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Xenonauts 2: Base Mechanics

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The base mechanics in Xenonauts 2 have seen a lot of change since we first started developing the project. Our original plan was to have a single side-on base that housed only a single dropship (much like the modern XCOM games), but after experimenting with that setup we found it left the strategic layer too barebones. We therefore transitioned back to the classic X-Com / Xenonauts base mechanics with multiple bases and dropships etc.

The base mechanics in the first Xenonauts were already perfectly servicable, but we've also carried over several of the mechanics we had experimented with when we were using the 2D side-on base. We therefore have a number of new mechanics already implemented into the game that we could use to improve the base screen, we just need to experiment with them to see if they actually make the game more interesting. We also have a few more ideas for things we could add to the game that might make the base mechanics more interesting overall, which we'll be looking into during the playtesting phase.

The following systems are explained below:

  • Power System
  • Structure Personnel Slots
  • Stores Capacity
  • Further Ideas

 

Power System:
Most people will be familiar with the idea of a power system from XCOM or other games that involve building a base - certain structures generate Power, and you need enough available Power to construct a building. This system is already in the game and fully functional. 

We'll be evaluating this system as development continues. I'm not sure it adds much to the game right now, but it could be quite interesting in conjunction with some of the systems below (notably the Personnel Slots). If having to manage Power just ends up being annoying, we'll probably disable it for the final release.

Structure Personnel Slots:
The personnel slot system allows you to assign staff to specific base structures to increase their effect - for example, assigning an Engineer to a Generator would cause it to generate more Power. This system is already in the game and functional, but is currently disabled. The main issue with this system is the complexity of the UI required, as displaying a base with an overlay that shows which buildings have what staff assigned to them (and possibly also the power consumption) proved very cluttered, 

Anyway, system is potentially interesting because the player does not have access to an unlimited number of scientists and engineers like they did in the first Xenonauts, so choosing to assign them to a base structure could be quite a significant choice. Each slot can also cost power individually, so assigning a Scientist to a Radar might increase the range of the radar by 10% but also cost an additional 10 Power. The question is really whether we can find enough interesting bonuses on different rooms to make it worthwhile to support the extra UI.

Again, we'll be evaluating this system as development progresses - it's already set up but we need to be sure that it's actually making the game more interesting, not just more complicated!

Stores Capacity:
The original Xenonauts had bases that had unlimited storage space, but in X2 we are introducing the concept of storage capacity. If you want to store large amounts of equipment at a base you'll need to build a large base store. This feature is mostly implemented already, we just need to set up the code that forces you to sell items if you go over your store capacity (there's currently no penalty for doing so).

There's rather less in the base stores in Xenonauts 2 compared to the original X-Com, though, because ammo and many basic items are unlimited in quantity. But I think it could still add to the gameplay experience, particularly if coupled with some of the ideas listed below (e.g. the low-grade alloys, etc).

Further Ideas:
These bullet points represent systems that are not currently in the game, but are ideas we are actively considering implementing or experimenting with:

  • Building Adjacency Bonuses: a simple adjacency system that provides bonuses when you placing buildings next to other buildings of the same type would make the placement of structures in your base a more interesting decision, and probably wouldn't be too hard to implement. If handled well I feel like this might be biggest upgrade we could do to the base!
  • Radar Ranges: the X1 system of being able to increase radar range by stacking up to three Radars in a base was a bit strange. Having more than one type of radar building with differing ranges, sizes and power consumption and then using only the highest range Radar in each base would probably be more interesting (this would also allow us to lock the most effective Radar structures away in the research tree).
  • Resource-Generation Buildings: tying specific Engineering projects to base structures is an interesting idea, for example building an Alloy Forge base structure would unlock a repeatable Engineering project that allows you to construct Alien Alloys using only money.
  • Expanded Recovered Items: tied to the newly limited storage capacity, it might be interesting to add bulky recoverable low-grade alloys / alenium to crash sites, which cannot initially be used but can either be sold for profit or could be processed by your Engineers into usable alloys / alenium. Not only would this give your engineers something to do in the early stages of the game, it'd also make it worthwhile to have plenty of storage space at your base!
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I honestly don't think that adjacency bonuses are going to work very well in X2. The reason they work so well on FiraXcom is that you only have the one base - ever. Therefore you have strong competition for space between the different room. In X2 I can build a new base, name it "FACTORY" then proceed to build all the workshops I'll ever need and reap the rewards of multiple adjacency bonuses. In fact, with X2 you might want to consider adjacency maluses so that if people want to build a factory or a lab complex they can, but the overspecialization in a base carries its own dangers. 

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As Beta-Tester I can say the Following:

1. It´s good to hear / read that the Structure Personal Slots are already in the Game. The best way to test them is to activate them in Beta 13.

