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Chris

Xenonauts-2 January Update

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Hi everyone - we've not released a build for a while, so it's time for another update to tell you what we've been working on and when you can expect to see a new release arrive.

Delays & Disruption:
The Christmas holidays are always disruptive to a business, but we've also had to spend a lot of time and effort trying to fix the loading bug that starting appearing in the V10 Experimental builds (basically the game would sometimes lock up when starting or loading a game). This has been a very thorny issue, as it's related to how Unity loads the asset bundles it uses to store game objects, so it's controlled by code deep within Unity rather than being anything we have any real control (or even visibility) over.

We thought we'd found and fixed the issue on several occasions, but sadly it seems we've only managed to make it happen less frequently. This is an annoying bug, but it's not game-breaking given you can always just restart Xenonauts-2 and it'll probably load fine the second time around. We're therefore going to leave it for now and see if we can get some help from Unity themselves. Anyway, this bug has been a big reason why we've not been putting out many builds recently.

New Features / Content:
Despite the delays, we've actually done quite a bit to the game since the last public update. The two main features we've been working on are the mechanical units and the modular armour system, but I've also spent some time balancing the strategy layer and doing some of the plot-related writing. The Kickstarter soldiers are now all set up and working, and we're now starting to make a few visual updates to the ground combat missions and it's a short-term priority to add some more mission and map variation; if all goes well we might see some of the new mission types (item recovery / VIP Assassination) appearing in the game.

Strategic Balancing / Writing: I'll talk first about what I've been doing. The strategic balancing involved me playing the campaign fighting the air battles but using developer cheats to auto-win the ground combat missions, so it allows me to check that all the UFOs are spawning correctly and functioning in the air combat, the missions are loading up properly and unlocking the appropriate research items, all the research and workshop projects are joined together correctly, and eventually that the final mission can be unlocked and won. It also means I need to ensure the escalating power of the UFOs can be matched by the player's interceptors and their weapons, because I can't progress through the game if I can't shoot down the UFOs. It was literally impossible to shoot down some of the UFOs in the last public build, so this is a good thing :)

I then locked myself in a room for two or three weeks to write a whole bunch of the key research text - projects like Alien Alloys and Alenium that explain the fundamentals of how alien technology works, and then the 8 or so plot-related research projects starting with the Alien Invasion up until the stuff that unlocks Operation Endgame. This is why I've not been on the forums or posting news for a while; I needed to focus on that and once I got it done I had about three weeks of project management stuff to catch up on instead. Anyway, the first draft of those projects is now complete and will be in the next build (of course about two days after having finished the writing, I had a really good new idea for a new game mechanic that would subtly change the setting and require some more rewrites!)

Vehicles: I'm pleased to say that mechanical units are now in the game and functional. No doubt there's a whole host of bugs and weird behaviour with them that we'll need to iron out over the coming months, but you can build a MARS in the workshop and equip it with any kind of infantry weapon, then assign it to a dropship and drive it round ground combat maps blasting aliens. It crushes things like the X1 vehicles did, which is fun but still pretty janky - it'll happily smash through solid brick walls but not little tables, and if it tries to go through a door it stops, opens the door and then smashes down the doorframe. All stuff we can fix though.

Modular Armour: The modular armour system will hopefully be done in the next few days, but we've been thinking that for weeks now. It's a cool system, but it's a complex one due to all the different combinations of the modules and the way that they need to control the appearance of the soldier both on the strategy layer and (eventually) in the ground combat.

Miscellaneous: All the Kickstarter backer soldiers have now been added, along with a large number of the custom portraits - another surprisingly time-consuming job, but it's another task crossed off the list. UFOs on the Geoscape can now have escort craft like they did in X1. We've updated Strategic Operations so they now add scientists / engineers to a hire pool rather than putting them directly into your base, which means Living Capacity checks now work properly and modders can entirely revert to the X1 hiring mechanics if they prefer (this also means we can more easily support splitting personnel by base like in X1 if we want to). We've done a bunch of other smaller things too, but I've already written a massive wall of text so I'll just stop here.

Build V11 Plans and Priorities:
So for V11 my priority is to get the modular armour finished, and then I want to start spending some time on the ground combat - both in terms of level design / variation, and game balance. After spending a lot of time improving the strategy layer over the past 6+ months I feel like we can now start looking at the game as a complete experience.

That said, I'm also looking at a few new Geoscape systems that I'm hoping will mix things up right from the start of the game. I'll throw some threads up on those so you guys can discuss the ideas and give us your views - although these are still at the early stage of testing, so it's far from certain they'll survive!

When can you expect V11? I suspect it'll be out on Tuesday February 4th.

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As promised, I've put up a few ideas for some of the new systems we're experimenting with here: 

 

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When will you consider balancing some of the ground combat units? Those floaty orb eye things still feel like placeholders and the new androns are not necessarily appreciated.

 

Either way, I'm loving the game so far! I am definitely pleased that you decided to keep the core gameplay of Xenonauts 1. After all, don't fix what isn't broken.

 

Anyways I hope you cool dudes enjoyed your Christmas vacation, and have a happy new year.

