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Assorted feedback on 23.5


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Been quite a while since I played a build of X2. Had some time now to put into a campaign, so here are thoughts on a variety of areas.

I'm really enjoying the feel of the game. Even in terms of production value, the game feels well ahead of X1 already, with good tooltips and general maturity. I'm getting a clear feeling that this can be a great sequel to Xenonauts 1, perhaps not radically different but the improvements really add up. Mission variety is already handled a lot better than in X1, and it's very nice to see some inspiration from the Firaxis Xcoms (like Cleaners) yet with a different spin on it.

The only thing I don't really enjoy is the air combat - I know I'm about the only one who liked the turn-based air combat of 2 years ago but the current iteration of X2 air combat is just a harder version of X1 air combat at which I already sucked bad enough. Now I need two Angels to kill a Mimic, with both planes taking heavy damage, and it seems like doing better is primarily about twitch reaction to hit pause at the right time and then order rolls or course adjustments. Nothing new, same complaint I had with X1 really.

Separate points:

  • QoL: there's no notification when a soldier dies. A dead soldier's selection button should probably have a tooltip reminding you of their name and class.
  • QoL: Infantry and Rifleman default loadouts seem to be the same. There should be a Shield loadout.
  • Text issue: the Hyperdrive research, available early, mentions a Mentarch, possibly before you encounter one. That happened to me at least.
  • QoL: in the aircraft launch dialog, it would be very good to somehow see the plane's loadout. If I have a torpedo Angel and a missile Angel, I'd like to see a tooltip or text reminding me which is which.
  • I'm undecided on having enemy HP clearly indicated. It's probably a good addition to the gameplay but it makes the first meeting with an alien less impactful. I'd suggest enabling HP indicators, per alien race, once you've completed an autopsy. That would make the initial meeting more interesting (you don't know how strong that creature is!), and even make more sense in-universe. For your soldiers (with their combat computers?) to recognize how damaged an alien is, they need a rudimentary understanding of the alien's biology or construction.
  • Missions with alternate rules need to be better explained. I'd go much more explicit with the explanations. For example, the Cleaner intel hub mission where you go capture data sticks. There's two rules - get data sticks from computers, and Cleaners will spawn endlessly. I read the research report but still managed to get it wrong. Many players don't read. I think you can't go wrong with popups (that can be disabled) that very explicitly spell the rules out when the mission starts.
  • Combat balance: I find myself really missing the close-range accuracy bonus of X1. Without it, I get ridiculous stuff like soldiers right next to an alien with a 20% rifle burst hit chance, or a 50% shotgun hit chance. I think the X1 system where accuracy got an extra bonus when super close should return and it was one of the best tweaks to X1 combat - it just makes a lot of sense.
  • Combat balance: not sure if I'm understanding it right but shields seem to always be destroyed in one hit? They were definitely too powerful in X1, but if they really are one-hit only in X2 then I think that's too weak.
  • I don't like that the campaign counts "Day 52" instead of a date. Less obviously clear how long it is until the end of the month and it's just less immersive. I'd understand if the goal were to make an ambiguous timeline but the game's pretty clear about when it begins anyway.
  • QoL: need a notification if a base has unpowered buildings but has enough power capacity to turn them on.
  • QoL: in the navigation bar, it would really make more sense to have Soldiers/Armory adjacent and then have Stores before or after Aircraft.
  • It's not very clear if dismantling alien weapons is good for more than getting alloys or not. An alien magnetic weapon sells for 10k. It dismantles into 2 alloys, which cost 5k each, so there's no benefit economically. If it's only for alloys, it'd be good to somehow make that more clear.
  • QoL: stores screen lets you sell all with Ctrl-click but doesn't have a way to sell 10 at a time.
  • Alien reaction fire can trigger on crouching. Not sure if per design or a bug, but feels a bit weird.
  • Is the "chance to revive" mechanic still there? Doesn't seem so, but I'd like to see it. The gameplay effect was marginal really but it added some very good suspense.
  • I've been a fan of base defence missions ever since Xcom but I still don't feel happy about the forced base attack the game does now. I understand why it's done, we want to avoid players easily shooting down all UFOs before they can attack a base. But it feels jarring and very gamey to me. In a game where everything is tied to Geoscape events, suddenly it throws a base attack at you which just screams "hey we really want this to happen but ran out of better ideas". I'm not sure what a better solution is though. UFOs that go straight for the base so leave little time to respond? 

Special mention - I love the writing, much as I did in X1. On the one hand it's fairly typical sci-fi stuff, but it strikes a great tone with not taking itself too seriously while also not being silly. It's hilarious at times, I loved the quip about traditional burial of soldiers in their own armour.

Will probably continue with some more notes if I manage to play a few more missions!

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2 hours ago, Solver said:
  • I'm undecided on having enemy HP clearly indicated. It's probably a good addition to the gameplay but it makes the first meeting with an alien less impactful. I'd suggest enabling HP indicators, per alien race, once you've completed an autopsy. That would make the initial meeting more interesting (you don't know how strong that creature is!), and even make more sense in-universe. For your soldiers (with their combat computers?) to recognize how damaged an alien is, they need a rudimentary understanding of the alien's biology or construction.

