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What've we been up to for the last few months? And what is it going to look like when you fight inside your own base? Read on to find out!

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Firstly, my now-customary apology for being so slow updating this page - although I've excelled myself in this particular instance, as I've not updated this page since August. Sorry guys. As always, the freshest info is available on our forums, which has a specific Development Updates subforum. If you want more information on anything in this post, that should be your first port of call!

The first thing to say is Desura-specific. We've been having persistent Desura download / update issues for the past 6 months or so, which are caused by the sheer number of files used by Xenonauts. We've now implemented an archiving solution that should reduce the file count by about 75% and stop these issues from the next build onwards. We'll only find out if it works or not when we release the next public build, but there's no reason why this shouldn't fix the issues. Thanks for your patience with this matter, hopefully it'll shortly be gone for good.

Next thing is about beta for our game. The original plan was to hit beta in September, but we didn't manage that. In the interests of brevity, I won't explain why here - but if you're interested in why, there's a full post on our blog on it here. In short, we're working on it now and the next release (V18) will be "beta stage 1" where we unlock the entire tech tree. Despite our best efforts, the game will probably be horribly unbalanced and full of bugs when this happens (any time you dump a load of new content in a game, this will happen) so if you're not the adventurous type then I'd give us a few weeks after that to tighten things up again. But if you want more details, click the link above!

Onto recent updates then! You've no doubt noticed a few images dotted around this post. These are the handiwork of the new full-time tile artist, who is breathing more life into a lot of the old tilesets and is working hard on the new Xenonaut Base tileset at the moment. Basically, if the aliens attack your base, you will fight a battle in a fully-destructible exact replica of the base you built on the strategic map - it's a pretty cool feature! You can find full-size versions of the various previews below:

Xenonauts.com
Xenonauts.com
Xenonauts.com
Xenonauts.com
Xenonauts.com

He's also been working on several other tilesets, but we'll show you the results of that in another update. However, since August we've added the Desert, Middle East and Arctic tilesets, finished the buildings in the Soviet Town tileset and generated a load of new props for the Farm and the Industrial tilesets. So we're generating a lot of content at the moment.

Next, the new interface. We've almost finished implementing the updated Ground Combat UI, which is the same as the old one in terms of functionality but has had a graphical facelift. We’re also working on the final designs for the strategic UI, and have completed the concepts for seven of the ten strategic screens and have two more nearly finished. You can find previews of the new look in this thread, but it’s essentially a fusion of the existing ugly-but-usable black style and the pretty-but-not-very-navigable immersive style we revealed over the past year, producing something that is much better to look at and also more functional than the current design. We've just started work on implementing it in the code, but this is a LOT of work so won’t be finished immediately. It is probably the largest remaining piece of work to be done on the strategic part of the game so it’s great to have it started, despite it having taken up a LOT of my time over the last couple of weeks.

Thirdly, level / scenario testing. We've started testing some maps on our forums on a specialist sub-forum. So far only one has been posted up, but we’ll be posting more up over the next week and still more after that. After spending quite a bit of time analysing the new X-Com, we’ve realised that we probably weren't taking level design as seriously as we should, and the arrival our our full-time tile artist finally gave us the chance to try iterating our levels a bit more. We are and will be testing our levels for a lot of things; whether they are too big / too small for the number of aliens on them, whether they are too open or too convoluted, whether destructibility can be used for tactical purposes, whether they are visually coherent etc. Basically, we’re trialling a more realistic level design philosophy with larger, more open maps that are divided into smaller sections by larger obstacles that block line of sight (walls / hedgerows / buildings). We think this will make maps that are large but quick to explore, while still giving the player plenty of “what’s just around that corner?” moments.

The other facet of this is the scenario testing, where we send a squad of Xenonauts armed with specific equipment against specific aliens in a specific map type. This will allow us to test the pacing and difficulty of various scenarios – like various UFO or alien base attacks, or terror sites and base defence missions. We've changed the way UFOs are to be displayed in our battlefield missions, which has given us a chance to test all of their interior layouts (blocked out with placeholder art) before we update the final art. The same is true with the alien bases; we want to test their layouts so we know they’re not too sprawling before we get all the final props done. We've completed all the code so we can start this type of testing very shortly, although we’re still reliant on further refinement of the AI before the missions will be genuinely challenging. We've got very high hopes for this level testing though; the feedback from our first test map has been very useful and we really hope we can use the community to develop some really exciting maps.

