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Aaron

V20 Experimental Build 6 Available!

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EDIT - best not to download this yet. There's a game-breaking bug in it at present which we will fix tomorrow with a Hotfix.

Firstly, if you do not know how to access the experimental branch on Steam, please read the instructions (and warnings!) in this thread. All saved games from earlier versions (including experimental versions) are incompatible, attempting to load them will cause problems.

This build contains a pretty substantial number of changes and fixes and additions. The main change for the ground combat portion of the game is the AI has been updated so that alien use grenades, and understand when and how to use them most effectively; there have also been a variety of additional under the hood AI changes that hopefully improve their behaviour in general too.

For the Geoscape, I have implemented a rebalancing of the air combat mini-game and the costs of base structures. Both of these will probably seem quite harsh - Condors have taking a beating in performance and should no longer be viable in the long term and base maintenance costs have increased, so money will be tighter - adjustment to previous strategies will likely be required!

I will post new balance threads in the beta forum to discuss both these changes in more detail.

Fixes

- Fixed game hanging on certain alien base attack missions

- Aliens (or Xenonauts) are no longer able to shoot through floors or ceilings

- A large number tweaks, fixes and improvements to the Geoscape UI and related windows

- Throwing grenades will no longer be blocked if there is an obstacle above the line of sight to a target

- Increased Xenopedia font size

- You should no longer be able to throw grenades into a building by throwing them at the upper floors

- Fixed Battle Rifle displaying Plasma Pistol Xenopedia article

- Fixed crouching bonus back to 80% (it was reset to 60% accidentally)

- Tweaks to the blocking tile layout of Scouts and Landing Ships to fix issues with jagged edges, incorrectly sorted hull etc...

- Fixed barn roof displaying incorrectly when viewed from the side

- Deleted some duplicate unused tree sprites

- Updated target point tile to be a little easier to read in the editor

- Fixed minor visual issue with garage door open state

- Fixed Chinook exit for vehicles being blocked on a particular desert map

- Fixed an instance where you could instantly lose by placing your base on a city near another city

- Fixed issue where throwable items rendered on all levels

Additions

- Added explanatory tooltips to tutorialise various screens to the player on Easy and Normal difficulty (can be disabled at game creation)

- Introduction of additional AI behaviours for aliens

-- Aliens should now throw grenades

-- A large number of tweakable values for aliens have been introduced in aiprops.xml

- New animated sprite for the Singularity Core

- Added new dropship images behind Xenonaut soldiers on the soldier equip screen

- Finally snapped and fixed the awful transit van drop shadows

- Added Xenopedia image for Alien Armour Plating and Singularity core

Balance

- General update to air combat balance - too many changes to list individually, but generally:

-- Ranges of starting aircraft reduced, so the Condor now has quite short legs!

-- Speeds of aircraft and UFOs adjusted to encourage progression, Condors will have trouble catching UFOs reliably

-- Damage of Xenonaut weapons adjusted: 2 heavy missiles now always do slightly more damage than the equivalent 2 light missiles + gun

-- UFO health adjusted in line with the damage changes so that earlier weapons have an increasingly tougher time against later UFOs

-- Turn rates of various craft adjusted to encourage more manoeuvring around larger UFOs in air combat

-- Radar ranges of Xenonaut aircraft adjusted so they now progress from small to larger on later long range craft

-- Maintenance costs of all aircraft set to a flat rate of $100000 per month for fighters, $50000 for dropships - no increase for later craft

-- Auto-resolve rebalanced to take into account all of the above

-- Build cost of Mig31 increased to 200000, as the above changes gave it a bit of a buff

-- Reduced Refuelling time of aircraft by about a third

-- Increased re-armament time from 30 to 60 minutes

- Also rebalanced the maintenance costs of base buildings from around 10% of the cost of the building to 25%

- Introduced a build time for new bases, and significantly increased the maintenance cost of command centre

- Updated mission scores so that ground combat missions no longer provide national relations boosts (the relations boost now comes from shooting down UFOs)

- Xenonaut grenades increased in blast radius from 2-3

- The shaded tiles for grenade blast radius now indicate tiles that receive at least 50% of the grenade damage, up from 25%

- Base defense turrets now do far more damage than previously, but have a lower chance to hit

- Stun grenades now do a small amount of stun on impact

- Stun gas now deals twice as much stun damage (also investigating a bug where this may not be getting applied properly)

- Made many alien props slightly tougher, as in many instances a stray shot could have destroyed them outright

- Alein grenades do incendiary rather than kinetic damage (making them better at destroying props)

- Difficulty setting changes: UFOs now have 75% HP on Easy, and alien invasion speed is now at 75% / 100% / 120% / 150% for the 4 levels

- Tweaked AP cost of alien grenades

- Normalised speed of various projectiles

Please post your comments on the build here. If you encounter any bugs please post them in the experimental build sub-forum of the bugs forum. I will post new threads in the beta forum shortly for in-depth discussion of the current Geoscape and Ground Combat balance, but feel free to post brief opinions here too.

