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Sun, July 23

Milestone 1.25 Released! (Stability + Gameplay)

We've now released V1.25 off our Experimental branches onto our main branches for everyone to play. We want to say a big thanks to everyone that tested on our Experimental branches over the past couple of days!

As the current version on the standard branches was 1.23b, this changelog includes the fixes from both 1.24 and 1.25.

Gameplay Changes:

Item sell prices now increase / decrease correctly per item sold even if you sell in a stack, meaning there is no longer any benefit to hoarding items in your stores to sell all at once.

The items on escort UFOs are now also recovered if you win the crash site. This means you can now get the bonus Alloys and the Fighter Datacore items when you shoot down a UFO that has alien Fighter escorts.

Added a new settings option to disable Camera Edge Scrolling in the tactical combat (i.e. the camera moving if you put the mouse near the edge of the screen).


Fixed an issue where the game would fail to load up at all if the /My Documents/ directory was inaccessible for some reason.

Added support for command line override of the default save path: -gameSaveFolder="<PATH>"

Fixed a bug where the Cleaner Cell missions would not register when a unit carrying the VIP steps into a dropship for the first time, and did not automatically end the mission with victory like it should (although it did register if that soldier moved a second time within the dropship).

Fixed an issue where you could stack Extra Armour modules on the MARS if you were playing in a non-English version of the game.

Fixed an AI hang that could occur during the alien turn.

Attempted to fix the lockups some people were experiencing in the strategy section of the tutorial.

Fixed a crash that could occur when holding Shift or Ctrl when triggering a C4 detonator, as well as various other crashes related to using similar items with one or both of those keys held.

Fixed a crash that could occur if achievements were mis-set on Steam or GOG.

Fixed a couple of Kickstarter backers with invalid portraits who could crash the game if sent into tactical combat.

EDIT - we temporarily reverted back to 1.23b after releasing this version due to an issue with the save path, which caused the game not to find existing save games (see my comment below). This has now been resolved.

If you have any missing save games, please move the contents of the /Xenonauts 2 Editor/ folder into /Xenonauts 2/ in the directory "/My Documents/My Games/!
Post edited July 24, 2023 by Atlantico
Milestone 1.28b Released!

This is an update for the default Steam branches that contains all the fixes from versions 1.26 to 1.28 that were being tested on the Experimental build over the past few days.

This patch contains performance fixes, stability fixes and also some gameplay tweaks. The combined changelogs are shown below:

* Using shot preview move (Ctrl+Shift) no longer causes significant performance problems.
* Various smaller performance updates to both strategy and tactical layer (we'll be looking at load times shortly).
* Added a "mission briefing" button to the Geoscape info panel for a tactical mission, which allows you to see the tactical mission briefing on the strategy layer before you equip your troops.
* Cleaner SMGs and Cleaner Accelerated Rifles are now recoverable and usable (by popular demand).
* The intro cinematic and the game mechanic popups are now enabled at the start of each campaign, regardless of whether the tutorial is enabled or not.
* Xenonaut Sentry Guns can now open doors, but are unable to crush objects.
* Reduced the spawn rate of Cleaner anomalies at the start of the game.
* Tooltips have been added for the various stat columns on the Soldier Recruitment panel.
* Snowmobiles should now explode when destroyed.
* Stalker Stealth Armour now displays as Gas Immune in Xenopedia.
* When hovering the cursor over the base icons in the top right, the base name is now displayed instantly rather than after a short delay.
* When hovering the cursor over a soldier in the vertical list on the dropship soldier arrangement screen, the popup showing their face / equipment is now show instantly rather than after a short delay.

Key Fixes:
* Fixed a bug where the day 180 "Content Complete" popup was not being shown, and the game loss conditions were not triggering if you lost enough regions.
* Fixed a crash that could occur if you tried to begin a crash site mission when there was a wreckage site also present on the Geoscape.
* Fixed a bug that could cause multiple popups to spawn when intercepting UFOs or sending a dropship to a tactical mission. In both cases this could cause crashes.
* Fixed a crash that could sometimes occur during the alien turn if the aliens were using hovering units like Servitors.
* Fixed two rare crashes that could occur in the Soldier Equip pool due to corrupted Kickstarter backer soldiers.
* Fixed a rare crash that could occur if you built over 50 planes.

General Fixes:
* It's no longer possible to find undiscovered Cleaner Cells / Bases / etc by clicking on a UFO or mission that has spawned near to where they are hidden.
* Fixed grenades / aircraft missiles not properly upgrading if you skip the Alenium project and go straight for Fusion (sadly I don't think this fixes existing campaigns though)
* Aircraft will now start to immediately repair Armour after being upgraded.
* Fixed the tactical soldier inventory incorrectly charging TU for you to pick an item up and then put it back in the same spot.
* Fixed the tactical soldier inventory incorrectly forgetting to charge TU if you moved the same item multiple times.
* TU costs for abilities are now rounded up rather than down. This fixed some odd situations where it was occasionally better to have fewer TU.
* It should no longer be possible to use a jetpack to fly between rooms in the Alien Base, or to jetpack through the roof of the Dragonfly dropship.
* Fixed an issue where it was not possible to redirect a dropship in flight to a landed UFO site.
* MARS vehicles now correctly display their names in the tactical combat.
* Disabled the day 300 Orbital Bombardment research report (which wasn't supposed to be in the game).
* Psyon VIP on Cleaner Cell missions no longer reports recovering both a Stunned Psyon and a Cleaner VIP if captured alive.
* Stalker Stealth Armour no longer shows the hair of soldiers floating inside their helmet.
* Dead Cyberdrones should no longer appear to be alive again after loading a save.
* Fixed some terrain objects in the Xenonaut base showing a bright pink error texture when destroyed.
* Fixed the Boreal sawmill building roofs so they correctly disappear if destroyed.
* Fixed typos in the strategy tutorial, Frag Grenade tooltip, and Ballistic Weapons and Fighter Datacore research text.
* Fixed the Engineering recruit panel having tooltips referring to scientists instead of engineers.
* Fixed a text overflow issue in the soldier memorial screen.
* Cleaner ballistic rifles no longer have an additional 5-round burst.
* Bomber UFO no longer incorrectly referred to as "medum-size" in Xenopedia.
* HEVY now displays its damage type as Thermal on tooltips.
* Tactical Inventory no longer incorrectly refers to the Tactical Vest as the Belt.
* Rush replace on aircraft now correctly costs the listed amount of money.
* Fixed an issue where you could drag any type of ammo onto any weapon on the Soldier Equip screen and it would accept it.
* Fixed some Xenopedia / tooltip typos.
Brofist for this. Looking forward to these updates getting posted to the offline downloaders.
Xenonauts 2 - July 2023 Update!

