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Chris

Xenonauts-2 Closed Beta Build V16 Released (Experimental Branch)

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Closed Beta Build V16 has now been released on Steam and GOG. Note that this build is only available on our Experimental branch so you'll need to switch over to get this update (instructions on how to do that here).

This build has been focused on fixing bugs and improving gameplay / usability rather than introducing new features, so only a couple of new features are arriving in this build but there's a lot of smaller improvements that should improve the player experience. 

Key Highlights:

  • Stress System: the game now contains a Stress system for the Xenonaut soldiers. Stress is accumulated in combat and gradually dissipates over time, and if a unit ever reaches 100 Stress then they will suffer a mental break and be unable to participate in future missions while they recover. This system is in place to discourage players from grinding too many crash sites for resources (you're only meant to do a handful of each type of UFO, not capture every UFO you shoot down), and although it only exists in a very basic form right now we hope to expand it in the future to be something that interacts with the tactical combat mechanics in a more interesting way.
  • Soldier Memorial Screen: there is a new panel on the Soldier Screen that lists the soldiers killed in battle during the campaign.
  • Base Attack / Terror Missions: these two mission types had to be disabled in V15 because they contained some game-breaking bugs. We've now fixed these bugs (and created a selection of new Terror maps) so these mission types have now been reactivated.
  • Cover Indicators: the cover indicators from X1 have returned to tactical missions by popular request. When you hover over a tile it displays an indicator to show if the adjacent tile contains cover, and this indicator is colour-coded based on the stopping chance of the cover. 
  • General Tactical UI Updates: there's been a bit of a tidy up of the way the fire path is displayed, and there's now a UI element that displays the name of any fire mode button you hover over in combat (which should make things friendlier for anyone picking up the game for the first time).
  • Hidden Movement Screen: players have been complaining for a while that too much stuff during the alien turn is being hidden by the Hidden Movement screen. We've done a quick pass on the camera tracking logic and fixed a few issues that were causing alien movement / shooting to be incorrectly hidden. Let us know if the camera continues to work badly during the alien turn!
  • Tooltips: tooltips have been enabled in quite a few places where they previously did not appear, which means it's now possible to view the stats on soldier armour and aircraft equipment and so forth. These tooltips are a bit ugly at the moment but at least they're functional!
  • Tactical Combat Active Weapon: previously in the tactical combat the Primary weapon of each soldier was always active. This meant it was possible to use Secondary items and weapons, but using a secondary item multiple times in succession would require re-selecting the secondary each time. The game now allows you to switch between your Primary and Secondary, with the active weapon having an orange border. The currently selected weapon is now the one that will be preferred for overwatch and that will be fired if you hover over an alien to take a shot!
  • New Art: we've added a variety of new art to the game, from a new animated 3D model for the final suit of human armour in the game and a texture pass on various aliens that were looking worse than they should to several new inventory weapon tiles and pieces of research for various weapon projects. 
  • New Items:
    • Advanced Lasers: you can now research Advanced Lasers and run a workshop project to upgrade all your Lasers of a particular type (e.g. Rifles) into the Advanced variant. Normal Laser weapons are now reloadable but do not recharge ammo, whereas Advanced Lasers deal extra damage, are reloadable but also regenerate ammo each turn. This research is unlocked by researching captured Alien Plasma Weapons.
    • Medsuit: an undersuit that causes the wearer to regenerate 10HP per turn, curing all bleeding wounds. Researchable after capturing a Sebillian.
    • Advanced Medikit: an item upgrade obtainable after capturing a Sebillian that grants a Medikit with a reduced TU cost for healing.
    • Electroshock Pistol / Rifle: these two weapons are ranged stun / EMP weapons, unlockable after researching Laser Weapons and Alien Biology (itself unlocked after recovering two different types of alien corpse).

New Features & Content:

