AI War 2 v0.876 Released! “Counterattacks Ate My Waves”

Release notes here.

This one refines a lot of things from the prior build, and fixes up neutering, waves, and counterattacks all in one fell swoop.  The list of short-term general annoyances is getting much smaller, and the discussion that started it all is here.

So what’s new?

  • Counterattacks were working well in the prior build, but in some respects a bit TOO well.  Basically the AI was being granted too many counterattack points (the same as too much salvage in prior builds), and so the counterattacks were just plain too large in a lot of situations.  Things should be much more reasonable now, but we do expect it to be something we need to tune over time, so please do keep the feedback coming.
  • An unintended side effect of counterattacks that I completely missed was the fact that neutering a planet (scouring away all the guard posts but leaving the command station) was being treated as if you had failed to conquer the planet.  Blah!  This is definitely a big part of why we love having so many dedicated fans who are testing things out.  Neutering is one of the oldest and most important strategies, and counterattacks were never supposed to mess with that.  As of this new version, they no longer do; the command station isn’t a counterattack-helping unit anymore, except for the AI Overlord version of it.
  • With some of the changes to waves in the prior build, I actually entirely broke waves, too.  So they were supposed to be more specialized, but they wound up just not coming at all anymore!  This was because waves themselves have been evolving a lot over time in the code, and the code needed a bit of a refactor in order to fully embrace the new “how much the AI pays for things is decoupled from how strong it is” balance change that we put in months ago.  The AI needs to be able to know when to not send a wave, or when to spend a bit less on a wave than it might otherwise spend, and it was previously having to approximate that sort of thing in a way that could often be quite wrong just because there isn’t a literal relationship between cost and strength.  Now it’s using real numbers and is thus able to make far more intelligent decisions.
  • Counterattacks were also happening too quickly, rather than being something that wouldn’t kick in until a certain threshold of battle.  We think that’s fixed.
  • And there are a variety of other bugfixes, including the Global Command Augmenter hacks always being hidden (oops, typo on my part).  Overall this should make the game far more pleasant to play, and the back-and-forth should feel a lot more natural.

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

AI War 2 v0.875 Released! “Counterattacks You Can Taste”

Release notes here.

This is a big one!  The list of short-term general annoyances is getting much smaller, and the discussion that started it all is here.

So what’s new?

  • You can FINALLY turn off construction on individual ship lines in your mobile fleets.
  • There’s a bunch of other stuff you can see about fleets that is handy info to have, too, in their tooltips.
  • Waves are now thematic based around the planets they come from, so they should be something that you can plan for without them being absolutely homogeneous around the galaxy.  The release notes explain it better, but I didn’t go with my “Wave Mainframes” idea because this is simpler all around, less cluttered, and gives more variety without being a mess.  It may need more tuning, we shall see.
  • Salvage and Reprisal Waves are gone.  What? Hol’ up a minute.
  • The release notes again explain it better, but we have a really cool new Counterattack mechanic that takes the place of Reprisal Waves, and which gives you waaaaay more control over the amount of risk you take on when you attack an overly-strong target.
  • In recent builds, some players were getting game-ending reprisal waves “out of nowhere” because of how they were attacking and how the fairly-invisible salvage mechanic worked.  This was not something I liked at all, because it basically feels like something you can’t control; and in some respects that was literally true, whereas in other respects you needed to have secret knowledge to avoid it.  Bad bad bad in both cases.
  • The new counterattacks can actually be far stronger than reprisal waves in the recent builds — absolutely apocalyptically game-ending, in fact — but the important thing is that the communicate to you the whole time from the point at which they start becoming dangerous.  That then gives you a chance to run away and take your small beating (rather than letting it get apocalyptic), or it lets you double-down and paralyze the counterattack long enough for you to eventually dispel it outright by killing all the AI guard posts and command stations on that planet.
  • Put another way, it adds some brinkmanship into attacking oversized targets, and gives you the controls to choose just how far you push things.  If you can stall the counterattack and then cancel it, that’s absolutely the best thing… but the risk of doing that if you might not be able to could mean that you bring down the roof on your head.  It’s all dynamic, right on the screen in front of you, and gives you an immediate feeling and source of back-and-forth.
  • And for smaller targets, it doesn’t even come into play and bother you, because this specific mechanic isn’t supposed to be a response to you just playing the game in general.  There are things like Cross Planet Attacks, reinforcements, and the hunter fleet for that already.  We didn’t need yet another mechanic that was inevitable.  We needed something devastating-but-avoidable, and hopefully the round-one balance on this is somewhat reasonable at least.  I’m sure it will need more tuning over time.
  • Oh dang, we also added three new hacks, too (thanks Quinn!).  You can hack big weapons of the AI to take them over (Orbital Mass Drivers and Ion Cannons), which gives you new strategic/tactical options during taking a planet.  Unlike the first game, there was no way to capture these before now.  And then you can also hack a co-processor to find all the other co-processors if you don’t want to wait for regular scouting to find them.
  • Techs also show you a bunch more info that is helpful for when you’re trying to capture new fleets, and new fleets also show you more accurate information based on your current techs and bonuses, rather than showing their mark-1-defaults.
  • Good grief we also fixed a bunch of bugs, too.  This really is a pretty hefty release.