We intend to post monthly updates on our progress on Xenonauts 2 to keep our community in the loop about what we've been working on here at Goldhawk Interactive.

Obviously the big news this month has been our Early Access launch two weeks ago, which has been a great success. Over 40,000 people have supported the project by purchasing a copy of the game, and we're hugely grateful to everyone who has done so.

Critical Bugs & Performance Fixes:
We've spent almost all our time this month fixing "critical issues" with the game. Broadly speaking there's three categories of these issues - crashes, performance problems, and frustrating gameplay bugs.

We've been working a lot of hours recently and have made good headway with these fixes, releasing 1.28b last Friday which addressed many of the worst bugs and performance issues. The sheer number of helpful people in the community willing to provide detailed bug reports really helped with this, so thanks to anyone that did so!

We'll shortly be releasing 1.29 onto the Experimental branches which fixes the memory leak that tanks performance in long play sessions, as well as several other quite irritating gameplay bugs. It also contains a small balance patch to make the game a bit more forgiving on the easier difficulty settings. Assuming no stability issues are found, this should make its way onto the standard branches by the weekend.

Mission Timers & Loading Times:
In the next few days we are planning to start work on adding a difficulty settings option that allows you to tweak the mission timers to your preference (this will include the option to disable the timers entirely).

At the same time we'll also be doing a first pass on optimising the loading times, as we know slow load times are an issue for a lot of players (although the memory leak being fixed in 1.29 will help with this too).

Milestone 2:
We're then planning to spend the remainder of the month working on Milestone 2. This will be the first major update for the game and it will involve changes to the campaign, which unfortunately means it will break save games (although people can continue to play their Milestone 1 campaigns on the Legacy branches if they want).

We'll be focusing Milestone 2 on the air combat balance and the pacing issues in the existing campaign. This is likely to extend the playable time beyond 180 days but it will not yet introduce additional UFO types to the game - it's more likely that we'll be expanding the role of the Cleaners at the start of the game instead.

This should give us a chance to act upon the feedback that the community has provided over the past couple of weeks, while allowing the programmers to focus their time on bugfixes and usability improvements. If all goes well the first Milestone 2 build will arrive on the Experimental branch in the next two or three weeks.

Expanding the Team:
The final thing to mention is that the income from our Early Access launch means we now have the opportunity to expand our team, which should speed up development and help us create a higher-quality game.

The first positions we're looking to fill are that of a Level Designer and a Gameplay Programmer. I've linked the posts below if anyone is potentially interested - we always look favourably on candidates who are familiar with our game!

— Level Designer (Remote)
— Gameplay Programmer (Remote)

Overall, July was a great month for the project. Although it has been a very intense few months for us, it's been great to see people playing and enjoying Xenonauts 2 and we're keen to keep improving the game!
Milestone 1.29 Stable Released!

Although we are busily working on our next major update (Milestone 2) we are also continuing to patch and improve the currently available version of Xenonauts 2.

We have just released Milestone 1.29d onto our standard branches after a week of testing on the Experimental branches, while Milestone 1.30 will shortly be rolled onto the Experimental branch to begin testing the next batch of fixes (which will include the mission timer duration setting, and a fix for grenades sometimes missing even at 100% hit chance).

The full changelog for 1.29 is attached below!

1.29 Gameplay / Balance Changes:

— It is now possible to redirect aircraft squadrons that are already in flight via the Launch Aircraft panel (this also allows you to split aircraft out of airborne squadrons).
— Updated the AI so it will only perform attacks on units that an alien unit has seen that turn, as it was apparently previously ignoring the vision rules. This could lead to some rather unfair situations where enemies were shooting beyond vision range or throwing grenades over walls at units they had never seen.
— Cleaner units reduced in Accuracy from 65 down to 55 for the suited guys (Agents) and 60 for the hazmat guys (Soldiers).
— Accuracy for enemies on Recruit difficulty has been dropped from 85% of normal values down to 80% of normal values.
— Stun Gun has been buffed a little - it now does slightly more Stun Damage, has improved accuracy and holds 4 shots rather than 3.
— UFO Armour and Health are now shown at maximum zoom level in the air combat.
— Updated a number of translation languages files to incorporate various changes and fixes.
— Pressing Esc on the soldier memorial screen now correctly returns you to the Geoscape.

1.29 Bugfixes:

— Fixed a couple of memory leaks that triggered each time you saved the game.
— Fixed players being unable to demolish base structures.
— Actually fixed the Geoscape multi-select dialog revealing hidden missions like the Cleaner Base.
— Fixed the opening cutscene and several buttons on the tactical UI ignoring the settings volume sliders.
— Fixed units being able to shoot through floor tiles in the Alien Base maps if they had taken damage.
— Fixed a calculation issue that was causing the game to generate female soldiers at a higher rate than intended.
— Fixed aircraft callsigns repeating before all available names had been exhausted.
— Fixed "War Machine" achievement triggering off the Exosuit, rather than the Colossus (which isn't yet in the game).
— Fixed one of the barn window types not correctly shattering.
— Achievements are now disabled during the tutorial.
— Servitor Wreckage is no longer incorrectly called Gun Drone Wreckage.
— Fixed various hitbox issues around the edges of the Geoscape regions so they now better match the highlighted areas.
Milestone 1.30 Stable Released!

This is an update for the default Steam version that contains all the fixes from the 1.30 versions which have been tested on the Experimental banch. It adds support for increasing or decreasing the duration of mission timers, and fixes the annoying bug where grenades sometimes miss even on a 100% hit chance throw.