2. The Power System is with the Lift the first Main-Structure of a Base. It should be upgradeable to new levels (from Atomic to Fusion and then Alienpower-System or such). And combinable with the Structure Personal Slot. Best way to test it is to activate it in Beta 13.

3. The Storage Capacity is alrady implemented. With that the good old X-Com Enemy Unknown, Terror from the Deep and Interceptor-Feeling comes again. It´s a must have in Xenonauts 2.

4.1 Point 2 (Radar Ranges), 3 (Resource Generation-Buildings) and 4 (Expanded Recoverd Items) from further Ideas are must haves too. Such things are talked about since a decade from the Testers and X1 Players for X2. They should implemented asap to get tested in Beta 14 and 15.

4.2 With the Building Adjacency Bonuses I agree with Max_Caine. I see the same Problematic, which means if it´s get implemented the Bonuses have to be limited. Max 4 Buildings can get the Bonuses in a Base, which means you have to decide. You can build up 2 Bases with 2 Factorys and / or Research-Facilitys or 1 Base with 4 in a Quader or a Row. So you limit the Bonus and the Player have to use the Brain what he / she wanna have. That makes the game much more replayable and interessting.

Edited by Alienkiller

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8 hours ago, yingyangKit said:

Question can the base be attacked like in the original? 

Yes, we had that in the beta.

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On 6/3/2020 at 1:01 PM, Max_Caine said:

In X2 I can build a new base, name it "FACTORY" then proceed to build all the workshops I'll ever need and reap the rewards of multiple adjacency bonuses. 

But that's cool! What's wrong with large-scale manufacturing producing cheaper products?

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One engineering base is not effective. It is better to divide engineering into two bases, then the speed of engineering will be higher

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Energy consumption is great: please make sure a single reactor cannot powre an entire base (like in PP): 3-4 buildings per base reactor max

Radar: no stacking bonus sounds good, but different radar type whee only the size, poerwconsumtion and range is different does not make sense. There can be different types of radars that do differnt things (detection of aircraft, land objects or analysis of enemy forces on geoscape) but radars that serve the same fucntion should have the smae size and all be upgradeable to their higher tier variant to avoid confusion and having to tear down redundant buildings

Storage Capacity is a welcome change (we need many buildings to have to choose what to build where) but it needs to be optional and not a must-have to present an acutal decision and not a must-have building in all bases:

1. Airplane equipment should be stored in hangar OR hangar provide some minimal storage enough for typicial airplane hosted

2. MARS units shoul not be stored in storage but in dedciated vehicle hangars and be visible there to see at a glance how many and what kind of MARS units are in a given base and again to have more buildings to choose from. Adjecancy bonuses are likely to be the biggest hitters yes, but the concept will only work if there are a lot of buildings that break up easy placement decisions. E.g.: a vehicle hangar does not provide adjecancy bonus to any other building so if built its a blocker for perfect adjecancy combos

Adjecancy bonus needs at least one or two adjecancy specific buildings to flesh out the system: These can be base unique or not provide any benefit in themselves but should provide huge benefit for some types of buidligns next to them e.g.: AI Data Center; Robotic Logistics Room

I didnt see an important aspect of base bulding mentioned in the base cocnept: defnesive structures. For these to make sense it need sto be more clear then in X1 when a base is detected by the Aliens and when detected, it should remain detected and Aliens should conduct consoldiated efforts to destroy the base or hidner it via bombing runs and invasion attmepts

To combat base attacks (invasion or bombing) defensive structures should be available:

1. Weapons systems: Missile Battery, Laser Battery, Railgun Battery

2. Shields: Providing some (but not full) protection from bombing runs AND being hit by the orbital super laser

3. Garrisons: Small 1x1 and large 2x2 buildings that provide set number of base dense personnel. If adjecancy bonus is applied to garrisons no large version needed: 1 building provides 2 soldiers +1 per adjecancy would result into 12 soldiers for 4 garrisons placed in square formation

Soldiers could have a slightly unique appearance ot set them apart from persistent soldiers and pilots (a black and white MP armband/shoulder band is enough over the base jumpsuit) and could be equipped with base level weapons: a machine gun, pistol, 2 grenades and 1 spear magazine for both firearm that would not need storage building for their equipment. Their purpose would be to protect bases where playe does not want to maintain a transport place and/or soldeirs specifically but does want protection (which we shoudl always want as all bases should be subject of Alien Invasions over time)

During base invasion: all persistent soldiers + pilots and the rookies provided from the garrirosons fight together - loosing persistent soldiers and pilots has an effect on the campaign map but loosing garrison soldiers does not as they are instantly reeinforced with new rookies and are constantly rotated in shifts so their names and faces change ferquently and it makes sense that they are not tracked

If there are lots of buildings to choose from, and we need to consider space, energy and adjecancy this aspect of the game can be great as well

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I'd like to suggest base defense turrets which are buildings that shoot at aliens during base defense. I found these buildings to be vital in the original x-com games.

