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So I've compiled this list of the features I like and what I think could do with some improvement for Xenonauts (Alpha version). While I know Xenonauts is still in development and is all subject to change, I surely hope that this grabs the attention of Goldhawk Interactive and that this help contribute to the final product. So without further a do here is my list:

Likes:

Art style: At first I felt a little lost with the absence of 'Guile' styled jump-suited Rookies running out of the transport vehicle, but this is obviously your own franchise doing it's own thing and X-COM is it's own franchise and doing it's own thing. I really like how it's cel-shaded to create a cartoony effect even though the game has darker undertones. In a way it's doing what old X-COM done back in it's day (feeling a lot like a late 80s/early 90s cartoon!). The troopers look miserable and that emphasizes their lives could be over on the next mission, which they should be dreading. The pixel art is really well done and is looks great, obviously with some of the Alien portaits missing the pixel art really gives me some great imagining of what the enemies look like. Sebilian's (Pardon me if I spelled the name wrong) look like giant lizards, and it'd be pretty hard to mess up a portrait considering their sprite art is so well done!

UFO Design: Great work on creating the UFO's I absolutely love the design on them where there is often multiple compartments to breach. The UFO's remind me of Halo's Covenant ships which were well designed and not your average flying saucers which create a different tone from the regular Science Fiction B-Movie putting it on par with some of the more modern and darker toned films.

Audio: The music finds the middle ground between Halo Reach and the first Deus Ex. This is a great thing! I was pretty fond of the music so far but I do have concerns at the same time about the soundtrack. (I'll state that in my dislikes) The sound design is generally well done, with gunfire going off and sounding loud. Civilians dying can be a bit odd at times with them just letting out a petty sigh rather than a painful scream.

Battle: Battling feels remarkably similar to X-COM, obviously with some changes however most of the core elements are there. Troopers do feel more agile in that they can vault over objects. Tiles can still be destroyed and troopers left out in the open will often die horribly due to sneaky Alien snipers! Which is another thing I like which is part of the Battling system: That no trooper is truly safe.

Difficulty scaling: From a medium standpoint I really like how the first battles can feel quite easy to walkthrough and later on the battles can become a real pain in the kneck. My battles right now have been mostly Sebilians (which I can only guess are the grunts of this game). My first battle started with one enemy soon I was facing up to five of the blighters! I can speculate there will be more and from the Quick Battles I have played I have faced very unequal odds! (Quick battle is awesome by the way and I do hope it stays in the final game because sometimes it's good to kickback and just play some quick battles rather than worry if I'll have enough money to pay my troopers at the end of the month) This is also how I have met some of the other Alien forces!

Improvements:

Reaction Fire: At times reaction fire can feel a bit unfair. In the Original X-COM reactions were limited to where the operatives/enemy were facing however in Xenonauts I could send my troops behind the Alien and as quick as they begin to move they are gunned down by the Alien threat. Sometimes it feels a little unbalanced which, while the game is supposed to be unbalanced technology wise (which I am for), the reaction fire when the enemy isn't facing your troops makes the rules feel a little broken.

Geoscape: The geoscape is okay; it has a pretty cool style to it similar to DEFCON II's. However when there are the messages popping up it makes you feel pretty cautious because you may miss the messages popping up (If you are zooming past), Night and Day is nice seeing the shade move over the world but with the sea being represented by such empty black space it can be a little confusing. Also I think UFO's need a different icon to represent whether they are grounded or not. Too many times I have sent my Chinook into a battle and recover a fully intact UFO only to realise that the UFO is still moving (even though it reads as being grounded) and my Chinook is taken down by a very (Pardon my language) pissed off Alien ship! And as you can possibly imagine it can cause great frustration.

Audio: Like I said I'm mostly impressed by the audio effects with explosions and gunfire sounding loud and the soundtrack finding the middle ground between both Halo and Deus Ex. However right now the soundtrack is very limited, with only three tracks I have heard and some similarities between two out of the three, I found myself hoping for more variety. I do hope to hear more when newer builds land (as X-COM did have a lot of quite catchy tracks) but again I do believe that the soundtrack so far does well at creating a good atmosphere for a game of this nature.

Research: The tech-tree is a bit confusing when I research a gun I do hope that it would be usable once it's been researched. This also ties with the current problem in most cases (I.E. when trying to get better armour) that Alien UFO's are mostly busted up pretty bad that nothing is really worth salvaging for the research team and is really just better to sell off for the extra money. This is slightly annoying because materials are often hoarded so that I can build better things (like better armour). But with technology being locked away in such away it can feel utterly pointless to hoard items.

Controls/Laptop friendly: Right now I am having a little bit of trouble due to my mouse pad having the lack of a designated scroll pad, when I'm on the Personel Screen I often find myself thinking a mouse would be better for this due to the scroll wheel as without the ability to scroll I can't check out and assign my troops to where and what they need to be doing. (I.E. If I have a large amount of Rookies I can't send them all to training without great hassle.) I did check the options to see if I could designate a scroll up/down button. However I could not seem to meet great success in my search. Obviously I could use a mouse but it's a bit of a hassle considering I'm using a laptop.

So in short, I'm loving the game so far. I do hope that this contribution helps Goldhawk with ironing out the small creases and influences them in creating a fantastic game! Keep up the good work Goldhawk!

Edited by MrSisterShotgun

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UFO do have different icon when grounded, their red triangle is green triangle when they are grounded.