  • The rules of the new Stress System are as follows:
    • Soldiers now accumulate Stress in battle, gaining 25 Stress per mission plus 3 Stress per turn the battle lasts.
    • If a soldier reaches 100 Stress or higher, that soldier is set to 0 Stress and suffers a mental break that set them as Wounded on the strategy layer for a certain length of time (I think 20 days).
    • Stress reduces at the rate of -2 per day. Later in development we may add base structures that speed up this process.
  • Scientists / Engineers now hired on sub-panels of their own screen as they were in the original Xenonauts, rather than on Base screen.
  • You can now transfer soldiers between bases on the Soldier screen.
  • The tactical UI now displays X1-style cover indicators as you move the cursor around the map.
    • We've added tooltips to a lot of places that didn't previously have tooltips:
      • Aircraft weapons and armour
      • Soldier Armour
      • Soldier Undersuits
      • Weapon Ammo
      • Grenades
      • Healing Items
      • Shields
      • Air Combat tooltips are no longer draw under the interface background
    • Night missions now look better, because the fade-out of the light no longer begins immediately (there's a few tiles of full light before the fadeout begins, like in X1).
    • There are three new Western Town terror maps, and the biome has had some visual upgrades to the ground textures and the restaurant building.
    • Fixed a variety of bugs related to the gameplay of Base Defence missions and set up unique rooms for most of the base rooms. This biome still has quite a few visual issues and most of the terrain in these maps looks pretty bad, but the missions should at least be playable now.
    • We've added quite a few pieces of new artwork:
      • There's a nice new 3D model for the Colossus exosuit armour (which appears at the end of the game).
      • A number of alien units have been retextured - the heavily armoured Psyons, all Sebillian variants, the basic Andron. The Sebillians in particular look nicer now.
      • The MARS / ARES art on the Soldier Equip screen has been updated. This is still semi-placeholder, as they are 3D renders that will be painted over by the same artist that painted the background art for that screen (the art will also update based on the weapons equipped on the MARS like it did in X1).
      • We've added some advanced ranged stun weapons to the game with new art, the Electroshock Pistol & Electroshock Rifle.
      • The Stun Baton and Medikit now have updated art in the place of the old X1 art.
      • The Alien Magnetic Weapons have had a slight redesign to make them look a little meaner, and there's now Xenopedia research art for all of the alien Magnetic / Plasma / Fusion weapon projects.

    Gameplay Changes - Strategy:

    • Orbital Bomardment now happens once per month and does equal damage to all regions.
    • Regions can now go over 100 Panic but will be lost if they remain above 100 Panic at the end of the month (previously they were lost instantly the moment they hit 100).
    • Scientists / Engineers assigned to a project now suffer diminishing returns, with each 5 staff (beyond the first five) working with 10% less efficiency than the previous set. This effect is capped at a -50% effectiveness reduction, which occurs when you have 26 or more staff assigned to a project.
    • Soldiers now cost $10,000 to hire, and the hire cost is displayed on the Soldier Hire panel hire button
    • Your starting soldiers now begin the game with some combat experience, granting them +5 in each attribute
    • There's now a (placeholder) research project to interrogate captured specimens of the most common types of aliens. On completion, these grant a Training speed increase.
    • The Medsuit is an undersuit that allows the soldier wearing it to regenerate 10HP per turn, and heals any bleeding wounds. This becomes available after capturing a live Sebillian.
    • Combat Armour is now a seperate starting item that you begin with 5 of, but can manufacture more in the workshop. This has the same functionality and graphics as the extra armour module of the Tactical Suit, but this module has been disabled (the functionality of that module has been semi-replaced by the Undersuit system brought in in V15).
    • Retaliation (base attack) missions no longer spawn immediately when the player hits the 100 Threat threshold, they now have a 6-24 hour delay.
    • The starting squad of Xenonaut soldiers now begins with enough combat experience to recieve +5 in each of their attributes.
    • The starting Angel interceptors now have the speed of the old starting Falcon interceptors, as they previously were fast enough to catch almost any UFO.

    Gameplay Changes - Tactical Combat:

    • Units now have a persistent active weapon that can be either their Primary or Secondary (by default it's the Primary), and this is the weapon used when you hover over an alien to shoot at them or when the soldier performs overwatch. You can change the active weapon just by clicking the other weapon. Basically this means if you're trying to use a secondary weapon multiple times, you don't have to click on it each time you use it - the soldier remembers that they are using their secondary until you switch them back to their primary.
    • Improved the handling of the tactical camera during the alien turn, which should hopefully reduce the incidence of the Hidden Movement screen hiding things that are happening within the vision of Xenonaut soldiers.
    • Gauss weapons now use ammo correctly, as in V15 I had the ammo clip compatibility mixed up between different Gauss weapons
    • Whether an object was crushable or not (i.e. by the MARS vehicle) was fairly random in older builds, but I've done a pass on the terrain objects to make the behaviour a bit more sensible. In general, walls are crushable and waist-high cover is also generally crushable (unless it's something really dense like a rock or a piece of heavy machinery), but 2m tall cover is not crushable (unless it's made of something very flimsy).
    • Aliens hit by weapon fire now rotate to face the shooter for free, which means even aliens on 0 TU now rotate when they take damage.
    • You can now rotate soldiers by clicking off the map.
    • The Reaper cocoons on the Icelandic Outpost map now hatch into Reapers after a certain number of turns unless destroyed (the turn each cocoon hatches is different).
    • The floor tiles of the Desert construction buildings now react to destruction correctly, displaying the destruction overlay and not being entirely removed and leaving holes in the map when destroyed.
    • You can now select your units in the deployment phase on Base Defence missions by clicking them, rather than having to use the number keys.
    • Maps now have a slightly animated two-tile border around the outside to make it clearer what represents the edge of the map.
    • New footstep sounds for the Andron and the Predator-equipped soldiers.
    • Grenade 3d models shrunk down a bit in the throw animation as they were enormous before.
    • Reaction fire is now triggered by units crouching / uncrouching, and is not triggered by opening a door or using a teleporter.
    • Androns have been shrunk down to fit within the new (less tall) tile size we switched to several months ago.
    • There's a new melee swing animation used by the Stun Baton to replace the existing two-handed "baseball bat" swing.
    • Units carrying pistols now hold them more upright, as it was previously quite hard to tell if a unit was unarmed or was carrying a pistol.
    • Fixed one-tile movement for human soldiers being particularly jerky.