If you are experiencing the "stuck UFO" crash (which is an alien base Resupply mission) then this patch does not fix that issue - but if you switch to our Experimental branch, our newest patch (1.31) does include that fix and should allow you to continue playing.

Gameplay / Balance Changes:

— Added a campaign difficulty option that allows you to modify the mission duration / reinforcement timers (this doesn't yet update the numbers in the mission briefing text).
— Added new artwork for Cleaner Origins, Wraith Interrogation and Tissue Regeneration research projects.
— Terror missions now grant -10 Panic reduction if you win.
— The cost text for a project on the Engineering screen now displays in red if you lack the funds to afford it.
— Flares no longer become far louder if you have more than one on-screen at the same time.
— Added proper silhouette images for all the weapons for use in the soldier minitabs at the top of the tactical UI.
— You can no longer throw grenades into UFOs through their roof.


— Fixed the issue where grenades could miss even when showing 100% hit chance.
— Fixed air combat autoresolve failing to fire torpedoes at UFOs with escorts and therefore giving a much worse result than the manual air combat does in those instances.
— Fixed a bug where all Accelerated Rifles would turn into Cleaner Accelerated Rifles if you recovered one and were playing in a non-English language.
— Fixed soldiers sometimes rotating to face the wrong direction when throwing a grenade.
Milestone 1.31 Stable Released!

This is a stability update for the default Steam branches that contains all the changes from the 1.31 versions which have been tested on the Experimental branch.

We've fast-tracked it off the Experimental branch because it contains fixes for several bugs people are encountering, the biggest of which are the "stuck" alien base resupply UFOs that are usually accompanied by a crash whenever you try to begin a tactical mission. It hopefully also properly fixes the bug where terrain objects do not always disappear when destroyed, allowing units to move / shoot through what appear to be solid objects.

If this update causes you issues for any reason, the previous version (1.30) is available on our Legacy branch.


* Fixed the crash that could occur after an alien base resupply UFO gets "stuck" on the Geoscape and you try to start a new tactical mission.
* Fixed a crash that could occur when starting air combat if the leader aircraft of a three-plane squadron had been split off and the remaining two planes attempted to start another combat.
* Hopefully fixed the "terrain not disappearing when destroyed" issue properly now. If you continue to encounter it then please let us know (it's a bit of a weird one!)
* Dropship auto-fill button now obeys the Vehicle Capacity rules for the dropship.
* Engineering Screen - the quantity arrows for the projects now update correctly if you add a new project and can no longer afford to add more quantity to existing projects.
* You no longer get a building complete notification for buildings that were being built in destroyed bases.
* If playing Iron Man, the game no longer always quits to Main Menu rather than giving you the option to quit to Desktop instead.
* The "Captured VIP" item in the base stores is now hidden, as it's a research trigger item (and you still also get the Captured Psyon item).
* Fixed the region highlight outline for the Soviet Russia region being misaligned in some cases.
* Fixed the newlines in the "Base Destroyed" loss condition text.
* Fixed the game showing incorrect values in the Xenopedia for the MARS and Sentry Gun stats.
* Fixed the Cleaner SMG and Accelerated Rifles being equippable by vehicles.
* It's now possible to shoot through the glass doors in the desert trailer park houses.
* Pillars are now crushable (which means the MARS can move diagonally through fences).

Milestone 1.31d STABLE Released!

This is a very minor update which simply adds a little more guidance to the Cleaner Cell missions, as player feedback suggests people would appreciate more information before (and during) the mission.


* The description of the Cleaner Cell mission now makes it more obvious that this mission requires a well-equipped team of soldiers.
* The mission briefing and introductory conversation for the Cleaner Cell now highlights that the VIP is inside the "largest building".
Post edited August 28, 2023 by Atlantico
Milestone 1.32 STABLE Released!

I'll shortly be posting our development update for last month in which we explain our plans for Milestone 2, but we're continuing to patch and improve the existing version of the game while we work on our next update!

This update contains all the fixes from the 1.32 versions we've been testing on the Experimental branch over the past week or so.

Usability Improvements:

* Quantity buttons in various parts of the game (Base Stores, Engineering, etc) now increase in quantity automatically if you press and hold them, rather than you having to click them every time.
* Clicking the soldier minitabs at the top of the screen now correctly shows the position of the unit, even if they are unconscious.

Balance Changes:

* Melee weapons no longer ignore combat shields.
* Alenium Generator upgrade project now costs $200k instead of $500k
* The construction time of all upgraded base structures is now the same as the basic version of the structure.
* Updated the move cost of several types of movement so soldiers choose more logical paths through the map:
* Opening doors now costs 4TU rather than 3TU
* Vaulting costs 5TU rather than 4TU
* All jetpack movement costs +1TU per tile, so units will land and walk rather than flying along at ground level

Bugfixes / Other Changes:

* Fixed a rare crash that could occur if you tried to overwrite an existing save game.
* Fixed a crash that could occur when rebinding keys in a non-English language.
* Fixed another crash that could occur when you tried to initiate air combat if you had merged two airborne squadrons together using the Launch Aircraft panel.
* Fixed Flashbangs (and other types of grenade) sometimes incorrectly causing suppression through floors / ceilings.
* Fixed an issue we introduced recently where Ctrl "force fire" for weapons would frequently not respond to mouse clicks.
* Fixed rotating when shooting incorrectly not costing TU on Veteran and Commander difficulties.
* Fixed soldiers not training Strength in the Training Room.
* Fixed upgrading a building reseting the construction time of any buildings of that type currently under construction.
* Fixed soldier inventory Time Unit move costs not working properly. This system has now been rewritten so it should now always provide the correct cost (let us know if not).
* Fixed an ordering issue when tabbing through soldiers in the tactical combat which would place soldier 10 at the very end of the soldier list.
* Fixed the "stores full" check that blocks engineering work not triggering correctly if you built or demolished a Storeroom. It will now detect both of these actions correctly.
* Fixed interactive consoles on Cleaner missions showing the gold interactive shader after loading a save, even if they'd already been interacted with.
* Destroyed bases no longer count towards the base limit, which means players are no longer inexplicably blocked from building a sixth base if they lose one during a campaign.
Xenonauts 2 August Development Update!

