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Xenonauts-2 Base System Discussion Thread

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I think people are entirely within their rights to lower pledges or not support the game if they don't like the proposed features or they don't like the sound of what we might change it to - if people care deeply about a choice and it's not something I can definitively say "this is how we're going to do it" then I'd rather people reduced their pledges to a level they were comfortable with rather than getting annoyed later on because we're not delivering what they thought they were going to get.

The costs of redoing the art for the base aren't going to be that big if we choose to switch to top-down rather than side-on, to the point the artist is working on a concept of a top-down base right now so we can properly compare them. I'm waiting on that before I make any serious decisions; if we can get a nice-looking underground base and also have an upper "defenses" level that goes on top of it which shows the Base Defence map layout and the surrounding exterior terrain then I think most people will accept changing to a top-down view without much fuss. The side-on view has a much better sense of "place" than the base in X1, and it'd be great if we could also create that if we went with a top-down view in X2. Being able to see the terrain around your base would certainly be a good way to make it feel more alive than in X1.

Personally, I've definitely seen more negativity around the change to the side-on view than I have positivity (speaking about the Kickstarter, here on the forums, on reddit, elsewhere etc). I'm aware that this can be misleading as people who are annoyed are much more likely to post messages than people who like something are ... but looking into it in more detail, I don't think I realised quite how many people just like messing around building extra bases and second teams even though they *know* it's stupid and sub-optimal. A lot of people just seem to like doing it simply because it makes them feel more like a commander of a secret organisation.

I never bother with that sorta stuff, so I didn't really think many people would miss the feature. Once I started asking around I can kinda see why people would ... and actually thinking back to when I first started playing X-Com all those years ago, I guess I did spend a few games messing about with multiple bases and I think I really liked the fact you could do that even if it wasn't particularly helpful. I've spent so long playing / making this sort of game that I'm probably not the best judge of what the average player wants from this sort of game!

In any case, there's not really *that* much difference mechanically between the top-down multiple base system I'm considering and the side-on ATLAS / airbase system, so I'll probably write up a longer post outlining a bit more of the stuff that might change and the stuff that definitely won't change tomorrow.

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I do just want to say once more I'm very much against the change back for my previously stated reasons, but I can live with the change. 

 

Multiple bases was something that is cool at first, but it is something I find very tiring and tedious to use the more I play. I've rather enjoyed just having one base that I can place all that I want inside so that I don't have fiddle with babysitting another base and put all the stuff up into it to get it functional again. Please, at least if you change to this system, make setting up a new base more streamlined. It is tedious to have to place it, wait for command room to build, and then start placing some more stuff, wait for that to build, then place the last stuff that you need to make it an actual base, and then go and hire the needed personnel. It is something I really have grown to despise. 

 

I will say the idea that you actually fight on the surface of the base where you have a few rooms and some terrain sounds nice. Could give more reason to the turrets. But won't this create a need to make more base maps since you'll need one for each tileset? Also, if we have multiple bases, won't the number / frequency of base attacks need to ramp up or are you going with a separate threat meter for each region and the more stuff you do in each fills a separate meter for each base? That could give a way to have base defenses happen more with the more bases you have.

 

I will say, all of this has made my want for extra mod support to increase. I can envision a lot of modding in my future. There is certainly a lot I'd prefer to revert to and add back in. *cough* Reaper Hive *cough*

 

One final thing. I think I'm most upset that since I was happy with the proposed ideas that I really didn't say much. Maybe if I spoke up more earlier things might eb different. Oh well.

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4 hours ago, Chris said:

if we can get a nice-looking underground base and also have an upper "defenses" level that goes on top of it which shows the Base Defence map layout and the surrounding exterior terrain then I think most people will accept changing to a top-down view without much fuss.

I like this hybrid idea a lot.  

 

4 hours ago, Chris said:

A lot of people just seem to like doing it simply because it makes them feel more like a commander of a secret organisation.

I always had multiple teams in all the games I could.  I never really thought about it being sub-optimal.  It did make me feel more like a commander, but I also thought it was a smart decision in-game to not have all my eggs in one basket.  If one of my teams had a mission that went really poorly, I could still continue the game.

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Posted (edited)

I think that secondary bases helped in feeling like defending the whole planet as well, and not only my patch of land, and the rest if I have fuel and time enough. Like building a base in Borneo. A less centric view, if you like :p.

