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Posted (edited)

So all the UFOs that I've seen so far (with the exception of the harvester) are weird blocky things.

Someone please tell me this isn't the final art design and they'll look as good as the ones from the first game.

Edited by indaris
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The current designs are the final art art design. The X1-style UFOs did look nice but couldn't ever be destructible, whereas the X2 / X-Com ones allow you to blast holes in the hull wherever you like.

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22 minutes ago, Chris said:

The current designs are the final art art design. The X1-style UFOs did look nice but couldn't ever be destructible, whereas the X2 / X-Com ones allow you to blast holes in the hull wherever you like.

Or blast holes in the Hull if needed in X2 / X-Com. There are Areas which will be defended more then others. So you have sometimes make your own entrace.

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55 minutes ago, Chris said:

The current designs are the final art art design. The X1-style UFOs did look nice but couldn't ever be destructible, whereas the X2 / X-Com ones allow you to blast holes in the hull wherever you like.

Im sorry but i have to speak up for the truth. It is not only possible to make make any part in the late X1 system destructible, but also easily so.

 

Option 1. Make predefined holes.

This is the easiest example and looks kinda like this:

light_scout_hull_se_main4.png.32765472cfe4af2d21b77717530a5944.pnglight_scout_hull_se_top.png.76e8693e348ca4be52f0ecdc50d5ff60.pnglight_scout_hull_se_left.png.39b47af46494fee3887a12fa19d7f6bd.pnglight_scout_hull_se_right.png.8c2183ceb051c2844828a2851491cabd.png

 

Option 2: You can cut unique UFO art into a per-tile basis. This would require a manual, human eye to define where the art overlaps with which tiles. Then you can piece the art together in the submap editor. In the end this means you can make and define each and every tile to have an undamaged, damaged with hole, or completely blasted away state. This is a very work intensive option, but still only a question of manhours.

 

All of that is so easily achievable that i can already do that in the X1 editor. Give me 2 additional men and 50 manhours and i will make all vanilla UFOs with predefined breach points. Give me 3 men and 300 manhours and i will make every single tile of every vanilla UFO breachable. The only issue i see with this is that when you hover over a UFOhull part only single parts are getting transparent and/or highlighted. This would need some hardcoded support to define UFOhull(s) as one part with a IF(UFOhull part gets highlighted,highlight connected UFOhull part, Nothing), otherwise parts highlighted look a bit "blocky".

 

Im not desputing that the UFO art in X2 is final, and i am fond of completely destructible environments. Just pointing out that a hybrid approach is totally feasible, if decided on early enough. I realise its too late in the development to make a hybrid approach, but if the X2 editor is as powerful as the X1 one, and publicly available, modders can just make unique UFOs themself.

 

Keep it up Chris thumbs-up.png

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I suspect the UFO's will be fine if visual style of the box is just broken a little bit more on top where it currently is just a flat pane.
The armoured edges already help somewhat.

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Sorry, yes. The X1 UFOs can be destructible using pre-defined breach points but not fully-destructible (which is what I meant to say).

Additionally, remember X1 is 2D and X2 is 3D, so the only way to make a UFO fully destructible is to carve it into hundreds of unique 1x1 blocks and let the player "mine" their way inside. Unlike in X1 you can't rely on the player not being able to rotate the camera and so being unable to see each tile from multiple angles, so you need backfaces to all the shapes in a way you didn't in X1.

And even then it's not easy to judge the thickness of a wall because the X1 UFOs are not a regular shape - is that wall 2 tiles thick, or just 1? Double the firepower is needed to make a hole in the side if it's 2 tiles thick, etc.

But yeah I guess it is theoretically feasible.

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9 minutes ago, Chris said:

Additionally, remember X1 is 2D and X2 is 3D, so the only way to make a UFO fully destructible is to carve it into hundreds of unique 1x1 blocks and let the player "mine" their way inside. Unlike in X1 you can't rely on the player not being able to rotate the camera and so being unable to see each tile from multiple angles, so you need backfaces to all the shapes in a way you didn't in X1.

Sure, my post undermined the immense difficulties of working in 3d, of which i know nothing about. You are completely right on that.

11 minutes ago, Chris said:

And even then it's not easy to judge the thickness of a wall because the X1 UFOs are not a regular shape - is that wall 2 tiles thick, or just 1? Double the firepower is needed to make a hole in the side if it's 2 tiles thick, etc.

