AI War 2 v0.814 Released! “Of Runaway AIs And Tech Cost Revamps”

Release notes here.

This version has a surprisingly-robust revamp of the tech costs and the scaling between tech levels in general, thanks to Puffin.  I didn’t have any idea this was coming, and he trialed this with players on the forums first and it quickly became clear that the new approach is better.  Huge kudos!

Slightly more pressingly, there was a big bug in the prior version that was causing the AI to get massively strong massively quickly.  This was due to some xml values being more than a little opaque in their meaning.  To aid in meaning, I split those out into three different sub-values instead, now.  But if you were wondering why the last build was suddenly kicking your butt instantly, that’s what it was.  Sorry about that!

DarkArchon figured out what was going on with transports and similar not showing their paths on the galaxy map when you try to predict routes from one place to another, and/or them being too hard to see in general.  Big thanks there!

My illness has been compounded by allergies and got a bit worse, so I’ve been mentally sluggish this week.  I plan on getting a bit more done tonight and tomorrow in terms of that document for “substantial changes” that I was referring to last release.  I guess I’ll just repeat my notes from last time, on that subject:

“I’m writing up a document that explains my design for some substantial changes — please hold your pitchforks — that I think will address most of the complaints people have about control groups, fleet management, fleetballing, the docks ui, and maybe even scouting.  That last bit I hadn’t expected to tackle, but as I’ve been going through things in a comprehensive fashion I realized that it’s actually just as much related as the rest of it.”

“I think it’s only a couple of days of work for me once I finish writing it up, so the design and writeup process is longer than the actual implementation time if I’m correct on that.  But this has been a bugbear set of issues for me for over a year, and I’d rather measure twice and cut once on it.”

“It’s also a short enough amount of work once it is done that I’m planning on inflicting it on everybody AS I give you the explanation document, rather than giving you the document first. 😉  My rationale for that is that we can all nitpick the theory of it forever, but it’s hard for anyone to see exactly what I have in my head from a document and not just react to parts of it.  Much easier to have the full thing out and then react to that, and the document then serves the purpose of illustrating if there’s some place where the actual implementation deviates from intent, or where further refinements or rework is needed to keep to the spirit of the intent.”

The UI framework that I was looking into may be amazing, but unfortunately may be a nonstarter due to lack of linux support.  Bummer!  That would have saved a huge amount of work on my part, but there’s potentially no real workaround there.  Their engineers are looking into it, but my hopes aren’t high.  Back to the notes from last time:

“Assuming that the big changes go over well with folks, then that’s the last big design hurdle remaining for the game, prior to 1.0 at least.  The new plan for multiplayer, detailed two releases back, will still need to be implemented, and the ui will need to be majorly updated in one fashion or another, but everything else is just a matter of content and getting individual slices of work done, versus something that is a larger design question.  So that’s very good!  It was important for me to start nailing the really tough stuff as soon as I got back to work, since I really didn’t want that hanging over me.”

“As noted recently, I am fully back at work now.  If you were wondering what was up, I recently put together a video explanation of what happened.  I don’t go into a lot of detail, for privacy reasons, but there’s enough there to get the important pieces across.  I’m increasingly happy, for a variety of reasons, and that’s a real relief.  Life is still a work in progress, and finances even more so, but there’s a path forward.”

Continual thanks to Badger, Puffin, and Quinn for having held down the fort while I was away.

Problem With The Latest Build?

If you right-click the game in Steam and choose properties, then go to the Betas tab of the window that pops up, you’ll see a variety of options.  You can always choose most_recent_stable from that build to get what is essentially one-build-back.  Or two builds back if the last build had a known problem, etc.  Essentially it’s a way to keep yourself off the very bleeding edge of updates, if you so desire.

The Usual Reminders

Quick reminder of our new Steam Developer Page.  If you follow us there, you’ll be notified about any game releases we do.

