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Reindtroduction and thoughts on AI


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Hi there,

I was a backer of Xenonauts and have not been gaming for many years. I used to be very active on the forums before the launch of Xenonauts. Life took other turns and i quit gaming for a while. I have just started gaming again a few months back. I recently restarded a Xenonauts campaign on insane mode and have actually kept my backer portrain personality alive for 7(!) missions without savescumming. I anticipate a deadly reaper attack very soon. 

I have been following the development of Xenonatus 2 only sporadicly. But it seem it is well on its way to become a solid improvement over Xenonauts. Now i have read on some of the improvements coming to AI, that will make the Aliens move around more(roam) around the map. This is good. One thing i find is a weakness of Xenonauts is a fairly predictable AI and alos a quite passive AI.


I have recently been playing a game called Ultimate general Civil war. Best way to describe it is realtime combat on a painted 2D map. It's fairly simple but the AI is one of the best i have ever encountred in a tactical game. One of the things that make the AI feel different from time to time is that the behaviour of the AI is semi determined by traits of the Units. If enemy brigades have certain traits that will decide wether they will hunker down, come at you in mass, charge often or try to owerwhelm you with firepower. This way the same battle many times take on entirly differant pace or character, even if enemy units reinforce or start at the same place every time. Becuase thier behaviour is semi randomized.

One thing i felt would have made Xenonauts better is if different crews of UFOs had different overall tactic. It could be explained by some alien officers being different as humans are different. Even if you down a corvette with Ceasans (psyons) like you did last time. This officer this time is very aggresive and will take all his soldiers directly to you grabbing you by the belt as soon as you come off the landing ship. Next officer is a sneaky one and has his shooters on the rooftops, with units waiting in abushes on the bottomfloor. And the third one hunkers down with almost the entire crew in anticipation of your breachparty. 

This way the player can only semi predict what he will face. He maybe( by resarch) will know the race, but not this certain crew personality.  And of course a aggressive sebilian will be very much more scary than a Sebillian chosing to snipe at you, since sebillian aren't snipers. This way you could also explit the enemy using 'wrong' tactics. I feel it is an oppurtunity to make the AI change and not always behave the same, and also let the player feel that he really need to determine what he is up to. 

 

Nice to be back. I am in anticipation for Xenonatus 2.  Very thankful towards Chris and the team for keepin my childhood game favourite Microprose Xcom alive, improved and reskinned in a fantastic reimagination of this gem. Cheers folks

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