Xenonauts-2 February 2018 Update!

Just over a month has passed since my last update. In that time we’ve released a couple of free ground combat public builds with a number of updates – but we’re probably only spending about 20-25% of our time on the public builds at the moment, and the rest is being spent on the “full” game that includes the strategy layer. This update is intended to explain what we’re spending our time on these days and how the game as a whole is progressing.

To recap the essentials for anyone not already following the project:

  • If you are at all interested in Xenonauts-2, please sign up for our mailing list.
  • The current free build is an early version of a single combat mission; we’ll probably only start charging for the game when the Ground Combat and Geoscape are working and linked together.
  • You’ll need GOG Galaxy to play the free builds, as we’ll only be launching on Steam Early access when we enter the paid stages of development.
  • Full instructions on how to obtain the free builds can be found on our forums here.

You can read the full text of this post on our forums here, so what you are reading is a shortened version of that post.

I think the public builds are in a pretty good place these days. There’s quite a few small issues we still need to fix up but the core shooting mechanics are pretty solid these days … particularly after we spent a bit of time debugging and fixing up the burst fire weapons and explosive weapons for the most recent build, which had previously been misbehaving in certain circumstances. What the ground combat is now missing is primarily content – it needs more maps, it needs more aliens (with unique abilities), it needs more weapons, it needs more advanced AI scripts, etc.

We’re working hard on adding this additional content as we work on the strategy layer. In the last few weeks we’ve been creating our first “alien base assault” map, which is looking really cool but still has a couple of issues we need to work though before we can show it off. We’ve also been working on a new type of military base tileset that shares some assets with the town terror sites which we will be using for a VIP elimination map. Both of those maps are a significant visual improvement on the map in the current build and I’m looking forward to showing off some screenshots when they are done. We also have (less polished) maps in place for the wilderness crash sites and Xenonaut base defence missions, and we’ll probably get a proper terror site set up soon.

With regards to the strategy layer, we’ve recently been working on the visualisation of the interception mechanics (the planes flying to and from their targets the Geoscape) and the new Soldier Equip screen, which now lets you arrange your soldiers in the dropship and view / edit the equipment of the team in a single place. There’s also been quite a lot of work properly tracking items from the strategy to the ground combat and back again – so you can properly recover things from the battlefield (and have them trigger research etc), or lose equipment if you abandon a soldier when you abort a mission.

There’s also a new mechanic on the strategy layer called the DEFCON counter – this is basically an improved way of showing how close you are to losing. If this ever reaches zero, the aliens infiltrators have successfully triggered a nuclear war between NATO and the Soviets and the Xenonauts lose the game. Losing regions and failing terror sites lowers the DEFCON counter, and certain ground missions raises the counter. This replaces the “lose X regions to lose the game” system from the first Xenonauts with something easier to understand and more thematically appropriate.

All in all, the game is shaping up well. Sign up to our mailing list here if you want a notification when we do our Kickstarter or Early Access launch – you can almost play the game from start to finish now, so it probably won’t be too long!

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