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cardboardMike

Has the community dragged this back to being X1 with a new coat of paint?

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I don't have early access but have been waiting patiently for X2 for a while. Every few months I dip back into the forums to see how much progress has been made.

I don't necessarily say this in a negative way, but it sounds like a large number of changes planned for X2 have been replaced by exactly the same mechanics in X1, often after (maybe not as a result of) complaining on these forums.

Things that spring to mind are base mechanics and air combat.

Whereas I hoped X2 would be able to evolve X1 in some positive ways, it seems that is not happening. Rather it's going to be the same thing with better graphics. That probably suits a lot of people here, but I can't help thinking it could have been more adventurous. 

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I think it's best to quote the most recent dev update on this issue.

Quote

I know many people will be delighted to hear that news, but I can also understand if others are starting to wonder why we're bothering to make a sequel at all given everything seems to be changing back to how it was in the first Xenonauts. If you're concerned about this, don't worry - it's mostly a temporary state of affairs. Once the game is playable things will start to diverge again (basically we need a solid X1 / X-Com gameplay base before we can test our planned changes).

V9 will reintroduce the X1 air combat. After that, let's see how the game begins to diverge from the original.

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9 hours ago, cardboardMike said:

I don't have early access but have been waiting patiently for X2 for a while. Every few months I dip back into the forums to see how much progress has been made.

I don't necessarily say this in a negative way, but it sounds like a large number of changes planned for X2 have been replaced by exactly the same mechanics in X1, often after (maybe not as a result of) complaining on these forums.

Things that spring to mind are base mechanics and air combat.

Whereas I hoped X2 would be able to evolve X1 in some positive ways, it seems that is not happening. Rather it's going to be the same thing with better graphics. That probably suits a lot of people here, but I can't help thinking it could have been more adventurous. 

I think it's a valid question to raise, and I'll probably write a longer post on the topic at some point because I imagine you're not the only person thinking this. I guess the question really boils down to what an individual considers sufficient innovation / gameplay change to be "different" to what came before. 

Over time the design Xenonauts 2 has drifted from being full of bold new ideas to something far more akin to the first game, which mostly happened as a result of those bold ideas colliding with reality and coming up short. The community has definitely played a role in our decision to move X2 closer to X1, but that could be interpreted either as hardcore fans hating change or just people flagging up new ideas that are outright worse than what they were replacing. 

Both of the changes you mention are in service of a deeper strategic layer than was originally planned in X2. I guess over time I've realised that that complexity in the tactical and strategic layers relative to other games in the genre pretty much IS Xenonauts; a lot of people liked Xenonauts 1 because the strategic layer was more freeform than the modern XCOM games and simplifying the strategy layer as we originally planned in X2 may not actually have been the adventurous choice given that is also what our main rivals have done. I've also found that the various mechanics in X-Com games are so heavily interconnected its difficult to change a major element without negatively affecting other parts of the game; having a simpler air combat model limits the Geoscape more than you might initially think.

In general, I think within video games and the strategy genre in particular there's a proud tradition of sequels refining the original game without having to fundamentally change the mechanics. Civilisation II and Master of Orion II spring to mind, but something like Doom II also works for the comparison. If we deliver Xenonauts 1 with updated graphics, better stability and usability, address a number of the gameplay problems, add some new aliens / technology / other content and maybe a couple of well-chosen new gameplay systems to give players more options - is that not enough? Ultimately that's a question of personal taste, really.

That said, I do feel bad for people who backed our Kickstarter or bought a pre-order on the basis of our bold promises about new features that have since changed; I think anyone in that situation has a legitimate case to argue they had been missold (which is why I'm happy to offer refunds to such people). 

 

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Also, given I perhaps went off a bit on a tangent there, it's worth mentioning a few specific points about the base mechanics and the air combat. Not sure if you read the associated threads but the base already supports individual scientist / engineer staff assignments to specific buildings, has a power system and we're going to be looking at adjacency bonuses for buildings in the future. In the air combat the interceptors have additional customisable components beyond just weapons and we're looking into adding cover to the battlefield in the form of clouds, adding several new weapons and AI behaviours, experimenting with hit and evade chances, having a "proper" autoresolve formula, etc.

Whether you class that sort of stuff as sufficient improvement over X1 is up to you really; it's definitely evolutionary rather than revolutionary change and your mileage may vary. But as I've outlined in several recent posts on the topic it's necessary to first copy the X1 mechanics before you are able to start testing changes to them.

