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Chris

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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Posted (edited)

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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