Xenonauts 2 - All News
Saturday - September 11, 2021
Xenonauts 2 - Latest Updates
This month, the team's been hard at work on Closed Beta V21 which is planned to release this week.
UI / UX
The biggest new feature in V21 is that we've implemented the final visual style for the Main Menu / Game Settings screen, and all the related sub-panels (Settings, Load Game, Save Game, etc). We've been working on this new UI style for quite some time now, and it's nice to finally be able to put it in the game - but there's also been a lot of time and effort spent on improving the usability and general polish of the screen. This includes everything from adding support for mass-deletion of save games to adding new UI sounds. Overall, it's a much more slick and stylish experience and it should make a much better first impression when you first boot up the game. We'll continue to roll this new UI style out to other parts of the game as development continues.
Meet the Cleaners
We've also worked on a number of things that haven't really made it into V21, but will be arriving in the next Closed Beta build. We've updated the early game so the war against the aliens starts a couple of months in, and you begin the campaign fighting the infiltrator faction called the Cleaners who are intent on suppressing knowledge of the alien invasion. Because the Cleaners are spread across the planet and have numerical superiority over the Xenonauts, this allows us to have mission objectives that don't make sense when you are fighting the aliens. For example, wave survival maps, VIP escort / assassination missions, extraction missions, objective capture, etc. Some of these should arrive in V22 and make the early game a bit more varied and exciting!
More work has also been done on the visual side of things. The updated Xenonaut models aren't quite ready to go in the game yet but should be fine for V22, and we're now working on modelling up a series of hairstyles for them so your units are more varied and easily recognisable. Work also continues on the tactical combat environments. The final visual pass on the Western Town tiles is now mostly complete (one of the biggest environments due to the number of different buildings in it) and we'll put them in V22, after which we'll move onto some of the other environments that need some visual upgrades.
There's also been some work on wall destructibility, as once a tile is visually finished we can do the final destructibility setup on it and then put it in the game as a finished asset. The wall "frill" system is designed to ensure destroyed walls have a natural-looking irregular edge (rather than the perfectly straight-edged hole you get if you just remove the wall). However, we also don't want these "frills" floating in the air if there's no adjacent wall for them to attach to, so we needed to do some work detecting whether there was a suitable wall on either side and only placing the frills if so. In any case, the important thing is that our destruction system should now be finished, which allows us to start doing the final destruction states on all of our finished assets.
We also implemented a couple of smaller elements this month too - difficulty settings are now complete, and there's a number of options we have to customise difficulty. This hasn't yet been finalised, as obviously the main campaign still requires some significant balance work.
The other new system is directional sound, which is intended mostly to allow us to play sounds when certain things are on screen (fire noises, the noise of engines running on vehicles, etc). Again, this is just useful for making the game feel a bit more alive.
Finally, we've made a start on the soldier dialogue / barks system. This is a simple system that generates (non-interactive) text dialogue from your soldiers based on things that happen on the battlefield. As a basic example, a soldier might say "I'm hit!" if they are shot by an alien. We're hoping to implement that in its basic form next month with some test dialogue to see if it's a good addition to the game (there's potential for it to be annoying if we get it wrong), and we'll spend some time making it as varied and natural as possible. We're hopeful that this system is going to make the combat feel a lot more reactive to your actions, but we won't know for certain until we've had a chance to test it!
We're aware that many of you who were not part of the original Kickstarter still want to jump into the beta - we were looking at doing this earlier but the excellent level of feedback we continue to receive from existing players, and the state of the game currently, mean that we haven't found the right timing for this so far.
However, we are still looking for opportunities to add more players to the beta. There's still a significant amount of balancing and gameplay work to be done in order to get the game to a point where that wider feedback will be useful, so please do continue to bear with us - thanks again for your patience on this so far.
Many thanks for reading and for staying up-to-date with our work - as ever please do join us the forums or the Steam community if you have any questions.
Wednesday - February 10, 2021
Xenonauts 2 - Early Access Delay and Steam Festival Demo
GameWatcher reports that Early Access for Xenonauts 2 has been delayed and instead there will be a Steam Festival Demo made available for those who don't already own Xenonauts 2.
A Xenonauts 2 demo is currently available as part of the Steam Games Festival, which ends on February 9. The demo can, however, only be accessed by users who don't already own the title and features one level of tactical combat.
"Based on community feedback as well as our own schedule, we’ve decided to push the Early Access release of Xenonauts-2 back a few months. We know this will be a disappointment to those of you who have been waiting a long time for this, and we apologise again for the delays," the developer said in a post on the game's website.
"However, we have managed to secure additional development funding and this gives us a lot more flexibility in terms of when we launch. Ultimately, this is the best decision for the game and one which will enable us to come into Early Access with something much more polished and complete."
If you don't get around to playing the demo, you'll be happy to hear that a Xenonauts 2 open beta is also scheduled to kick off in March. It will "contain a significant amount of the content" planned for the Early Access release. While entry might be initially gated, the open beta will eventually allow everyone to get a better taste of what the title has to offer.
Saturday - January 02, 2021
Xenonauts 2 - Beta V16
A development update for Xenonauts 2:
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.
Here's your update for December…
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.
Sunday - September 08, 2019
Xenonauts 2 - Closed Beta Build 7 Released
Closed Beta Build V7 is now available for Xenonauts 2 for Steam and GOG.
Closed Beta Build V7 has now been released on Steam and GOG. Note that this build is only available on our new Experimental branch so you'll need to switch over to get this update (instructions on how to do that here).
As this is still a highly experimental build (see below) we're not releasing it on Xsolla, because Xsolla doesn't support opt-in branches like Steam and GOG do and this build is definitely not ready to be pushed out to all of our backers yet. Hopefully it'll be on Xsolla within a week or so.
