Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 10, 2012.

Update #26

Xenonauts January Update!

16 comments
21 likes

Hello everyone, time for an update on our progress on Xenonauts. First thing to do is to apologise for not writing an update since September, as I didn't actually realise it'd been this long until this morning when I sat down to do this update. It's been far too long.

V20 Stable has been released recently and is available on Steam, with Mac / Linux builds out on Desura and the Humble Store. This contains a lot of advances over V19 Stable, but the big one is the new UI that this Kickstarter paid for. The general reception to it has been excellent and I think it was a really worthwhile visual improvement. The full changelog is fairly extensive and can be found here.

Regarding Kickstarter rewards: I began work on the art book a couple of months ago, but it's (possibly unsurprisingly) turned out to be an enormous amount of work and so I've hired a graphic artist to do the layout work for us, which should save a lot of time and is nowhere near as expensive as I thought it would be. We expect to have that done by the end of the month, at which point we'll be able to order all of the rewards as soon as the game is ready and we can burn the DVDs for the physical copies.

In terms of overall progress, we're currently working on the final parts of the game. I'm working on balancing the final mission ready for the art to be added to it, my colleague is finishing up all the remaining maps (there's now only alien base maps left to do) and we have a couple of small UI screens left to update - the month end funding screen and the mission-end debrief screen. All that should be done by the end of the month.

Once they are complete, the game will be in a state where we could release it. However, balancing is an ongoing process (optimisation too, to a lesser extent). We've spent a lot of time on it recently, trying to make the gameplay experience as fun as possible for the player. This isn't just numbers balancing - for example, we recently removed our old reaction fire system and replaced it with the old system from X-Com because we felt our system wasn't up to scratch. 

I'm not going to promise a release date because I don't know exactly when the game is going to "feel" ready for launch. It's a difficult balance, as if we release the game too early then it won't be as much fun as it could be, and if we release it too late then it's extra time spent in development hell. We're well aware of the dangers of both and we'll do our best to avoid them.

So by the end of this month I hope to be able to say to you that the Kickstarter rewards are set up and ready to order at the click of a button, and the game is "complete" subject to final balancing. Thanks for your patience!

David How, Björn Johansson, and 19 more people like this update.

Comments

    1. Squirrel.small

      Creator ThomasN on February 4

      Ah, ok, I'll try to set the reserve. Hopefully I don't have to click around the map to "update the move path accordingly" and it just draws the path with just moving the mouse around (Seriously, even that is a hassle, do you have fear about coloring all the fields with possible movement will de-immerse players?). Also hopefully the game does allow me to move into the "tu reserve" without having to click disable again.
      All in all, I understand it's a little late to bring up a discussion about this, so ... never mind, and I'll see what I'll get when it's released :-)

    2. Manul_profile.small

      Creator Christian Walde on February 4

      Thanks a bunch for the information, that is a very understandable and clear development plan. Looking forward to the next releases. :)

    3. Goldhawk.small

      Creator Goldhawk Interactive on February 3

      Christian - no problem, it seems I misunderstood the tone of your post and read it as more critical than you intended. I apologise.

      I agree we could communicate our priorities better, but at the moment I'm reluctant to be completely open about what we're working on because not everyone fully understands the vagaries of software development. Once we've finished the core systems and it basically just becomes a laundry list of things to fix before release, we'll consider a public bug / issue tracker.

      ThomasN - by default you can fire with reserved TU, so just set TU reserve for the fire mode you want and the move path will update accordingly.

    4. Manul_profile.small

      Creator Christian Walde on February 3

      > Christian

      Thanks for the answer. I apologize if it seemed like i was implying you were misleading anyone, i certainly didn't mean to and just found the way you expressed it vague and didn't know how to understand it.

      It would be nice if the things you said on your process were laid out and explained on the bug report forum, but the sticky on that topic was also kind of vague. So i'm glad that you did explain it a bit more here. :)

      However some points i'd like to expand my experience and views on:

      > Perhaps we should have a public bug tracker, but this current system works fine for us. I don't think the people who report bugs find it a travesty, to be honest.

      First off, full disclosure: I'm a software developer myself, both in day job and free time. I assume you have a private bugtracker which has the usual amenities, so i'm sure things work just fine for you. I am however also sure that most people reporting bugs to you are not familiar with software development and simply do not know how much nicer things could be.

      > replying to every single post on our forums is not practical.

      For example with a public bug tracker you'd be able to communicate more with your customers with less effort, by marking tickets as duplicates, fixed internally, work in progress, known and queued, etc.

      > Bear in mind what one person considers to be an interface or gameplay issue may not be the same as what everyone else (or the dev team) considers to be an issue.

      That is fine, but if i never get told that i can only keep watching the changelogs and retest the issues on my list again and again, hoping that someday i figure out whether it was fixed or not considered a bug. Heck, for one of the things i reported i would love to hear if that is considered a feature or a bug, because i'm not sure of your intent.

      > I'd be very surprised if any issues have never been reported at any point during development.

      When i reported a number of issues i did a search of the forum, and found none of the issues i found and honestly none of them were in any way obscure and one of them even amounted to a blatant cheat. Now it's possible they were already known to you or reported in another way, or i didn't find them with the forum search, but if any of those were the case, then that's a prime example of how the current system leads to wasted time on our side.