I agree with this a lot. One of my favorite things about Xen 1 and the Original Xcom was the fear of the unknown. When encountering a new alien race for the first time, the player has no clue what they are or what they're capable of. The player would act a lot more cautious and it led to a better gameplay experience. When hp values are easily seen by the player, most of this fear goes away almost immediately. The player knows around how tough the alien is already based on the hp and armor values. Allowing the player to see the hp and armor values of aliens after completing an autopsy or an interrogation also sounds great to me. It makes sense thematically and this might get players to actually start researching autopsies and interrogations instead of ignoring them. 

2 hours ago, Solver said:
  • I've been a fan of base defence missions ever since Xcom but I still don't feel happy about the forced base attack the game does now. I understand why it's done, we want to avoid players easily shooting down all UFOs before they can attack a base. But it feels jarring and very gamey to me. In a game where everything is tied to Geoscape events, suddenly it throws a base attack at you which just screams "hey we really want this to happen but ran out of better ideas". I'm not sure what a better solution is though. UFOs that go straight for the base so leave little time to respond? 

I'm not a fan on how this base attack was implemented either. I definitely want for more base attacks, terror mission, and alien base missions to happen more often, but can't think of a good solution. The current implementation feels wrong. Maybe the old Xcom route of sending really massive ufos that the player has no hope of shooting down yet might be a better way of guaranteeing that these missions happen, but that will probably feel just as unfair as it is now. Perhaps letting the player know about base attacks and the like ahead of time so the player can prepare for the attack might be an okay solution, but that undermines the fear of the unknown I was talking about earlier. I got nothing. 

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A few more:

I'd recommend reducing the radius of demolition grenades. I love the idea of a handy grenade focused on environmental destruction, as that really makes combat more fun, but such a grenade should IMO be a "let me blow a hole in this wall" tool. Right now it's more like "I want this whole wall gone". It should give you an alternate entry and reduce enemy cover, not leave anyone in a building completely exposed.

Came across an abduction site but didn't really understand how the mission differs from a crash site. It played just like a crash site with no UFO. Could be a good opportunity for a mission that focuses on rescuing civilians perhaps?

Speaking of civilians, this is probably a known issue, but their AI needs work. Like X1, they should probably run away from aliens instead of wandering randomly, and the armed civilians should be less aggressive. They're now so aggressive that they even run into the UFO and chase aliens down, they end up being more of a hurdle than anything.

The text says Warden armour is lighter and stronger than Defender but they're the same weight.

Airplanes get rearmed almost instantly, seems to be just minutes of in-game time. I'm quite sure it's unintended because it of course leads to all sorts of problems.

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2 hours ago, Kamehamehayes said:

I'm not a fan on how this base attack was implemented either. I definitely want for more base attacks, terror mission, and alien base missions to happen more often, but can't think of a good solution. The current implementation feels wrong. Maybe the old Xcom route of sending really massive ufos that the player has no hope of shooting down yet might be a better way of guaranteeing that these missions happen, but that will probably feel just as unfair as it is now. Perhaps letting the player know about base attacks and the like ahead of time so the player can prepare for the attack might be an okay solution, but that undermines the fear of the unknown I was talking about earlier. I got nothing. 

Yeah, I also cannot immediately think of a solution that feels right. Chris will know that my recent work is also strategy game design. There, I try to stick with the principle that bad things that happen to the player should be a clear result of the player's actions. Then even if the bad thing cannot be avoided when it happens, you at least know what you did earlier to make it happen.

While base attacks are fun, they're still a "bad thing" in-game and just dropping one on top of you doesn't feel right. My best suggestion is to spawn base attack UFOs during a wave, and have them go pretty much straight for the base. Give the player like 2-3 hours to shoot it down, not more. So if your planes are already chasing some other UFO, you don't have enough time. If your planes aren't rearmed, not enough time. Maybe that's a step in the right direction but I'm really not sure.

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QoL: stores screen lets you sell all with Ctrl-click but doesn't have a way to sell 10 at a time

Right click the down-arrow to sell 10 at a time.  But thanks for the heads-up on the sell-all thingy :)

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The only thing I don't really enjoy is the air combat

You're not the only one.  I didn't like it in X1 either.  But the auto-complete works fine so I don't mind it being there for people that do enjoy it. 

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QoL: Infantry and Rifleman default loadouts seem to be the same.

And, for some reason, they are really bizarrely equipped, given they might fire 5 rounds tops in the first few months of the game, but have 3 mags for the primary weapon and one extra for the sidearm. It takes me a while at the start of each game to unscrew all that up. I literally never use the smoke or flashbang grenades as they are a waste of time.  I usually get rid of the heavy weapons too as they rarely hit the broad side of a barn even at point blank range

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Combat balance: I find myself really missing the close-range accuracy bonus of X1. Without it, I get ridiculous stuff like soldiers right next to an alien with a 20% rifle burst hit chance, or a 50% shotgun hit chance. I think the X1 system where accuracy got an extra bonus when super close should return and it was one of the best tweaks to X1 combat - it just makes a lot of sense.

This has been brought up recently.  It is one of my biggest balance bugbears. 

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Is the "chance to revive" mechanic still there? 

