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Xenonauts-2 October Update

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Hey, Chris, you (and the rest of the team) are the developers and you get to decide, but I think many of us were (or are now) quite hyped and can't help but to vent our ideas in quite a forceful manner. But we don't know what's going inside the developer's cage so, take all them for what they're worth, no more. :)

That said, I have lots of ideas. I try not to impose myself on people so I keep them to myself but this one I'll say: what if you indeed try to please everybody? You've already have the models and lots of resources in art and animations for a heavy combat vs Aliens gameplay. So, you could think of your game as one of stages: first you know almost nothing, just that there are aliens infiltrating governments and you have to stop them. In this fase you could have some missions with alien combat in abduction missions or aliens attacking not infiltrated governments that you must defend. Then, you unveil the alien conspiration and have a more heavy duty gameplay trying to defeat the aliens, destroying their mothership or whatever is the endgame goal.

I don't know the system but I think it shouldn't be too hard (it'll indeed need work, of course) to develop a tool in the beginning of the game or even in an outside tool to adjust the parameters so that you can play the game "as is", heavy on the infiltration or with a fast infiltration and investigation phase and a longer combat oriented phase. That way, you get the game you prefer, and even can adjust the game parameters in different games to try different experiences. For example: setting the amount of intel you need to uncover an alien and the amount of aliens / humans that there will be in the missions.

As I said, I don't know the system, or the team, so i don't know if you have the resources to do that, or if you've already considered that, but I think it would be a good compromise.

And, with that, I'll try to keep my mouth shut and leave the developers to develop :)

Edited by Alatar
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I like what I'm hearing in this thread about the expanded strategy side of the game vs. X1.

I'm not sure I'm onboard with just having one alien and a bunch of humans minions to fight on the average mission.   I'd prefer one boss alien and a bunch of minion aliens (aka low power red shirts) OR at least humans that have been mind controlled or something similar (brain implants inserted, etc...) and are totally under alien control.  They should look somewhat alien like at a minimum and probably have some unique abilities / vulnerabilities vs. a regular human.

I do agree that the current "picture" I have of the game as a war in the shadows is appealing.   I agree with the poster that thinks intelligence gathering should be an important aspect of the game.   I believe you should have base additions (hardware) and research to improve intel gathering as well as missions and personnel that can also improve your intel.  In fact, one mission objective could be seizing aliens or minions to learn about where the next alien "attack" or whatever will be focused.  Another could be stealing access codes that allow you tap into national intel resources.  Another could be cracking alien transmission codes by stealing a key or device from the aliens, etc... You could even have missions where NOT shooting or being detected is a critical factor like sneaking into a place to copy some type of plans, tap a comm line,  download data, etc...  I very much would like more variety in mission types than X1 had and this plays right into that.

Having good intel should lead to some type of advantage.  Perhaps having your operatives arrive BEFORE the aliens and ambushing them in ground combat or intercepting them in transit to their objective.   That would be most satisfying!

Edited by StellarRat

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18 hours ago, Alatar said:

I think it shouldn't be too hard (it'll indeed need work, of course) to develop a tool in the beginning of the game or even in an outside tool to adjust the parameters so that you can play the game "as is", heavy on the infiltration or with a fast infiltration and investigation phase and a longer combat oriented phase. That way, you get the game you prefer, and even can adjust the game parameters in different games to try different experiences. For example: setting the amount of intel you need to uncover an alien and the amount of aliens / humans that there will be in the missions.

Yeah, this is generally pretty easy. In the first game we just had some text files people could edit to control the speed of the invasion and the size of the alien crew etc, which is basically how I tweak the balance as I play the game. The way Unity works means we have to spend a bit more effort to actually expose these variables compared to how it was done in Xenonauts 1 but it's still a pretty trivial thing to do overall.

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I remember finding that Red Alert 2 had a text file you could use to mod the game; giving grenade infantry the 8 inch shells used by naval cruisers was pretty fun. I can appreciate the utility of the parameters being there for balancing but there's nothing wrong with a bit of playing around. A good touch from X-Com 2 was in the penultimate mission where you could spend the last of your intel gaining some potentially unbalanced bonuses. The perks could have been a bit much if included throughout the game but they functioned nicely as a treat near the end of the campaign. Although, I did take issue with X-Com 2 intel in that for most of the game it was essentially a resource for controlling how you expanded across the geoscape - obviously that mechanic is necessary but I feel that it underused intel as a concept. 

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@StellarRat  Another could be cracking alien transmission codes by stealing a key or device from the aliens, etc [...] I very much would like more variety in mission types than X1 had and this plays right into that.