      To end this on a positive note: I feel strongly about some of these things, both because of my own professional experience, but also simply because i want to see Xenonauts be the best it can be. In terms of game design and execution you guys are the ONLY ones so far who're doing a proper job of building this type of game and that has me absolutely thrilled. There is nothing more i want to see than Xenonauts being the worthy and unassailable successor that demonstrates that it is absolutely possible to bring the classic game structures into the future while keeping them intact and true to their sources. And i am very greatful that you are working on that.

    5. Squirrel.small

      Creator ThomasN on February 3

      "Just with one click on my ranger, i see immediately where i can go and how far i can move and still be able to shoot my weapon. " <-- THIS. Also, see http://www.incgamers.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/conquistador-7-1024x576.jpg (expeditions conquistador) and basically a lot of turnbased stuff currently released.

    6. Goldhawk.small

      Creator Goldhawk Interactive on February 3

      Thanks for the kind words everyone.

      James - Yup, on release we'll get the Mac and Linux versions set up with Steam. It's going to be a major headache though so we're putting it off for now.

      Christian - I should probably also mention that you're likely to get a much better reception for more minor bugs and issues, and possibly even the idea of a public tracker, once we hit the "complete" stage and we're no longer spending our developer time on unfinished core features. We will do an announcement when that stage arrives.

    7. Backer_orkmale_jamesherbert_theodorebustergruberman.small

      Creator James Herbert on February 3

      Do y'all plan to have the Mac OS version make its way to Steam?

    8. Missing_small

      Creator Dan Hale on February 3

      When I read this update, my thought was "Rating: Excellent. End of month funding increase: $1,000,000!". But then I realized I'm not a country. ;) All the same, you responded to 3 alien terror events and shot down & recovered dozens of UFOs, so you deserve at least some praise. Now let's invade that alien base!

      Keep up the good work guys. I'm looking forward to playing the new update, and to seeing the final game!

    9. Goldhawk.small

      Creator Goldhawk Interactive on February 3

      Christian, we're not ignoring any issues and if I'm honest I resent the implication that we're deliberately misleading our community. We're a small team and we've got jobs to do, so replying to every single post on our forums is not practical.

      Bear in mind what one person considers to be an interface or gameplay issue may not be the same as what everyone else (or the dev team) considers to be an issue.

      Regarding bugs, I'd be very surprised if any issues have never been reported at any point during development. If the way we track bugs doesn't work for you, then you're free not to get involved in the bug reporting. Perhaps we should have a public bug tracker, but this current system works fine for us. I don't think the people who report bugs find it a travesty, to be honest.

      To answer your question - the final "balancing" phase will also include optimisation and general bugfixing and polishing. However, the game is not going to to be completely perfect and include no bugs, usability issues or interface issues. No game is ever perfect at release.

    10. Missing_small

      Creator Sebastian Koch on February 3

      Just played around with the current version a bit, and one thing that really bugs me is how clumsy the AP management still is.
      Yes, i know, it was the same with the original, but XCom 2012 or Wasteland 2 really handled this with much more elegance. IMO, the current "reserve APs" mechanic in Xenonauts requires a lot of unnecesary clicks,

      For example: If i want to reserve APs, i have to click, if i want to see how far i can move, i have to click around. If i then decide, i want to use the reserved APs anyway, i have to klick the reserve APs button again next round, because - for whatever reason - using the reserved APs automatically undos my previous AP reserve Setting. Ugh.

      Wasteland 2, i feel, handles this with much more ease of use. Just look at this picture: http://i.imgur.com/ESs62jM.jpg. Just with one click on my ranger, i see immediately where i can go and how far i can move and still be able to shoot my weapon.

      A similar system could be adapted for Xenonauts, using the reserve AP buttons to adjust the movement range indicator for snap, normal etc. shots.

      Mind you, i´m not talking about strategic depth here, but beeing able to do the exact same thing with much less clicking around. Right now, it really feels like a bit of a unnecsesary pain in the behind.

      That beeing said, i hope you guys take your time to really polish this. I can wait. :-)

    11. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator John LaTemple on February 3

      I've been patiently waiting to play this game. I'll still wait. Maybe I'm getting old, but I prefer things to be done right, never rushed. Sounds like that's how you're trying to develop Xenonauts, and that's alright with me.

    12. Manul_profile.small

      Creator Christian Walde on February 3

      > by the end of this month I hope to be able to say to you that [...] the game is "complete" [except for balancing]

      I have to ask this since it's been rubbing me the wrong way for a long while.

      The game is absolutely overflowing with small bugs, userface and gameplay design issues and glitches. Some of these (by far not all) are reported on the forums (many not because it's honestly a giant pain to use the forums for that). Some of these in turn (by far not all) have been acknowledged by some of your team.

      Thanks to the lack of a public bug tracker (which is honestly a cruel travesty to inflict on your paying beta testers), it is impossible to judge how many of those you already know about, or are flat out ignoring.

      So, does "complete" include the fixing of these hundreds of bugs as well?

    13. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Max Bell on February 3

      So close now. It's been a long, long ride. :)

    14. Missing_small

      Creator onyxhammer on February 3

      I don't mind a wait to get it done right. Keep up the good work.

    15. 1171891454.small

      Creator WP - Member, Mutant League on February 3

      This will be my very 1st introduction into the x-com genre, looking forward to it :)

    16. Catwtf.small

      Creator Matthew Davis on February 3

      Keep it up!

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