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BogdanM

What's the future of Xenonauts?

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It would be more easily justifiable if there were either "generations" of the same technology, or else lower-grade versions of the same tech.

That is, like with how modern CPUs have multiple ratings for any given generation, based upon taking the chips that were manufactured well enough to withstand the highest specs and selling those as the best-grade chips, and then selling the ones that were defective at high heat, but capable of running at lower clock speeds as the econo-bin version. Not to kick up a gun debate or anything, but weapons like an AK-47 are most notable simply for being cheap and readily available compared to weapons that require more high-precision manufacturing.

Alternately, it would be like giving the latest rifles to your elite troops, letting the slightly older, retrofitted versions go to the regulars, and the provisional troops and reserves can have the old M1 Garands you have in surplus. Likewise, we have generations of aircraft and list modern aircraft by what generation they are after jets were inventied. The US was using the F4 Phantom from 1960 straight to the First Gulf War. Around the world, many other nations still use Phantoms, even after being long obsolete by US standards.

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Personally, I rather dislike the notion of "tiers", (at least, on their own,) since they just remove the idea of having a broader choice. Choosing between having a shotgun or a rifle is a real choice. Choosing between plasma pistols and regular pistols is obvious - why would I want a pistol that deals single-digit damage to Sebs when I could have one that rips through them like a hot plasma through butter made of melted body fat?

I'd rather see the differences be with plasma that has short range to laser's long range but fast battery depletion to ballistics low damage, and then, if we must have tiers, make them "generation 1 lasers" and "generation 2 lasers".

Edited by Wraith_Magus

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Yeah, but that risks micromanagement and needless overcomplication. I think Aftermath had a mod that tried to put as many real world guns in as possible, with all the minute differences entailed. Of what I remember of that game though, you had to try and scavenge weapons early on so finding a minutely better gun was still good.

There's also any potential regional differences between equipment within the alien forces. If you picture them as a UN of sorts, each nationality of UN member state still equips their forces with their own equipment as well as different force elements within a national body. Example: For a given deployment of American, French, British, Belgian, German and for some reason the Swiss have come along as well. For those six nations, even just comparing service rifles you'll have a potential of eight different weapons. (FN FAMAS, SA 80, FN FNC, G36, SIG 550 and the US could be fielding M4s, M16s and SCAR-Hs for the Army, Marine Corp and SOCOM). That's just service rifles, leaving aside SAWs, SMGs, pistols, DMRs, AM rifles etc etc. And even crazier, if those weapons were reverse engineered by any alien forces, they'd find some weapons were functionally similar under the furniture, and some wildly different.

To be honest, I'd be very surprised if, should humanity attack any given alien invaders in turn, we'd encounter absolutely nothing new in their ranks. Yes it makes perfect sense to standardise equipment, especially for a expeditionary force, but that very argument suggests wider variety in other areas. From a certain point of view.

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I'm in the camp of remake and not sequel myself. I'd like to see Xenonauts 2 with more features that builds off the existing stuff. I want to see something like Pact/NATO alignment that determines early game tech. More weapons that aren't just a progression of the original weapons. So flamethrower for ballistic, bouncing laser for laser, whatever for plasma for plasma, and etc. Just more of the game and more ambitious.

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Silent Storm and Hammer and Sickle had tons of WWII-era guns to "choose from", but at the same time, you were often just lifting whatever was handy off the enemy when "picking" your gun, and the game also gave a "familiarity bonus" to using the same gun, so that any marginal difference between weapons was overshadowed by losing your familiarity bonus to accuracy. (The mechanic was supposed to abstract getting used to how dinged up the barrel was, and getting used to aiming a degree to the left of the target, or something, in compensation. Effectively, just keeping the same gun gave you accuracy bonuses.) Even guns of the same make made you lose the bonus, so no point in dropping the old gun for one with more durability.

It ultimately meant that there were tons of guns, but you only used two or three the whole game, and even that was because you had to leave your rifle behind when going on town missions so you could pack a concealable pistol. (Only to take a rifle from a corpse when you were past the non-combat "nothing to see here, officer" parts.) The gun you wound up married to wasn't some careful selection, but whatever was on the first guy you killed when you needed a new one, unless you happened to find one on the next one or two guys over whose marginal advantages overcame what "familiarity" you already gained on the one you just picked up.