Completely agree, also sounds kind of like Shadowrun Returns, which is a great game btw. It often combines stealth/ sneak missions and in case you screw up your disguise those can turn into a full combat scenario which usually becomes harder as a penatly for having not managed the spy objective.

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Greetings;

Quote

We expect the player to have 10-15 staff in total towards the end of the game.

In regards to that - how do you plan to handle injuries? In Xenonauts 1 i figured that Morale was a resource you basically used up during the mission, but replenished between missions, while health was a resource you would have to manage over a longer period of time, with soldiers - while surviving their wounds - being out of commission for a while. With a hospital and Sebillian analysis however, soldiers oftentimes were back to almost full hp by the time the next UFO-wave spawned. Since you plan on having more light injuries due to 5.56 projectile hits (which after all were designed to injure rather than kill) and less instant-deaths, it would make sense to make the soldiers health a resource that needs to be managed - or do you plan that stress and exhaustion need more over time management than injuries from bullet wounds? Considering that 10 staff lategame sounds a little low ... assuming you can take 6 people on a combat mission, one person is on a side quest and unavailable, that leaves a total of 3 people. If one of them is working in the lab and one in the workshop you are down to 1 who can be injured before there's jobs you just cannot do any more for lack of manpower, and on harder difficulties i would expect that there is always at least one person who is injured to some degree. Maybe i'm not getting it ... the numbers just don't seem to add up to me.

 

To make things interesting if you stick with primarily human allies to a small number of alien boss units, i'd suggest changing the human allies playstyle based on the alien that is influencing them. If for instance the Sebillians use fear to intimidate humans into cooperation, those humans might be very prone to just hiding in a corner and only attacking from ambushes. Androns might equip the humans with superiour armour and weaponry, making the humans tougher and better armed, but due to inherent human limitations also slower and more sluggish to react. If Cesans actually use full mind-control on their human allies, they might actually have them arm a bomb in their inventory and go for suicide bombing tactics - probably a rather nasty surprise the first time it happens. This way you can reuse the same art assets and the idea of primarily fighting humans over and over without the experience getting stale too quickly.

 

You mentioned the idea of stealing resources wearing the uniform of another country. Now that is of course a viable possibility, but wouldn't that necessarily also increase tension between the factions? To some extent, using non-lethal weapons might be an option to reduce the increase in tension between the factions - for one thing, if during the cold war CIA operatives raided a Soviet-aligned outpost, you wouldn't necessarily expect too many survivors (i don't really know of any incidents of Speznaz or KGB operatives attacking NATO-aligned outposts, with the partial exception of the Afghanistan intervention, which was a bit bigger than an outpost raid). The fact that few if any of the people stationed there were killed might be part of what would tip the faction off to that this maybe wasn't NATO or PACT.

 

Since you were looking for a way to increase the importance of the "Communication" stat - a pretty simple way would be to have it increase the number of tiles until your unit becomes identified as friend or foe. As long as the defenders (aliens or human guards) are not alerted, it would make sense that you can move one of your operatives up to for instance 25 - 2 x Communication tiles to a hostile unit before that unit realizes you're actually not an ally and opens fire / sounds an alert (this assumes your initial statement that stats go from 1 - 5). This means that someone with a low Communication stat must make sure to at utmost get into furthest sight range of a defender, while someone with a high Communication stat can scout around much easier. Very simplified infiltration mechanics to be sure, but it would suit the playstyle.

 

I get why you would like to include separate quest missions which will temporarily make soldiers unavailable, and that makes sense ... it just always felt to me like these missions were really random events that i as a player have pretty much no control over except choosing to do them or not to do them (and in the Firaxis X-Com there wasn't much of a choice anyways), and the outcome was just up to chance. I personally would appreciate it if you could insert some sort of mechanic or minigame that gives the player some level of control over the outcome of the mission, but of course i am well aware that your resources are limited and that other areas might need them more dearly.

 

Either way, yay for moddability.

Regards

Edited by Drakon
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The whole 10-15 staff thing was a figure I plucked out of the air to illustrate the fact that we'd have smaller number of personnel around this time, rather than being the result of playtesting. It might well prove an underestimate once you get to the later stages of the game, we'll have to see.

Alternatively, it might not - if you're assuming a team size of 8, then having two people available to fill each slot in a team (so 16 staff in all) might be enough. A lot of the posts I see seem to be assuming that you can only do a mission with a full team of very competent soldiers, but the idea is kinda that you're not likely to be simultaneously fielding 8 spec-ops soldiers unless it's late in the game and you've deliberately been resting everyone for a big operation.

