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Comte Pseudonyme

[Suggestion] Expand on the archive for better immersion

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The lore and narrative aspects of Xenonauts are some of it's strong suits (see game setting and research tree posts). One way to enhance this aspect would be through the existing archive. I have various suggestions, that range from simple (I hope) UI improvement to more daring and ressources consuming ideas. I will try to list them from the most simple ones to the most "complicated" or ressource consuming looking.

Before exposing the list of ideas, I have to point out that, even if people invested in the game and on this forum do like the lore aspect of it, it's very probable that most people will not care as much. So, all of what follows really are flavour and polish features. They could enhance the game, but they might also not be noticed if people just are not inclined or incentivised to engage with them. A lot has already been done here, such as giving an interesting story as well as "operation" relevant info in the reports. The "better ending if you pay attention" option and the music also need a mention.

I also have to point out a bias on my part : I'm an history student and love stories, lore and history. I am thus a necrophiliac pervert and my opinion regarding the literal archive in the game that has the lore stuff might not be the more bankable way of doing things.

I also have to point out that all this data saved could not be good for the save files, but I leave it to the tech wizards. I'm just worried and try to be good. :)

 

1. Classification system in the archive.
Have subfolders for the different items in the archive, such as technical reports, autopsies, etc. This is the "first step" for most of the following ideas. A research tool for titles and or content of documents could be nice, but it will probably be a luxury and not really necessary if the classification system is done right (there is not THAT much reports).

2. Add files for the existing technologies and facilities at the start of the game. When the player takes over the Xenonauts organization, they do so in medias res. The war is already ongoing, even if in its first stage. But the organization has a long history. Such files could give a basic tutorial for the player who bothered to take the time AND give him some basic understanding of the setting. They don't have to be long or numerous, they could even be grouped into two or three synthetic files. Below, a few examples of the info that could be handed out.
- Document on the barracks ; explain the way stuff and recruitment go on. Expand on the multinational aspect of the organisation with reference to multiple language signs, and so on. Could be grouped with the hangar and barracks under "logistics".
- New document on the training facility could be handed out when built and give some more background on the old days when the xenonauts had funding and the world was not yet perhaps doomed.
- Document on the radar and it's fancy UFO spotting technology. Could be grouped with the lab : it's about tech.
- Document on the hangar that would give basic info on how aircraft delivery, rearm, refuel and repair work.
- New document on the medical center when built could give basic info on how injuries work. Could also give trivia and data about the daily life of the base.
- Document on the workshop could give out good info on resource management, especially if ideas brought up here are implemented. Could be merged with the hangar and the barracks I suppose, due to the logistic aspect of it all. Logistics could even be the name of the file.
- Document on the labs could flesh out the Gaius Baltar like guy that is competent and really smug about it when he files the reports, or when he sees you at the coffee machine and does not replenish the water. What a jerk. Background story and tech priority advice too (meaning : give some tips on how the player could engage with the tech system, he does not have to stress about this or that, autopsy reports will come in automatically, etc.). Could be grouped with radar : it's about tech.

3. Mission reports and history. Give the feeling of an organisation that crunch data and allow the player to review what they are doing. Could give a more palpable feel of the work already done… and help the player depress or keep it's head high, depending on the amount of WIN vs LOSS registered, or the daunting cost of victories.
- A list of all interceptions, planes and UFOs involved, equipment involved, and the result. The battle reports, but neatly filed, if you want.
- Same thing, but for ground operations.
- A list of all orbital bombardment that happened, with casualties and effects on terror
- It would allow the devs to put in some custom reports… regarding certain previous incidents long before the current war or at the very start of said war.

4. Soldiers files or lists. For maximum paperwork effect and immersion. Shortcuts could be placed in the barracks menu. It sounds like busy work for the devs however.
- Automatically generated list or individual files of soldier on duty and performance (medals, kills, whatever is pertinent) -> thing is, the barrack already kinda does this, so the devs might not want to bother.
- Automatically generated list or individual files of soldiers that died on duty and performance (medals, kills, whatever is pertinent) -> again, barrack...
- Give previous service of soldiers like it was done in Xenonauts 1. Not necessarly archive related, but desserve a mention. -> barrack again... so... why do I feel like the barrack compete with the archive ?

5. A function in the archive, for each tech or report in order for you to rubber stamp the technology or data dissemination (or an info to say it's under way, if you did it when the tech popped up, or if it is automatic). The idea of it being a choice could be that, if one of your allies is compromised by aliens, you might not want to keep them in the loop. It might be more relevant in the Geoscape however. Another way to play it would be to have a panel of info, somewhere (or reports in the archive) that give updates on the current state of technology dissemination. The lab could also be a candidate.

