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

AI War 2 v0.805 Released! “Mercs, Hacks, and, Drones, Oh My”

Release notes here.

Right!  It’s been 17 days since the last release, which is a hugely long period for us, so there’s a ton in here.  Even though I didn’t personally do any of it; it’s all thanks to Badger, Puffin, and Quinn.  Huge, huge, thanks to those three for holding down the fort and getting a lot of really important stuff done.

Hacking should feel a lot more balanced now, and works on based on a new premise in terms of how strong the response is to your hacks.  Before it would start out pitiful in response and then turn universe-eating without warning.  No longer!  A couple of hacks also weren’t working right, and now do.

Drones now actually work properly in all cases now, or at least should.  They also can’t be repaired anymore, since they are finite-life ships by definition.

There were a couple of nasty bugs that Badger fixed, including a nullref that made it look like the game had frozen and might have caused some other seems-like-a-different-bug-but-is-really-the-same-thing issues.

Balance has seen an incredible amount of work thanks to Puffin and all the feedback he’s been getting.  The list is really, really long.  There’s so much stuff in there, but I really like the changes to make Mercenaries that you can hire a lot more durable and useful, the Astro Trains that the AI has a lot more dangerous, and Minefields and Instigator bases a lot more of a presence now.

Why the Change in Schedule?

Last time I did a release, 17 days ago, I said this: “Expect more tomorrow, and each day this week.  We’ve been maintaining a schedule of roughly 3-5 releases a week for a while now, and we don’t expect for that to change anytime soon.”

That… obviously had a sudden and unexpected stop.  I posted about this a few days ago, in general terms, and unfortunately I can’t be more specific for privacy reasons.  I want to assure you that I’m not going anywhere long-term, but my life has been absolutely turned upside-down unrelated to anything with Arcen.  One way or another, my life is very different from now on, forever, compared to what it was 17 days ago.

I appreciate the words of comfort that folks have had, and those that have reached out in various ways, and overall the lack of speculation of what it is.  I swear I’m not trying to be a tease about this.  My natural instinct is to share and over-share what is going on with me, but there are times in life when that’s not possible or advisable.

I’ll be OK.  And I plan on finishing the 1.0 of this game on schedule, and then to continue developing this game after that for a long time to come.  Expansions that are paid, plus free post-launch updates, for maybe a half decade again, like what happened with the first game.  But my schedule is going to be all over the place because of these recent developments, and I’m not going to be reliable on a day-to-day basis in terms of when I can do what.  So expect larger releases a little bit further apart.  A fair number of you have said that’s what you prefer, anyway, so I guess that’s good.

I’ll be honest: this has been the darkest, scariest time of my life.  Meanwhile, things with Arcen and AI War have been going pretty relatively great, go figure.  I may talk about what happened sometime in years to come, but not in any capacity sooner.  At this point I have the specialists lined up who are able to help with this situation, and now it’s a matter of putting in the time and getting used to my new and sudden reality.

But please don’t let this put you off of picking up the game.  I promise I’ll do right by all the fans and customers, as has always happened in the past.  People freaking out that the game suddenly won’t get completed or something would only take my life from rock bottom to somewhere even lower.  Please do trust me to finish what I’ve promised you, and I won’t let you down.

I apologize for being such a downer in this post, and I don’t expect to be discussing it much publicly in the future.  But I’ve got roughly a 6 month period before I know at all what the shape of my future life is going to look like, so that uncertainty is going to be there chewing at me for at least that long.  Despite that, I’ll do my best.  I’ve been a bit slow climbing back on the horse so far, but I intend to get some proper work done this week and get a bit more momentum of my own going.  Again huge thanks to Badger, Puffin, and Quinn for holding down the fort while I’ve been away.  If there are other folks who want to volunteer to dig into things in that way as well, that sort of help is welcome, although I have nothing to offer in return.

Anyway — I hope you have a lot of fun with the new build, it looks pretty killer from what I’ve seen so far!

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 v0.804 Released! “Hack Me Quickly”

Release notes here.

This has a couple of notable bugfixes, and it tunes the balance on the hacking response from the AI waaay down.  That was some game-ending level of hacking response that some folks were getting.  Badger is currently in the process of reworking how the hacking response severity gets calculated anyhow, but for now we just toned down the existing mechanic since the new logic isn’t ready yet.