    UI Updates - Strategy:

    • You can now scroll the camera in the air combat using the arrow keys
    • Soldier stats on the Soldier screen and Soldier Hire screen now change colour as the stat gets higher, like they did in X1.
    • The region Panic summary numbers in the bottom right of the Geoscape now have acronyms on them to link them to their region, and are colour coded based on the number. Less than 75 Panic is green, 75+ is orange, and 100+ is red.
    • Added the soldier rank to their name on the Soldier Equip screen element that lists the soldiers assigned to a drosphip.
    • Deactivated buildings now display the power cost required to activate them.
    • Alenium Reactor now displays its item cost (10 Alenium) along with its money cost
    • The T glyph in the strategy font has been expanded a little
    • Airstrike button now called the "Delegate" button, and it no longer appears if it's not a valid option (previously it appeared but was disabled)
    • If you leave the Stores screen and come back, all in-progress sales are now correctly reset.
    • The Command Center information pop-ups on the Geoscape now have Close buttons on them
    • Player is given an "Are you sure?" pop-up notification if you try to shoot down a UFO over water
    • Aircraft screen, Soldier Equip screen and Stores screen now all have an element that tells the player if there are no items / soldiers / aircraft at the selected base.
    • Cancelling a research project that has some progress in it now triggers an "Are you sure?" pop-up (as it will lead to the loss of progress).
    • Clicking "Commence Project" on the research screen will make that project the active project. If the existing project already has progress, the above pop-up will be triggered to check the player is happy to lose their accumulated progress.
    • Armour dropdown is no longer disabled even if the player only has a single type of armour available.
    • The Geoscape icons for Large and Medium sized UFOs have been swapped round.
    • Dropdowns on the Soldier Equip and Soldier Management screen now have a faint triangle on them to indicate that they are actually clickable dropdowns.

    UI Updates - Tactical Combat:

    • There's now a name for each of the "ability" action buttons available in the ground combat (e.g. snap shot, throw grenade, reload weapon, etc).
    • Players are no longer given pop-up messages about soldiers and civilians suffering bleeding wounds.
    • The Time Units stat displayed on the ground combat inventory screen now correctly displays max TU rather than current TU.
    • The soldier portrait in the ground combat UI no longer blocks clicks in the gameworld in the area around it.
    • Various cleanup and improvements to the shooting visuals:
      • Fire path tiles have been updated to be less ugly.
      • The final fire path tile (the one the target is standing on) is no longer displayed.
      • When the crosshair is displayed, the selection box is no longer also displayed on the same tile
      • The colours of the highlighted objects have been made a bit easier on the eye

    Bugfixes:

    • Fixed a crash if you attempted to move a dropship to a second base that did not contain Living Quarters.
    • Fixed a crash when attempting to heal a unit that had somehow ended up on the edge of a tile rather than the middle.
    • Fixed a bug where Base Defence missions would permanently destroy any manufactured items the player used in that battle.
    • Fixed an issue where the Air Combat would end immediately if you destroyed the main UFO, which means firing a volley of long-range missiles at a UFO guarded by alien fighters would end the battle before the fighters got to your planes. 
    • Fixed an issue where the game would create a pop-up saying "New Research Project Available" that lists research that has already been completed if you sell all the items that trigger that research and then recover more of them later.
    • Fixed an issue where various terrain tiles would appear inside the UFO, mostly on Farm maps.
    • Fixed an issue where loading a save game that contains either fire or smoke would spawn extra fire or smoke on any object with special properties, like vehicles than can explode or reaper cocoons that can hatch.
    • Fixed an issue where assigning more than 20 staff to a project would bring no benefit.
    • Ground destruction overlays on destroyed ground tiles no longer disappear when you load a save game.
    • Fixed a visual issue on the Aircraft screen where dropships were appearing in the Interceptor list.
    • Fixed a bug on the Icelandic Outpost where the Reaper Cocoons were not hatching into Reapers as the mission went on.
    • Fixed a crash that would occur if an alien explodes on death.
    • Fixed some issues related to units opening doors and how that interacted with overwatch fire.
    • Fixed a bug where the ground combat music would not start to play when you loaded a save, as the Main Menu music carried on playing instead.
    • Fixed a bug where you could not shoot through an open blast door on the Base Defence missions.
    • Fixed some weird floating ground tiles in some of the UFO maps, particularly the Destroyer.
    • Fixed some invisible objects in the Abductor and Cruiser UFOs that were getting in the way of combat.
    • The doors in Base Defence missions are now solid 3x1 objects that block movement into them when closed, whereas previously you could walk into the door tile when the door was closed (although not through it).

    As always, please let us know if you encounter any bugs by posting them up on the Bug Reporting subforums. We'll almost certainly be releasing at least one hotfix to address any issues that arise, but this won't happen until January as the team won't be returning from their holidays until 4th January!

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    1 hour ago, cheezygrasser said:

    so any news on when a playable copy might release for the public, that can be bought and played? 

    Early access is planned for late February but I think it'll be delayed.

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    Maybe. I think the issues that stopped me playing past the second mission on my two or three games have all been fixed. Seems like they're pretty efficient at getting things working properly. I think they could release something at least okay by the end of feb, but the real question I think is what impression do they want to give people? People are impatient and will also judge early access as a final product.

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    Posted (edited)

    They can't release the game yet - i was running a few tests on 16.0. Nr.1 Stress system didn't work properly. Nr.2 Because of stress system added soldiers won't gain any TU in ground combat mean they can't also gain any HP boosts. Nr.3 They need to add more maps. Nr.4 fix crashes on 16.0. Nr.5 - if it is possible add game difficulties and if it's possible create more types of game difficulties.

    I mean stress system is a good idea cuz it's lowers an option of abusing same soldiers 24h/7, but in the same time not giving players an option to choose doing UFO crashsites or not it's kinda poor. People like if they have a lot of options where they can experiment. If i be honest i would be hyped if Devs create more difficulty options besides those that were existing in Xenonauts1. Like an option where i cant have training centers, because when i think about it, i simply buy 30 soldiers and they can sit 24h/7 in the base and they simply gain all stat boosts without doing anything. I think the best solution for training center = if soldier sits in the base i simply choose 1 of stats like Reflex or Bravery or HP or Time Units or Acc or Strenght. Devs need to add more difficulty options, because it's makes people keep playing again and again the game. Simply put = more options = more fun. Make game not too easy.

     

    They need to release a game with playable/not affectiong gameplay bugs

    Remember Cyberbug 2077 or Fallout 76 - don't do the same mistakes.

    Edited by CaptainSPrice

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    @CaptainSPrice: We are Betatesters to find exactly those Failures, not working Features, Bugs etc. before the Game get released for the Public in an Early Access Version or in Final Version. And everyone who can read the Descriptions here and in the Game have to be an edge over the Others.

    The Game gets more Features which are a must have to survive or much better overfly the Competitors. And the Gameplay is as good as its and get better with more functioning Features. If you wisch the Game simpler you can play the Predecessor.

     

     

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    Posted (edited)

    Oh that you mean. Don´t worry if the Game goes to the Early Access Launch then the Difficulty Options and the Tutorial comes in.

    Before that can happen all implemented Features, Refits etc. get testet with one Difficulty Level (the second easyest or the Standard Medium) from the Betatesters. Much more interessting will be the Storyline which maybe beginn with the Tutorial like in XCOM 2.

    Edited by Alienkiller

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    @Alienkiller imagine 200 new maps - the dream.

    @Chris it is possible for you to remove from start of the game combat armor and add as option to research -> then manufacture? I mean like similar to Xeno1 when you researched Tier 2 Armor from Alien Plasma pistol?

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    11 hours ago, CaptainSPrice said:

    @Alienkiller imagine 200 new maps - the dream.

    @Chris it is possible for you to remove from start of the game combat armor and add as option to research -> then manufacture? I mean like similar to Xeno1 when you researched Tier 2 Armor from Alien Plasma pistol?

