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Xenonauts-2 Closed Beta V18 Released! (Experimental Branch)

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Closed Beta Build V18 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 is a major update to the game that contains six weeks of hard work from the team but be prepared to encounter some serious stability / gameplay issues when you first start playing. We'll try to patch any issues out as quickly as possible (please report any issues on our Bug Reporting sub-forums) but there's been some changes to important code that affects large amounts of the game. We've tested a fair bit but we won't have caught everything.

I've made a lot of small changes to the balance so this changelog is not exhaustive!

Key Highlights:

  • Strategy Rebalance: the air combat has had a significant balance pass and I've started a proper balance pass on the strategy campaign. This isn't finished and doesn't yet include the tactical combat missions, but it's still a big improvement over V17 and there's a number of new mechanics in the air combat and on the strategy as a result. We'll continue to improve the balance throughout the hotfixes in the next week or two.
  • Air Combat Armour: the Armour mechanics in the air combat have changed so that units now have both Armour HP and Hull HP, and weapons do different amounts of damage against each type. Effectively this means different types of UFO capital ship can be a bit more distinct from one another compared to Xenonauts 1.
  • Multiple Raids: alien Raid combat missions now spawn in groups of three and give different strategic rewards. You can only respond to one of these Raid sites if you have a single dropship, but players who run multiple squads would be able to respond to more.
  • UFO Sections: capturing a crashed UFO now awards you various types of UFO components that must be dismantled in the Workshop to recover the Alenium / Alloys within (you also get some pure Alloys / Alenium too). This gives your engineers plenty to do in the early game and puts a natural cap on the amount of resources you can gather by grinding crash sites. This system replaces the Unrefined Alloys / Depleted Alenium items we were using previously.
  • Stores Overcapacity: if you exceed your base storage capacity the game now prevents you from constructing new items in the workshop or transferring items to other bases until you have sold enough items to make space (this prevents you getting any usable items until you have space for them).
  • Keybinding support: the settings screen now has support for rebinding keys.
  • Jetpacks: there's new unit animations for jetpacks and they now appear on the soldier model. The process of using them in-game is now much more fluid too.
  • New Artwork: there's new art for the vehicle weapons, new 3d models for the Electroshock weapons and various new particle effects (fire / explosions) in the game.
  • Usability Improvements: after seeing a lot of people bouncing off the Steam demo, we added a large number of usability improvements to the tactical combat controls. If you're interested there's a full list in the changelog below.

Balance Changes Summary - Quick Summary:

  • Everything has been slowed down. There is longer between each UFO wave, and Research and Engineering projects now take much longer to complete. Base buildings in particular take much longer to build than they did before.
  • I've done a balance pass on the air combat so interceptors of the appropriate tech tier can fight on a level footing with UFOs of the appropriate tier. Damage on interceptors takes much longer to heal in X2 than it does in X1, so an interceptor at full health can take on a more powerful UFO and win - it'll just be badly damaged for several weeks afterwards. This makes the game a bit more forgiving when you don't happen to have precisely the right interceptor / equipment to take on a particular type of UFO.
  • The game is now balanced to assume only ONE interceptor per battle, so it'll be very easy if you send more than one interceptor into battle! In future it'll be balanced for 3 aircraft but that requires some code changes we haven't had time to do for now.
  • Raids now spawn in threes, scattered across the world. Each Raid has a different reward (cash / scientists / engineers) and you generally have to choose just one - but if you get multiple dropships set up, you could concievably handle multiple sites. Not sure if it's worth the trouble but it's certainly an option!
  • Scientists / Engineers no longer have any wage / hire costs. You now start with 10 of each, and three of each are now added to the hire pool each month for free, plus any gained from Raids and from constructing Command Centers on the Geoscape.
  • Unrefined Alloys / Depleted Alenium have been replaced with UFO components (UFO Hull Sections / UFO Circuitry) that provide resources when dismantled in your Workshop, or can just be sold for cash. This system is a bit clunky and need some more balancing but so far it seems like an interesting idea.

