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trueman11

Is Xenonauts 2 combat going to be similar to the first game, or have more depth like Jagged Alliance 2?

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I f-ing LOVED the lore and art and music of X1, I loved innovations in air combat, but the combat missions were sluggish and unengaging for me. I remember one of the mods improving on it, but nothing really came even close to the immersion of the combat of JA2 for me – everything about it was so thought through and balanced, it felt REALLY engaging.

I would LOVE to see X2's combat resemble JA2 more. Granted JA2 combined real-time and turn-based and that had it's huge effect. I doubt smth like that will be implemented in X2, but still there are many other features and details that can be.

So my question is for those who has played JA2, X1 and experienced the X2 beta – has combat become more dynamic, meaning more stuff happening in one turn, and does the battle map feel more alive now than before? The question is specifically about the pace of things, and about there being more available actions.

(What I can think of in JA2 that made it's combat feel alive: standing/crouching/prone, stealth movement/fast movement, single/burst/auto firing and multitude of weapons, hearing enemies movements, hearing amplifier, idle animations, background sounds, movement/swimming sounds, it felt like shots echo across the map, wounded enemies leave blood trails, wounded enemies bleed out, enemies sneak/camp/react to what's happening – stupidly or intelligently according to their level, detection dependent on body position/lighting/camouflage/sunglasses/night-vision-goggles, time of day and appropriate lighting and sounds, weather like thunderstorms/sandstorms/etc with sounds, crows here and there that flied away, cool realistic death animations, shooting someone in a leg made them fall to the ground, aiming at different body parts legs/torso/head even in burst/auto mode, in burst/auto mode click and drag made shots spread, bullets flight felt fast realistic kinetic although visible, sounds of hits and enemies pain screams, all actions animated... I guess I could go on, but this is just what I could come up with off the top of my head. Also, and this one is HUGE – many actions could be performed in one turn, and time units were dependent on soldiers skill and state.)

So I have this image in my head, as an example of how to make battlemaps more alive. For example in industrial style map I imagine theses huge animated cranes that keep loading/unloading cargo onto the ships, and maybe even crane operator civilians stop working and run if they hear shooting/combat; maybe even some forklifts on the ground doing something similar, moving cargo around; animated water would make it feel SO MUCH MORE alive. Or for countryside maps some cows grazing. And many more civilians running around in panic, this really makes the world feel more alive.

In general more surroundings being animated with appropriate sounds would make the world feel more alive and immersive. JA2 did the animations only in real-time mode, but I feel that even in turn-based only mode of Xenonauts animations would feel appropriate, otherwise the world feels frozen and unimmersive. Maybe I am mistaken, who knows. Please share your points of view.

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From the small amount of playing, I'd say that if you liked the lore and art of X1, you won't be disappointed with X2.

I would also love to see JA2 style things in ground combat, but without any developing experience with xenonauts, I'd say that many things like idle animations in JA2 combat are impossible to do in Xenonauts without huge rewrite. But maybe something can be done e.g with mods later.

Some of the things I would like to see are:
- Prone stance and crawling
- Alien bleeding and panicking (maybe this is already done?)
- Blood trails and foot steps so that you could see where alien went hiding
- Aliens hearing shots and reacting to them more or less intelligently
- Hit locations with more or less damage according to location and possibly with additional effects like blindness, halved movement rate, reduced accuracy or throwing distance, etc

And then there is one big thing, more like wishful thinking, that would make juggling with soldiers more interesting, and that is soldier relations between each other. It didn't need to be as deep as the relations are in JA2, it could be something simple instead, like that soldiers that have gone through several missions together in the past would e.g get bravery or reaction boost during missions. On the flip side they could panic easier if their long time buddy dies.

One thing I know is coming, is different head gear. There is already re-breather for smoky situations and tactical visor that gives some bonuses for the wearer. In same way something like night vision could be implemented, if not in the game itself, then with a mod.

 

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, mclang said:

From the small amount of playing, I'd say that if you liked the lore and art of X1, you won't be disappointed with X2.

I would also love to see JA2 style things in ground combat, but without any developing experience with xenonauts, I'd say that many things like idle animations in JA2 combat are impossible to do in Xenonauts without huge rewrite. But maybe something can be done e.g with mods later.

