AI War 2 Music – Patreon for Pablo Vega

Hello Arcen fans,

I’m really excited to announce the launch of something that has been in the works for about a year. Chris reached out to me a while back and mentioned that it would be great for our fans to get an inside look at the music creation for our games, and help get more of what they love.

Many of you have reached out not only about sheet music for the compositions but also about my process. How do I get started? Where does the inspiration come from? How do I choose instrumentation? I’m happy to finally share all of these things with you, and here is how we’re going to do it:

https://www.patreon.com/pablovega

Patreon is a company that allows musicians and artists to be able to share their work as well as facilitate patronage between artists and their fans. I have been composing music for Arcen Games since 2009 (starting with the original AI War: Fleet Command soundtrack), but as most of you know I am no longer working full-time. Patreon will make it possible for me to be able to continue composing and at the same time give you even more input on what gets created!

Right now the focus is AI War, and the tiers of patronage are based around that.

– For $1/month you will get access to my patron-only feed, including weekly blog posts and updates on my compositions.   I will take an in-depth look at the upcoming AI War 2 soundtrack to start.

– For $5/month, you can also join into polls for sheet music.  I’ll release the piano sheet music for one track every month — from any Arcen title — based on what gets the most votes.  Anyone at this tier can also get access to any prior sheet music released this way.

– For $10/month, you can also join in monthly livestreams where I’ll spend an hour in front of the camera answering questions on a twitch stream and playing bits of songs as requested.  If you can’t make the livestream, then you can submit questions in advance, and watch the video later at your convenience.

The BEST part, however, is that for every $1000 generated through patreon, I’ll compose a new track for AI War 2.  So, quick math, if we have 100 $1 backers, then every 10 months that’s a new track for AI War 2.  Free for everyone, but with you guys hearing it first and getting an ultra high-quality file of it.  If we have 10 $10 backers, 25 $5 backers, and 275 $1 backers, then that is a new track every other month. :)

Fans of AI War have made it possible for me to do what I love, and I hope you will consider becoming a patron.  I’d love to grow the soundtrack for AI War 2 over time, with your help at whatever pace, while also giving you other goodies along the way.  My wife, my two baby girls, and I can’t thank you enough for your support throughout all these years.  I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to do what I love, and that wouldn’t be possible without you.

Thank you so much for your consideration. I hope to see you all on Patreon!

Pablo Vega

AI War 2 v0.716 Released! “Activating Mk4 Grinding Machine”

Release notes here!

This one takes another big step towards beta.

1) The biggest individual area of changes is the defensive game. Thanks to community feedback (especially chemical_art and Badger) we realized that waves were actually too close together (a big change from how it used to be) and turrets were both not advertising themselves well and a bit underpowered for their task of generally keeping waves out of your hair so you don’t have to pull your mobile fleet back. Unless you’re in a really intense situation, of course.

Now turrets are a lot beefier 🙂

That said, with the new power-distribution-network on every planet, it’s much easier to undercut the power of a big pile of turrets if the defender is not stopping attackers at the door. This goes for both the humans and the AI.

2) Some key changes were made to AIP growth and Threat behavior to make it easier for special factions like the Nanocaust to do their thing and make a ruckus, without the AI taking out its frustrations on a lone unrelated human outpost (i.e. you) clear on the other side of the galaxy.

3) There are also several improvements from Badger (Autosave, Cumulative hacking responses, a bunch of bugfixes). Thanks, Badger!

Enjoy!
Keith

AI War 2: GUI Progress, Main Menu Updates, Shields Verdict, Beta News, Trailer Help Request, and more.

Progress report! The rest of the staff haven’t even seen this in actual practice yet, since I can’t check anything into our source control since this overhaul temporarily breaks EVERYTHING. But it’s an amazing new experience coming up based on these changes, plus others not yet shown.

Actually if you’re curious, you can check out my trello for some more details on what is coming: https://trello.com/b/tz2k8Q15/chris-ai-war-2-todo

New main menu! I was tired of that ship going by, and didn’t want some generic battle or other ship just sitting there. During the kickstarter, I really liked the red and blue planet aesthetic that we had going on, but it was highly unrealistic of course.

But that got me thinking about doing something more stylized: a blue circuit-boardy or borg-like planet (wound up going with the former) that is larger and more sedate feeling, and then a smaller and more burned-out or desert version that is glowing more red (wound up going with the former). The one represents the AI, the other the humans, and in both cases it’s showing how Earth sentience has symbolically moved on and lives on even though Earth itself was destroyed. I particularly like how the human planet almost crashes into the AI one, but just barely misses.

The symbolism of the asteroids rushing past the two planets is hopefully also obvious. I thought it was just a neat thing to do, and it seems very appropriate for the game and like something that would be mesmerizing just to sit and look at, which is always fun. When I added the little blue satellite line around the AI planet, that really brought that part together for me.

The Verdict On Shields/Forcefields (For Now)

Shields/forcefields are indeed gone for now, although we might bring them back in a limited capacity on the human side only.  So far that doesn’t seem to be needed, though, and that’s largely because of the impressive new power of tractor beams and turrets, and some of the new gravity mechanics that you can get a bit of a hint of in the new sidebar, above.

Anyone With Trailer-Making Skills Want To Help Out?

We’re running at full capacity even with awesome volunteers helping us out in a variety of areas.  We already have two trailers in progress at least conceptually (one in practice), but we’d really like to have at least a third in order for the game to be presentable in a variety of ways that people might find appealing.

I recall that Minecraft had a trailer-making contest and they had people who made way better trailers than either some marketing firm unfamiliar with the game could, or the developers themselves could.  I can’t really offer a bounty or anything on that, but if there are folks who want to come explain the “AI War experience” in general in trailer form, please feel free to email me at chrispark7 at gmail.

