AI War 2 v0.607 Released! “Don’t Die Harder, Die Smarter”

Release notes here!

Don’t Die Harder, Die Smarter

This one goes a long way towards making AIW2’s units much more enthusiastic about their jobs.

AI Waves (and Threat in general) now behave in a much more intelligent fashion. Well, except for the enforce-stupid-refusal-to-retreat-for-30-seconds change, which just makes it less annoying. Less annoying to you. Very annoying to the AI.

All ships (not just AI) benefit from the targeting changes that greatly reduce lost efficiency from overkill, and from the pathfinding changes to prefer less dangerous routes where it’s still efficient.

Not many interface improvements this time around, but I know many of you will be happy to see range rings when placing turrets. (You’ll also be able to place more turrets, thanks to the power balance change)

Tachyon units now take their job seriously, and can actually reveal cloaked enemy ships in a reasonable period of time. At least if it’s a reasonable quantity of them. Otherwise you’re still going to be target practice for a bit, but at least you’ll have something to shoot back at.

Even the simulation itself is working smarter, thanks to zealous application of the Ostrich Algorithm for planets with no opposing forces.

And there’s a few other things in there, like a new AI type that loves cloaked units.

Enjoy!
Keith

AI War 2 v0.606 Released! “Input-astrophe”

Release notes here!

This one is about input.

Camera input. Chris redid the entire camera system, and now it’s much more configurable in the Settings window (and the code itself is massively moddable). The “Free Look” mode is a major new thing, but the default view is also very different, in response to player feedback about acceleration, etc.

Keyboard input. Each binding can now support more than one mapping, so both P and Pause/Break can trigger pause, etc. Several bugfixes and changes to make certain keys do what you would expect. Making the unit-commands context menu not open automatically to prevent conflicting with control group number input, and so on.

Mouse input. Added a much-requested feature from AIWC where bandbox selection ignores non-military ships unless they’re the only thing there. Made clicking planets in the galaxy view do what it did in AIWC (“go there” instead of “select this”; you can still select with alt+click). Fixed a key bug that was preventing mouse interaction with ship icons.

Saving you lots of input. The new “budget policy” concept allows you to give high-level commands about how your metal should be allocated, from the simple “suspend spending until we’ve saved up” to the amusingly complex battle-support policy that has multiple levels of prioritization and looks at whether a unit is on a contested planet, etc. This is fully moddable, so if you want to script your economy you can just about do so.

There’s a few other changes as well, including a helpful bit from community member BadgerBadger that reimplements AIWC’s model of waves being planned, announced, and then launched after a countdown instead of just immediately spawned (previously the timer was a projected estimate of when it will be). It’s great to see the modding tools put to good use 🙂 Thanks, Badger!

(if you’re wondering where 0.605 went, I think it had a run-in with the Devourer)

Enjoy!
Keith

AI War 2 v0.603 Released! “Banishment of the Bottom Bar”

Release notes here!

One resounding theme of recent UI feedback is “the upward-expanding pile of buttons at the bottom has got to go”. So for this release we told all the functions in that menu “you ain’t gotta go home, but you can’t stay here”.

The result is a general layout of:
1) Passive info on the top half of the screen
2) Interactable controls on the bottom half
3) Stuff pertaining to your selected units (if any) on the left
4) Stuff pertaining to your selected planet on the right

There was also a major switch in the graphics pipeline (now using Alloy since it recently became open-source and we could thus let modders have access to it) and a move of a ton of visualization code into the external-visualization project, which greatly expands what modders can impact.

Enjoy!
Keith

AI War 2 v0.602 Released! “Nice Sidebar You’ve Got There”

Release notes here!

This one focuses on the UI, but there’s a lot of other stuff too.

On the UI front:

1) The “Let’s make a better sidebar” experiment has been abandoned, beaten unconscious, and fed to the Devourer Golem. In some order.
– Now we have a sidebar very much more like the original game’s, though with the extra feature of using each team’s color rather than a standard blue/orange/yellow for me/enemy/ally.

2) The main galaxy map display mode now shows way fewer units (just key units and sensor scramblers), since it was way too cluttered. You can use the other display modes to see the other categories, in turn.
– The planet names also no longer try to name the owner, and instead rely on text color to tell you that. Again, decluttering.

3) The game no longer automatically assigns a “Fighter, Bomber, Missile Corvette” build queue to your Ark. If you want that behavior, you can use the new “Build Policy” behavior menu to set your Ark to just build everything it can. The Build Policy framework is very powerful, and addresses one of the longer-standing UI requests from AIWC (build queue templates) but in a much more flexible way. This allows us or modders to write scripts that control what gets built and in what order, and can automatically adapt to changing conditions from battle losses, which builder is closest to the rally point, tech unlocks, etc.

On other fronts:

4) More updates to the Nanocaust faction from community member BadgerBadger. The very same Badger has also submitted a bunch of changes to the Zenith Dyson Sphere faction to bring its behavior more in line with AIWC. Thanks, Badger!