We'll probably have some weaker weapons that grant a +Accuracy bonus etc, so you can still send your relatively untrained scientists and engineers into battle but they just don't put out as much damage / have more limited tactical options than your more experienced soldiers. Your staff can run a mission on top of their normal day job once in a while without getting too stressed out. Obviously, this means the average mission may have to be a bit easier than in X1 to allow for the fact not all your troops will be as competent ... but we'll see how people get on.

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I see, and i agree with the point you are making (in my example i did assume only 6 operatives on the mission, as well). Also i am well aware that a lot of the statements are still rough estimations at best - no point in getting too attached to a concept or calculation and have it later create bigger design issues if that can be avoided. I merely wanted to draw your attention to that this particular set of assumptions since they did not seem to make sense to me. The earlier in the development process one can get things right, the less total work in the long run after all. You also have not explicitely answered my question in regards of whether you intend to make exhaustion a more important resource than health, even though your post implies that it probably will - and again, i completely understand if you cannot (or simply do not want to) give a definitive answer to that yet.

How long are you planning to have normal operations (not the side-quests that take your operatives away for a while) take? In Xenonauts 1 a normal mission (landed/crashed UFO or alien base) was completed pretty much instantaneously (in maybe an hour or two). You mentioned that scientists / engineers could do missions "on top of their normal day job". Does this mean a normal mission will be flight there, mission, and then immediate flight back in less than 18 hours total? Else the "on top" does not really make sense to me ... or do all soldiers require extensive periods of rest after each mission until they can be sent to combat again? If the missions take longer than 18 hours - how can a scientist / engineer do his day job while also doing missions? He is away from the base after all.

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Yeah, so exhaustion is more important resource than health in the sense that everyone suffers it, but if a unit is wounded then they are unavailable for work / missions until they heal up (although they also regenerate fatigue as they heal up). So they sorta do slightly different things; getting wounded is a punishment for playing badly whereas exhaustion is a cap on the maximum amount of use you can get out of a single unit.

The strategic operations are a bit of a wildcard here, as I don't know how much they'll sap the player's manpower. The basic concept is that a unit can be sent on a combat mission overnight, and assuming they survive they'll be back at work as normal the next day as if they'd just had a normal night's sleep (other than being much more tired). So a scientist doesn't generally lose any efficiency in the lab if you send him out on a combat mission when he's meant to be sleeping, assuming you don't do it so often he goes through the fatigue wall and has a nervous breakdown. It assumes that you can get anywhere in the world and back in 12-18 hours, which is admittedly a bit unrealistic, but we'll fudge it in the interests of making managing your staff easier.

The strategic operations are longer text-based events that remove him from the base entirely for a certain number of days, during which the unit cannot take part in combat missions nor work on things during the day. So that scientist can either work in the lab or go out on a strategic operation, but not both.

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well I am hoping that the meat of the game will encompass me fielding troops that are competent for the mission at hand, not a few soldiers and the rest plucked together brainiacs and monkey wrenches to round out the squad. so I do hope full squads do appear earlier then just late game (endgame squad of only 8?)...especially when they are supposed to fight a X-COM2 chosen level alien adversary, or when pressed with turn-limits.

maybe I'm wrong in thinking the the scientists are actual scientists and the engineers actual engineers, not just "smart/technically savvy soldiers". It all depends on how personnel/soldier progression is set up. 

more tools and equipment is always welcomed, however you make it sound like you are adding training wheels so incompetent troopers can actually contribute rather then expanding the options pool. I'd like to think more in the way of "what benefit would bringing the labrat (on the tactical map) give me" rather then giving him training wheels, it might be better to give him his own array of gizmo's to use that rely on his relative discipline. he'll stay rather poor with a gun, but he's handy with *insert tool here*...rather then a spec. op soldier suddenly needing a Phd to learn to use explosives.

Since the science/engineering discipline should not involve killing/blowing up stuff as a major factor, I see their tools being support oriented that becomes more potent as the campaign tech level advances. (for example: once alien encryption has been researched, fielded scientists can decrypt/jam not just human but also alien field communication on the battlefield..to buy extra time after going loud (jam), listen in for acces codes/locations of key personnel or prisoner or bug a network. while engineers can use elerium tech to tamper with elerium based generators/vehicles, rig, reduce efficiency to generate error noise or disable ) it is important to note that the tools here are not shot,launched or thrown at an enemy, and the speed/reliability of the action depends on the competence level of the engineer/Sc and the power of the relevant tool (acting much like aim and damage when relating to guns here). this makes them much more useful on stealth based missions, where killing stuff isn't the primary objective. 

