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Chris

Xenonauts-2 Kickstarter Stretch Goals

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From the start of the Kickstarter to roughly one week in, anyone who backs the Kickstarter will be able to vote on what they think the order of the stretch goals should be. If we hit the funding target required for a stretch goal, we'll do everything in our power to put that system in the game for testing during Early Access. Some of these features may make it into the game even if we don't hit the required funding level, but the idea is that the community can use this vote to tell us which ones they REALLY want to see in the game so we can prioritize them.

(Please note that implementing and testing a system does not necessarily mean that it will be included in the final game - in the unlikely event that the system doesn't work very well or the players don't like it, we might end up taking it out again.)

We will hit the first stretch goal when we hit the initial Kickstarter target of £50,000, and each £50,000 above that up to £250,000 will unlock another reward as follows:

  • £50,000 - #1 Voted Stretch Goal
  • £100,000 - #2 Voted Stretch Goal
  • £150,000 - #3 Voted Stretch Goal
  • £200,000 - #4 Voted Stretch Goal
  • £250,000 - #5 Voted Stretch Goal

These are the proposed stretch goals:

  • MARS Weapon Platform & Sentry Guns
  • Modular Weapons & Armour
  • Location Injuries & Medical Care
  • Orchestral Soundtrack Recording
  • Improved support for Xenonauts: Community Edition / Modding / Translation
  • Reaper Hives
  • Weather Conditions
  • Geoscape Situations

Okay, so here's the detailed information on each of the different stretch goals available!

MARS Weapon Platform & Sentry Guns:
Xenonauts-2 will not be including multi-tile vehicles like the X1 Hunter Armoured Car because they kinda don't work within the combat rules (detailed explanation why here). Single-tile vehicles would not suffer from the same problems and so we would like to implement a small "MARS" battlefield weapon platform loosely inspired by the real-life MAARS robotic vehicle, and we'd also like to include single-tile Sentry Guns that you can build and deploy on base defence missions.

In both cases these vehicles would be equipped with infantry weapons of your choice - by default the LMG, but you can experiment with other weapons and upgrade them as you develop more advanced weapons. The Sentry Guns would be immobile, but the MARS would be able to crush light walls and cover much like the larger vehicles could in X1, allowing it to clear a path for your troops through fences etc. The MARS would also provide mobile cover to your units, and its smaller size would allow it to go inside UFOs.

There's also scope for research and engineering projects to upgrade the base stats of these units, perhaps eventually allowing you to build flying MARS variants and so on. 

 

Modular Weapons & Armour:

We would like to add an extra layer of customization to the weapons and armour in the game by making them "modular" - i.e. giving them sub-slots into which you can place new components. For example, a suit of Jackal armour would have a base set of resistances against various types of damage plus a "plating" slot that you could add various types of plating to:

  • No Plating - if the slot is left empty, the unit gets a TU bonus
  • Ballistic Plating - these are starting equipment that provide extra kinetic resistance
  • Ceramic Plating - these is early-game research that provides energy resistance
  • Alloy Plating - this is mid-game research, providing strong energy and kinetic resistance

Both the suit of armour and the plating items are manufactured items built in the workshop. This system allows you to customise your suit of armour based on the specifics of the mission or the particular role of your unit, and would also create more interesting choices with regards to the tech tree. For example, when you research Alien Alloys do you need to build shiny new Wolf Armour for your team or can you make do by manufacturing some Alloy Plating for your existing Jackal Armour?

For the weapons the system would be similar - researching new technology would give you ways to "upgrade" older tiers of weapon. Alien Alloys might give you the opportunity to build shiny new MAG Weapons but also allow you to build magnetic barrel accelerators that could boost the damage of your old ballistic weapons. More detailed customization like different scopes for each type of weapon (with advantages / disadvantages) is possible, but those systems would need to be designed that most equipment works fine on its default settings so players don't feel obliged to customise every weapon if they don't want to.

Although I like this idea, I think it is much riskier than the other ideas on this list because it is so tightly interwoven with the tech tree. There's always a chance that we'll find a better way to handle some of the issues solved by modular equipment (e.g. "upgrading" older equipment tiers can be done with modular equipment, but there's plenty of other ways we could do it) and that the idea will end up being changed / dropped as a result.

 

Locational Injuries & Medical Care: Getting shot in Xenonauts is fairly binary in terms of outcomes - either your soldier dies, or they fight on at full effectiveness. We are considering expanding the bleeding system to an Injury system that could alter the effectiveness of the soldier in various different ways. The system is relatively simple - every time the soldier loses 10% of their HP, they have a chance of suffering an Injury. Different Injuries have different effects, for example:

Permanent: (persistent until healed on the Geoscape)

  • Broken Ribs: start each turn with reduced TU
  • Leg Wound: each tile of movement costs extra TU
  • Left Arm Wound: minor reduced Accuracy
  • Right Arm Wound: major reduced Accuracy
  • Head Wound: reduced Accuracy, reduced vision range

Temporary:

  • Concussed: reduced TU and vision range for 3 turns
  • Blinded: 0 Acc and 0 Vision Range for 1 turn
  • Bleeding Wound: soldier loses 5HP per turn until healed

The "permanent" injuries last for a certain number of days on the Geoscape and are independent of HP values. You CAN keep deploying your best soldier into battle if he has broken ribs or some injury, but he's not going to be as effective as useful - but you might be fine with that, depending on his injury and the mission type.

Because we don't want to make injured units useless, we could add a couple of extra battlefield items to help keep them in the fight. Bandages and Painkillers could be belt items that stop bleeding and temporarily reduce the negative effects of Permanent Injuries respectively. Medikits would be able to do both of these things, and also recover lost HP.

 

Orchestral Soundtrack Recording: The soundtrack to the first Xenonauts is frequently mentioned as a highlight of the game, as it's one of the major sources of tension in the game. For Xenonauts-2 the same composer is returning to create an entirely new original soundtrack for the game (a free digital download for all £25+ tier backers!) and he has been telling me for some time that the biggest thing we can do to improve the quality of the soundtrack is to get the music recorded by a real orchestra rather than using his library of pre-recorded instruments like we did for X1.

This isn't exactly cheap, but it's not absurdly expensive either. There are orchestras that specialise in this sort of thing and he's found an affordable one in Macedonia that he considers particularly good. If it's something you guys are keen to see happen, we could feasibly get it done as a stretch goal!

