit gains points in related skills. For example, the Science rating goes up while the unit masters Medical and Explosive skills. Having a high rating could impart perks, which will be achieved nonlinearly, given that the rating moves for many reasons.

I also feel like the Soldier-Scientist dichotomy could present some interesting mind vs body problems, but I'm not able to think of any!

Additionally, units could have a "personality" trait that can't change through training. Practically, they would be perks, but they come free of charge, for better or worse. Massive Chalice had a system like this, but you were able to influence these traits in various ways. One such way was a personality trait that really just mimicked whatever trait of the nearest unit. 

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@trueman11 I think you are asking really a lot here, especially concerning the voice acting! The costs for it are not to be underestimated from what I have heard. Probably the least of most people's worries.

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3 hours ago, Viking1978 said:

@trueman11 I think you are asking really a lot here, especially concerning the voice acting! The costs for it are not to be underestimated from what I have heard. Probably the least of most people's worries.

Oh yeah, I know I'm asking a lot, but my view is that to create something good you have to aim for perfection. Obviously anybody will fail, because nothing is perfect. But from that desire can come something truly special.

And I have to clarify, the things I write are nothing but suggestions, I'm just sharing my experiences and that's all. It's a complete prerogative of the developers what to take from those suggestions and include into the game. I just want it to be something exceptional..))

P.S. JA2 is legendary for a reason, you know... :) The replayability of that game is enormous, and the immersion is beyond description...))) And you don't need all of what is in JA2 to make a game special, just look at the original Fallout and how it was developed...)) With all it's bugs and balance issues it is still alive and the mod community is improving and fixing it even now..)) And I feel that is all because of the unique atmosphere these games create..) Granted, Xenonauts is a clone of the original X-COM, but that doesn't mean it can not be a game in it's own right, it has the potential to REALLY revive and hugely evolve the feel and the gameplay of the original X-COM. Just not by copying another attempt at revival – XCOM: Enemy Unknown... And what a poor attempt it was.. Not really a revival, but exploitation of a legendary title...

Edited by trueman11
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In case it's not already obvious, the 40 starting available troops do all have a range of different skill levels and costs. You can hire level 5 soldiers who are also competent engineers or scientists on Day 1 if you want, they're just very expensive. Or you can hire a larger team of less skilled or less versatile staff instead.

(Thats pretty much the entire point of having a static pool of unique characters to choose from.)

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