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Xenonauts-2 March 2022 Update!


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Hello everyone - time for our development update for March. Apologies for this being a few days late, the intention was to time the update to coincide with the release of V23 but we've found a couple of crashes that need fixing that have pushed release back. For those interested, we'll be releasing V23 on our Experimental branches at some point this week.

The main thing I've been working on this month is the campaign balancing, which is always a significant undertaking given a full campaign playthrough is probably 15-20 hours long (i.e. at least two full working days). Each attempted playthough results in a number of balance changes that need to be made, bugs that need to be fixed, usability changes to be made, gameplay mechanics that need to be checked out because they may not be working properly, etc. We therefore don't have many "big" features to talk about in this update but there have been a lot of smaller ones.

Strategic Pressure / Orbital Bombardment:
The main new change on the strategy layer is an attempt to introduce more strategic pressure. The Orbital Bomardment mechanic has made a return in a somewhat altered form, and it's now effectively a monthly performance target communicated in a slightly more thematic way. I know people have been a bit concerned about it in the past but I don't think there's much to worry about in its new form!

At the start of the month Orbital Bombardment increases Panic in all regions by a certain amount (e.g. +25 Panic) that increases as the game progresses. If any region has over 100 Panic at the end of the month is surrenders and is lost to the aliens, so the player must try to generate enough Panic reduction during the month to cancel out the Panic gain. Monthly funding from a region is tied to its Panic, so success means funding goes up and failure means funding goes down.

Panic reduction is achieved by defeating the alien invasion - shooting down UFOs and completing ground missions like Terror sites. These generate a local Panic reduction, but also a global reduction. The regions you are protecting best will have the lowest Panic but even undefended regions will have lower Panic if it looks like humanity is winning the war against the aliens.

The gameplay effect of this is much like the monthly funding evaluations that appear in every X-Com game, but it serves to reduce the amount of damage that can be caused if UFOs spawn repeatedly in undefended regions due to simple randomness, and it also ensures that the game ends more quickly if the player was underperforming (it was always a bit silly that it took 3-4 months to lose the game in Xenonauts even if you never shoot down a single UFO or win a tactical mission).

Base Defence Missions:
We've spent quite a bit of time this month fixing gameplay issues to do with the Xenonaut Base Defence missions, as we've introduced a base attack on your main facility by the Cleaners to increase early-game mission variety. While this biome still looks a bit ugly (it hasn't had the visual pass yet) the gameplay is more solid.

The first thing was to get the Sentry Guns set up. These are the cheap and durable vehicles are only used in base defence missions, and they had some display issues that have now been corrected and their LMGs should now be upgraded appropriately as the player progresses down the tech tree.

The second thing was the spawning / deployment phase of the mission, which had apparently got broken at some point in development. The player can now deploy anywhere in their base at the start of the mission except in the rooms that the aliens have spawned into, and the alien crews are now correctly splitting into assault teams and choosing the correct type of room to spawn in. Most types of aliens spawn into Hangars as normal, but certain other types of alien (e.g. Reapers) are able to spawn in random rooms due to their ability to climb through vents or teleport. 

Other features:
We also spent more time this month on updating various strategic UI elements to our new style, and I've got the updated graphics for the tactical combat UI sitting in front of me too so there's a chance that might make it into V23 too.

The Air Combat has also had a few more updates to ensure the new formation / deployment system works properly, and we've also set up the autoresolve up to allow the player to manually fight the air battle if they don't like the result the autoresolve gives them. The protects players from the situation where the autoresolve unexpectedly destroys all your planes (usually due to low fuel).

The balance here has changed a bit too. There's now four classes of weapons that have different roles - cannons, missiles, torpedoes and energy lances. These have varying ranges, ammo capacities, and damage profiles vs armour and HP. The ability of an interceptor to perform the evasive roll maneuver is now also tied to the weapons they have equipped, so while energy lances are relatively powerful weapons they also make the interceptor carrying them more vulnerable to certain enemy attacks.

