Xenonauts 2 – November Update

As November draws to a close it’s once again time for our monthly update. This month we’ve mostly been working on turning the experimental builds of V22 into something ready to be released on our main Steam / GOG branches. This has involved a total of 6 hotfixes, which might be a record for us!

New Builds

Anyway, V22 is now out. This is the first major update on our main branches since March (apologies for that) and we think anyone who hasn’t been playing on the Experimental branches is in for quite a treat given how much the game has changed since then.

The reception to the V22 Experimental builds overall has been very positive, both in terms of comments and the pattern of play that we’re seeing from users. Part of the reason that we released so many hotfixes for V22 was that many of our testers have been playing much further through their campaigns than previously, so they’re encountering bugs in areas of the game towards the end that haven’t yet been tested (or balanced) properly.  A couple of the late-game UFOs had broken teleporters that meant you couldn’t actually complete those missions, for example. It’s very encouraging to see that people are already able to spend 5+ hours playing a campaign, when we as developers know we’ve still got a lot of improvements left to make.

Content Additions

There haven’t been too many new features added this month, unfortunately: the coders have been busy fixing bugs and Chris has been off for a couple of weeks on paternity leave, so there’s not been too much time. Nonetheless, a few pieces of new content have arrived – a couple more research projects have been written up, some new terrain tiles have been added and more destruction states set up on existing tiles, various corpse art for the aliens has been done, and a little bit of new UI art has arrived.

We’ve done quite a bit of work on 3D characters this month too. Now the Xenonaut models are complete, we’re working on the final high-quality 3D models for the local civilians in each map. This is quite a big job as there’s probably about 30 different clothing items that need to be modelled and combined in different ways to give us all the variants we need to have realistic-looking locals across the many different biomes in our game, but the progress so far is looking good.

We’re also starting to work on the rank / armour variants for various aliens, which we want to look a little more distinctive than they did in Xenonauts 1. We’ve now finished the Psyons and will be moving onto the Sebillians next.

Spacebar Speedup

The one new code feature we spent some time on this month was trying to make controlling multiple soldiers easier during tactical combat. We’ve done this by setting up the spacebar to accelerate unit movement – pressing space while a unit is moving causes them to finish their move pretty much instantaneously. Pressing space when a unit isn’t moving causes the game to mark that soldier as having finished their turn and automatically select the next nearest soldier that hasn’t finished their turn (of course, you can re-select “finished” soldiers manually if you want). Once all the soldiers have been marked as finished, space will end the turn. You can now play through a turn relatively quickly if you want, which can often be useful towards the end of a mission.

With December including the Christmas holidays we’ll be having another truncated month, but with V22 done we are hoping we can get some cool new features in for testers in January.

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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