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

AI War 2 v0.874 Released! “Basic Fleet Management”

Release notes here.

Finally!  The first tiny bits of the fleet management screen.  Lots more to come. The list of things that are planned for the short term to address general annoyances is here, and the discussion that started it all is here.

So what’s new?

  • You can now rename your mobile and battlestation fleets.
  • You can now pause all construction on individual mobile fleets (pausing construction for specific ship lines is coming, along with other goodies).
  • You can see a lot more info about fleet status from the fleet tooltips, and in the fleet management screen those line items ALSO have tooltips that explain them even further.
  • There are two new hacks, which allow for you to take over Global Command Augmenters (GCAs — those newthings that give you more turrets or other defenses at all your command stations if you capture and hold them) and Intra-Galactic Coordinators (IGCs — those things that add a multiplier to your ship caps for strikecraft or turrets if you capture and hold them) without having to capture and hold the planet.  But it costs you a lot in hacking points, so now you have an interesting decision to make.
  • There are also a bunch of new options relating to permadeath for certain categories of structures, and you can either make things more-permadeathy or less-permadeathy depending on your tastes.
  • A number of tips and strategies have been updated in-game to make the gameplay more clear now that GCAs are a thing and battlestations are less of a thing.
  • Reprisal wave balance has been nerfed again.
  • Golems and Arks now cost AIP to capture, and have larger fleets in general.  Let us know how much more powerful we might need to make them in general, if we do, to justify their costs.
  • You start out with 2 million metal rather than 540k, so that you never get metal starved at the very start of the game.  That was just a silly way to start.
  • There’s a new starting fleet option, the Consumer Fleet, which is all about eating your enemies in various ways.
  • The metal flows interface now updates in realtime and also shows data in a more readable format.
  • We fixed a whole host of bugs, 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 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 v0.873 Released! “Battlestation Overhaul”

Release notes here.

This works with existing savegames, but has the biggest impact on new ones.  This gets at another big batch of most-annoying-recently issues.

The list of things that are planned for the short term to address those bits is here, and the discussion that started it all is here.

So what’s new?

  • First up, there’s a new way to reduce AI Progress in the form of Major Data Centers… but the catch is that you have to hold the planet they are on.  The positive side is that their AIP reduction is HUGE.
  • In general there are also now a lot more data centers than there used to be, unless you were playing on difficulty 4 or below.
  • The number of battlestations and citadels on the map has dropped ENORMOUSLY.  Where it might have been several dozen of them previously, it’s now barely half a dozen in most cases (though you can make it add more in the lobby options if you want).
  • The battlestations were previously the only way to get more turrets and other defenses beyond the super-duper basics for your command stations, and this was… hard to manage as well as really annoying for players.
  • Battlestations still remain in a much smaller number because they are great for making beachheads or for AUGMENTING a choke point in your empire, but they are no longer the key way you get new turrets and defenses.
  • A new structure, the Global Command Augmenter, has been added to the game.  GCAs are something that you have to capture and hold the planet they belong to, but they give ALL of your command stations a bunch of new turrets and minefields and whatever else that are randomly rolled at the start of the campaign.
  • Basically the GCAs solve all of those “things are inconvenient by not being part of my main command station” issues, give you something new as a reason to capture and hold territory, and also really act as a force multiplier on your empire as a whole.
  • Soon there will also be the ability to hack them so that you don’t have to hold them (lower cost) or even capture them at all (higher cost), but we didn’t have time for that in this release.
  • There are also some notable new ways to get science and hacking points in general, now.  Previously Distribution Nodes were kind of useless and just gave you metal (which is generally not that exciting or in that short of supply), as did astro trains.  Now you get science and/or hacking points from those, which is extremely valuable and exciting instead.
  • The odds of your eyeballs being seared in by strobing lightning and/or grenade visual effects is now a lot lower, as those are now smaller in number but also a lot stronger.  Actually both of these got way more useful in general, with bonuses against stacks, etc.
  • AI Guardians also no longer seed so plentifully as before — it was quite ridiculous on the mark 6 and 7 planets, mainly because originally the game hadn’t expected those sorts of planets to exist.
  • The AI also now has its own version of turrets, which are lower-range by far, and thus their battlefields feel a lot more segmented now.
  • Also the AI uses far fewer turrets, and uses more monochromatic turrets on planets and near specific guard posts in general.  This makes it a lot easier for you to plan meaningful assaults, and also makes it so that their guard posts and strikecraft do more of the heavy lifting.  Turrets were always meant to be more of a player thing.
  • There are a variety of player structures that previously died to remains, letting you rebuild them infinite numbers of times if you lost them.  We’re going to add in an option later on to let you have that behavior again, but for now they die permanently AND are way more robust (3x the health and shields).  The idea is for there to be some risk to you in the middle-game, but for these to not fall over like paper dolls.  More balance on these may be needed, but we want to experiment with more permadeath options in general that some players will enjoy and others will avoid.
  • Strikecraft in general now have 3x the health and 2x the attack power that they used to, letting them hold their own as the backbone of everyone’s fleets a lot more.  This is a lot more like the first game was, but we may need to tune this more over time.
  • There are also now sliders in the lobby that let you adjust the relative strengths of strikecraft, turrets/guard posts, and frigates/guardians.  We’re looking for feedback on our defaults so that things feel as ideal as possible, but we’re also recognizing that some people want slower or faster games, and so these options allow for people to set that up no matter what.
  • Golems and Arks are now rare, and only accessible in the late game or very late midgame.  We’re going to be making them even more powerful and come with some extra costs, soon, based on the plans here.  Definitely a great idea by Kesseleth, and we’re partway through implementation.  This also means that the starting fleets now just all use transports rather than golems or Arks, which again emphasizes your strikecraft more.
  • You can also now read about what the various Warden and Hunter fleet types do, which was actually informative even to me.
  • And there are a variety of other small things in here.  This was a big release!