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I have to say this shows why Goldhawk is an amazing studio. There's a real willingness to try new ideas, but without necessarily committing to them - you can admit when something simply doesn't work. And offering refunds to people who specifically wanted now-changed features is very admirable and honest.

On the gameplay front, while I liked the bold ideas behind the "shadow war" on the Geoscape and all that, I'm also really pleased with where the game is headed now. X1 is one of my favourite games, and I'm definitely in the camp that will be pretty happy with an improved X1. While the strategy layer is currently an almost exact copy of X1, I'm very happy about the improved tactical layer. There's a bunch of really small improvements but it adds up, and the boxy destructible UFOs are my favourite feature.

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I have to admit, I've been a little disappointed that X2 seems to be on a path to being X1 with a new lick of paint. I think that there needs to be some more emphasis on making the gameplay a bit different, especially with tactics in the combat missions (e.g. I really wish you would bring in crouching and prone position that affords greater bonuses for use of terrain and positioning, i.e. lower chance of getting hit and higher accuracy, at the expense of TU), some more tech like claymore mines, proximity mines, and individual additions to weapons like night scopes, grenade launchers, thermal imaging that you have to develop earlier in the game. In the strategy view, it would be great to turn the strategic op missions into a playable mission in their own right (including dealing with human collaborators). I'd also like to see bigger base maps with more tech like base defences, interrogation units etc.

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@Emily_F I would like that, too, but I put that hope more on easy to use mod tools and the community now. Which is fine to me. If Goldhawk can give me a solid basis for mods, that is all I really need from them.

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Also, maybe having some more specialist troops that are specially trained to use the fancy gear; these troopers would, potentially, be highly valuable so their demise would hit you pretty hard, so there would be even more need to concentrate on tactics, as well as on soldier management in the strategy level. 

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1 hour ago, Dagar said:

@Emily_F I would like that, too, but I put that hope more on easy to use mod tools and the community now. Which is fine to me. If Goldhawk can give me a solid basis for mods, that is all I really need from them.

To be honest, I suspect both I and a lot of people in the community would be disappointed if we don't deliver a game that improves on the gameplay of X1 as well as the graphics.

We'll also be doing our best to include features that mean a lot to small groups of people - e.g. good mod tools for the modding community, large font mode for people with bad eyesight / small monitors, etc - but we're also going to be improving the core gameplay experience too. The majority of players just play the vanilla experience so we can't rely on tuning the more specialist things.

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The Question from cardbpardMike is entiteld. And the Answer is yes to many things. Some are Good, others are Bad. The good ones with upgrades bring a better gameplay and / or eayser Base Managing. To bring in the older Base layout as a interim solution is ok too, until something better get found. But be warned, the Basebuildup-Screen looks exactly like in X1. 

The Main Bad thing atm is that the Main-Base isn´t a special Base anymore. That did UFO: Extraterestials much better. That the Devs are thinking to bring in the old Airfight again (the one which you break your fingers),  it´s an absoulutely no Go. Only acceptable, if it´s done as a strategic / tactical Gameplay and not as Arcarde-Shooter.

 

 

 

 

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31 minutes ago, Alienkiller said:

 

The Main Bad thing atm is that the Main-Base isn´t a special Base anymore. That did UFO: Extraterestials much better. That the Devs are thinking to bring in the old Airfight again (the one which you break your fingers),  it´s an absoulutely no Go. Only acceptable, if it´s done as a strategic / tactical Gameplay and not as Arcarde-Shooter. 

 

I agree with you on both points. I've had an idea for air combat that could probably be a bit like current ground missions inasmuch as there are combatant units operating in a 3D environment, from very low to very high (so you interact with terrain as cover etc at low level, and perhaps early planes can get up to a certain level), turned based weapon systems work as they do in combat missions (perhaps an idea is that the pilots are like soldiers and gain XP through successful missions and training), aircraft can be fitted with researched gear like improved targeting systems and countermeasures and shields of some sort, etc. At the moment, the air combat system lets the game down because it is really basic compared to the rest of the game. It's my idea workable @Chris

