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Xenonauts-2: Vehicles

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Losing out on the multi tile vehicles would be a major loss to what made xenonauts fun. Not only is it just cool to bring mini tanks to a fight, it helps distinguish xenonauts from current similar games like the xcom remakes. 

Balance wise I feel the trade offs were pretty fair. In theory you got a unit that brings superior durability, damage, unique weapons, vision (during the night), was immune to psionics, healed instantly after battle, and also allowed tactics like stacking up behind an armoured vehicle to advance when there was little cover, all at the higher cost of space on the transport, only having one in the field at once, lack of utility items, the inability to get through difficult terrain, inability to heal mid battle, additional research that had to be done, high costs of special storage/construction/maintenance, and didn't gain experience. I personally don't see a problem with large vehicles being "stronger" than the soldiers it replaces on the transport, because otherwise there would be no reason to choose between the vehicles or the soldiers in the first place. In other words large vehicles were (in theory), unique and exceptional combat units that came at the cost of being limited in number, flexibility, and steep resources. They also weren't a unit you would want to bring to every fight, as industrial areas/alien bases could present too many inaccessible areas, and a difficult alien ship assault was made harder by vehicles being unable to access most of the ship. That being said, the large vehicles were amazing in large open combat zones, night missions, and terror missions. 

These proposed smaller vehicles for xenonauts 2 sound very similar to what fielding the shivs in xcom enemy unknown was like, in that they offer some slight variations in abilities, but ultimately just feel like another soldier but with limited usage, all the while eating up potential experience that could have been gained. I feel like having identical weapons to the infantry would only solidify the feeling of just a slightly different soldier, and their unique abilities are just down scaled versions of what the large vehicles could do. In the end, I'm worried that the mars support platform will be too identical to a human in power armour similar to the predator suit, especially if the option to add upgrades like a cover ability were added to it, and will only ever have a distinct use in the early game. or just get phased out of the game entirely.

If large vehicles were to make it into xenonauts 2, I'd like to see them return in the role of being very powerful singular combatants, but with heavy costs in both the strategic and tactical maps to field, and limitations that meant that you wouldn't want to use them for every mission type (like their size and lack of utility/support weapons), but were life savers on other mission types (like terror or wide open spaces). I also noticed that there are potential plans to add resource costs to fielding advanced equipment, another limitation could be that a lightly armed and armoured scout vehicle could be used without special resources, but if you want your fully autonomous flying mini tank on the field its gonna cost more power than the tech on the soldiers it replaces. A feature to really make them special would be their own weight limits or load out slots, with trade offs like the ability to hover/install sub weapons, for more durability/ammunition. Even if it was just as straight forward as changing one main gun out for another was in xenonauts 1, I feel it would help build tactical gameplay around the vehicle in your team. This could also be worked into the proposed idea of development projects to improve equipment already available, and could help with creating a not so linear tech tree, as now the player could decide to prioritize projects and research to improve their troops, or instead focus on singular powerful vehicles. If even with these costs to use them the idea of large vehicles still seemed overpowered, the option to do development projects to improve them could permanently lock out the option to do the same for your infantry at the same tech level.

As for realism I don't see why people are willing to give a pass to the aliens having large machines that human infantry can go toe to toe with, but its unreasonable that the alien's infantry can go to toe to toe with human made large machines, especially once everyone has science fiction weapons, power armour that can supposedly take a small nuclear explosion no problem, and super human abilities. If the realism is a problem, then just have vehicles like the hunter scout car at first, then once stronger tech is on the way, just make it clear that these are scaled down tanks that might not have the big guns and plating you'd expect on something larger. Lastly, armoured vehicles are used in real life squad based tactics all the time, be it an armoured truck for a SWAT team or a single military vehicle working in conjunction with infantry, so I feel that the idea itself is not a shoehorned in concept for the game.

Edited by BDSMOverdrive

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An interesting idea would be to allow vehicles to carry aircraft weapons or be dual armed with 2 primary weapons.  Such as a vehicle with both an assault rifle and a rocket launcher but each weapon cannot be reloaded but they would start with more ammo then normal.  When I play I sometimes use vehicles to carry heavy weapons like rocket launchers to clear out terrain, provide cover, or to allow my troops to carry lighter weapons. 

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I know that or I am waiting to say that this time I have seen the classic vehicles in the game, new and different enemies, having enemies in the great parts of any game as it the only medium I can say which makes more action in the game. But I know that there are lots to do in a game with a different attitude of the players, playing a game in the multiplayer mode can extract more fun out of it.

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I may have a set of suggestions that let us have some of each side in the discussion. Hear me out with this crazy set of ideas.


We start off with the Bot say MK1 your sort of bomb disposal frame and let's stick a weapon on it. Since we need to start small and clandestine then we all agree this robot should be no larger than an infantry unit, so it fits into the transport slot the same as if we folded a seat up and parking it in for the trip.