Gameplay Changes - Strategy:

  • Feature: we've added support for keybindings which can be accessed in the Settings menu.
  • Feature: exceeding your storage capacity now halts production of any engineering items.
  • Feature: the soldier attribute bars on the Soldier Equip screen now correctly show the modified value when units have either stat increases or stat reduction from items or injuries, and the tooltip now gives a list of the things affecting this.
  • Feature: wounded soldiers will now try to automatically assign themselves back to their slot in the dropship once they return to full health. If their slot is full, they will remain unassigned (mostly useful for soldiers who are only wounded for 1-2 days).
  • Feature: funds can now go negative as a result of upkeep. You lose the game if you have negative funds after the monthly meeting for two months in a row.
  • Art: New artwork has been added for most of the vehicle weapons.
  • UI - Geoscape: clicking outside a popup no longer closes that popup.
  • UI - Geoscape: recurring popups (e.g. UFO Detected) no longer remember their position if you drag them to a new location before closing them.
  • UI - Geoscape: the text that appears when your base turrets are trying to shoot down an attacking UFO has been updated to make it easier to understand and more informative.
  • UI - Soldier Equip: the Undersuit dropdown now shows the quantity of each undersuit you have.
  • UI - Soldier Equip: the Undersuits now show tooltips.
  • UI - Engineering: projects now show tooltips that show the stats of the item that will be built.
  • Performance: we've improved the performance of the prerequisite system, which drives pretty much everything on the strategy layer. This means improves Geoscape performance but may also have introduced a lot of crashes!
  • Bugfix: fixed a crash when a base was attacked by aliens and you had wounded soldiers stationed at that base
  • Bugfix: fixed UFOs attacking a Xenonaut base not being detected if they spawn within radar range

Gameplay Changes - Air Combat:

  • Armour now works differently for Aircraft and UFOs. Both now have Armour HP and Hull / Normal HP and all damage is first assigned to Armour HP until there is none left and the Hull HP begins to take damage. Weapons have seperate damage values against Armour and against Hull, so weapons like cannons are ineffective against heavily armoured UFOs but very effective against lightly armoured UFOs (and if a UFO has a mix of both types of HP, you can always strip the Armour off with missiles or energy weapons and then close in to destroy the Hull using a cannon).
  • There's a variety of new items in the tech tree, but the weapons fall into one of three categories: cannons, missiles and energy lances. There are also armour items and aircraft reactor items that tie into the power system mentioned below.
  • The framework of a power system has been added but the system is not yet active. I'd encourage you to self-enforce the rules, though - basically the system is that aircraft equipment consumes power and you can't equip an item on an aircraft if it doesn't have enough power for it.

Gameplay Changes - Tactical Combat:

