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Demo Sept 22, 2022 Thoughts


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This demo is a vast improvement over the last one in every respect. I loved the improved visuals, better performance, more options for my soldiers to do on the battlefield, etc. I think this a good step forward for the game. I had a great time with it. Although I did find some trouble with the controls initially and some of the balance feels a little off imo. 

These are the critiques I have with it:

-I remember that in the previous demo, you could click the icon of the weapon and go into free-fire mode that way. I tried doing that while playing this demo, and it didn't work. I was confused for a minute or two, but I eventually figured out that I could go into free-fire mode by pressing ctrl. The bottom left control icons don't actually tell you how to free fire until you actually hold your cursor over an enemy, which is probably why it took me awhile to figure it out. I think it should tell you the moment you select a soldier imo. 

I think that you should be able to to go into free-fire mode by pressing the weapon icon just like before. It is also a little annoying that free-fire mode turns off immediately after letting go of ctrl; it would feel more natural if this were toggleable instead of requiring to hold ctrl down imo. 

image.thumb.png.56b0f39127fcdac1d41a74c9f59a2fe2.png

-It also wasn't entirely clear to me that you have to select a location for a soldier to move before ctrl + shift works. The control labels at the bottom left seemed to imply (at least to me) that you can activate ctrl + shift anytime after entering free-fire mode. Obviously, this isn't the case, and it instead showed (0 tus, 0%) instead. I thought that this was a bug for a minute, until I fiddled around a little more and figured it out eventually. (I have no screenshots for this one as windows won't let me take a screenshot while holding ctrl apparently)

-I'm a little confused about the accuracy calculations. 

When it is just hit chance= (soldier accuracy x shot modifier) + range modifier, the math makes sense to me. 

As seen below:

image.thumb.png.3f3a5e5f9a4cec0ce35859e40bfed35d.png

(60 x .38) +52= 22.8 + 52= 74.8% (approximately 75%). The system makes perfect sense to me when in this format. 

However, when accounting for stuff like smoke and cover, the math doesn't make much sense to me. 

See below:

image.thumb.png.2caf1da86dbf54f871458e3e6ae3cc78.png

45 x 1.2 x .7 x .6= 22.68%, not 15%. 

I'm wondering if there is some information that is being withheld here, or if the information presented is inaccurate in some way, or if the equation for calculating the accuracy is different than what the hit chance% formula suggests whenever smoke and/or cover is involved. 

-I'm also am a little confused about suppression in general. I understand generally how it works (thanks to the awesome toolkits that were implemented), but I don't really know how much suppression a single shot or burst does to an opponent (or a teammate for that matter). Suppression doesn't feel like something I have that much control over or can use strategically because I have no idea how much suppression each individual action does to anything. Perhaps a suppress% chance or an estimated/average suppression damage statistic that is located next to the hit chance% calculations would help to give more information about the relative suppression damage one would do to a target.

-Some of the balance seemed a little weird to me 

The MARS's rocket launcher having a blast radius of 4 tiles seems like a little too powerful. A blast radius of 3 tiles seems like enough for it to be a strong weapon; 4 tiles just makes the blast area a little ridiculous imo. 

It surprised me to see so few aliens on the map with armor of any kind. With all of the frag grenades, demolition grenades, rockets, and armor piercing weapons, I would have expected a little more aliens to have some sort of armor stat (especially the cleaners that appears to be wearing armor of some kind). I would like to have seen maybe a greater mix of enemies that have a more even mix of no armor, light armor, and heavy armor that might give more importance and emphasis to the new armor mechanics. 

It feels very weird to have the shield not have a 100% chance of blocking attacks from the front, but still having some % chance of blocking attacks from the sides. I think I would personally prefer to have 100% chance of blocking from the front and a 0% chance of blocking from the sides, making the placement and turning angle of the soldier more important, but that might be just me. 

If I remember correctly, this is the second dropship of the game. In Xen 1, each of the dropships gives the player different options of how to take cover and enter the battlefield from the dropship. The Charlie allows you to exit form the back and both sides, the Shrike allows you to exit form the front and back, and the Valkyrie allows you to assemble your soldiers in any position you wish. However, with this dropship, it doesn't give you more/different options of taking cover or exiting the dropship than what the Charlie offers. I would like to see some small things that separates this dropship from the other dropships in the battle itself, be it alternative exits, more cover options, etc. 

These are the nitpicks I have right now; if I encounter some more, I'll make sure to post them here. Overall, solid demo! 

 

Edited by Kamehamehayes
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-Actually, I did have some issue with the tooltips and nested tooltips as well.

