AI War 2 v0.879 Released! “Many Fixes and the Tutorial Rework Starts”

Release notes here.

A smaller one, while we get a lot of work done on the new tutorial framework.  But still some exciting fixes, and other tweaks.

  • Hacking no longer freezes flagships in place, and doesn’t have bugs related to canceling hacks anymore, and also shows a message explaining why your flagships can’t leave that planet.
  • Forcefields no longer cause ships to get stuck against them.
  • Officer fleets with Arks and Golems are no longer going to be QUITE so late-game, aka not right to an AI homeworld.
  • The whole “ship caps changing as you change them between different fleets” thing is no longer a worry.  Wow that was confusing.
  • Some other clarity things relating to swapping ships between fleets have been added, such as showing the ship counts in the interface.
  • Plus fixed a kind of sideways way you could get multiple copies of the same ship line in one fleet, thus causing manyproblems.
  • Mercenary Flagships got radar dampening, making them way more likely to live!
  • Transports that you give an attack order to (for purposes of the ships coming out of them) will no longer wander off to the southwest.
  • If the game has an exception on startup, it should always now show you rather than sometimes just seeming like loading xml assets was hung.
  • A LOT of work has been done on the new tutorials framework, but  it’s not ready yet.  I’m really hoping that we start getting some player-made tutorials in there as I flesh out the framework more, incidentally.  Some of them can be more scenario-like kind of like a “can you even win this” sort of “tutorial” if you want to. ūüėČ

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 v0.878 Released! “Fleet Customization”

Release notes here.

Dang this one is big!  Lots of long-awaited features in here:

  • You can now swap ship lines between mobile fleets you control, thus letting you mix and match your forces better and have themed fleets.
  • A lot of the fleets are more themed now in general.
  • There are some new and improved “game 101” explanations included in the how to play section.
  • Transports work vastly better, with a number of quality of life improvements like having ships that are constructed for a transport-with-stuff-in-it appear in it rather than next to it, and many many more.
  • The ability from the first game to set preferred targets for specific ships of yours is now in place here, too; for instance having this one specific selection of your ships target pike corvettes or whatever.
  • The Zenith Power Generator can no longer be cheesed from the Zenith Trader, but is still an interesting and valid choice from them.
  • There are new “Watchman Frigates” available at all your command stations, giving you some mobile ships to hunt down small AI stragglers without having to bring your fleets home just to tidy up one sniper or whatever.
  • Fixed several bugs relating to shots, which were sometimes leading to invincible almost-dead units, and in other cases degrading performance.
  • Fixed several bugs related to AI guarding ships and how those interacted with stacks, which would give the AI ridiculous numbers of ships (one savegame had more than 2 million pike corvettes in it) in a very short amount of time, thus making balance way off and degrading performance.  This was probably not affecting most saves, but if you parked next to a warden post it would often get triggered, and AI civil wars would trigger it.
  • Fixed a number of UI annoyances with data that was flickering or jumping around or otherwise not stable, mainly because of things that needed to be buffered for the display thanks to multithreading going 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

AI War 2 v0.877 Released! “The Strikecraft Goldilocks Zone”

Release notes here.

The nanocaust have seen a big revision as part of this one, and I was definitely tempted to name the build after that. But the strikecraft being better-balanced compared to everything else probably affects more people, so here we are.  The list of short-term general annoyances is getting much smaller, and the discussion that started it all is here.

So what’s new?

  • Lots of bugfixes, and some ui enhancements and AI improvements all over the place.
  • You can now see the history of the AIP increases and decreases by clicking the AIP section of the top toolbar, which is SO handy — thanks, Badger!
  • In Badger’s own words, the nanocaust changes: The nanocaust rework is basically a dramatic simplification of the code. I took the Fleets mechanism out and put in a mechanism that basically says “If there are no enemies on planet X, take all the ships on this planet and attack any adjacent planet that is weak enough for the local forces to take. If there are no adjacent hostile planets, go to a random adjacent friendly planet”. This was what I did originally but it was too powerful so I introduced the nanocaust fleets mechanic basically as a nerf.
    However, the end result was a rather boring and not-super-menacing nanocaust. So now it’s back to its original terrifying version. I may need to introduce some additional mechanics to slow it down, we’ll see.  The logic it uses is also essentially the same logic that Marauder Raiders use.
  • The strikecraft balance is now reduced to 2x hulls instead of 3x, and attack multiplier down to 1.5x.  So now your turrets should have a fighting chance.  Big thanks to Puffin for aggregating that feedback and making the change.  The strikecraft previously felt too chaff-y,  but now are hopefully in the ideal middle ground; let us know!
  • Bunches of balance changes based on player feedback.
  • I’ve personally been traveling  for the last week, but have written up some things that might interest you.  Specifically:
  • My plans for tutorials are a lot more traditional now.
  • My plans for 1.0, techs, and fleets are written up and hopefully make sense.
  • Same for my plans for multiplayer, although that news is probably less welcome.
  • Still lots of exciting things in the works, as noted via various links, mantis, and so 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

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