Yes it is, once you have the medical bay.  And it defo works

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I've been a fan of base defence missions ever since Xcom but I still don't feel happy about the forced base attack the game does now. I understand why it's done, we want to avoid players easily shooting down all UFOs before they can attack a base. But it feels jarring and very gamey to me. In a game where everything is tied to Geoscape events, suddenly it throws a base attack at you which just screams "hey we really want this to happen but ran out of better ideas". I'm not sure what a better solution is though. UFOs that go straight for the base so leave little time to respond? 

That is a fair point and I agree

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1 hour ago, Emily_F said:

Right click the down-arrow to sell 10 at a time.  But thanks for the heads-up on the sell-all thingy :)

Thanks! Clearly a tooltip would be in order.

1 hour ago, Emily_F said:

And, for some reason, they are really bizarrely equipped, given they might fire 5 rounds tops in the first few months of the game, but have 3 mags for the primary weapon and one extra for the sidearm. It takes me a while at the start of each game to unscrew all that up. I literally never use the smoke or flashbang grenades as they are a waste of time.  I usually get rid of the heavy weapons too as they rarely hit the broad side of a barn even at point blank range

Yes, the default rifleman layouts are bad, though I understand if they're like that for narrative purposes perhaps. Still annoying to fix them at the start of each campaign - same as in X1. The rifle mags are especially useless. It's rare to reload a ballistic rifle at all and I don't think I've ever come close to needing a second extra mag. I disagree on the grenades though, both smokes and flashbangs are very useful for me. Undecided on current LMG accuracy - the primary use for LMGs is suppression, not damage, but maybe they could use a slight accuracy increase.

1 hour ago, Emily_F said:

Yes it is, once you have the medical bay.  And it defo works

I also (re)discovered the feature after my post, which made me realise another thing about the system. I raided a Cleaner facility, lost one soldier but picked him up, carried him to the dropship and he survived. Then I realised the game never explains you can do that - not with soldiers, not the more general rule that, if you abort/extract via dropship, you get the items in the landing area back. This mechanic is something every classic x-com player knows but it needs to be explained explicitly. And for soldiers specifically, when you pick them up then the wounded soldier is described as "corpse", which gives the opposite idea if anything, suggesting the soldier is already permanently dead.

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Posted (edited)

Nice Feedback from you all.

Where I agree is that the Riflemen / Riflewomen and Infantry look the same. But what´s the Alternative? I personaly don´t have one with the Equipment we have at the beginning availible. Evtl. later on when the Tutorial get fully implemented. Atm. I change 2 Riflemens in Grenadiers and 2 in Shield-Protectors.

Where I agree too is the Combat Ballance. There are very much missing Bonuses (Crunch, Lay-Down, Closed Combat for Shotgunners and Pistols). I have played X1 too, but I personaly confer it with the direct Rival the UFO-ET-Row, which is the only Game on the same Leveldesign in our Timeline. The Devs there have integrated that Bonuses direct in the beginning or End Alpha-Phase.

Where I aggree too is that for Missions with Alternate Rules are missing some Info-Upgrades.

Where I agree too is that some Features should come first after Autopsys and / or Interrogations. Like better Weapons-Research (Gauss, Plasma, Fussion), advanced Armors, Fighters etc. as Equipment and Helping for the Ground Combat.   

The Base-Missions are fully OK for me. I don´t like to much Terror-Missions and Base-Defence / Base-Attack-Missions or to much Loot-Missions, where the Team don´t have Time for R & D. That was the Problem in X1 and UFO 1 ET Standard / Gold and is one big with new Phoenix Point. That new XCOM soluted much better, where you have to time for R & D, Upgrading your Troops etc. The better soluted Way from XCOM is getting in for X2.

The Airfight is nice too. It´s an upgraded Variant from X1 and atm the best we have testet with more cool Features. But that´s only the beginning to make it more interresting and more Features like Clouds or such are planed and evtl. come in for the next Versions. Otherwise the Airfight can be done like in the UFO ET-Row, directly on the Geoscape.

The Day-Feature with the 24 Hour-Clock is an Ballance-Thing. We had to much Problems with the normal Date-Screen. Evtl. it get changed back later after the big Problem there get solved. With the Day-Feature the Game runs fully normal.

What the R & D- etc. Points belongs, there are most which are in Rework / Refit / Finialising and in WIP. There are coming more Content / Bugfixes etc. Step by Step. I have many on my List, which get checked with every new Version if I get to the farest Point I have reached in an Prevouis Version. Short said: Not fully done!

 

 

 

Edited by Alienkiller
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Thanks @Solver, it's always useful to have feedback such as this and I'm glad you enjoyed what you played of the game.

There's a lot of good stuff here. I'll respond (and action some of the points) when I have a bit more time.

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Got a bit more gameplay in.

I'm curious about reaction fire and doors now. In X1, I remember you were ultimately satisfied with the reaction fire design, which included not firing when opening doors. In X2, it seems to work differently, but there's no mutual surprise rule from xcom? Am I misunderstanding what I'm seeing, or have you changed your mind about reaction fire?