Also: Would you mind leaving a Steam review for some/any of our games?  It doesn’t have to be much more detailed than a thumbs up, but if you like a game we made and want more people to find it, that’s how you make it happen.  Reviews make a material difference, and like most indies, we could really use the support.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v0.813 Released! “Tractor Tentacles”

Release notes here.

I’m slightly sick and very tired, so the release notes will mostly speak for themselves, I think.  But there’s a lot of amazing stuff in there from Weapon Master, helpfully integrated by Badger and Puffin, along with a long list of things that they also put together.  The Dark Spire are getting increasingly cool, and the AI is more active in a variety of ways, and tractor beams are a lot more of a thing.

My contributions to this release are pretty well nil, but I have been working away on the next great thing, don’t worry.  Basically I’m writing up a document that explains my design for some substantial changes — please hold your pitchforks — that I think will address most of the complaints people have about control groups, fleet management, fleetballing, the docks ui, and maybe even scouting.  That last bit I hadn’t expected to tackle, but as I’ve been going through things in a comprehensive fashion I realized that it’s actually just as much related as the rest of it.

I think it’s only a couple of days of work for me once I finish writing it up, so the design and writeup process is longer than the actual implementation time if I’m correct on that.  But this has been a bugbear set of issues for me for over a year, and I’d rather measure twice and cut once on it.

It’s also a short enough amount of work once it is done that I’m planning on inflicting it on everybody AS I give you the explanation document, rather than giving you the document first. 😉  My rationale for that is that we can all nitpick the theory of it forever, but it’s hard for anyone to see exactly what I have in my head from a document and not just react to parts of it.  Much easier to have the full thing out and then react to that, and the document then serves the purpose of illustrating if there’s some place where the actual implementation deviates from intent, or where further refinements or rework is needed to keep to the spirit of the intent.

I have a couple of other irons in the fire at the moment as well, one of which is looking into a replacement ui framework that might make things vastly easier on all of us that want to do any UI work.  So depending on how much those other things take up time-wise, it could in theory be as late as the end of next week before I have the big new set of changes out, but a big part of me would like to have those out this week if possible.  Probably not feasible, but it would be nice.

Assuming that the big changes go over well with folks, then that’s the last big design hurdle remaining for the game, prior to 1.0 at least.  The new plan for multiplayer, detailed two releases back, will still need to be implemented, and the ui will need to be majorly updated in one fashion or another, but everything else is just a matter of content and getting individual slices of work done, versus something that is a larger design question.  So that’s very good!  It was important for me to start nailing the really tough stuff as soon as I got back to work, since I really didn’t want that hanging over me.

As noted recently, I am fully back at work now.  If you were wondering what was up, I recently put together a video explanation of what happened.  I don’t go into a lot of detail, for privacy reasons, but there’s enough there to get the important pieces across.  I’m increasingly happy, for a variety of reasons, and that’s a real relief.  Life is still a work in progress, and finances even more so, but there’s a path forward.

Continual thanks to Badger, Puffin, and Quinn for having held down the fort while I was away.

Problem With The Latest Build?

If you right-click the game in Steam and choose properties, then go to the Betas tab of the window that pops up, you’ll see a variety of options.  You can always choose most_recent_stable from that build to get what is essentially one-build-back.  Or two builds back if the last build had a known problem, etc.  Essentially it’s a way to keep yourself off the very bleeding edge of updates, if you so desire.

The Usual Reminders

Quick reminder of our new Steam Developer Page.  If you follow us there, you’ll be notified about any game releases we do.

Also: Would you mind leaving a Steam review for some/any of our games?  It doesn’t have to be much more detailed than a thumbs up, but if you like a game we made and want more people to find it, that’s how you make it happen.  Reviews make a material difference, and like most indies, we could really use the support.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v0.812 Released! “Hunting Ninjas and Desyncs”

Release notes here.

The way that the AI sneaks around has some bugfixes and works better now, and the Hunter fleet should be a lot stronger because of the AI knowing better when to retreat.  AIs choosing to sneak past your forces and harass you should now be more effective, too.  And the nanocaust should do a lot better of a job of dispatching its units.  Thanks to Badger for all of these changes.

