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Xenonauts-2 August 2022 Update


Chris
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Apologies for the delays to this update. Some big news this month - we're planning to launch the game into Early Access in February next year, and I've been underwater with preparations for that. We're also going to be putting out another tactical mission demo as part of a Steam event later this month, which is also eating into my time.

I'll be writing a much longer post later this month explaining our plans for Early Access in detail, so I'll just focus this post on what work we did last month. 

Abduction Missions:
The biggest feature we've been working on are Abduction Missions, which are a new type of tactical mission intended to provide a bit more variation to the ground combat. In these missions the aliens have captured a number of civilians and imprisoned them within teleporter pods, and you have a certain number of turns to free as many civilians as possible - once the timer runs out, all surviving aliens and any pods that have not been opened teleport away.

You win the mission by rescuing at least 50% of the civilians, so these missions are no harder than a "normal" mission where you kill all the aliens. However, you receive a small amount of money resources for each opened pod and killed alien (as they do not teleport away) so the player can potentially obtain more rewards on these missions by playing more aggressively than normal. Personally I think this makes them an interesting change of pace from some of the other mission types.

These were way more effort than I was expecting them to be, but they're basically done now (just ironing out a few bugs) and so should be included in V24.

Grenades:
We've now done the final part of the grenade implementation - setting them to use arcs, so they can be thrown over walls or intervening cover. This is surprisingly tricky from a design perspective (arcs and abstract 3d tile grids don't go together well) and even more of a pain to implement, but we know it's an important feature to a lot of players.

We're just fixing up a few bugs and some issues with the visualisation, but this feature is also pretty much done and should be in V24.

Achievements & Cloud Saves:
Achivements are now complete, including artwork, and set up on Steam and GOG. You'll be able to earn them (well, most of them) starting in V24.

I'll also shortly be turning on Steam cloud saves, but because our save games were previously absolutely enormous (up to 20mb for some tactical saves) we've spent some time optimising the files so they are much smaller. They should now only be about 20% of their previous size, so only a few mb each, and won't totally destroy anyone stiill on a metered connection.

Terrain Tiles & Maps:
Last month I spent a bunch time fixing all the problems with the UFOs in the game, using a new tool to find and fix all the line of sight "holes" which could cause the interior space to be revealed by soldiers who were still outside. I also fixed the non-walkable tiles that occasionally appeared inside the UFOs, and finished setting up the styling on the Harvester and Battleship UFO interior spaces.

I've also added a LOT of new terrain tiles to the game. These will be most noticeable in the Xenonaut Base biome, which is now mostly complete and looks much more polished than it did in our last public release (there's just a few more rooms left to complete). This is also reflected in the Cleaner Base plot mission, which has been completely restyled and now looks much better than before.

UI Updates:
We're continuing to work towards having the strategy UI refresh complete for our Early Access launch in February. I've implemented the new visual style for the Main Base and Stores screens, and we're nearly done with designing the Soldiers screen. Once that is complete we only have the Research, Engineering, Aircraft and Soldier Equip screens to implement.

Additionally, we're working on an updated visual style for the Geoscape map itself. This won't be dramatically different but we want a map that looks a bit more distinct from the one in the first Xenonauts, and is just a bit neater and less noisy. We're still at an early stage of this but I'm hoping it'll come out well!

Campaign / Tech Tree:
In preparation for V24 I'm doing another balancing pass on the campaign. One small thing we implemented here was the ability to randomise the spawn times of missions and UFO waves, which has helped make things less predictable, and in general I've just been working through the game and ensuring everything unlocks correctly so you can actually make it to the final mission.

I'm looking to get the tech tree locked down for the Early Access release shortly, as there is still quite a bit of art and writing that needs to be added. However this month I did write all the research entries for the entire alien / Cleaner plot chain from the start of the game right up to Operation Endgame (this was about 15 entries in all). This means the hardest part of the writing is now done, as "normal" research entries are less narratively connected and much faster to write.

 

I think that's everything. We are working on V24 still but I'm not going to give a firm date for when it'll be released as I'm conscious I've got the demo to sort out first. But hopefully in the next couple of weeks!