Some of the things I would like to see are:
- Prone stance and crawling
- Alien bleeding and panicking (maybe this is already done?)
- Blood trails and foot steps so that you could see where alien went hiding
- Aliens hearing shots and reacting to them more or less intelligently
- Hit locations with more or less damage according to location and possibly with additional effects like blindness, halved movement rate, reduced accuracy or throwing distance, etc

And then there is one big thing, more like wishful thinking, that would make juggling with soldiers more interesting, and that is soldier relations between each other. It didn't need to be as deep as the relations are in JA2, it could be something simple instead, like that soldiers that have gone through several missions together in the past would e.g get bravery or reaction boost during missions. On the flip side they could panic easier if their long time buddy dies.

One thing I know is coming, is different head gear. There is already re-breather for smoky situations and tactical visor that gives some bonuses for the wearer. In same way something like night vision could be implemented, if not in the game itself, then with a mod.

 

I had a thought after looking at some footage of X1 to remind myself what it looked like – even moving vehicles were not animated, and I forgot about that, that made it all look more like a board game. I hope it'll feel more alive in X2 through animating all of the movements/actions, sounds of those movements/actions, and appropriate immersive background noise. When birds are chirping in JA2 I feel like I am in that forest down there... IDK what is responsible for that feeling, and my guess is that it all comes down to animated actions/movements and immersive sounds. The smoother the animations – more alive it feels. Although without idle animations it's probably much more difficult to do... IDK how the original X-Com managed to create a better atmosphere of the ground combat..it does have a unique somber atmosphere. X1 in my view did not transfer it's atmosphere very well to ground combat. But it's 30 years past the original, and I hope it's possible to bring more life to ground battle maps.

Maybe, as an example, if soldiers turned their heads a bit from time to time, or shouldered/unshouldered their weapons from time to time, stuff like that – it's not exactly idle animations, but it would bring more life to the map. The same goes to stuff moving around the map, like civilians manipulating machinery and animals running around on their turn, many more civilians – that would too breathe some life into the surroundings and made it more immersive. I doubt that these things are going to be hard to do. And I hope they are done by the devs, and not expected from modders after release.

Edited by trueman11
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Posted (edited)

@mclangSo I watched some X2 footage and it turns out some of the things I describe are already implemented, like some idle animations.

But what I noticed immediately is the same square by square division of the map, which now feels like an apparent immersion-breaker – the structure of the map should be more realistic and natural, and it will HUGELY improve immersion. X-Com didn't have this separation into "sectors" by some unrealistic walls, it feels more like a battle simulator than a real battle.

Death animations are kinda unimpressive, there is no weight to the falling body, it falls like a paper cutout. And it would be cool if effects were animated too, like suppression (cowering holdind one's head), being wounded (checking out the wound and being blooded), a shield breaking (soldier throwing the shield away and leaving it visible on the ground), etc.

Also fog of war breaks immersion a lot in my view, both the black and the grey one – constantly seeing your blind spots takes away from the tension and suspense and not knowing the area does not make sense because you arrive seeing everything from bird's-eye view.

Also there are no background noises, which makes the map silent like a sterile environment – animals, wind, water, etc., would make it feel so much more alive.

I feel it's better to not show the area effect of grenades, it would feel much more realistic and unpredictable. And the smoke spreading slowly instead of instantly is more realistic and immersive too. This also applies to line of fire – it is better to not show it, it feels like actually aiming a weapon, the line breaks that immersion. This does not apply to movement, because it is more natural to plan the movement, but instead of a line it can be a "line" of some grey "footprints" which is more immersive.

"Hidden movement" screen is also incredibly immersion breaking, it interrupts the flow of combat. Removing "Alien/Friendly activity" indicators also would make the combat flow so much better. Just everything happening with no "psychic" indications.

That "beep" sound when an action can not be completed is better replaced by visual indications that it can not be done. Or some other more pleasant sound.

Keep in mind that the footage I've seen is a few months old (it's of Closed Beta v17).

And I would LOVE to see some indication that these suggestions are read by the developers, because I really want this game to be as good as it can get.

Edited by trueman11
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Although I also liked how JA2 combat was, and loved the immersion it had, I disagree with many points you have with current X2 combat.

For me the square by square division is something that I don't even notice, I just hope that the maps won't get boring or repetitive later. I haven't played original XCOM or Open XCOM in ages, so I don't get what you mean by sectors, but as I remember, for example jungle maps in XCOM were always quite similar to each other. As I see it, only thing missing from Xenonauts 2 is natural hills and other that kind of height differences.

