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First Impression Feedback

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I recently joined the pre-order club and played the alpha build of Xenonauts, and now I'm posting about my first impressions. The game has a lot of potential and I hope it materializes, but it has a long way to go. Here is a list of comments I jotted down during my first assessment:

General Comments

- Text is too small

- Not enough animation (everything is still pictures)

- Clicking sound effect occurs even when clicking on something "unclickable"

- It is not immediately obvious that you have to select a resolution smaller than your native resolution before windowed mode will work

- Closing windowed mode game could prompt save or auto save

- Geoscape clock continues to tick away when focus leaves game window, but sounds stop (audible hint that game is paused, even though it isn't)

- Select lists are difficult to see what is selected (especially on personnel screen soldiers list)

- Scroll bars are too thin in general.

- Scroll bars shouldn't show up at all if not needed.

- Buttons are not consistent (construct building button on base tab is huge and spans entire panel vs Hire or Dismiss solider on personnel screen).

Interface screen navigation

- Might be better to keep navigation menu a fixed set of tabs instead of changing it based on current screen and just disable the tab you're currently on

- The geoscape screen should probably just be the first tab instead of a random circle button

- When moving between tabs you should first show the tab's background and then slide in the panels over top in an animated way after a second delay and have a sound effect like an air lock door swoosh. This way you feel like you're walking into different rooms of your base and you get to see the cool images before they get covered up. It would be cool if the images were animated, even if just a little to make you feel more immersed.

Main Menu

- The buttons don't look like buttons

- The phrases underneath the buttons seem unnecessary and are too small to read anyways.

- It would be cool if the main menu was animated (map in back of room lit up as if tracking aliens, text on back wall scrolling, etc..)

- It would be cool if the main menu had sound effects of commanders talking strategy and radar beeping

- The scroll bar on game options window is too small and not immediately obvious.

- Do not understand the "#####" options at bottom of options screen

- Do not understand the Custom Solider List at bottom of options screen

- The "Commence Operation" and "Resume Operation" buttons are confusingly displayed as a check boxes

- Clicking the "Explanatory Tool Tips" check box does nothing

- Iron Man Mode should simply be part of playing Veteran / Insane difficulty; simplify interface and remove check box

- Animation when clipboard is moved into view is to fast

- There doesn't seem to be a way to get back to original view once clipboard is in place


- When research is complete it would be nice to display a message like "Research Complete" to give the seemingly random screen context.

- When research is complete instead of just a close button there should be a button to allocate scientists to another project

- The research complete screen could be jazzed up with some embossed borders; probably need padding around the text panel.


- Cursor is big and blocky and hard too see if over certain terrain

- Tool tips missing (I expect to see explanations pop up over time controls on hover for example)

- Key information text is too small and not enough margin on right

Base Management

- Text is too small - especially hard to see how many of each personnel type.

- It isn't clear what number in parenthesis means beside personnel capacity - tool tip should explain this on hover.

- Clicking on building should pop tool tip (I'm impatient), or alternatively could pop dialog with info and option to delete

- Right clicking to delete isn't obvious. Easier to use interface if absolutely everything can be done with left mouse click.

- There is no background image like on other screens... yet?

- The command center building looks low resolution compared to other buildings

- On the construct building screen there should be a space between the number of days and the word "DAYS"


- Should this be named "Tanks" or "Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs)" so as not to be confused with Aircraft, which are in fact vehicles as well?


- Drop ship shows one empty space, but I can't add another solider to drop ship via personnel or soldiers screen. Not clear why.


- Basic Armour doesn't really look like armor so might be better named "Jeans and collared shirt"

- It isn't immediately obvious the solider list is being filtered by assignment. Maybe add "Any" option at top and select that by default?


- Couldn't figure out how to start training on solider

Ground Combat

- hidden movement / end turn takes too long

- There doesn't seem to be a "next solider" button to select the next solider.

- The button "TGL RF" appears to toggle the roof, however the tool tip says it shows the soldier's statistics

- The map button doesn't do anything

- time between when click crouch command and solider begins to crouch is too long and I wonder if I clicked button or not.

- The alien sighted icon is shown even after I have solider look away. In the original the icon was only shown when alien in line of sight. Similarly, other soldiers nowhere near the alien with no line of sight get alien sighted icon too, which is linked to same alien, outside line of sight!

- Scrolling the screen when in windowed mode is tricky due to small "trigger" area

- When I step out of the drop ship on first turn there are a ton of civilians and they're all facing the same direction. They all have an odd posture too.

- If I try to shoot an alien with a pistol and I don't have enough AP no shot is fired, but I still hear the pistol fire sound

- civilians walk through gate without it opening!

- z-order (stacking order) wrong inside house on sofa because it appears my soldiers head is under it when standing below it

- It is easy to accidentally click quick reload and it reloads even if it is a waste. Also the tool tip says it costs no extra TU, but it actually does use "AP"

- right click to open door and wooden south facing door and no animation occurs/door doesn't open but I can walk through.

- during hidden movement screen the cursor was the open door cursor for no apparent reason

- civilian jumped bookcase inside house and landed outside house; he just went right through the wall! On the next turn he jumped back through the wall into the house! The tile is a corner tile inside the house with the half-height bookcase on terror map.

- When I open eastward facing white door it opens, but is pushed back an entire tile! I can walk through the window in that same building!

- I walked through a brick wall beside a dumpster to get inside the storeroom of a grocery store.

- There is a NPC solider who is firing at an alien clear across the map that I can't even detect even though I'm farther up the map. How is it that he sees it? Is it because his NPC ally radioed in the location?

- jumping the brick wall with flowers hedge animating is bad and solider appears to land on same side he started on!

- I shot the tank missile at alien, it missed and hit a car, the car was pushed outside the map area (also the car didn't show any damage despite being hit with missile)

- The game lets me shoot at aliens across the map even when there is darkness between the solider and alien (no line of sight due to darkness).

- Aliens don't shoot back, they just run so far...

- If you click on the quick grenade slot and then change your mind it is hard to cancel (clicking the quick grenade slot again does not cancel, you have to select a different solider and reselect the solider again).

- throwing a grenade even one square in front of you only has 30% chance, this seems unreasonable.

- Standing face to face with an alien my pistol only has a 36% chance to hit. From this close it should be almost impossible to miss! The range percent should go up quickly as you move further squares, but point-blank range should have accuracy bonus

- standing on top of bushes and benches doesn't look quite right.

- At the end of the mission the music should change. It just keeps playing the same old track while looking at end of mission stats. The original UFO defense had cool music at this end of mission screen.

- Only three aliens in the terror mission

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Thanks for the feedback. I assume you have a large monitor? The game was designed to work at 1680x1050 and having recent got an enormous monitor of my own I appreciate why a lot of people moan about the UI. We're about to start updating it though, so maybe come back and do this again in 3 months :)

Also, you've described a number of bugs in the ground combat. They'll be fixed up over time, I think they're all already known.

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My monitor has 1920x1080 native resolution. I know it is a pain to deal with differing screen resolutions and aspect ratios because I do a lot of web development; I noticed the "extraterrestrials" link and "iceland incident 2" links in your website's navigation menu overflow on my browser (FF 16 and IE 9 on Window 7 64-bit) by the way :).

#thothkins, Thanks for clearing up the "Custom Solider List" mystery.

I look forward to trying Xenonauts out again in a few months when some of the obvious bugs are cleaned up and the game has more polish.

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