  • Bug/QoL. I had a soldier with a laser machinegun and a laser pistol, and spare laser clips. When the MG ran out of ammo, I managed to reload the MG with the smaller laser clip (5 shots) and so couldn't fire at all. It should be clearer by displaying the right clip above the right weapon.
  • Related QoL: those ammo clips should have a tooltip. With the HEVY for instance, you can carry smoke and explosive reloads but you can't tell which button is which, you have to remember the graphic of each ammo type.
  • QoL: why are base building construction times shown in hours? I don't want to think about 360 hours, the game's in days.
  • Balance: Defender armour is too cheap at 10k per suit. It's basically disposable, and I can easily crank out a suit for everyone even early on.
  • Balance: the accelerated MG upgrade seems fairly useless. It's expensive (100k and 20 alloys) and takes valuable engineering time. MGs rarely hit anyway, they're for suppression, so 20% extra damage isn't worth much, especially not when you get laser weapons soon enough anyway.
  • Related: is it intended that the laser MG only has the big 10-round burst and no lower-TU burst?
  • UI/QoL: the soldier bar should show current armour somewhere (next to HP?). Armour makes a big difference in the game but you currently have to open the soldier's inventory to see it.
  • Bug? Sebillian Brutes can go berserk, which renders them harmless for the turn as they're melee.

Everything about air combat now is weird. Turns out the only correct move is to arm all interceptors with torpedoes only. 2 Angels with full torpedo loadouts take out Observers and Destroyers without taking damage, and without you having to do anything, just deploy behind the UFO. You don't even need Alenium torpedoes, the basic ones do it. Also the same loadout works against Fighters that for some reason do not dodge. 

In X1, you needed Foxtrots for speed - very early on, UFOs would show up (Scouts) that were faster than your starting Condors. Here in X2, I entered the fourth month without encountering a UFO that could outrun Angels, which makes the faster Phantom seem much less important.

The Medical Center should perhaps have upgrades to increase the healing rate? It remains static, as far as I can see, which messes with the progression. As my soldiers gain more HP, the base heals at the same 1.8 HP / hour, so if my high-level soldiers get wounded, they're out of action for 3-4 weeks.

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Came across a design issue that seems a bit less straightforward.

So aliens can attack your secondary bases. That's almost certainly a good thing. The issue is, how are players expected to defend against that? With the weird mechanic of attacks just happening, defence through airpower X1 style isn't option. Just risking the loss of a base isn't an option either - losing a small base sets you back a couple million and loses a lot of strategic advantage. I enjoy games that punish mistakes but even so recognise that losing a base is a huge setback, most players would probably just reload.

To defend secondary bases, you need to build defensive facilities. They're good but you still cannot rely on them exclusively because of the risk analysis. Defences could destroy the UFO but if they miss or do partial damage, you lose the base, regardless of whether the UFO took 0% or 99% damage. Then the only right option, strategically, is to station soldiers at every base so that you can run a base defence mission.

Here it gets a bit problematic, the idea of having soldiers everywhere makes narrative sense and could be fun but it's not viable in the game's economy. The minimum requirement then is an additional Living Quarters and at least 6-8 soldiers (if counting on missile batteries to do a lot), and even that's risky, you'd really need to ship proper equipment to the soldiers. A squad of privates with ballistics won't do great if defending against Androns and Wraiths. At that point the resource overhead of defending a base becomes huge, you just cannot afford that. 

I'm not sure what a good solution is here. If the intention is for each base to have a defensive force, that needs significant economy tweaking to be viable. If the intention is to rely on defensive batteries at secondary bases, I think that would not be a satisfying mechanic as it amounts to a periodic die roll that determines whether you lose the base.

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5 hours ago, Solver said:

Came across a design issue that seems a bit less straightforward.

So aliens can attack your secondary bases. That's almost certainly a good thing. The issue is, how are players expected to defend against that? With the weird mechanic of attacks just happening, defence through airpower X1 style isn't option. Just risking the loss of a base isn't an option either - losing a small base sets you back a couple million and loses a lot of strategic advantage. I enjoy games that punish mistakes but even so recognise that losing a base is a huge setback, most players would probably just reload.

To defend secondary bases, you need to build defensive facilities. They're good but you still cannot rely on them exclusively because of the risk analysis. Defences could destroy the UFO but if they miss or do partial damage, you lose the base, regardless of whether the UFO took 0% or 99% damage. Then the only right option, strategically, is to station soldiers at every base so that you can run a base defence mission.

Here it gets a bit problematic, the idea of having soldiers everywhere makes narrative sense and could be fun but it's not viable in the game's economy. The minimum requirement then is an additional Living Quarters and at least 6-8 soldiers (if counting on missile batteries to do a lot), and even that's risky, you'd really need to ship proper equipment to the soldiers. A squad of privates with ballistics won't do great if defending against Androns and Wraiths. At that point the resource overhead of defending a base becomes huge, you just cannot afford that. 

I'm not sure what a good solution is here. If the intention is for each base to have a defensive force, that needs significant economy tweaking to be viable. If the intention is to rely on defensive batteries at secondary bases, I think that would not be a satisfying mechanic as it amounts to a periodic die roll that determines whether you lose the base.

I didn't think of that either initially. It sounds pretty bad for a player to get blindsided by a base attack that they cannot defend against. 