I attempted to move my cursor up to see the nested tooltips, but the tooltip would disappear right after I tried to do that. I realize now that the tooltip had to fully load before I can go and look at the nested tooltips within it, indicated by the loading icon in the top right of the tooltip (I think). It didn’t fully load, so it would disappear the moment I moved the cursor. It wasn’t entirely clear that the tooltip had to be loaded first before I could look at the nested tooltips. The little loading icon feels like a little too subtle to properly convey if the tooltip is loaded or not (I missed it the first time). Perhaps there needs to be “loading” and “loaded” text (or some variation) next to the icon so this is more clear. 

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-So I did some more testing for the accuracy numbers, and I think I found what the route of my confusion is. 

See below:

image.thumb.png.1873385c99912aedf05e38dc7d3b2388.png

I tested the hit chance% without smoke but with an intervening object, and I got 60 x .38 x .7= 15.96%=16%. 

This also made sense, so intervening objects probably wasn't the issue.

See below: 

image.thumb.png.a35c5254dad5d745047abbb2e2945a95.png

I tested the original shot again just with the extra smoke and the x1.00 for smoke did not make sense. If the x1.00 was correct and taken literally, then the original hit chance% should not have changed whatsoever. This has to mean that either the multiplication symbol or the number in front of it is incorrect somehow. 

I think I got to a point where I know what the issue is now. I think that 1.00 - intervening smoke= hit chance multiplier. I tested here and 1.00 -1.00= x0, which will make the hit chance% 0%. I also tested it with my previous issue and I got good results. 

See below: 

image.thumb.png.2caf1da86dbf54f871458e3e6ae3cc78.png

1.00 - .60= x.40 hit chance multiplier. 45 x 1.20 x .70 x .40= 15.12%=15%. 

The fix here should be the same as what you guys did with Intervening objects.

It should be portrayed as: x.40 Intervening Smoke (60%). 

 

I also noticed that the Target Crouch Modifier and target defense seen in the June update was missing from this demo. 

image.png

I'm wondering if this is a bug or if those two were intentionally removed. 

I think that crouching should have some effect on hit chance%; it just makes logical sense and it feels unintuitive to think that it would not effect hit chance% in some way. 

 

I'll probably come with some more feedback soon. I didn't expect to lab hit chance% so much lol. 

 

Edited by Kamehamehayes
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Alright. I played the demo again. I noticed a lot of nice qol features that I didn't catch the first time (like speeding up solider movement), and I have some more critiques to give. 

-I love the new movement speed up with spacebar; it saves a lot of time just with soldier movement alone. However, I wish that this speed up feature applied to more than just movement. It would be nice if it also applied to more stuff like shooting and throwing grenades. It is also annoying that you have to reapply the speedup by letting go and pressing down the spacebar every time you perform a new movement (instead of just holding the spacebar down). This is especially annoying during the alien turn, where I want to potentially just speed through an uneventful enemy phase, but I have to reapply the spacebar for every new movement (which can get interrupted from things like overwatch fire). 

I would like speedup to work for almost any action and to have no need to reapply it every time there is a new action (by either allowing the spacebar to be held down and/or make it toggleable and/or having a speedup option in one of the corners that can be clicked to speedup or be normal speed depending on player preferences {similar to the speed options on the geoscape and air combat}). 

-I find it a little weird that the aliens have their health and armor stats above their heads, but your own Xenonauts soldiers do not. I find myself trying to look at my soldiers' health points that way but end up getting confused due to it not being there. It would be nice to have a way for those numbers to appear on top of their heads in the options menu. 

-In both of my finished run throughs of the mission, the initial fire fight was very front loaded and it turned into the classic find all the aliens that are hiding once things settled down. It took an extra 10+ turns to find these guys after the initial fire fight and that killed the pacing of the mission. I think there should be some way to signal to the player where the aliens are hiding if the player is struggling to find them after a few turns. 

-One of my soldiers were able to throw a grenade though the dropship ceiling and wall. It was a little immersion breaking once that happened.

I'll throw in a bug report with the save in a little bit, but in the meantime, I have a couple screenshots of the incident 

See below: 

image.thumb.png.7bc6b1b7ed2292ac303d76397c0f5802.png

image.thumb.png.c265fcbc01ef41365c1dc9eaa9d5d860.png

Awesome demo guys. Tons of qol features that I didn't see the first time. I hope my feedback is helpful in some capacity. 

Edited by Kamehamehayes
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Disable roof -toggle doesn't seem to work as intended. As it's stated in the tool tip, on default it should be automatic so roofs are disabled only if player can see tiles inside the building. As it's now, roofs are always disabled, even if no interiors are visible. I would also argue the default should be so roof is disabled only if UNITS are visible inside a building. Xenonauts CE had this nailed to perfection IMO.

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On 9/29/2022 at 7:57 AM, Kamehamehayes said:

-In both of my finished run throughs of the mission, the initial fire fight was very front loaded and it turned into the classic find all the aliens that are hiding once things settled down. It took an extra 10+ turns to find these guys after the initial fire fight and that killed the pacing of the mission. I think there should be some way to signal to the player where the aliens are hiding if the player is struggling to find them after a few turns. 

