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Xenonauts 2 May 2022 Update!


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May is over and so it's once again time for our monthly update. Today I released V22 onto our standard Steam / GOG branches for everyone to play, as it's in decent shape after the seven (!) hotfixes we have released for it over the last five or six weeks.

Obviously all those fixes and releases took up quite a bit of developer time, but there was also a lot of other progress on the project to report. The biggest new feature we've been working on this month is the updated tactical interface, which is a fairly complex beast given the depth of the tactical combat. The UI now looks better, is much less cluttered and (hopefully) easier to use and understand - but more importantly it properly integrates the relevant information for the Morale and Armour systems which were added earlier this year.

Additionally, we started working with a couple of new illustrators at the start of the month to start to finish off the remaining research art. Three new autopsy paintings have been added this month and the final dropship has also been done (we also amended the in-mission tiles for this dropship to improve its interior layout and fix some visual issues). Several more enemy units have had their corpse artwork painted too, and that job is now nearly complete.

On the 3D front we've now managed to finish and rig all the female civilian models (meaning all the human models are now complete and set up in-game) and several alien armour variants from previous months were also rigged and added. In terms of environment we're still working on the Xenonaut base biome because there's just so many different base rooms that need to be created, but progress is pretty good and the new assets are definitely looking like an improvement!

Beyond the tactical UI and bugfixes, the coders also found time to implement a proper re-arming system for interceptor weapons (previously the planes would instantly rearm when returning to base) and then do some work to support the final mission. In classic X-Com style we have decided to make this a two-part mission so we needed to do a bit of work to support this, but it all seems to be working. Both maps need further playtesting and visual improvements but in theory it should now be possible to properly win the campaign when we release the next build.

Therefore overall I feel like we've made good progress this month. We'll start to think about putting out the first iterations of V24 towards the end of next month to let you guys play with the final tactical UI and hopefully several more significant improvements too. Take care everyone!

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9 hours ago, Chris said:

Beyond the tactical UI and bugfixes, the coders also found time to implement a proper re-arming system for interceptor weapons (previously the planes would instantly rearm when returning to base) and then do some work to support the final mission. In classic X-Com style we have decided to make this a two-part mission so we needed to do a bit of work to support this, but it all seems to be working. Both maps need further playtesting and visual improvements but in theory it should now be possible to properly win the campaign when we release the next build.

It has been quite awhile since I've seen a two part final mission in an xcom game. I've always prefered having two maps for an endgame mission rarher than one big map. It just felt better pacingwise two play to consecuative missions than to play one really long one (occationally, this leads to the map becoming a slog imo). 

But Firaxis, Snapshot, nor you guys chose to use that kind of design for the final mission. Is it easier to just design one big map or is there somesort of a major benefit to having one big map (or deficit to designing two smaller maps) that makes most studios gravitate to one big map for a climactic final mission (I have very little designing experience as you can probably tell)? 

Hoepfully the ui and environment polishing work goes well. The other environments already look great and i hope the xenonauts base can see the same level of quality. 

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Posted (edited)

The Gaps get filled and the final Things come in, what is very good. So the Beta-Testers can make an first full run, if all goes well. The big but is, that more work is needed to finish the Basegame. 

We will see what more have to be done, fixed, reworked, refited etc. before it can go to the next Step, the finalising of the full game [Fixings, missing Integrations] in Early Access. Evtl. that can be at the End of this Year or somewehre next Year.

Edited by Alienkiller
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On 6/1/2022 at 5:31 AM, Kamehamehayes said:

It has been quite awhile since I've seen a two part final mission in an xcom game. I've always prefered having two maps for an endgame mission rarher than one big map. It just felt better pacingwise two play to consecuative missions than to play one really long one (occationally, this leads to the map becoming a slog imo). 

But Firaxis, Snapshot, nor you guys chose to use that kind of design for the final mission. Is it easier to just design one big map or is there somesort of a major benefit to having one big map (or deficit to designing two smaller maps) that makes most studios gravitate to one big map for a climactic final mission (I have very little designing experience as you can probably tell)? 

Hoepfully the ui and environment polishing work goes well. The other environments already look great and i hope the xenonauts base can see the same level of quality. 

It takes a bit of time to implement the code to run two missions back to back without going back to strategy in-between, or at least it did for us because of the assumptions in our code, but it's not a particularly massive feature. To be honest I'm not sure there's anything inherently better in having a two-part mission though.

Most "final missions" tend to be a deathmatch with special conditions - the Xenonauts 1 one was fairly short but was essentially a timed mission due to the spawning of the Reapers, the XCOM2 one is a massive battle against three Avatars and continually respawning reinforcements, etc. Splitting it over two parts wouldn't work so well with that sort of mission because the concept is about having a large exciting battle and dragging out out would be exhausting.

But this time around I wanted to actually go to an alien world (given the title of the game) so something more akin to the Cydonia mission in classic X-Com seemed a good way to show that off, and make the game feel a bit more distinct from its predecessor. It's just a different feel to the final mission really.

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Posted (edited)

Sounds very good. If I remember me correctly, other Alternative-Endings were announced brought in to distance it from the 08/15-Standard-Endings [Win / Loose Military].

There Phoenix Point / XCOM 2 with the XCOM: Chimera-Continuation shows how such an Alternative can be. Or the UFO-ET-Series / UFO-After-Series with the Settlement to an new Planet for Humanity which give us similar Conditions like Earth or with Terraforming.

But the Deviding in 2 Parts of the Final Mission is interessting. I have never seen that since if I have it correctly in Mind the first 2 old X-Com-Games [Enemy Unknown / Terror from the Deep].

Edited by Alienkiller
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/1/2022 at 1:57 AM, Chris said:

Beyond the tactical UI and bugfixes, the coders also found time to implement a proper re-arming system for interceptor weapons (previously the planes would instantly rearm when returning to base) and then do some work to support the final mission. In classic X-Com style we have decided to make this a two-part mission so we needed to do a bit of work to support this, but it all seems to be working. Both maps need further playtesting and visual improvements but in theory it should now be possible to properly win the campaign when we release the next build.

Ooh I like the idea. If you can't implement this well may I suggest the alien base attack missions to have two parts as well. One part on the surface where your team fight your way through alien turrets and patrols to enter the base proper. The second part is the already implemented underground base raid.

On 6/2/2022 at 5:27 PM, Chris said:

But this time around I wanted to actually go to an alien world (given the title of the game) so something more akin to the Cydonia mission in classic X-Com seemed a good way to show that off, and make the game feel a bit more distinct from its predecessor. It's just a different feel to the final mission really.

A good way of implementing this is without breaking the in game lore too much is to mention that the Alien Mothership is  actually built as a gigantic natural habitat of the alien home planet. And before attacking the main power generator on the ship, the Xenonauts has to get through the habitat domes. Drawing some inspiration from the game Prey from 2006.

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