 

Improved Support for Xenonauts-2: Community Edition / Modding / Translation:
Xenonauts-2 will run a Community Edition program and have some form of support for modding and translation even if this stretch goal is not achieved, but us setting aside extra time to document the codebase and improve the mod / translation tools means that there will likely be more and higher-quality community content available in the long run. If you think that is important, you should vote for this stretch goal!

Why is this necessary? Well, for example, the creation of Xenonauts: Community Edition was actually a pretty big drain on our time. Preparing the codebase for external coders to start working on it, writing documentation for the key stuff they need to know and then answering their questions all takes time. I think the Community Edition project for the first Xenonauts was a huge success and if others are keen to see us devote extra time to making sure the Community Coders have all they need for Xenonauts-2, you should consider voting for this stretch goal.

We will also need additional time to create modding tools for mod creators. You can still mod Xenonauts-2 by editing the text files in a text editor, but it's more complex this time because we're using compressed JSON files rather than easily-readable XML files like in Xenonauts 1. The structure is also more complex because objects now have inheritance, which means it's much easier to create new variants of items etc but rather harder to edit them with a text editor because the values are often spread across multiple files.

We therefore will want to create a Unity plugin that allows you guys to view and edit the files in the same way that we do ourselves, and that automatically handles the "mod-merging" tech used in Xenonauts 1 that allows multiple mods to change the same file without breaking the game (this had to be done manually in X1 and was hard work). In an ideal world we'd also like to create a game editor that allows people to easily mod the game files without needing Unity - although this is probably best done in collaboration with the Community Coders, as they'll need to maintain it as they continue to change the codebase post-release.

We also want to make a translation system for Xenonauts-2, which allows anyone to translate the game into another language just by reading all the English strings and typing the same words in the new language into the line next to it. These translations would then be distributed as a special type of mod. I don't think we can afford to pay for professional translations for Xenonauts-2, but we'd love to make it easy for other people to do it if they want to!

 

Reaper Hives:
Although the Reapers from Xenonauts 1 will be making a reappearance in Xenonauts-2, they don't fit as neatly into the new "secret war" setup as the other aliens do (being mindless biological terror weapons).

I would like to create a new type of early-game mission that is a variant on the late-game alien base assault missions. This mission would be an assault on an unmanned / abandoned alien outpost infested by dormant Reapers and perhaps a few robotic Androns. The idea is the Reapers become a biological defence system, staying in hibernation until a human stumbles upon the facility and wanders inside ... at which point the Reapers wake up and promptly infest the human, expanding the ranks of the Reapers.

This would mean expanding the ranks of the Reapers a bit, maybe adding some larger Reapers with a range attack into the mix, and some kind of cocoon that wakes up if the player accidentally damages it that we can spread throughout the map. We'd probably also have a "hive" somewhere in the base that spawns a new Reaper every turn or two until you destroy it.

The idea is that you need to balance your need to push through the base and destroy the hive spawning the Reapers with your need to carefully sweep the base so no Reapers get the jump on you. I think adding Androns and ranged Reapers into the mix would also be interesting, because players will have to kill them whilst being careful not to accidentally hit any dormant cocoons with and spawn additional Reapers while doing so.

Although this is ultimately just a variant of the alien base assault missions, I think it would be a rather unique and memorable (read: "terrifying") experience for the player to add a bit more variety to the early game. 

 

Dynamic Weather Conditions:
In the Kickstarter video you can see a brief clip where we have sand blowing past in a desert map. We'll likely have something similar going on with the snow on a Polar map, and maybe with the dust on an Arid map etc. At the moment this is purely cosmetic and exists just to add a bit more visual interest to the screen.

Weather conditions could affect missions by reducing sight ranges for all combatants. We would like to have several different levels of weather effect, for example the sandstorm effect could have the following levels. Even "None" would have some sand flying about, but the sand clouds would get thicker and stronger as the levels increase:

  • None: no effect on unit vision
  • Bad: all units get -25% vision range
  • Terrible: all units get -50% vision range
  • Extreme: all units get -75% vision range

Most missions would have "clear" weather conditions, which means there is no chance the weather falls below "None" and so it will not affect gameplay.

However, other missions may be marked as having "Changeable" conditions. These missions start clear but there is a chance the weather changes each turn - a 50% chance it stays the same, a 25% chance it gets worse each turn, and a 25% chance it improves. This idea is that these missions are unpredictable, with vision ranges potentially changing every turn.

Certain missions might also be marked as having Bad, Terrible or Extreme weather - these are treated like Changeable conditions except the weather starts at the appropriate level of reduced visibility rather than at "None". We will likely have to write special code for this to ensure that it does not apply inside buildings and we'll need to be careful that weather problems don't happen too often, but overall I think this might be a cool way of dynamically adding a bit more gameplay variation to the combat layer!

 

Geoscape Situations:
One thing that could add a bit more interest to the strategy layer is the addition of random text events - where the game pops up some text about an event and then allows the player to choose how they want to proceed. The player would have the option to ignore these events with no consequences, or take some risks to try and gain a reward. To keep things interesting, not every text event would occur in each game.

For example, when the player researches Laser Weapons there might be a 25% chance that the following event is generated:

Overcharged Emitter: A scientist approaches you and tells you that he has an idea for how he can overcharge the emitter and boost the damage on your new Laser Weapons - although he's not completely certain it would work, and the consequences of failure would be that the overcharged emitter explodes. The player has three choices:

  • Attempt Experiment: (60% success) pick a soldier to attempt to test fire the overcharged weapon. If you fail, both the scientist and the soldier have a chance to suffer serious injury / death. If successful, Laser weapons receive +20% damage.
  • Remote Experiment: (30% success) build a remote testing rig that costs 3 Alloys, which are destroyed if the experiment fails. If successful, Laser weapons receive +20% damage.
  • Abandon Experiment: the experiment is abandoned

Although this sort of choice can seem somewhat straightforward in many cases, I think if done well they could generate interesting moments for the player - I'm fairly sure that most players would just hand the laser to their most junior soldier and march him straight into the testing chamber. But that doesn't stop it being a cool little story when the guy survives ... and suddenly Pvt. Johnson isn't just a faceless rookie any more, he's the guy who successfully test-fired your awesome new overcharged lasers! Maybe he doesn't have to be the first through the UFO doors next time.