This version also simplifies the speed controls some, and adds in legitimate Game Speed Styles (rather like the first game had).  These GSSes, rather than being like fast-forward or slow-motion (which we do also have), act as balance shifters to either make the game more frenetic or more contemplative.  The default values here are the same, but there is a speed now that is Epic (quite contemplative), all the way up through Cheetah (very fast), all the way through Insane and Plaid (because why not).

Some folks feel like it’s too fast, some folks feel like it’s a little slow, and now everyone can play the way they want while leaving the in-game wall-clock alone.  Except when you want to fast-forward for a bit, which obviously you can still do.

Also?  Sabots are not so darn terrifying anymore, so your starships should breathe a sigh of relief.

Big Topics

It’s late and I’m quite tired, so I don’t feel like getting into these full discussions right now.  But basically I am hearing what you’re saying about things like the control groups being difficult to manage, and some of the things you want to be able to control with them, build queues, etc.  I’ve been thinking hard on some solutions for those, and I think there will be some good changes to come out of that.  Thanks for your patience, in the meantime.

The lobby is something that I desperately want to get fixed up to a nicer state, but with all the feedback pouring in on actual in-game areas I think I am going to have to delay that a bit more than I had expected.  I had figured the lobby would be done by the end of October, but now I think it’s better to say November instead.  The overall game experience will evolve a lot faster and more pleasingly that way.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to forget about it!

There are also some very valid concerns/wishes that folks have for more options on the galaxy map to find things easier, and some things related to making scouting easier (and/or results of scouting to be easier).  Those are also on my radar, and something I’m putting ahead of the lobby right now because I think that will help everybody more directly.

Oh, and getting some of the tutorial things a bit better, like it not skipping ahead on you, and telling you what a colony ship is.  I want to get a tip of the day in there, and maybe an in-game FAQ or something.

And then of course the growing list of small wishes, big wishes, small bugs, big bugs…  These last couple of days have been maybe too much talking on my part, so I am going to try to balance that more with the actual work of developing the game.  Even with a 10 hour workday, I still have 72 unread messages at the moment.  It’s a good problem to have!  Don’t get me wrong.  But it does require me to try and work on time management a bit better.

Expect more tomorrow, and each day this week.  We’ve been maintaining a schedule of roughly 3-5 releases a week for a while now, and we don’t expect for that to change anytime soon.  Thank you everybody so much for the support, and the kind words, and the positive reviews.  It’s making such a big difference to us.

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 v0.803 Released! “The New Attack-Move”

Release notes here.

Whew!  It’s been a really long day, but I feel like I didn’t get really that many things in.  Most of my day was spent on the forums, and I know I promised that a few things would be in this build that got pushed back — apologies to those folks.  I think it was three features.  I should be able to get them in tomorrow, but I’m going to be a bit more careful about my promises from now on when it comes to short-term schedule.

Basically I wound up spending a lot of my time listening to folks and finding out what gripes are bothering them the most.  That was a super useful way to spend the time, even though it caused the feature list to be a little shorter than usual.  Still, the list isn’t bad:

  • A couple of minor clarity improvements.
  • You can now see text and icons out further on the galaxy map, and you can customize when (or if) they disappear (it gets cluttered if you keep them all the way out).
  • The planet tooltips show you some substantially more useful info, so less clicking around.
  • You can build turrets and the like in groups of 5 by holding down Ctrl now, like in the first game.
  • The various modes that ships can be in can now all be mixed and matched (so group-move+stop-and-shot+frd, if you want).
  • There’s an awesome new attack-move mode, which is kind of a hybrid of several other modes and brings a much-needed way to automate small offensive actions.  Pursuit mode is great for defense, and this is basically the offensive equivalent now.  I spent a lot of time talking to Terrarius about the existing options, and eventually realized there was simply a gap that needed to be filled with something new.
  • The game should no longer submit anonymous hardware statistics to unity.  Sorry that we accidentally had that on; let us know if you still see it, please.  Thanks to lonetrav and Demerzel for bringing this to our attention.
  • A couple of other bugs were fixed, including the inability to save during the tutorial.
  • Ships being in hold-fire mode messing with their ability to re-cloak is fixed.

