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Xenonauts-2 Version 0.22.0 (Public Combat Test) Released!

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This version of Xenonauts 2 is a free public test build only available on GOG Galaxy, released free because it is still an early build and we don't yet think we can justify charging for it; full details on where to get the build can be found in this thread.  We're expecting a shorter build cycle of one week this time, on Tuesday 1st May.

This build is another iteration of the free public build we are planning to release for our Kickstarter. There's been a number of fixes since last week to try and polish the experience up, but we're starting to run low on time and I'm not sure if there will be any further builds beyond the next one - that said, the intention of this public demo is not to produce a "final" and completely bug-free version of the game but to simply illustrate that we've got something playable when we ask for cash on Kickstarter.

More details about the Kickstarter at the end of this post, but if you're at all interested in following that or hearing about the development of the project, please sign up for our mailing list here: http://eepurl.com/4FKe9

CHANGELOG:

  • Alien Aggressiveness: we've finished the job of separating out the alien spawn zones from their AI scripts, fixing the issue where all the aliens were defaulting to an Aggressive AI script and charging en-masse towards you at the start of the mission. The scripts are still pretty basic but you should be able to explore the maps a bit further now!
  • Roof Shooting Camera: we've tweaked the game camera so if you have a unit on a higher level (e.g. a roof) shooting down at a unit on a lower level, the camera will now temporarily move upwards to show the shooter while they are playing their shoot animation.
  • Shooting Mechanics:
    • The black metal fences that surround the base now have a 10% blocking chance rather than a 30% blocking chance, so they interfere with shooting much less than before.
    • Open doors now have the same permissive firing angles as windows were recently given, which means they are much easier to shoot through than before.
  • Destruction:
    • Improved the slowdown that was occurring when the player opened a door or an explosion occurred.
    • Walls now leave behind destroyed "frills" on the ground when destroyed rather than entirely disappearing.
    • Grenade launcher had a bug where it applied far too much damage to terrain; this has now been fixed - although in the future we might add the functionality back in, just not via a bug!
  • Movement Interrupt: We can't easily support re-pathing a moving soldier right now, but if you double-click on a new tile when a soldier is in motion is now interrupts their movement (same as if you'd pressed spacebar).
  • Floodlight Tops: The floodlights dotted around the edges of the base are now correctly hidden by the shroud - the tops were previously always revealed because the map was not set to be vertically tall enough to hide them in the shroud :)
  • Balance Changes:
    • Soldier loadouts have been updated so units only have one secondary weapon - e.g. either a medikit, a SMG, a pistol, a stun baton, etc
    • Shotgun now has an extra pellet, so does 33% extra damage
    • Sniper rifle is about 10-15% more accurate than before
    • Aliens now have 50 base accuracy instead of 60, the same as your soldiers

My playtesting of the build makes me think this specific mission is in a pretty good place right now. The alien turn still takes an annoyingly long time and the aliens are pretty dumb, but I don't think those are things we can easily address before the Kickstarter. The feedback you guys have given us over the last couple of months has made a big difference to the core shooting mechanics - I think everything just feels a lot smoother and easier than it did originally.

What we're looking for in the next build cycle is easy fixes or serious issues - two specific issues have been reported by the community that I've not been able to reproduce at my end, the first being a hang in the hidden movement phase and the second being some aliens not playing their death animation correctly when killed (and just standing there despite being dead). If you've got any information that might help us track that down, please let us know - even if it's a repost from an earlier version of the game that I might have missed first time around! I've also noticed there are some annoying locations in buildings where units can shoot out but you can't shoot back ... but it's too late to fix that in this build.

Regarding the Kickstarter - the initial planned date was 4th May but we're likely to push that back a week or two. We're busily working on the Kickstarter page and editing video and all the million tiny things you need to do for a Kickstarter campaign, but I'm not sure we're going to be able to be able to get everything ready in time (particularly all the art). I'm fairly relaxed about this - we're not pushing back the start of the work, we're just giving ourselves enough time to finish the work that is already in progress. 