Death animations, or their lack of do not bother me at all, and kneeling as suppression animation is okay. Although I have to say that having aliens and civilians cover their head when suppressed would be nice as would some visual hint about how hurt they are!

Some items seems to be missing graphics when dropped, so maybe shield is one of them... I once dropped C4 so that another soldier with more TUs can pick it up, and it wasn't visible on the ground in any way. Then again if you place the C4, it is visible, so I don't know maybe it was a bug.

Your point about the initial black fog of war is a good one. If Xenonauts arrive by plane, why don't they see the whole map? Maybe night would be different, although with current day technology it shouldn't be... Also aliens that are outside should be marked on the map, or all should be placed initially inside the UFO or nearby buildings. They are not stupid after all. And maybe there should be few cheap drones with which you could scout the area without endangering your soldiers.

But field of view cone I like, and in my mind it doesn't break immersion. After all, human field of view is what it is, and if it wasn't shown as a cone, it could be difficult to estimate what the soldier really sees, when in reality the soldier knows what they see. I don't know if that sentence makes any sense, but I hope you get what I mean :)

Showing grenade impact radius is good for making playing more streamlined. You'd learn it quickly anyway and start counting tiles as it was with original XCOM, so why not make it easier and quicker? Your time as a commander is better spend thinking tactics than calculating tiles, and I think there is enough randomness when soldiers throw those grenades in every other direction than the right one. Also showing line of fire and the block percentages are in my mind just gaming quality improvement. In reality when you aim at something, you see pretty clearly if something is preventing you from shooting or blocking the target. How else to display these in game like Xenonauts where you cannot go into first person view or otherwise see whether you should take one step left or right?

Footprints as movement indicator would be great, but the problem is that it wouldn't fit with the other game visuals like aiming and throwing lines. I like how all of those are really clear and makes it easy to plan moves ahead. Alien movement and friendly activity screens are better than not having them, at least you have something to watch when it is not your turn. I don't understand how watching your soldiers or the combat map when nothing happens while you cannot do anything because it is not your turn would make combat flow any better... But maybe they could be animated, or maybe there could be several different ones that are shown according to the mission type.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, mclang said:

For me the square by square division is something that I don't even notice, I just hope that the maps won't get boring or repetitive later.

Well, those walls of green bushes ARE unimmersive. And make the game predictable and the combat TOO EASY to control. Have you ever seen it in real life like that? Maybe a garden with some bushes like that somewhere, but definitely not every map. Open spaces with NATURAL barriers, like buildings, trees that are not a solid wall (which is again unrealistic) but instead individual trees you can walk among, big rock formations where they are appropriate – that is what makes the game immersive. NATURAL ENVIRONMENTS are the key to the immersion.

1 hour ago, mclang said:

But field of view cone I like, and in my mind it doesn't break immersion. After all, human field of view is what it is, and if it wasn't shown as a cone, it could be difficult to estimate what the soldier really sees, when in reality the soldier knows what they see.

I am not saying filed of view should change, I am saying that if it's not indicated by the grey fog of war it'll be more tense, and attacks and enemy appearance will be more surprising. After all, in real life we can't see what we can't see. Tell me this, do you prefer the way visibility works in JA2, or in Xenonauts? I definitely prefer how JA2 does it.

1 hour ago, mclang said:

Showing grenade impact radius is good for making playing more streamlined. You'd learn it quickly anyway and start counting tiles as it was with original XCOM, so why not make it easier and quicker?

Making it easier is precisely unrealistic. But maybe that's the point really, that most people prefer it easier. It's just the trend, making everything obvious and indicated, which incredibly takes away from immersion. In this case also, do you prefer how JA2 does it, or Xenonauts? I prefer how JA2 does grenades. You can not calculate exact impact radius of a grenade, and JA2 1.13 actually makes it have not just explosion radius, but also shrapnel. I unequivocally prefer how it's done in JA2, it is by far more immersive. Because for me if I don't see in life the radius of a grenade, then I shouldn't see it in a game, if I want it to feel immersive.

1 hour ago, mclang said:

Also showing line of fire and the block percentages are in my mind just gaming quality improvement. In reality when you aim at something, you see pretty clearly if something is preventing you from shooting or blocking the target. How else to display these in game like Xenonauts where you cannot go into first person view or otherwise see whether you should take one step left or right? 