But anyway, if there's anything I consider micromanagement, it's the tiers, in the first place. If something is just plain better than every other alternative, than it's just taking away choices, not adding them. If there's no difference between plasma and laser rifles besides a marginal uptick in power and a couple day's research time, then why bother having laser rifles at all? (Throwing the notion of "rifled" lasers aside for the moment.) It's just something you manufacture a couple of to pass the time waiting for plasmas. Then, once done, you have to swap out all the same weapons for the new ones. Little in how you behave, in-game, changes.

At least, if there's a "gen 1 laser" and "gen 2 laser", we might have a chance to just auto-replace the guns, taking out the micromanagement.

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I really hope in the next Xenonauts regional defense forces will show their face on the field. Xenonauts looks to me more like SOCOM than Earth's Army. Those armies don't have to play a major role but they would give a helping hand. For example they could shoot down a UFO every now and then, or clear a crash site for you, or engage enemy land forces and an icon will appear on the map and you can join the fight => awesome battles with dozens of allied soldiers dropping like flies so your guys look good. :D The Xenonauts would still be the only ones with fancy high tech gear.

Also maybe the next game could feature region control, so for example the aliens establish a FOB. If you don't attack it quickly (here you can request the help of local armed forces as cannon fodder), the base will expand and you'll lose control of that region. From that region the aliens would expand to the next region and so on. Also the allied armies could have military bases that can be attacked and destroyed by the enemy and so stopping any allied activity in the region.

Anyway enough rambling as I have a genuine question. Do I have to wait to alien ship to land for me to get intact alien equipment? If I let those ships fly around my airspace in hope that it will land, won't this affect my relations with the continents?

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Anyway enough rambling as I have a genuine question. Do I have to wait to alien ship to land for me to get intact alien equipment? If I let those ships fly around my airspace in hope that it will land, won't this affect my relations with the continents?

No, you can shoot them down. It's just that every datacore past the first one you nab is "destroyed" arbitrarily.

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Xenonauts is hopefully going to be released this year, then any future work on it is likely to be subtle balancing or bugfixing or adding more maps. Paid DLC is unlikely if I'm honest.

We do have other games in prototype stage at the moment, simply because some of our team have finished their roles on Xenonauts already and we need to keep them occupied or risk losing them to other companies. Needless to say, it's much easier working with Unity than it is with the Diner Dash engine...but in any case, Xenonauts is our flagship product and we're primarily concentrating on that.

What happens next is not nailed down yet. At the moment we're planning to do a "quick" 2D game to try out some new stuff and maybe do some experiments with tablets, before returning to making a larger tactical turn-based combat game in full 3D. At the moment we're prototyping a much more robust system for aiming and cover etc using grey block levels and the like - we're essentially fixing the design issues we've had with Xenonauts. That'll likely take quite a while but should pay off long-term.

As for the Xenonauts universe - I think I said I'd rather cut my own legs off instead of immediately doing Xenonauts 2, rather than that I'd stab anyone that suggested it. At this point we can rule out our next turn-based combat game being a Xenonauts game, but we may well revisit the universe at some point.

I don't quite feel we completely nailed Xenonauts - I like to think we could do better if we started over with a better engine and the extra money and experience we have now. A reboot rather than a sequel would probably be my preferred route. As I say, though, anything after the release of Xenonauts is just conjecture at this point. We'll only fully be able to plan the next move once it is out.

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Heh heh, my mistake. Thanks for the clarification.

I think you've done better than you had any right to anticipate going in. The approval of the notoriously hard to please X-COM fans is evidence enough of that. I look forward to seeing your future endeavors, and hopefully being a part of the ongoing Goldhawk community.

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I am in total love with Xenonauts, and I'm looking forward to seeing your next project. Seeing that you would be willing to return to the genre (if not the Xenonauts universe) in the future is also very cool.

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I'd support the idea of a reboot, if you wanted to make "Xenonauts: Director's Cut" or something of the like. Of course, like you said, that's merely conjecture, but still.