But yeah I guess it is theoretically feasible.

Want me to make a proof of concept ? ;)

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I would actually be interested to see that, yeah - but it's too late to update the UFO designs for X2 at this point. Maybe not for an expansion pack or something though :)

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Personally, I'm just glad to be able to break the things again. Maybe they could use a little more health, though, since I kinda doubt a shotgun would be much help in breaking down a wall (otherwise, can we attach rotating auto shotguns to the interceptors?). I've been loving the grenade launcher for just utterly wiping out landings. Inefficient? Yes. Fun? Also yes.

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On 7/2/2019 at 1:13 AM, Chris said:

The current designs are the final art art design. The X1-style UFOs did look nice but couldn't ever be destructible, whereas the X2 / X-Com ones allow you to blast holes in the hull wherever you like.

...I'll be honest, between this and the air combat changes. I want my money back. Being able to blast holes in the UFO isn't worth losing the visual aesthetic that drew me to Xenonauts in the first place.

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4 hours ago, indaris said:

...I'll be honest, between this and the air combat changes. I want my money back. Being able to blast holes in the UFO isn't worth losing the visual aesthetic that drew me to Xenonauts in the first place.

Sorry totally disagree with you mate. As a tactical game being able to breach a wall is a prime requisite for me. It was one of my biggest bugbears with the first game. Aesthetically, the ufo’s are fine, a bit blocky, but very usable and playable which in the end is the point of a game. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, stewpidbear said:

Sorry totally disagree with you mate. As a tactical game being able to breach a wall is a prime requisite for me. It was one of my biggest bugbears with the first game. Aesthetically, the ufo’s are fine, a bit blocky, but very usable and playable which in the end is the point of a game. 

The original Xenonauts lived up to the original XCOM and surpassed it notably in a superior air combat section and better art direction while preserving the best parts of the ground combat and discarding the chaff. I had hoped that Xenonauts 2 would surpass it even further, especially visually, in one of the biggest selling points was the new 3D game engine. What was already a beautifully realized game, I thought backing it would have resulted in something of a refinement rather than steps backwards and now I regret trusting them to stick to their original vision and instead give into a few noisy individuals. Instead we're treated to generic tetris-looking 'ships' rendered as alien storage units landing on earth. While you may have wanted UFO wall breaching, there's no reason to include it at all. It certainly does not improve the game play, despite what a vocal minority would have us believe.

This is coming someone who bought the original game in 2012 when it was still in early access, played about 250+ hours of the original, CE and Xdivision combined. (Which I admit, doesn't make me the most veteran of players, but I think after that period of time I know what I like.) The original was nearly perfect. It was exactly what it needed to be and fit the vision of a spiritual remake of the original game as well as updating it to more modern mechanical and design sensibilities. The way Xenonauts 2 looks is a step backwards from the original, which I find very disappointing. There are things I like about X2, mostly the update to a modern time (I liked the Cold War thing too, but this is a fresh take on it.) and the new engine (Aside from the awful UFOs the rest looks really good. Though, to be a bit nitpicky, I kind of liked the old Ceseans. They weren't Sectoids which was a nice change, though I'm sure more visual distinction won out in the end which I fully appreciate.)

Ultimately, I could have probably dealt with the air combat being boring, but what drew me to Xenonauts originally was the aesthetic. Everything worked together so well that even if there were weird LOS bugs or situations where it felt like you got shot through a wall, it wasn't a big deal because the whole experience was so put together. Now it looks like placeholder graphics were left in the game and frankly, it looks jarring and cheap when you see them in any context. Some people perhaps don't think that matters because as long as they get to explode the walls of the alien storage sheds with high explosives, they will be happy. Unfortunately, we went from very impressive looking designs to chasing down and trying to shoot down flying U-haul lots so you can invade them and play a very violent version of Storage Wars with the occupants. Aesthetics are important. That's the reason the Empire from Star Wars is so popular. Can you imagine people thinking the Empire is cool if the ships were just big rubix's cubes or flying tiles? It would probably drag down the appeal of the entire franchise. It would be like playing Doom or something and they replaced the Imps with pixelated Pac Man ghosts. No explanation for it. They're just there and you gotta kill them. Defenders come on and say that their big problem with Doom was the lack of 2D enemies because that's what was in the old game. Frankly, it just looks stupid and I'm finding myself wanting to just go play Phoenix Point or stick with CE and Xdivision.