Well, the line itself is unnecessary. Instead the things that block the shot could be shown, "highlighted" so to speak. Again, it instead should be intuitive, not indicated. This makes the game too simulator-like, and unimmersive. But hey, I can't argue with the devs trying to give people what people want, but if that is what people want, easy and uncomplicated...that's not my thing at all. In JA2 the aiming cursor gets dark if the shot can't be made at all, but it does not show if anything is blocking the shot and "reducing the chance to hit", that is for the player to figure out intuitively, simply visually – and it is simple and easy without any indicators. In the JA2 1.13 the aiming cursor has been reworked, and it indicates very well in it's own way the chances to hit, without showing any percentages – if you haven't seen it you should definitely check it out (a side note: I prefer playing JA2 1.13 with Wildfire maps, they are better).

1 hour ago, mclang said:

Footprints as movement indicator would be great, but the problem is that it wouldn't fit with the other game visuals like aiming and throwing lines. I like how all of those are really clear and makes it easy to plan moves ahead.

Well, these unimmersive indicator visuals should be changed anyhow, in my view. And do you really prefer the way X2 does it, or do you prefer JA2's way?? I am really interested to know. Do you find the way JA2 does it hard to plan moves ahead, as you say?? It never felt that way to me.

1 hour ago, mclang said:

 Alien movement and friendly activity screens are better than not having them, at least you have something to watch when it is not your turn. I don't understand how watching your soldiers or the combat map when nothing happens while you cannot do anything because it is not your turn would make combat flow any better... 

Well, I guess it's a matter of taste...or something. But I am sure if you tried playing it the way I describe it – you would love it. If not – then I guess devs are making exactly what people want, and it's just not my thing at all.

1 hour ago, mclang said:

But maybe they could be animated, or maybe there could be several different ones that are shown according to the mission type. 

In JA2 it shows the enemy turn progression, and afaik it's hardcoded. An indicator of "not player's turn" of some sort is okay, but NOT a giant screen saying "HIDDEN MOVEMENT". Actually a couple days ago I saw that OpenXcom has an option to disable that screen, it seems it was requested by many. Waiting for enemy to appear on their turn without the grey fow would create the tension the battles desperately need. I, for one, do not want them to be easy and predictable and plannable – that is not how combat works. No plan survives the contact with the enemy. And in JA2, no matter how prepared or tough I am, I always get unpleasant surprises – and it feels tough, and the victory feels deeply satisfying. Even the weakest of the enemies can kill the toughest of the mercenaries in JA2 – and that is how war works. It's frustrating and unforgiving.

Anyway, thanks for your reply. You're the only one who responded at this point, and I am grateful. Very interested in you answers to my questions, hope you'll elaborate on those.

Edited by trueman11

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Damn, I should be working, but here goes:

I understand your points and I also think that JA2 1.13 is superb in every possible way. But somehow I also enjoy the way Xenonaut does things.

Well yeah, bushes are square as are the roads - and some natural hills, rock formations, ponds and the like would be nice. Walls, rocks and bushes are not solid though, I've been blowing em up here and there, both with purpose and without.

I also spoke about the visible FOV cone, not the degrees angle. This isn't big issue for me either way, I could live without, but I don't understand how it being visible or not would make enemy appearance more or less surprising or rounds tenser. Having visible FOV just makes it clearer which way the soldiers are watching, and I like that information. Maybe there could be setting to turn it of if needed, or something.

As for realism, in my mind making playing easier and making combat simulation realistic are not polar opposites. I'd rather have a game that is easy to grasp and play but which at the same time has realistic rules inside than a game in which you have to guess how game mechanics work. Grenades are not exact in Xenonauts either, they might fly all over the place and make different levels of damage. Shrapnel would be good, but I take it is calculated in the damage already. If the impact radius wasn't shown, it would just make the playing slower, not more realistic. IMOH more realistic would be a varying radius between some sensible limits.

You are right in that the aiming line itself is unnecessary and the possibility to hit could be shown without percentages. I don't know if you have any experience with firearms, but as a hunter I can say that while aiming e.g moose or bear, any blocking obstacles are clearly visible. Thus I think it doesn't hamper realism in Xenonauts when blocking objects are shown as they are now. Again, aiming line and the like are gaming quality improvement for me - it lets me get immersed in tactics without the need to spend time guessing things I usually don't need to guess so much in real life.

As for the the footprints, I didn't mean that planning in JA2 is difficult because them, it's not. I just said that Xenonaut's way is clear, fits the overall visuals and makes planning easy, that's all.