And yeah, in next version according to Kickstarter update soldiers will finally be able to reaction fire so I think that will be fixed

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I agree with the bits about reaction fire, map messages, and ocean color. Reaction fire is pretty nutty - it seems like aliens will turn completely around to hit you with it no matter what you do, even turning. Map messages seem to always be related to something that actually happened that you should have done something about, so it gets kind of frustrating when you're on full speed and you have to struggle to catch the messages before they vanish. The ocean color makes it hard to tell when it's day or night over an ocean, so you have to judge by how well-lit the nearest land is instead - it's not a big deal, but it does get a little annoying.

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-Reaction fire isn't even fully implemented and is yet to be balanced. From the latest update:

We’re now working on adding the accuracy reduction of smoke, and we’ve fixed up the issue with the Xenonaut soldiers not being able to reaction fire.

This doesn't quite cover what you've said but the point is it's still wip. I think Chris may have even given the aliens a 360 degree LoS to compensate for the unfinished AI but maybe I'm just making this up.

-The geoscape messages are mostly for flavor's sake, you don't need to stress yourself over catching each one. Iirc Chris mentioned something about making them stay on screen longer though.

-More songs/tracks will be added.

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It sounds a lot like most of the things you are concerned about are not yet finalised.

The 360 degree reaction fire is not a final feature.

As Jean-Luc said, it is temporary and shouldn't be an issue once the AI is in a better state.

The geoscape UI is due for an overhaul around the start of beta.

The messages are going to be moved to their own area if I read one of Chris's posts correctly and made to stay visible for longer.

Landed UFO's are also not working at this stage.

Best bet is to treat them all as flying.

You can always send a couple of interceptors in a squadron with your dropship though so if the ship attacks when you get there you can engage and defend the Chinook.

Aleksi mentioned that each section of the game will have three audio tracks including the current one.

I think that was for air combat, ground combat (day), ground combat (night), and the geoscape.

The tech tree is only partially implemented and has a few bugs of its own.

It will be cleaned up by beta but if you have any specific issues post them up.

It can also be a bit confusing because not all of the images are present.

Some of the research uses placeholders from other topics in the mean time.

Chris has been good at adding controls and ways to bind them so far.

I doubt it will be too long until the scroll is added as well.

It is in his interests to make it easy to play on as wide a set of systems as possible.

Just prod him each build and mention it if it isn't done :D

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Fair enough! :) It's a great game so far and writing this was actually really hard because I do like Xenonauts so much but during my not-so-amazing weekend, I've been playing both X-COM: UFO Defense and Xenonauts. But it's when reaction fire hits you because you flanked an alien it can get a little bit frustrating. I did think maybe Goldhawk were going to do it as though the Aliens could hear you but I get the impression a lot of X-COM Veterans as well as newcomers would be agitated and would cause players to get a little bit peeved about their higher ranked individuals suddenly getting blasted by high speed reactive Aliens. Happy about the soundtrack as well (More tracks yay can't wait to hear more)! And finally the Geoscape messages aren't important? Well then I guess that sorts it for me really I guess it makes the world seem more lively.

Edited by MrSisterShotgun

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The messages themselves aren't important but they can give you a clue as to where enemy ships are operating outside of your radar coverage.

The reaction fire is annoying right now, the sooner that gets changed the better for me.

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Wow everyone is actually super cool on this! Thanks everyone for replying! Like I said I don't really like to be on Forums in-case I cause offence in some way! (Scratches head) Pretty happy I actually posted this on the forum now! :D

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Just don't go ignoring all of them, can really hurt your income if the aliens are skeet shooting at airliners for too long. Probably not a game-breaker to ignore them though, I just plainly suck at making bank :P

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There is that that if message states casualties/MIA/abductions then casualty rate for region/total casualty rate becomes higher which means less funding.

So yeah, this time you can see your funding become lower and lower :P

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Actually this brings up some questions that I've been wondering too, so cool.

Speaking of which, stupid question probably, but in terms of the GeoScape UI update does anyone know if there are plans for a 3D world map like in the original UFO Defense?

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Pretty much everything has been covered already by other people - but yes, at the moment aliens have reaction fire arcs of 360 degrees so it's impossible to flank them. This won't happen in the final game.

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although wouldn't it be good to have an alien with multidirectional sensors, so that you couldn't flank it? As an alien ability a la wall breaching, psionics and being able to consume pan galactic gargle blasters*

*obviously I'm being silly. No one can drink them and live.

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Actually this brings up some questions that I've been wondering too, so cool.

Speaking of which, stupid question probably, but in terms of the GeoScape UI update does anyone know if there are plans for a 3D world map like in the original UFO Defense?

Nope.

It would mean redesigning a huge portion of the game.

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Actually this brings up some questions that I've been wondering too, so cool.

Speaking of which, stupid question probably, but in terms of the GeoScape UI update does anyone know if there are plans for a 3D world map like in the original UFO Defense?

I do like the current Geoscape UI (aside from the water being black space and the messages zooming). It gives Xenonauts a feel of it's own rather than it just being a complete X-COM clone. Which even though the Xenonauts is compared the Original X-COM a lot, it's still it's own game.

Edited by MrSisterShotgun

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Speaking of which, stupid question probably, but in terms of the GeoScape UI update does anyone know if there are plans for a 3D world map like in the original UFO Defense?

Nope, no plans for "3D" geoscape. It's going to be flat 2D in the final release. Reworking it now would mean starting over from nothing.

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Yeah, it's too late to change it now, for better or worse.

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Audio:However right now the soundtrack is very limited, with only three tracks I have heard and some similarities between two out of the three, I found myself hoping for more variety. I do hope to hear more when newer builds land (as X-COM did have a lot of quite catchy tracks) but again I do believe that the soundtrack so far does well at creating a good atmosphere for a game of this nature.

Don't worry, you'll have plenty of music to listen to in the final version of the game. ;)

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