I also imagine modders could have a lot of fun with this system :)

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Interesting list of stretch goals. 

Here in my initial rankings:

  1. Reaper Hives
  2. MARS vehicle
  3. Locational Injuries
  4. Weather Conditions
  5. Improved mod support
  6. Orchestral soundtrack
  7. Modular weapons and armor
  8. Geoscape events

Reaper hives are number 1 since I remember when they were teased from X1. Glad that they will eb back. I also feel like this is a good way to add the Reapers into the game as something that will appear a bit more since they kind of shouldn't be on every mission. I kind of like the idea of them being a bio security system as well. In addition, more Reaper types sound fun. Not as sold on the cocoons since it seems like ti could eb easy to not disturb them, but I won't know until I play it. Could also have some pop base on proximity.

A couple ideas for other ways to do Reaper hives though. Still love the base idea.

You mentioned they protecting an unactivated base, but what if they were how the aliens built a base? I always imagined the Reapers to be somewhat insect-like and insects are naturally pretty good at building structures. It could be a good dual-use creature. It would also explain the different types of Reapers since insects fill different roles in a hive / colony like defense or construction(?). You talked about having a ranged Reaper which I assume spits or does something of the like. I have 2 ideas for how this could relate to building bases. 1: What if they spit some kind of acid that they used to burrow? They could be how they clear out areas. That'd also give you a pretty nice ranged attack. 2: This one is a bit more "unique", but what if the Reapers just used their claws to dig out the base, but the ranged spit could be something the creature secretes as like a super concrete? I believe termites have some kind of spit they use to build with. You could also give it some kind of mutagenic properties that allow it to be lethal to humans and maybe do some light terraforms that helps to change the structure into what the aliens use as a base. The Androns could be there as oversight to the process and can maybe do some of the finishing touches like putting in the electronics. You could use this as a way of giving the Reaper more of a role while also giving you a downside for not doing / failing the mission. If you can't stop it, it will eventually become a base. It could be a decent tradeoff. Either you attempt a hard mission now, or do one later. Also, I assume leaving a base up gives some extra negative effect so that could be another downside. Also, what if the cocoons also had a chance to have people in it? Maybe the Reapers do something similar to termites where their special spit comes from what they eat which is meat. They could be collecting people (which could also be a reason behind abductions) and could give you a reason to not just have them bomb the site. Maybe rescuing civies could still give you some points if you fail the mission. I can go on more about this if you want me to.

Also, another idea, and this could even be in addition to the above idea, but you could make this into a bug hunt mission. Maybe you are clearing a structure that has some Reapers in it. You could either do this as them "claiming" some old structure as the foundations of the base they are trying to build or you could have this as a little mission that can pop up in a region to tell you that there is a Reaper hive and they are out gathering civies as some more food. If it is the above, you could just make it a special abduction. I just think it could be cool to have a little bug hunt mission added without it being a full base.

This is the stupid ideas of the lot, but what if you find out about this type of mission because the locals found it. What if when you get there you find some local forces (military, cops, or local dude with shotgun) have entered and they are doing stuff. Could be a good way to have some more reckless stuff happening. You could also make it be some cocoons contain people cause they cocoon them now or something. Maybe you now have to attempt to rescue some before blowing the place. You could also maybe just use the cocoons to contain some zombies that get stuck in them so they can grow into better Reapers. Like I said, stupid ideas, but some I just wanted to pass along.

Any way, this mission sounds really cool and I'd love to see it. Top of the list for me.

The vehicles are #2 since they sound really cool, but Reapers sound cooler. Still sad to see the Hunter go (can it still be present in terror sites or human bases as a prop?) and I guess the rest too, but the Hunter was my favorite, but I totally get why you are doing it and I'd be interested in seeing what you do with them. I could see some really cool things happening. Turrets also sound fun and are a nice little addition to the vehicles. They could be a good place to stck all of your old heavy weapons. I also imagine this could allow for you to make base defenses more difficult since you have some added guns and could let you make the squads attacking a bit stronger then just doable by your regular soldier count. Not sure if you will exactly do it that way, but that is just something I could see happening. You could even add it into the research tree by having this be something new thought up after the last base wasn't defended well enough. 

The injury changes are #3 since that would add in a bit more to injuries besides just losing health and / or bleeding. Some of those injuries could even be a good enough reason to perhaps lower the damage (at either certain parts of the game or on certain difficulties) since you now might not kill him, but you did 50 damage (assuming that doesn't kill) and have it roll for 5 injuries which might basically make them be dead for a turn due to their amount of injuries. Although, I could see it being kept to 1 injury roll per time damaged as opposed to damage dealt to not totally lock down a unit. Could eb a good way to add some extra stuff to recovering a "dead" unit like you could in the first game. It could also be used as another way of doing soldier rotation beside fatigue and / or even have some injuries cause some fatigue. Also, this is the biggest thing, but could this also effect the enemies? Could be cool to be able to damage some of them. Maybe each race has different rolls / injuries? Might be a bit much, but you could even add different damage types doing different rolls. (I wouldn't think an energy weapon would give you a concussion) Maybe EMPs are really effective at injuring Androns instead of doing extra damage. No matter what you do, I can see this as being a good way of adding a bit more into the whole damage thing. Also, a good reason to use an equipment slot on a medkit instead of the smaller bits.

Weather conditions are at #4 because they sound cool. They add some extra stuff to each map type and could add some cool extra art (vfx?) to the levels. There doesn't seem to be much of a downside. Maybe some races / armor alloy you not be as effected by some conditions. A possibly stupid idea, but what if energy weapons were a tad less effective in some weather conditions like rain (heavy) or sandstorms? Like, you could have all the things in the air effect the power of the shots cause their is a bit more resistance or something. This could eb a trade off to doing missions in bad weather. Could also add a little bonus to bringing a good ole reliable rifle or something. This feature just overall seems like a nice added bonus.

Extra mod support is nice, but I'm not sure if it should be the main focus which is why I put it at the bottom half of the list. It'd be a nice thing to add, but I can totally see why this is not something to be focused on the most.

The extra soundtrack quality(?) sounds good, but they did an awesome job on the first game so I don't see this being that high of a priority since I'm pretty sure they will do good without it.