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16 minutes ago, Conductiv said:

well I am hoping that the meat of the game will encompass me fielding troops that are competent for the mission at hand, not a few soldiers and the rest plucked together brainiacs and monkey wrenches to round out the squad. so I do hope full squads do appear earlier then just late game (endgame squad of only 8?)...especially when they are supposed to fight a X-COM2 chosen level alien adversary, or when pressed with turn-limits.

Hmm, although I agree with you that specialisms and alternative equipment is interesting, I'm not sure I agree with your argument that all classes of staff should be equally powerful on the battlefield just in different ways. Your soldiers aren't as useful as your scientists in the lab, so why should your scientists be as useful as your soldiers on the battlefield? Surely then nobody would hire any soldiers at all?

Ultimately any kind of tactics game is less interesting if all your units are equally strong, because then they're all interchangeable. Conversely a mix of strong, average and weak troops makes you think about which soldier should be where and what each one should be doing with their turn - I mean, there's a reason why chess isn't just played with 16 queens on each side.

(EDIT - with all that said, there are hopefully going to be missions where the combat strength of a unit (or some of the units) isn't actually that relevant to how useful they are on the mission, and their other specialisms like science and engineering might come in more useful. However I don't want to go into that in much detail yet because we've not implemented any of that stuff yet, but we do indeed want to go down that road if we can.)

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Chris - Earlier you mentioned that only about 40 personnel total were going to available.  If you manage to get several / all the people killed what will happen?  Assuming you haven't lost the game is it possible to simply run out of staff?

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1 hour ago, StellarRat said:

Chris - Earlier you mentioned that only about 40 personnel total were going to available.  If you manage to get several / all the people killed what will happen?  Assuming you haven't lost the game is it possible to simply run out of staff?

He also mentioned you would pick up more staff through missions, and that if you did manage to lose all the staff available, then yes, you lose the game. Maybe not because you can't hire any more, but because you've been doing so poorly the aliens have now won.

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4 minutes ago, Chris said:

Hmm, although I agree with you that specialisms and alternative equipment is interesting, I'm not sure I agree with your argument that all classes of staff should be equally powerful on the battlefield just in different ways. Your soldiers aren't as useful as your scientists in the lab, so why should your scientists be as useful as your soldiers on the battlefield? Surely then nobody would hire any soldiers at all?

Ultimately any kind of tactics game is less interesting if all your units are equally strong, because then they're all interchangeable. Conversely a mix of strong, average and weak troops makes you think about which soldier should be where and what each one should be doing with their turn - I mean, there's a reason why chess isn't just played with 16 queens on each side.

 

Its just my opinion but, they should all be useful on the battlefield, otherwise it would be unfeasible to field them...unless you absolutely have to...now you have stated ways around this through weapon constriction (need stat X to use a gun) maybe you want to bypass this by constricting funds in such a way that having a worthwhile tech advance is impossible while also maintaining a team of capable soldiers. I made the suggestion based on what I assumed was a desire to find a suitable role for their trained stats on the tactical map, other then the base side research/repair/production units. 

in my suggestion the measure of usefulness would depend on the mission type...if your goal is to secure by elimination not being a good shot and in great physical shape is a serious handicap (I'm taking physical condition and gun-proficiency is a soldiers strength). and if your goal is to hack information from a datanetwork, not knowing how to use the alien interface might result in it being a very time consuming task as you'll have to copy the whole bloody thing. the usefulness of your troops depends on how often you need to have something done.

a few hypothetical situations to elaborate on what I'm trying to say.

-a game where you have axes and swords, axes get resources and can be used in combat at a terrible rating, swords are good at combat...would you willingly field axes and the battlefield knowing they are terrible at doing what you want them to do there?

-a game where you have axes and swords, axes can get resources and are capable of mincing armor while dealing less damage, swords chop up unarmored targets fast and while capable against armor, cannot actually remove it resulting in *lost* damage. the rate of armored versus unarmored combat missions is for argument sake 50-50 would you ever field axemen instead of swordsmen in this scenario? on the flipside...would you completely ditch swords?

-a game where you have axes and swords, axes get resources and can be used in combat at a terrible rate. now the axemen gets a long-knife as substitute weapon when send in combat, it acts like a weaker yet easier to use tool then a sword. would you still willingly field the long-knife users if swordsmen are available?   

-a game where you have a hacker that can get resources and he can also pling away with a pistol, and a soldier that is rambo on speed. the mission is to hack a console who would you pick?