Although, there are some measures already in game to alleviate this. You can get Sentries as soon as you do the MARS research. They are cheap units that require no investment to train, receive the same upgrades as a MARS so they will never become irrelevant, and they can be rebuilt in the workshop for a cheaper price if destroyed, but they can only be used for base defense missions. You can also stock a base full of these because the weight concerns cited in the xenopedia for carrying vehicles in the dropship are irrelevant and they don't take up living quarter space. 

I think this is good for having a good way of defending a base, but I think the game doesn't do a fantastic job of conveying this utility to the player. From the research text for the sentries that I've seen, the text is very small (only a third of the page) and it does not make base defenses seem like a crucial part of the gameplay loop, so it makes these guys seem pretty irrelevant in the grand scheme of things when they are pretty important for defending bare-bones bases. And of course there is the obvious issue of what if the player decides not to build them and gets punished for it. 

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Regarding the base defence stuff, I guess there's a few ways where the situation can be improved. You're right that it seems unfair to expect players to have to build defensive turrets to protect secondary bases, but then force the player to rely on random chance as to whether the turrets can shoot down those UFOs.

  • Remove the UFOs spawning directly on top of your base (with the exception of the Cleaner attack in the early game which we should maybe warn the player about anyway). Instead, set them to spawn a medium distance away.
  • UFOs on base attack missions should always have escorts.
  • Set base defence turrets to have 100 Accuracy so they become a reliable way of protecting your base.

In Early Access we could update these things to make the choices more interesting:

  • Maybe give them a range of damage instead, so there's an element of risk but player can always build enough to be 100% certain their base is safe. The proximity bonus for base defence turrets could instead add damage rather than Accuracy.
  • We may be able to add functionality to allow players to reclaim a captured base from the aliens (with some cost incurred for repairing it).

 

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On 5/21/2022 at 12:49 AM, Solver said:

Got a bit more gameplay in.

I'm curious about reaction fire and doors now. In X1, I remember you were ultimately satisfied with the reaction fire design, which included not firing when opening doors. In X2, it seems to work differently, but there's no mutual surprise rule from xcom? Am I misunderstanding what I'm seeing, or have you changed your mind about reaction fire?

  • Bug/QoL. I had a soldier with a laser machinegun and a laser pistol, and spare laser clips. When the MG ran out of ammo, I managed to reload the MG with the smaller laser clip (5 shots) and so couldn't fire at all. It should be clearer by displaying the right clip above the right weapon.
  • Related QoL: those ammo clips should have a tooltip. With the HEVY for instance, you can carry smoke and explosive reloads but you can't tell which button is which, you have to remember the graphic of each ammo type.
  • QoL: why are base building construction times shown in hours? I don't want to think about 360 hours, the game's in days.
  • Balance: Defender armour is too cheap at 10k per suit. It's basically disposable, and I can easily crank out a suit for everyone even early on.
  • Balance: the accelerated MG upgrade seems fairly useless. It's expensive (100k and 20 alloys) and takes valuable engineering time. MGs rarely hit anyway, they're for suppression, so 20% extra damage isn't worth much, especially not when you get laser weapons soon enough anyway.
  • Related: is it intended that the laser MG only has the big 10-round burst and no lower-TU burst?
  • UI/QoL: the soldier bar should show current armour somewhere (next to HP?). Armour makes a big difference in the game but you currently have to open the soldier's inventory to see it.
  • Bug? Sebillian Brutes can go berserk, which renders them harmless for the turn as they're melee.

Everything about air combat now is weird. Turns out the only correct move is to arm all interceptors with torpedoes only. 2 Angels with full torpedo loadouts take out Observers and Destroyers without taking damage, and without you having to do anything, just deploy behind the UFO. You don't even need Alenium torpedoes, the basic ones do it. Also the same loadout works against Fighters that for some reason do not dodge. 

In X1, you needed Foxtrots for speed - very early on, UFOs would show up (Scouts) that were faster than your starting Condors. Here in X2, I entered the fourth month without encountering a UFO that could outrun Angels, which makes the faster Phantom seem much less important.

The Medical Center should perhaps have upgrades to increase the healing rate? It remains static, as far as I can see, which messes with the progression. As my soldiers gain more HP, the base heals at the same 1.8 HP / hour, so if my high-level soldiers get wounded, they're out of action for 3-4 weeks.

Quite a few things for me to check out!

Air Combat / Torpedoes:
The air combat balance is still quite primitive. That said, the type of feedback you're giving is the sort we need to improve it. Fighter UFOs are set to be able to dodge so if they're not doing that I need to look into why. 

Torpedoes do seem a bit overpowered then. The basic idea is that they're strong long-range weapons but they lack the ammo to be able to take out tough UFOs using only torpedoes, and they leave the plane carrying them unable to evade so vulnerable to alien missiles etc. I suppose it might also make sense for the torpedoes to affect the speed of the aircraft, so your starting aircraft are capable of intercepting Observers but not if armed with torpedoes (or perhaps not if armed with *two* torpedoes). But the Phantom would have enough raw speed it can chase down an Observer whatever it is carrying.