This build is defintely an Experimental build and comes with lots of features but also lots of caveats - basically, a lot of these systems aren't fully finished. I'd stay on the Stable branch for now if that's going to bother you. The changes we've made to various important systems have probably introduced some fairly significant bugs too. So don't say you weren't warned!
That said, there's a lot of big upgrades and improvements in here. We've appreciate people checking the build out and spotting any obvious issues, and also giving your thoughts on how we should set up some game systems to make the player experience as smooth as possible. You can read a more detailed general progress update and see the linked threads in the development update here: (EDIT - coming tomorrow!)
- New Dropship Layout: we're testing a new layout for the starting dropship that carries 10 soldiers, has side walls and a tail ramp. The art is currently placeholder but if community feedback is good then we'll get a proper model and 2D artwork done.
- "Classic" Base Mechanics: we've now reverted the base mechanics back to the classic X1 sytem where you can build multiple bases and their radar ranges are driven by the radar structures at that base. The art is placeholder (it is literally just the X1 art right now) but please test out the functionality!
- Updated Aircraft Mechanics: aircraft are now stationed at Hangars built in the new base system, and we've had to add some new UI to allow you to buy new aircraft in an empty Hangar (on the Aircraft screen). Dropships also now fly around the map again rather than teleporting to mission sites, but at present the game still only supports a single dropship.
- Improved Shot Path Sensitivity: The shot paths in the game now subdivide tiles into 9 smaller cells so it can trace a more accurate path for the shot. This is basically the X1 system now but with some further upgrades that fix some of the X1 problems related to corners and walls incorrectly getting in the way of shots.
- X1 Camera / Fog of War / Shroud: We're now using a true orthographic camera and have switched the fog of war / shroud back to being purely tile-based rather than having a fadeout gradient around the edge, which looks uglier but is necessary to support night missions. Please report any problems you see with the vision!
- This also fixes the issue where you can see the far side of a wall (e.g. a building interior) once you see the exterior side of the wall.
- Autosaves: The game now autosaves far more regularly, including at the end of every turn of combat and before each mission. Please attach saves to bug reports where possible!
- Tooltips: We've added the first set of tooltips to the game that explain the functionality of the various buttons on the screen, and give stats / details on the various items in the game. We only finished this system yesterday so only a few of them are set up so far, but the remainder will follow in upcoming builds. One nice feature is that these tooltips are linked to the actual weapon values, so they'll always be up-to-date no matter what balance changes I (or modders!) make.
- Iron Man / Save Upgrades: we've implemented Iron Man mode, and also set the game up to autosave MUCH more frequently than before. These changes require you to name each new campaign (so the autosaves don't overwrite each other) so we've added a new UI panel when you start a new campaign; this will be rolled into the difficulty settings panel when that is implemented in the next major build but for now it has its own pop-up!
Sunday - September 01, 2019
Xenonauts 2 - Base Mechanics Poll Result
The Base Mechanics poll result for Xenonauts 2 and Beta v6 was released July 6th.
After just over two weeks and almost 2000 votes, our X2 base mechanics poll has closed and the results are overwhelmingly in favour of the classic base mechanics. We are therefore starting work on these new base mechanics immediately in the hope of switching them over before our Early Access launch.
The results of the poll can be seen above and were broadly in line with what we were expecting, with a majority of people voting for the classic mechanics and almost as many voting that the developers should make the decision. As our position was that reverting to the classic mechanics would be a good thing, almost 90% of the votes were therefore in favour of changing the base mechanics.
If you're interested in the specifics, you can read the details of what we'll be implementing here.
Unfortunately this does still leave 10% of the community who are not getting their desired outcome, so I offer my apologies to them. Although I firmly believe we're making the correct decision here I understand that doesn't make it any easier for people who wanted to see something different.
The other news to announce is that we've released Closed Beta Build V6, but this build is only available if you opt-in to our new Experimental branch on Steam or GOG. All of our updates will now first be released on the Experimental branch, and once we've ironed out most of the major bugs in the build we'll push it out to the "normal" branch that everyone on Steam and GOG is using by default.
This new setup takes the pressure off the development team a little, as if someone finds a critical bug in an Experimental build that makes it unplayable they can just switch back to the normal branches and play an older but more stable version of the game while we prepare a patch.
Our objective for V6 was to implement a lot of new features rather than polish what we already had, so there's a LOT of new stuff in there (updates to the air combat, alien psionics, strategic upkeep costs and a funding screen, new art and alien variants, etc) but they're not particularly well tested right now - so your feedback and bug reports are always welcome!
Tuesday - June 18, 2019
Xenonauts 2 - June Update
The June update for Xenonauts 2 talks about progress so far.
Xenonauts-2 June Update!
It's been a busy few weeks here at Goldhawk HQ, and we're happy to announce that last month saw the release of Closed Beta V5 and the subsequent V5.1 Hotfix patch. This build contained several major new features including the new tactical combat UI and saving / loading, plus a whole lot of fixes for issues that were previously affecting the gameplay experience.One of the new alien UFOs!
We're currently expecting Closed Beta V6 to release in just under three weeks on the 26th June. This update will introduce some new artwork, some major upgrades to the air combat, and further work on the tech tree and alien progression. If all goes well the first Soviet Town terror maps may also make an appearance.
The first thing planned for V6 to talk about is the new artwork. A few months back we started to take on some new artists to help us paint the final artwork for the game and some of this is now starting to trickle in - you can see the first of the UFO paintings above, the inventory tiles for some the new weapons have been added, the new strategy UI background art is taking shape, and so on. Each new piece of art is another step closer to completion so it's certainly nice to see it arrive!