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I'm the weirdo who wouldn't mind a Xenonauts sequel. You could make the plot in one of the few ways(spoilers possible):

1. Aliens won: Xenonauts lost the final mission and have to scrounge what's left of humanity and it's resources as they are in charge of a human resistance movement. Something like UFO: Aftermath.

2. Xenonauts win, but another force of aliens, stuck with non-FTL propulsion, arrive after X amount of years for revenge. Pretty boring as human tech rivals that of aliens by the time they arrive.

3. After X amount of years, something happens to the FTL-jamming device, aliens come and as human and alien forces clash in battle, a few of the human FTL-capable starships leave the solar system for star systems where habitable planets are likely. You take command of one of them and explore alien planets, build colonies, fight local threats, etc. Think "Alien Legacy" game.

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Coming up with yet more technology is a concern, but not a particularly serious one. There's so much weird shit out there on the bleeding edge that we're in no danger of running out of craziness to extrapolate from. It's a great time to be a sci-fi writer.

I think it is.

If you start with plasam and super-railguns ,where do you go from there?

Anti-matter? Well here we have super-anti-matter! 200% energy efficiency! How? Magic.

You end up with esoteric and redicolous "technology" that has absolutely no anchoring in realism at all.

And what did you get by it? You start with plasam gun and go to meson cannon, trilleniuum-bozon weapons or singularity projectors? Name change, a more redicolous weapons and a different color bolt, but otherwise the same.

No thanks.

I've yet to see a decent sequal done this way, that doens't re-set your tech.

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I wouldn't mind another Xenonauts game, although that's probably is because I like X-Com type games. Any TBS game yall'd (now I'm truely making up words) make would be fine with me. I would personally really like a medieval/fantasy tbs. I don't believe I have every seen one, or at least one that is on scale with X-Com.

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I really hope in the next Xenonauts regional defense forces will show their face on the field. Xenonauts looks to me more like SOCOM than Earth's Army. Those armies don't have to play a major role but they would give a helping hand. For example they could shoot down a UFO every now and then, or clear a crash site for you, or engage enemy land forces and an icon will appear on the map and you can join the fight => awesome battles with dozens of allied soldiers dropping like flies so your guys look good. :D The Xenonauts would still be the only ones with fancy high tech gear.

The first thing I did is ramp up hte number of allied AI...especially on terror mission.

Too bad we're still limited to one generic (bad) template that's basicly a no-skill civilian.

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Cool. Just btw. i don't think anyone will try to get you to return to the xenonauts universe. These xenonauts - like games are about gameplay, not about the universe or world they play in, that's just fluff. People may ask for a xenonauts sequel, but i think they would rather mean a xenonauts - like game, not necessarily a xenonauts 2.

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I think it is.

If you start with plasam and super-railguns ,where do you go from there?

You could take the easy way out and simply make the new research make the old and presumed too dated to be useful tech more efficient. quadruple the laserguns battery output, improved cooling coils, near magic focusing lenses or whatever!

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The first thing I did is ramp up hte number of allied AI...especially on terror mission.

Too bad we're still limited to one generic (bad) template that's basicly a no-skill civilian.

Nice idea but I'll try to complete the game at least once before messing with it. My previous post was before I played a terror mission and at that time I though the local forces are only farmers and rent-a-cop(s). The allied soldiers look like your tier 1 troops (same sprites) so maybe someone could add other allied troops that use MGs and RPGs. Or maybe they are ingame already and I should keep my mouth shut for being ignorant.

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Actually, there was a XCom spiritual successor game (for the Game Boy Advance, no less,) that was based around the aliens winning, and setting up some sort of Logan's Run situation, where all the adult humans got taken off to get eaten by the brute-type aliens. Rebelstar: Tactical Command.

You had to play through without a geoscape (it was just a string of pre-scripted missions with cutscenes to tell you what you were doing,) and no research, just salvaging your gear. Fairly OK, if a little stripped-down in features, and the RPG-like leveling system essentially meant that save-scumming to get random stats that actually helped your character builds was the only way to win.