Moddable armor and weapons is low because, while I like the idea for the armor mods, the weapon mods don't interest me as much. I can see balancing mods in a way where they are not require to be a little tough. I'm not sure of many things that could be added that aren't required. Maybe a bayonet for a melee attack or something like a underslung grenade launcher which would just be adding some extra onto the gun, but even with that I don't see much of a reason to not do that. Maybe a mod for burst weapons to increase precision, but not aim. Like, you now have a smaller spread, but you are less likely for you to get lucky with your second bullet hitting if your first misses. better scopes always sound like a must have for longer ranged weapons.

I do like armor mods though. Extra plating sounds cool. You could have it reduce TUs to have equipped to armor. Maybe equipping extra plates takes up some inventory too. You could also add in a backpack that reduces TUs as well, but allows for more carrying. You could give that to the guy carrying all the breaching charges for the ufo. You could even make it where the backpack allows for an extra weapon. That could be too much, but I could see it being useful. Maybe you use that to give the shotgunners a longer range weapon, but it also effects them by allowing them to move less. Anyways, back to just regular extra storage, it would be perfect for rockets if they are still in I thought I heard they got removed, but I still see a reason to have them. I just feel like the grenade launcher is a bit weak. I'd like something to put a hole in a wall from far away. This backpack could really allow for some of the bigger weapons / low ammo weapons to be able to last longer at some cost. You could even have that be how you add in flying bits. In the orginal X-Com, the flying pack was basically just strapped onto a piece of armor. You could have this be how you decide what soldier you want to fly by modding this onto a piece of armor or you could still have regular flying armor and just have this flying mod cost more TUs to use. Maybe you really like one type of armor, but it does not allow for flight. You just strap this onto it. The regular flying suit is still better, but it opens up the possibility to fly to everybody in theory. Maybe the suits built for flight allow you to fire while flying while the others are just a jumppack. In addition, every flying bit, if it was only done through armor mods, would allow you to develop new flying packs without making entirely new full suits of armor. It could work well for you very diverse sounding research tree with many different paths. Now, instead of getting better flying stuff by researching all the armor stuff, to stick to weapons and put a little into to flight packs.

Geoscape missions sound cool, but I don't like the example too much. It just really seems like something you'd always do the same way. Also, something like that could really effect how you progress the rest of the game. It would really suck to be going mostly energy weapons and not get that and then to go ballistic and get it. I really thought that, from reading the title of this thing, it would be kind of like the covert ops thing from XCOM 2. I thought it would be bonuses at the expense of losing a soldier or scientist for a bit. I thought this would expand upon the thing you already have kind of like this in the game. that would still be somewhat similar to what you said, but it just seems like I'd always attempt it. Also, while not having them happen each game sounds good, it could be really limiting not to have some show up. It kind of feels like XCOM's continent bonuses thing. Some just suck and others are just so good it can entirely change the game to do them. Maybe if you changed it into having to send a scientist and a soldier (or a few) to go talk to a scientist for a few days and attempt to get something from him could eb a better way. Maybe even have it cost readiness. You could have each always appear. but they will only appear if certain conditions are meet and they will only be available for a little bit. That way, it is always available so your whole game might not change by not getting it, but you also don't know exactly when it will show up and you will have to weigh if you are ready for it or not. Maybe you hold off of using a bunch of readiness on doing 3 missions that turn since you know that mission should be appearing soon and you don't want to miss it. Maybe you could even add in a bit more lore and choices to it. Perhaps in the scenario you mentioned, it be like I said and you have to get the bonus tech from a scientist, but this scientist is defecting from the US to NATO. Maybe you can send some people and have them be tied up for a decent bit of time trying to convince the Russians that you need to speak to him before he is whisked away into hiding and you lose your chance to speak to him, or you can do a vip extraction mission and and attempt to extract him. This would have the extra risk of an extraction mission which could cause some relations change, but you'd get it sooner. You could also maybe get an extra scientist md perhaps even frame the US for it if things go wrong and you are willing to do so. This could be a good way to add some extra life into the world and play well with the cold war setting while also giving the players more choices to make. Actually, these changes could even make this feature number 2 on my list. I'm not sure if this is anything you'd want to do or even if this is kind of some of the things you thought about doing with this system and I just missed it. This is just a way I'd go about doing something like this and make it interesting. This could need a lot of work and I can really see this needing to be a stretch goal while also allowing for some cool things to add in through mods. You could really theme up a mudpack with these. 

Well, that was my super long write up on these ideas. I really like design so I enjoy doing this stuff. If you'd like me to expand some of these with more details I'd be happy to do so. I tried to not do too much work if these ideas aren't exactly what you are looking to do. Well, this was fun. A nice way to pass the time while importing something into Unity. Hope you are able to meet all of these.

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Thanks for the feedback, always useful to read your thoughts :)

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I think mine would go: 

  1. Reaper Hive
  2. Geoscape Situations
  3. Injuries
  4. Mod Support
  5. MARS

Reading Betuor's interpretation of the Reaper Hive make me realize there is a lot of material to work with there. I also like the Geoscape Situations, because once the infrastructure is in place, then it's only a matter of writting text to add more content to the game. It would also be a cool conduit to deliver lore. Injuries sound great; I have been playing Darkest Dungeon lately, and managing stress, disease and mental quirks is a nice puzzle. Mod support and MARS are just more ways to add longevity and replayability to the game.

While I like the idea of modular armor/weapons, I don't know how much micromanagement it would add to the game. I think the weather conditions would be neat, and would certainly look great, but I would wonder why, if I have been avoiding night time missions, that I don't avoid weather missions too. 

Orchestral soundtrack is a funny one. It's one of those things that people only notice when it is done poorly, so I don't actually know how much I will regret not having it. However, it sounds like you would simply exchange money for improvement, rather than spending money and time for improvement. If you've got funds lying around, but have maxed your dev time, I think paying for an orchestra would be a great idea.

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  1. Geoscape Situations
    I think this will enhance replayability and diversity a lot even if these have a small impact. I see that as some sort of spice to the game, similar to flavour text like the discussions between the Commander and the Science guy. However, there have to be a lot of different Situations over the whole playtime and these should not appear in every game at the same time or succesion.
     
  2. Improved support for Xenonauts: Community Edition / Modding / Translation
    Not a modder myself, but have seen what was created for X1 from so many modders. Still amazed how much effort, enthusiasm and creativity went into that.
     