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What's the odds of more debuff types? I've been liking the Shock mechanic of XDiv (basically allows for some guns to hit TUs instead of suppression), but been wondering about the odds of giving more interactions for when a unit is hit, but wouldn't go down. I'd assume it would at least slow them down. (See: everyone's first Seb being immune to shotguns encounter)

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On 1/24/2020 at 8:53 AM, Chris said:

Vehicles: If it tries to go through a door it stops, opens the door and then smashes down the doorframe. All stuff we can fix though.

That sounds like what a real, present day battle droid would do.  Can we keep that behaviour? :p

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I love these updates, good to see the MARS made it in..even though it currently has some odd behaviors

and keep tabs on the balance, while your competitor phoenix point has a larger team their game had some..significant..balance problems and honestly still does (in the players favor and that might be the best area the balance can swing to, but still..on release it was an art as to not blunder into an power combo that trivialized the game). it seems to plague the (high profile) turn based tactical genre the most to end up between a "million turn drag" and the "one-turn-enemy-is-all-dead and from this point on it's a cakewalk".

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Yeah definitely don't make the same mistakes as Phoenix Point. That game forces you to cheese in order to override the enemy's BS. Honestly just keeping the main feeling from the previous games would be good.

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Modular armour  is literally one of my favourite features in any video game ever, signed in just to express my excitement the game will have it! 

 

Any chance for teaser screenshot and/or mod support?

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On 1/30/2020 at 9:48 PM, emmalong said:

Modular armour  is literally one of my favourite features in any video game ever, signed in just to express my excitement the game will have it! 

 

Any chance for teaser screenshot and/or mod support?

Glad you're excited for it! You can see a brief description of how it works in this thread: https://www.goldhawkinteractive.com/forums/index.php?/topic/20813-modular-armour-system/

Screenshots are not currently available because we're still trying to iron out some visual issues (making the soldier equip screen image support modular armour has been a lot of work), but if all goes well we'll have a complete set of art ready for the starting armour set in the build due next week and you'll be able to test it out yourself.

Yup, modular armour is just as moddable as any other item in the game. I suspect it'll be a system that a lot of people enjoy playing with, especially because it applies to vehicles too.

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I mean you guys act like balancing is super hard but virtually all the modders did it right. Snapshot was just more concerned about other things, like massive gimmicks they apparently don't have the budget for.

Modular armor sort-of exists in OpenXcom. As in, one armor item can be worn as a number of different armors. It gets very tedious scrolling through armor choices if the armor has more than 3 variants though. With a minor engine modification it's probably a simple matter to implement actual modular armor. You can already put items on the body and prohibit the players from removing them during combat, so it's just a matter of letting those items give an armor bonus.

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@Bobit: In this case modular armour does not mean 1 armour item that can be worn as a number of different armours. Rather, it means that additional modules can be attached to a suit of armour. The base armour type does not change, the extras and addons you can attach to it does. 

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If anyone is wondering why the new build isn't released yet, the answer is that we've been delayed by some more problems with the Modular Armour system. I'm expecting the release to happen tomorrow one way or another; if we can't get the modular armour fixed and working for tomorrow then we'll put the build out without it.

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Or you take a little more Time to get it working. 5 or 7 more Days of Waiting-Time are no problem. We will get so many Add-Ons in the Game (like a better Geoscape-Use, more R & D) and without this important new Feature a big testing is not significant.

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On 2/5/2020 at 10:48 PM, Alienkiller said:

Or you take a little more Time to get it working. 5 or 7 more Days of Waiting-Time are no problem. We will get so many Add-Ons in the Game (like a better Geoscape-Use, more R & D) and without this important new Feature a big testing is not significant.

It's been quite a while since the last build was released so I suspect we'll probably need to release a couple of hotfixes for this build anyway, so I think just putting V11 out as soon as possible in a somewhat rough state is the best idea. That way we'll hopefully be able to find and fix most of the big bugs nice and quickly :)

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Actually, I take back everything I said above - I had a build up on Steam ready to press the launch button, but for some reason all the art for the modular weapons isn't displaying in the public builds. It works fine in the developer version of the game so I have no idea why that's happening (it's probably something dumb that'll only take half an hour to fix), but I'm going to postpone the build until tomorrow because it's well past my bedtime.

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That´s what I mean Coffee Potato. A good Game or new Step of a Game (like Xenonauts 2 in Beta-Status) haven´t to rush to Finish. It´s better to take some days more and get an playable Test Version (dosen´t matter it´s Beta or Early Access) / final Game. And if Xenonauts 2 needs one more year then it will get that time.

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HI Chris

Can you post the updates on the Kickstarter page as well. 

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On 2/12/2020 at 7:45 PM, grey said:

HI Chris

Can you post the updates on the Kickstarter page as well. 

Yup, the Kickstarter page is going to be getting an update when Hotfix 2 comes out for this build.

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11 hours ago, Chris said:

Yup, the Kickstarter page is going to be getting an update when Hotfix 2 comes out for this build.

What is the ETA for HF2? 

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2 hours ago, Emily_F said:

What is the ETA for HF2? 

If all goes well it'll be arriving today (Friday).

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