Your donations keep RPGWatch running!
Box Art

Xenonauts 2 - Kickstarter in May

by Hiddenx, 2018-04-16 00:43:58

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).

Information about

Xenonauts 2

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Sci-Fi
Genre: Tactical RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development