  3. Modular Weapons & Armour
    Something to tweak your style of gameplay. Also again something for replayabilty.
     
  4. Location Injuries & Medical Care
    Now injuries are just a thing you have to take care of in ground combat, like a neccessary but unwanted action that slows you down. With the proposed system you have to make another tactical decision. Maybe you even have to stay by a wounded soldier to keep him/her alive.
    But please don't go the Darkest Dungeon route with so much crippling effects that the gameplay becomes a drag most of the time. Thus balancing this might be a tricky one.
     
  5. MARS Weapon Platform & Sentry Guns
    Fast surveilance of the map, going around a corner or into a dark room, approaching a possible ambush or trap before an valueable experienced soldier goes there. Yes definitely yes.
     
  6. Reaper Hives
    Although I really love/hate these bastards, only have them for a single mission seems too much for me. I am also not a fan of this if you have to change your gameplay for them so drastically - I fear something like a time-limit game-process here - that you can only successfully finish it with lots of reloading. And if you rely on the succesfull hit rate of the soldiers...oh bugger. A pain in the ass right from the beginning.
     
  7. Weather Conditions
    Nice to have, but if rain means just some sprites falling down in front of the screen and you don't see growing puddles...or falling snow does not create a change of the scenery... then this will be cosmetics at best.
    You have covered different scenery moods with the biomes already.
     
  8. Orchestral Soundtrack Recording
    Yes the music was great in X1, especially the combat air combat music was quite catchy. In Germany we say for songs that you can't get out of your mind for a long time "Ohrwurm" which means ear-worm.
    However, overall the music was for me only an atmospheric enhancer. I don't listen to it separately, there is real music a lot out there. (No, I don't want to dis the composers of game music.)

 

 

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  • Orchestral Soundtrack Recording

I think this could be really good. Atmosphere is essential in the feel of a game and music is an integral part of that atmosphere. DOOM is a good example, the metal soundtrack really gets you pumped. Basically, brains like nice sounds so make it sound excellent and it will be a pleasure to play.

  • Improved support for Xenonauts: Community Edition / Modding / Translation

The community always wins. They simply have more hours to throw at the game. And if modding is accessible then people (myself included) will find it easier to get into it. Helping people get into coding is a positive thing to do.

  • Geoscape Situations

These worked really well in FTL, especially when they progressed over several stages, so there was tree of decisions to explore. But as Betour says, if they represent a +20% damage bonus, that might lead to more frustration than fun. It's a promising mechanic, but its value is in proportion to the fit of events on offer. Maybe something like the player leading an interrogation of a live alien, giving +/- research points or the location of a base to raid.

  • Reaper Hives

Well duh, of course this would be fun. I've said elsewhere, anything that adds to the feel of the game is a good addition. A scary mission is a good mission. It'd be one up on terror missions which, even if I played in the dark, never once made me crap my pants.

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Improved support for Xenonauts: Community Edition / Modding / Translation
Will prolong the life of the whole game, and allow lots of new things. In the longer term, it's the most useful on the list.

Reaper Hives
Whether they're tunnelling under buildings, using local equipment/people as building materials or secreting some sort of resin, this was one I was looking forward to from X1. With the modding options, you could have a customised not-aliens feel to your game.

Weather Conditions
Linked to weather coming in when x rounds have passed, you could create a lot of Ice Station Zebra type tension to missions.

Geoscape Situations
With modding this could open up to be all sorts of things in the game.

Modular Weapons & Armour
There's probably some balancing concerns, but it certainly adds some thought/variety into loadouts.

MARS Weapon Platform & Sentry Guns
I could take or leave weapons platforms. There's the whole arms race to keep both sides balanced. But Sentry Guns would be a welcome addition.

Location Injuries & Medical Care
Only towards the bottom as it's polishing and upgrading something that's already there.

Orchestral Soundtrack Recording
Like the location injuries, if it's anything like the soundtrack from X1 it will be good. Again, this is polishing something that's already there.

 

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Posted (edited)

My vote order / comments...

Geoscape Situations:

I very much like this idea.  That some experiments with other worldly tech might attract the attention of the enemy and spawn a mini mission would be awesome.  I like that these can also randomly pop up like breakthroughs or inspired research in other games, making each playthrough different.  Sending a covert op to spy on politicians who have suddenly changed their platform flagging a potential mind control / infestation / replacement by aliens might only require one person depending on how sure they are he is being influenced, but if it turns sour then a rescue team would need to be sent to extract the agent (who is only using weaker concealable equipment). For new tech research like psionics / cybernetics / genetics (if you choose to include any of them), a breakthrough is possible if someone volunteers.  For ethical reasons you cannot choose since they might die during the test, but a random soldier volunteers for it, to which you can say yes or no due to risks or reward for them participating in it.  If it went really bad, rather than them die, they might become connected to the aliens psionically / suffer cyberpsychosis burn out and the machine part of them takes over / start to think completely alien, and actually defect from the organisation entirely, possibly even showing up in later missions working for the opposition.  If it goes well, then this might be the only way to gain that new tier and/or it accelerates research of it dramatically.

Improved Support for Xenonauts-2: Community Edition / Modding / Translation:

Clearly this is something you have done well that other games are also starting to do now, so don't neglect it as it's part of your unique flavour and extends the life of the game a lot.

Reaper Hives:

Any unique plot / story development that makes your game stand out and create lasting memories is certainly worth it! What about a more subtle reaper evolution that is not a full-bodied creature but more of a parasite wearing a human suit (not so much Edgar from MiB 1, but more like the Stargate TV series)?  This would enable them to be more useful in secret warfare.  Regardless, something that could add to the tension in a full blown hive destruction mission would be possible human farms inside the base (there for food / hosts to new larvae) but some able to be rescued before impregnation by the reapers if the Xenonauts if they move fast enough. Reapers were used to harvest DNA in Xe1, but perhaps in Xe2 some have broken loose of their masters and become a neutral 3rd party with their own objectives like the lost in X2:WOTC? Imagine if a reaper hive with something of use to both the Xenonauts and their enemies is being assaulted by both sides simultaneously, each rushing to achieve their own objective, pushing through the horde, and possibly fighting each other as well?