-a game where you have a hacker *etc*. the mission is to clear a base...who would you pick? 

in go the pieces are equal, does this make the game less complex then chess? its not just the interaction between the pieces

now I may have misinterpreted what you are going for, because I'm interpreting the post as "having (a) unit(s) that is (are) tactically extremely weak and only there to round out the squad is good for tactical decision making" followed by a reference to chess. now in my experience when it comes to computer games, when a unit is all round weak it is generally not or extremely rarely build/used unless it is basically a stepping stone to something better.    

 

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@Conductiv I think you and Chris are saying a lot of the same stuff. In a tactical battle, a soldier unit would be good at combat, and a science unit would be good at some other thing. If a battle needs fighting, you would want soldier units; if a battle needs some other thing, you would want science units. And sometimes, if you're in a pickle, then your science unit might have to do some combat, or your soldier unit my have to do some other thing. 

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@Conductiv I think we're just looking at things from a different angle, perhaps. There's two main issues I see at play:

1) Should we have missions where taking a non-military staff member is better than taking a soldier? I think we both agree the answer here is yes. You gave the example of hacking a console, and another example might be if you broke into a lab to steal some research notes. Only someone with a scientific background would actually be able to identify the most useful notes to take, whereas a soldier would just have to grab them at random and hope they prove useful. We've not implemented anything like that yet but I'd like to.

2) For the spots in the combat team where you just want to put the most effective killing machines possible, should the player have access to enough high-quality soldiers to fill them? I would argue that this is a choice the player has to make for themselves. The game should not allow the player to do everything well, so if you have a large combat team full of high-quality soldiers then you can do so but obviously you won't have a very strong science / engineering / communications presence. Conversely hiring a lot of high-science staff doesn't mean that you simply can't do ground missions at all, but it does mean that combat missions will be more difficult because your "soldiers" are less effective.

I guess in an ideal world the balanced strategy would allow the player to do a bit of everything, meaning that the player could field a strong team of soldiers for important missions but there's no backup if one of the good soldiers is exhausted or wounded or dead. That means the player would need to rotate their team so there's always a mix of good soldiers and backup guys on any mission, or rest up before a big mission to ensure all their good troops are available for it.

So the reason why you might hire scientists / whatever and use them in battle in the place of soldiers is because they let you do more research / whatever on the strategy layer, and therefore you're willing to accept the fact that a few of your personnel on a combat mission might not be that good at shooting in order to speed up your research. However the effect of doing that (which I like because it makes the gameplay more varied) is that not all of your combat units are equally effective in a fight and the player has to think a bit more about who goes where than they did in X1.

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Before this development update, i was realy waiting for X2. But now...

To put it short: it sounds not like xcom to me. For me this games was about planetary deffence. Not only plotwise. For example, xcom and x1 was putting player to the position of "chief of anti-air deffence".

New plot is not about planetary deffence. It is about conflict between 2 organisations with different types of billboard adds.

I am realy hope, that X2 will be a good game, and i will try it. But i was waiting for something like early plot prototype (with deffence perimeters, managing ground troops.... more planetary scale stuff).

P.s. sorry for my bad english (if there was any).

Edited by lllaxmatist

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Hi guys, first time poster here. Will try keep this brief but felt the need to express my opinion on the direction the game is headed.


Going with the shadow-war theme it seems to be headed down a path where it will be in direct competition with XCOM 2. As it turns out, I like XCOM 2 but I was hoping for something different with Xenonauts 2. To be frank what XCOM 2 does do it does extremely well and the action camera creates a sense of being in a dramatic Hollywood production with some outrageous yet fun action sequences. In short it's going to be tough to top what XCOM 2 brings to the table in this regard. Having smaller squad sizes/similar mechanics I think is going to have many going "where's my action cam?".


Also, while I understand the point Chris made in not wanting an average joe with an M16 to be able to take on an alien directly I think there are other ways to achieve the same thing other than limit the number of aliens on the battlefield and giving them boss-like abilities. I also understand the need to try and expand a bit more on the original Xenonauts by having different mechanics and strategies and so forth but in my opinion there's a very different approach that could also achieve some of these goals. I will try give some constructive input on what I feel would be interesting but would feel like an expansion of Xeno 1:


Instead of a "secret war" I envision a very, very hot war with gradually expanding levels of aggression/technology where the aliens expect an easy victory but are surprised to find out just how well humans are able to survive despite being technologically and in many cases physically weaker. In short, their ego basically avoids an out-right annihilation and gives humanity some time to regroup and stand some kind of chance to repel the invasion.


Instead of tiny squad sizes I envision much larger scale conflicts with something like up to 36 soldiers lets say supported with tanks and other vehicles. In this way you could have 12 aliens versus 36 humans and balance things out to be where this fight is "equal" on paper. So here you can create a sense of an average joe with an M16 being able to do some damage but in no way being able to stand toe-to-toe with an average alien soldier.


