AI War 2 v0.886 Released! “Zombie Homebodies”

Release notes here.

Lots of fixes!  For most people, the defensive zombies aren’t the most important new thing, but it made for a funny release title so here we are.

Defensive Zombies

So, the behavior of zombies — enemy ships that your own ships have taken over — is a matter of some contention at the moment (and really, always has been).

When the zombies are too defensive, then they wind up making planets really powerful because you accrue so many zombies just sitting around waiting for an enemy to be dumb enough to come and attack that horde.  But then again, since you can’t directly order around zombies (by design), you can’t exactly go taking them on excursions or something when you want to use them offensively.

Zombies also have a shelf life after which they die, so if they sit around for too long defensively, fighting nothing, then they wind up also accomplishing nothing, which can be very frustrating as a player.

So we made the default behavior for zombies to be aggressive, and actually go out and fight.   They’ll go fight nearby worlds and deal some damage, which you are getting “for free,” essentially.  Obviously if there are enemies on the local planet they’ll fight those first — in either scenario — but this is referring to what happens when the local planet has been cleared of hostiles.

The problem with zombies that strike out against neighbors is that this can cause unwanted aggro.  Aka, it can feed the threatfleet or otherwise free guards that come attack you.  That in itself can be useful in some cases, where enemies come crashing into your turrets and you get yet even MORE kills thanks to your short-lived zombie friends.

But what if the neighboring planet is very high-mark?  What if you’re playing on a razor-edge very-high difficulty level?  In certain circumstances, having some trigger-happy allies that you can’t control and who cause unwanted aggro can be game-ending.

So we added, somewhat buried, a “Defensive Zombies” option in the galaxy options menu.  This changes the behavior for all of the player-allied zombies in the game, but also shortens their lifespans.  Basically it means that you can’t super-stack a planet with defensive zombies (hey, that’s not fair), but you can make it so that if you’ve got a Botnet Golem next to an AI Homeworld, you won’t accidentally aggro the AI Homeworld based on cleaning up the planet next to them.

As noted, these two modes work identically when there are local enemies to fight, anyway.  So the need to toggle this mode back and forth should be… very limited.  Assumedly it should only be for some players, in the very late game, with certain types of units under their control.  They’d turn on defensive zombies in those last stages… or potentially leave on defensive zombies all the time if they’re the difficulty 9 or 10 type of player.

For everyone else, the aggressive zombie style is probably for the best, if you even wind up with any zombie ships on your team anyway.

Revisions to the Low-Cap Cap Increases

Previously, ships with a cap of 1 were not allowed to have their cap increase based on things like leveling up.  So you couldn’t get additional frigates or forcefield generators in most cases.  I personally had mixed feelings on that, and it bugged a lot of people.

We’ve adjusted that so that they get cap increases now, although if that leads to too many forcefields then  we may need to implement something that rate-limits them further or something.

But at any rate, for the time being this is a solid buff for you, and doesn’t affect other factions or the AI.

More New Stuff!

  • All of the quick starts now include the Praetorian Guard in them.  Thanks, Puffin!
  • Those “audio mixer” errors that people were getting in the prior build are fixed.  There was some extra data that was throwing things off, in a place it shouldn’t have been.  We’ve put in triple-redundant fixes for this.
  • If you’re playing super-heavy games that like to melt your CPU (200 planets where you capture everything and have a ton of factions on), then the game should no longer periodically give you error messages about it stopping thinking about certain background tasks prematurely because it assumes that it was hung since things were taking so long.  This affects very few people, but should be welcome for those edge cases.
  • The “galaxy map going black” bug should be fixed, and was probably related to the hexagon visual effect on just certain linux machines (and possibly hardware combinations with that).  It should no longer obscure the map in any case,  but you can also turn off the hexagons now, as well.
  • Several other bugfixes and balance tweaks, plus new intel indicators and a performance boost to intel and warning generation have been put in.

More to come soon.  Enjoy!

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

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