Puffin also made some tweaks to things that make transports slightly better, though there’s more I need to do directly on that.  And he also made the Fusion Bombers really really a lot more effective in their targeting and also more powerful in general.  They’re now a lot better without you having to micro them.

On my end, I put an end to fixed-int math, which fixes several immediate bugs such as ships circling other ships when they were supposed to linearly kite, or ships getting stuck on forcefields.  These were a couple of bugs that I just couldn’t figure out a graceful solution to, no matter how long I stared at them over the last half year or so.  I also had been unable to figure out a graceful way around some obvious multiplayer desyncs that I knew were going to be persistently arising; that is part of why I haven’t implemented multiplayer yet.

Yesterday I finally had an insight, which is partially detailed in the link above, about a way to simply auto-repair desyncs in this game and thus solve all of these problems at once.  Part of the reason this fixes anything in single player is that it lets us stop using fixed-int math and use floating point math instead.  Those bits are now in place.  The actual auto-repair of desyncs in multiplayer is something that I still have to code, but it should be under a week of work when the time comes for that, and it’s certainly less than the months of chasing desyncs that was otherwise going to happen.

This is a pretty big deal, because it will allow for multiplayer sooner than later — no I still don’t have a timeline, though, just yet — and it also lets us simply brush away some of the more inscrutable bugs that were due to threading issues, fixed-int precision problems, or the like.  Definitely a case of working smarter rather than harder, but it’s only possible because of a long laundry list of other architectural choices and flexibilities that this game has thanks to the last couple of years of work.  So if we’d thought of this a year or two ago, in an abstract sense, it still wouldn’t have seemed feasible because the architectural constraints of most games just make this infeasible.  But because of the multi-layered, pooled nature of the current game, suddenly I realized that this was possible.

For those who missed the recent news, I am fully back at work now – yay!  If you were wondering what was up, I recently put together a video explanation of what happened.  I don’t go into a lot of detail, for privacy reasons, but there’s enough there to get the important pieces across.  Anyway, I’m back now and very happy about that.  Actually pretty happy in general, these days, which is good.

Continual thanks to Badger, Puffin, and Quinn for having held down the fort while I was away.

Problem With The Latest Build?

If you right-click the game in Steam and choose properties, then go to the Betas tab of the window that pops up, you’ll see a variety of options.  You can always choose most_recent_stable from that build to get what is essentially one-build-back.  Or two builds back if the last build had a known problem, etc.  Essentially it’s a way to keep yourself off the very bleeding edge of updates, if you so desire.

The Usual Reminders

Quick reminder of our new Steam Developer Page.  If you follow us there, you’ll be notified about any game releases we do.

Also: Would you mind leaving a Steam review for some/any of our games?  It doesn’t have to be much more detailed than a thumbs up, but if you like a game we made and want more people to find it, that’s how you make it happen.  Reviews make a material difference, and like most indies, we could really use the support.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v0.811 Released! “Transport Ships”

Release notes here.

At long last, transport ships in the style of the original game have been added to the sequel!  Except we implemented them in an even friendlier fashion here.  It may be possible to do some cheesy tactics with these since they load and unload instantly, but we’ll deal with that as the case arises.  I’d prefer not to make them cumbersome to use in that old style unless folks are really reporting that as needed.

As it stands, now a whole plethora of new and returning strategies are now possible: all the planet-hopping you want to do now works again, for instance.  Deep strikes… you name it.

This build also has a number of balance tweaks thanks to Puffin, and several bug fixes from Badger along with Risk Analyzer balance from him.

For those who missed the recent news, I am fully back at work now – yay!  If you were wondering what was up, I recently put together a video explanation of what happened.  I don’t go into a lot of detail, for privacy reasons, but there’s enough there to get the important pieces across.  Anyway, I’m back now and very happy about that.  Actually pretty happy in general, these days, which is good.

Continual thanks to Badger, Puffin, and Quinn for having held down the fort while I was away.

Problem With The Latest Build?