Now, being turn based it would take some thought to making rounds manageable. I don't think that necessarily everyone would want to micro-manage 36 units in the standard sort of control interface we have at the moment but I think it could be done with things like having 6 squads and being able to move and attack as a squad instead of just 1 unit at a time - switching to mirco-manage mode as needed. You could have morale at a squad level as well as opposed to individual soldiers and instead of recruiting "grunts" as it were perhaps another thought is being able to recruit only senior people and developing abilities/skills at a leadership level e.g. calling in fire-support or giving all team members a bonus to morale or to defense etc.


Hopefully I was able to convey the gist of what I'm getting at - bigger and bolder essentially. Thanks for taking the time to read.

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Sorry (especially for such English), and when it is planned at least an approximate release of the game ... because in 2017 the game just will not work, it takes a lot of roadblocking in the game ...

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I have hoped for a more battlefield oriented sequel as well, as one of the things that attracted me to X1 was the addition of vehicles (that they proved to be extremely clunky is besides the point) but I do like the middle sized squads of personal soldiers as used in X1 and the newer Xcom installments...I'm not much of a squad-of-riflemen focused player.

but I am more then willing to sacrifice that vision for a more in depth commando-strike-team like gameplay, provided I don't get pestered by timers every mission. this will indeed put it in close competition with Xcom2. it does have a few notable twists to that formula that I like though.

it also has a fair few comments that do worry me though..

I for one loathe the idea of bullet sponges, that weapon X isn't effective versus opponent Y because of armor or something like that (like a pistol on a tank) isn't a problem, provided you can cook his ass with a launcher...it is when you have a dude with 400-500 HP that you have to chip off by shooting it repeatedly. Xcom franchise rulers and chosen don't interest me as a concept because they don't fight better, they just take longer to down.

the very limited personnel roster while also placing key strategical personnel on it, smaller teams and fighting scientists and engineers...what I see is shoving a gun in a civilians hands, while there is no compelling reason why this civilian is deployed on said mission to begin with.  hiring them because they add a strategical benefit is a sound reason to get them to work in the lab/workshop/comms station, but even less of a reason to deploy them in combat if they have no other job then to shoot the enemy (they are much more valuable elsewhere)...I fear restriction and financial constraints will be used here to get people to deploy them, also repeated comments regarding training-wheel constructions that make these units more effective when pressed into combat (can get to higher end weapons faster and have access to higher accuracy weapons at the cost of damage on similar tiers). I do not have a problem with enticing people to use non-combat personnel in a combat mission, it can be a very interesting design...but they do need a viable reason for deployment, hence I did make a suggestion where they could use their other skills for non-combat support. (combat support would make them directly compete with soldiers and would defeat the reason for deploying combat oriented classes)

note that with what developers have currently shared you don't really have dedicated scientists, you have the option to make a full team macgyver if you so please with no dedicated combat or strategical personnel...I do hope that specialization in any one branch beats generalists in potency though.

daytime job combo with nighttime mission is only a minor flag, but it just doesn't make much sense in 1980's + storyline. technology had advanced enough by that point that visual identification of an aircraft or naval vessel was no longer needed. basically flying by night or day would make no real difference. however at daytime strategical personnel would be at its best providing science, production and credit points on the daytime job. soldiers...I dunno what they are supposed to do, my original concept was that they would work on their body (HP, TU, STR stats) or at the range (ACC), where they would improve their combat related benifits. (developers did not state there will be any day-time training facilities for combat heavy personnel..I just assumed they would be there much like the labs and workshops for strategical troops) it does seem however that armor will heavily..and maybe even completely dictate those numbers. also because of the significant strategical benefit of credits/production and science it is likely that on the strategical level you get soldiers pressed in the lab during daytime. basically auto-generating team macgyver.

comfort levels of troops, fatigue recovery is not a problem (counteracts A-team saves the world problem that occurs when a player can...provided no casualties or significant injuries... just constantly deploy the same squad), but having to adapt base layout for comfort levels brings up a comparison with rimworld where I would have to fear for mental breakdowns because rooms arn't pretty enough.  not a mechanic that I'm looking for in this type of game.

threat, stealth, and knock-enemy out of the fight system are still a bit foggy...stealth can very easily become a broken mechanic but it can also open up the battlefield a lot faster. 

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I like the idea of a dedicated "room" for soldiers to perform daytime jobs, such as working out. I think it would fit that a soldier becomes stronger through training, and that's how you get a high TU, high STR soldier. Things like bravery would be earned on the battlefield. This way your soldiers organically become more combat capable because their dayjob is exactly that.