August was a busy month for us here at Goldhawk, and we've spent it hard at work improving Xenonauts 2! Here's what we've been up to over the past four weeks.

New Versions:

Last month we continued to patch and improve our existing build (Milestone 1), culminating in us releasing v1.32 onto the standard Steam branches and v1.33 onto the Experimental branch today. We've fixed a lot of crashes and other bugs in that time, but also addressed wider issues like adding options to change the duration of timed missions and fixing the memory leaks affecting performance.

We've also begun working on our next major update, Milestone 2. A very early build of this is available on our new "Prototype" branch, and if you want to give thoughts on our changes then please read this (long) post which explains what we're trying to achieve and how you can access the build. Early feedback is always appreciated!

Finally, I want to talk briefly about loading times. We did investigate these last month but any substantial improvement to load times would involve changing the format of the save, which would break existing saved games. We'll therefore be working on load times this month as part of our work on Milestone 2 (as saves from Milestone 1 will be incompatible with Milestone 2 anyway).

Expanding the Team:

Part of the reason for our relatively slow progress on Milestone 2 has been the expansion of our team over the past couple of weeks. Our small team size has left us in a situation where we've collected a lot of useful gameplay improvements / suggestions and bug reports from the community since release, but we've only been able to tackle the most urgent of these.

Given we already work long hours, the only way to make a serious dent in the task lists was to get more manpower. We've therefore hired another full-time programmer (an old friend that worked with us on the original Xenonauts) plus two highly experienced part-time programmers to help out. Many thanks to anyone that applied for the position after reading our last update - we really appreciated so many enthusiastic people reaching out!

Furthermore, we've also brought on some new people to help with QA, game design and level design. You should start to see new maps appearing this month, and we are now aiming to reply to all community bug reports on a daily basis.

Overall, this should dramatically increase the speed of our work over the coming months. However, the hiring process sucking time away from other tasks is why Milestone 2 has ended up a bit behind schedule.

Modding Tools:

Another thing we worked on last month is the mod loader and Steam Workshop integration for Xenonauts 2, which is now nearly complete. However, to make modding viable we also need a standalone tool to allow users to easily edit the game files.

We've already done the backend work for this tool, so the remaining task is to create a GUI that hooks into this and displays the information in a sensible way - but as the dev team is focused on the game itself right now, it'll probably be a few months before we could start work on that.

However, it seems like there is some interest among our playerbase for creating an open-source community mod tool that does exactly this, and we're looking at how we as developers might be able to support that (as it would be a win-win for everyone). If you're potentially interested in contributing, there is more information in this thread.

That's everything for this development update. As always, thanks for reading and we'll be writing another update once September is over!
Milestone 1.33 Stable released!

This update includes all the fixes from 1.33 that were tested on the Experimental branches over the past week or two. This should be the last update for Milestone 1 as all future fixes, gameplay changes and performance improvements are now being rolled into our upcoming Milestone 2 update.


* Fixed a crash that would occur if you try to detonate C4 that had already been placed on the ground in a loaded save game.
* Fixed an issue in the tutorial where a soldier did not have enough TU to fire their shotgun a second time.
* Fixed an issue where missiles would sometimes not fire in air combat if you had activated the Afterburner at the start of the battle.
* Game no longer creates an Iron Man save when exiting the game (even if you're not playing Iron Man).
* Swapping weapons on the Soldier Equip screen now also swaps out the associated ammo for these weapons.
* Tooltips are now dismissed when you start dragging an item (e.g. on the soldier equip screen).
* Camera now correctly moves up / down when watching an AI unit climbing a ladder during the alien turn.
* Quantum Array now correctly shows the additional information on visible UFOs immediately after loading a save.
* Units attempting to shoot adjacent walls should no longer contort themselves like a pretzel to do so.
* Cleaner Accelerated Rifle no longer drops to 0% Accuracy as soon as it goes beyond maximum range, unlike other weapons.
* C4 should no longer show 0/0 ammo.
* Fixed issues with the following achievements, which should now be possible to earn:
— First Contact
— Counterfire
— Unfriendly Fire
— Future Warfare
Xenonauts 2 September Development Update!

September is over and it's time for our monthly development update. This month we've largely been working on Milestone 2, which is taking a while to arrive because it has slowly morphed into a rather substantial update!

However, we did release several early test builds of Milestone 2 on our Prototype branches this month so we could gather early community feedback on our ideas. The build is now shaping up nicely and we're expecting to move it over to the Experimental branches in the next week or two, where we'll continue to fix bugs and polish it until it's ready for general release.

Artist Recruitment

Before I start talking about the new features, I quickly want to mention that Goldhawk is hiring a couple of additional 3D artists for Xenonauts 2. If you are potentially interested in joining our team as an Environment Artist or a Character Artist / Animator, please check out the posts below!

Recruitment - 3D Environment Artist (Remote, full-time / part-time)
Recruitment - 3D Character Artist / Animator (Remote, full-time / part time)

New Missions & Early Game Update

Two common issues raised in player feedback about the Early Access launch version of Xenonauts 2 were that the pacing of the campaign could be improved, and the role of the Cleaners (and their storyline) could be expanded.

We therefore added quite a lot of new content to the opening section of the game in Milestone 2. There's now more Cleaner missions in the early game, including three new mission types - Rescue Soldiers, Convoy Ambush, and Rescue VIP - and the process of locating the Cleaner HQ has become more organic. Now you gain progress toward the HQ location simply by winning the Cleaner missions that spawn on the map, with extra progress earned if you capture prisoners for interrogation or if you recover optional Cleaner Data from the map.

I've also rewritten the dialogue around the tutorial and opening section to make the plot more interesting (and do a better job of involving the Cleaners), and I'll be continuing this process while Milestone 2 is on the Experimental branch.

New armour illustrations

Soldier Armour - Heavy / Light Variants

We playtested a number of changes to soldier armour in the prototype builds, but the only improvement we decided to keep was creating Light and Heavy variants of each type of soldier armour. This replaces the existing ballistic plates modules from Milestone 1 with a checkbox that toggles between these heavy / light variants.