Modular Weapons & Armour:

Great idea! I like that on one playthrough you might get to tier 1.5, but never actually reach tier 2 in that area.  On another playthrough, you might research tier 2, but decide to upgrade tier 1s to tier 1.5 due to low resources. I like the idea of tier 1.5 coming before tier 2, though.  At the very least, a prototype for 1.5 should be produced halfway through a lengthy research period for tier 2.

Dynamic Weather Conditions:

Yes, definitely include shadows, day/night and twilight, and variable weather, if you get the time.  Time-sensitive missions could force the player to enter a hostile environment where things could go amiss.

Orchestral Soundtrack Recording: 

Definitely deserves an upvote.  Not just music, but excellent unique sound effects are also very important in a game too.

Locational Injuries & Medical Care: 

From the discussion we had in the forums, I wasn't even sure that you were going to go along this path, but I guess if it's voted up as something people want then it's definitely worth doing.  I wonder if an experienced officer with a permanent injury that prevents them from operating effectively in the field could be assigned as a supervisor (i.e. becomes the third person commander, directing the troops), and can still provide benefits to teammates on certain missions. For aliens to also get injured would be great, so you can use conventional weapons to cripple an alien and possibly capture it alive after blinding it or disarming it rather than get every soldier to shoot at it until it dies, or using a magical electric stunner.

MARS Weapon Platform & Sentry Guns:
This is the one I'm least interested in, I think it's okay, but you would be better using your time developing other things

Edited by RustyNayle

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Posted (edited)

My votes:

  1. Modular Weapons & Armour
  2. Geoscape Situations
  3. Improved Support for Xenonauts-2: Community Edition / Modding / Translation
  4. MARS Weapon Platform & Sentry Guns
  5. Reaper Hive
  6. Dynamic Weather
  7. Locational Injuries & Medical Care
  8. Orchestral Soundtrack Recording


1. Modular Weapons & Armour
Having a modular equipment system would make many ideas possible or at least easier to mod in.  But please don't stop at stats - let the mods enable new firing modes or actions.
My pitch is here: https://www.goldhawkinteractive.com/forums/index.php?/topic/14331-equipment-addons/
 

2. Geoscape Situations
BattleTech has this system where events can add tags to individual soldiers ("This soldier participated in laser test fire"), and can trigger based on soldier tags and health, and thus can trigger event chains for a soldier (or a major npc, if it's a global flag). The system is very well designed, even if the biggest chain is bugged and always stop mid-way.
 

3. Improved Support for X2:CE / Modding / Translation
Unity modding is well established, so I am sure something can be modded even if goal is not met.
X:CE is certainly a success.  I personally don't care mod editor, but a built-in mod loader (perhaps an extension of RFC 6902 "JSON Patch") can make a big different.  Translation is not like mods which can have tiered support.  Translations always involve the whole game.

 

4. MARS Weapon Platform & Sentry Guns
Not as big a mechanic/system changer as other proposals, but I can see how sentry can be modded to act as dropship support platform. Please tell me that is possible!
 

5. Reaper Hive
X1 is known as brutal. A Reaper Hive mission done wrong can turn off players. But either way I'm hopeful that we may get a better combat script system that can be modded.
 

6. Dynamic Weather
Unless the weather interacts with weapons more (rain reduce laser damage, wind reduce ballistic accuracy etc.), and/or equipment modules can interact/mitigate weather events, no I'm against it.
And weather effects is from my experience one of the major causes of GPU incompatibility, so the weather better be worth it.  Because if it affect combat mechanics, players can't simply turn it off.

 

7. Locational Injuries & Medical Care
Kind of neutral... until I reach the point of battlefield meds.  Can't say I'm happy with the already simplified inventory, and if I need to trade SMG for more medkits, no, not a system I want to see.  I also don't see much possibility of modding beyond fine tuning.  There is also the issue of alien injuries - if we can't shot the claws off a Reaper, I strongly suggest we avoid this area to not be compared with Phoenix Point.
 

8. Orchestral Soundtrack Recording
Just a personal choice.  Ever since my baby is born, now a toddler, I game with sound off.  Consider me total deaf for gaming purpose.

P.S. Whether the goal is meet or not, if the "score" is available in digital format, they can be modded like game. We can swap instruments, cut and paste sections, mix new tracks, or just fine tune the notes or dynamics a bit.

Edited by Sheepy

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4 hours ago, Sheepy said:

ever since my baby is born, now a toddler, I game with sound off

that gave me the feels. Reasonable though, Xenonauts hardly has a soothing soundtrack.

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Posted (edited)

7. Locational Injuries & Medical Care
The game is set in 2015. We were seeing reports of people with motorised prosthetics years before then. 
As part of this stretch goal (or an additional stretch goal), why not have soldiers sometimes lose limbs to explosions / heavy weapons / etc? They become useless in the early game, but there could be a research tree branch for improved prosthetics/cybernetics. This could allow an injured soldier to eventually rejoin the fight (and maybe eventually have slightly improved stats). 
Perhaps there could even be a research tree branch that looks at the equivalent of Sebillans and figures out limb regeneration/enhancement techniques?

This would mean that some of the soldiers you spent a long time building up could be "revived" at a later point in time. In addition, this could result in fewer people save-scumming every time a soldier is killed, so would create a more natural-feeling game flow. (and it avoids the ethical decision of chopping someone's limbs off)

Limb loss types could be the following:

  • Lower leg
  • Upper leg
  • Lower arm
  • Upper arm
  • Eye
  • A combination of the above

Prosthetics/cybernetics could look like the following:

  • No leg. Cannot move. Can be placed in a single spot in base defense missions.
  • Prosthetic leg. Today's equivalent. (-15% movement for lower, -25 for upper).
  • Upgraded prosthetic leg. Uses alien tech to improve on the basic prosthetic (-5% movement for lower, -10% of upper)
  • Advanced prosthetic leg. Better use of alien tech. (-0% movement for lower, -0% for upper) 
  • Scout prosthetic leg. Experimental, fragile, low HP. (+5% movement for lower, +10% for upper. If both upper legs replaced, soldier can jump over obstacles / up one story of a building)
  • etc...