If you increase the radius of vision of the soldiers, it will become easier to find the lost aliens.

 

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On 10/3/2022 at 3:06 AM, Komandos said:

If you increase the radius of vision of the soldiers, it will become easier to find the lost aliens.

 

In this case, I dont think that would help in this mission. There are a lot if building to hide in and I had to check almost all of them to find the final couple of aliens. 

I could see increasing the vision radius helping in missions like desert with lots of open space, but not very much in others. 

The game definetely needs a system to help tell the player where the aliens are hiding if they are stuck.  

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My feedback on the recent demo.

Looks very similar to xenonauts 1 - evolution, not revolution.

The demo has several bugs - first time game loading halts on 8% and i had to reboot PC.

Numerous issues with vision of soldiers. On screenshots I believe that there is no line of sight but game thinks it is

 

813421252_wrongvision.png

968933963_wrongvision2.png

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Thanks for the posts, guys. I've been too busy with V24 for a while to read this but I appreciate the posts and feedback.

I think the key thing to remember here is that this demo is expected to be played by a wide variety of people. We're limited in the number of things we can tutorialise in a demo without overwhelming the average player with info, and quite a few people who play the game won't have played X1 so throwing a bunch of armoured enemies in would run the risk of making it too difficult for players who weren't familiar with the mechanics. I'm therefore not too worried if certain parts of the UI are a little confusing, but it's something I'll take seriously if people still find things confusing having done the full tutorial that we'll be putting together for the Early Access launch.

@Kamehamehayes thanks for the info on the smoke hit calculation issue. I'll take a look at that because it does look like there's a bug in the display numbers there.

Why do you say the shields don't protect from the front? They offer 180-degree protection with 100% stopping chance, or at least they should. However the key thing is that they provide extra ARMOUR rather than extra HP, so you can still take damage from a shot while holding a shield. It simply reduces the damage you take.

Your thoughts on the spacebar mode are interesting. I didn't actually realise it worked for the aliens during their turn. I'm not necessarily averse to the idea of an expanded "fast forward" movement toggle, but I think that'd have to be a little button somewhere rather than holding down space. Given space also skips to the next soldier and ends the turn in some instances I think it'll be hard to tell what the player is trying to achieve just by holding space, etc

@Skitso yeah, I've responded to your bug report now, but you're right. We'll take a look at that.

@corund so "line of sight" is different to "line of fire", although I can understand why the situation in the first image is confusing. I guess the discussion is whether the alien head should be red if you can see the alien, but not shoot them?

For the second screenshot I can't see any issue, though - you can see the alien and you've got a clear shot at it.

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Right, so some thoughts about the Roof Toggle that @Skitso brought up. It looks like in Xenonauts 1 / X:CE the default behaviour is to have the roof toggle off, which means the roofs of buildings are never shown by default and it's based entirely on camera level.

If the roof toggle is enabled then there's some basic autodetect behaviour - the roofs are shown, but if you move a unit inside a building then the roof is hidden. Was this the default option in vanilla Xenonauts, maybe? Either way it feels pretty clunky because you then have to walk inside a building to have the interior revealed, which seems a bit dangerous. Perhaps the roof is also removed if you see an alien inside?

(There's also a third mode introduced in X:CE that removes the walls entirely, but this shouldn't be necessary in X2 due to the rotatable camera and would probably be a pain to implement in 3d)

Anyway, I think the X2 "autodetect" roof toggle is probably better than either of these options when working properly. This will show the roofs of buildings by default until you can see a tile inside the building, at which point the roof is removed (scrolling the camera up will force the roof to reappear). Unless I'm missing something, this system basically means that roofs shouldn't ever interfere with gameplay?

Anyway, I'll get it fixed up so it works like intended, but happy to hear people's thoughts on this topic if they have any.

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13 minutes ago, Chris said:

Why do you say the shields don't protect from the front? They offer 180-degree protection with 100% stopping chance, or at least they should. However the key thing is that they provide extra ARMOUR rather than extra HP, so you can still take damage from a shot while holding a shield. It simply reduces the damage you take.

Oh ok. I didn't realize that shields only offer armor and no extra hp. That makes sense. I saw my solider get hit through the shield and was left at single digit hp from a plasma bullet form full health, so I assumed it just went through the shield and that block chance wasn't 100%. I think I saw some forum post from months (maybe years) ago where someone said the block chance was not 100%. I am probably mistaken in retrospect. 

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2 minutes ago, Kamehamehayes said:

Oh ok. I didn't realize that shields only offer armor and no extra hp. That makes sense. I saw my solider get hit through the shield and was left at single digit hp from a plasma bullet form full health, so I assumed it just went through the shield and that block chance wasn't 100%. I think I saw some forum post from months (maybe years) ago where someone said the block chance was not 100%. I am probably mistaken in retrospect. 