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I also think that the "only night"missions are not realistic, but you need to take into account that this is a game and you must allow some room for mechanics which make it easier to program or handle things,even if they're not realistic. I understand that the logic here is to have staff do something in the strategic later during the day (investigate, construct, repair, infiltrate) and go on a mission during the night.

What I'm not sure I understand is the way fatigue will be handled. Will there be 3 8-hours periods and if you make someone work all 3 of them they get tired, or people get tired by performing actions and they must rest periodically or what? I hope it doesn't relay too heavily on micromanagement and we can just set people on their jobs and just adjust things when we're tight.

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Personally, I like fighting humans, it makes the world seem more grounded and realistic in a way.  The other changes look interesting too.  As someone who liked Xenonauts more than the Firaxis offerings, I still felt that didn't it didn't innovate enough, so I'm glad to see you guys are trying new things with the sequel.

 

 

Edited by Dogar230

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I for one loathe the idea of bullet sponges, that weapon X isn't effective versus opponent Y because of armor or something like that (like a pistol on a tank) isn't a problem, provided you can cook his ass with a launcher...it is when you have a dude with 400-500 HP that you have to chip off by shooting it repeatedly. Xcom franchise rulers and chosen don't interest me as a concept because they don't fight better, they just take longer to down.

In Xenonauts 1 500 HP would make a unit survive at most two combat-rounds of dedicated attention from a squad ... probably less (exception being Androns who besides high HP also had huge damage reduction against projectile weapons). I am only guessing here, but i think the primary idea is for the boss aliens to not die in the same round that they are discovered by the player - for me in X1 that was the case pretty much every time i wanted it. The game-mechanic problem here is, that if your boss unit has special abilities but dies as soon as the player discovers it if the player chooses to invest his resources this way, then these abilities either end up being irrelevant or you need to allow the boss unit to use its abilities from off screen - generating the not really overly liked off screen mind control from Xenonauts 1. I will concur that making units bullet-spongy isn't necessarily the most beautiful approach to solve this issue, but it is a simple one. It does create an issue balance wise, though, since if the damage the player can deliver veers noticeably from what the game designer expected at that point, you either end up with the boss being one shot again, or with uninteresting long combat sequences where you need to slowly chip off the HP (or not overly interesting combat sequences where you get murderated by a boss you just don't have the damage to kill before he wipes out your team).

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daytime job combo with nighttime mission is only a minor flag, but it just doesn't make much sense in 1980's + storyline. technology had advanced enough by that point that visual identification of an aircraft or naval vessel was no longer needed. basically flying by night or day would make no real difference.

I would beg to differ here. The Xenonauts transport craft is necessarily going to need to have some sort of anit-radar mechanic, or it's not going to survive flying around with the military generally not being informed of it's existence. If the Xenonauts transport is effectively invisible to radar, during daytime flights there is still a high risk of it being discovered by a random airfield employee who happens to look up to the sky, and wonder which craft is zooming by here. This is especially true for aircraft carrier personnel. There is of course heat detection as well, something that in my opinion is noticeably harder to solve than radar invisibility, and the fact that a craft that can reach any point on earth an return within 18 hours needs to fly at roughly mach 2 or greater, creating a sonic boom, but both of those are vastly mitigated by simply flying at very high altitude. The real issue is landing, and now this needs to be done at night, and you can slow down to subsonic speeds before reducing your altitude.

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I do not have a problem with enticing people to use non-combat personnel in a combat mission, it can be a very interesting design...but they do need a viable reason for deployment, hence I did make a suggestion where they could use their other skills for non-combat support. (...) what I see is shoving a gun in a civilians hands, while there is no compelling reason why this civilian is deployed on said mission to begin with.

If i understood correctly, one of the key reasons for the very limited personnel roster you get to choose from is trust. You get 40 people that the game assures you are not under alien influence or will hand your organisation over to their government at the earliest opportunity, and are also in one way or another capable individuals. I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that the cost for "hiring" this personnel might actually not be as much giving them the money so they work for you, but actually resources necessary to do a full background check to make sure the assumption they won't sell you out is still true (else why don't you have all 40 work for you from the start?).

 

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I like the idea of a dedicated "room" for soldiers to perform daytime jobs, such as working out. I think it would fit that a soldier becomes stronger through training, and that's how you get a high TU, high STR soldier. Things like bravery would be earned on the battlefield. This way your soldiers organically become more combat capable because their dayjob is exactly that.