Finally, we've been working on the blockouts for the final mission this month too. I won't give too much away but there's a few unique rules on this mission that have required a bit of code work too. Hopefully the final mission will be playable in V24 even if the final art pass on the map probably won't happen until closer to release.

This has turned into quite a long post so I'll leave it there as I need to get back to working on V23. Thanks for reading!

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Chris thanks for the very interresting Update like always. I have read a second time and the Content sounds very good.

Let´s see what the Groundwork of the last 3 to 4 Years with the new Reworks, Refits and Bugfixes of the last 3 to 4 Monthes bring us.

 

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Glad to see that progress is being made on the game. The only thing that brushes me the wrong way is that you spend time on something that is barely even used in the game - I am talking about the sentry guns. Don't get me wrong, they might be a great addition to base defence missions, but especially from the state of Xenonauts 1 and the delays in the development of 2, I don't see why this would be something to spend time on. Just give us the vehicles in our local garage and call it a day.

OTOH, if you were to find a way to include sentry guns as units into other mission forms in the game in an elegant way (e.g. as defence line on/next to the dropship, as alien units defending their bases, as neutral units to be captured on the map, creating a strong point, ...), I would be all over that.

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Dagar, the Game won´t be an 1:1 Copy as the old X-Com-Series with EU / TftD.

Exactly that 1:1 Copy, which was only makeable in the 1990s up to 2009 the People don´t wanna see anymore. Since 2010 or so new and better Features / Technologys we have to make the Games more interessting, which get testet the first Time in the new XCOM-Row (XCOM EU / EW and XCOM 2 with all DLCs).

All Developers have understand that and are going to use the new Features in that and similar Gernes to make the Games more flexible and interresting. Esp. in Refits from the old Games, Reworks from new Games of a Game-Row to hold it allive.

Chaos Concept is completely Refiting her 2007 Surprisse Hit UFO Extraterrestials to the newest Features / Technologys. In the Standard- / Gold-Version from UFO 1 ET you had to much Vehicles and used 20 to 30 % effectively. The same Problem was in Xenonauts 1 too, where to much unused things get Researched and Produced.

That Mistake the Devs from Chaos Concept (UFO 1 ET) aren´t doing anymore with UFO 2 ET [DLC and Freelancer-Integration comes] as well as with the Platinum-Editions for UFO 1 ET [WIP] and later UFO 2 ET Platinum-Edition. There the new Features to reduce unused Items get integrated and make the Vehicles / Items more flexible [like the Infantry-Weapons, Vehicles in Armor- / Engine- and Weapon-Upgrades]. The same get done from Goldhawk for Xenonauts 2.

That is only 1 Example of Severals, to bring in more playability on the Geoscape, for Specials / Secrets and so on, which the Gamers wanna see.

Edited by Alienkiller
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On 4/6/2022 at 11:16 AM, Dagar said:

Just give us the vehicles in our local garage and call it a day.

In that and other Parts, which get more flexibility with the complete new Features. Like explained, effectived used get 20 or 30% of the Vehicles etc. you can R & D. I explained it in my Post above.

And the Community wanted an Base-Defense-System like in X-Com / XCOM. Now they have it, which is flexible like the Vehicles, Armors and whatever you can have. That reduces the other 70 % obsolte Things and the Game (Xenonauts 2) is on the new and best Featurestandard you can have for such Parts (flexible Vehicles, flexible Airforce, flexible Armors, flexible Weapons and Ammonition etc.), which gives 70 % more Time for important and secondary Things (Storyline, Basemanagement, Soldiermanagement, Training, Geoscape-Things and whatever).

The same Level get the UFO-ET-Row too, which is the direct comperable Counterpart to Xenonauts 2. On that Xenonauts 2 have to orient in that Parts.

Everything therefore (old X-COM / new XCOM) or the Phoenix Point Game is no Benchmark.

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Alienkiller,

   I don't understand why YOU feel it necessary to comment on every little thought that other playtesters make  about this game. We all understand what Chris says, or doesn't in his updates. We all have a right to our opinions as to what direction the game is going.  It doesn't matter what anyone says. We are all thinking out loud. Just providing food for thought.  If Chris wants to take a suggestion from a playtester, that's his decision not yours. If he feels the need to breakdown a feature in the game again, that's his purgative. 