I know at some point a design decision was made to scrap the original UFO designs because you really wanted to accommodate players like stewpidbear who really wanted hull breaching and the simplest way to do that was to make flying plates of alienium brownies. I can tell you though, that there are players like me who thought the way UFOs were done in the original was perfectly fine and frankly think hull breaching is not only an unnecessary mechanic but one that reduces the enjoyment of the experience. What do I mean? When you design a dungeon (which is essentially what a UFO is) you can make decisions about cover layout, entries and exits. Enemy positions. When you allow anyone to just blow any wall down, most of that changes. If you follow a rule in which the layouts make logical sense (I.E. Do not assume your hull wall is worthless because it will be breached) then there will become an optimal entry point to any UFO, which at that point, means that you might as well just make that the assumed door for design and balance. If you chose to gamify it further than you have, then you would make the inside of a UFO equally protective towards any potential entrance, thus invalidating the entire point of breaching the hull. From a design and gameplay perspective, I just don't see any reason to include it if you have to sacrifice style and visual consistency.

I want to end this by saying that I know you guys have put a lot of work into this and I do feel a bit bad tearing you down when I know you've spent the last 5 years on this. My reaction is out of love for what Xenonauts is and what Xenonauts 2 could be. I love most of what you've done, but these things, for me are dealbreakers. Who knows, maybe I'm the only one who feels this way, and if so, carry on. Thanks for making the original game and bringing me and many others so much enjoyment.

Edited by indaris
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I assume ( sorry if I’m wrong) that I’m one of the older players as I remember playing the original Laser Squad when it came out. The progression of all the Xcom type games in general have all built on each other in mostly good ways. For me the tactical part of them was the main attraction and the more options the better. Art is a very subjective area and one persons Rembrandt is another’s knock off Jackson Pollack. But it is just a game, buy or not, it’s your choice. Me, I’m looking forward to it warts and all.

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@indaris: I am on Chris' and stewpidbears side here. Good tactical options (and breaching walls certainly is one, no matter how much you want to discredit it) are worth way more for me than good looks; if that were otherwise I would never have picked up Xenonauts after playing the FiraXCOMs.

I think it is kind of funny that you claim that the ship design is the way it is because of a "loud minority" of a few players, when a) you are clearly the loud minority here, pomping around with wanting a refund and b) to my knowledge that design decision came from Goldhawk themselves, not necessarily from the community. But if you can point me to a thread where dozens of fans want blocky UFOs instead of round ones, I would be happy to change my opinion about that.

Your whole wall of text frankly is full of hyperbole and lame comparisons. The art style of your o-so-beloved Xenonauts 1 was not even remotely on par with contemporary games, and that is okay for me, and it seems it was okay for you also.

Oh, as an example of blocky aliens: The Borg from Star Trek. People like them, by the way.

Concerning your refund: I can take your key off your hands for a few bucks, if you want.

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I missed the explodey walls myself. Xeno 1 UFOs looked dang pretty, but those hallways were the dang Vietnam of that game. 

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40 minutes ago, Coffee Potato said:

I missed the explodey walls myself. Xeno 1 UFOs looked dang pretty, but those hallways were the dang Vietnam of that game. 

Must admit parked a vehicle at the end of the hallways, blasted any doors out of the way and then poured as much firepower into the rooms as possible! Took me longer to get certain stuff and research it, but kept my troops alive!

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Posted (edited)
On 7/6/2019 at 12:44 AM, stewpidbear said:

I assume ( sorry if I’m wrong) that I’m one of the older players as I remember playing the original Laser Squad when it came out. The progression of all the Xcom type games in general have all built on each other in mostly good ways. For me the tactical part of them was the main attraction and the more options the better. Art is a very subjective area and one persons Rembrandt is another’s knock off Jackson Pollack. But it is just a game, buy or not, it’s your choice. Me, I’m looking forward to it warts and all.

As it so happens, I've already bought it. I understand that art is subjective. However, it's not entirely subjective, if it were, then you shouldn't need any graphics whatsoever to enjoy the game. Surely someone can come up with a PnP version using GURPs or some other hideously over-complicated system to maximally simulate tactical wall breaching with absolutely zero aesthetic value. Perhaps that is the game some people wanted.

 

On 7/6/2019 at 5:36 AM, Dagar said:

@indaris: I am on Chris' and stewpidbears side here. Good tactical options (and breaching walls certainly is one, no matter how much you want to discredit it) are worth way more for me than good looks; if that were otherwise I would never have picked up Xenonauts after playing the FiraXCOMs.