And then a couple of major balance tweaks!

  • Basically, people were too rich and the AI was too poor.  So…
  • You now only get 30 hacking points per planet, instead of 40.  Hopefully this feels just right, instead of being over-abundant or pauperish.
  • The AIP gained per destroyed command station is now 25 instead of 15.  Basically the amount of ramp-up that the AI has from AIP is a bit more tame than the first game, and so this balance shift should bring them more in line with the first game.  It also has the side-effect, Puffin noted, of letting the AI get substantially more mad at other factions, which is a cool side effect.
  • And ambush turrets also got a variety of buffs to make them more effective.

Expect more tomorrow, and each day this week.  We’ve been maintaining a schedule of roughly 3-5 releases a week for a while now, and we don’t expect for that to change anytime soon.  I wish I had been able to get every last everything done in one day, but that’s of course not realistic.  But we’ll make quick progress.  Thank you everybody so much for the support, and the kind words, and the positive reviews.  It’s making such a big difference to us.

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 v0.802 Released! “Hold Your Fire!”

Release notes here.

I really wanted to make a Spaceballs joke as the title for this build, but all of the ones I could think of are both rude and involve keeping firing, not ceasing fire.

Anyhow!  If you have cloaked ships, and you want said ships to stay cloaked instead of breaking out in a murderous spree, now you have but to hit the N key.

Or whatever key you like!  This version also fixes the recently-added in-game keybinding… not actually properly applying said keybindings.  I’m on a roll!  Again, apologies for that.

Speaking of, this also fixes an annoying thing I introduced earlier today where if you were trying to place a bunch of units at once, it wouldn’t really listen.  This was a casualty of the double-click fix.  So again: my roll continues.

Badger made some tutorial improvements for this build, too, and both the AI and player salvage income got a boost since it wasn’t mattering enough.

If you restart your steam client, it will download the new build immediately.

Expect more tomorrow, and each day this week.  We’ve been maintaining a schedule of roughly 3-5 releases a week for a while now, and we don’t expect for that to change anytime soon.  Well, aside from today — three releases in one day isn’t the norm!

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 v0.801 Released! “Hotfix”

Release notes here.

Well, this is hugely embarrassing — we introduced a last-minute bug today that made the objectives menu (and some other menus!) completely illegible.  The fix is now out, along with a bonus fix for a much more longstanding issue with double-clicking units.  Thanks to pango and la_nague for bringing this to our attention, and thanks to everyone for being patient with us about this one.

If you restart your steam client, it will download the fix immediately.

Expect more tomorrow, and each day this week.  We’ve been maintaining a schedule of roughly 3-5 releases a week for a while now, and we don’t expect for that to change anytime soon.

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 v0.800 Released! “Early Access Launch”

Release notes here.

Early Access arrives at last!  Welcome to all the new players. 🙂  There’s nothing particularly huge in this update, but it fixes up a couple of last-minute bugs as well as a few bits of the tutorial.

Expect more tomorrow, and each day this week.  We’ve been maintaining a schedule of roughly 3-5 releases a week for a while now, and we don’t expect for that to change anytime soon.

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 v0.785 Released! “Controls Viewing And Editing”

Release notes here.

At last!  Finally you can view and edit the controls from within the game, rather than having to open a text file.  Sorry that took so long!

That’s the last of the important interfaces, except for the lobby in the custom start.  That one is still not going to be pretty (and bug-free) until sometime this coming week at the earliest.  Next week at the latest.

A bunch of other pieces of the interface are now prettier, and generally easier to read, in this new version.  A variety of bugs were fixed.  And engineers got a 3x speed buff to their function, while fortresses got an all-around offensive buff.

I still have more to fix up with the tutorials!  Augh, I feel like I’m running around like a madman, in some respects.  The tutorials have a few places that still confuse people, and the presentation of the tutorial text could be a bit nicer, could definitely stand to have a log, etc.  Hopefully I can get that done prior to launch tomorrow, we shall see.  It’s not a crisis without it, but I just want everything to be as polished as possible for the start of EA.

Either way, more to come tomorrow!  And each day after that.  EA starts tomorrow, but that’s not going to interrupt the schedule that we’ve been maintaining for the last few months.  Thanks for reading and playing!

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