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