 

  • No left arm. (-50% aim, cannot reload.)
  • No right arm. (-65% aim, cannot reload)
  • Basic prosthetic lower right arm. Today's equivalent. (-15% aim, weapon is bound/glued to arm, so cannot change weapon)
  • Basic prosthetic lower left arm. Today's equivalent. (+25% TU cost for reloading)
  • Basic prosthetic upper right arm.
  • Today's equivalent. (-25% aim, weapon is bound/glued to arm, so cannot change weapon)
  • Basic prosthetic upper left arm. Today's equivalent. (+35% TU cost for reloading)
  • Upgraded prosthetic lower right arm. (-10% aim, +40% TU cost to change weapon)
  • Upgraded prosthetic lower left arm. (-10% TU cost for reloading)
  • Upgraded prosthetic lower right arm. (-15% aim, +65% TU cost to change weapon)
  • Upgraded prosthetic lower left arm. (-20% TU cost for reloading)
  • (Advanced prosthetic arms here - same story as legs)
  • Integrated weapon right arm. Can't switch weapon or throw. (+15% to aim)

I'm sure everyone gets the general idea.

 

Edited by riT-k0MA
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My picks would be the following:

1. Support for mods (Community Edition). I am the kind of player who likes to try mods, and for most games, they change everything for the better (at least for my taste). Even though this is not a benefit for the day 1 vanilla gamers, in the long run it should help the popularity of X2 and the fun players get out of it.

2. Geoscape Situations. The given example was a rather limited one in impact, but there is huge potential in this kind of stuff. Plus, you could make it a backer level to help backers create these kinds of events.

3. Orchestral Soundtrack. Good game soundtracks really help the games stand out even years after release. X1 has a musically good soundtrack, and I'd love to have a comparable one in better quality. Plus this is not something modders can do.

4. Modular Weapons/Armour. Has big potential for more strategic decisions, but in order to make sense you also need to have the possibility to know what you will encounter on a certain mission.

5. Locational injuries. I see it as a good starting point for modders to go crazy, so I'd enjoy to see that come true.

6. MARS/Weapon platforms. I don't see the point for a stationary weapon system that you will rarely see in the game, but a vehicle for normal missions is cool. By extension, some ground based defence for your Chinooks could be a cool project to research.

7. Dynamic weather. As the local injuries I would not really care for it in the state mentioned, but I figure modders could make this a really cool thing.

8. Reaper hives. I don't really care for a single extra mission. When compared to XCOMs Newfoundland it ranges from cool to unfairly hard for the first playthrough, while being pretty standard once you know what is coming. I'd rather leave extra missions like that to the modders than see you put money into it.

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I like the fact that everyone so far seems to have wildly different preferences for the stretch goals - that suggests to me that at least someone finds everything on the list interesting, so the vote will be an interesting one!

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5 hours ago, Ninothree said:

that gave me the feels. Reasonable though, Xenonauts hardly has a soothing soundtrack.

Nay, not a problem of feel.  But I must to able to hear his every action and movement.  For example I need to be able to hear when he wakes up from the bed, when he cries in another room when he's playing with other family members, or simply when he calls me.  Which is often.

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Posted (edited)

Well, hopefully by the time he's ready to start playing games, we'll have multiplayer support for xenonauts.

EDIT: This is not a call for multiplayer in the stretch goals...although...

Edited by Ninothree
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Posted (edited)

Question: You mentioned in another thread that "unless the kickstarter totally tanks" we could expect better AI. At around which sums do you think we can assume there will be an AI in game that is challenging due to strategic / tactical decisions rather than just having more units and better stats?

Edited by Drakon

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Posted (edited)

I opted for the £35 kickstarter for one reason - to honour my father who passed away 3 years ago. I wanted his name in the roster to immortalise him, as he was a Sergeant in the Paras and SAS trooper in the 50s-60s. This was a good incentive for me to back the project at a higher tier. Good thinking for keeping and expanding this option Chris :). I hope we do it - it's looking good already.

The stretch goals do not really interest me much. What does though is good AI and more and varied tactical maps.

Edited by ooey

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For the duration of the Kickstarter I've locked this thread and hidden the existing replies; it's not really fair to let the existing replies affect the voting of everyone that comes to this page to check out the different stretch goals!

Normal service will resume post-Kickstarter.

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This thread is now unlocked again and all existing replies have been unhidden, because the Kickstarter voting is now concluded. For reference, the final voting order after 1800 votes was:

  • #1 Modular Weapons (£50,000)
  • #2 Geoscape Situations (£75,000)
  • #3 Locational Injuries (£100,000)
  • #4 MARS Weapon Platform & Sentry Guns (£150,000)
  • #5 Additional Community Edition & Modding Support (£200,000)
  • #6 Weather Conditions (£250,000)
  • #7 Reaper Hives
  • #8 Orchestral Soundtrack

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Posted (edited)
On 6/12/2018 at 10:40 AM, Chris said:

For example, when the player researches Laser Weapons there might be a 25% chance that the following event is generated:

Overcharged Emitter: A scientist approaches you and tells you that he has an idea for how he can overcharge the emitter and boost the damage on your new Laser Weapons - although he's not completely certain it would work, and the consequences of failure would be that the overcharged emitter explodes. The player has three choices:

  • Attempt Experiment: (60% success) pick a soldier to attempt to test fire the overcharged weapon. If you fail, both the scientist and the soldier have a chance to suffer serious injury / death. If successful, Laser weapons receive +20% damage.
  • Remote Experiment: (30% success) build a remote testing rig that costs 3 Alloys, which are destroyed if the experiment fails. If successful, Laser weapons receive +20% damage.
  • Abandon Experiment: the experiment is abandoned

I honestly can't think of what a "good" version of this system looks like. The example provided is a very gamey one-off that doesn't sound like it's all that fun to encounter. The best implemented version of a similar system exists in Stellaris: anomalies there are also one-offs, usually positive for the player, and always able to be completed without a random outcome but with random difficulty that majorly determines how long fulfilling the anomaly will take. The ones that do have multiple outcomes usually end up creating a storyline. If you combined with the system FTL uses of having skill&equipment check, you might get something like this:

Alien in the Wilderness: Reports have come in of a creature hiding in the woods. This has lead to a something of a local legend developing with campfire stories to scare children and supposed photographs of the creature which are digitally corrupt. Normally we'd ignore such reports, but the corruption is the same we've encountered on our soldier's own bodycams and the eye-witness accounts match what we know of pysons. If we investigate, we'll a need a team.

  • Send two people, op takes 10 days.
  • Send three people, op takes 6 days.
  • (MARS Weapons Platform) Send one person and a platform, op takes 4 days.