Perhaps also I should add some additional evadable weapons to the earlier UFOs so there's a bit more of a trade-off with the damage sustained by planes carrying heavy weapons than there is now.

Anyway, at the highest level what I'm trying to do with the air combat changes is to remove the hard limitations on the aircraft types in X1. You want to catch a fast UFO? You'd better have built a Foxhound. But that same Foxhound is inherently weak against Fighters because it can't evade or carry the right weapons to deal with them. I think a system where the equipment defines the role of an aircraft (and higher tier planes just have stronger statlines) is going to be much more forgiving overall.

LMGs:
Yeah, there's some bugs with these and with laser ones specifically. I'll get those fixed. However their design has changed a little from X1 now the updated Recoil mechanics are in, with the idea being that in the hads of a high-Strength soldier they should be more effective in terms of damage output than a rifle is. This also ties into the updated proximity bonus which is a more gradual increase that runs the full length of the weapon range rather than being limited to 5 tiles around the target. So the LMG ideally becomes a weapon more reliant on Strength than Accuracy, with suppression taking a back seat.

Other Issues:

  • As far as I'm aware opening a door does not trigger reaction fire, and nor should something that reveals previously-unseen units dynamically (like blowing up a wall). If you see that happening then please post up a save and we'll take a look.
  • The medical center does increase healing speed, the starting value is 1.2HP/hour. There's also an advanced medical center you get in the mid-game which increases it to 2.4HP/hour.
  • Several of the UI issues will be fixed in the next update.
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On 5/16/2022 at 1:11 AM, Solver said:

A few more:

I'd recommend reducing the radius of demolition grenades. I love the idea of a handy grenade focused on environmental destruction, as that really makes combat more fun, but such a grenade should IMO be a "let me blow a hole in this wall" tool. Right now it's more like "I want this whole wall gone". It should give you an alternate entry and reduce enemy cover, not leave anyone in a building completely exposed.

Came across an abduction site but didn't really understand how the mission differs from a crash site. It played just like a crash site with no UFO. Could be a good opportunity for a mission that focuses on rescuing civilians perhaps?

Speaking of civilians, this is probably a known issue, but their AI needs work. Like X1, they should probably run away from aliens instead of wandering randomly, and the armed civilians should be less aggressive. They're now so aggressive that they even run into the UFO and chase aliens down, they end up being more of a hurdle than anything.

The text says Warden armour is lighter and stronger than Defender but they're the same weight.

Airplanes get rearmed almost instantly, seems to be just minutes of in-game time. I'm quite sure it's unintended because it of course leads to all sorts of problems.

Agreed on the demo grenades. I'll reduce their blast radius from 2.5 tiles to 1.5 tiles and we'll see how that goes. Warden Armour weight is also a mistake I need to fix.

Abduction sites currently are currently just mini Terror Missions. But yes, I think there's scope to give them more interesting objectives in the longer term.

Remind me again about the AI in a few months; it's a known issue but it's a back-burner one. One I'm perhaps liable to forget if not regularly reminded though.

The aircraft will be rearming "properly" (i.e. not instantly) in V24 when it arrives.

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On 5/15/2022 at 7:46 PM, Solver said:

Been quite a while since I played a build of X2. Had some time now to put into a campaign, so here are thoughts on a variety of areas.

*snip*

Quite a few points here have already been answered by other posters or by me in other replies, so I'll just pick out a few things.

HP Indicators: yeah, these pose an interesting question. They'll be disabled on the higher difficulty settings anyway, but yeah I suspect we might try linking them to the autopsies as you suggest. Problem is then it implies making autopsies not auto-complete, and that adds another 15-20 projects to the research tree. I'm already struggling with the sheer number of research projects a player is expected to complete relative to the number of tactical missions they fight. No harm in trying it though.

Mission Rules Briefing: yup, the new intel capture mission has certainly shown me that we need to add a briefing screen at the beginning of each tactical mission that explicitly lists the victory conditions etc.

Short Range Accuracy Bonus: so this has changed from being a large bonus within the 5 tiles around the target to a smaller bonus earned every tile you are closer to the target from maximum range (sniper rifles don't get any bonus). I agree that's it's currently frustrating to be stood next to an enemy and still not have a really high hit chance, but I'm not sure if that's a limitation of the new design or just because I've just set the numbers too small. Of course, the danger with turning up the numbers too much is that the proximity starts to become more important than Accuracy, and there's not much benefit to high-accuracy troops.

Dismantling Weapons: yeah the intention is just that these weapons are a source of extra Alloys (and eventually Alenium). You don't make money by dismantling them, but it gets you Alloys at half the price of building Alloys from scratch.

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3 hours ago, Chris said:

We may be able to add functionality to allow players to reclaim a captured base from the aliens (with some cost incurred for repairing it).

X:CE had support for this by the way, I liked the concept. Narratively, it said the aliens will repurpose captured bases rather than destroy them. The rules then were, if you lose a base you get a 72 hour timer during which you can send a mission to retake it. If you win, the base is yours again, if you lose (or don't try to recapture) then the base just turns into an alien base.

2 hours ago, Chris said:

The medical center does increase healing speed, the starting value is 1.2HP/hour. There's also an advanced medical center you get in the mid-game which increases it to 2.4HP/hour.