In the meantime I'm going to dump a load of fairly detailed information on the "final" design of X2 in the Xenonauts 2 Features sub-forum in the next few days. I think it's important that people know what our plans for the game because it informs their suggestions and feedback (and the design has morphed into a variety of different forms over the years), and we may be asking for community feedback on our ideas for stretch goals etc as the Kickstarter draws near. 

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Gave this one a blast, it feels much better. In previous iterations the aggressive/accurate AI made it feel like your soldiers were ducks in a shooting range.

  • Finally managed to kill some creeps with my shotgunners; very satisfying. Having that extra projectile makes those attacks viable.
  • The grenade launcher seems to be less of an insta cover buster - though I was trying to dig through brick walls so maybe I should be happy with taking out bushes.
  • That bug happened again - where the alien's character remains standing after death. All I can say is that is consistent is that it took several hits from different weapons, then a final shot with the grenade launcher. Perhaps it is something to do with dying then taking stun damage from the smoke? Or the death animation for them to turn into goo?
  • I made a soldier run too close to the fire or smoke and they got hurt - is there any way to know that certain tiles are damage dealing? (apart from common sense)
  • Does high ground confer any bonus? It doesn't even seem that great at looking over lower level cover. From what I can tell from standing on a level one roof, the projectile was calculated as travelling half the distance on the level above and half on the level below - if the calculation weren't bisected halfway, then high ground could give you a little boost. I say this because a very small looking bush blocked a shot that, to my eye, should have sailed way above.
  • Do aliens need line of sight to 'spot' your soldiers? I've tried sneaking around but the aliens will turn and fire, seemingly without reason to look in that direction.
  • After adjusting the graphics settings midgame, the soldier portraits get all jazzed up.
  • The skylight in the large building - are you supposed to be able to shoot through that, it seemed to present 100% block chance.

Overall, those last tweaks made a real difference. It left me wanting to play more maps rather than desiring fixes/amendments to the game itself (although a geoscape would be nice :p).  I would almost be inclined to say that it is too easy now but I feel that that sense mainly stems from practising that same scenario many times. Update: tried rushing the aliens, it is not too easy, I got creamed. 

Also, I had a couple of crashes - though one may have been my cat walking across the keyboard...

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layered fire.png

There seems to be a problem with smoke and fire. The fire in the right-hand corner alternates between being below the smoke next to it, and being on top, causing an occasional flicker as it moves from top layer to bottom layer.

If you have the grenade launcher kneel then fire, during the firing animation it raises an SMG, then the animation switches to the GL. This is obvious when looking at the GL man.

Dead aliens can take stun damage from smoke. 

 

MAP SUGGESTION

Friendly AI is a "thing" in Xenonauts - far more so than XCOM or Phoenix Point. The map doesn't really show off that there are friendly AI units fighting and dying as well. If it's possible to separate friendly combatant spawns from friendly civilians spawns, you may want to create a set-piece where several friendly soldiers spawn next to several Psyons so the two sides can have a shoot out. If it were to happen, for example, in or next to the little building next to where the helicopter lands, then anyone playing the map will hear the gunfire and come running.  

 

  • Like 1

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Many of the small annoyances I had with the last version are gone. Explosion/door open stutter is gone and rerouting units is much more tolerable with double click canceling. Nice work there!

 

Issues:

-Damage numbers are still visible within shroud. Also, NPC made noise during hidden movement should have it's volume altered by the distance.

-Had an infinite AI turn. Only abnormal thing I can recall happening prior that was an alien unit moving when the game said it was a friendly unit's turn.

-My machinegunner didn't check friendly fire when reacting.

-Bleeding and other text pop-ups were too quick to read.

-Grenades fly too quickly

-Smoke and fire drop my performance way too much.

-Is there an in-game toggle for antialiasing?

-Units don't have any contact shadows under their feet, so they seem to float when indoors or in shadow. They could use an additional simple "blob" shadow to make them look more grounded.