To accompany the new artwork we're also doing further work on the tech tree and gameplay progression. Quite a few new variants of our existing aliens have been created (e.g. now UFOs contain lightly equipped noncombatants rather than an entire crew being soldiers) and elite variants of the basic aliens with more powerful weapons begin to spawn as the game progresses. We've also redesigned several of the UFOs and added several new props to their interiors so they look a bit more exotic.
The big improvement we're working on on the code side is a big upgrade to the Air Combat. We're adding some new mechanics that make the air combat deeper and more interesting, but we're also setting the combat up so it can play out automatically like it does in the first Xenonauts (although you can still pause the combat to issue detailed move and fire orders at any point) so the simple battles require a lot less clicking. These updates should make the interceptions far more enjoyable than they are right now!
The next build is also going to include some smaller new features, too - for example the Crash Site airstrike mechanic from the first game, and the central soldier management system that prevents you assigning soldiers to multiple activities that should be mutually exclusive (going on a ground mission, going on a Strategic Operation, being wounded, etc.)
There's more things I could talk about, but this post is already too long - thanks for reading, and hopefully you'll be hearing from us again on the 26th June!
Thursday - January 24, 2019
Xenonauts 2 - System Requirements
The game card of the Xenonauts 2 strategy by the independent studio Goldhawk Interactive appeared on the Steam. The game should run on computers that have their days of glory long past, but there's also one surprise.
Xenonauts 2 – minimum system requirements:
- Processor: i5-4690 (or similar)
- RAM: 4 GB
- GPU: GTX 770 (or similar)
- DirectX: 12
- Disk space: 20 GB
- OS: Windows 10
Xenonauts 2 – recommended system requirements:
- Processor: i5-7600 (or similar)
- RAM: 8 GB
- GPU: GTX 970 (or similar)
- DirectX: 12
- Disk space: 20 GB
- OS: Windows 10
Wednesday - January 16, 2019
Xenonauts 2 - January Update
The January update for Xenonauts 2 announces the launch date of closed Beta 2, which is planned for the 23rd of January, and what that will involve.
Xenonauts-2 January Update!
Happy new year everyone, I hope you all had a great holiday season! It's time for another quick update on our progress and plans for Xenonauts-2.
We're currently working on the Closed Beta V2 series of builds. We've penciled in the 23rd January as the release date for V2, but this may slip a little - new features sometimes also bring new bugs that cause delays. In any case, we'll be sending out another update when it does go live.
The focus for V2 is to expand the playable content a bit and see if anything major breaks when you start to play multiple missions, and to start testing long-term systems like the soldier progression. We're also laying some of the foundations for the V3 series of builds, when we'll finally start considering the gameplay experience and game balance!
In other news, we're also hiring for a couple of roles:
These new hires should help us generate more content more quickly in preparation for our planned Early Access launch in March, and if you're interested in applying for either of them (or know someone that might be) then please check out the links.
Finally, I just wanted to say a big thankyou to everyone that took part in the closed beta testing for the V1 builds. We got a huge amount of constructive feedback and lots of really useful bug reports, and as a result we were able to fix about seventy different issues (including fifteen different crashes) across the two weeks we were pushing out updates.
That's pretty much exactly what we were hoping for from the Closed Beta, which is brilliant - so hopefully we'll see some of you back when V2 launches in the next week or two!
Thursday - November 01, 2018
Xenonauts 2 - October Update
The October update for Xenonauts 2 talks about general progress and the closed beta release date.
Xenonauts-2 October Progress Update
We've had a very busy month here at Goldhawk HQ, so this is going to be quite a long post! I'll be giving a general update on our progress but mostly I'll be talking about our plans for the beta.
In general I want to apologize for being relatively quiet here on Kickstarter and on our forums over the past four or five weeks - the harder we're working, the harder it is for me to find time to answer questions or write updates. And with the closed beta approaching we've been very busy indeed!
Closed Beta Release Date
Although I never announced it formally, my target date for the beta was always 7th November - but unfortunately we're not going to hit that date. Thankfully the delay won't be quite as bad as I initially feared, though, and we're now aiming for Wednesday 28th November (the alternative was the 9th January but we managed to avoid that).
We primarily want to test the game and fix problems during the closed beta, and we'll move into Early Access once the game is fairly stable and fun to play. This means you shouldn't expect the early beta builds to be a particularly enjoyable gameplay experience - that's the end goal of the beta, not the starting point!
The focus of the very first beta build is just going to be whether all the core systems are present and functioning correctly for everyone. It will contain the full strategy layer - the Geoscape, base building, interceptable UFOs flying around, air combat, fighting crash site missions, Research and Engineering projects, saving / loading, etc. However, we're going to limit the campaign to being about two weeks long (e.g. just the two smallest UFOs will spawn) - as I said, the purpose of this first build is testing!
The playable period will then be extended with each new beta build we release. The next build will likely bring in the Corvettes and Fighter UFOs, and the build after that might bring in the Terror Sites and Alien Base missions, etc. By the time the third or fourth build rolls out you should be able to properly play a good section of the campaign and we'll start polishing up the game balance.
This approach should make it easier for us to hit our Nov 28th target and also better align the community feedback we receive with our priorities - e.g. we need to check the foundations of the game are working properly before we start collecting feedback on anything else.
General Progress Update
So what have we been working on in the last month? We've added quite a few small features and new weapons (e.g. X-Com style Proximity Grenades have been added) but the two biggest things are the new inventory / item system and creating the first major batch of maps.
Wednesday - September 19, 2018
Xenonauts 2 - September Update
The September update for Xenonauts 2 highlights the progress that is being made in many areas.
Xenonauts-2 September Progress Update!