  • Feature: lots of work has been done on the jetpacks. There's new models and animations for the jetpack, and the process of using jetpacks has been cleaned up so they just work far better than before.
  • Feature: The spawn logic for the Base Defence missions has been coded now. Most aliens will try to spawn into Hangars if they are present, but will select one or two random rooms to spawn into if no Hangars are present. Particularly sneaky types of aliens will ignore Hangars and will always spawn elsewhere in your base.
  • Usability: there is now a Soldier Finished button to the right of the UI. Clicking this will mark the soldier as "finished" and then select the next valid soldier, and if all soldiers are marked as finished it will automatically end the turn. Finished soldiers have the following effects:
    • Finished soldiers can still be manually selected and can still spend TU as normal
    • Finished soldiers are removed from the Tab soldier cycling
    • Finished soldiers have a slightly greyed out mini-portrait at the top of the screen
  • Usability: when pressing End Turn the game will check if the player has any "forgotten" soldiers - soldiers that are not BOTH at full TU and not finished. If any of these soldiers exist, the game will not end the turn and will instead select them so the player can move them. You can ignore this forgotten soldier check by Ctrl+clicking on the End Turn button.
  • Usability: the selection cursor now makes it more obvious what camera level you have selected, as it has a "box" effect below the current level.
  • Usability: the controls for the game are now shown in the bottom leftof the screen (you will be able to disable these in future updates).
  • Usability: turning when taking a shot no longer costs TU.
  • Usability: the game now briefly focuses the camera on newly spotted enemies during combat.
  • Usability: clicking a weapon fire mode button no longer activates force fire mode, it just means that fire mode will be used when you hover over an alien or press Ctrl to enter Free Fire mode.
  • Usability: weapon fire mode buttons now auto-disable themselves when you don't have enough TU to use them.
  • Usability: shot fire path now turns orange when a shot goes beyond weapon range, and turns red when the shot falls to 0% hit chance.
  • Usability: bleeding wound popup is now more informative, and units taking bleeding damage now display damage numbers and play injury sounds.
  • Usability: Primary / Secondary weapons now show tooltips when you hover over them in the UI.
  • Usability: Stun damage is now shown above the head in yellow numbers. If a unit is stunned, there is a popup explaining what happened.
  • Usability: Corpses / stunned unit items now specifically say "corpse" or "stunned" to make them easier to distinguish
  • Art: added 3d models for the Electroshock Pistol and Electroshock Rifle.
  • Art: the Colossus armour now has a unique set of animations so it feels like a big heavy exosuit.
  • Art: the aliens almost all have new death animations where they better stay inside their tile, which should stop their corpses poking through walls so much.
  • Art: new explosion particles for the plasma explosion, fusion explosion and EMP explosion.
  • Art: new teleport effect.
  • Art: updated blood pools for humans and aliens.
  • Art: fixed the appearance of several objects that I accidentally broke during my updates in V16.
  • SFX: new teleport sound.
  • SFX: some new door sounds.
  • UI: general cleanup of the Hidden Movement system so it pops up less often when not required
  • UI: general cleanup of the camera during the alien turn, so it focuses on the action more effectively and aliens should "teleport" around less when moving.
  • Performance: explosions should be much more performant now.
  • Bugfix: fixed an AI bug where the AI would try to attack your units but then stop because it thought it was in the wrong tile. This should make the AI more effective at killing your soldiers.
  • Bugfix: fixed a bug where miss shots could pass through destroyed floor tiles and disappear off-map (particularly problematic with the grenade launcher).
  • Bugfix: units that are healed from a stunned state using a Medikit are no longer permanently reduced to 0 TU.
  • Bugfix: smoke now dissipates correctly.
  • Bugfix: smoke can no longer spawn inside solid objects or through solid roofs / floors.
  • Bugfix: smoke no visually longer clips through the floor so obviously.
  • Bugfix: MARS / Androns etc can no longer open doors, and now instead crushes both the door and the doorframe as it passes through.
  • Bugfix: Damage numbers for civilians no longer show in the shroud.
  • Bugfix: Mentarch no longer clips through the ceiling or plays human injury / death sounds.
  • Bugfix: Gun Drone and Cyberdrone now visually explode and disappear when destroyed.
  • Bugfix: the little armoured cover "walls" that exist inside UFOs and alien bases no longer block movement on either side of them.
  • Bugfix: fixed a number of 2x2 paving tiles in various biomes that did not properly support destructibility.
  • Bugfix: mechanical units can no longer crouch.
  • Bugfix: units should no longer spawn inside solid objects when starting an Alien Base mission.
  • Bugfix: fix MARS obstruction shading itself green when it took damage.

As always, please let us know if you encounter any bugs by posting them up on the Bug Reporting subforums, as we'll release a hotfix if necessary.

  • Like 2

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I am going to download this version and try it out. I think disassembling UFO parts sounds like a pretty good idea. If it takes long enough people may skip tactical missions when they have enough parts to work on. I know I probably would, but I am going to find out. Thanks for the update :)

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Just now, Kamehamehayes said:

Everything about this update seems really cool and are great changes, but I'm a little confused on how scientist and engineer hiring is supposed to work. 

 

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Aww, made it to turn two of my first ground mission before encountering a bug where my soldier can't shoot despite being full TUs.....reloading the game to see if it's stuck like that...

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Posted (edited)

This is a really huge update. It was worth the long wait, thank you! I look forward to the opportunity to test it.

Edited by MrAlex

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Posted (edited)

Yep Thanks for the huge new Version. The 8 to 9 Weeks to wait for such was a good Idea after V.16.x-Playtesting. I will take a look at it, and make an small Testing. But with the upcomming announcement for the V.18-Version

"We'll continue to improve the balance throughout the hotfixes in the next week or two." as well as other not finished Parts like the Aircraft-Upgrades

an big Test makes no Sense atm. Therefore I think of to wait a little longer before doing a big Testing of this cool and big new Version.

