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Xenonauts 2 June 2022 Update!


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With June complete it is once again time for our monthly update. There’s three main things to talk about: accessibility, the end of the game, and the release of V24.

Accessibility:
We recently noticed that a lot of players were misunderstanding game mechanics, and given the people currently playing the game are Kickstarter backers who usually know the first game well this set some alarm bells ringing at our end. As a result we've added a lot more information to the game this month, which should help experienced players easily understand how the different mechanics are interacting and should (hopefully) make the game much less intimidating for new players.

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The first element of this is a "hit calculation" panel in the tactical combat, which explains exactly how the hit chance of a shot is calculated (see above). This is a relatively simple change that makes it much easier to understand the ground combat, as it previously wasn't always obvious what you could do to improve the hit chance of a shot. 

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The second improvement is to the Xenopedia (research) reports, which now show the stats of the corresponding alien / UFO / aircraft / piece of equipment / etc. To make things even clearer, we've also added in a section for "abilities" that allows us to explain any unique properties - e.g. the basic Sebillian aliens have the "Regeneration: 20" and "Scaled Hide: 5" abilities and hovering over either of these displays a tooltip that explains exactly what those abilities do and how they work. 

The result is a clear summary of what each thing in the game does. Importantly, this does not require the player to read the wall of text that comes with each research report - although lots of players like reading the lore, I suspect there's also a lot who would rather not have to!

As a final improvement here, we're also working on making the Xenopedia accessible in the tactical combat via the Esc menu!

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Next, we’ve added mission briefings at the start of tactical missions that make it clear what the objectives and any special rules / alternate win conditions are. Previously this wasn't required because almost every mission boiled down to "kill all the aliens" but now we've started adding more mission variety via more complex objectives it is definitely needed - we were finding a lot of people were getting confused on the non-standard missions.

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Lastly, we’ve re-enabled the loading screen tips and added quite a few new tips. These are surprisingly useful to communicate minor gameplay or usability features that even some experienced players are not aware of.

What comes next on usability? The two main things we're currently planning out are the tutorial and little pop-up notifications that explain mechanics to players as they play (e.g. you can right-click on a door from an adjacent tile to open it, etc). I'm hopeful the game will be fairly easy to learn and play once those systems are done, given our tooltips are already in a reasonably good state!

Operation Endgame:
We've been working on the final mission of the game for a while now. Last month I blocked out the maps and we did the fundamental code required to support two missions back-to-back. This month I was doing proper gameplay testing on the mission which has led to a lot of bugs being fixed and quite a few amendments to the levels and the balancing. Anyway, it's now possible to unlock the final mission and win it.

However, we want to make the experience of winning a game slightly more rewarding than it was in the first Xenonauts, where the game just flashed up a couple of lines of congratulatory text and then booted you back to the menu screen. We've been implementing a campaign stats panel to show the player (e.g. "Total Aliens Killed", "Total Soldiers Lost", etc) and I'm also planning a more substantial epilogue to the game too.

Build V24 / Public Release: 
We're hoping to release our next closed beta version towards the end of this month, likely some point during the week commencing 18th July.

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that the things we're working on at the moment are some of the biggest things blocking an open beta / Early Access release (people need to be able to understand the game and win the campaign), and this is not entirely a coincidence. I'm not going to publicly announce any plans yet but we're making a concerted effort to get the game ready for sale soon. Perhaps we'll have some dates to announce next month.

Thanks for reading!

 

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Posted (edited)

The quality of life options will definitely be a great addition to the game, but there are a couple of thinks I have to ask. 

On 7/4/2022 at 8:41 AM, Chris said:

 

image.png

The first element of this is a "hit calculation" panel in the tactical combat, which explains exactly how the hit chance of a shot is calculated (see above). This is a relatively simple change that makes it much easier to understand the ground combat, as it previously wasn't always obvious what you could do to improve the hit chance of a shot. 

 

 

The hit chance panel will definitely be a great addition to the game, and will help me out a lot since I am the kind of player that kind of tries to maximize this kind of thing (probably due to years of playing Fire Emblem). Though, I'm wondering if it is possible to have this menu appear before moving to a specific square. For example, I want to determine the hit rate of my rifleman before I commit to any square, so I could select which square I want to go to and then bring up this menu to see what my hit rate would be before commiting to moving to that square. I'm not sure how difficult such a thing would be to implement or how much good it would actually do for the game, but I hope I got my idea across. 