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Meddog50, the Answer is very easy and the Team and I are tired to explain it an thounend time.

Only so much: "We both know the old times (1980s, 1990s and the beginning 2ks), where nothing other were possible".

But now back to topic. Let´s see what the new Version brings us with the announced flexibility. Hope that she comes out for the Weekend, so that she can be investigatet and bughunted.

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I'm all for the latest version hitting the circuit. I look forward to where the game is heading.  I think you missed the whole point of my last post. I simply tried to say that every playtester has a right to their opinion, good or bad about the game. I believe that this forum should be used to reach out to THE DEVELOPEMENT TEAM . As I said food for thought.

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Let´s get back to the Topic and see what get reworked, refitetted, fixed etc.

I personaly hope that the Gameinternals (R & D-Texts, Geoscape, Storyline, Missions etc.) as well as the Flexibility for the Equipment / Bases / Outposts and so on (Armor, Weapons, Vehicles etc.) get more. As well as that the Groundparts get stable to bring in the important and secondary missing Content (already Pre-Tested in some Parts) Step by Step.

Edited by Alienkiller
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On 4/6/2022 at 10:16 AM, Dagar said:

Glad to see that progress is being made on the game. The only thing that brushes me the wrong way is that you spend time on something that is barely even used in the game - I am talking about the sentry guns. Don't get me wrong, they might be a great addition to base defence missions, but especially from the state of Xenonauts 1 and the delays in the development of 2, I don't see why this would be something to spend time on. Just give us the vehicles in our local garage and call it a day.

OTOH, if you were to find a way to include sentry guns as units into other mission forms in the game in an elegant way (e.g. as defence line on/next to the dropship, as alien units defending their bases, as neutral units to be captured on the map, creating a strong point, ...), I would be all over that.

That's fair enough, but ultimately we don't know which of the new features players will use and which ones they won't. I suspect the same could be said for a lot of the changes related to air combat, for example, given many people autoresolve the interceptions - but we just need to make a swathe of improvements and hope that each individual player finds enough new content and mechanical updates related to the way they play the game that X2 becomes a worthwhile update over X1 for the vast majority of those taking part.

Obviously a degree of prioritisation needs to occur too (as you say), but Sentry Guns aren't too much of a time-sink overall. They mostly follow the same rules as the other vehicles so there's not been too much extra work required to get them set up.

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21 hours ago, Chris said:

That's fair enough, but ultimately we don't know which of the new features players will use and which ones they won't. I suspect the same could be said for a lot of the changes related to air combat, for example, given many people autoresolve the interceptions - but we just need to make a swathe of improvements and hope that each individual player finds enough new content and mechanical updates related to the way they play the game that X2 becomes a worthwhile update over X1 for the vast majority of those taking part.

Obviously a degree of prioritisation needs to occur too (as you say), but Sentry Guns aren't too much of a time-sink overall. They mostly follow the same rules as the other vehicles so there's not been too much extra work required to get them set up.

Chris i feel like what you should when you finish the game in terms of balancing/maps/gameplay is adding CO-OP for 2 players. Because this game has a potential to play on CO-OP, and could add huge playerbase to this game, because a lot of games for example XCOM 1/2 , Old XCOM and Phoenix Point lack CO-OP mode. This could increase game popularity in the future. All you need to do is add simple buttons for decision making between 2 players on geoscope (for example i want hire 15 enginners), other player press accept button to agree on player decision, and the same for other player, and in combat where i control 4 soldiers and other player another 4 soldiers. Think about it Chris.

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23 hours ago, CaptainSPrice said:

Chris i feel like what you should when you finish the game in terms of balancing/maps/gameplay is adding CO-OP for 2 players. Because this game has a potential to play on CO-OP, and could add huge playerbase to this game, because a lot of games for example XCOM 1/2 , Old XCOM and Phoenix Point lack CO-OP mode. This could increase game popularity in the future. All you need to do is add simple buttons for decision making between 2 players on geoscope (for example i want hire 15 enginners), other player press accept button to agree on player decision, and the same for other player, and in combat where i control 4 soldiers and other player another 4 soldiers. Think about it Chris.