Anyway, realistically speaking, there isn't much reason to do any other kind of sequel, unless you're going for some completely different genre game, like Interceptor, where you're going spaceship to spaceship, and marines are for boarding operations, only. If you want to make a game about defending the Earth, it's more sensible to reboot it every time.

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I've yet to see a decent sequal done this way, that doens't re-set your tech.

I haven't played it, but the plan for Sword of the Stars 2 was to move the tech forward universally. In the original you move from fission though fusion to anti-matter, the sequel would start you at fusion and move past anti-matter to something else.

You don't need to start coming up with new genres of technology in order to have better gear though, merely new manifestations and implementations of existing stuff with a few new developments on the side.

Metamaterials are going to allow for magic to happen. Materials that passively redirect EM wavelengths. Materials that turn radiation directly into electricity. Who knows what quantum computing will finally manifest as, especially now they've succeeded at building processors out of carbon nanotubes. The potential ramifications of the Higgs boson are unimaginable, but keep in mind this is the particle that is supposed to give objects mass.

Then you have existing stuff. Better plasma guns, better regular guns, better armour. Or powerplants that have been miniaturised to one fifth their previous size. Battlefield C4I that is better integrated at all levels.

The trick isn't coming up with the tech, the trick is keeping the game balanced. Though I'll admit it would be difficult for Xenonauts to get such a sequel due to them rather going to 11 with the technology implications in the first game. My suspension of disbelief was lost when the Predator armour was said to be able to take a stroll through lava. Well, I guess the next stage is a stellar corona.

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I haven't played it, but the plan for Sword of the Stars 2 was to move the tech forward universally. In the original you move from fission though fusion to anti-matter, the sequel would start you at fusion and move past anti-matter to something else.

Actually it doesn't.

You stay at anti-matter. Waht you do is refinements in energy destribution and such, but generally speaking, SOTS2 doesn't start at hte end of the SOST1 tech tree - it starts roughly at hte middle (a bit below the middle actually)

and the new tech is mostly evolutioanry, not revolutionary.

Metamaterials are going to allow for magic to happen. Materials that passively redirect EM wavelengths. Materials that turn radiation directly into electricity. Who knows what quantum computing will finally manifest as, especially now they've succeeded at building processors out of carbon nanotubes. The potential ramifications of the Higgs boson are unimaginable, but keep in mind this is the particle that is supposed to give objects mass.

A material that turns radiation into energy. Now that's magic.

Also, Higgs boson changes nothing.

We've yet to truly manipulate any micro-particle, let alone something as ellusive and short-lived as the higghs boson. And I doubt we ever will, because it's simply too damn impractical.

You need untold bllions, the greatest scientific minds and the greatest particle accelerator in the world just to detect it.

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A material with no active components that turns radiation (bad) directly into electricity (good, usually)

That's revolutionary. Most power stations of any types still use steam to turn turbines, the difference being how you generate the steam, be it coal, gas, nuclear, geothermal. Turning heat into electricity directly by way of a thermocouple is stupidly inefficient to the point of uselessness, and this new material bypasses that energy transformation. Not only could this be applied to a whole new generation of nuclear power plants, but the ramifications for space travel and infrastructure could be profound in a multitude of ways.

Electricity ≠ Energy

I'll wait to see what, if anything, results from the Higgs boson before I judge that the exercise has been pointless. I may need a couple of spare lifetimes but I'm sure they're an investment that will pay off.

Edit: We're at the point now where scientists make stop-motion animation with individually placed molecules. Don't count anything out, heh. We play with quarks already, let alone mesons. I'm sure bosons will come.

Edited by Elydo

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Honestly, if we're speaking of sequels, the best way to have a real sequel in the same universe after beating the aliens would be to make the Cold War turn Hot War over the leftover alien tech. Hence, make it human v. human. You could probably even let players have a choice between East and West Blocs. Nukes no longer are in play because of Star Wars-style lasers that shoot down incoming nukes, so it goes down to infantry tactics on the ground. Research would be trying to put the tech that the Xenonauts had back into regular production, so you're working with only a few lasers at the start, and have to climb up the same tech tree.

You could have various "forbidden experiments" that start producing mutants/psychics to fight for variety, as well.

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