Heavy armour simply weighs more, but offers greater protection that the lighter variant. This gives the player a lot more flexibility, and avoids the situation where your newly researched advanced armour is actually worthless because it's too heavy for many of your soldiers to use (as they can just use it in the lightweight configuration if needed). Feedback so far seems to suggest players consider this a big improvement over what we had before.

New interceptor weight system illustration

Interceptor Weight System / Air Combat Rebalance

We've also taken a look at the air combat in Milestone 2. The biggest change is to how aircraft equipment works, as aircraft slots can now hold any type of item / weapon but each aircraft has an overall weight limit that the equipment loadout must stay below. We've also added a fuel pod item that boosts the aircraft range, and an armour plating item that boosts survivability. The UI for this system still needs work, but overall it feels pretty solid already.

Some work has also been done on the UFOs themselves. We've introduced a new early-game unmanned UFO called the Probe, which is much weaker than the Scout and initially serves as a basic introduction to air combat before being used as the first type of escort craft for larger UFOs (as Fighter UFOs are too deadly to use as escorts early on). The existing UFOs have also been rebalanced to try and make them more distinct from one another.

New Maps

Our new level designers started work in September, and their first task was to address the lack of UFO crash site maps in the Dockyard biome. We've now got five new maps to support this, and we're working on expanding the number of Jungle maps too. After that, we'll get to work creating more maps for the new mission types added in Milestone 2.

(Community) Mod Tools

We've also continued to develop the foundations for modding. We've finished implementing the mod management systems, and the "mods" panel is now accessible from the Main Menu screen in Milestone 2. Unfortunately the modding tools themselves require more work at our end than we expected, so we're still in the process of planning that out. We're making steady progress, though, and the game should have a solid set of modding tools in place before launch.

Thanks for reading, and I'll write another progress update at the end of the month!
Xenonauts 2 October Development Update!

It's time for our regular Xenonauts 2 development update. Here's what the development team has been busy with this month!

Milestone 2
Our main focus this month has been Milestone 2, which is undergoing testing on the Experimental branches. This is now feature complete - we're concentrating on bugfixes and balance changes while we wait for a few more maps / art assets / research texts to be completed. We're expecting to be able to release it onto the default Steam branch a couple of weeks from now, about halfway through November.

Milestone 2 contains a lot of updates, including several new types of tactical mission, a new UFO type, and some significant changes to the early part of the campaign to expand the role of the Cleaners (there's more details about this in our previous development update).

Air Combat Rebalance
One thing worth mentioning in more detail is our rework of the air combat. We've implemented a more freeform equipment system for Xenonaut aircraft and then rebalanced the air combat itself so it rewards skillfully maneuvering your aircraft in a similar way to the original Xenonauts, while also trying to remove a few of the more abusable tactics (e.g. it's no longer possible to continually use evasive roll to circle-strafe around an enemy).

This means the overall balancing pass has touched almost every part of air combat. We've tried to create distinct identities for all the different types of weapons you can fit on your interceptors, make the different UFOs pose different challenges to the player, and added some new UFO weapons and aircraft equipment to increase variety.

Of course, many people prefer to simply autoresolve the air combat - and this is one of the ongoing balance issues we're aware of in Milestone 2. Making the game playable for people who only use autoresolve has led to the air combat being a little too easy for people who use only manual autoresolve, so we're going to be working to fix that over the next week or two.

AI Improvements
We've also started upgrading the AI this month. We begun by focusing on the civilian AI, as they currently don't behave in a very realistic way - as MANY players have noticed! I'm not sure if we'll have a patch ready for Milestone 2, but if not then we should have noticeable improvements in place for Milestone 3.

Additionally, many of the issues we've found with the civilian AI were caused by problems with the general AI model - which means fixing them will make the aliens a bit smarter too!

Loading Times & Unity Upgrade
Another thing we've been actively working on is improving loading times, with the eventual goal of reducing load times by roughly 50%. The good news is that we're making steady progress here, but the bad news is that players are unlikely to see any improvements until Milestone 3.

This month we experimented with stripping some further data out of our saved game format and found this sped up loading times by 25%-30% on our current (very outdated) version of Unity. However, when we tested this change in a more modern version of Unity, we found something interesting: load times were sped up by 25%-30% even if we disabled our change. It turns out recent versions of Unity have optimised that part of their loading process already.

As upgrading Unity will also bring a lot of other improvements to the game (e.g. better performance, proper support for borderless window mode, etc), we're planning to do that as part of our plans for Milestone 3. In the meantime, we're working on multithreading as a way to deliver the remaining ~25% loading time reduction.

Although there's plenty of smaller things I could talk about, I'll end things here. I think we've had a productive month overall, and personally I've particularly enjoyed seeing progress towards fixing some of the largest remaining problems raised by players at launch (slow loading times, bad civilian AI, the air combat needing more work).

As always, thanks for reading - I'll write another post next month!
Milestone 2 Update Released!

Our first major Early Access update to Xenonauts 2 has now officially been released - please be aware that this update breaks existing save games, but if you want to keep playing your existing campaigns please switch to our Legacy branches where you can keep playing Milestone 1 (instructions on how to do so here.)

We're going to be watching the Steam forums carefully for feedback and bug reports, so please let us know if you encounter any bugs or other problems!

As we've made a LOT of changes to the game in this update, I'll start by highlighting the most important improvements here with a little developer commentary (the full changelog is further down).
Key Changes:

Cleaner / Early Mission Rework:

A lot of players mentioned that the pacing in Milestone 1 felt off. Many people liked the addition of the Cleaners, but felt they were barely involved in the game. They didn't feel threatening, and their whole storyline could be completed in as little as two or three missions. This contributed to an overall feeling of being rushed through the game content.

We've extended the playable time to 200 days by adding additional content to the beginning of the game. Most of this is related to the Cleaners, with a number of extra tactical missions and mission types being added to make the most of the unique opportunities provided by having an alien-aligned human faction in the game.

The storyline of the game has been rewritten to reflect this. We've returned the player to being a silent protaganist, and introduced The General (the predecessor of the Commander) as antagonistic character that appears in the tutorial and the first mission. The early game now has a little more narrative than it did previously, and it's worth replaying the tutorial if you're interested in the lore.