The MK1 would be a good scout and expendable it can travel as far as its motor will take it load-out wise with for scouting say a SMG and better sensors with longer vision to find the enemy or for firepower give it an LMG and have it suppress the enemy to harass and draw fire off the squishier troops but with shorter or more focused vision. That would be the basic job to do it’s a gun on wheels literally the Shiv from Xcom:EU.


But then branch from there and give it a different weapon package or load-out. You planning a raid on a base do you may want a moving HMG that can hose down a corridor to prevent a flank attack? What about having one with a GMG to soften up group of enemies in the open during a UFO assault? These heavy weapons would have to be deployed to be used and if it’s something heavy then the inaccuracy of the weapons would help balance the rates of fire and or damage potential. I know someone will be thinking then you can just go with the GMG’s and paste everything, but you could give every rookie a stack of grenades and get the same effect but with more giblets and body bags and the same amount of useless scrap and remains that aren't suitable for study.

What about costs though since we are building these things in a workshop even if say we use off the shelf parts most of time they won’t be cheap but  we should be able to make them just cheap enough that they can earn a return. We could be able to save costs by salvaging our destroyed units for parts if we bring back the wrecks.

There are a few ideas in other threads to let us enhance things as we go such as development projects to give small buffs to things as the game progresses these could make the Bot more than a mobile gun. Do something like have the targeting system reworked to raise the accuracy somewhat, add new motors to let it move further or such. The idea to let us upgrade buildings to do certain tasks with greater efficiency would we could be able to upgrade a workshop to a Bot factory and reduce cost/time to make a new unit or do we make a salvage center and recover what we can to prevent needing new units from scratch.


To keep the units with us later into the game let them gain more specialized equipment as we progress and adjust it for different play styles. Do you use the Bot for tanking for your team with an armored chassis and a heavy gun or could you use it as a mobile rearm point carrying ammo for that grind of a mission you know your guys will need extra ammo for? Do you take two with your team every mission that are expected to die and be replaced with the next number along on the shelf?


For those in favor of a larger unit with more health and firepower to bring to the fight why not have those units a bit later down progression. If we have the larger units say mid game then at that point we should have the second transporter could we have modified it carry a larger unit behind the troop bay in the open (like the Pelican from Halo) halo_pelicans_by_ark170rox.jpg


This would let us bring a larger unit and or more troops without the question of how a covert force is bringing an LAV to the battle coming up.


To stop us and the enemy from doing as Chris mentioned and bringing launchers to every fight we need to either make the rounds heavier, so we carry less, less accurate against smaller targets or bill us more for clean up if we go and level the town since we've done the enemy's job for them.

In following that point if we start to bring these larger units to the fight then the enemy will start to bring their own AT to stop us. Theirs would be balanced by having the same drawbacks as ours better at killing one thing and have a recharge between shots to stop it from spamming to kill our troops. The enemy should have their own AT outright if only to counter local forces if we deploy to a military base under attack then local forces could roll out a jeep or LAV with a weapon on it I’m not sure why they would not if they don’t have to worry about transporting it there. The enemy AT would balance bringing a Large unit to enemy bases or difficult terrain by the fact that a large unit can get damaged and or destroyed easily by an enemy in say a side corridor popping up and striking the side of it if we don’t sweep and support the unit properly.


Health and repairs are the final point for me to ramble on about

In Xenonauts the vehicles repaired for free at the end of the mission that broke some of the “Realism” after all your Scimitar could have just made it back from a bad mission and be still smoking but if you get attacked a minute after it gets into the Garage then its back to the day it was built. If your squad is all Bots and they come back on one health each and just roll back to the transport without a scratch after a fresh coat of paint on them for the next mission, then the game leans more towards Bots since they can just roll back from the brink of death.

That would need to change but before anyone complains that all you need to do is swap the damaged parts, buff out the dents and hose off the blood etc. Think about how much time would need to be spent striping down a Bot of all the damaged stuff sorting replacement parts and installing them then testing them to be sure you did find all the damaged stuff. We may be able to off set this by having a repair bay to streamline the process and get damaged units serviced faster but still with some time to get it fixed.

I figure this part is more for a hard mode, but I’ll say it all the same. What stops you from taking the same bot with each squad why not just have a few good Bots say one per team and save yourself the cost and hassle so long as they get fixed in time for the next operation. One-word maintenance if the soldiers now have fatigue and stress the Bots version would be their need to be maintained to prevent them from wearing down overtime. This sounds like repairs but think about the stuff that’s not been broken and replaced but survived only to breakdown after so long in use. Maintenance would be something the Bot would lose overtime until it stops working and needs to be serviced. That means that a Bot will need to be checked and have its maintenance done to keep it in working order to stop you from just chucking the same bot right back into the field with new parts mixed in over and over.


So to summarize my ideas.

