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Skitso

Demo thoughts

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Hey guys! 

I've been away for ages and this is my first experience of X2 since the last demo years ago, so naturally a lot has changed since.

I'll start playing and just type random things here as soon as I find something to report:


- Nice looking main menu! I'd love the geoscape to look in-game like the green screen back here. I like the new subtle background scrolling effect

- Love the music

- A bit low resolution images for my 27" 1440p screen. (main menu and loading screen)

- quite a long loading time... you shouldn't have the loading bar stay at 100% and have the game still load for 15 more seconds. Feels like the game has crashed.

- Ooh, the game looks nice! Really sharp! And performance is top notch too! Nice job here!

- UI looks nice and modern overall. Soldier portraits look amazing. Things I don't like UI wise: I'm not quite sure I like how the TU and health bars are dispayed below weapons. Attack style buttons and top right menu buttons are too big and obtrusive. For my playstyle, I don't need them at all. Hopefully this will be customizable in the final build. (See my second post below for my quick UI idea)

- I'd like to open inventory with "i"

- I'd like to be able to switch soldiers when inventory is open (from top portraits or number keys). Inventory close button is ugly.

- Music is still awesome!

- AI turn is bit of a visual mess: camera jumps around too much, hidden movement screen blinks annoyingly again and again. You should try to make it so that the AI turn starts by showing all the visible activities first, and only after that, fade the screen darker, display the hidden movement image and THEN run all activities that happen out of sight back to back without blinking in and out of hidden movement. Right now it looks a bit broken and way too erratic.

- AI turn ends with a camera centered to a completely black screen. Annoying... should center to my troops at the beginning of my turn instead.  

- Trying to order a unit to move into the fog of war... and the cursor (the square pulsating one on the ground) vanishes under the black shroud. That doesn't feel right...

- Hmm, a civilian got killed somewhere, I think. human injury/death sound effects seem to be same bad ones as in X1?

- Roofs on/off should have an additional "automatic" setting which should also be on as a default. Meaning that helicopter roof should be always visible as long as there are no troops inside. You have really nice visuals here, don't hide them if you don't need to. This is also true to all tree tops, building roofs etc. They should always be visible unless there're troops or aliens in/behind and in Xenonauts' sight.

EDIT: Related a bit to the roof thing above, (going by the youtube videos, as you don't have ufo's in this demo), you should have similar cut-out look with the UFO's as you have with the helicopter. Removing the hull completely has always looked a bit odd and unfinished to my eyes. The cut-out look you've done with the Chinook looks so much cooler!

- Hmmm, info pop ups are starting to annoy me already on turn three. I know already what the end turn button does. :) Give me an option to turn these off or at least up the time it takes to appear.

- Got an alien overwatch shot from the fog of war. The unit was revealed though - the alien just stood alone there in the middle of blackness. It was on top of a container i presume. Looked odd nevertheless.

- Targeting line made of small green squares looks really dated. Disappointed seeing it's taken directly from X1 - should be something a lot nicer looking.

- There's something odd going on when selecting units... It's not as intuitive or easy as it could and should be. Firstly, the target reticle cursor should be clearly different looking when you have nothing selected. Now it's pretty much the same with only a bit of a different color. Second, you can select the tile where the unit stands without actually selecting the unit and that makes targeting feel a bit messy. THIS IS A HIGH PRIORITY TO GET RIGHT!

- Hah, a lonely alien seemed to run away. If so, nice AI.

- Huh, MARS went through a concrete wall. Doesn't feel right for such a small machine?

- Storage room with tons of shelves with cardboard boxes looks bland. Should have more detail and variation.

- Still really pleased how good and smooth this game looks. Top notch animation.

- LMG feels overpowered

- I have my sniper on top of a container. When I select him, clicking the portrait, the camera won't center to him but just rise to a correct level. A second click to a portrait centers correctly. (is this intended behavior?)

- Would like to reload with "r"

- Smoke and fire animations looks ace. Broken ground after explosion - not so much. A grid of red/brown squares look terrible to be frank.

- SFX balance is a bit off I think. Some sounds are too soft, others too loud. (Breaking a prop with explosion almost made me deaf!)

- Cool looking blood particles when troops are hit!

- Man the alien overwatch is deadly :D

- Alien reserved everything to overwatch while it had two of my troops in sight. Should have been more aggressive, move to a cover and shoot?

- A camera zoom could be nice.

- Uh oh, I just realized one of my troops was bleeding. It's told at the beginning of the turn in a pop-up, but the effect icons could be more visible... Maybe have them on top portrait icon and left side of the big portrait, under the kneel icon? The current location seems a bit random...

- Had one alien standing in a corner of two containers doing nothing for several turns until I killed it.

Overall a really nice demo with great visuals, music and SFX. I love the overall polish and you are clearly going in the right direction! Keep it up. And @Chris, I'm still available for mapping if needed. ;)
 

 

Edited by Skitso

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While it doesn't look visually equally interesting, moving TU's and health below the middle portrait could make things more easy to read. This would also free some space under the weapons so you could move attack mode, reload, grenade etc icons there so they wouldn't float on top of the main playfield area.

test.png

Edited by Skitso

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Quote

- I'd like to open inventory with "i"

Yup. Every time I've played X2 I press i and nothing happens.

 

I am surprised that you think the LMG is too good. It actually fires fewer shots per turn than the standard rifle a lot of the time while also being less flexible. What do you like about it? I swear I am missing something because I determined that the LMG was garbage and stopped using them.

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Thanks for the feedback @Skitso, nice to see you back and I'm glad you like the direction the game is going. This is useful stuff to read and hopefully most of the gameplay kinks highlighted will be ironed out over the next 6 months or so. There's a million little things to do but we're working on it.

We will be updating the inventory to open by pressing "i" in the next build or two (thanks @odizzido) and we may well also rearrange the tactical combat UI as well. We're doing some fairly urgent work on the controls because we saw a lot of people bouncing off the demo due to the controls being fiddly, and we might do another pass on the tactical UI layout when that's done. I wouldn't be surprised if we did move the TU / HP centrally when we do that, like you've suggested.

And yeah, I'll probably still drop you a message when the map editor and mod tools finally become available (annoyingly it's way more complex than it was in X1 to make it available, and there's also issues where we're using licensed plugins to make things easier within Unity but we're not allowed to distribute them without permission).

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