I think it is kind of funny that you claim that the ship design is the way it is because of a "loud minority" of a few players, when a) you are clearly the loud minority here, pomping around with wanting a refund and b) to my knowledge that design decision came from Goldhawk themselves, not necessarily from the community. But if you can point me to a thread where dozens of fans want blocky UFOs instead of round ones, I would be happy to change my opinion about that.

Your whole wall of text frankly is full of hyperbole and lame comparisons. The art style of your o-so-beloved Xenonauts 1 was not even remotely on par with contemporary games, and that is okay for me, and it seems it was okay for you also.

Oh, as an example of blocky aliens: The Borg from Star Trek. People like them, by the way.

Concerning your refund: I can take your key off your hands for a few bucks, if you want.

If tactical options are all you're interested in, I'd like to recommend Dwarf Fortress or Minecraft. Even if you've already played it a hundred times, there's so much more to experience and without any pesky aesthetic quality to get in the way of your tactical options.

a) Am I? The most popular threads on here are about how the changes aren't really that well received. I'm sorry I've offended you with my opinion, which seems odd from someone who has no problem sharing their own repeatedly and even argumentatively on this very forum. b) Unless they decided they were really into Cubism, the only reason I could see was to accommodate hull breaching, which absolutely WAS something championed by a vocal minority. This very thread is but the most recent example. I'll accept your change in opinion at any time.

If you didn't enjoy the original game, what are you doing here and why did you presumably back it 5 years ago? I'm confused as to someone who didn't like the game would even be posting here. I quite enjoyed the art of Francois Cannels in Xenonauts 1, and I'm not sure you're understanding the distinction between art & aesthetic and graphics.

As far as the Borg go, yes, they have a few highly detailed models in a cube or rectangular shape (Props to Kim Bailey for making something that stood out so dramatically in TNG.) as well as other platonic shapes, that being something of their visual identity. What we have now (regardless of who rendered it) is constricted horribly by a design decision, leaving us with something not unlike a flying personal storage lot. It's so visually jarring, that I initially thought it was a placeholder standing in for what would eventually be better, more thematically and aesthetically consistent models and art.

Should it come to that, I'm afraid you won't be on the top of my list, but perhaps someone who's never played Xenonauts but enjoys the classic XCOM style might enjoy it. Though, I can't imagine that list could be very long.

Edited by indaris
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Posted (edited)

I have had very limited numbers of times when the walls on a UFO came down so far in my plays, and in general I didn't like it.  A time or two it made no real difference, at least once it got my soldiers massacred and I had to reload, and one time it let me have direct access to the back of a better ship and it almost seemed like outright abuse of the AI.  Yeah yeah I know, in war if you aren't cheating you aren't trying hard enough.  Duh.  But it really seemed more like a bug than a tactic, that's how unbalanced it was.

If I wanted aesthetics before function I too would never have bought X1 (or tried to talk any of my friends into buying it either).  But it is nice to have both if you can.  So on this point I VERY strongly do not like the butt-ugly current UFOs.

But I also consider the ability to rotate the map a HUGE upgrade.  One that the lack-of was a huge minus for X1.  If the price of getting to rotate the screen is butt-ugly UFOs I suppose I'm grudgingly willing to pay it.

But I won't pretend I like it.  And while I won't angrily demand a refund or anything, I will say that if I had known about this (and a few other things) in advance I would not have backed the game.  I very likely would still have bought it eventually, but I probably would have waited for a sale.

 

Edited by FriarBob

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5 hours ago, indaris said:

If tactical options are all you're interested in, I'd like to recommend Dwarf Fortress or Minecraft. Even if you've already played it a hundred times, there's so much more to experience and without any pesky aesthetic quality to get in the way of your tactical options.

Have played both of them. What kinds of tactical options does Minecraft offer, exactly? I would not categorize that as a tactical game, maybe aside from Race for the Wool game modes and similar. Seems you are just pointing at blocky, minimalist games for some reason, which I am totally not averse to.

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a) Am I? The most popular threads on here are about how the changes aren't really that well received.

Duh, that is hardly surprising, as the people visiting the forum are fans of the first game in majority, and fans are most of the time critical towards changes in a series. I am not saying that any of the criticism is unwarranted though, just that praise naturally is rare in such situations, especially if the developer tries to change/improve things.