However, in Xenonauts-2, there are new features to help feeling quite the same, so that, perhaps, secondary bases could be both more simple, more specialized, and less critical. Players who want a single stronghold, would feel like having their HQ in the Command Room of ATLAS, and shouldn't oppose this composite system. Players who want a network of resistance/subversion nests would consider that their HQ is linked to the Command Room of ATLAS and monitor the other locations (as in Xenonauts-1).

These secondary bases could be lost and retaken or rebuild elsewhere. They would be build in a variety of buildings and landscapes, and this would allow modders to design specific maps around them. Like in the Thunderbirds motion picture, installations would be concealed to be nearly unnoticeable. Such a base could be a hangar/technical area, a lane, a radio room, a store and a living quarter (and a bar), like in those dusty backwaters airports. Another one would be a shielded and secured three-room lab hidden in a common factory or a docking area.

 

Edited by Rodmar18

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Going purely on aesthetics, the radial base rodmar linked above looks cooler in my opinion. Sheepy posted something along similar lines in the previous base thread:

 

Those shapes of layout run much more down the route of slots and not a grid. Allowing rooms of different size for different purposes.

I think it would quell the ant farm concern even if it doesn't allow for the kind of old school full custom build that endersblade+co need. Plus, it'd feel much more like a secret underground military facility, not just a multistory carkpark.

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Posted (edited)

To avoid too many people getting pissed off - that is if you decide to change the side-on view concept - it would be a good idea to make a poll and let backers decide. Present the concept to them and see what they think.

Although ant farm concept is really popular. Just look at Fallout Shelter. Or even This War Of Mine with its side-on view. It's entirely possible many people backed X2 project because they liked the base concept.

I wonder if there is way to merge those concepts so the side-on view is preserved. Maybe those connections to other outposts near the main base? Or just more bases with different shapes of space inside and let players do what they want. You could use some alien technology to make underground connections between them. Some ultra fast transportation system. Or just satellite dishes to connect them for hi-speed data exchange, which would make joint projects possible. Scientists in other places could serve as a support for projects started somewhere else, giving a reduced boost to research time.

Edited by Ravn7

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Regarding rodmar and ninothree ideas for radial bases. Frostpunk did a radial, tetris-style city quite successfully, but as the radial city formed the core of the game, I would imagine that it would take a lot of work to make radial bases work as they do in Frotspunk.

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The problem I have with just one base is that if the enemy finds it a penetrating nuke will end the resistance immediately.  Or a siege by a "stronger" enemy will eventually end the resistance.

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Here's something I just thought of:  Why not both?  Memes aside, why not do, say, tetris for the main base, and side for the interceptor bases?  Or vise versa?  I have no idea how hard that would be from a coding perspective, but I could see that working well.  Since at this point it already sounds like we aren't going to build multiple traditional bases like we could in X1, we could go tetris style for ATLAS, since it's more important to make sure we get the buildings placed as we need, and ant farm for the other bases, since they're less important as far as that goes.

I'm not even going to mention radial maps.  I can't see that working in Xenonauts, or X-COM at all.  I get it, a central shaft and then building the base around it ala Frostpunk's steam core, but I don't see any purpose or advantage to it as far as this game goes.

Anyway, just an idea.  I would much rather prefer to stick to the X1 style of base building, but we get what we get I guess.

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1 hour ago, Larry Burstyn said:

 if the enemy finds it a penetrating nuke will end the resistance immediately. 

I understand that the aliens opt for the boots on the ground based assault option like they did narratively in the Kickstarter explanation, but yeah, if they fail that, why not the nuclear option. Maybe multiple bases would be activated in the wake of ATLAS's location being compromised.

@endersblade, doing both functionalities is probably more than double effort :( also, I'm assuming the base building is not going to be a huge part of the game (compared to, say, air or ground combat). So, minimising dev time might be a priority. This is good for you, goldhawk probably won't have as much chance to move away from the holy 1994 Gollop scripture ;)

Solely in terms of the way it looks, I'd say a side-on view of both underground and surface level buildings would be best. With those buildings not being arranged in a grid, but more sprawling (like in the pictures linked above). The big gain here is the way the base develops, its growth would feel organic rather than systematic.

The ant farm was very constrictive, you only really ever had one layer at a time to build in. It was always downwards. At least in the top down view you could build in any direction you had adjacency.

I guess what I'm saying is that layout (shape) isn't really that important in comparison to the way it feels to expand. Being stuck in just one facility seems not to be a hit. Nor does, dig out each square and then one extra for the power plant. Expansion should reflect your play style (and choice of how much micro management you want to put in) but it should also feel good.