Interesting idea, but that would mean that any individual you hire will progressively become better the longer he stays employed. This compounds the balance issue that if you loose someone, the stats of your newly hired replacement will be significantly worse compared to the stats of those you have had in your service for a while (unless the difference training makes itself is not really significant). One way to mitigate that is for all units to level up their stats over time, regardless of whether they are employed by you or not ... but i must admit that just sounds weird to me. Reverse Tolkien-time-principle?

Realistically, if you actually hire a Speznaz or SAS operative that has seen combat their stats will only get worse after their first few missions rather than better, because they are probably already at the peak of their capabilities anyways, and there will be injuries they survive but reduce their combat effectiveness over time, and battle traumata that will reduce their "bravery stat". I'd wager most people on this forum wouldn't want that level of realism, even though it might make for an interesting game where you get people at the peak of their capabilites and just gradually use them up over the course of the game. Not exactly X-Com like, though.

 

What i find interesting is that from what Chris wrote i can deduce that the timespan Xenonauts 2 will cover will be significantly less than Xenonauts 1. A normal Xenonauts 1 campaign encompassed several months - half a year would be no surprise. If that was the case in Xenonauts 2, you really wouldn't care about loosing one day of work from a scientist as you sent him on a mission - with 4 months playtime that's about 1/120th or 0.833% of the total science generated by this one individual (and i am assuming that we can have more than one scientist researching at a time). This is even further mitigated by that i can have a grunt in the lab while my scientist is resting (someone who is healed up enough to be able to work, but still doesn't quite have enough hp that i like the idea of sending him into combat), reducing the total loss even more. This indicates to me that a complete campaign in Xenonauts 2 will only encompass weeks, rather than months.

As an not entirely unrelated thought, there'd be the theoretical option of also narrowing down the geographical scope of Xenonauts 2 to only Europe (including the western part of Russia), North Africa and the western part of the Middle East. Every biome from Xenonauts 1 can be found there, and the only one i can think of not available is djungle. If the aliens wanted to create tension between the NATO and WP, it would make sense for them to operate there rather than anywhere else. It would make reaching and returning from a mission in a day very plausible, and the longer strategic side quests that take people away for days would then likely often take place on other continents. Not really something i think you should necessarily do, but maybe a concept worth considering.

Regards

Drakon

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8 hours ago, Drakon said:

lots of stuff..

you bring up a lot of points, but lets just first say that realism is not a major point of the game (we are taking turns fighting infiltrating aliens). hence the only fly by night was a minor concern, as it is only there to make the work/action system work. this doesn't mean that supersonic flight at extreme altitude with stealth technology would be extremely unlikely to get spotted during daytime as well as night-time.  

about bosses, well there are many ways to do bosses or big baddies, not all encompass some dude with the supernatural ability to take enough bullets to the face to sink a battleship. also story wise a smart infiltrator would probably not be a tank hybrid..as it isn't all that beneficial for the infiltrating bit...having lots of goons though might be thematically more appropriate.

well the problem with very limited personnel and forced sidetrack specialty/combat is that you basically get a stew where everyone does everything, you get the grunt that gets his science PhD because he doesn't have anything better to do then help the dudes in the lab (and totally not be a hindrance as he is banging rocks together in the corner). and Einstein becomes a navy seal because well..apparently his commander felt it was a good idea to give the lab professor some extra edge by having his hair seared off by plasma bolts. oh and naturally we have some random dude that just opened his first technical manual repair our stealth technology enhanced supersonic dropship...that will totally not go wrong. ...the main problem is its effect on game-play, you are forced to go either short handed or with a dude that has no real business there through game restrictions. that is unless those specialties are capable of doing something on the battlefield other then shoot, and combat troops in the base other then....it also depends on the value of specialization, if being a specialist at anything isn't really valued, the above scenario is much more likely to occur.

funny thing about turn based tactical games where you build a team, your team is usually better then the random dudes you recruit from the roster. well for good gameplay you would naturally have to replace every loss you encounter with a exact copy of what you just lost. (in case the sarcasm detectors are not going into overdrive right now...ehh..no..they really shouldn't be that easy to replace) now there are cases where units would have to be quickly replaced with a similar and almost as skilled unit...this would be a RTS where the lethality of the opponents actions is really high and the value of your troops isn't..but when you build a team and every member is a considerable investment in effort and time, they should not be easily replaced by the ingame "soldier factory" and their veterancy should be worth something. training room concepts have been used somewhat in this regard, either as a method to let rookies catch up (as usually the initial amount required for low stats is very low) or to augment the skills of veteran personnel (Xcom 2 covert missions do give stat bonuses, but on the total these veterans already have it is usually not all that significant)

I haven't really read anything that hinted towards the total game length, I do find a few weeks ingame time to be extremely unlikely though

 

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