Edited by Alienkiller

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8 hours ago, odizzido said:

I am going to download this version and try it out. I think disassembling UFO parts sounds like a pretty good idea. If it takes long enough people may skip tactical missions when they have enough parts to work on. I know I probably would, but I am going to find out. Thanks for the update :)

Yeah, that's the idea (hopefully). It's kinda doing the same thing as the fatigue system but perhaps in a more interesting way.

8 hours ago, Kamehamehayes said:

Everything about this update seems really cool and are great changes, but I'm a little confused on how scientist and engineer hiring is supposed to work. 

So basically scientists and engineers are strategic rewards. You start with a certain number of them, and you get more at month-end or by completing certain Geoscape missions or building Command Centers on the Geoscape in various regions to gain bonuses. Once they've been given to your organisation they sit in an off-base hiring pool and they can freely be hired to any of your bases provided you have living capacity there. They've got no salary or hire costs, so you move them between bases by firing and rehiring them.

5 hours ago, odizzido said:

Aww, made it to turn two of my first ground mission before encountering a bug where my soldier can't shoot despite being full TUs.....reloading the game to see if it's stuck like that...

Yup, if we can figure out what's going on here we'll hotfix it. In the interim you can use Ctrl to free fire with the soldier as a workaround.

EDIT - actually, it only affects weapons brought to battle in the backpack. We'll fix it in the hotfix but it's not a critical issue given you can also work around it using Ctrl free fire.

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20 hours ago, Chris said:

Multiple Raids: alien Raid combat missions now spawn in groups of three and give different strategic rewards. You can only respond to one of these Raid sites if you have a single dropship, but players who run multiple squads would be able to respond to more.

When should such a raid disappear from the map? After completing one of the three? How will sending a second dropship help play more than one mission? Is it that they will disappear some time after their appearance (as usual)? Can a player send the same team for several raids if they have a low stress ratio?

20 hours ago, Chris said:

The game is now balanced to assume only ONE interceptor per battle, so it'll be very easy if you send more than one interceptor into battle! In future it'll be balanced for 3 aircraft but that requires some code changes we haven't had time to do for now.

Does this mean that the UFO will have fewer HP and will not have fighters cover?

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50 minutes ago, MrAlex said:

When should such a raid disappear from the map? After completing one of the three? How will sending a second dropship help play more than one mission? Is it that they will disappear some time after their appearance (as usual)? Can a player send the same team for several raids if they have a low stress ratio?

Does this mean that the UFO will have fewer HP and will not have fighters cover?

The three Raids all last 12 hours and act like standard Raid sites. You could potentially fight two sites with the same dropship if you can reach the first battle in less than 12 hours, your soldiers aren't that stressed and you don't take many casualties in the first battle. The starting dropship might be a bit too slow to manage it though. Perhaps it'd be easier with the more advanced dropships - I've not really tested it myself but I'd be interested to see if it becomes a viable tactic.

If you've got a second dropship and enough soldiers you can send them both out to different sites before they expire, and claim the rewards for completing two of the missions instead of just one.

Regarding the UFOs, no - UFOs still spawn in squadrons of up to three. However right now your interceptors have 3x as much health as normal and their weapons do 3x as much damage, because each interceptor has been given the stats of an entire squadron of interceptors until we make the code changes we're planning to make.

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Posted (edited)

@ChrisAnd what about the level of panic for 2 raids to which the player is unable to respond?

Edited by MrAlex

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Posted (edited)

Interessting Question and implementation with the 3 Raid-Zones. That´s a cool Feature which get implemented in the new XCOM-Storyline (XCOM EU / EW) the first time.

I would suggest we test it the next days and see the result, because we have to do it anyway. Tehnn we will see it.

Edited by Alienkiller

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6 hours ago, Chris said:

So basically scientists and engineers are strategic rewards. You start with a certain number of them, and you get more at month-end or by completing certain Geoscape missions or building Command Centers on the Geoscape in various regions to gain bonuses. Once they've been given to your organization they sit in an off-base hiring pool and they can freely be hired to any of your bases provided you have living capacity there. They've got no salary or hire costs, so you move them between bases by firing and rehiring them.

Thank you, that clears things up a lot better. Will this system be in the final release? 

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I think having multiple raids is an interesting idea....but yeah we will see how it actually works out.

 

I think it's great that you guys are adding things in to try and play with. I've probably said it before but I think now is the exact time to try things, actually play with them to see how they work, and then change/tweek/add/remove whatever to get things working well mechanically/fun wise.