6. Give the archive a literal physical building as well as… its own document about the archive in the archive of course !
- It could help to give more personality to your first base, more lore input, background, old sweet deliciously dusty stuff, that could give more of an HQ feel to your first base, as well as gravitas, because paper ALWAYS adds gravitas.
- That would require art, however, for the archive building… and it would probably be a unique building. So… remember about my bias ?
- I'm not saying that this building could also act as a strategic place in the base, some kind of last stand bunker to protect precious data and make the player engage with the history of the Xenonauts by the fact that the concrete walls of the archive protect the soldiers in dire situation, and it's deep knowledge help for the sake of Humankind, but, yeah. Praise be to the archive, may it's documents be plentiful and it's walls everlasting without humidity.

7. Add an archivist. A flavour thing, and the lady that is the (I suppose, I do not know her exact function) strategic assistant/officer could fill in just as well.

8. As you complete projects for them, you could have access to data about the forces and data that your founders have or had. That sounds like a lot of work and would probably be better one the geoscape, but, again, I love the archive (even in it's bland state) and want it to be loved by everyone.

 

So here it is. I hope some of these ideas are good, and I hope the motivation behind it is also good.

Edited by Comte Pseudonyme
Forgot to put a link and spotted a few typos. British is not my first language. :(

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That is a really unique suggestion. Not to be mean, but a lot of suggestions are along the lines of copying ideas from other games (I for one must bring up xcom apoc in at least every third post I make). This though, it feels new, it is an idea that would add depth to the game without really infringing on any of the other mechanics. You can't cheese the air war by using the archive.

Usually it is just the research reports that give the player the story. There is no script or cutscenes otherwise, so I think that adding more to the story through the archive is interesting. Particularly because it can flesh out other characters and bit of lore that can't conveniently be presented otherwise. The thing I like about this is that delving into the extra story would be optional. So you wouldn't need to sit through it on your second playthrough but it could provide a distraction if needed.

In the above sense, there is no reason not to include it, but it seems like just the thing for a mod. Some community sourced content rather than precious time for what I understand to be a small company.

In terms of making the archive an actual space in the base ... maybe this could be linked to strategic operations? or to some form of training/R&D?

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The Devs will bring in more content in the Game and see after the Beta-Tests that the Archive have to be redesigned. How we will see. But your suggestions are good and maybe the Devs will bring in some of them.

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I like your idea, and it kind of remindes me about the Encyclopedia and Writing on the Wall feature in the Valkyria Chornicles series, that did put huge immersive effort into the game, especially while you're into an alternative or fictional world.

About the soldier file, I would suggest to make random descriptions on such soldier's backstoires, kind of like how XCOM did, just couple of randomly generated phrases but can also be edited by the players themselves if they want to. Then it can be put into archive section if the barrack cannot contain it.

Aside from mission reports, I would also say that a purchaseable (or not) newspaper section can be interesting, like combining the original Breaking news feature in X1 with the Writings on the Wall in Valkyria Chornicle, or the news report you'll get for previous missions in the old Rainbow Six Trilogy. It represent how the public were told about several cinematic incidents happened in game, and would be related to the decision that the commander makes.

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The Archive is a Problem we Betatesters found out very fast after we researched so much that the last Research don´t show up at the End of the Screen. That Problem with the not scrollingt Texts on the End of the Screen we send the Devs already in the Bugforum-Part for Xenonauts 2. The Devs are working on it, maybe we see an rework / refit in Beta 14 if they can bring it in there, if not we see the Rework / Refit in Beta 15.

And they announced some other things in the yesterdays Dev Diray that will come in. That shows the Devs integrate Ideas of the Testers and the integrateable as well as wise Ideas here in the Forum and on Steam to make the Game much more interessting.

The first One was to bring back the Bases to an similar X1 / UFO ET / X-COM Buildup.

The second and in the yesterdays DD announced One to make the Bases more independend from each other as well as integrate an trade of Personal / Soldiers / Goods / Fighters etc.

The third and in the yesterdays DD announced One to make the Base Defences on the Base Buildup as well as upgradeable Equipment against the attacking UFO´s with the Alien-Stormtroopers.

The first Result we Testers will see in Beta 14 the next time, but I can promisse you all will have very very fun with the Early Access-Version (after the Game is stable enough with all refits / reworks and integrations) as well as first with the Final Game after everything is fully done and stable. :cool:;)

 

 

 

Edited by Alienkiller

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On 9/20/2020 at 4:09 AM, Comte Pseudonyme said:

The lore and narrative aspects of Xenonauts are some of it's strong suits (see game setting and research tree posts). One way to enhance this aspect would be through the existing archive. I have various suggestions, that range from simple (I hope) UI improvement to more daring and ressources consuming ideas. I will try to list them from the most simple ones to the most "complicated" or ressource consuming looking.

So here it is. I hope some of these ideas are good, and I hope the motivation behind it is also good.

 

Thanks for the suggestions. So in the latest build I've reskinned the Archive screen a bit so it looks less hideous, but it does still need more work. We're definitely planning to add category headings to sort the projects (as we did in X1) and I will be writing at least a few "lore" projects that appear in the Archives at the start of the game that players can read if they want a little more backstory.

I'm not sure we can commit the time required to make the other ideas work (and I don't think it's necessarily worth adding an Archive building etc) but hopefully you'll find that screen a bit less barebones than it was in the original Xenonauts!

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