Now the dust has settled on our successful Kickstarter campaign, it's time for a progress update on Xenonauts-2!
There's lots of exciting stuff to talk about, even though the lingering admin from the Kickstarter has kept us busy and the summer holiday period means that we've frequently been without one or more important team members!
The first thing I want to show off is a very early incarnation of the air combat. The art and design are both still very rough, so try to look past all the placeholder art from the first Xenonauts and the rather simple combat interactions in the video.
Our objectives for the X2 air combat were to make something that was fast-paced but still rewarded the same skills as the rest of the game – tactical and strategic planning (I felt the X1 air combat emphasized reactions over good tactics). I've been playing with a lot of different ideas over the past few years, but I feel we've now hit on a good idea that will be able to combine both speed and tactical depth once complete.
Essentially the player has a certain number of turns to shoot down each UFO before it engages its jump drive and escapes from your interceptors. Your interceptor weapons have limited ammo and generally do more damage the closer you are (as do the alien weapons). Your interceptors can make one move each turn before they attack, but the UFO is also able to move - which it does by moving your jets up and down the battlefield to represent it speeding up / slowing down. Different UFOs will of course have different strengths and weaknesses, and the system supports up to three combatants per side.
I'll likely be writing an entire update devoted to the new Air Combat model once things are a bit more polished and the design has developed further, so I won't try to explain any more about the rules for now – but I just wanted to show everyone that we do already have a basic air combat system working and hooked up to the rest of the strategy layer!
Armory & Soldier Equip:
The next thing I wanted to talk about is the Armory screen and the soldier inventory mechanics. The UI concept above incorporates two major mechanical changes since the start of the Kickstarter, and also gives you some idea of the direction we'd like to take the final UI now we can afford to divert some of our funds to a dedicated UI artist (although it is only a rough style / layout concept, so don't read too much into the details).
The first big mechanical change is the return of the grid-based soldier backpack from Xenonauts 1. We were initially planning to remove this as part of a package of changes to make the inventory system less cumbersome, but we reconsidered our position after the community raised some valid points about why this might make the game less interesting to play. We're currently in the process of implementing the old backpack / inventory mechanics (they'll be in for the closed beta), as well as the other planned changes that were uncontroversial improvements to the system.
The second change is my first concept for the modular armour system that forms part of the modular equipment stretch goal. This works by splitting armour into two different inventory slots: the "Armour" and the "Plating", and giving items in both a set of % resistances against different types of damage.
The “Armour” is the base layer of armour your soldier is wearing – at the start of the game it's the blue Tacsuit, but your research efforts soon unlock different types of suit that offer better / different protection against the various damage types (ranging up to the endgame Exosuit).
“Plating” represents any additional armour you wear on top of this base suit, so the starting Tacsuit allows players to wear either “Light Kevlar” or “Heavy Kevlar” plating (the heavier plating offers more protection but weighs more). As the player progresses through the research tree, the Plating can be upgraded – e.g. Kevlar vests become more protective Alloy vests, etc.
This system allows players to mix and match armour to suit the specific mission. If you want good Chemical protection, you can equip your soldiers with a Chemsuit but then issue your assault troopers heavy plating and your snipers light plating. The way that plating upgrades through the game keeps older types of armour relevant, too - that same Chemsuit will still be somewhat viable in the late game if you have sufficiently advanced plating available, although advanced tech like an Exosuit would obviously be better in most situations.
Remember that this idea is still at concept stage and not yet implemented, so it may well change prior to release (or even prior to the closed beta!)
Finally, I just want to show off a quick piece of concept art for a new alien to go in the game. The 3D art for this alien is not yet complete, but it's planned to be a single-tile psionic support unit.
We've got a number of new aliens working their way through our art / design pipeline, and we're making an effort to include some more distinctive aliens in the game this time around. There's certainly a place for humanoid aliens in space jumpsuits in the alien roster, but I think any X-Com successor also needs to embrace some of the absurdity of the original games to properly capture their spirit. A floating alien brain seems a pretty good place to start!
Anyway, that's enough from me - there's a lot more I'd like to talk about but I really should get back to work! The closed beta is still planned for the start of November and I'll keep everyone informed on our progress towards that deadline as it approaches.
Friday - July 27, 2018
Xenonauts 2 - Gets Mod Support
Xenonauts 2 will be getting mod support according to the latest update.
Xenonauts-2 Kickstarter Completed!
After thirty days our Kickstarter has come to a close, and what a journey it's been! We asked for £50,000 to help us develop the game and your generosity saw us raise a grand total of £191,057 / $250,000 from 6,826 backers - almost 400% our initial target!
All of us here at Goldhawk are hugely grateful for all the backing you have given us, and it's also been really nice to read all of the comments from people who enjoyed the first game. We want to say a massive thank you to all of our backers and we'll be working hard to repay your faith in us!
We've unlocked a total of five stretch goals for the final game:
- #1 Modular Weapons
- #2 Geoscape Situations
- #3 Locational Injuries
- #4 MARS Weapon Platform & Sentry Guns
- #5 Additional Community Edition & Modding Support
The eagle-eyed among you will notice that the Community Edition & Modding Support stretch goal has been unlocked even though we didn't quite hit the £200,000 target. We had a quick chat within the team earlier today and we all feel that we should show our gratitude by unlocking the next stretch goal too!
Saturday - July 21, 2018
Xenonauts 2 - Preview @Christ Centered Gaming
Xenonauts 2 has been previewed by Christ Centered Gaming.
