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kolooko

Development suggestions (partially influenced by JA2 and Chaos Gate)

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Hello!

First and foremost - thank you for creating Xenonauts 1!

When I first saw the screenshots my reaction was "oh my goodness, it's xcom but with ja2-level graphics! I got so tired of 90s 480px resolutions and bitmap fonts so I was so happy :)"

Background: games I've played - ufo, tftd, ja2, wh40k chaos gate, new xcom, xenonauts 1, fallout 1 & 2

Ideas (I'm going to put some prefixes where's the main origin from idea):

  • (JA2) ability to move while crouched, without standing up - IIRC the cost in JA2 was 150% of normal walking
  • (JA2) ability to go into prone position and to crawl
  • (JA2) when prone giving even larger accurancy bonuses / removing strength maluses from heavy weapons
  • (TFTD / CG / JA2) melee lethal weapons - at least two kinds - machete/heavy drill for high TU cost->high damage; knife/smaller drill for low TU cost->low damage
  • (JA2) ballistic weapon addons - tripods make sniper riles & MGs be more accurate when prone, but even more unwieldy (using more TUs) when not prone
  • (CG) radiation grenades - hard radiation makes beings in 3x3 tile area take damage; radiation does not disappear - so think twice before nuking the only passageway (or maybe only cause little damage when passing, but larger when you end turn in one)
  • (JA2) ability to have agent get into flat roof of a low-level building without powered systems
  • (JA2 / CG) ability for "continued fire" for rifles - the model in JA2 (and in CG with Heavy Bolter) was that first shot costed more, as you'd draw the rifle and then press the trigger; drawing costed ~15% of TUs (like 3AP?), and firing ~50% (let's say 10AP?), but the following shots at the same target / target close not needing rotation of agent would cost only 10AP (the rifle would have been close to your face). So TLDR: first shot more expensive, more shots into the same area less expensive, as you keep doing the same stuff.
  • (generic, configurability) faster turns, ability to turn off viewing "locals" (sometimes my turns in X1 are 0s of watching aliens that are hidden and 20s of locals crawling, running around - waste of real-life time)
  • (generic, usability) when I lose vision of enemy during my turn, do not remove enemy's icon, but grey it out - otherwise it's putting strain on player's brain that should have been "please remember that this tile was observed to contain an alien" (I'm talking about a situation when in X1 you see alien, then turn around - there's nothing pointing out that enemy is still there what I consider confusing)
  • (generic, personal preference) agent's field of vision configurable or disablable - let's say there are reasons I love sentinel armor :(
  • (generic, personal preference) no hard time limit in the game / ability for infinite game if you manage to do so (i.e. to be so successful like in UFO/TFTD/X1) so that we can keep shooting down aliens and shooting the ground missions without being hurried to finish the game (this is contrary to the "mothership destroying LA" idea that's visible on this forum)

 

Thank you for your work again!

Would love to see X2 as even-better X1 with more stuff, just like JA2 was to JA1, or TFTD to UFO. So fingers crossed!

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These are great suggestions especially the movement of JA2. I have always see JA2 as the gold standard for turn-based strategy game movements.

Also having a lethal option for a melee weapons should be great. Starting with just a mono molecular edge knife or sword made with alien alloys to plasma torches and with something equivalent to 40k power weapons where the blade project a magnetic field that weaken molecular bonds wherever it hits.

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Thanks for the suggestions. A few of these things will be making it into the game, or be easily supported via modding. Others are good usability suggestions I'll consider.

The soldier field of view is a value in a text file, and it's easy to change it to 360 if you want to mod it. Weapon modules are largely supported in the game already too; I'll be looking at them later in development but even if I decide they are too complex for the basic game and don't add them in, I wouldn't be surprised if Community Edition may make them available to modders that want to use them.

I think your suggestions for options to speed up the enemy turns, and the alien heads being greyed out when units go out of vision are interesting ideas that I'll have a think about putting in the game.

Regarding JA2, I'm a big fan of the game and we do quite often get requests about adding various mechanics from JA2 into Xenonauts. Other than maybe the discount for taking repeated shots at the same target, I think most of the mechanics in JA2 are great in JA2 but unncessarily complex for Xenonauts 2 (particularly prone). The structure of the two games is similar, but not similar enough that all the mechanics would work in X2.

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On 5/26/2020 at 4:31 AM, kolooko said:
  • (JA2) ability to move while crouched, without standing up - IIRC the cost in JA2 was 150% of normal walking
  • (JA2) ability to go into prone position and to crawl
  • (JA2) when prone giving even larger accurancy bonuses / removing strength maluses from heavy weapons
  • (JA2) ballistic weapon addons - tripods make sniper riles & MGs be more accurate when prone, but even more unwieldy (using more TUs) when not prone
  • (JA2) ability to have agent get into flat roof of a low-level building without powered systems

 

I've made these suggestions previously to @Chris, particularly the first three (which I have begged for repeatedly).  At the moment, every mission feels basically the same.  There is no scope for trying different tactics.   The weapons are either too samey, or useless (the LMG is a waste of time at the moment as it almost never gives fire suppression of the targets, and is so inaccurate that it feels like your special forces soldier firing it is actually a Stormtrooper!  And the flashbang is pointless at the moment - they don't seem to give any more suppression than a regular grenade, but don't do any damage). 