Yeah, they worked that way until recently. Even in X1 they only had a 80% frontal block chance. The reason I asked was because I was wondering if I'd left something in the game that had outdated information on it.

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Is it possible to make the control panel for all soldiers (at the very top of the screen) automatically sort soldiers by AP stock: those who have a lot of AP left are the ones in front. Those who have used up the AP stock are the ones at the very end of the line???

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12 minutes ago, Chris said:

Right, so some thoughts about the Roof Toggle that @Skitso brought up. It looks like in Xenonauts 1 / X:CE the default behaviour is to have the roof toggle off, which means the roofs of buildings are never shown by default and it's based entirely on camera level.

If the roof toggle is enabled then there's some basic autodetect behaviour - the roofs are shown, but if you move a unit inside a building then the roof is hidden. Was this the default option in vanilla Xenonauts, maybe? Either way it feels pretty clunky because you then have to walk inside a building to have the interior revealed, which seems a bit dangerous. Perhaps the roof is also removed if you see an alien inside?

(There's also a third mode introduced in X:CE that removes the walls entirely, but this shouldn't be necessary in X2 due to the rotatable camera and would probably be a pain to implement in 3d)

Anyway, I think the X2 "autodetect" roof toggle is probably better than either of these options when working properly. This will show the roofs of buildings by default until you can see a tile inside the building, at which point the roof is removed (scrolling the camera up will force the roof to reappear). Unless I'm missing something, this system basically means that roofs shouldn't ever interfere with gameplay?

Anyway, I'll get it fixed up so it works like intended, but happy to hear people's thoughts on this topic if they have any.

Building roofs and especially Xenonaut's beautufully rendered troop carrier tops have a big impact on overall visuals and flair, so I personally would prefer everything to be visible as much as possible. So maybe disable roofs only when:

1. enemy units are seen inside

2. own units are inside

3. mouse cursor is inside

If any of the above is true, roofs could still be visible if the building in question is close to screen edges.

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7 minutes ago, Skitso said:

Building roofs and especially Xenonaut's beautufully rendered troop carrier tops have a big impact on overall visuals and flair, so I personally would prefer everything to be visible as much as possible. So maybe disable roofs only when:

1. enemy units are seen inside

2. own units are inside

3. mouse cursor is inside

If any of the above is true, roofs could still be visible if the building in question is close to screen edges.

Yeah, those three checks might together make a viable alternative. I'll have a think.

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@Chris Testing X2 Demo left me really satisfied. It's visually a huge step from the first game and the level of polish is already amazing, considering it's still probably more than 6 months away. The new UI is spot on, gameplay is smooth and fast, performance is great, destruction effects, fire and smoke were superb... everything just feels right. Splendid job! 10/10

Regarding this demo, the only things I wish could be improved on were sound balance and AI. Weapon SFX were really soft, while some wall destruction SFX were extremely loud. AI on the other hand... well, there's always room for improvement, but at least for now, I saw too much odd and stupid behaviour. I'd love to see some group tactics, flanking, grouping, retreating, ambushing and stuff like that. But that's stuff for another thread.

You are making a timeless classic. Thank you for that. Whish I could throw some money in your direction to get my hands on the full game. :)

 

Edit: One more thing... You should be able to cancel first aid kit with right click. :)

Edited by Skitso
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13 hours ago, Skitso said:

I'd love to see some group tactics, flanking, grouping, retreating, ambushing and stuff like that.

Group tactics (such as you want) with the number of troops, one group against another group (10-12) is not possible. Group tactics require the number of platoon-sized units that are divided into separate tactical squads with different tactical tasks.

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8 hours ago, Komandos said:

Group tactics (such as you want) with the number of troops, one group against another group (10-12) is not possible. Group tactics require the number of platoon-sized units that are divided into separate tactical squads with different tactical tasks.

*sigh* I'm not talking about real life combat - just this game. 2-3 units moving together, checking each others backs and using concentrated fire. Something to make them feel more like a team and hive mind instead of a bunch of individuals.

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16 hours ago, Skitso said:

. 2-3 units moving together, checking each others backs and using concentrated fire. Something to make them feel more like a team and hive mind instead of a bunch of individuals.

The firepower of 2-3 units is not enough to guarantee the destruction of 1 alien who jumped out of the fog of war at the distance of a melee attack.

2-3 units cannot move at the same time and save enough AP for attacks.

In this game, tactics are at the level of a group of soldiers (10-12 soldiers) against a group of soldiers (10-12 soldiers), and not at the level of a platoon against a platoon. What limits the variety of tactical situations.

And so yes: several tactical groups (5-8) of 4-6 soldiers each (which act as one) - would diversify the tactics of combat.

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