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

AI War 2 v0.872 Released! “Supply and Control”

Release notes here.

This took a bit of extra time because I was moving house and moving my office, but also because we realized that there’s a lot of new cool stuff that we really do need to work on, beyond what I had indicated last release, in order to get this where we want.

The list of things that are planned for the short term to address those bits is here, and the discussion that started it all is here.

So what’s new in this actual build?

  • “Supply” has been removed as a concept, because it was decidedly annoying.  There are other things that will need to be added in to really make fleets manageable well, post-supply — but those are in the link above, and planned for quite soon.   Item one was to get rid of the annoying thing.
  • Tractor beams now have a lot of the benefits from the first game, including behaviors like the AI mobile ships with tractor beams actively working to kidnap your ships again and drag them off to stir up more threat and other bad things.
  • Tons of bugfixes, including one to that stutter that ships often had during battle, and another to make autobombs hesitate less before blowing themselves (and hopefully some enemies) to smithereens.
  • A whole messload of balance tweaks in general have also been added.  This ranges from certain strikecraft becoming way more useful (space planes and mirages for the win in particular), to forcefields becoming more viable to use, brawlers becoming slightly translocator-y and in general having a better feeling, and some of the golems not being SO overpowered compared to the others.
  • Another big balance change is that now guard posts have a lot of their personal hull into shields, making it so that fusion bombers are now a lot more useful against them, which is good for you.
  • The Instigators are now a lot more substantial in how they respond to you, giving you much larger forces to deal with rather than a small trickle.  They still give you plenty of time to deal with them, but they’re actually a threat you’ll notice and fear now, particularly depending on the difficulty level.
  • Turrets that are distributed to guard posts should also now be a lot less varied per guard post/planet, making it so that you’re less likely to run into “well, that mashup of turrets just counters everything, so I can’t really plan around it” issues like before.
  • Tractors and tachyon systems and cloaking systems now get better at higher marks!
  • When there are multiple AIs, they now pose more of a threat than before, with their budgets not being simply equal to a single AI like before.
  • The first of some of the new features (other than the removal of supply and the turret mix changes) are also in, in the form of some offensive hacks you can use against AI planets to weaken either their turrets or their guard posts (respectively), thus giving you more to do with your hacking points against the AI itself.  Even more is coming on that front, but the idea is that there should be more options to use your hacking points in ways that might prove critical to you actually being able to take out a tough enemy planet.  This is far preferable to there being such a paucity of ways to harm the AI via hacking that you just hack for science all the time.
  • Oh, and a bug where reprisal waves were double-sized is now fixed.  That should make that a lot more balanced.

We’re still in sort of a polish/refinement stage, but at this point we’re also in one where there are a number of substantial feature adjustments in order to really make the fleets stuff shine as much as possible.  This wasn’t something that I had fully foreseen, but it’s definitely welcome given how much this adds to the strategic options you’ll be enjoying.

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

AI War 2 v0.871 Released! “More Control, Part 1”

Release notes here.