As for the beta – we’re still working on it! We’ll post up some more updates as we get closer to it being finished. The scenario testing is part of this, and it will also include advanced Xenonaut equipment and aliens in it – so if you’re bored of the current build then maybe check our forums out in a week or two to try out some of those missions!

Comments
SenisterDenister
SenisterDenister

When are you guys going to use Steam? I remember seeing that somewhere and quite honestly I'm tired of using Desura.

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Silverhawk85
Silverhawk85

I like Desura for the option to download games DRM-free. On Steam you are forced to activate your games online and run the client. They watch you when you play, how long you play, how you play, on which computers you install the game and so on. I don't like such restrictions. So I don't see an advantage by using Steam. Desura and the guys from GoldhawkInteractive rule for offering a DRM-free game. ;)

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SenisterDenister
SenisterDenister

That has nothing to do with what I said. I'm asking when they're moving it to Steam. Desura, as a client, has problems. Steam, while certainly not perfect, is better in my opinion. I've also used Impulse before Gamestop bought it. And while it marketed itself as a DRM free version of Steam it wasn't that great either. I use Good Old Games, too. I like the Steam client for the sake of being convenient. I don't want to reformat and redownload Xenonauts every time it updates on Desura.

Also, Steam itself isn't DRM. You can play every non-Steamworks game offline. Steamworks, which Valve games and others use, is DRM. There is a distinction.

Hell, I'll take a raw .exe installation every time there's an update, how's that for DRM free, Silverhawk? I just don't want to use Desura any more. I don't like the client.

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deejaykike
deejaykike

I have the same question... Please let us know...

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joeadamhill
joeadamhill

LOL, I have steam as primary, Origin/Desura as second..then Gamestop (AKA Impulse) Gamefly, GOG, Gamersgate...I can't remember what games I have most of the time.

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s_d
s_d

Xenonauts goes up on Steam when it's out of beta. It's still in alpha, so beta is still a ways out. Also, if you don't like the Desura client, why use it? I really don't understand that complaint. Do the standalone downloads not contain updates or something? It looks like one of the Windows downloads is version 17.5 which is the newest, right?

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Forgottenlegend
Forgottenlegend

The game is still in alpha phase steam probably will not pick it up until a stable beta is released.

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Silverhawk85
Silverhawk85

@ SenisterDenister

I know that Steam today is accepted by many people (especially in USA), but it's still DRM. Your games are bound to the Steam Client. If this is not Digital Rights Management, what is it then? I like to install my games completely autonomicaly without any internet verification.

But the most important: If you want to make backups of your games, Steam has a new backup system implemeted that encryps the gamedata in the form of container files, that you are completely unable to get any access to the game files, if you have no Steam Client installed. You need the Client to decrypt the Files. No EXE File anymore.

I want to install my games without any restrictions. Click the EXE, install and play whenever I want, wherever I want and how often I want without any client.

Thats my opinion. If you like Steam, use it. ;)

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Riccars
Riccars

God speed you reciprocal gilded fowls.

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GoldhawkInteractive Author
GoldhawkInteractive

Anyone who has bought the game will get a Steam key on release. Steam don't really do the whole alpha-funding thing, they'll only take the final game when complete.

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Expack
Expack

True, but if your game has Steamworks integration, public betas are an option (see Steampowered.com ).

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HeavyMetalNuts
HeavyMetalNuts

2 months behind ...thats nothing ....we waited ten years for duke nuke em .........Keep up the great work guys looking forwade to playing the beta ............Oh and This games 10x better than duke puke em

:)

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susanbickham
susanbickham

A punch in the ***** is better than Duke Nuke Em.

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Beanchilla
Beanchilla

I love the base tiles!! Looks great!

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sethfc
sethfc

Yeah 2 or 3 monthes behind is fine, We waited years for the next UFO game and what we got was subpar, you guys are really making a good game and I'm glad i bought it.

Good work and I cannot wait to play.

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_Graf74_
_Graf74_

I`m like Desure!!!
I have LOT off problems with Steam.

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ildamos
ildamos

You've improved the graphics! At first I wasn't so impressed with the visuals as the color scheme, for me, was a bit off but your recent pictures are impressive!

I was still planning to buy the game despite the colors, now I'm really sold! Will buy this game once it's finished.

While I have nothing against Desura, I hope you guys release it on Steam too.

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