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Xenonauts 2 August 2023 Update!


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August has been a busy month for us here at Goldhawk. Although it's not been quite as crazy as the two weeks immediately after our Early Access launch, the last four weeks have been very intense in a different way.

Expanding the Team:
This is mostly because the development team has expanded significantly over the last couple of weeks. When we launched into Early Access the team here at Goldhawk was only three full-time employees (one designer and two programmers) and there's just not enough hours in the day for a team that small to run a project of this size effectively, even if you're all working evenings and weekends.

In practice this has resulted in a situation where we've collected a lot of useful gameplay improvements / suggestions and bug reports from our community, but we've only been able to tackle the most urgent of those issues. This is frustrating for both the team and for the players, as the other tasks are still important things we want to fix - they're just not as important as the stuff we actually have been fixing.

As the only way to make a serious dent in the task lists was to get more manpower, this month we hired one additional full-time programmer (who is actually an old friend that worked with us on the original Xenonauts) and two more highly-experienced part-time programmers. Many thanks to anyone that applied for a position on the team after reading our last update - we really appreciated seeing so many enthusiastic people reaching out to us!

Furthermore, we've also hired an additional full-time level designer / QA assistant, and two part-time designers who will be helping with the level design and game design / balancing respectively. Our goal is to respond to all community bug reports within one working day, to start delivering new maps with each major update, and generally to be able to respond better to player feedback and suggestions. I've been spread WAY too thin over the past few months.

Improving the Game:
We've continued to improve the game over the past four weeks, adding community-requested features like the option to modify the length of mission timers and the ability to break apart / merge together airborne squadrons, plus successful fixes for the memory leaks in the game and all sorts of other gameplay bugfixes.

However, work on the game has been slower than normal due to all the recruitment we've been doing - if you're a small team, it takes a lot of time to be reading through CVs and code samples / portfolios to evaluate applicants, it takes time to interview candidates, and it takes time to get employment contracts signed. And most of all, it takes time to get people set up on the project and get them up to speed on our huge codebase or to teach them how to use a complex tool like our level editor. Time spent on this will quickly pay off, but it does slow things down in the short term.

This has affected Milestone 2 most badly. We're now hoping to release this onto the Experimental branches at the end of next week or the beginning of the week after. 

I'll also mention the loading times briefly here, as I know they are important to many people. We took a look at them earlier this month but it quickly became clear any serious attempts to speed these up would change the structure of the saves and therefore break save game compatibility. As a result, we've pushed this work back to Milestone 2 (as each new Milestone build is likely to break save games anyway, due to the significant balance changes).

Community Mod Tools:
One thing we did spend a bit of time on this month is the mod loader and Steam Workshop integration, which is now nearly complete. However, we've not yet started work on the official mod creation tools and it may be a few months until we do given our focus is currently on upgrading the core game.

If anyone is potentially interested in helping design a GUI that hooks into our code so modders can more easily edit the game files, please take a look at this thread!

That's it for this month's announcement. We've made decent progress but most of our time this month has been spent expanding the team so we can make faster progress in future. Thanks for reading, everyone!

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  • Chris changed the title to Xenonauts 2 August 2023 Update!

Weima, the Devs have informed us in this Developer Update, that this won´t be posible, until the more important Parts of the Game are done (Bugfixes, Storyparts, Tutorial, Maps, Missions, Research & Devolpment, Translations etc.). I suggest you read it correctly again and not only overflow it.


Edited by Alienkiller
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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, the August 2023 update for Xenonauts 2 is super exciting! The development team has been making great progress, and I can't wait to see all the new features and improvements they've been working on. Xenonauts 2 has been shaping up to be an amazing sequel, and I'm eagerly anticipating its release. Keep up the fantastic work, devs.

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