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Yeah, I don't see the radial map being an option. The two options are top-down and side-on, and then there's a whole bunch of potentially hybrid models.

Just to be clear, the current plan (i.e. the one I was planning when I launched the Kickstarter and before this discussion happened) is to have a side-on view for the main base and an X1-style top-down view for the airbases. You're just much more limited in the buildings you have available to you in the secondary bases than you are in X1, and there's no UI to support transferring items and staff etc to those bases.

@Ravn7- yeah, I imagine at some point I'll ask the opinions of the Kickstarter backers with a poll, but I want to have something more concrete for them to discuss before I do that.

I am planning to write up a bit more about the base stuff tonight; I just haven't had any time because the end of the KS is getting close and I've been doing PR all day. Hopefully later on I'll find some time tho.

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I do like that original plan. Although, I also just like the idea of an airbase thematically. Would be interesting if you do go the route where you fight on top of the base and some outside to have a bit of an airstrip. 

 

Also, random question, but are the turrets going to be linked to any sort of bigger base defenses? Like, are we going to have the air defenses and will they be connected to the smaller turrets?

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Posted (edited)

I like the sidebase more, because you have animated People, Monitors etcpp. (the Pionier of that is the new XCom-Series).

I played all old series with top down views of that gerne (all old X-Com Games, Ufo Extraterestials, Xenonauts 1 as well as the ofsetgames still in Development UFO: Alien Invasion and some more I forgott) and must say, take the Side view. The old Games with that top down view were good for her times, but if you wanna Peploe play the Games take the Side view with animated people which are doing her work, making sports etcpp. now.

I don´t know what View Mr. Gollop uses for his new game (I forget the name every time), but I think he will use side view too with a little rotation of the camera.

 

Edited by Alienkiller

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8 hours ago, Alienkiller said:

I like the sidebase more, because you have animated People, Monitors etcpp. (the Pionier of that is the new XCom-Series).

Top down could be animated to. I vote for top down.

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One thing we're experimenting with at the moment (as well as the top-down art) is to make the side-on view more like Xenonauts 1 and classic X-Com by giving you a grid to build various structures on (tetris-style) rather than having 9 pre-set slots on either side of the missile. We were working on this this morning and it works reasonably well, although you have to push the missile backwards and hide the lower parts of the silo so it isn't blocking the building grid any more.

It doesn't address the issues to do with Hangars etc that I mentioned earlier, but it does go some way towards making the game feel different to new XCOM where all the buildings are the same size etc. We'll have to see how it develops I think I might prefer it to our original side-on concept.

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Posted (edited)

To me it seems like a great Idea. Nu-XCOM un-dumbed. But seriously, it preserves the core mechanics of classic X-COM base building system while making it new and fresh.

And you can move the missile to the side. Personally I'd prefer that because now it's an obstacle - it makes space available for players' base designs smaller. I'd rather some random obstacles in other bases.

Well, it would certainly be better to have at least two hangars so one would serve as a workshop for building more planes. And maybe it could work like that when you click the hangar, it would switch to top-down view with a space to build one or two more? It could be justified by making some changes to the shape of the mountain. The base could be placed in a mountainside, like some real shelters are, rather than in the middle. Also, real mountains don't have as perfect shape as Atlas concept, so it makes sense.

Edited by Ravn7

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For hangars, i think they should be not part of the base building. I mean the base hangar part should be something you can update for more capacity.. Maybe more size updates for bigger planes like bombers even ufo style cruisers against alien dreadnoughts.. 

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Posted (edited)

If the new Baseconcept from Goldhawk works good then Goldhawk find a Market Gap. But it must pass the Betatesters first. The Chance is 50 / 50.

If we say, we will use that, we will use it and then we all closed a Market Gap. If you get lucky it will have not much Modifications / Chances.

But if not and we say go to the prevoius base design then we will play with the previous one. Then you will have to live with that.

The Betatesters are the ones wich are doing the last big decide for the main Game (Bugfixing, Graphicsmodifications, Designmodifications, Gameplaychances, etc.).

Edited by Alienkiller

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18 hours ago, Chris said:

One thing we're experimenting with at the moment (as well as the top-down art) is to make the side-on view more like Xenonauts 1 and classic X-Com by giving you a grid to build various structures on (tetris-style) rather than having 9 pre-set slots on either side of the missile. We were working on this this morning and it works reasonably well, although you have to push the missile backwards and hide the lower parts of the silo so it isn't blocking the building grid any more.