If you right-click the game in Steam and choose properties, then go to the Betas tab of the window that pops up, you’ll see a variety of options.  You can always choose most_recent_stable from that build to get what is essentially one-build-back.  Or two builds back if the last build had a known problem, etc.  Essentially it’s a way to keep yourself off the very bleeding edge of updates, if you so desire.

The Usual Reminders

Quick reminder of our new Steam Developer Page.  If you follow us there, you’ll be notified about any game releases we do.

Also: Would you mind leaving a Steam review for some/any of our games?  It doesn’t have to be much more detailed than a thumbs up, but if you like a game we made and want more people to find it, that’s how you make it happen.  Reviews make a material difference, and like most indies, we could really use the support.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v0.810 Released! “Brace for Cross Planet Attack”

Release notes here.

This is an entire month’s worth of changes from the volunteer brigade, and the list of changes is far too long for me to fully address here.  But one thing that is almost a minor note inside the release notes list itself is the fact that CPAs are going to be properly coming for you now.  Eh… good luck with that!

On the plus side, lots of balance fixes also help, and spider turrets will do their job more effectively, and control groups now function like you’d expect from other RTS games.  Oh and Exogalactic Strikeforces are more freaky now.  And some dire guardians are new to make your life more difficult.  In general there’s just a huge amount here.

So!  Almost three months ago I wrote about troubles in my personal life, and then that really took me out of commission for longer than I ever expected it might.  I’ve recently put together a video explanation of what happened.  I don’t go into a lot of detail, for privacy reasons, but there’s enough there to get the important pieces across.

Continual thanks to Badger, Puffin, and Quinn for holding down the fort while I’ve been away.

Problem With The Latest Build?

If you right-click the game in Steam and choose properties, then go to the Betas tab of the window that pops up, you’ll see a variety of options.  You can always choose most_recent_stable from that build to get what is essentially one-build-back.  Or two builds back if the last build had a known problem, etc.  Essentially it’s a way to keep yourself off the very bleeding edge of updates, if you so desire.

The Usual Reminders

Quick reminder of our new Steam Developer Page.  If you follow us there, you’ll be notified about any game releases we do.

Also: Would you mind leaving a Steam review for some/any of our games?  It doesn’t have to be much more detailed than a thumbs up, but if you like a game we made and want more people to find it, that’s how you make it happen.  Reviews make a material difference, and like most indies, we could really use the support.

Enjoy!

Chris

Whatever happened to that Chris Park guy?

Right – so I took a 90ish day sabbatical from work. What the heck was that all about? I said I’d update you guys on that (and be coming back to work properly) in January, so here we are. This was a really tough video to make, but overall I’m doing well these days.

There is a new release that also just came out today, so things are getting back into gear production-wise, which is good.  That release is the cumulative work of the volunteers over the last month, they’ve been amazing.  Coming up this next week I will be able to actually get cracking on some creative work of my own, for the first time in basically a quarter.

Thanks again for your patience with me during this, everybody.  It really has meant a lot.

AI War 2 v0.809 Released! “Divide By Human”

Release notes here.

The title of this one is a programmer-y joke at the expense of us human meatbags.  But I think it’s also a pretty apt description of some of the new AI behaviors in terms of how it decides to take major actions at a planet.  Sometimes bumrush you, sometimes go away for a while and come back, etc.  This is a lot more in line with how the first game handled pieces of its AI at the mid-management tier, so to speak.  Big thanks to Badger for adding this.

There are a variety of other tweaks and fixes in here, including some changes to Risk Analyzers and Wormhole Invasions.  You’ll also start seeing reconquest waves on all difficulties.

I’ve gotten almost all the end of year finance stuff done now, finally, and in general am feeling better in my personal life despite things continually falling apart in various new ways each week it feels like.  I’m getting fewer and fewer unpleasant giant surprises, so my confidence in my ability to keep my butt in the chair and focus on work-work rather than finances-work and outside-life-things-that-require-too-much-new-learning-work is rising.   I’m still not where I want to be yet on that score, but I’m rapidly gaining, finally.  I’m starting to feel more like myself again.