The entirely new mission types include Rescue Soldiers, Convoy Ambush and Rescue VIP, but in general we've created a larger pool of Cleaner missions (with more map variants) that can be randomly chosen. You'll now spend more time fighting the Cleaners, and there should be enough variety that it does not become boring or repetitive!

Panic & Funding Rebalance:

On harder difficulty settings, Milestone 1 had an issue where the player was forced to spend a large amount of their income building new bases and aircraft right from the very beginning of the game - otherwise Panic would rapidly get out of control, either causing you to lose the game directly or causing your funding to drop significantly. There was therefore only one "correct" way to play the strategy layer, which made the game less fun.

We've made several changes that give players more initial flexibility. Panic now drops by 10% per region at the end of each month, and funding is now no longer affected by Panic level (provided you haven't lost the region). Of course, expanding early is still a very strong strategy - but you can now experiment with other options too.

Probe UFO:

As the "Cleaner phase" at the start of the game is now quite a lot longer, we had to push back the point where the Scout UFO began to spawn. This meant we needed to add a new UFO to the early game that didn't produce crash sites or unlock too much advanced technology.

The new unmanned Probe UFO appears in the very early stages of the game. This small UFO does not create crash sites, but instead creates wreckage that awards a small amount of Alloys when shot down. Because it is relatively weak, we also use it as an early-game escort craft once larger UFOs start to appear.

Aircraft Payload System & Air Combat:

In Xenonauts 2 we want the aircraft equipment loadouts to be more varied and flexible than they were in Xenonauts 1, giving the player more space to customise their aircraft to fight in different ways.

Interceptors no longer have fixed weapon slots that can only take particular types of weapons. Instead, they can now carry a much wider variety of weapons and equipment - but they have to respect a total Payload limit (i.e. equipment weight).

There's also been a significant amount of balancing work done on the air combat itself, making the difficulty curve of the invasion fairer and making the air combat battles themselves more engaging.

"Heavy" Soldier Armour Variants:

One of the less cool things in Milestone 1 was that you could research advanced new armour types and then discover that many of your soldiers just weren't strong enough to use it (the Guardian was the worst offender here). Conversely, stronger soldiers had little opportunity to carry heavier armour beyond equipping the armour plate module (which filled backpack space).

Each type of soldier armour in the game now has a "heavy" variant that is enabled by a checkbox. This provides extra armour, but also adds extra weight (and usually reduces Accuracy slightly). This gives the player more choice when equipping their soldiers, and allowed us to consolidate the starting Tactical Suit / Defender Armour into a single item.

Civilian AI Improvements:

Players frequently complained about how incredibly dumb / suicidal the civilians were in Milestone 1, so we decided to fix this.

We fixed several bugs that were interfering with the AI (which should make all AI units a bit more effective) and then we worked on the civilian AI specifically, to make them behave in a more realistic manner. This work also lays the foundations for upgrades to the alien AI in Milestone 3.

CHANGELOG - Gameplay Changes:


* Cash can now go negative on the strategy layer due to upkeep / wage costs. If you have negative funds after receiving your monthly income for two consecutive months, you lose the game.
* Funding is no longer dependent on Panic level (unless the region is actually lost).
* The starting base has one less Hangar and one less Angel interceptor.
* Aircraft are slightly more expensive to build, and you now have to pay for their equipment items indvidually.
* Cost for constructing new bases has been reduced from $750k to $500k.
* Soldier cost increased from $10k to $20k.
* Upkeep on base structures and aircraft increased by 50%.
* Upkeep costs for upgraded buildings (e.g. Alenium Generators) reduced to match those of their basic equivalent.
* Slightly updated the construction cost and sell prices of all manufactured soldier weapons. Shotguns and Rifles are now slightly cheaper, Gauss weapons are more expensive, and Lasers & Gauss weapons have higher starting sale prices.

Alien Invasion:

* Panic now falls by 10% of the current total in each region at the end of the month.
* Shooting down a UFO now reduces Panic by -1, rather than -2.
* The Cleaner Base no longer continually spawns Panic-raising anomalies on the Geoscape until destroyed. Instead, the Cleaners generate regular tactical missions on the Geoscape that will raise Panic if you do not complete them (these stop when the Cleaner Base is destroyed).
* Most alien activity now occurs a couple of weeks later than it did in Milestone 1, as this makes space for the extra Cleaner missions. There's a couple of extra early-game research projects to fill this space.
* The new Probe UFO is the first type of UFO to spawn. It is unmanned and so does not generate crash sites, and is weak enough that even a basic Angel can take it down relatively easily. Because the player only starts with one Angel and missiles / torpedoes now need to be researched, Scout UFOs are quite a lot more dangerous than they were in Milestone 1.

Air Combat:

* All aircraft equipment now has to be built individually for your aircraft, rather than being unlocked as a global upgrade.
* Most weapon damage values have been changed to take into account the new slot system on the interceptors.
* Updated the stats on most UFOs and updated their weapon loadouts, including adding a new "hunter-killer missile" weapon to some types of UFO.
* Missiles and Torpedoes are no longer starting items and need to be researched.
* Added two new equippable items for aircraft - Armour and Fuel Pods.
* The UFO health balancing system that would occur based on the number of aircraft in your squadron has now been disabled, as it seemed too easy to exploit.
* Damage dealt by UFOs is now modified by the difficulty setting, ranging from 80% of normal on Recruit to 120% of normal on Commander.
* The autoresolve damage of certain weapons is now reduced against targets that can evasive roll, as the autoresolve formula could generate some strange results where powerful but easily dodged weapons were involved.
* All UFOs now use a dynamic battlefield in the air combat, where it moves based on the position of the main UFO. This prevents them flying off the map entirely.
* When an interceptor runs out of fuel and chooses to retreat from combat, it now does the updated Retreat action where it escapes after 3 seconds (rather than the old retreat action where they need to fly to the edge of the map).

Post edited 4 days ago by Atlantico
Heavy Armour:

* All soldier armours now have a "Heavy Armour" checkbox that increases the protection offered at the cost of additional weight and a small Accuracy reduction.
* Defender Armour has been removed, as it is now the heavy variant of the starting Tactical Armour.
* Armour Plate modules have been removed, as this new system makes them redundant.