It doesn't address the issues to do with Hangars etc that I mentioned earlier, but it does go some way towards making the game feel different to new XCOM where all the buildings are the same size etc. We'll have to see how it develops I think I might prefer it to our original side-on concept.

I'm digging that idea!  Although I actually like the idea of the missile being in the middle, instead of the Elevator concept that XCOM had, you have the missile silo to connect the various levels.  I think that's way cool.  And considering the time period this takes place in, I feel the missile fits the lore very well.  Stick to it as best you can!

As far as the hangars go, I gave a solution to that in...one of these threads here.  Lol.  Keep in mind, the ant farm is a slice-away view of the base.  The half you AREN'T seeing doesn't have to be identical to the one you ARE seeing.  So have the hangars set up like I mentioned, and the part where they exit the hangar would be in the half that has been cut away. (this is one of the inherent flaws in the ant farm view.  You have to leave a lot to imagination, which a lot of people can't do.)

You COULD always go with the crazy base building that UFO: Afterlight did lol.

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Surely you have a few buildings on the surface? Hangars, radars, AA batteries. I mean, those buildings just wouldn't function unless they can see the sky.

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So this is a basic art-bash concept (i.e. totally not final) of how the visuals of a side-on grid base might look later on in the game where the base is pretty heavily built up. A few mechanics ideas - which are not necessarily reflected in the concept:

  • The base has four vertical levels, each of which has 11 grid tiles in it.
  • You can only build new buildings horizontally adjacent to your existing buildings (in-construction buildings will also count this time around, although you can't then demolish the "link" building).
  • To access a lower vertical level, you must build an Access Lift which is a vertical 2x1 building.
  • Most types of buildings are 1x1 but get adjacency bonuses, which are represented by adjacent rooms of the same type merging together to form a single larger room. The maximum size of a room is 3 tiles wide, beyond which a new room is started.
  • Certain grid tiles will be filled with rocks instead of normal earth, and it costs extra if you build in these tiles.

To be honest this is really quite similar to our existing system behind the scenes, but for some reason when I think about the system and look at the concept it feels much more interesting than what we currently have and seems a bit more distinct from XCOM.

It doesn't address all the problems with the base system ... but it seems like a straightforward upgrade on our original plans that can hopefully bring the two sides of the debate a bit closer together while we figure out how complex secondary bases should be.

Having 11 tiles in a row means you can't just run access lifts right down the middle of the base without blocking off the ability to have two full-expanded rooms on one side of the base, which should lead to the base layout being a bit more interesting. The positioning of the rocks will also hopefully encourage the player to build around them rather than through them in some situations.

 

base_view_grid.png

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the art looks pretty. +1

It does look like the optimal way to place the access lifts would be to bung them to one of the far sides. I guess that would mean the player can't build as much early on because they're digging sideways. Although from all the discussion, it seemingly doesn't really matter if there is an obvious optimal choice. People enjoy doing things their own way. Opportunities and an all that. .

For all that the chat has been about the layout/perspective, there is much more the base can do. I like that there will be rock tiles - that'll be annoying and annoying can be good. 

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I'm like this a lot more then my first impression of antfarm from the kickstarter video. How do you see the hanger functioning currently. It's obviously in it's own separate section above ground from the picture but what's it capacity/upgrade mechanic? In the other threads I read that interceptions are teams of 5, or less if they've taken damage. I'm not sure what the initial airforce size is planning to look like but extrapolating from X1 where you get 2 condors, would 2 condor teams be expected? Even expanding that once or twice would take be huge surface real estate investment for a hidden base. I'm starting to think the antfarm style and expandable hangers are mutually exclusive from each other which may not be a bad thing. If ATLAS is heavily limited in terms of interception capability it would encourage players to build hanger bases sooner. The other thing that comes to mind is making atlas a fixed location with no interceptors and start the player by picking a location for their first interception base. Logically this limits air traffic near your main HQ which would make it harder for the aliens to detect and cut off the head.

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So in this concept this would be the main base and wouldn't handle radars or interceptors. It just holds the Xenonaut dropship that delivers your troops around the world.

Your interceptors are housed on Geoscape airbases that contain only radars and jets (whether this is a good idea or not is the other major discussion going on in this thread). You get one of these at the start of the game which you get to place anywhere, containing one Condor.

The squadron change is something that might be reversed because I'm leaning towards having plane weapons individually manufactured this time, rather than the auto upgrade system we had in the first game. You start to run into logic problems if your engineers are building enough weapons to arm a whole squadron of aircraft in the same time it takes to build a laser rifle. We'll just have damage last longer on the planes instead.

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