So far, there isn’t much to judge for the morality of this game. All you have is the little bit of combat present in the demo which, while being a big part of these types of games, is not the only focus. As for what is present, the game can be a bit violent. Now, this is pretty abstract with it being a TBS game, but you are going to have people dying. This style of game is almost impossible to play without suffering any casualties. That doesn’t just include your soldiers either. There are missions with civilians on them and the aliens will actively try to kill them. Anything killed, unless they are really exploded, leave behind a corpse on the ground. Units shot also leave behind pools of blood. Another moral thing to consider is that the enemies you are fighting are aliens, although this time around they appear to be more alien looking than human, like they were in the first game.
Tuesday - July 17, 2018
Xenonauts 2 - Three Days Left
Xenonauts 2 has three days left until the crowdfunding campaign raps up. The latest update talks about the remaining stretch goals.
One Week Left: MARS / Sentry Gun Achieved!
With one week left of the Xenonauts-2 Kickstarter, we've just blown past 300% funding and hit our fourth stretch goal! Huge thanks to all of you!
This means the MARS Support Platform & Sentry Gun single-tile vehicles will now both be included in the final game for everyone.
MARS & Sentry Guns:
The MARS is a small robotic tank manufactured in the workshop that can accompany the Xenonaut soldiers on a ground missions. It has relatively high TU and HP, making it good for scouting and crushing fences / other obstacles to make a path for the rest of your team - but it has a relatively low Accuracy. It is smaller than the 3x3 armoured vehicles in Xenonauts 1 and therefore can enter buildings and UFOs, but can only carry infantry weapons (by default it carries the machinegun).
The Sentry Gun is a defensive unit that can only be deployed on Xenonaut Base Defence missions and can be manufactured relatively cheaply in the Workshop. These immobile units are placed during the deployment phase, but have limited rotation range - making them a good way of defending choke points but leaving them very vulnerable to flanking if left unprotected!
We've now started work on both of these units, and if all goes well we might be able to show off some early progress with them next week.
Final Week & Upcoming Stretch Goals!
It's difficult to know how well the final week will go for us, but Kickstarters often finish strongly and it's definitely possible that we hit one or both of remaining stretch goals.
The next stretch goal is arriving at £200,000 - the Additional Community Edition / Modding Support. Of course, we'll do our best to leave the game open to modding (just as we did in X1) but it'd be great if we could afford to take some extra time to add additional features / tools that will allow modders to make things that fundamentally change the game. I know this is something many of you feel very strongly about; with your help we can get there!
We'll be doing more PR work after the weekend - hitting up our mailing list, journalists, Twitter, Reddit, etc. It'd be great if you could help us spread the word in any way you feel you can, as everything helps! To help things along, we'll be unlocking two extra £500 and ten extra £200 rewards with 48 hours left to go.
Finally, we're working on some more additions to the Portrait Editor to give you guys even more options for your custom soldiers. There's a bugfix and a few new hair variants in the most recent update, and the portrait artist also thinks he's figured out a way to support greying hair for any hair color (something a lot of people have been requesting). That'll all arrive next week.
Have a great weekend everyone - and let's hope next week brings more stretch goals! :)
Thursday - June 28, 2018
Xenonauts 2 - Stretch Goal Update
A new update for Xenonauts 2 talks about stretch goals and shows progress on the portrait generator.
Portrait Generator Update Preview & Stretch Goal Update!
With one day left of stretch goal voting to go, we've now had 1650 votes for our Stretch Goals. The order remains unchanged from our last update three days ago:
- #1 Modular Weapons (£50,000 - UNLOCKED!)
- #2 Geoscape Situations (£75,000 - UNLOCKED!)
- #3 Locational Injuries (£100,000 - UNLOCKED!)
- #4 MARS Weapon Platform & Sentry Guns (£150,000)
- #5 Additional Community Edition & Modding Support (£200,000)
- #6 Weather Conditions (£250,000)
With 24 days left to go and £115,400 currently pledged, we could potentially still hit all of these stretch goals! As pledges usually tail off after the first (and last) three days of a Kickstarter, it's really great to see that we're still raising a strong amount of funding each day.
We'll be locking down the final stretch goal order tomorrow, so remember to vote here if you still haven't voted!
Portrait Generator Update:
As mentioned in the last update, we've been taking some suggestions for additional art for the Portrait Generator - well over a thousand people have signed up to put a custom soldier in the game now!
The first batch of suggestions were decided to paint up were additional eyewear variants, a few variants of facial hair longer than stubble but shorter than a full beard, and some hair versions that add some longer hairstyles and some additional versions of receding hair.
You can see a preview of some of these new layers below. It'll take a few more days for us to get these sorted out so they support all the different skin tones and hair colours etc. We'll post up an update when the new version of the Editor is ready - in the meantime, if you have more suggestions for new facial variants feel free to post them up in the comments!
Thursday - June 21, 2018
Xenonauts 2 - Kickstarter Live and Funded
Glad to see you made it, Commander. We got the helicopter away from CENTRAL with a dozen or so survivors, our Chief Scientist included - although naturally he spent the entire flight complaining that we'd rescued his lab assistants instead of his research notes.
That's where the good news ends, I'm afraid. The political situation is continuing to worsen - NORAD is reporting something with Soviet transponder codes buzzing the Eastern Seaboard, but I know for a fact the Soviets don't have any jets in the area. If we let the aliens run around unopposed for much longer we're going start seeing mushroom clouds on the horizon...
We'll have ATLAS Base online by the end of the day. In the meantime, you need to figure out a strategy for rebuilding our organisation, bringing the political situation under control and defeating a vastly superior foe that we know almost nothing about. Best get started, eh? There's coffee in the pot.
XENONAUTS-2 is a "strategic planetary defense simulator" that puts you in charge of a clandestine military force attempting to protect the planet from extraterrestrial invasion. It is the sequel to the acclaimed Xenonauts, successfully Kickstarted way back in 2012!