Edited by Emily_F

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I don't agree that the old system is a no-go, though I'd like to see a tactical turn-based one or something like FTL as well. As for your suggestion, @Emily_F: much of that idea leaves something to desire. Now I am no expert in that matter, but afaik real air combat is very, very different to real ground combat. No jet fighter is nimble enough to take cover behind anything on the ground. The engagement distances are rarely below 1km, there usually is no dogfight with MGs like with the piston engine planes of WW1 or 2. Combat relies heavily on long range target seeking missiles and counter measures. If there is a close range engagement, it is highly three dimensional and based on split second decisions and reflexes, nothing that is easily portrayed in a 2D abstraction. The height and velocity dynamics of fighter aircraft are pretty unintuitive to pretty much most of us. I don't know how, with that real world basis, you would make a fun, easy to learn and not totally outlandish "mini" game, and apparently, neither do Goldhawk (or Firaxis, for that matter).

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Dagar, yes we know that the Airfight isn´t easy to manage. But it has to be one that can be handeld. And the old one can´t be handeld or you have broken fingers.

That´s why an other system has to be implemented or that system has to be changed. I like the X-Com Fighter-System or that one from UFO: ET. There you have to watch for your Pilots / Planes and say what Weapons they have to use as well as what Attack-Mode they have to fly. Then they can use the old one system.

But not a Arcarde-Shooter-Thing. That´s one Point why the Predecessor isn´t played again from me and some others.

Edited by Alienkiller

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I regularly check these forums but rarely post; this thread’s title did make me take notice though, because I’ve been thinking along the same lines for a while. I bought into the earlier bold ideas for X2, and although they may have eventually proven to be unfeasible, I do feel a bit disappointed every time something is “rolled back”.

Still, I’m sure Chris and co. will make something awesome. I suggested some ideas a while back for X1 that didn’t make the cut, but in the spirit of positive contribution, will throw them into the hat again :)

My main idea is to have a new mission type where you’re exclusively controlling local forces. The situation could be something like an allied military bunker is under attack by aliens. There’s not enough time for the Xenonauts to get there, but there’s a radio link set up so you (the player) can command the local forces. Imagine controlling a large team troops armed with basic weapons (rifles, shotguns etc.) against a horde of Reapers. It could lead to great Aliens-esque missions. The odds of your team all getting wiped out are high, but in contrast to regular missions, it’s not a game over / rage quit situation if that happens.

There are a lot of ways in which you could use this kind of a premise. Maybe if your troops hold the base’s hanger for x turns, then your main Xenonaut troops turn up as reinforcements and take the fight to the enemy. Or if the aliens take the radio room then you lose contact and it’s mission over.

Basically, I think this could be a way of mixing up the gameplay as a sequel arguably should, and adding more variety in a way that hopefully isn’t a huge burden from the development side of things (i.e. it would use existing assets such as character models). 

Separate to this, secondary mission objectives that crop up unexpectedly (e.g. rescuing a civilian and carrying them back to the chopper) would add more variety to core missions too. I made a huge list of options in a forum thread what must have been literally years ago, but can’t find it now!

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1 hour ago, Ogilvy the Astronomer said:

I made a huge list of options in a forum thread what must have been literally years ago, but can’t find it now!

It's this one, I think: 

Some great ideas there indeed.

 

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On ‎10‎/‎15‎/‎2019 at 2:11 PM, Alienkiller said:

The Question from cardbpardMike is entiteld. And the Answer is yes to many things. Some are Good, others are Bad. The good ones with upgrades bring a better gameplay and / or eayser Base Managing. To bring in the older Base layout as a interim solution is ok too, until something better get found. But be warned, the Basebuildup-Screen looks exactly like in X1. 

The Main Bad thing atm is that the Main-Base isn´t a special Base anymore. That did UFO: Extraterestials much better. That the Devs are thinking to bring in the old Airfight again (the one which you break your fingers),  it´s an absoulutely no Go. Only acceptable, if it´s done as a strategic / tactical Gameplay and not as Arcarde-Shooter.

 

This is the age-old problem of different people and different tastes.

You want 1 super-special base? I don't. I don't like that idea at all.

Also, the air combat won't be exactly as in X1. Chris did say they are looking for different solutions

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Trashman, I don´t say 1 super-special base. The Mainbase have to be special with all Workshops (Production for Parts of every Description, Weapons, Armors etc.) Laboratorys (Research of Everything), Coordination (Everything from Missions, UFO-Interception, etc.) and so on.