5) The ratio of ship-size to gravity-well-size has been altered so that more ships can fit into the same space. You can still zoom in to see them honkin’ huge, but one of the biggest balance changes from AIWC to AIW2 was actually that ratio, to an unintentionally huge degree. Made things feel kind of cramped. So this is a step in the right direction, and there’s now a handy lever to tweak it further (the “ship_size_scale” attribute in ExternalConstants, to be precise).

6) Several other things, including another huge chunk of AI code moved into moddable-territory, and fixes for a bunch of bugs, like the one from the last few versions that made the AI always start in “tutorial” mode unless you specifically selected an AI type.

Enjoy!
Keith

AI War 2 v0.601 Released! “Grumpy Ark”

Release notes here!

This one is mostly cleaning up various issues that have been highlighted since we made Alpha 0.600 available to all backers (well, as many as we had steam-keys for, sorry about the delay while we get more from Valve).

But one very visible change is another revision to the art style to make it less “happy”, as Chris discusses in this Kickstarter update:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/arcengames/ai-war-ii-0/posts/2033119

We’ve made several attempts at unhappification-of-the-art since the beginning of the year, but stuff just hasn’t looked grumpy enough! Hopefully this is another step in the right direction.

Enjoy!
Keith

AI War 2 v0.600 Released! “Tutorial Engine”

Release notes here!

This one is the first version available to our kickstarter backers as a whole, instead of just the earlier testing groups.

The game is still very much in testing and development, however 🙂

That said, there’s one new key piece: an in-game tutorial, and the engine which makes more of those possible. One of the hardest things to do in maintaining AIWC was changing the tutorial, to the point that we hardly expanded it at all as the game grew, and only updated it for the most fundamental of changes.

Tutorial creation is much easier for us this time around, and highly moddable. There’s currently no way of selecting between different tutorials, but that will come soon, and in the meantime if you’re interested in writing your own you can look at “Scenario_Tutorial_01” in the code and the various thing’s it’s connected to. You could then change the Tutorial button to call yours instead of ours, for testing.

When the framework is more stable perhaps we’ll post a tutorial on writing tutorials 😉

Enjoy!
Keith

AI War 2 v0.528 Released! “De-uglification, Part 1”

Release notes here!

Before this release, the GUI was really ugly. After this release, the GUI is still really ugly.

But now it’s a lot better organized! 🙂

Main Menu Before:

Main Menu After:

Game Setup Menu Before:

Game Setup Menu After:

In-Game Display Before:

In-Game Display (note the top bar, especially) After:

More to come on other fronts, but wanted to get this out today 🙂

Enjoy!
Keith

AI War 2 v0.527 Released! “Factious AI”

Release notes here!

This one is all about new AI Types and being able to choose between them in the Lobby.

There’s some neat new personalities in there (I’m especially fond of “Brawler”, but I always did love the Burlusts), but the more important thing is all the framework necessary to have different factions have their own set of dropdowns in the lobby, so we can support variable-intensity special factions later on, etc.

On the subject of modding, some significant improvements were made to how you can define XML entries in terms of other entries, and more specifically to how the AI’s unit “draw bags” are populated.

There’s also a fix to a bug that had broken the ability to start a multiplayer game. Thankfully the sim itself was staying in sync fine, there was just a null exception in the lobby for the non-hosts, when trying to show certain information.

Enjoy!
Keith

AI War 2 v0.525 Released! “Targeting Priorities: So Many Things To Shoot, So Little Time”

Release notes here!

Lots of quality-of-fun improvements here, including much-improved support for having selections of stuff from multiple planets, helpful new info on the AI Defenses galaxy display mode, descriptions of many common units, and another round of basic balance changes.

But the main thing is definitely the addition of targeting modes for control groups. Now you can go into a planet with your fleet using “Defense” targeting, and it will defend itself against the main threats to your shield cover. Then you can switch to “Siege” targeting to have your long-range units focus on knocking out the enemy units that can hit you back. After that, you can switch into “Pre-Assault” to focus on neutralizing the things that would mess you up if you just charged straight through (tractors, shields, etc). Finally, during an actual charge, you can switch into “Assault” to prioritize tractors and shields in your way. If things don’t go your way, “Retreat” prioritizes the enemies that can catch you, are near you, or can wreck your shields. Once you’re done you can change it back to “None” and the individual weapon system target sorters will do their thing (as they will anyway if your group’s setting doesn’t have a preference between two targets).

Modders can also change these modes and add new ones. Look at the “TargetSorter_Siege” class in the external code project for an example (to add a new one you also need to add a line to GameData/TargetSorter/KDL_VanillaEntries.xml , but it’s straightforward).

Enjoy!
Keith

AI War 2 v0.524 Released! “Improvement Variety Pack #1”

Release notes here!

No one theme here, other than “make the game more fun to play” 🙂

Opening with some UI improvements from community member BadgerBadger, and moving on to some behavior changes from me to make waves behave in a more familiar fashion and to make your ships not fan out in a counter-productive fashion when you give them an attack order.

Modders can now make different galaxy display modes change the text (and its color) around planets on the galaxy map, which really helps show the info you want.

And some various bugfixes in the middle of it all.

Enjoy!
Keith