We are building a hugely complex strategy / tactics game that gives you total control of your organisation all the way from the command staff in your base down to the troops on the battlefield. The formula will be familiar to anyone who has played the classic X-Com games from the 90's (or the modern reboots), but Xenonauts-2 expands those foundations to create something deeper and more distinctive!
The action takes place in the modern day - but in an alternative timeline where decades of alien interference has prevented the end of the Cold War, leaving NATO and the Soviet Union teetering on the brink of a catastrophic nuclear war. Can you hold humanity together long enough to end the alien threat forever?
Xenonauts-2 is not a chronological sequel to the first Xenonauts but rather an updated portrayal of similar events. The game is in development on Windows PC and is expected to launch on Steam & GOG in late 2018; we will hopefully natively support Linux and Mac on release but cannot yet offer a firm promise of this (please see the FAQ for further details).
We've been developing Xenonauts-2 for three years now and the game is in an advanced state. If you want to check out how things are progressing, you can download a free demo of a single tactical combat mission at the link below. Bear in mind this is still an alpha; expect it to improve a lot before release!
Wednesday - June 13, 2018
Xenonauts 2 - Kickstarter 20th June
Xenonauts 2 will launch on Kickstarter 20th June.
At long last we've set a firm date for the launch of the Kickstarter for Xenonauts-2 - it will be happening on Wednesday 20th June, at 14:00 GMT / UTC.
We've been working on this Kickstarter for a long time and we hope you'll be willing to support us when we launch, as it really makes a huge difference to a crowdfunding campaign when you have a strong first 24 hours! Our funding target is £50,000 but we're hoping to raise more than that - the more money we have to spend during the last phase of development, the better the game will be!
I should also mention that Kickstarter takes a much smaller cut than the other sites on which we sell, so if you enjoyed Xenonauts and are pretty sure you'll be buying Xenonauts-2 at some point, Kickstarter is definitely a good place to do it - about 20% more of the money ends up in our pockets compared to you buying the game on Steam for the same price. It also makes the project look more interesting and popular, which means we're more likely to get press coverage about the game in the future and the people wavering about whether to support the game on Kickstarter would probably feel more confident in doing so!
We will be sending out a notification to everyone on our mailing list one week before the Kickstarter launches (13th June) and then a reminder on the day of the Kickstarter itself.
These are our plans for the reward tiers, all of which (awkwardly) have to be priced in £ rather than $ because we're based in the UK.
- £1 - show your support, and get our project updates and notifications
- £18 - get a copy of Xenonauts-2 on Steam / GOG when it launches onto Early Access (the game will launch at $30 when finished).
- £25 - as above, but with a digital copy of the soundtrack and additional access to the three-month beta we will run on Steam / GOG prior to the Early Access launch (this tier is limited to 2000 backers)
- £35 Option 1 - as £25, plus your name in the credits, and you can put a soldier in the random soldier pool with a name, nationality and gender chosen by you
- £35 Option 2 - as £25, plus your name in the credits, and you get a second Early Access copy of Xenonauts-2 to give to a friend
- £50 - all of the above, including both £35 rewards
- £75 - all of the above, plus you can create your own unique face for the custom soldier using our portrait generator
- £100 - ?????
- £200 - all of the above, plus our portrait artist will paint you from an image you send him (tier is limited to 20 backers)
- £500 - all of the above, plus you'll get to work with us to create a random event that can hit the player - possibly incorporating yourself (tier is limited to 5 backers)
We're expecting the beta testing period to be about three months long, and it should start 1-3 months after the end of the Kickstarter. You will have access to this if you back at the £25 tier or above. Once this beta test is complete the game will launch into Early Access and everyone who backed at the £18 tier will then get access to the game.
You'll notice we've gone in very heavily on the digital rewards. The physical rewards we did for the original Kickstarter were a massive pain to organise, particularly with regards to the shipping ... and I worked out afterwards that we actually lost money on them. Things are easier these days because specialised fulfillment companies exist but unfortunately I still don't think we'd be making much money from physical rewards.
The downside is that we're left a bit short on reward tiers. I honestly can't think of anything to put in at the £100 tier, and I'm open to suggestions - if we can't think of anything good then we'll just take that one out, but it's a nice round number and I'd rather include a tier at that level if I can.
If you want to see how the custom portraits look, here's the Beloved Leader himself drawn from a still from the Kickstarter video. Pretty good work, no? There's a total of 25 portraits available (5 of which are at the £500 tier) so if you're interested in getting some custom art done, you might want to grab the £200 tier early
As I mentioned before, we'll be starting our PR push one week before the Kickstarter on Wednesday 13 June, so we've got a bit of time to tweak the reward tiers etc before that happens. If you've got any thoughts on the rewards tiers or how well the custom portrait editor program works, please let us know!
It would also be super-useful if you could spread the word about this to anyone that might be interested. Several hundred thousand people have played Xenonauts over the years but unfortunately we don't have contact details for most of them ... so we're reliant on our mailing list (and hopefully the gaming press) to reach them. Word of mouth can be a very powerful thing!
Monday - April 16, 2018
Xenonauts 2 - Kickstarter in May
Kordanor spotted an interesting Kickstarter update for Xenonauts 2:
Xenonauts-2 April & Kickstarter Update
This update will cover what we've been working on in the last two months, and our plans for our Kickstarter - which is provisionally expected to happen on 4th May. Our plans for the Kickstarter are summarized in brief at the bottom of this article but there'll be a proper announcement and full details of what we're planning in the near future.