Amusingly, I took my son to see the new Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse movie yesterday, and that was ridiculously meaningful of a movie to both of us for very different reasons.  I’ve written (in a frustratingly vague way) about how I’ve felt a couple of times over the last months like I’ve flipped between universes that look similar but are actually different, and seeing certain aspects of that on the big screen in an emotionally-loaded animated movie was surprisingly cathartic.  That movie is crazy well done and well written.  We’ll see if it lasts, but in a strange way since seeing that movie I’ve felt more like myself than I have since my mysterious incident that I’ll explain to you in the future when I can.

As I noted the last two times, rest assured that this won’t be a permanent state of affairs, and I’m not going anywhere.  This is hopefully a once-per-lifetime event.  Thanks again to everyone for their support and kind words.  Continual thanks to Badger, Puffin, and Quinn for holding down the fort while I’m functionally (not literally) handicapped.  I’m getting increasingly excited about getting back into things and doing some big things with the game, and that’s the best sign that things are improving.

Problem With The Latest Build?

If you right-click the game in Steam and choose properties, then go to the Betas tab of the window that pops up, you’ll see a variety of options.  You can always choose most_recent_stable from that build to get what is essentially one-build-back.  Or two builds back if the last build had a known problem, etc.  Essentially it’s a way to keep yourself off the very bleeding edge of updates, if you so desire.

The Usual Reminders

Quick reminder of our new Steam Developer Page.  If you follow us there, you’ll be notified about any game releases we do.

Also: Would you mind leaving a Steam review for some/any of our games?  It doesn’t have to be much more detailed than a thumbs up, but if you like a game we made and want more people to find it, that’s how you make it happen.  Reviews make a material difference, and like most indies, we could really use the support.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v0.858 Released! “Custom Stacks”

Release notes here.

Bunches of improvements for various factions, and also for the “unit stacks” feature.  There’s still more I plan to do with that feature in general (such as making AOE and beam weapons actually have a bonus against stacks, for one example), but for now this lets you choose custom stack sizes and how things stack, etc.  If you’re on a stronger machine, the need for stacks is pretty diminished.

A number of requested balance changes have also been brought to you by Puffin.  In general this is yet another release brought to you by Badger, Quinn, and Puffin.  I’m extremely grateful to them for continuing to hold down the fort.

Frustratingly, I’m still easing back into things with various end of year finances and other business bits.  I also have been having a metric ton of things I’ve been having to learn about rapidly outside of work, legally and financially and… otherwise, so it’s just been a period of a lot of information onboarding for me.  I keep thinking I’m right about ready to get back to proper coding and design work, but it’s been a bit of a longer stretch than I ever imagined it would be.  I think I’m almost through with that, but I keep saying that and then there’s more to learn and do.  I should be able to explain to folks what happened in my personal life by late January, but right now there’s still just a lot happening with that that is private, as well as kind of rapidly changing states of things.  There have been some particularly positive developments in the last week in particular, so I’m hopeful that those will have a bit of an effect that bleeds over into me being able to properly do my effing job again.

As I noted last time, rest assured that this won’t be a permanent state of affairs, and I’m not going anywhere.  This is hopefully a once-per-lifetime event, and despite the continual additional unexpected hurdles and hoops I’ve run into, things have been getting better.  Particularly in the last week.  But Rome wasn’t rebuilt in a day after any of the times it burned down, so I’m taking things as quickly as I reasonably can.  I really am getting there!  Thanks again to everyone for their support and kind words.

Problem With The Latest Build?

If you right-click the game in Steam and choose properties, then go to the Betas tab of the window that pops up, you’ll see a variety of options.  You can always choose most_recent_stable from that build to get what is essentially one-build-back.  Or two builds back if the last build had a known problem, etc.  Essentially it’s a way to keep yourself off the very bleeding edge of updates, if you so desire.

The Usual Reminders

Quick reminder of our new Steam Developer Page.  If you follow us there, you’ll be notified about any game releases we do.