Hey, we’re finally exiting the beta branch for our updates for the first time since… mid April?  Wow, that was a long stretch, but it was definitely worth it.  Things aren’t perfect yet in the new mechanics set, but we’re getting there and we’re definitely streets ahead compared to the old mechanics from April.

First, let’s talk about what is new in this specific build:

  • Some bugfixes with a few map generation areas.
  • The metal flows screen is now far more functional and useful.
  • 26 new in-game tips have been added to the strategy/tips section, for new and returning players.  If you’re “returning” since the April versions before we went into the beta branch, that will still be useful to you.
  • We recently added a Starting Battlestation for each player in addition to their Starting Fleet, but now we’ve also got a new Starting Support Fleet as well.  This lets you hit the ground running a lot faster.
  • Mark levels from EXP gains are now limited to only some ship types, and not everything in your entire fleet.  But we can customize this in the xml, so we’ll be able to tune this as needed based on feedback.
  • bunch of tech changes have been put in, mostly relating to things that were EXP-upgrade-only before, or in some cases Markless (not upgradeable at all).
  • In some other cases, we took away some techs for things like the Ark centerpieces, and made those solely reliant on EXP mark level upgrades, and for Citadels we made those just all one tech rather than three different ones.
  • In all, there are a lot more techs now, and the importance of science is very much retained compared to recent versions, but there’s also a lot more flexibility surrounding how you do your various upgrades.

Next, let’s quickly note what “more control” is still to come very soon, hence why this is called “part 1” on the release title:

  • I still need to implement that stupid fleet management screen.  Hopefully tomorrow morning, knock on wood.  At least a preliminary version of that.
  • Based on a conversation with AnnoyingOrange, I want to reduce the number of battlestations that are around for you to capture by a LOT, and instead make it so that in the place of most of those you’re getting things that add new turret types that are available at all your command stations.  That’s more in line with the original game, and should be kind of a “best of both worlds” situation, hopefully.  Less fiddling with battlestations, but still tons of turrets everywhere, and still battlestations for some occasions.  Right now there is just too much reliance on battlestations, which feels clunky to use simply because of the volume of them.
  • I also do plan on putting in some sliders in the lobby that will let us control things like the relative strengths and hulls of strikecraft compared to their baseline, to make them more useful alongside frigates and the other big guys, etc.  They’re balanced well relative to one another, but are currently a bit too quick to die in general… but then again everyone has different tastes, so we’ll make this a config thing.
  • There may be more resulting from this conversation, and please feel free to join in.

I’m hoping to get to all those things this week, but we’ll see how it goes since I’m also in the middle of moving house and my office, so it’s a challenging time with so much going on.  But I feel like those are probably the top items that are needed in order to really give the last bits of control back to you that you might feel is lost with the fleets update at the moment.  (And in most respects the fleets update actually already gives you way more control — as well as way more units — but I’m shooting for “universally better” and not “has some unfortunate tradeoffs.”  We’re getting there.)

Now that we have enough of the tutorial-y in-game wiki things in place, it was time to exit beta because what we have in these builds is way more polished and refined than the version from April.  Time to get everyone banging on this and seeing what they think.  And if you’re just sitting down to play the game and enjoy it, I think this is by far the most enjoyable version at the moment despite the ongoing todo list.

So, let’s say you’ve not been paying attention since April and haven’t tried the betas…. what’s new?