The most visible thing we've produced in the past two months has been the new map in the public builds, which I consider a significant step up in visual quality from what we had before. Our plan is to use that map in our Kickstarter public build demo and we've been iterating and refining it with the subsequent releases - it's now on its third incarnation and we've got another couple of builds before the Kickstarter date for us to make more progress. If you're reading this and haven't yet played the new map, it'd be great if you could give it a try and then give us some feedback on the experience because we're hoping a lot of people will play the build during the Kickstarter and we want to make as good an impression as possible!
Less visible but no less important has been our work on the strategy layer. I think we've now pretty much reached the point where Xenonauts-2 is playable as a game (at least in the early stages of the invasion). Obviously the functionality and visuals are still very rough in certain areas and we've got a lot more work to do before we can call it a finished product, but about a month ago I finally had the lightbulb moment where I realized that I was actually playing the game and making decisions and having fun. It's not a good game yet, but it's definitely a game, and I consider that a pretty big milestone.
We've also made enough progress with the level editor and game tiles that we've nailed down the all the different combat map biomes we're going to support and which mission types each will be used for. We've also started blocking out one or two example maps in each biome to give us a better idea of what art assets we'll need by the end of the project, so I've been doing a lot of map design recently. Some of these maps look quite polished whilst other ones still look pretty primitive, but having a "proper" map to play for each mission makes properly testing the game much more efficient even if the maps repeat quickly and some of them don't look great.
The mission types we settled on are:
- UFO Crash Site: these take place in wilderness areas with only a few buildings, and are good for getting research artifacts and Alloys
- Abduction Missions: these take place in isolated inhabited areas with densely packed buildings such as farms / polar outposts / dockyards etc, and allow you to capture Alenium
- DEFCON / VIP Elimination: a new mission type against human opponents where you have to capture / kill a VIP in order to lower global tensions, but you suffer relations penalties in the region based on how many people you kill (stunning them is fine). These take place in either a NATO or Soviet military base.
- Terror Attack: very similar to X1, still takes place in either a NATO or Soviet town
- Alien Base Attack: as in X1
- Xenonaut Base Defence: broadly the same as in X1 (although there's a few differences that aren't worth explaining until everyone understands how the new Geoscape works!)
As you can see all the familiar faces from X1 have returned, with the "standard" missions split out into the fairly open Crash Sites and much denser Abduction missions that have slightly different strategic goals (Alloys are good for mass-producing weaker advanced tech, whereas Alenium is used to "power-up" individual items) and the addition of the DEFCON mission to spice things up a bit.
The biomes we settled on are:
- Polar / Research Outpost
- Boreal / Logging Camp
- Temperate / Farm
- Tropical / Dockyard
- Arid / Village
- Desert / Junkyard
- NATO Town / Military Base
- Soviet Town / Military Base
- Alien Base
- Xenonaut Base
There's not a 1-to-1 mapping versus what we had in the first game (e.g. the Farm was its own tileset and the military base was part of the Desert tileset in X1), I think we'll have quite a lot more map than X1 variety once the game is finished. We've produced quite a lot of assets since the start of the project and we're still in the process of sorting and retouching the older stuff as we set up each new biome, but I think things are coming together nicely.
Finally, the Kickstarter - as mentioned at the top of the post we're planning to launch this on Friday 4th May (although as always this may slip a little). This will be your first chance to buy the game and the full game including the strategy layer will be available to play at the end of the Kickstarter, assuming you've backed at the appropriate tier.
I'm working on the Kickstarter page and the reward structure at the moment and I'll hopefully post that up for general comment in the next couple of weeks as it's always useful to have community feedback on that sort of thing. A few key things to mention:
- We're not planning any physical rewards because unfortunately we don't actually make any profit from them and organising the production / shipping is very time consuming, and I'd rather spend that time polishing the game instead
- $25 gets you a copy of Xenonauts-2 on Steam / GOG when we launch into Early Access (planned for three months after the end of the Kickstarter)
- $35 also gives you access to the closed beta which will start immediately after the end of the Kickstarter (this is limited to 2000 backers)
- The higher reward tiers get you closed beta access plus an additional key of X2, a custom soldier with a portrait from our portrait editor, and eventually a unique portrait painted from a photo of you by our portrait artist
I'll hopefully be posting up a version of the custom portrait editor for people to play with and give us feedback on in our Kickstarter discussion thread, which I'll probably put up next week.
The $35 reward tier exists because the game is going to be rather rough in the closed beta period, so we want to limit it to the people who are most interested in the project and prepared to give us useful feedback. What I want to avoid is too many people seeing the game in its worst form and having lots of people bounce off it; I expect us to make a LOT of progress in three months in terms of gameplay balance and visual polish and usability. Personally I don't think asking the average backer to wait three months after the end of the Kickstarter is unreasonable, but I also know that many people have a strong reaction to being asked to pay extra to get the earliest access to a game (although I feel it's become the norm these days).
Friday - February 24, 2017
Xenonauts 2 - Demo released on GOG
GOG have the Xenonauts 2 demo available to download now but you will need GOG Galaxy to download it.
About: This is the free public pre-alpha of Xenonauts 2 - a very early build of the game intended for gameplay and stability testing. This demo requires GOG Galaxy to download and will NOT grant a copy of the final game (it will be deleted once the game moves into the paid alpha stage.
Friday - February 03, 2017
Xenonauts 2 - Demo Gameplay
Yeti takes a look at the Xenonauts 2 demo.
Very early access Xenonauts 2 demo gameplay! Xenonauts 2 so far maintains the same feel of Xenonauts but with Unity 3D. This version of Xenonauts 2 is a free demo (download below) that contains basically just a skirmish.
Sunday - December 11, 2016
Xenonauts 2 - Development Update
Henriquejr spotted the latest development update for Xenonauts 2:
Despite Xenonauts 2 being available as a free public build that anyone can try, I think it's time for us to do an overall update on our progress on the project.