All others Bases are Cannonfodder, because they are Front-Bases. There are the Main-Interceptors, Hangars, Technical Personal, Radars / Scanners, Soldiers. Upgrades on Interceptors and the Buildup from in-house development-Interceptors / Troopships will be fully completed here from the produced parts of the Mainbase Workshops.

What I mean is, that the Frontbases don´t have Workshops and Laboratorys.

 

What the Airfight / Intercepton belongs we will see then. It should come out with the new Version (V.9). I have only raise concerns that X2 will be only a small Modernised Version from X1 with the Things come in again without changes. Best Example is the Base-Buildup Concept without the Change as Main-Base (Atlas-Base) and Cannonfooder-Bases with Buildup-Limitations (no Labs, Worshops).

 

Edited by Alienkiller

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I remember I was against the more radical ideas from the start, such as the abstraction of strategic layer.
So while I feel the same, I think it is a good direction.  The X1 formula may not be perfect, but it is tried and proven (esp. the air combat!), and has ample space for refinements.
We may no longer see in-development screenshots like before backer builds, but the combat preview has enough improvements to keep my hope up.

Yes, I also have reservations about the refinements - would multi-base plus rooms plus staff turns X2 globe into a mini-civ, for example?
Well, since X2 is done in unity, its game logic will probably be much easier to mod.  That is another hope, too.

All that we need is for X2 to provide a good base and become a success (even a moderate one) so that enough modders will be interested.
And if it fills the niche of xcom clones instead of the "new xcom" clones, X2 have my bet.

Edited by Sheepy

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On 10/13/2019 at 10:13 PM, Chris said:

In general, I think within video games and the strategy genre in particular there's a proud tradition of sequels refining the original game without having to fundamentally change the mechanics. Civilisation II and Master of Orion II spring to mind, but something like Doom II also works for the comparison. If we deliver Xenonauts 1 with updated graphics, better stability and usability, address a number of the gameplay problems, add some new aliens / technology / other content and maybe a couple of well-chosen new gameplay systems to give players more options - is that not enough? Ultimately that's a question of personal taste, really.

Exactly. This is generally how the Strategy genre tends to work. I don't know where it all went wrong for MOO III though... Maybe it was a different team or they tried to do something fundamentally different, I don't know because I never devoted much time to it (but it is generally accepted as not being a patch on the first two). That is something to be guarded against - it it ain't broke then don't change it (well at least not drastically).

It would be nice to have some new weird aliens introduced though (someone said something about floating "eyes" a while back...).

Edited by ooey

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A middle ground between X1 and XDiv with a snazzy engine is what I was expecting personally. 

As a cautionary tale, the Armored Core series ran for 20 years now, trying something radically new with every sequel. Great, those games kick all kinds of donkeys, but the community can't discuss what they like about the series without going ballistic at each other. You can't have a favorite without pissing someone off. 

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I hope that when the game is released, it will be more than what we have seen over the last 18 months to 2 years, as we go through the same ground battles, the the same weapons and armour, over the same couple of months game time, when will see some variety in game play!!

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X2 have to be 1.000 % better than it´s predecessor. And it looks like now it will be the same like it´s predecossor with some little improvements. ATM it dosen´t make a difference if you play the predecessor or the new version downgrade to the old stile. 

And this is not a good development. There are the promised improvements needed which get founded on kickstarter. That´s the Minimum we need to get an improvement to the old game. If the downgrade-Development goes onward, Kickstarter will stopp that because they monitor the Development too. And personaly I see that comming.

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58 minutes ago, Alienkiller said:

X2 have to be 1.000 % better than it´s predecessor. And it looks like now it will be the same like it´s predecossor with some little improvements. ATM it dosen´t make a difference if you play the predecessor or the new version downgrade to the old stile. 

And this is not a good development. There are the promised improvements needed which get founded on kickstarter. That´s the Minimum we need to get an improvement to the old game. If the downgrade-Development goes onward, Kickstarter will stopp that because they monitor the Development too. And personaly I see that comming.

I really think you need to read Kickstarter small print and understand how it applies. Any project that is backed can be changed through development, and like a Goldhawk do when they listen to their backers changed through feedback. Backing a Kickstarter Project is a gamble, it’s your choice as the backer if you except the risks. Unlike many companies Goldhawk do listen to the majority and if able do change what they can. You may not be happy with the result, but in the end if you receive a usable product at the end of the process that’s what a Kickstarter is.

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