On 7/4/2022 at 8:41 AM, Chris said:

 

image.png

The second improvement is to the Xenopedia (research) reports, which now show the stats of the corresponding alien / UFO / aircraft / piece of equipment / etc. To make things even clearer, we've also added in a section for "abilities" that allows us to explain any unique properties - e.g. the basic Sebillian aliens have the "Regeneration: 20" and "Scaled Hide: 5" abilities and hovering over either of these displays a tooltip that explains exactly what those abilities do and how they work. 

The result is a clear summary of what each thing in the game does. Importantly, this does not require the player to read the wall of text that comes with each research report - although lots of players like reading the lore, I suspect there's also a lot who would rather not have to!

As a final improvement here, we're also working on making the Xenopedia accessible in the tactical combat via the Esc menu!

 

Edit: I realise now that this was all under research texts. Nothing need to be addressed here. 

On 7/4/2022 at 8:41 AM, Chris said:

 

image.png

Lastly, we’ve re-enabled the loading screen tips and added quite a few new tips. These are surprisingly useful to communicate minor gameplay or usability features that even some experienced players are not aware of.

 

I think tips should have a dedicated space in the xenopedia as well, just for quick reference at any time. 

Great update, and I hope v24 goes well. 

Edited by Kamehamehayes
I misunderstood the original post and want to edit this one to fix that misunderstanding.
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Great Job Dev-Team. That´s the Things we are speaking about since 2 Years or so. After waiting with patient these Features come in now. :)

We will see how good they and all new secret Features work after V.24 can be Betatestet from us Backers. And how stable is the Game with the integral Features, done Bugfixes, Refits, Reworks from the prevouis Versions the Game work now.

@ Kamehamehayes: The Tooltips would blow up the Research-Text if they set seperately. But evtl. they can be integrated in the Research Text, so that the People have to read it whether or not they want.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/4/2022 at 5:41 PM, Chris said:

We recently noticed that a lot of players were misunderstanding game mechanics, and given the people currently playing the game are Kickstarter backers who usually know the first game well this set some alarm bells ringing at our end. As a result we've added a lot more information to the game this month, which should help experienced players easily understand how the different mechanics are interacting and should (hopefully) make the game much less intimidating for new players.

image.png

Are these some random numbers just to show how it looks? Because I can't see how you can obtain 94% hit chance from them.

Also - there is a multiplier, a +/- percent (of what? Is it percent or percentage point?) and a + (I suppose it can be also -) decimal fraction (of what?) - it's not consistent and it doesn't really make anything easier to understand to me.

Edited by Krzysztof z Bagien
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Yeah I can't figure it out either. The highest I can get is 86%.

I recently played through Pillars of Eternity and they have a combat log you can look at and it actually has the equations used to calculate hits/crits/etc. I actually really liked it. Maybe "verbose combat log" could be an option in the menu?

 

Anyways nice update as always :)

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On 7/5/2022 at 1:41 AM, Chris said:

 

image.png

The second improvement is to the Xenopedia (research) reports, which now show the stats of the corresponding alien / UFO / aircraft / piece of equipment / etc. To make things even clearer, we've also added in a section for "abilities" that allows us to explain any unique properties - e.g. the basic Sebillian aliens have the "Regeneration: 20" and "Scaled Hide: 5" abilities and hovering over either of these displays a tooltip that explains exactly what those abilities do and how they work. 

 

 

Something I brought up I think 18 months ago could work well with this considering the framework is somewhat "done". Using a scaled down version of this menu it could be attached directly to an alien or item on the battlefield from a right click floating menu or similar. The basic idea is to add a sort of RPG element attached to objects that need to be uncovered through research and time. For eg, when you first uncover a new Alien all these stats are classed as "Unknown" giving a sense of curiosity and uncertainty which could "unlock" by different triggers.  Many different stats could be added.

The Xenopedia menu could be treated as a entire book while the in-game menus keeps you engaged. It might give the combat some grounding to strategy outside the shoot to kill mechanic.

Edited by roxxed
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