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I too am wondering if the open beta will be a thing before the game goes into early access. I'm fine if the open beta is officially cancelled, but running an open beta for a month in December or something may be a good way of advertising the game to many people without them having to pay first. I'm noticing that a lot of people here, on discord, and on steam are very on the fence about the game. Perhaps running an open beta for a little while can help make up their minds about purchasing the game or not. 

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First Thanks for the new Info Chris. If the V 24 come in Oktober or November it´s fully OK for me. The Team should take the Time they need to make the Beta as best usesable and testable they can. The Early Access is set for February and there the Groundwork have to be as deeply done as possible in all Parts.

@geno: Nope, that seems to be canceld. If that would be done, the Early Access would be overnext Year (2024).

@Kamehamehayes: Therefore the People get an new Demo. I remember back to the old Times, where you could go after School to an Computer- / Game-Shop and there was an PC where you could play the Demos for X-Com or whatever. Then you decided after the full Product come out to buy or buy it not.

 

But sadly the most of the Community on Steam are "Troublemakers", which kill for the nice as well as friendly Community the Game itself [Features etc.] or blaming the important People for Xenonauts 2 [Devs, Founders, Betatesters, Freelancers ect.]. So they have to pay for the Game. I personaly wouldn´t give them an Demo, that´s alone is already to much.

Edited by Alienkiller
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On 9/8/2022 at 7:13 PM, Alienkiller said:

But sadly the most of the Community on Steam are "Troublemakers", which kill for the nice as well as friendly Community the Game itself [Features etc.] or blaming the important People for Xenonauts 2 [Devs, Founders, Betatesters, Freelancers ect.]. So they have to pay for the Game. I personaly wouldn´t give them an Demo, that´s alone is already to much.

 

I'm not familiar with Steam Community though but I can see that through these years you're becoming more and more extreme towards critiques and that would be a really bad signal for the game community. The game had been delayed for multiple times and it's understandable that most people not from this forum being upset about it. We don't need the game forum becoming toxic based on personal vendetta.

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@EurekaSeven Let us concentrate on the Game and it´s Features which we important People [Devs, Founders and in that Function Betatesters, Freelancers which help the Devs] do with heart for the Community to make an Game which overflow all others [old X-Com, old UFO-After-Row, new XCOM, Phoenix Point, Xenonauts 1 and in some Parts the UFO ET-Row] only in the Basic-Variant. 

We and I personaly get toxic, if such Elements (Troublemakers) have only to grumble on everything what the Game or the important people belongs. I have with such Elements a lot of patient. But not more when they kick under the Belt-Line, which they sadly did [Game-Features / important People]. And esp. are not interrested in an normal Explenation / Discussion.

Similar Elements are doing that with F1 Manager 2022 and other important cool Games which are no 08/15-Scrap.

Edited by Alienkiller
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We're in the process of changing our marketing partner to ensure that our Early Access launch gets as much attention as possible (I found a company that really impressed me) so I'm not completely sure what the plans for the open beta are yet.

In an ideal world I'd like to run some kind of beta to ensure the game is properly tested before it goes on sale but I'll see what our partners think about it, as if they've got data that suggests it's financial suicide then it'd be best not to. And it's also a bit dependent on the development timetable.

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Make the task sign on the strategic map change its color over time. Green color - the mission (task) is relevant. Yellow - the aliens have carried out part of their plans. Red color - you are late. (The aliens have done what they planned and are evacuating soon). Depending on the color of the tactical task icon, other bonuses and other trophies are awarded for completing a tactical task.

Edited by Komandos
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On 9/20/2022 at 3:36 AM, Star_Dragonsbane said:

Question, everytime I keep progressing to find the crashed battleship I get a CTD.  Is this being fixed, anyone else still having issues with it?

You need to report issues in the "Bug Reports" thread (and read the pinned thread at the top to learn how to do it right, because "The game crashes when I find a battleship" isn't helpful to anyone - the devs need the bug reported properly to fix it. 

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