If I remember correctly, Xenonauts 1 didn't have the hidden movement screen as it is now, or it was somehow different. I remember though that I used some mod to fix that because looking at screen where nothing happens felt stupid. I give you that it could be improved in many ways - and maybe devs even have something coming. You said that the videos you watched were from v17 so I think many things might be improved already because current unstable version is v19.

But I think I get you - you speak about immersivenes, which isn't the same thing as realism. Xenonauts has many simulation like mechanics which you seem not to like, but for me they don't reduce how I get immersed in the game. No plan survives the enemy, there you have it right, but before first contact planning is everything. Nothing is more tense than dropping down, planning and positioning each soldier to cover their corners, and then when hidden movement comes see how the aliens screw your plan.

Difficulty should come from the enemy intelligence, not game mechanics. I agree that JA2 does combat better, but still I don't have clear preference between JA2 and Xenonauts mechanics - I can enjoy both.

Cheers!

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, mclang said:

If the impact radius wasn't shown, it would just make the playing slower, not more realistic.

Not for me. I don't see how it would slow down things.

All of what you write is interesting. I guess it is a matter of taste what each individual enjoys. And whereas I have a clear preference between the two games, it varies. BUT. Even when comparing Xenonauts to the original X-Com in my impression combat comes up short – it does not have the same tension, for some reason, for me. Simply put Xenonauts 1 combat is boring for me. XNT mod for it improved A LOT in combat, it felt tense and engaging, but it still lacked the variety of JA2.

So I guess to each their own, and games are just what they are, and it can not be changed. Devs have their own vision, and they make it come true.

If X2 will be extremely moddable, as is JA2 I guess, it might give ones like me to try and apply our own tastes to the game and share it with others. For now it's still a long wait ahead and we'll see how it will turn out. I just thought I'd share my own two cents.

Edited by trueman11
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Posted (edited)

@mclang Btw, by squares I meant these walls of bushes and these impenetrable walls of trees.

image.thumb.jpeg.889a6a674b0c9fb81c92c85d8c44f351.jpeg

image.thumb.jpeg.5cc53e78f74d78570aa61ae989c3d55d.jpeg

 

Why not make it so that trees and bushes grow sporadically-naturally and it's possible to move among them (meaning separate trees and bushes)?? Why divide the map into these unnatural sections?? In my view the battles would feel so much more engaging when the threat can come from any direction. Of course AI should be able to simulate intelligent behavior, like flank, attack from the rear, sneak, etc.

These walls of trees feel like Age of Empires 2 : ) I don't think they are apposite in a tactical combat.

You gave an example from real life shooting. I will give an example from Operation Flashpoint, since I don't have combat experience : ) In that game cover is sporadic and natural, bushes are not solid cover, they are just concealment (and not a perfect concealment). Unless you are behind a wall, or a bag of sand, you are not in cover, and even in cover the feeling of safety is partial. So the situation when trees and bushes present a solid 100% cover from bullets and other weapons – is ridiculous. Bullets should penetrate even walls, if they are powerful enough. And a tree can present only a very partial cover. Open spaces make combat unpredictable and engaging.

Unless there are some limitations on the game engine capabilities, these should 100% be replaced by more natural environments.

Edited by trueman11

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Also, there should be different appropriate body types for different soldiers, in combat as well as in the soldier equipping screen.

1022894899_Xenonauts2-ClosedBetav17-Part1(1080p_60fps_H264-128kbit_AAC).mp4_snapshot_00_18_42_982.thumb.jpg.73f55ab587b7b456153872880574c8ce.jpg

292625561_Xenonauts2-ClosedBetav17-Part1(1080p_60fps_H264-128kbit_AAC).mp4_snapshot_00_07_58_049.thumb.jpg.47e2b1b0cc215becec5cce8833a6a126.jpg

 

Right now they feel like clones with no gender on the battlemap, absolutely devoid of distinctive traits (tiny sized variations in hair color are not enough, especially when they are not seen at all under the helmet). Well, in the equipment screen it's the same.

Details like this make A LOT of difference.

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Posted (edited)

On another note: interrupts should be a thing, meaning reaction shots should occur far more often, especially from the side of aliens. Reaction shots should be far more probable with more TUs left over. Moving in the field of view of the enemy SHOULD NOT feel safe, there should be a constant danger of enemies reacting to your movement and actions. This will make the combat flow much more naturally, organically. Especially feeling safe when moving close to aliens – takes away from the feeling of danger and threat so much. Aliens should be scary and always stronger than the player, maybe only in the endgame player coming to capability of effectively resisting them, as an equal.