Also: Would you mind leaving a Steam review for some/any of our games?  It doesn’t have to be much more detailed than a thumbs up, but if you like a game we made and want more people to find it, that’s how you make it happen.  Reviews make a material difference, and like most indies, we could really use the support.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v0.857 Released! “Cyber Command”

Release notes here.

There’s a lot of stuff in here!  Hacking is better, construction is better balanced, and balance in general has gotten a huge bunch of changes.  Visually there are some improvements in how large some ships are, so that you can see them better.  Huge thanks to particularly Puffin and Quinn on this release, and also Badger for some pieces.

So… what about some of the bigger-picture stuff?  I should be working on all sorts of things ranging from the lobby to some of the unit control pieces.  I’m still… easing back into things.  Most of my work so far has been end of year finances type stuff.  I’m going to be doing more actual proper work on this in short order, though.  I should be able to explain to folks what happened in my personal life by late January, but prior to that it’s something I really can’t talk about yet.

I’ve been feeling really bad about thinking I was ready to fully come back and then not really being able to hack it quite yet.  This is… a first for me, since I started working in tech 17 years ago.  Work was always where I escaped to.  Ultimately I’ll be fine, but the worst case here is that the schedule slips by a couple of months because of first my sabbatical and then my reduced productivity for a bit.  Given the nature of the event, I feel like I’m doing decently well, but everyone’s mileage varies.

Rest assured that this won’t be a permanent state of affairs, and I’m not going anywhere.  This is hopefully a once-per-lifetime event for me.  And I really am getting better, in the main.

Problem With The Latest Build?

If you right-click the game in Steam and choose properties, then go to the Betas tab of the window that pops up, you’ll see a variety of options.  You can always choose most_recent_stable from that build to get what is essentially one-build-back.  Or two builds back if the last build had a known problem, etc.  Essentially it’s a way to keep yourself off the very bleeding edge of updates, if you so desire.

The Usual Reminders

Quick reminder of our new Steam Developer Page.  If you follow us there, you’ll be notified about any game releases we do.

Also: Would you mind leaving a Steam review for some/any of our games?  It doesn’t have to be much more detailed than a thumbs up, but if you like a game we made and want more people to find it, that’s how you make it happen.  Reviews make a material difference, and like most indies, we could really use the support.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v0.856 Released! “Sabre Company”

Release notes here.

There are things!  They are new!  The release notes themselves are pretty much brief enough to cover it, to be honest.  There’s some good fixes and tweaks in here, again from Puffin and Badger and Quinn.  I have still been out for the count.

My personal life has still been completely upside down and sideways, but this week it’s been on balance more good changes than bad.  Still just a lot of getting used to… a completely new method of existence, really.  I’m finally mentally and emotionally and physically getting recovered enough that I think that I’ll be coming back to work more or less like normal next week, unless something NEW happens.  My schedule is still going to be reduced from what it used to be, but I’m going to really focus on getting important stuff done efficiently, and I have Quinn and my dad as a big help on that.

So… yeah.  Continued apologies.  This is just the largest life change event I’ve had, other than having kids, since I became an adult.  So I’m just having to process and adjust, and I will get back on track.  Thanks for bearing with me, and to all the folks keeping things going while I’ve been reeling.

Problem With The Latest Build?

If you right-click the game in Steam and choose properties, then go to the Betas tab of the window that pops up, you’ll see a variety of options.  You can always choose most_recent_stable from that build to get what is essentially one-build-back.  Or two builds back if the last build had a known problem, etc.  Essentially it’s a way to keep yourself off the very bleeding edge of updates, if you so desire.

The Usual Reminders

Quick reminder of our new Steam Developer Page.  If you follow us there, you’ll be notified about any game releases we do.

Also: Would you mind leaving a Steam review for some/any of our games?  It doesn’t have to be much more detailed than a thumbs up, but if you like a game we made and want more people to find it, that’s how you make it happen.  Reviews make a material difference, and like most indies, we could really use the support.

Enjoy!

Chris