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An update on our milestones - we've decided that it is not feasible to try to get the game finished for the end of the December because of the way the holidays have fallen within the team (largely due to the cost of flights meaning our holidays don't line up properly).

We will therefore be producing a V20 Stable in the near future so those on the regular branch have some upgrades to play with over their holidays: the changes to the UI, AI and game balance have all been pretty significant since V19.

The fixes to the alien base hang and the aliens shooting through UFO floors mean V20 is (fingers crossed) now getting fairly stable, but we'll endeavour to fix up any remaining crash bugs or irritating bugs in the next couple of weeks and get V20 Stable out. I will specifically be looking at some of the resolution issues with the new UI to try and resolve them.

As such, I wouldn't expect any major additions in the builds running up to V20 Stable in terms of programming - the biggest new feature that might get added is the game's updated loading screen. We'll post the remaining changes to be made before we can consider the game a release candidate along with the V20 Stable release.

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Nice to see, that aliens can use the grenades, that they have.

The bad thing - now they start throwing them throught the wall of ship.

Or are they using the huge hollow in the upper hull? (small scout)

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I have a question. Iv I start now a game with this build 6 and in few weeks you will release stable v 20. Do I will able to play my savegame from build 6 on the stable v 20?

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Aliens throw grenades at you from inside ufo and shoot with guns against their inner hull while your outside, can't see inside buildings through windows anymore, hidden movement screen doesn't go away anymore when you get shot and killed, aliens easily panic or sth. and put down their guns.. That's my first impression.

update: just tried to finish my first ground batlle on normal difficulty, but everyone gets killed from alien grenades that get thrown from inside the ship. And they have unlimited grenades. Impossible to play, sorry

Edited by Chilly

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unlimited grenades in aliens equipment. sad. and they throw grananed no matter what. 1 or more xenonauts in front of view

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I confirm its unplayable at this stage.

Aliens throwing granades at all times. Hidden movement just stays there all the time, and sometimes you can see alien but cant target it just by hovering over with mouse. Also it seems that something changed when you are at 5-10% chance to hit and you spray and pray an far target. I noticed soldiers shooting ground around them rather than spraying somewhere far.

Next thing that was there with the last build, not sure if thats a bug or is it meant to be there - just before you start your turn you get that white reqtangle window with some soldier info. This box i get always empty so cant really say what happened to the soldier.

Oh and I am just wondering is it going to change - when you order/hire something and it gets delivered all you get is the info that whatever you ordered has been delivered. are we going to get a bit more info about what has actually been delivered?

Oh and I'd love to see some smoke or fire when you attack crashsite like in the old x-com, after all the ufo crashed.....

regards

and keep up the great work, the game is awesome

p.s. sorry for my english (i am Polish)

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Thanks to Chris, Aaron and the team for another rapid update with significant attention to bugs :)

Unfortunately, having played about 2 hours of the new build, I have to report that its pretty unplayable in its current state. I've submitted posts on the bug forum, but I thought I'd flag the issues here as well.

List of issues from my first impressions of the new build:

- Aliens throwing grenades in preference to shooting, even when they are far out of grenade range and firing their guns would be better.

- Aliens having unlimited grenades in their inventory.

- Aliens throwing grenades from inside UFOs as soon as xenonauts come within range, despite no line of sight (makes UFO assaults impossible except via sniping).

- The post-mission debrief screen doesn't credit you for UFO recovery, aliens killed or civilians saved. Currently only tallies negative modifiers.