This thread turned into my own diary of suggestions : )... So be it.) I'll be leaving them here, and maybe they'll even be useful to the devs.

EDIT: Another note on this. In JA2 the interrupts are more complex. When the player interrupts the enemy's turn he can do anything with the TUs left over, move or perform actions, and manually, they are not automatic like reaction fire in X. But of course the interrupt might get interrupted itself, and the enemy will continue their turn. All in all that system made combat flow very engaging. Idk what exactly new JA2 1.13 mod brought to the interrupt system, they have made some improvements to it, and I definitely like what they did.

 

Edited by trueman11

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Posted (edited)

About visibility. Here's a screen from JA2 1.13:

1953653916_JA21.13visibility.thumb.jpg.774a844b490b41e870d4724f8a6fe5dd.jpg

 

This can be shown by holding down a key, but it's not shown by default.

First thing is that it is better for the tension to not display cones of view by default.

Second thing is that in JA2 not all visible tiles are visible 100%, which also adds to realism.

Please make the option to disable the visibility cone and make the map discovered from the start (no fow).

Edited by trueman11

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Posted (edited)

Another thought about combat depth: it would be cool if aliens had immunity to some things, like some of them have superb vision so they can not be blinded by smoke and they see extremely well in darkness, others have very high brain function and control over instincts and are immune to suppression, some might telepathically sense humans and know where everyone is at all times and attack intelligently and maybe those aliens have evolved telepathic defense – when attacking them it's incredibly hard to see and think clearly (you get huge morale and accuracy penalty)...

These can be discovered through combat experience and researched to find out the reasons, be the part of lore too.

In any case I think aliens should have superior senses to humans and be more proficient at fighting. Otherwise they feel like ordinary familiar opponent – which is NOT what aliens should feel like. Aliens should feel ALIEN. (On that note: lizard-men are probably done so to not animate snake-like movement, but seeing snakes actually was awesome. However I might dislike XCOM the remake – they did snakes and hybrids well.)

Edited by trueman11

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Posted (edited)

Maybe sounds should sound louder/quieter according to the distance their source is. Hearing UFO sounds from across the map is not very immersive in my impression..

Running sounds can be more varied. It all sounds very..monotonous, repetitive. My brain is noticing that it's the same sound over and over again. Maybe slowing down the running just a little bit can give the movement more weight. Especially if the movement speed is dependent on how encumbered the soldier is.

Two modes of movement walking and running, and also moving while crouched – can give the combat even more flexibility.

P.S. Noticed an animated palm tree – NICE  : ) More details like that will help bring the maps to life.))

Edited by trueman11

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Posted (edited)

An important note on difficulty. It always felt to me that making combat difficult by making soldiers weak does not fit into the lore at all. How is it an organization like that does not get the pick of the best soldiers?? It's so much better to make the combat difficult by other means. Soldiers should be the best of the best, with some room to improve of course, but not much room. It should be that soldiers can measure up to aliens only by applying their technology and abilities (psionics) against them. Aliens should absolutely be SUPERIOR to humans on the battlefield. They should be scary even with the best soldiers of the Earth. I wrote here previously about some suggestions for alien abilities, and those abilities and probably many others should make the combat hard, deep, and the victory rewarding.

Going on a combat mission always should be a real RISK of losing soldiers. It would present a price for the reward of the missions. Bombing crash and landing sites from afar should have it's merit, in being a much safer option (and not just an escape from the repetitiveness of the combat). Otherwise missions turn repetitive, when they are too easy to complete. And as it is now the combat is too easy and predictable indeed.

Addition: Lizards with their regeneration should easily shrug off even grenades, growing limbs back in mere minutes. If this could be done visually, it would make the combat incredibly interesting. Killing lizards should be VERY HARD. Like "bullets alone are not enough" hard. Maybe also give them an incredible speed, just like many lizards do have, maybe even make them run on all four legs..like lizards. That should make them incredibly scary and alien, as they should feel.

Androns also have to be extremely tough, otherwise in X1 they felt as much worse version of what Boston Dynamics does today. Speed and extreme armor should be their thing.

Wraith could teleport away from the attacks, making it extremely hard to catch and hit them. Maybe it's necessary to research some kind of counter to their ability to teleport. They should 100% do sneaky stuff like teleporting near a soldier attacking and teleporting away immediately. That will make them really alien and superior to pitiful primitive humans.