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Posted (edited)

Jebah, such Turrets you had only 1 Time in X-Com, and that was in X-COM: Apocalypse. And they worked ok, but my own Soldiers / Vehicles much better in that case. If it´s implementable as an Upgrade in an existing Building then yes, but only seperate Buildings for that is waste of Space and you have much more important Buildings to build up.

R & D, Hangars, Living Rooms, Training Centers, Hospital, Energy Generators, Radar- and Scanner-Stations etc. are the important ones.

The outside Defense (against UFO-Attacks) we have already and that are Buildings which are belongs to the important Buildings too (1 or 2 you should have).

But not Inside Defense-Buildings for an Alien-Attack which are very rare in such Games. In the old X-Com-Row I had in X-COM: EU / X-COM: TftD and X-Com: Apocalypse 6 enemy Raids maximum in my Bases.

The same in UFO Extraterestials. More Attacks were blocked with the Outside Defenses, Fighters, Radar- / Scanner Stations which are important. The automated inside-defenses are a nice Feature, if they work more then 08/15 as an integrated updated feature.

Edited by Alienkiller

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4 hours ago, Alienkiller said:

Jebah, such Turrets you had only 1 Time in X-Com, and that was in X-COM: Apocalypse. And they worked ok, but my own Soldiers / Vehicles much better in that case. If it´s implementable as an Upgrade in an existing Building then yes, but only seperate Buildings for that is waste of Space and you have much more important Buildings to build up.

R & D, Hangars, Living Rooms, Training Centers, Hospital, Energy Generators, Radar- and Scanner-Stations etc. are the important ones.

The outside Defense (against UFO-Attacks) we have already and that are Buildings which are belongs to the important Buildings too (1 or 2 you should have).

But not Inside Defense-Buildings for an Alien-Attack which are very rare in such Games. In the old X-Com-Row I had in X-COM: EU / X-COM: TftD and X-Com: Apocalypse 6 enemy Raids maximum in my Bases.

The same in UFO Extraterestials. More Attacks were blocked with the Outside Defenses, Fighters, Radar- / Scanner Stations which are important. The automated inside-defenses are a nice Feature, if they work more then 08/15 as an integrated updated feature.

You're correct, it was x-com apocalypse. I played that game far more than the other x-coms - though I stopped playing it years ago since I either won every time at the slightly harder difficulty levels, or I got wasted beyond all hope at the even more difficult levels.

It felt like my bases got raided constantly, but my anti air defenses never were really good.

It bugs me a fair bit that my base defenses in xenonauts x-division (Usually around 20 turrets) can only sometimes knock out a ufo, and even if I manage it, I don't get the scrap metals or pieces of the massive ufos I shot down. :(

I only know Xenonauts, and based on Xenonauts, I don't know how you are building your bases that makes them so hungry for buildings. In Xenonauts, I find building 6 hangers a radar or two, and the rest pure base defenses can barely hold off a single ufo attacking me. When the third phase in x-division arrives, a base with 6 hangers, control center, 1 radar, and all the rest turrets leaves the ufo at about 50% hp left. I lose bases all over the place by the time the third phase base attacks start. For me, internal base defense turrets would be so much better than all the useless outside turrets after second phase x-division. Heck, even cameras would be extremely useful.

 

I have never won a base defense successfully in xenonauts x-division.

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Posted (edited)

That´s the Privileg if you can play more then 30 Years Computer Games, esp. such ones.

They all have their good as well as bad sites. I like them a lot, but I play more likely the new Versions of them or very good Remakes (like Xenonauts 2, UFO ET-Series [Part 2 is comming not long to come up] and the new XCOM-Row, which takes the Storyline from the old one, but gives it an cooler Gameplay as well as Storyline).

Sometimes I play the older Relicts too, because the cool AI in that Rows (esp. X-Com, Wing Commander-Series, Privateer-Series, Schleichfahrt and similar which were MS-Dos-Based) were very very good and surprising.

What I loved in the old Games too were the printet Storybooks like for the old X-Com-Row, Schleichfahrt, Wing Commander, Strike Commander and even more. And for Xenonauts 1 were a PDF-One too. Cool written, maybe we get some similar for Xenonauts 2 too.

 

But one thing haven´t changed. The Base Design have to be like in the Orignal-Row for many Advantages. If Firaxis get the new Base-Design to work with the Advantages of the old one, then all Games get an upgrade to the better looking one.

For Xenonauts 2 was such a cool one planed, but the Disadvantages were still to high.

Edited by Alienkiller

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