  1. Start off with Bots as off the shelf things we bash together in a workshop to save the new meat but good enough to spend the time and resources on if we want to use them and not needed so much for those who don't want to.
  2. Give the us the options to make our Bots better overall but raise the costs or to make them cheaper to replace so we can use them as expendable units like scouts or guards to soak up hits our more experienced forces.
  3. Larger units must infer larger costs and be moved to the mid game BDSMOverdrive pointed out that the new system to limit high power gear for a mission could be used after all you can have the laser team, or you have a mobile pillbox to push behind with a conventional rifle.
  4. AT and heavy weapons and how they affect game flow could be adjusted such as needing an ammo bearer for a squad’s weapon operator to balance the potential damage with low ammo capacity and or higher consumption.
  5. If Bots are to be effective they must be able to do some useful role's such as a weapon carrier early game and gain new equipment alongside regular troops.
  6. Stats such as ammo capacity and AOE can be matched to a weapons role and effect. After all a single HEAT round may kill an enemy and his buddy next to him but if we use up all the ammo during the first firefight then we will be done for when some enemy heavy shows up.
  7. We could have large units as friendlies in certain situations like defending a regular military base not for every watch post or farm though it would need to be proportionate to the area we are fighting over.
  8. Enemy forces should have their own versions of ours regarding AT to be used sparingly but such that we can’t get careless and try to run them over with the LAV
  9. Bots need to be balanced against our forces as well regarding repairs and down time after all if we can just have the squad of mobile gun turrets fixed faster than most cars can be serviced then our Bots start to push farther and farther ahead in usefulness.

If you made it this far congratulations and feel free to throw any suggestions about this madness I have written.

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It's sad to see large vehicles gone but I must agree with reasoning behind their replacement with drones. Though it still might be cool to see human tanks and IFVs during terror sites as part of defending local forces. 

Also that might be a good idea to have non-learning operator controled drones at first tiers and learning andron-based AI for later tiers. Which could learn(though slower then humans) and probably have some quirks and personality too. Hell, you might probably even add side-grades for drones. You can have classical wheeled or threaded drone carrying heavy weaponry and acting as mobile cover. You can try repair broken andron(initialy it's poorly working terminator-like skeleton with simple steel plating) to let the drone more resemble a human soldier tacticaly - uses same weapons, can crouch and use utility items but still can't use cover, very slow and firing weapon from mechanical hands is not that accurate from a permanent mount. But you can pick up alien rifle and use it with reduced aim penalty - robot don't care much about ergonomics. Flying drone could carry few weapons and armour but have long sight range and mobility. 

As a limiter for amount of such a smart machines make them expensive and make it also hard to procure such an advanced AI in first place. You must take down andron first, without destroying it core to make such an AI unit. Which means you have to use some special weaponry or tools for that and risk a soldier doing that.

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Though I was hoping a "tank on tank" battle or a simply drivable Metal Slug in X2, the concept of MARS can also be interesting. But at the same time I agree with some previous comments that the new MARS should not be just a soldier that cannot gain exp, and those robots should have different abilities appart from standard troopers, not just more grenade or providing cover.

What impressed me in Valkyria Chronicle franchise (that the tank crew served vital roles in both gameplay and the main story), is that aside from the superior firepower that the tank has (and the fact that the enemies usually has more tanks and big guys), by utilizing the vehicle attachment system, those tanks can serve a Supportive role that not only use cannons to blow enemies up, but boosted infantry fightings by using supportive equipments: Using Searchlights to assist night battles, Demister to clear out the mist environment, AVLB to create an alternate path, .etc. The MARS can also be presented this way---- not only a robot with bigger guns or popping somokes, but serve as a modular, extensible, and Mutifunctional Platform that supports the team in various ways, depending on the modules player attached. (This is also the current approach of various military robot projects in reality).

For example, aside from normal weaponry systems, the player can choose Cargo modules to carry extra ammunitions for troopers to rearm, EOD modules to defuse explosives (or carry explosives, the yanks had used one EOD robot to blow a suspect up), Advanced sensory system to increase view and detect stealth enemies, Or even Recovery modules to carry unconscious troopers back for medevac, or even a robotic K9 unit, carrier for drone swarms, anything the player can imagine. Even without having some extensive firepower, the Supportive platform can still serve as a combat multiplier that support your soldiers in combat, their functions would not be limited with fire supporting roles, but have more possibilities with more tech unlocked. 

I also love the idea shown by the Specialist role in XCOM 2, for soldiers operating smaller drones for supportive functions (hacking Sectopods or serve as a long range medkit), and having enough firepower to engage aliens on the field without occuping extra spaces on board for additional robotic units. Those little ones can also be considered, don't need to be too tiny, just small enough to backpack them , to become gear carried by soldiers instead of individual units. Those drones can also help the soldiers to recon narrow space, and can have more roles to serve after researching advanced technologies. These things can alter the playstyles in different ways, and can make the new vehicle system more interesting, without being bored with some simple battle robots.

Edited by EurekaSeven

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We should definitely just be using the overpowered flying drones that are all over the place these days. Minimal risk, minimal collateral damage. All missiles all the time.

This IS exactly what the Xenonauts did in X1 while you choose to bomb the alien crashsites instead of sending the teams. The drawbacks are obvious: you can get sh*t after a crashsite has been bombed. You still need troopers to recover data and materials from downed alien crafts, so using Predators is not always the best choice.

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