- Changes to air combat have drastically changed the flow of the strategic game. I understand some adjustment to strategy is probably intended, however with the changes to new base build time and maintenance costs, I'm finding it difficult to avoid an immediate budget deficit: Its now quite difficult to catch even small scouts with condors, due to reduced speed and range, and the distribution of UFOs in each wave seems much more spread out around the globe than in previous builds. This combined with the reduced range of condors means I'm fighting far fewer air and ground battles, and consistently losing $100,000+ funding each month due to lack of interceptions. I tried building a second base as my first action, but the 20 day build time for the command centre means its takes almost 2 months to get a base with 2 hangars and a radar built, by which time I've already lost a lot of funding.

Edited by cb1987

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Well the first mission I tried, I think I saw a Caesan walk through a wall and into an object inside an industrial building and proceed to grenade me, but he might have just been behind the wall. I base that on a second run from the autosave where I could... see through the wall he was clearly hiding behind that time, which it now occurs to me is something else that probably shouldn't be happening.

Xenonauts can't shoot through windows and I had a one-time thing where they were just moving through doors without changing the sprite; I don't know if they were using AP or not. I didn't try very hard but I couldn't reproduce it and since I was messing around before Thanksgiving I didn't think to save.

The aliens seem to have caught on to the 'explode everything' tactic so many players are fond of. I watched one Caesan saturation-bomb a single civilian, another chucked one at a single Xenonaut operative standing next to another Caesan, and they were practically falling over themselves if you bunched up more than one operative.

Also one flung one in the middle of the road because why not, right?

I have to agree with the chorus that this is unplayable and wish I could roll back to my previous version/save where I was doing so well.

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So, was this version tested before it was made public ?

We are the testers. I am sad we miss the 2013 release but it ia for the better. Thank you guys!

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Aliens also start throwing grenades through the walls even if they don't see my units.

1st turn. I move units close to the wall. Sector clear. No enemy sighted.

Then enemy turn. Grenade. Another one.

2nd turn. Some tiles are destroyed and now i can see enemy units. But half of my team is gone.

screenshot: http://rolegame.ru/xenonauts/IMG_29112013_021447.jpg

Edited by FGART

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Yeah, I've added a warning to the first post now. Best not to download it if you haven't already. We'll fix the issue or roll back the AI changes tomorrow.

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V20 Stable sounds like nice present for the holidays, so I'll be counting on that.

In the short term though, I'd be happy to have the game working for the weekend :)

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I don't dare to play this game any more until the final version rolls out. I just don't want to lose the "new game" buzz by playing it too much beforehand.

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Don't rollback. Just fix it.

Rollbacks are generally easier and quicker than fixes, especially if the cause of the bug is not yet known, so you're more likely to get a playable game faster if they choose to roll back.

Obviously fixes would be preferable, but with a complex codebase they can take a lot of time.

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Introduced a build time for new bases, and significantly increased the maintenance cost of command centre

I don't think this is a good idea. It will be frustrating to wait X number of days for something that just lets you start waiting Y number of days for something else. I don't want to wait close to a month to get a base started, when that base has absolutely no function until I build something else that has its own subsequent wait time. By analogy, you're asking people to line up for the chance to get in line.

- Updated mission scores so that ground combat missions no longer provide national relations boosts (the relations boost now comes from shooting down UFOs)

All ground missions? What about ground assault missions, for which there is no interception? This change should apply to crash site recoveries only.

Regarding the changes to air combat, cb1987's complaints sound like what I would have expected. If the goal is to make Condors less viable in the late game, then crippling range and speed seems like the exact opposite of what should be done: these changes make them less viable in the early game. By the late game, you have more bases to launch from, thus mitigating the importance of range; I'm assuming that the capital ships are still slower than scouts, thus mitigating the impact of speed. Slowing Condors and reducing their range doesn't impede their ability to beat capital ships, but severely impedes their ability to intercept scouts.

Nerfing the cannon makes sense, as a large part of the problem was that an interceptor with a cannon could always do more damage than an interceptor with heavy missiles.

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You should add corner-shot.

It's silly and extremely annoying to be right behind a wall or tree and having to completely out of cover and back to shoot. Make the edges of walls act as full cover and have soldiers be able to shoot through them and through trees.

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In the aircraft.xml file, there are values for armor for each aircraft type. I assume this value is the same as armor mitigation in combat. Any reason there are no values for the larger UFO, thus reducing the effectiveness of any cannon type on larger ships?

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In the aircraft.xml file, there are values for armor for each aircraft type. I assume this value is the same as armor mitigation in combat. Any reason there are no values for the larger UFO, thus reducing the effectiveness of any cannon type on larger ships?

Armor values were removed because it was bugged.

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