1) I totally agree with the prone position being an option as it presents much less of a target for the enemy to shoot at, makes you more difficult to spot in the first place, you can make better use of cover (and the downside is sometimes you can't see past the cover e.g.walls), and you are MUCH more accurate than either standing or crouching.  Conversely, getting up and down constantly is very tiring. (I was in the OTC at uni, so I at least know a bit about this!  We spent a LOT of time on our belt-buckles!). 

2) - I agree with you about additions like scopes and bi/tripods for the support weapons like the LMG and sniper rifle. You basically can't fire either of them standing. Also, things like infrared/night sights/NVGs/under-slung torches would be a nice addition for night missions. Extra support weapons like a 51mm mortar would be nice too as fire support.  The grenade launcher was potentially a good idea but it is also useless :(

3) - Snipers aren't just about shooting long distances; they usually wear ghillie suits and are very difficult to spot so that should be reflected in reduced visibility to some of the aliens. Plus they can look through their scopes for longer distances so maybe a zone-scan for enemy units at long range for say 50% TP would be a cool addition. Again, it would actually make you think a bit more about what specialisms your soldiers have and what kit they can take. Other bits of kit would be things like a device to reduce your visibility to certain aliens, claymore mines that can be remotely triggered or tripwired (most useful in things like terror missions or base defence, esp against the dreaded Reapers), thermal camera, flares or (even better) shamoolies, bayonets for rifles, silencers...  Stuff to mix the game up a bit and make it more tactical and varied. 

4) I think they could have a look at TUs for shots for some of the weapons, particularly the laser rifles. Also, 40 points of damage for a knife hit, but 12 or something from a pistol. 

5) The ability to shoot around a corner or throwing a grenade over a hedge still doesn't work.  On the flip side, a hedge isn't going to stop shrapnel.    

For my tuppence-worth, I think these would be a MUCH better use of coding/designing time than the orbital strike thingy, which I'm not really fussed on because it's just there.  It doesn't really add anything to the game IMHO. I just feel that if there aren't these sorts of changes then people who have been waiting for this sequel are going to be somewhat disappointed that the game itself doesn't feel any different to the original, and I think that would be a real shame. OK, rant over :)

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On 5/26/2020 at 4:31 AM, kolooko said:

(generic, usability) when I lose vision of enemy during my turn, do not remove enemy's icon, but grey it out - otherwise it's putting strain on player's brain that should have been "please remember that this tile was observed to contain an alien" (I'm talking about a situation when in X1 you see alien, then turn around - there's nothing pointing out that enemy is still there what I consider confusing)

Along those same lines, there is probably a lot of visual aids that could be implemented with icons. I seem to remember a lot of mods for XCOM2 were really helpful in giving the player the right info at the right time. A contentious one here is the indicator that you are moving in an enemy's FOV for reaction fire. Obviously it is helpful, but maybe it is too helpful when you know how cautious you do / don't need to be.

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6 minutes ago, Ninothree said:

Along those same lines, there is probably a lot of visual aids that could be implemented with icons. I seem to remember a lot of mods for XCOM2 were really helpful in giving the player the right info at the right time. A contentious one here is the indicator that you are moving in an enemy's FOV for reaction fire. Obviously it is helpful, but maybe it is too helpful when you know how cautious you do / don't need to be.

I love how the old Hammer & Sickle game did it where the location of the enemy when your soldiers break the line of sight with them is complete guess work based on sound the enemy makes when moving, and this ability can get hampered by a soldier being temporarily shocked by an explosion or the enemy going prone and sneaking away.

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I guess it depends what the game experience is supposed to be about. Apparently, a lot of the old school platformers were designed to promote a feeling of frustration, so that when you finally nailed the big jump it felt that much more satisfying. With the xcom/xenonaughts, well, with XCOM the experience is more about flanking cover and leveraging perks, so being given the maximum information can be crucial to planning the optimal actions each turn. With xenonauts, okay, it has been a while since I've really played it a lot but I remember that it is less about all-out aggressive play, and more about coordinating troops and controlling the field. So the important info is where the enemy is, their last known position, and possibly the range of their weapons. That is a feature of Planetfall, if you click an enemy, you get a limited sight on their possible moves next turn and how good a shot they could feasibly get on your dudes. Is very useful in planning, but does feel a little cheaty. Still, it works for that game.

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