I was perhaps unclear, I know it increases healing to 1.8 HP/h, my point was that this rate becomes relatively less useful as my soldiers get better. Soldiers get more HP, they take more damage and need a longer time to heal 5 months into the game than in the second month.

2 hours ago, Chris said:

HP Indicators: yeah, these pose an interesting question. They'll be disabled on the higher difficulty settings anyway, but yeah I suspect we might try linking them to the autopsies as you suggest. Problem is then it implies making autopsies not auto-complete, and that adds another 15-20 projects to the research tree.

No, auto-completing autopsies still fits fine IMO. With auto autopsies (heh), tying indicators to them would still accomplish the main purpose, a sense of mystery when you first encounter the alien. Getting indicators the second time you fight that alien is fine.

2 hours ago, Chris said:

Short Range Accuracy Bonus: so this has changed from being a large bonus within the 5 tiles around the target to a smaller bonus earned every tile you are closer to the target from maximum range (sniper rifles don't get any bonus). I agree that's it's currently frustrating to be stood next to an enemy and still not have a really high hit chance, but I'm not sure if that's a limitation of the new design or just because I've just set the numbers too small. Of course, the danger with turning up the numbers too much is that the proximity starts to become more important than Accuracy, and there's not much benefit to high-accuracy troops.

There's likely some problem with the numbers being off, which should be simple enough to fix. But if sniper rifles aren't getting this bonus, that suggests to me a better solution could be to make this bonus weapon-dependent. Maybe keep as is for rifles (I think their balance is really good now and high-accuracy troops matter) but make the bonus stronger for shotguns. I really tried to make good use of shotgunners but I can't make them nearly as useful as in X1. Average soldiers can still easily miss from 2-3 tiles away with a shotgun, which of course also exposes them, making shotgun charges a very risky move. Yes, my high-accuracy troops can hit with a shotgun at such close ranges but with 75 accuracy they're better off using a rifle for the extra versatility.

If shotguns had a stronger distance bonus than rifles, that could make the shotgun close-in tactic useful while keeping the rest of what you're trying to achieve with this new system.

3 hours ago, Chris said:

Torpedoes do seem a bit overpowered then. The basic idea is that they're strong long-range weapons but they lack the ammo to be able to take out tough UFOs using only torpedoes, and they leave the plane carrying them unable to evade so vulnerable to alien missiles etc. I suppose it might also make sense for the torpedoes to affect the speed of the aircraft, so your starting aircraft are capable of intercepting Observers but not if armed with torpedoes (or perhaps not if armed with *two* torpedoes). But the Phantom would have enough raw speed it can chase down an Observer whatever it is carrying.

Yeah, you'll probably get there through balance, but right now it's just off - Destroyers and Observers go down to pure-torpedo Angels, and the same loadout works vs fighters and bombers (for a bomber you need a quick rearm and second flight, or a third plane). Torpedo only is the loadout that works against everything I've encountered so far, and the UFO only occasionally scores one hit in return.

The idea of changing aircraft speed (and perhaps fuel consumption?) depending on the loadout seems really interesting, that adds a whole new layer to which loadouts work well for a particular purpose. Perhaps even choices like taking off armour plates could become situationally useful.

 

Thanks for the detailed responses Chris - parts of the game are clearly a work in progress but I'm really enjoying most of what I've seen in V23.

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No worries. Thanks for your thoughts, and I hope your own launch went well - maybe I'll get time to play your stuff soon!

Anyway, the weapons already have unique values for their short-range bonus so I'll bump up the max bonus from 40% if adjacent for the shotgun to 54%. That means soldiers with 45 Accuracy get a 71% x 3 shot even when using the least accurate fire mode.

@Emily_F I know you've been very pro increasing the short range bonus on the LMG too, and I've increased that slightly to match that of the rifle. It's now +24% when adjacent rather than +20%, but that's actually a fairly big improvement when firing lots of shots. There was also previously a bug where the 10 shot fire mode on LMGs wasn't correctly giving an accuracy boost when firing before moving - so see how the LMG performs after those minor tweaks and see if it makes any difference.

I'll put both those changes in the hotfix as they are extremely minor changes so shouldn't cause any issues, along with the fix for the base attack missions not spawning directly on top of your base. It might be a little while before V24 comes out so I guess it's better I address that before we release V23 Stable to everyone.

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On 5/23/2022 at 11:37 AM, Chris said:

Quite a few things for me to check out!

Air Combat / Torpedoes:
The air combat balance is still quite primitive. That said, the type of feedback you're giving is the sort we need to improve it. Fighter UFOs are set to be able to dodge so if they're not doing that I need to look into why. 

Torpedoes do seem a bit overpowered then. The basic idea is that they're strong long-range weapons but they lack the ammo to be able to take out tough UFOs using only torpedoes, and they leave the plane carrying them unable to evade so vulnerable to alien missiles etc. I suppose it might also make sense for the torpedoes to affect the speed of the aircraft, so your starting aircraft are capable of intercepting Observers but not if armed with torpedoes (or perhaps not if armed with *two* torpedoes). But the Phantom would have enough raw speed it can chase down an Observer whatever it is carrying.