  • Well, there’s this whole new concept called fleets, and it replaces control groups as well as making things far more streamlined while giving you more to manage than ever before.  Essentially it makes it easier to manage larger numbers of ships, and makes it FAR easier to subdivide your forces and do multiple things at once, but it also has a lot of customizability (some of which is still to come, but a lot of which is there in the techs already), and both a mixture of hand-designed and procedural elements.
  • There are literally a few dozen new ship types, most of which are interesting variants on prior ship types at the moment, but which also help differentiate your fleets even further from one another.
  • We got rid of the old style of tutorial, and are working on an in-game wiki for specific questions, and then just having things be contextually explained as you see them in other cases, and then later will likely have some mild tutorial-lite things that pop in optionally when you play and give you rewards if you follow them, or no penalties if you opt to skip them.  Basically the idea is to be a bit more modern than the old style of tutorial, and teach you as you play, plus letting you look up things like complex advanced strategies in a concise format in-game rather than having to go to forums or a wiki for those things.
  • The quick starts are all new.
  • The lobby is all new, and vastly easier to use.  There are a few todos left on that as well, but nothing super critical right now.
  • The sidebar has really evolved in order to support fleets and their new way of constructing things, and that includes a completely revised Tech tab.
  • Related, there’s a whole new system of techs that should be really clear as soon as you see it, but basically allows for synergy between similar ships all being upgraded at once.
  • Also related, your fleets gain EXP in battle and level up, although only some of the ships see the benefits of that (primarily the fleet leaders, but also a few others).  Later on there will also be perks that you can choose with each level-up, but that’s coming a bit later on.
  • All 7 marks are now used by both players and the AI, and the marks are more granular and balanced rather than having such giant jumps.
  • The AI has been made a lot smarter, repeatedly.
  • And a bunch of map types have been improved, and map generation times are faster.
  • The planets controlled by the AI are a lot more varied and interesting instead of all being big blobs of everything.  This fits heavily with the new fleets stuff so that you can bring the right fleet for the job.  If you use fewer fleets, you’ll get an EXP bonus.
  • The Lost Spire Frigate faction has been removed from the game, and is now just a core part of the game (and expanded as well) all the time.
  • Command Stations are way more varied and interesting (the player ones).
  • There are a ton of new lobby options that let you really customize your experience without it being overwhelming to see.
  • You can now have as many AIs as you want in the game, and you can even throw them into a civil war if you want to.
  • Ships rallying is gone, as are “space docks” and “starship constructors” and “build queues.”  Instead the fleet leaders now build things directly with the help of factories that are within one hop of them.  And a whole bunch of logistical things that were major pains in the rear previously are thus solved all in one fell swoop.
  • Fleet leaders are now faster in general to move around, which feels more fun.
  • The game has Strike versus Officer fleets, allowing you to choose a more hero-unit-focused type of experience or a more mob-fleet-style experience.  You can either choose that based on what you capture in-game, or you can tweak those things in the lobby some.
  • The economy has been rebalanced several times over, and you can’t shoot yourself in the foot by accident by upgrading a unit anymore.  But old low-mark units can actually become useful chaff now if you upgrade other units in their same fleet (they then get progressively cheaper).
  • The entire method for scouting has been replaced, and is a lot more direct and progressive, rather than encouraging needless micro like the old system did.  But you do still have the power to directly scout things, or set up pickets, thanks to some hacks involving nanites.
  • We redid all the fonts, the entire post processing stack, and upgraded the unity engine twice.  There were a bunch of bugfixes in their changes, too, among them finally a fix to the stutter from the garbage collector.
  • There have been loads and loads of balance tweaks, and general ui usability improvements that are just plain too numerous to list.
  • The galaxy map itself is also more attractive and a lot more legible at the same time.
  • Did we mention the AI is way smarter?  Like… it’s not a small thing.  Badger was busy all over the place in that part of the code.
  • There’s a new “crippled” mechanic for your centerpiece ships, which is far preferable to things like them going back to neutral and then you having to do a corpse run.
  • Did we mention lots of bugfixes?  All sorts of them.  It’s been over two months, after all.
  • A new knockback mechanic has been added, thanks to WeaponMaster, and it includes a lot of special features that the first game never had.  Including even things like implosion-style knock-inward effects for some ships, etc.
  • The AI hyper-alertness has been toned down, making it so that stealth on AI planets is actually something you can do now.
  • Certain ships now have the ability to grant a bonus to all the ships in their fleet, helping make fleets even more unique and combinatorial.  We haven’t done a ton with that yet, but the mechanic style is cool and we plan more of it.
  • You can now see your metal outflows by clicking the metal resource part of the top header.
  • Oh, you can also choose from a number of different planet naming styles in the lobby now, to get very different feels of galaxy.
  • And did we say the AI was smarter?  Yeah, it also has some major improvements to how it handles reinforcements and responding to you when aggro’d.
  • …and there’s a whole bunch of other stuff, way too much to mention.

We’re basically in a state where there are definitely still some things that I will feel a lot happier when those are done, BUT this is by far the strongest version of the game yet in my opinion.  And wherever there may be weaknesses or oversights, either those are things that are on the very short term schedule (such as noted above in this release notes) or things that we might not be aware of and hope you’ll tell us about.  In some cases it has simply been a matter of adding lobby options to support different playstyles, such as a desire for fewer hero units, things like that.  There may also be some things that aren’t explained as well as they should be or are nonobvious, and I hope that you guys will ask those questions to I can get those into the in-game wiki or otherwise address them in tooltips contextually or what have you.  Exciting times!

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

BETA AI War 2 v0.870 Released! “Improving Fleet EXP Mechanics”

Release notes here.

Reminder: to play the beta, you MUST go into your Steam properties for the game, go under the Betas tab, and choose the “current_beta” option.  Otherwise you’re going to be stuck on the pre-fleets version of the game.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about regarding fleets, then reading this link is a really good thing to do or you are likely to be mighty confused.