Tech Tree:

* Added a number of new projects related to the new content in this patch.
* All research projects should now have research text, and various existing projects have been edited to reflect the updated story.
* Autopsies are no longer autocomplete missions, and can be researched after completing Xenobiology.
* Completing an autopsy research unlocks "Corpse Analysis" engineering projects for that alien species. This consumes corpses to provide a 10% and eventually a 20% damage bonus against that type of alien.
* Assault Shield upgrade project has been moved earlier in the tech tree, and now unlocks at a similar time to Guardian armour.

Weapons & Equipment:

* Modules can now be moved around inside the backpack, and dropped / picked up from the ground in battle.
* Ammo loaded into weapons now has weight. We have therefore also reduced the weight of all weapons by roughly the weight of their default ammo clip.
* Rebreather module added as a starting item. This makes units smoke immune.
* Stun Baton is now a starting item.
* Stun Baton and Combat Knife are now 3x1 items rather than 3x2.
* Machinegun ammo is now 2x1 rather than 1x1.
* Machineguns now require 51% TU to fire the 3-round burst, not 50%.
* HEVY now uses %-based fire modes, like all other weapon types.
* HEVY has been reduced in weight.
* HEVY grenades no longer inflict reduced damage if they miss the target and detonate beyond the maximum range of the gun.
* HEVY Smoke Rounds no longer destroy enemy armour.
* Added unique artwork for the HEVY Alenium / Fusion grenades.
* Added unique artwork for all the different Gauss weapon ammo magazines

Tactical Combat:

* Civilian AI has been updated to make them less suicidal.
* Crouching now provides a 10% Accuracy bonus, but only 10% defensive bonus (down from 20%).
* Units have their Accuracy reduced by 0.25% for each 1% of missing Health. This also includes soldiers who are sent into battle not fully healed!
* Stun Damage now heals more quickly (the greater of 25% of current Stun HP, or 5 HP).
* On Xenonaut Base Defence missions, the player is now given vision on all alien units after 10 turns.
* Time Units costs for fire modes now have a minimum of 1 Time Unit, as hugely overloaded soldiers were able to fire their weapons an unlimited number of times.
* Time Units are no longer refunded if an overweight soldier drops an item to reduce their TU penalty, as this permitted an exploit where units could use multiple 51%+ TU actions per turn. However, overweight TU penalties are only applied when you close the inventory screen so you're free to shuffle items about as long as the weight is at acceptable limits when you close the screen.
* Fleeing units now drop their Secondary weapon in addition to their Primary.
* Berserking will now always choose a random inanimate object as a target if no alien is nearby, and the soldier may recieve some bonus TU that allows them to fire more than normal if they berserk.
* Laser weapons now have significantly reduced recoil compared to kinetic weapons for flavour reasons.
* Grenades now always damage shields if the unit carring the shield is in the blast radius.
* Shields will offer protection from grenade damage, but only if they're facing towards the tile where the grenade exploded.
* Jetpack move costs have been increased slightly, which means soldiers will now only use the jetpack if they cannot walk the path instead.
* Increased the damage multiplier required to gib units with a normal attack from 2x their maximum health to 2.5x their max health.
* Accuracy of Rifle burst fire modes has been increased from 40 to 45.

Tactical Aliens:

* Secton Psionic Triangulation now triggers when Sectons are near Psyons, rather than near other Sectons. This means they're less deadly if you encounter them in a group in early missions but equally threatening once Psyons start appearing.
* All Cleaner units have lost -5 Accuracy and -10 Time Units, as their stats were similar (and occasionally stronger) than those of the aliens.
* Reapers now have 70TU (from 60) and 75 Reflexes (from 50).
* Sebillian Bravery increased to 70 (from 50).
* Wraith Strength reduced to 55 (from 60) and Bravery increased to 60 (from 50).
* Servitor weapon has been reduced from 70 Suppression to 30 Suppression.
* Increased alien HP to counterbalance the corpse analysis damage increase. Early-game aliens have no increase, mid-game aliens get +10% HP, and late-game aliens get +20% HP.

Usability / Visual Changes:


* The icon for the Skyhawk dropship has been updated so it doesn't look like it is flying backwards.
* Mission briefings now accurately display the turn limits / reinforcement timers for timed missions, even when this value is modified by the difficulty setting.
* If you have multiple soldiers selected on the Soldier screen, clicking either the Loadout dropdown or Role dropdown will attempt to assign the new value to all selected soldiers.
* The soldier portrait is now shown on hover on the Soldier screen soldier list.
* On the Soldier Equip screen, if you drag an item out of a slot and drop it into empty space, it now disappears and returns to the base stores rather than snapping back to its previous location.
* The "Items Arrived" popup will now split the list by base if items simultaneously arrive at multiple bases.
* The Damage value for weapons on their tooltip is now modified by the ammo loaded (e.g. the HEVY shows 0 damage if loaded with smoke rounds).
* The equipment selection menus on the Aircraft screen have been updated so they size themselves dynamically, which means they can display more weapons without having issues.
* The "Commence Research" button on the Research screen is now visually disabled if you have no research available.
* There's now a +5 Turn mission timer option for people who wanted more than +3 but less than +99.

Tactical Soldier Inventory:

* You can now scroll through soldiers using the left / right arrows, or by pressing the number hotkeys.
* Scrolling past a vehicle without an inventory (e.g. MARS) now simply skips past it, rather than closing the inventory screen.
* Added a "Reset Item Moves" button that resets all item moves and refunds all TU spent.
* Added a new line that shows the current TU of the soldier.
* Improved the way items stack when dropped on the ground (usually by a dead combatant).

