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Xenonauts 2 July 2023 Update!

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Hello everyone - we've reached the end of July, so it's time for our monthly development update. It's been an exciting month, with Xenonauts 2 finally launching into Early Access on July 18th. The launch has been a huge success, with the game selling over 40,000 copies in the past two weeks, and the whole development team is really grateful to anyone who supported us by buying a copy!

Here's what we've been up to this month and what we have planned for the coming month!

Critical Bugs & Performance Fixes:
Almost all of this month has been spent fixing critical bugs like crashes or anything else that ruins the gameplay experience for players. We actually thought the game was pretty stable going into Early Access, but going from a pool of twenty to thirty regular testers to having tens of thousands of players exposed a LOT of issues we were previously unaware of.

The last couple of weeks have therefore been rather intense, as we've had to patch the game numerous times to address these issues. Thankfully the worst of this should now be behind us; we released 1.28b on Friday which improved performance and has fixed the bulk of the critical bugs. Work continued over the weekend and we've now fixed the memory leak players have been encountering and also (finally) managed to find and fix the annoying bug where terrain objects would sometimes get destroyed but not visually update (leading to units being able to shoot or move through what appeared to be a solid object).

Our immediate priority is to finish up the last couple of crashes we're aware of, and fix a couple more serious gameplay bugs - e.g. grenades missing when displaying 100% chance to hit. This should leave the foundations of the game in good enough shape to move on to other tasks.

Loading Times:
Once that is done, we'll be starting work on optimising the load times - hopefully this will happen towards the end of this week. There's not much more to say on this point beyond the fact that we're aware of the issue and we'll be working on it soon.

Milestone 2:
We're then planning to spend the remainder of the month working on Milestone 2. This will be the first major update for the game and it will involve changes to the campaign, which unfortunately means it will break save games (although you can continue to play your Milestone 1 campaign on the Legacy branches if you want).

As the programmers have a lot of bugs and usability improvements to be working on, I'm planning to focus on the air combat balance and the pacing issues in the existing campaign for Milestone 2. This is likely to extend the playable time beyond 180 days but it will not introduce additional UFO types to the game - it's more likely that we'll be expanding the role of the Cleaners at the start of the game instead.

The first Milestone 2 build will likely arrive on the Experimental branch in the next two or three weeks, where it will go through a number of iterations based on player feedback before being released onto the standard branches.

Expanding the Team:
Finally, the income from our Early Access launch means we can now expand the team to speed up development. The first positions we're looking to fill are that of a Level Designer and a Gameplay Programmer. If anyone is interested in applying, I've linked the job posts below:

Overall, July was a great month for the project and we've really enjoyed seeing people playing the game we've been working on for so long. We look forward to delivering more upgrades in August!

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