Oh, the other catch on that: we’re running low on time (about a month and a half until launch), and the visuals aren’t going to be fully finalized for another few weeks.  !Fun! 😉  Such is life, though, and at least the game itself is coming together really fantastically.

That Beta…

Obviously any of you can play the game right now or tomorrow or the next day, if you want to.  But we’re trying to get to a state where we can invite a huge number of you in and have you have a good and coherent near-final experience with the game, balance aside.

We’ll need your help figuring out where balance breaks down, because the game is huge and people have wildly divergent playstyles.  Plus it will be more bughunting time that then Keith and I can spend fixing issues from.

We’re not there yet, but one of the main things holding that back is the introduction of the new GUI, which is finally coming along.  Eric designed that much faster than I was able to implement it.

Anyway, please do stay tuned on that front — we hope to have a couple of dozen of you come in and really hit this thing hard during the beta.  Out of the few thousand of you that currently have a copy, surely we’ve got a few dozen for that… 😉

Thanks for reading!

Chris

AI War 2 v0.714 Released! “Shields Down”

Release notes here!

The main change this time is definitely the removal of Shields (forcefields from AIWC), the rationale and discussion is too voluminous for this post, but if you’re curious the main discussion was here and here. (Edit: sorry, I was writing this in a hurry, and I forgot something very important: Thank you for all the feedback!)

Many of the other changes between 0.712 and 0.714 (0.713 was an internal version) were to adjust to this post-shield universe, and the result has been a lot of fun in testing. Here are a few of those changes:

* Snipers no longer have infinite range. Instead, they have about 50% longer range than anything else. So instead of shredding your unshielded missile corvettes instantly upon your arrival, AI snipers will have to wait for you to get in range. If you send in the corvettes expect heavy losses, but once you close the range the corvettes can do a decent job of killing the fragile snipers. Alternatively you can let the corvettes hang back and send in the fighters and bombers to do clear the way.

* To facilitate such “fighters go to point A, bombers to point B, corvettes to point C” tactics, the [ and ] keys now cycle through quick-selecting each of the types of units you have on the planet. So you can “press ], right-click A, press ] again, right-click B, press ] again, right-click C”, or something like that. And if you then see a bunch of fighters bearing down on your bombers, press [ to get back to the bombers and pull them away from the fighters.

* The planet area has been increased yet again, so there’s more room for you to keep the enemy away from key targets.

* Tractors are now much more powerful; again to make it easier to keep the enemy from getting in range of things you don’t want it to shoot.

* Tractors, Gravity generators, and Tachyon arrays were generally overhauled to provide obvious paths for upgrading your defensive setup’s ability to stop the enemy from getting places you don’t want it to go.

And here are some other highlights:

* Several metric tons of voice work!

* A bunch of new space backgrounds.

* You now start with a Flagship. It’s weaker than the normal ones but this way your early battles aren’t lacking the basic sorts of support you’ll normally have available later in the game.

* Your initial neighbors are much easier to conquer (you’ll get chewed up if you simply blob-roll the whole thing, but you’ll generally still win the battle).

* Unit counts have been doubled.

* A bunch of bugfixes, and some more balance work.

Enjoy!
Keith

AI War 2 v0.711 Released! “Re-Mark-able”

Release notes here!

The entire UI system has been basically overhauled. The xml definitions are largely the same, but under the hood it’s very different. The new approach makes it much easier to use in conjunction with the Unity WYSIWYG editor, which is very helpful when working with complex interfaces. The main menu has been redone, and other new stuff (credits screen, modal popups, etc) has been done via the new system.

Tons more updates to the unit visual models by Pepisolo and Goldenwolf.

BadgerBadger added the “Human Resistance Fighters” special faction; a fleet that will occasionally help you in close battles. There are also other changes to special factions by BadgerBadger (the Zenith Trader can now recover from being Devourer’d, etc).

54 of AIWC’s music tracks have been added to this game; you can disable that in settings but it’s helpful while we wait for the rest of the new soundtrack.

Lots of progress on integrating the voice acting.

The upgrade system for player units has been thoroughly revised:
– Now when you research Mark 2 Fighters, for example, your repair units will actually upgrade your Mark 1 Fighters to Mark 2 Fighters, and your Fighter cap will go from 10 squads to 20 squads (instead of 10 Mark 1s and 10 Mark 2s like in previous versions).
– You can now research normally up to Mark 4, instead of Mark 3. The Advanced Factory, rather than giving you Mark 4 where you already have Mark 3, instead just gives you +20% to your fleet ship caps.
– Experimental Fabricators no longer give you Mark 5 of a particular ship type, but give you a new experimental variant fleet ship type that’s based on Mark 4 of a normal ship type. For example, you can get the BombBox, which is like the Bomber but without any kind of reasonable survivability or speed. It hits a whole lot harder, if you can get it in range. Another example is the less-extreme Interceptor, which is like the Fighter but faster, less durable, and generally better at reaching and shredding armored Bombers before they get too close.

Turrets now cost power again, and are galaxy-capped instead of planet-capped. Both changes work more smoothly with the new upgrade system than they would have otherwise.
– You also start with Mark 1 Needler turrets unlocked, and even placed around your starting planet’s wormholes, to make sure you know that turrets are something you’re going to need.

The AI now has more variety between planets because each planet only picks from a small set of guardians, turrets, and fleet ships to defend itself. There’s a big difference between attacking a planet that “chose” Plasma Guardians and Sniper Turrets than one that focused on Needler, Laser, etc stuff.

Other rebalancing, including making “using the right weapon against the right defense” more important and generally making enemy gravity generators less frustrating.

And more; details are in the notes linked above.

Enjoy!
Keith