Praetors while dying might emit a psionic pulse that kills and psychologically breaks many soldiers. That would make the player reconsider doing it until he can research some psionic protection.

Edited by trueman11

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I'm kinda sad that there's almost no discussion around this topic and these suggestions... I kinda hoped that if I share these things here on the forum there would be more response to them.

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I agree, many things we are talking about are matter of taste :)

But many things currently lacking in Xenonauts 2 combat are due to game engine or resource constraints. The devs would definitely improve combat in all ways possible if they had the time, but getting game ready for open beta is the most important thing right now.

For me the combat in X2 is engaging enough, although JA2 combat is definitely better as I have agreed many times before. Original XCOM had better tension maybe because aliens acted more randomly and the music and sounds were great. I think though that these things will get better before release and much can be done later with mods.

By the way, once during combat I was scared shitles when there was sudden sound of door banging and scream... That really ramped up the tension in good way!

About your other points:
- I understood what you meant by square bushed and impenetrable trees. I somewhat understand why you can't see through the bushes if you take them as tall and thick kind of type, but I don't know why the bushes are indestructible when you definitely can blow holes in walls and level single bushes. Also the impenetrable trees are really annoying! I don't mind them being in square blocks, but the possibility to move between them would be really welcome. I remember the trees being somehow problematic also in Xenonauts 1, so maybe it is game engine or graphic related things... In X1 you couldn't blow a hole into UFOs either, but fortunately there was a mod to fix that.
- More varied body types would of course be nice, but not really needed until there really is nothing more to fix. After all, top class soldiers are all healthy, strong and fit individuals (with some outliers), so they being quite similar when geared up is not a such big problem. But still I agree, it would be nice to have some distinctive traits for each soldier and see who is who more easily. Maybe you could scale the models a little bit according to the gender and strength?
- I have thought the same about interrupts, they should be more frequent when soldier has a lot of TUs left. That though might be problematic game balance wise if also aliens worked the same way because they would almost always get several reaction shots when Xenonauts are storming the UFO... The lethality of this would ramp up the danger alright but also be anything but fun in the long! And at least during my current combats, those frakking regenerating lizards take quite often too damn accurate reaction shots to my poor soldiers :/
- Settings option to show FOV by default and toggle button would be nice additions. Also not every visible tiles should be 100% visible - obstacles and lighting conditions should affect this as they do with shooting... Maybe this is WIP or moddable later?
- Different alien races already have different characteristics. For example, if I remember right, Sebillians are not affected by smoke and they are very resilient against stun damage. I don't agree that all aliens should have superior senses, it should depend on the environment the race is accustomed to. Also they should NOT all be generally better at fighting because why should they? Logically not all alien races send to earth are bred for war. Being alien doesn't need to mean bad ass predator motherfucker, it is good that there is variety.
- Minor variations in sound distances and other things like that would make combat more immersive. It would be nice if during alien/allied turn each soldier could hear things in the vicinity and we as players could start guessing was the one opening door an alien or friendly. Then again things like running sound doesn't make any difference for me, it belongs to category very unimportant when there is many bigger things to tackle.
- Walking/Running modes would make sense if one of them was quieter than another. This though would need sneak mechanics, which I don't know if there is any in current version - haven't tried to sneak behind any alien yet because lack of stun batons. Another thing is that shooting after running should be less accurate than after walking. Moving crouched and prone is in my wish-list also.
- Using rookie soldiers instead of battle hardened veterans is how pretty much all the XCOM derivatives do things. Although not realistic, it is the easiest way to get meaningful feeling of progression with the Xenonaut soldiers, so it is NOT only about difficulty. I'd even say that it is more about progression than making things more difficult because if there is no progression for the Xenonauts, where is the carrot to keep them alive?
- Good ideas about alien skills, although as I said earlier they should NOT all be superior killing machines. They are not making full scale war against earth so it's logical that not all races are of warrior type. Good thing about your skill suggestion is that they could easily be scaled according to selected game difficulty.

These forums are not the most liveliest one I have been... Maybe things change when game hits open beta. Too bad that also my time is quite limited, I really shouldn't spend this much time responding to you! Furthermore I think the devs are too damn busy to get the game in shippable state with the planned features to answer long suggestion threads like this. But hey, you are so into this and seem to have time, so maybe you should make a JA2 mod that turns it into XCOM =D

 

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