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Just now, odizzido said:

I think having multiple raids is an interesting idea....but yeah we will see how it actually works out.

 

I think it's great that you guys are adding things in to try and play with. I've probably said it before but I think now is the exact time to try things, actually play with them to see how they work, and then change/tweek/add/remove whatever to get things working well mechanically/fun wise.

Yeah now is a great time, since they want to give people a good impression of the open beta to build a community around. 

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Downloaded and beginn testing now.

@Kamehamehayes: We all don´t know that. There were many Changes, Refits, Upgrades etc. since the full working Betatests from Beta 5 or 6 on. We have to wait for Early Access-Phase, where such elments get the last yes or no for the Final game.

@odizzido: Yeah, remembers on the first new XCOM from Firaxis with the 3 Terror Sites at once. But with the Difference that you can do with fast Troop-Ships and good Soldiers / Vehicles evtl. all 3. And that the Devs are working with the Community together and implement doable Idas which the Devs hadn´t thought. Like the new Fighter-Refit-System, Air-Fight-System or the Armor-System for Soldiers / Vehicles and what I have forgotten. That´s meant Teamwork to make a very good to great Game.

 

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22 hours ago, Chris said:

You could potentially fight two sites with the same dropship if you can reach the first battle in less than 12 hours

Now I understand what you mean. The raid mission does not disappear if a team flies there. Therefore, if a player first completes a mission that is closer to his base, he will then be able to perform another, no matter how far it is (if the team is not badly damaged and the transport has enough fuel to fly)

I have an interesting idea for abusing this with the help of fighters. I will try to test my guess today.

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Yep I had such an tripple Raid last Evening (End January).

There I could 2 of 3. I get the Money one and that 3 Scientists. It´s a cool new Feature for the Geoscape. But the other cool Feature with the announced Special Missions (take out Infiltrators or Spys for the Aliens etc.) are still missing.

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2 hours ago, silencer said:

By reading the changes this turns more into XCOM than the original. 

Is that a bad thing? I really do like the fact that it can have multiple alien raids going on at once, each with different rewards, making decision making more interesting. I see nothing wrong with Xenonauts 2 borrowing from the successful mechanics of the new xcom games. 

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I didn't say it's a bad thing. However I remember when XCOM came out, many people where pissed about doing only 1 of 3 missions. So is it really successful mechanic? Long War removed this to only 1 mission. Long War Rebalance set that you can do all 3. 

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Posted (edited)

I hate People which are tear a fully working system to shreds before they played / tested it. In the Steam Forum there are enough of them and I would like be T-101 or the TX to them.

I have tested / played it and make like the other active Playtesters good experiance. Exactly such Specials make the Game to that what it should be. I said the whole time, that Xenonauts 2 need such Concepts and much more of that specials to be a great game. The Competitors dosn´t thougt to an End in that Parts or have an other Intention in that.

@ Silencer: What I say is that you have to READ correctly and not only overfly Posts with important informations like my last one about that special with Alien Raids. And Test / Play it before give an Opinion.

 

Edited by Alienkiller

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I noticed that Skyhawk's soldier cap is bigger now. Is this intentional or just an itineration?

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57 minutes ago, geno said:

I noticed that Skyhawk's soldier cap is bigger now. Is this intentional or just an itineration?

It's more like a bug. Nothing has changed for me, but someone has already said the same thing.

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7 hours ago, silencer said:

I didn't say it's a bad thing. However I remember when XCOM came out, many people where pissed about doing only 1 of 3 missions. So is it really successful mechanic? Long War removed this to only 1 mission. Long War Rebalance set that you can do all 3. 

Xcom type games are games where you defend the human race from alien invasion; you have to pick and choose your battles since you can't defend against every threat at once. This improves the game gameplay wise since each mission gives you different rewards making decision making more interesting (you could even do more than one raid if you play your cards right) and it improves it storywise since it shows how out numbered you are against the threat from above. This seems like a successful mechanic to me; I am sad that some other people don't see it that way. 

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Posted (edited)

Exactly, try to make all Missions you can do in such Raids. If you have 2 Troops then you can evtl. handle all 3, but 2 are more realistic, esp. at the beginning.

And yep, the Skyhawk Bug I have too. But that is the only one I have found atm too.

Edited by Alienkiller

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