Last time I talked a lot about multiplayer and our plans for that in the short and middle term. You can read the details, but in order to keep things organized our current release notes page has a section with the current multiplayer todo list for your easy reference.
One other really cool thing since last time is that I’ve written up an explanation of the AI in this game, and how it’s different from the much-vaunted-in-2009 AI of the original. That’s definitely worth a read.
- A lot of code reorganization has happened to get us through the first couple of todo items of multiplayer. Things are so much easier now; I was going to do a first “discussion between two computers in AI War 2 since 2018” yesterday, but I got sidetracked with other items. At any rate, that’s hopefully what I’ll be up to tomorrow, now.
- Quick Starts were initially broken for a lot of players in version 2.090, but we got that taken care of quickly. One of those things that can happen when the game is in a beta branch for a long time.
- We improved the speed at which certain pieces of code can search for entities, which basically makes it so that various mods and factions can use less CPU time to do their thing. There was a discussion on discord about methodologies, and I had a stroke of inspiration. Figured why wait.
- Badger has started adding some new “Reactive Guidance” for new players, which basically gives you journal entries suggesting alternatives if it notices you falling into certain kinds of traps. For those who skip the tutorials or are otherwise rusty or unsure, this helps to keep them aware of the framework they might want to consider working within.
- We had several other speed boosts to parts of the game, and a number of small bugfixes both long-coming and to recent things resulting from the beta.
- Keith and Badger both added some new ship intelligence items, which make your own ships that much smarter without you having to micro them. Engineers peeling off of their normal duties to prioritize a cripple flagship that just limped home is thanks to Keith.
- Left clicking on your metal income now shows you some new stats for units you’ve killed. Right-clicking shows the old flows data. This is kind of a sneak preview feature.
- A bunch of updates have been made to the main menu to prep it for multiplayer’s alpha coming up so soon.
- You can now properly have multiple player profiles, and add new ones and switch between them and edit and delete them. This is another item that’s useful for multiplayer.
- There are some new features that let you actually run the game without loading all the ship graphics other than icons, which effectively lets you run the game under the normal minimum system requirements. Two of the computers I want to use for multiplayer testing at my desk fall into that category, so that’s quite useful. And if you want a just-icon view for your low-powered laptop, that’s now a feasible thing, in general.
- There was some major confusion in the last couple of versions with the ability to enable and disable mods and expansions — it required a restart of the game, but did not make you do that or tell you so. Now it makes you do that, and so the potential for accidental confusion is fixed up.
- We’ve made the defaults for the icons in gamespace larger, so that you can see them better on average-sized screens. If you’re running a very large screen or a very high DPI screen, you can still adjust these to be smaller (or even bigger if the opposite is true!), but this new default should be more comfortable for more people.
- Mods with code can now distribute their code all in one folder, which makes them far easier to install and remove.
- Mods can FINALLY add new icons, although I need to make a tutorial on how to do that. But this is the last area that wasn’t moddable.
- Our methods of loading and drawing icons are improved in general, and use a lot less RAM and VRAM, as well as allowing us more space for an indefinite number of icons. In our one big monolithic sprite dictionary, we were going to be running out of space before finishing DLC2 in the prior approach.
- It’s worth noting that with the new style of drawing icons, lowest-supported-level GPUs will probably see a significant speed boost. This is because they can now store the entire material and its textures all in direct tiny amounts of VRAM rather than shared system/virtual VRAM that is slower; this is a major benefit for the older Intel HD 4000 HD cards in particular.
- There are several new things that are pooled now on the galaxy map, making galaxy map generation even faster again. This should also fix a DLC2-only memory leak with nomad planets, but we’ve not properly tested that yet. Hopefully our DLC2 early testers let us know.
- There is now a galaxy setting to grant players Watch vision for 1, 2 or 3 hops from all command stations.
- On the galaxy map, we’ve reworked the shader for how we draw the icons of planets and ships at them, and thanks to that we no longer ever have problems with the planet drifting away from the wormhole lines leading to it when you view it at a somewhat oblique angle (usually the side of your screen). That was a really longstanding irritation!
- And that hopefully concludes my last couple of rabbit holes, so I can get on with multiplayer proper. I do think that the improvements to performance are a nice boon, though.
More to come soon!
Please Do Report Any Issues!
If you run into any bugs, we’d definitely like to hear about those.
The release of this game has been going well so far, and I think that the reviews that folks have been leaving for the game have been a big help for anyone passing by who’s on the fence. For a good while we were sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, but there have been a lot fewer reviews lately and so that has definitely had a material negative effect. Go figure. Having a running selection of recent reviews definitely is helpful, but at least we have a pretty healthy set of long-term reviews. If you’ve been playing the game and enjoying it, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d drop by and leave your own thoughts, too.
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 super detailed, 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.