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I'm sorry I've offended you with my opinion, which seems odd from someone who has no problem sharing their own repeatedly and even argumentatively on this very forum.

Don't be, you did not. Where you read that from I don't know, bu I'm sorry I've offended you with my opinion, which seems odd from someone who has no problem sharing their own repeatedly and even argumentatively on this very forum. quentially the rest of your sentence is pretty meaningless (but yeah, I like to discuss things, voice my opinion and argue with people. I don't view that as a bad thing).

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hull breaching, which absolutely WAS something championed by a vocal minority. This very thread is but the most recent example. I'll accept your change in opinion at any time.

I asked you to point me to a thread where that was voiced. Especially interesting would be some comment from Goldhawk stating that they are aiming for that mechanism as a consequence of this "loud minority". You failed to deliver the evidence so far, so I am not yet changing my mind. Try again. If you fail, I accept your change in opinion.

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If you didn't enjoy the original game, what are you doing here and why did you presumably back it 5 years ago? I'm confused as to someone who didn't like the game would even be posting here.

Again you are assuming things I did not state, and which, if you think about it for a second, obviously don't make sense. Why are you even doing that? I am trying to have a reasonable, if flippant discussion here. I'd prefer you not watering it down and sidetracking with baseless, emotional claims.

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I'm not sure you're understanding the distinction between art & aesthetic and graphics.

I can assure you I do. I have the equivalent of a B.Sc. in Media Computer Science.

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as well as other platonic shapes, that being something of their visual identity

Maybe blocky UFOs can become a visual identity for X2?

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Should it come to that, I'm afraid you won't be on the top of my list

That's okay, I can wait and support the developers when I have seen and liked the end product, as I always do.

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@indaris I'd be interested to know if you played the first Xenonauts during development, or just came to once it was finished and had been released?

I may be mistaken here but I very much get the feeling you're directly comparing the finished and reasonably polished final iteration of Xenonauts to a half-finished version of Xenonauts-2. That comparison is never going to flatter the unfinished product, particularly given that we don't take the normal approach of really polishing a thin vertical slice of the game to serve as a demo.

Also, I'd prefer if we didn't rewrite history about there being a "vocal minority" that bullied me into supporting destructible UFOs - not being able to include them is literally listed in the developer diary that shipped with X1 as one of my major regrets for the project.

EDIT - Having said all that, I'm still happy to give you your money back. I don't those those are particularly good reasons given the game isn't finished yet, but you were willing to take a leap of faith on us for Xenonauts 2 so I'll return the favour.

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Also, just so everyone is clear: I was asked earlier in the thread whether the DESIGNS of the UFOs are final. The designs ARE final - i.e. we're going to have angular UFOs this time around.

However, the VISUALS of the UFOs in the ground combat are NOT final (both on the inside and the outside). The visuals of a lot of things in the ground combat still need a lot of polish and the UFOs are one of them. Don't take my comments in this thread to mean that the UFO tiles you see in the ground missions are the UFO tiles you'll be seeing in the final game.

To illustrate the point I made earlier about how it's not really fair to compare a game in development to a finished one, I found an old screenshot from Xenonauts 1 that was taken less than a year before the game released. It doesn't look much like the game that we ended up shipping less than 12 months later.

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Man, that extra line of build space tho:rolleyes:

I will say, the game's coming along nifty like so far. There's a lot to like (Board game style base, primary/secondaries, and deployment changes come to mind in particular), and as someone who regularly plays and tests stuff in development, this has been a lot more positive than most. 

Comparing apples to crabs, this looks drastically more promising than Phoenix Point at the moment, in my opinion. (I was excited for both, and sincerely hope PP actually comes out decent)

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I think @indaris raises a fair point about the destructible walls. Breaching shouldn't be too easy. Cheesing it by smashing walls seems the obvious way. Maybe if the UFO walls can only be destroyed with C4 / deployed explosives that go off at the end of the turn? Or have the main chamber made of something tougher.

As for the visuals, well, I'm not super hyped about the way the game looks just now either. But we were never promised AAA graphics. The selling point of xenonauts was not for the 4k crowd, rather, because it looked cool in its own right. Give the aesthetics time to come into their own. The polish comes on at the end.

 

Also:

On 7/2/2019 at 10:57 AM, Chris said:

...let the player "mine" their way inside...

for all of the above qualm about cheesing it, this does sound fun.

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