So what’s new in this build?  This is obviously an incremental one, headed towards the non-beta full release of 0.900 that we’re aiming at in the next… weeks?  That timeframe is unclear, and will be based on testing feedback, which has been rolling in well so far; but there will be loads of incremental beta releases during this period.  Anyway, what’s new:

  • The EXP that fleets gain is now handled really differently, and hopefully in a more balanced fashion.
  • That said, there are still some open questions about the fleet EXP mechanics and a few related items that I’d definitely be interested in feedback on.

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

BETA AI War 2 v0.869 Released! “How To Play And Tip Of The Day”

Release notes here.

Reminder: to play the beta, you MUST go into your Steam properties for the game, go under the Betas tab, and choose the “current_beta” option.  Otherwise you’re going to be stuck on the pre-fleets version of the game.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about regarding fleets, then reading this link is a really good thing to do or you are likely to be mighty confused.

So what’s new in this build?  This is obviously an incremental one, headed towards the non-beta full release of 0.900 that we’re aiming at in the next… weeks?  That timeframe is unclear, and will be based on testing feedback, which has been rolling in well so far; but there will be loads of incremental beta releases during this period.  Anyway, what’s new:

  • This one fixes a bug with savegames that were being created in the prior build being unreadable.  Sorry about that one!
  • This one also removes the tutorial button in general, as the current plan is not to do the prior style of “scripted tutorials that you play through,” unlike earlier builds of this game and unlike the original AI War.  That’s so last-decade: people largely want to just start playing, you know?
  • With that in mind, we’re leaning on three different techniques to teach people how to play, two of which are partly in place at the moment, and the third of which will be coming along soon.
  • Firstly there’s the Intel tab, which brings really important stuff to your attention and has been there for a long while.  Plus the really robust tooltips, most of which you can hold Shift on to get a full explanation of the mechanic of the ship in question right at that location.
  • Secondly, there’s a new How To Play Section that has been added as of this build, and which is kind of like a wiki for answering specific questions you might have.  This goes into more depth than we can do in a play-as-you-go tutorial anyhow, and wiki-style explanations for things were always considered kind of required for the original game anyway (but were actually on our wiki rather than being embedded in the game like this now is).
  • The How To Play section needs a lot of fleshing out, and if anyone has ideas on what they’d like us to explain, or if they have strategies that they want to contribute to the strategy sections, etc, then that’s of course very welcome.  Sometimes the best people to think of what the first things they want to look up are the people who wanted to find that information recently themselves.
  • There is also a new Tip of the Day system on the main menu, which I’ve wanted for a while.  Contributions to that are also welcome.
  • Thirdly, and not in place at all yet, we’re going to be having some little “mini missions” that encourage you to do things that are helpful to your cause, and thus teach you bits of strategy inherently as part of the game, and which give you a reward in-game for doing it if you want to.  This is similar to something we did in The Last Federation, and it’s a different form of “teaching by playing.”  Letting you actually just play, but then giving you some missions that you can reject or accept that give you an in-situ way of learning about strategic options that you might want to partake in.
  • Anyway, between these three approaches the hope is that players are able to get into the game easier than ever, and without having to worry about if there are 5+ hours of tutorials or whatever.  We’ll see how this works long term, but it seems promising, since it covers both major learning styles right in the game, rather than having some stuff in the game and the rest on our wiki and youtube.

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

BETA AI War 2 v0.868 Released! “Fleet EXP Level-Ups and Starting Battlestations”

Release notes here.

Reminder: to play the beta, you MUST go into your Steam properties for the game, go under the Betas tab, and choose the “current_beta” option.  Otherwise you’re going to be stuck on the pre-fleets version of the game.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about regarding fleets, then reading this link is a really good thing to do or you are likely to be mighty confused.

So what’s new in this build?  This is obviously an incremental one, headed towards the non-beta full release of 0.900 that we’re aiming at in the next… weeks?  That timeframe is unclear, and will be based on testing feedback, which has been rolling in well so far; but there will be loads of incremental beta releases during this period.  Anyway, what’s new:

  • Lots of big-deal stuff in this one, just like in the last one!  Feedback is really heavily desired on the fleet EXP level-up thresholds in particular.
  • So the most notable thing, potentially, is that now basically as your fleets fight and destroy enemies, they gain EXP for doing so and then eventually level up.  This has always been planned, and for things like engineers and command stations (and a few other things), it’s actually the only way that those can level up; science techs don’t directly support them.
  • This is an automated process (the leveling up), contrary to what I’d been thinking about for a while, since that’s way less micromanagement for you.  But then what I’d been thinking of as alternative ways to spend EXP (for fleet customization purposes) will instead be “perk points” that you get on level up.  Rather like what happens in a variety of action games, Dying Light comes to mind.  Or Horizon: Zero Dawn, etc.  A bunch of others.
  • There are ten new quickstarts in here for you to enjoy, too — thanks, Puffin!
  • The mark level colors are now completely revised, so that you can properly read the gradient of difficulty across the galaxy map when looking at it colors-wise.
  • The AI no longer gets so much salvage, so it no longer will have such crazy strong reprisal waves early in the game.
  • Your player homeworlds are now able to produce a lot more energy, which helps a variety of things early in the game in particular.
  • Energy costs for lower-mark units now goes down when they are in fleets with higher-mark ships, same as happens with metal as of the prior build.  This only applies to player ships, so the fact that this can make you suddenly more or less vulnerable to nucleophilic or other effects with those ships is just one of those things you have to manage on those ships you choose to leave outdated.  In some cases it’s a real advantage, in others it makes them really vulnerable to specific ships like eyebots.
  • Drones now never cost you energy, as that was something that could really mess you up.  For the same reason they haven’t been costing metal for quite some time.
  • Several other bugfixes are in place, and we also upgraded the version of unity and hopefully that will fix the glitchy icons in the sidebar.  If you see that glitch again, please let us know!
  • And then one of the other best things for last, you now start with a hand-designed battlestation defensive fleet (of your choosing from a selection of 5) on your home planet, just like you start with a hand-designed offensive fleet of your choosing from a different selection of 5.  This makes it so that you don’t have to babysit your home planet at the start, you get one more bit of personality into your starting position from moment one, and also the very idea of battlestations (and the key role they serve) is introduced now from minute one even if you skip the (currently disabled) tutorials.
  • We’re closing in on 0.900.  I need to get the fleet management screen v1 in place, and then we’ll iterate on that from there later on.  Then it’s just a matter of new tutorials, and I think we’re where we need to be for this to come out of beta.  There’s then still a lot to do to get to 1.0, including a lot of things on fleets and whatnot, but with those additions the current build is I think complete and contained enough that it’s definitely not beta-quality anymore.

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

BETA AI War 2 v0.867 Released! “Smarter AI, Better Mark Level Spread, Player Economic Boom”

Release notes here.

Reminder: to play the beta, you MUST go into your Steam properties for the game, go under the Betas tab, and choose the “current_beta” option.  Otherwise you’re going to be stuck on the pre-fleets version of the game.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about regarding fleets, then reading this link is a really good thing to do or you are likely to be mighty confused.

So what’s new in this build?  This is obviously an incremental one, headed towards the non-beta full release of 0.900 that we’re aiming at in the next… weeks?  That timeframe is unclear, and will be based on testing feedback, which has been rolling in well so far; but there will be loads of incremental beta releases during this period.  Anyway, what’s new:

  • There are a whole heap of bugfixes in this one, and a lot of them make the factions or AIs work better and smarter.
  • There are also some explicit improvements to the AI intelligence, specifically around waves in particular and how they use those.
  • And some other cases where things like Raid Engines just really were Not Okay ™ on third party faction worlds because they weren’t designed for that sort of thing.  So those factions and the AIs just kind of agree “okay, let’s just remove the raid engine from that planet and all move on with life.”  Raid Engines are more of a special present for you, the player. 😉
  • Reprisal Waves in particular have seen a big improvement, and now work more like the first game.  Basically, it was way too easy for you to see a target AI planet that you were no match for, and just spend a lot of time whittling it down.  Reprisal Waves were always supposed to stop you from doing that by having a mechanic whereby the AI essentially goes “okay, that was cute, now swallow my boot heel.  If you’re coming back, you’d better be prepared for real and not try to cheese me through economic-powered attrition.”  In this game that wasn’t really hitting back hard enough, so some people were doing the whittling thing, especially with Fleets now being more of a streamlined thing.  So this loophole hopefully being closed should  be a big deal in terms of people really having to play smart and not just use their  economy to bludgeon something out of their reach.
  • There were also some really notable cases where AIs were not releasing their reinforcements from guard posts or similar when they should have been, or releasing them way too early.   In some ways that was like the AI holding one hand behind its back for no good reason.  Expect to be suplexed now, properly.
  • There are multiple styles of how you can have your planets named, now!  There are various ones named after stars, cities in various countries, the original list from Keith and I, and some tongue-in-cheek humorous ones.  You can also add your own (and if you create something cool that you’d like us to add for others, we can do so).  I need to remember to make a how-to document on that feature, but it’s pretty nifty.
  • Hacking is no longer quite so tough, particularly on superterminals.  It was pretty insanely over the top difficult.  But really there were a variety of hacking changes that should be a lot more pleasant.
  • Puffin also made a lot of balance changes, making transport centerpieces way more useful and less likely to suicide (partly thanks to Badger for his suggestions there, as well as all the AI work he did).  But then there was also a big change in the tech costs for things like Arks and Citadels in particular, making those way less costly so that you can actually reasonably afford them.
  • Then when it comes to mark levels, hoo boy a ton has changed.  Previously the AI only used marks level 1 through 5, but you could get up to mark 7.  This was… really backwards.  Now the AI uses all 7 mark levels, and you still can, too.  Especially with the reductions in tech costs, you’re more likely to be able to get more high-level stuff, too. Though the XP upgrades for fleet mark levels are still to come, and that will push you even higher in that regard.
  • THEN, even beyond that, mark levels are now a heck of a lot less extreme in how they ramp up.  The mark 2 units were literally over twice as good as mark 1 units, which was a holdover from AIWC that really didn’t make any  sense anymore.  And then there was a more gradual growth up to mark 7, but it was still a huge amount of power creep with strange spikes.  Now things are far more gradual, and so mark 1 units aren’t immediately useless.  And mark 7 units don’t immediately mean you overpower everything.  It’s supposed to be  important that you increasing mark levels on fleets, as are the mark levels of AI planets being higher or lower when you choose to fight them, but the balance was just all off because it was built on the premise of the first game which… is just different in a wide variety of ways.   The new balance might not be perfect yet, but it should be a lot more satisfying than before and also should make it so that your really huge power jumps are where they should be: getting more fleets.  Or upgrading something that is in a ton of fleets all at once.
  • But going even further than that when it comes to lower mark levels being useless or a liability up until now… those were always supposed to be useful as at least being cheap chaff… but the cost for a mark 1 unit was the same as a 9x more powerful mark 7 unit, so you could just absolutely tank your economy on stupid stuff that was no help.  Even with the mark levels being more balanced now, the lower marks now get cheaper as you unlock higher mark ships of any sort in a given fleet — the more the difference, the cheaper the lower marks get.  So you can actually make some fleets that have one  really good ship type in there and then a ton of super-cheap chaff, if you want, which is definitely useful as a way to  be a bullet sponge against certain types of AI forces (nothing AOE, but something that fires directly, for sure).  The AI doesn’t get this benefit, it’s just for players.  In the first game, higher mark levels got more expensive, but in this game that approach could wind up bankrupting your economy if you simply upgrade a tech innocently, so the discount approach for older stuff had to be taken instead.  And it’s fleet-based rather than global in order to encourage… more unique and interesting fleets, and to give you more opportunities to show your cleverness with how you upgrade your fleets.
  • Keeping on with the idea of making fleets something that feel good in their default-ish state without you needing to turn off a bunch of units (like the old-expensive mark 1 units), we’ve also implemented the first of a new type of ability: Raiders now make all the other ships in their fleets, other than the centerpiece, at least as fast as they are.  So if you have some awesome Raiders for doing fast strikes, and then a bunk of slow space tanks that were absolutely a horrible combo before… guess what?  Now you have awesome fast raiders AND supercharged wicked fast space tanks to go with them.   Suddenly that particular fleet isn’t a bad combo, it’s this new and more powerful thing because of the strange mixing.  We plan to do more things along those lines, to really keep emphasizing the procedural and cool combinatorial elements of the game.
  • Also, there’s a new interface thing where you can click your metal resource text in the top bar and see your metal outflows, which is really useful.  It’s a preliminary version and may have some bugs, so feedback is appreciated.
  • Last week I was thinking about some large systemic changes to the game in order to try to solve some problems that are persistent but really more isolated.  This week, thanks to tons of feedback, we’ve all been thinking more along the lines of ways to improve the specific pain points (aka, make you want to use all the units in every fleet if we can, for example), but without going through this in a really extreme fashion.  It was already a lot closer to being correct than I was giving it credit for, and some more creative thinking has really led to some new approaches that I think will be a lot more palatable.
  • With that said, I’ve still been reluctant to focus on the fleet management screen so far, because if you’ve got that and are happily turning off a problematic unit then you probably won’t tell us about it and we can’t make it awesome. 😉  But that will be something I add next week, I think.  Even so, trying to keep that to the simple model I outlined, or something close to that, by simply making all your options useful in some way rather than a complete economic drain like something like autobombs might be now.
  • Beyond that we need to get the revised tutorial in place and make sure that as much of the balance  is sane as possible, and then I think we’re ready for 0.900!  We then have a ways to go on polishing and adding things (like subscreens for seeing more about your empire) heading into 1.0, but that will be a really big milestone and in theory that could be next week.  Maybe I just jinxed it, but it sure would be nice; I guess it depends on what people find over the weekend.  I think we’re getting out of the territory where the beta versions are more complicated to get into than the non-beta versions, and where they won’t be going through as drastic of shifts as they have been over the last few months.  Certainly my fingers are crossed for that, but it seems like we’re getting into that ballpark.

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