    We might add a few new maps before Early Access because they're not that time consuming to make now we have a selection of map pieces for most of the biomes, but I'm not sure it's the most urgent thing we need to fix or improve. There'll be plenty of time to add more maps in Early Access though (and we intend to).

    I'd prefer not to make the Combat Armour something you can manufacture because you can already unlock the Warden Armour research just by researching Alien Materials, so that does a similar thing already.

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    Exactly Chris, what is an Army without the existing Kevlar-Vests in Combat for only Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun-Soldiers? The answer is easy: NOTHING! That and the Statment from you answers the Question from CaptainSPrice. 

    Short said: No, the beginning Armor remain and can be upgraded with R & D to the light better Warden Armor for your Shotgun and Rifle-Soldiers and if Possible the LMG-Soldiers.

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    There is no option on steam to buy and install the game on Linux. Installing and playing the game in wine on PlayOnLinux works perfectly with default settings. I would like to buy the game once it is released but we don't have any windows system in the house.

    I would like to add that the game plays great. I tried V16 and came very far in the game without the medical room ( bug ) :).

    I hope the game will have an option to have a long lasting good experience :)...I like grinding ufos and suffering trough the challenge.

    Thanks

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    Posted (edited)

    Hi Hulf, great to hear that you like the Game. Version 16 is a big Step forward and we evtl. get an big Bugfix for it with more other surprises like Research-Texts, Pictures etc.

    Yes the Medical Room is an big Bug and several other Bugs the Version have which have to be terminated first (Heavy-Steel-Plating and evtl. more heavy Platings for the MARS-Vehicle and some big Problems with the Maps by some Players on Day / Night Missions).

    And other Beta-Testers which play the latest finished Versions found some more Bugs, Failures etc. which we have overseen in the unstable Versions.

    The Game will have a long lasting good experiance after the final Version comes out. From what we know the player have many options to finish the Game [like in X1 destroying the Aliens, loosing against the Aliens]. The other Options to finish a Game are still secret, but one thing is clear: It belongs to the Player how he / she will End the Game.

    What do you mean with grinding? I understand it that the Player will grind the UFO with his Workers or Workers from outside. An similar System is implemented in UFO:Alien Invasion (an long running Fan-Project) since about 13 Years or longer. The Idea is good, but not so easy to implement here in Xenonauts 2 without many upgrades in the Game (more Workers or Freelancers for your Organisation, an seperate Hangar to have a save place for grinding an UFO etc.).

     

    Edited by Alienkiller

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    I meant the changes with the Stress System that is actually a great idea. I remember having a save somewhere for the first XCOM, where I had over 500 ufos shut down and playing the game for more than a year :). Anyway you are going in the right direction to improve on the elements that are not fun for everyone. But if someone wants to sort as many crashed ufo sites as possible, he will have a hard time, and this is what I find is a great addition to the mechanics.

    I know how steam marketing works, I hope you get an option for those loners that want to buy the game but are not using platforms currently offered on steam ( for xenonauts 2 ). - works on Linux as it is.

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    19 hours ago, Alienkiller said:

    What do you mean with grinding? I understand it that the Player will grind the UFO with his Workers or Workers from outside. An similar System is implemented in UFO:Alien Invasion (an long running Fan-Project) since about 13 Years or longer. The Idea is good, but not so easy to implement here in Xenonauts 2 without many upgrades in the Game (more Workers or Freelancers for your Organisation, an seperate Hangar to have a save place for grinding an UFO etc.). 

     

    I'm curious what this game does does. Are you just talking about Scientists and Engineers? It is true that 1996 XCOM and some OpenXCOM mods have a lot more reliance on engineers for profit, though you still need soldiers in an engineer-heavy strategy to gather funds to buy engineers and stop the world from burning down before you make money.

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    32 minutes ago, Bobit said:

    I'm curious what this game does does. Are you just talking about Scientists and Engineers? It is true that 1996 XCOM and some OpenXCOM mods have a lot more reliance on engineers for profit, though you still need soldiers in an engineer-heavy strategy to gather funds to buy engineers and stop the world from burning down before you make money.

    If I recall correctly the way the system works in UFO:AI is that you recover the actual UFO hull back to your hangar and then have to cut it up with your engineers to recover the components and resources. I've always thought it was a bit of a dumb idea but for some reason I suddenly find myself thinking it feels quite smart, as it fixes two gameplay issues - first, that players can grind crashsites to gain too many resources and too much money, and second that your engineers don't have enough to do in the early game.

    It's probably not a good idea to throw a major new system into the game right now, and there's probably downsides to the system that haven't occurred to me yet, but it is quite an interesting idea nonetheless.

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