-A small but annoying thing. When my unit ends it's movement and I press 'C' to crouch, the game doesn't recognise the button press and plays "error" sound. I need to wait that one annoying extra split second before the game registers my button press and it drives me crazy. I could swear this worked more smoothly in X1 because the timing of that button press comes straight from my spine and it just doesn't work like I'm used to. :)

-There are several props that are completely black and without textures. Long sides of containers, the two barriers(?) between a container and small shack at the SE edge of the map and some kind of a vehicle at the back part of the compound.

-I second Ninothrees opinions about high ground bonus and aliens' LOS and detecting. Can't seem to be able to sneak behind them.

Edited by Skitso

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Three missions.

Fullscreen: 1280 x 800, Quality: Fastest

In general:
- Fence seem to work now.
- Can't tell about Sniper because too few shots.
- Camera pans to dark spaces in hidden movement and damage numbers appear when alien or friendly shoot and hit.
- Also the camera doesn't move back when one of my soldiers is hit by an alien out of the black. This is not good, as it is impossible to assess where the shots came from.
- It would be more convenient if the camera would pan back to last used soldier after hidden movement, i.e.at the beginnung of the new turn.
- Grenades cannot be tossed to an air position. Is that intended?
- Humans spill whitish blood.

- Rifleman has a problem with the change of weapons:
Choose Rifleman, switch to grenade but don't use it, switch back to rifle and the target crosshair is the one from grenades. Soldier will use grenade although the rifle is shown in the selection window. Only if switching to Medkit and back to rifle the rifle can be used again.

Pictures:
Soldiers can shoot through walls and roofs. Left pic: soldier on the roof and the one at the walledge were hurt from the aliens inside.
Soldiers can (sometimes?) shoot through walls. Middle pic: Right soldier could shoot the alien inside. Right pic: Soldier on left wall could shoot alien inside. After the shot the walls was partly destroyed, not the windowed wall. Is this still the gun protruding through the obstacles?

1716670306_thruwalls.jpg.32dc6243c9b4f7d169004e24e94361e0.jpg953614421_thruwalls2.jpg.227bade2ff6866f303e461eb38d63b70.jpg472645158_thruwalls3.jpg.f5c05846e6645b00be5251a7d044af10.jpg

Dead alien still shows live animation. It was killed with two shots of the grenade launcher as it was still alive after other shots.
252198389_deadstanding.jpg.2f323bd71d8bd76a46ae2e83f7a57beb.jpg

Soldier is invisible when coming frome the roof, this one was a shotgunner so it isn't alwas the sniper.
invisible.jpg.aee1b2f4bfe8b543ddb7c9abc38dde22.jpg

NPC soldiers seem to be really really good shooters. Why are they not in my team ????
This one killed the two dead aliens and shooed away another in the dark without moving from his position over 2-3 turns. Every shot hit. Yes he was also shot at by the aliens.
After that he moved off in the orange direction towards the fence and then stood there doing nothing. Maybe out of ammo?

1149673253_heronpc.jpg.87617f06239c048db94d9f44fc592a0b.jpg

Game froze in hidden movement / friendly activity.
The alien moved from window to window and then nothing happened anymore. I could pan the map by mouse to edges, not with buttons. Had to ALT-F4 out of game.

freeze.thumb.jpg.f9bc29a21e6b6099ec09a986443420b3.jpg

My recordings:

recording_9.rec
recording_10.rec

recording_10.rec

Edited by thixotrop
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Alright tried this one now. It feels much better now and more "balanced" if you will. It will be really nice once we get smokes and stuns, I think then, if the AI is smarter it'll be quite a nice balance. Maybe the Aliens can be made more powerful once that equipment arrives. The Aliens actually missed a few times as well, which is a nice change of pace. :)

 

In my first game I didn't get to try out the shotgun too much since one of them died instantly, but it's a straight upgrade to I imagine it's better. And my shotgunner was the only casualty actually, though I did get lucky with one of my other guys.

Not much else to say. The new AI feels much better and more like what you would expect. I didn't run into any troubles and generally I think Thixotrop's post is very high quality and very helpful. The sniper did feel a lot more useful, she even hit a few bullets this time!

Overall it's feeling closer to what it's supposed to be, can't wait for the Kickstarter honestly.

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