Post edited 4 days ago by Atlantico

* Added a 3D model for a military officer. One variant of this is used for The General in the ATLAS Base mission, while another is used for the Cleaner Leaders on VIP Elimination missions.
* Units will now automatically path to the intended location if using a melee weapon or placing C4 from more than one tile away.
* Updated the Combat Shield animations so it is held straight (especially when crouching).
* Updated the human Pistol animations, making it more obvious that the unit is armed with a pistol rather than being unarmed.
* Move paths for jetpack-equipped soldiers now display properly.
* Fixed various issues with the TU reserve system (which can be accessed by right-clicking the various weapon fire modes).
* The orange TU reserve overlay is now shown on the soldier minitabs at the top of the screen when TU are being reserved by a soldier.
* Combat Shields now play an appropriate impact sound if hit by enemy fire, and a destruction sound if destroyed. They also play a spark visuel effect if they absorb all the damage, rather than a blood splatter.
* C4 now shows its blast radius once laid if you hover over the detonator, and will display a "Are you sure?" popup if you try to detonate it with a unit in the blast radius.
* Using Tab or Next Soldier to cycle through your soldiers now works correctly with soldier number 10 (who was previously being placed last).
* The combat camera zoom now switches between five preset distances, and the alt+scrollwheel zoom shortcut should now work correctly.
* The 3D models of dropped items are now placed within the tile to look like they are laying on the ground. Weapons in the hands of dead bodies are now also hidden (as those weapons are being shown as an item on the ground).
* Throwing a grenade through a window now shatters it.
* Healing stun damage with a medikit now displays "Stun: -X" rather than "Stun: X", as some people thought the medikit was causing stun damage.
* Fixed several visual issues with the Alenium Generator objects in the Xenonaut Base defence missions.


Strategy / General:

* Fixed a cursor offset bug that could occur if you tried to switch Xenonauts 2 between multiple monitors with different screen resolutions.
* Fixed various issues with the following achievements: First Contact, Counterfire, Unfriendly Fire, Welcome To Earth, Future Warfare.
* Fixed surviving soldiers being labelled as "Wounded" rather than "Survived", and not showing a recovery time.
* Fixed a bug where you could go overcapacity when hiring scientists / engineers if you had space free at a different base.
* Fixed various visual issues with the hair / jaw of certain soldiers and the collars of certain types of armour.
* Removed the "do you want to save?" popup on quit if the player is playing Iron Man mode.
* Fixed an incorrect error message when trying to build the Gauss Blaster without completing Accelerated Cannon first.
* Fixed the visual highlight when hovering over the names of unassigned wounded soldiers.
* If you get the "You have some empty slots in the dropship!" message when trying to launch a dropship, clicking the Assign Soldiers button now leaves you on the assignment screen so you can do the assignment (previously it incorrectly used Auto-Fill and launched the dropship).
* Time estimates for research / engineering projects that are not in progress should now always be consistent, as previously they could change by up to an hour (depending if you were closer to the start or end of the current hour).
* Fixed a typo on the Xenonaut base defence mission briefing.

Tactical Combat:

* Fixed smoke and suppression damage incorrectly passing through undamaged solid walls or closed doors.
* Fixed Combat Shields not functioning correctly or displaying correctly if picked up off the ground.
* Fixed the Secton glowing eyes that indicate Psionic Triangulation being active not triggering correctly.
* Fixed aliens and humans being revealed if they are stunned when the player does not have line of sight on them.
* Fixed dead soldiers sometimes surviving even when the player has a 0% survival chance.
* Fixed moving items around the inventory incorrectly not deducting TU in some cases.
* Fixed units being able to shoot themselves when using Ctrl+Shift to preview move & shoot actions.
* Fixed various issues that would occur when you pick up and drop corpse items, as sometimes the game was not
properly reflecting the new location of the body (both visually and mechanically).
* Fixed units not playing their death animation correctly if they are stunned, then revived, then stunned / killed again.
* Fixed fleeing units dropping their weapons but their 3D model not updating to show they are now unarmed.
* Fixed revived units still visually holding the weapon they were carrying when they were stunned, despite them being unarmed and the gun being on the floor.
* Fixed HEVY soldiers incorrectly using 1-handed weapon animations if they switch to a pistol and then back to the HEVY.
* Fixed the 3D models of items on the ground not being removed if an explosion destroys those items.
* Fixed a misleading error message about uncrouching.
* Fixed blood puddles not correctly hiding when you changed camera level.
* Fixed camera incorrectly snapping to an alien the player cannot see going through a teleporter.
* Fixed an issue where an unloaded weapon would display 0/0 ammo, rather than 0/X.
* Fixed melee weapons causing the target to play their injury sound twice.
* Fixed the player gaining 50 Alenium simply by visiting an Alien Base and aborting the mission.
* Fixed hitbox issues with the main door on some of the larger UFOs (from Observer up).
* Fixed an issue with the Observer UFO sometimes having invisible terrain objects near its front door.
* Fixed destroyed doors in the Alien Base maps still showing the open / close door icon.
* Fixed the Electroshock Rifle having the incorrect silhouette in the minitabs at the top of the screen.
* Fixed melee attacks not causing units to rotate to face the attacker.
* Fixed AI units that are able to crush objects by walking through them absolutely trashing the interior of their UFO / base as they patrol around.
* Fixed teleporters triggering if you do not deliberately end your move on them.
* Fixed the Flares not appearing for a soldier if you Tab to them after having a vehicle selected.
* Camera Rotate buttons are no longer reversed, and now show the correct keyboard shortcut keybinds on the tooltip.
* Fixed the click hitbox on the "Visible Enemy" head icons being too large.
* Fixed there being a floating walkable tile in the air next to the caravans on the Desert maps.
* The radar and other large props in the Xenonaut base (like base defence turrets) can no longer be walked inside once they'd taken enough damage.
* Pressing C when a unit is in motion will correctly queue up a crouch icon (as if you clicked the Crouch button).
* Fixed the generators in the Xenonaut base defence Generator Room not allowing units to path through them once destroyed.
* Fixed the human Combat Shield jetpack animations so the shield doesn't clip through the body at a 90-degree angle when in flight.
* Fixed an issue where the Cyberdrone frontal shield was not correctly being destroyed by explosives.
* Fixed some issues with the dockyard warehouse rollerdoor being able to get into a broken state once opened.
* Fixed the petrol station columns still being 100% blocking in their destroyed states.
* Park trellises no longer block vision, as they're clearly transparent.
* Fixed smoke tiles being visually duplicated (so looking much thicker) after loading a saved game.

Well done for reading all the way through!