Perhaps also I should add some additional evadable weapons to the earlier UFOs so there's a bit more of a trade-off with the damage sustained by planes carrying heavy weapons than there is now.

Anyway, at the highest level what I'm trying to do with the air combat changes is to remove the hard limitations on the aircraft types in X1. You want to catch a fast UFO? You'd better have built a Foxhound. But that same Foxhound is inherently weak against Fighters because it can't evade or carry the right weapons to deal with them. I think a system where the equipment defines the role of an aircraft (and higher tier planes just have stronger statlines) is going to be much more forgiving overall.

LMGs:
Yeah, there's some bugs with these and with laser ones specifically. I'll get those fixed. However their design has changed a little from X1 now the updated Recoil mechanics are in, with the idea being that in the hads of a high-Strength soldier they should be more effective in terms of damage output than a rifle is. This also ties into the updated proximity bonus which is a more gradual increase that runs the full length of the weapon range rather than being limited to 5 tiles around the target. So the LMG ideally becomes a weapon more reliant on Strength than Accuracy, with suppression taking a back seat.

Other Issues:

  • As far as I'm aware opening a door does not trigger reaction fire, and nor should something that reveals previously-unseen units dynamically (like blowing up a wall). If you see that happening then please post up a save and we'll take a look.
  • The medical center does increase healing speed, the starting value is 1.2HP/hour. There's also an advanced medical center you get in the mid-game which increases it to 2.4HP/hour.
  • Several of the UI issues will be fixed in the next update.

Having been former military, a typical feature of the light machine gun that the military likes to see is that any rifle magazine that holds the same ammo type also can be fed into the LMG. In practice, this functionality does not work well, you don't have much ammo, going from a belt of 100-250 rounds if in a carriable drum or longer if mounted, and it tends to jam often if it's the standard military magazines, but it's in case you're in the field and "Oh crap, your LMG gunner is out of ammo! Give him some ammo quick!"

There's absolutely no reason that when you go to energy weapons like the laser rifles, you wouldn't have batteries that would plug in universally, with mixed results.

Programmatically it might be a bit harder to accomplish, but it would add a touch of realism if it didn't simply make a weapon non-functional when done. Even if the LMG got one burst off and needed reloading it would be a good "Oh crap!" mechanic.

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Posted (edited)

I have read all the new Threats here. There are some new Things come in we hadn´t in Mind.

The Torpedo / LMG-Discussion is for me unintelligible.

First Torpedo: The Torpedo for Planes have changed and I play the Game on an high level (the 3rd one). The All the Air-Weapons have their Differences and you have to bring in different Weapons in an Air-Combat. That´s cool and I personaly love it.

The best example is the Alien DD / Observer, which are both similar in Strengh and Armor. 2 Torpedos (Normal / Alenium) are not enough to bring them down. So you have an 2nd Plane with Sidwinders (Normal / Alenium). Mostly in Both Situations you need an short Close-Combat-Fight with the Guns to make an End.

Second LMG: The LMG with the Belts are fully realistic. The Military Guys of us have used the stationary HMG and don´t know what an portable LMG with Ammo is. It´s with the Ammo heavy too, that´s true. But its faster useable and can be used like an HMG too. 

Short said: It´s Multirole.

Air Combat: Yeah, a litte more Pep would be cool, like Clouds or similar, what get announced in Mind. The existing one is much cooler now, but it get more exiting. We will see what the Devs can do to improve it more until it have reached the limit for the Players / Testers and the Game itself.

Autopsy of Aliens: If we wanna make the discussed change, then it have to be done like in the Predecessors (old and new XCOM / Phoenix Point / UFO ET-Series). There you can decide what Aliens you wanna introduce first with easyer handling and Integration.

UFO-Research: The same with UFOs. The Dismantling and Research have to be the Option from the Player.

From that 2 Parts (Autopsys / UFO-Research) I don´t like the Auto-Research. There the Kick is missing from everything. What were interessting as Auto is an first look and the Reports from the Soldiers / Pilots about the Aliens / UFOs.

What the Testing belongs, we all Test. We all are there and give Feedback / Bugreports etc., but test different. Some every Version, some make Breakes between like Solver explained to have the Energy to test an more advanced Version with fully Energy. I personaly have found the Middleway to make my other Projects too and bring in some Ideas from the direct competitor.

Edited by Alienkiller
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  • 4 weeks later...
On 5/23/2022 at 1:52 PM, Solver said:

I was perhaps unclear, I know it increases healing to 1.8 HP/h, my point was that this rate becomes relatively less useful as my soldiers get better. Soldiers get more HP, they take more damage and need a longer time to heal 5 months into the game than in the second month.

It might make sense to make the healing percentage based? After all, in the real world, the healthier someone is to start with, the faster they'll recover from an injury.

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After an initial mission against the aliens, the site cleaning team are attacked upon their return to base with artifacts, It turns out alien technology has homing beacons built within it, fortunately at our current level of technology we can detect this locally (though not at as vast a distance as the aliens) and have found a way to mask the signature. However, whilst stocks off world artifacts are presently secure at our main base, the aliens may develop the ability to nullify our efforts going into the future and I would advise building a fortified science base, at the aside of our engineering, command and assault structures.

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