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Chris

Xenonauts-2 October Update

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With November now upon us it's time for an update on what we worked on in October and what we're planning to work on in the next few weeks. I should also mention that I've now returned to the forums and am making an effort to answer all the questions and bug reports that people are posting up, and hopefully this place will continue to become more lively as time passes!

New Backer Builds!
The biggest news for October is that we released our first backer build in about four month (V14), and we're continuing to push out hotfixes for the various issues people are encountering with the game. This build is mostly a test build to help us find and squash most of the bugs that have accumulated over the last four weeks, but the game is rapidly becoming more playable. We're hoping to release the next major update (V15) in two weeks with some significant visual updates and new mechanics, and this should hopefully mark the point where someone can sit down and properly play a multi-hour campaign of the game.

Most of the new features that appeared in V14 were features from the original Xenonauts that we knew we had to include in Xenonauts 2 to make it a proper sequel (e.g. night missions, proper base defence missions, etc) but we're now in a position where we can start to implement entirely new features. Systems like the soldier training system and the soldier stress system were implemented earlier in development and should just require a few days of coder time to get working again, and even entirely new systems such as base structure adjacency bonuses shouldn't be too much work to implement. Some of these new systems will start to arrive in V15.

The visuals of the game aren't going quite as well as the code side of things, but we're still making progress there. Work continues on the new strategy UI screen backgrounds and if all goes well they will be complete in a couple of months. We're recruiting a new artist to design the weapons that are still using placeholder art (e.g. the early-game Accelerated ballistic weapons) and to do some of the research artwork for the weapons. We've finished some more UFO designs. We're starting to take a look at some of the 3D character models and consider which ones need replacing or retexturing, and we'll be ironing out a few of the more obvious animation issues in the near future too.

The environments in our tactical missions should look noticeably better in V15 too. We're currently focusing on the ground textures in the various biomes and have been drawing inspiration from the ground textures in the first Xenonauts, which to me hit a sweet spot where they weren't detailed enough to be distracting but were still interesting enough that you didn't have to fill an area with props to avoid it looking boring. Although there's still plenty of work to be done, the maps already feel a lot more cohesive than they did six months ago, and once the ground textures are done it'll be much easier to update all the other terrain in each biome to match their style.

Finally, when our fixes on V14 are done the game should now be playable up to the fifth crashable UFO (of 7 non-unique ones). This represents over half the length of the campaign and is more than enough playable time for us to start proper balancing work, so from V15 onwards we'll start acting on player feedback about balance issues and specific problems in the game that are acting as barriers to enjoyment. In short, V15 will be the point we start treating Xenonauts 2 like a playable game :)

Early Access:
I therefore think we've reached the point where we can start to plan our Early Access launch. There's no firm date planned yet but February is looking likely (which means we'd ideally need a final launch build ready for late January).

I'll provide more details on our Early Access plans when V15 arrives - which we're currently targeting for Tuesday 17th November. Hopefully some of you will be willing to spend a little time testing the game and giving us your thoughts on that day, as it'd help us a lot with our planning!

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Cool. Thanks for the update as always :) I wasn't actually planning on playing this game until it came out but if you're planning on looking at feedback to help make the game better I might consider it.

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Esp. with the new Stuff which comes in in Beta 15 what we could see already as an automatic timed version (the special Missions with 3 Soldiers), which isn´t in in Beta 14 yet.

The get ins we have with Beta 14 (Night Missions, complete new Maps, complete new UFO´s and so on) are a great step forward for the Game. I like it, only the old Problems which comes Back (f. e. Fighter-Equipment) or still in (f. e. Explosions on Maps in some Eras) are a reduction from the cool and new Game-Exp.

But the coming back of old Problems should and hopfully will get solved with the Hotfix 14.2 and aren´t comming Back in Beta 15 esp. in all further Versions. Why that old Problems since Beta 10 come everytime again in an complete new Version are not fully cleared. Hope the Devs find it out, because if that isn´t stable the other things like Balancing, testing special Missions and so on can´t start.

@Chris: Thanks for the announcement for Beta 15. That´s an very :cool: announcement and makes me very happy. It´s the best premature Birthday Present for me to compensate the fully Weekend. Because of the Half-Lockdown in Germany, which means no Meeting with Friends and with Family on the 3 Weekend-Days (Friday / Saturday / Sunday) get saved now, if the Beta 15 works as it should.

Edited by Alienkiller

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Not said that it will be 4 Month for an Early Access, 6 are more realistic. First: Stability of the Game, Second: Ballance and if that all stands we can think about an Early Access.

Beta 15 will be the Key Point for that 2 Things, esp. for the preservative Bugs since Beta 9 for every big new Version until Stand Beta 14. About Beta 19 / 20 it´s realistic to think of an Early Access if the Stability isn´t making Problems anymore. Not therefore.

Edited by Alienkiller

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