I've fantasized about multiplayer for XCOM and Xenonauts too.  The problem, i think, is that each human player will take too long.  Or the inactive player will become impatient, regardless of how quickly the active player plays.  Maybe if a time limit is imposed for each player, then it will work.  Hmm... It would be interesting to impose a time limit on the human player even in a single-player setting.  (I'm sure all this have been discussed before . . . What hasn't?  :D )

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I love Singleplayer-Games. There I don´t need to fuss about other Players. The Problem with Multiplayer-Games are that  the complete Game get destroyed (Storyline and so on). The Singleplayer Mode is one of the Main-Reason I found and test this Project.

If the Game is stable and fully tested, I have no Problem with it, that an CoOp-Modus like in XCOM 2 comes as an seperate Part in, which isn´t linked with the Singleplayer-Game-Parts.

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On 4/12/2022 at 7:07 PM, Oldsmobile said:

I've fantasized about multiplayer for XCOM and Xenonauts too.  The problem, i think, is that each human player will take too long.  Or the inactive player will become impatient, regardless of how quickly the active player plays.  Maybe if a time limit is imposed for each player, then it will work.  Hmm... It would be interesting to impose a time limit on the human player even in a single-player setting.  (I'm sure all this have been discussed before . . . What hasn't?  :D )

 

On 4/12/2022 at 8:59 PM, Alienkiller said:

I love Singleplayer-Games. There I don´t need to fuss about other Players. The Problem with Multiplayer-Games are that  the complete Game get destroyed (Storyline and so on). The Singleplayer Mode is one of the Main-Reason I found and test this Project.

If the Game is stable and fully tested, I have no Problem with it, that an CoOp-Modus like in XCOM 2 comes as an seperate Part in, which isn´t linked with the Singleplayer-Game-Parts.

I don't know how adding extra 1 player to a CO-OP version of a single-player can destroy whole gameplay experience. There is lots of people out there who search beside Single-Player option also CO-OP option of campaings. Literly what Chris can do, when they finish Single Player Project - is add an i call it CO-OP option, because nr.1 It's something new that can make the Xenonauts-2 more popular and also bring more money for Goldhawk Interactive, why? Because, let's say People gonna play campaing 1-2 times and they gonna take break or won't play a game anymore. What i am trying to explain is @Chris need to create an environment where people gonna be able continue to come back to Xenonauts-2 (Twitch/Youtube Streamers) where they gonna have an option to play with Viewers or Subs(whatever), because they are the ones that keep advertizing the game for free, and makes more people buy the game. Game with something new + more options - always good for games.

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We will see. It´s not impossible that the Game get an DLC with more Features. What the Game will get and that is Promised are Moddingabilitys in the Early Access / Endphase. Modding-Ability and DLC-Ability is what the Games make longtime attractive.

That you can see in the newer Games from Paradox, in the Games from the Publisher 2K (esp. Firaxis) and the famous unlicenced Motorsport Manager from Playsport. That are only several Examples from many. They have Multiplayer in the one or other way, but the Main-Attention is a perfect Campaign, cool Features and Modding-Ability. The Secondary Attention is then Multiplayer.

I don´t wanna break the March-Update so I will bring in my Experiance and common Problems with Multiplayer short.

I play Multiplayer-Games too like World of Warcraft. The Reason I and many others don´t play with other Humans are:

1. Renege on ones promise (from other Players / Teammates)

2. Not pay any attentions to the Regulations (from other Players / Teammates)

3. stand to the Agreements (from other Players / Teammates)

Dosen´t matter if it´s in the Group / Guilds / CO-OPs or whatever. There are many Campaigns, which get canceld prevously or completely aborted about such betrayals. That´s not seldom and to many MP-Aborts / Cancels about this to list. And that´s an big Reason why the Devs here concentrate on the Singleplayer-Campaign, cool Features and after the Game is stable for Early Access on Modding-Support.

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