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Chris

Xenonauts-2 November Update

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With the end of November approaching, it's time for me to write the monthly forum development update. Overall it's been a good month for us and I feel like we've made good progress on the game, and it's also good to see the forums slowly coming back to life. The community have done a lot of testing over the past few weeks and it's been enormously helpful to us, so a big thank you to everyone who played the game and left feedback / reported bugs.

So what progress has been made this month? We released Closed Beta V15 on the Experimental branches a week ago and have already released two Hotfixes for it, with at least one more planned for later this week. Our immediate goal is currently to fix all the major bugs in V15 so we can release V15 Stable onto the standard Steam / GOG branches. We've had to fix a LOT of issues already and there's still more to work through, but we're expecting V15 Stable to be ready for general consumption some time next week.

research_weapon_accelerated.png

V15 Features:
There's quite a few new features in V15, but the biggest improvement is just a general increase in the level of polish. We've added some new UI screen background art and some new weapon art on the strategy layer, and in the tactical missions we've added much nicer ground textures to our maps and fixed lots of small things like the distracting pink error textures that were appearing frequently during combat. Various parts of the UI have had tabs added to them to make navigation easier. There's more ambient sound than there was previously, etc. Lots of little things that collectively make the game look better and play better than before.

You can read the full V15 changelogs here, but I'd also like to highlight the Training system and the Undersuit system. The Training system is a new system for Xenonauts 2 that allows your soldiers to passively gain experience outside of combat (assuming they are stationed at a base with suitable training facilities), but the initial rate of experience gain is fairly slow. However, completing autopsies on dead aliens and interrogating captured aliens will increase your institutional knowledge about the aliens and their tactics and therefore increase the training speed of your soldiers. Soldiers will train up relatively quickly towards the end of a campaign, allowing you to replace lost veterans with semi-experienced troops. 

I like the training system for two reasons - firstly, it gives a good reason for the player to complete autopsy research (autopsies might not autocomplete in X2) and also for them to try to capture at least one specimen of each alien type. Secondly, I think it fits the theme of the game quite well - it's about the humans gradually learning the alien weaknesses and reverse engineering their technology, then eventually steamrollering them.

The Undersuit system is simple but adds more depth. Each soldier now has an additional armour slot in which they can put an Undersuit, which is a garment that can provide a variety of benefits from additional armour to stat boosts or even regenerative effects (it's quite similar to the Vest system in XCOM in many ways). This is just a way of expanding the tech tree and adding more ways of customising your soldiers - it seemed like an easy way to give the player some fun new toys to play with.

Next Month:
Once we get V15 Stable out, we'll be turning our attention to V16 - but with our Early Access launch planned for late February the emphasis will be on polishing and improving what we already have rather than adding new major new features (although we might add one or two). Having spent two or three hours playing an X2 campaign this afternoon I think things are starting to click together nicely and I'm looking forward to seeing how much better we can make it over the next three months!

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I didn't know that the training was new. I think it's a fantastic idea, though I haven't managed to get past the first month in any of my games yet so I am not even sure how it works. It really is an A+ idea/feature though, especially tying it in to autopsies and other research which typically gets pushed to the backburner in most games like this.

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The Training Center works very good. The Ideas with Training aren´t new, but with the limitation and upgrades it´s the best I have seen so far. Played many other Games of this Gerne and never seen such a Trainig Center System.

Edited by Alienkiller

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For the training I think rather then the rate changing perhaps the training cap/limit would change. At first you would only get 1 level (or 5% improvement) from training. Then each autopsy could add 1 level to the cap. That way you can link the effective minimum level of soldiers to research/progression. Thematically it maintains there is no substitute for battlefield experience while still reflecting that basic training/tactics has also improved.

Its an interesting underlying balancing act, how do you reward players leveling up and preserving their squad versus letting them recover from setbacks. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

Edited by Heinlager

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For training one very interesting idea I have is rotating your most experienced soldiers into training to give an efficiency boost. Think US pilot rotation during WW2. By rotating out your most veteran units they can pass along their knowledge to the next generation, thus ensuring that their own experience is not only retained past what would likely be their death in action, but is also distributed throughout the next generation of soldiers who will be joining/replacing them. I would also suggest that training be logarithmic, vs actual combat which is linear. This would be such that actual experience is always superior to training, but only marginally so at first. So between learning more about the Xeno threat via your science teams, and rotating your veterans into training roles, you can push back your diminishing returns far enough that skilled replacements are reliably available.

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