Aliens in the Wilderness, Part II: They were indeed pysons. Unfortunately the creatures only develop without corruption in chemical photographs and shortly after putting together the report, both the film and a member of our team disappeared. While normally a search would be a simple matter of following a transmitter, that too has gone offline. We can abandon them to their fate but considering the growing number of missing persons reports in the area (including the son of a prominite oil tycoon), it may ultimately benefit us to continue searching.

  • Continue searching: Replace the missing member.
  • Abandon: Lieutenant Jarvis Lee goes MIA.

(MARS Weapons Platform) Aliens in the Wilderness, Part II: They were indeed pysons. One, in fact, managed to send one of our soldiers into a trance while they were putting together a report. Thankfully a machine's components seem to be immune to the kind of tampering pysons put our neural systems through and we were able to follow them to a cavern. We got lucky; a whole group of unarmed aliens had been slowly capturing the local populace getting them to build what appears to be a transmitter. While the aliens managed to destroy the device before MARS-001 could take care of the situation an analysis of the parts used has shown a rather brilliant application of K-band ultrafrequencies that can penetrate rock just as well as our atmosphere.

  • Soldier returns with +1 psionic resistance, research credit gained for alien transmission technologies.

Aliens in the Wilderness, Part III: We've managed to locate the cavern where the local populace has been held hostage by a group of unarmed aliens. It seems they've been slowly kidnapping the local populace and forcing them to build what appears to be a transmitter. While the aliens managed to destroy the device before our team could take care of the situation an analysis of the parts used has shown a rather brilliant application of K-band ultrafrequencies that can penetrate rock just as well as our atmosphere. On top of that, the local tycoon has given us a rather generous reward for the return of her son.

  • Missing soldier returns with +1 psionic resistance, research credit gained for alien transmission technologies, +100,000$

 

While I'm not certain this is much better, it does help build the world Xenonauts inhabits and gives more power to the player without making it so that risk avoidant players just select the same option every time and rewards players differently across all the playstyles that exist in this game. (Weapons platforms, rushing lasers, rushing wolf, rushing stun, rushing anything really, having extra flight squadrons, getting certain rooms, and anything involving a profession system; anything you can check which a given player might not have at the beginning of the game.) It also doesn't lead to a situation where a player feels like they NEED to get certain random events to win the game. Permanent powerups always lead to situations where optimal play means restarting until you get events you're happy with.

Edited by ApolloZani
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4 hours ago, ApolloZani said:

I honestly can't think of what a "good" version of this system looks like. The example provided is a very gamey one-off that doesn't sound like it's all that fun to encounter. 

Yeah you are right about it.. but there is some options.. For that side events you can use or endanger more ranked soldiers, time, big money.. like at XCOM 2.. you could have a limited time to research this side project and it could give you something random.. not bad idea.. maybe not so good for a short game but at a longer game mod i would like to use it.

Btw you need to play X-Division. I read some of your ideas and i would like to see you ideas about that mod. As i will create X-Division 2 for x-2 probably, i would like to have someone like you to discuss or critics..

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Just now, drages said:

Btw you need to play X-Division. I read some of your ideas and i would like to see you ideas about that mod.

Honestly, I take one look at that mod and am kinda turned off. The systems of this game are just too fiddly for having 900 extra research projects! The kind of granularity all those weapons and vehicles give just doesn't appeal to me. I like Elder Scrolls style equipment, not Diablo. There is such thing as much too much! Perhaps if research was more automated and non-interrupting most of the time, 900 projects would be cool. If all the weapons existed in a system that was closer to the old Rainbow Six sims than the kinda gamey XCOMs, then I'd appreciate the massive amount of options. As it stands, I just don't think I'm the kind of person you're looking for. Even the Long War mods kinda turned me off.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah Stretch Goals 1, 2 and 3 are done. The 4th is coming in on Kickstarter.

We will get now following objects in Xenonauts 2, which aren´t / couldn´t implemented in Xenonauts 1:

- Modular Weapons / Armors (Stretch Goal 1) [the feature which is asked mostly for, esp. for big Mods which are played in Xenonauts 1; XCom / XCom 2 brings that in; in all other UFO-Games of that art not / not good enough]

- Geoscape Situations (Stretch Goal 2) [next interesting Feature to bring in unforseen events in Xenonauts 2; an other asked and missing Feature in Xenonauts 1; XCom / XCom 2 already has it in an other form]

- Locational Injures (Stretch Goal 3) [a very interesting Feature, which isn´t inplemented in all existing UFO-Games of that art today; Xenonauts 2 will be the first game which implements that in]

- MARS Weapon Platform & Sentry Guns (Strech Goal 4, which will be ready financed in time) [a very good compromise for the canceld Tanks / Vehicles from Xenonauts 1]

 

The other Stretch Goals 5 [Additional Community Edition & Modding Support], 6 [Weather Conditions] and 7 [Reaper Hives] will be integrated in some way. Maybe it will be updated from the Early Acces and normal sellings with big Updates and Patches like in the first game.

 

Edited by Alienkiller

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Posted (edited)
On 7/11/2018 at 12:16 AM, Alienkiller said:

- Modular Weapons / Armors (Stretch Goal 1) [the feature which is asked mostly for, esp. for big Mods which are played in Xenonauts 1; XCom / XCom 2 brings that in; in all other UFO-Games of that art not / not good enough]

- Locational Injures (Stretch Goal 3) [a very interesting Feature, which isn´t implemented in all existing UFO-Games of that art today; Xenonauts 2 will be the first game which implements that in]

1. Try UFO Afterlight. 11 years ago and it already shows your weapon mods in 3D, both in inventory and on the field.

2. UFO AL had a partial implementation (limited to enemy and all effects temporary); snipe head for autocrit, snipe hand for accuracy, leg for prone etc.
    Also locational injury of Phoenix Point is already working and a big part of the game.

Edit: I remember that good old X-COM also had locations. But I can't remember whether they have additional effects beyond damage calculation. Does that count as locational injury?

Edited by Sheepy

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I didn´t noticed that on UFO Afterlight. Had played it for a long time, but never noticed. If it were tested the first time it was a quantum jump in that Gerne. The new XCom series had only the first 1, not the 2nd, build in. But that´s all snow of yesterday.

We will get the possibly best of that 2 Points in Xenonauts 2 and Phoenix Point in some month.

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