We're making decent progress on the ground combat coding overall, although the system rewrites we've been doing over the last two or three weeks have been slower than expected. Some stuff has improved dramatically (such as load times) but other things have been frustratingly circular - an example of which is our work on the cursor selection box. We wrote a shader to display this above the decorative vegetation but below the props, granting the visual selection box effect from X1, but the new system had side-effects that made the UI ugly and occasionally buggy ... and eventually we abandoned it, and started down the route of switching from deferred to forward rendering.
If that doesn't mean anything to you (and I wouldn't expect it to), this is just a long-winded way of me saying that sometimes you can sit and work at something for a week and actually end up taking a step backwards in terms of progress. So, to summarise, progress has been patchy on the coding front recently. However we're working hard on finishing up various systems designed to deal with the more fundamental issues in the current builds and I'd expect to see several new builds in the next couple of weeks as we finish them up and roll them out. You can find more specifics about this in the various release threads.
On a happier note, we're doing well on other parts of the game. The artwork in particular is coming along nicely in several areas!
The first is our battlefield environments. You've all seen the "temperate / jungle" wilderness biome tileset we've currently got in the public build, but our tundra and desert biomes are now mostly complete. These are largely retextures of existing assets with some unique props mixed in, and the idea is that we'll have six or seven of these biomes that will allow us to "skin" a level with only a few clicks (long term we want the same for our urban environments too). The code is not yet in place for this palette swapping but we can already construct maps manually with these new tiles if we want; however once we've got some map randomisation code in place (which isn't too far away) we won't need to. We'll be able to have randomly generated wilderness maps across any biome from polar icecaps to tropical jungle to desert wastelands.
As this will probably be my last development update of the year (though not our last build), I'll close with my thoughts on the progress so far. I'd kinda hoped that we'd have made more obvious progress (i.e. added more content) over the past couple of months of public releases, but I'm not too down on things overall. The work we've done is all essential work and the issues would have been exposed as soon as we started doing public builds, so it's probably good we're getting them out of the way now.
Things probably still feel a bit basic right now but that'll change once we start releasing all the new content we've been working on. Thanks for following our progress through the most boring part of development, and I hope you'll tune in next year when things start to get exciting!
Thursday - February 04, 2016
Xenonauts 2 - Confirmed
Goldenhawk Interactive confirmed that Xenonauts 2 is in development and is currently scheduled to be released in 2017.
A list of what can be expected from the game can be found on their homepage where you can also register for a newsletter:
Xenonauts 2 will not be a chronological sequel, rather it will cover similar events taking place in an alternate timeline – an alien invasion occurring in a Cold War-era Earth. This means humanity does not start with the advanced alien technology unlocked in the first game, and we also have the freedom to subtly alter the story, setting and enemies in order to make a more interesting sequel.
We will cover our planned gameplay changes in more detail in our full announcement, but we have these broad areas of focus:
- Game Engine – using Unity3D will give us a much more capable platform for development than our previous engine, so expect fewer bugs, improved performance, better modding support, etc
- 3D Graphics – moving from 2D sprites to 3D graphics will improve visual fidelity, but will also be valuable for gameplay – it allows for things like rotating cameras, vastly improved animation, physics objects, accurate projectile tracking, etc
- Ground Combat – we will be retaining the Time Unit combat system, and will enhance the interface and giving the player additional tactical options: destructible UFOs, better use of terrain verticality, human psionics, etc
- Geoscape – we want to add a lot more strategic choice for the player with regards to the research tree and how they choose to expand their organisation (there was definitely too much strategic railroading in the first Xenonauts)
- Air Combat – redesigned to be turn-based and to feature larger numbers of combatants, with the goal of making it a less frequent occurrence but more tactically involved when it does happen
- Aliens – we are visually and mechanically redesigning all of the enemies, and creating a more intelligent and challenging foe by developing gameplay systems that allow the aliens to respond and adapt to your tactics and technology
Some of the issues in the original game were caused by our lack of experience / lack of early funding, whereas others were caused by the constraints remaining faithful to the design of a game dating back to 1994. The experience and income we have accumulated from the development of Xenonauts mean that we can make a sequel that significantly improves and expands on the first game – and this time we can be more innovative than before.
Thursday - October 01, 2015
Xenonauts 2 - Could be in Development
At the Goldhawk forums a post is made about Xenonauts 2, which they are thinking about to develop. In th epost an overview is given of what they have been working on, like improving the aliens.
Aliens: We're working on redesigning the aliens from Xenonauts 1 to make them more interesting, both visually and in terms of the core mechanic for each race. We've got some new ideas for all of the races and we've got some concepts done for the updated Sebillian and Caesan designs that look quite a bit more "alien" than before.
We're playing with the idea of making the Caesans a hive consciousness, with weak drones (above) and more threatening officers. The officers get significant bonuses in combat for each nearby drone, and there is a single collective psionic power attack performed each turn. This might lose power as more Caesans are killed, or perhaps it just gets stronger each turn to encourage the player not to turtle when fighting Caesans (or possibly both).
The Sebillians might have their regeneration turned up to eleven to make them more interesting to play against. At the end of each alien turn, all Sebillians will return to full health ... but in exchange, every time they take damage their maximum health falls by, say, 25% of the damage sustained. However, getting a Sebillian down to 0 current health will only temporarily incapacitate them and they will stand up and start fighting again after two or three turns.
To actually kill a Sebillian you need to reduce its maximum health to 0, but units will get significant bonuses when aiming at an incapacitated Sebillian. Getting up close and empting a few rounds into it would finish it off pretty quickly ... but trying to do it at long range is much harder, so it gives these guys a passive semi-resistance against sniper tactics.