Xenonauts 2 – December Update

Before we get into things, we hope everyone had an excellent Christmas and that you’re all set for a thoroughly Reaper-free New Year.

Apologies for the lack of posts on the website this past year – we’re now set up so that everything should appear here, on Discord, the Steam community, Kickstarter and the forums whenever we have news.

Here’s your update for December…

Beta V16

A new version was released for backers this week with a host of gameplay improvements but a few juicy new features as well.

We’ve added a Soldier Memorial screen (based on the popular Xenonauts: Community Edition feature) which allows you to view your fallen soldiers and the date on which they died.

The second feature is the new soldier Stress / Fatigue system. The purpose of this is to discourage the player from running too many missions: the player isn’t meant to fight a crash site battle every time they shoot down a UFO).

Soldiers gain stress from taking part in missions, but stress diminishes gradually over time. If a soldier ever goes over 100 Stress they suffer a breakdown and are set to Wounded for a certain number of days until they recover. At the moment the system is a little basic but I’m hoping we’ll find time to integrate it into the ground combat mechanics in a more interesting way (i.e. high Stress soldiers are more likely to suffer morale events / psionic attacks in battle than well-rested soldiers).

There’s a long list of gameplay and UX updates – most of which are small in isolation, but have a large collective effect: we’ve added tooltips to various parts of the game, as previously it was impossible to view the stats of certain items anywhere; we’ve done some work to ensure fewer things are being incorrectly hidden below the Hidden Movement screen; and we’ve brought back the cover icons from X1 that people have been asking for a while, etc. Switching between the primary and secondary weapons is now “sticky”, making using secondary items a much more pleasant experience than it was before. Many of the bugs reported in the later versions of V15 have also been fixed in V16 too, as well as countless more small fixes.

weapons_human_electroshock

We’ve also added quite a bit of new art to this build. There’s a new 3D model for the Colossus armour (the most advanced suit of Xenonaut armour) and we’ve done some texture work on a number of the basic aliens that has made the Sebillians in particular look nicer than they did before. There’s inventory art for our new Electroshock weapons and updated designs for items like the Medikit, Stun Baton and the Alien Magnetic Weapons. We’ve added the final background art to the Soldier UI screen, and we’ve rendered the new MARS models out for use in the Soldier Equip screen (these will be painted over by a 2D artist soon too).

Project Status

For those who are not involved in the beta, the game is now starting to take shape reasonably well.

At this point this is mostly a matter of content. Although there’s still a fair amount of coding to be done on the project, most of the things that are likely to jump out at people as being wrong with the game is missing content like missing parts of the tech tree, research reports not having images or text, or seeing terrain objects or aliens that look bad because they’re still using semi-placeholder assets, etc. We’re making steady progress on this front and the presentation of the game will continue to improve and the missing content will continue to arrive in the coming months.

It’s been nice to see the bugs and issues reported on the forums gradually shift from being technical issues to gameplay issues, and to see people starting to properly play the game. We’ve been working hard to try and remove as many of the annoying / broken / jarringly ugly things that get in the way of players enjoying the game and with the Early Access launch still planned for late February we’ll be continuing to prioritise this – having a more polished and enjoyable game is probably better than having one or two extra features!

Many thanks for reading and for staying up-to-date with our work – as ever please do join us on Discord, the forums or the Steam community if you have any questions.

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