AI War 2 v0.856 Released! “Sabre Company”

Release notes here.

There are things!  They are new!  The release notes themselves are pretty much brief enough to cover it, to be honest.  There’s some good fixes and tweaks in here, again from Puffin and Badger and Quinn.  I have still been out for the count.

My personal life has still been completely upside down and sideways, but this week it’s been on balance more good changes than bad.  Still just a lot of getting used to… a completely new method of existence, really.  I’m finally mentally and emotionally and physically getting recovered enough that I think that I’ll be coming back to work more or less like normal next week, unless something NEW happens.  My schedule is still going to be reduced from what it used to be, but I’m going to really focus on getting important stuff done efficiently, and I have Quinn and my dad as a big help on that.

So… yeah.  Continued apologies.  This is just the largest life change event I’ve had, other than having kids, since I became an adult.  So I’m just having to process and adjust, and I will get back on track.  Thanks for bearing with me, and to all the folks keeping things going while I’ve been reeling.

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 v0.805 Released! “Mercs, Hacks, and, Drones, Oh My”

Release notes here.

Right!  It’s been 17 days since the last release, which is a hugely long period for us, so there’s a ton in here.  Even though I didn’t personally do any of it; it’s all thanks to Badger, Puffin, and Quinn.  Huge, huge, thanks to those three for holding down the fort and getting a lot of really important stuff done.

Hacking should feel a lot more balanced now, and works on based on a new premise in terms of how strong the response is to your hacks.  Before it would start out pitiful in response and then turn universe-eating without warning.  No longer!  A couple of hacks also weren’t working right, and now do.

Drones now actually work properly in all cases now, or at least should.  They also can’t be repaired anymore, since they are finite-life ships by definition.

There were a couple of nasty bugs that Badger fixed, including a nullref that made it look like the game had frozen and might have caused some other seems-like-a-different-bug-but-is-really-the-same-thing issues.

Balance has seen an incredible amount of work thanks to Puffin and all the feedback he’s been getting.  The list is really, really long.  There’s so much stuff in there, but I really like the changes to make Mercenaries that you can hire a lot more durable and useful, the Astro Trains that the AI has a lot more dangerous, and Minefields and Instigator bases a lot more of a presence now.

Why the Change in Schedule?

Last time I did a release, 17 days ago, I said this: “Expect more tomorrow, and each day this week.  We’ve been maintaining a schedule of roughly 3-5 releases a week for a while now, and we don’t expect for that to change anytime soon.”

That… obviously had a sudden and unexpected stop.  I posted about this a few days ago, in general terms, and unfortunately I can’t be more specific for privacy reasons.  I want to assure you that I’m not going anywhere long-term, but my life has been absolutely turned upside-down unrelated to anything with Arcen.  One way or another, my life is very different from now on, forever, compared to what it was 17 days ago.

I appreciate the words of comfort that folks have had, and those that have reached out in various ways, and overall the lack of speculation of what it is.  I swear I’m not trying to be a tease about this.  My natural instinct is to share and over-share what is going on with me, but there are times in life when that’s not possible or advisable.

I’ll be OK.  And I plan on finishing the 1.0 of this game on schedule, and then to continue developing this game after that for a long time to come.  Expansions that are paid, plus free post-launch updates, for maybe a half decade again, like what happened with the first game.  But my schedule is going to be all over the place because of these recent developments, and I’m not going to be reliable on a day-to-day basis in terms of when I can do what.  So expect larger releases a little bit further apart.  A fair number of you have said that’s what you prefer, anyway, so I guess that’s good.

I’ll be honest: this has been the darkest, scariest time of my life.  Meanwhile, things with Arcen and AI War have been going pretty relatively great, go figure.  I may talk about what happened sometime in years to come, but not in any capacity sooner.  At this point I have the specialists lined up who are able to help with this situation, and now it’s a matter of putting in the time and getting used to my new and sudden reality.

But please don’t let this put you off of picking up the game.  I promise I’ll do right by all the fans and customers, as has always happened in the past.  People freaking out that the game suddenly won’t get completed or something would only take my life from rock bottom to somewhere even lower.  Please do trust me to finish what I’ve promised you, and I won’t let you down.

I apologize for being such a downer in this post, and I don’t expect to be discussing it much publicly in the future.  But I’ve got roughly a 6 month period before I know at all what the shape of my future life is going to look like, so that uncertainty is going to be there chewing at me for at least that long.  Despite that, I’ll do my best.  I’ve been a bit slow climbing back on the horse so far, but I intend to get some proper work done this week and get a bit more momentum of my own going.  Again huge thanks to Badger, Puffin, and Quinn for holding down the fort while I’ve been away.  If there are other folks who want to volunteer to dig into things in that way as well, that sort of help is welcome, although I have nothing to offer in return.

Anyway — I hope you have a lot of fun with the new build, it looks pretty killer from what I’ve seen so far!

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 v0.804 Released! “Hack Me Quickly”

Release notes here.

This has a couple of notable bugfixes, and it tunes the balance on the hacking response from the AI waaay down.  That was some game-ending level of hacking response that some folks were getting.  Badger is currently in the process of reworking how the hacking response severity gets calculated anyhow, but for now we just toned down the existing mechanic since the new logic isn’t ready yet.

This version also simplifies the speed controls some, and adds in legitimate Game Speed Styles (rather like the first game had).  These GSSes, rather than being like fast-forward or slow-motion (which we do also have), act as balance shifters to either make the game more frenetic or more contemplative.  The default values here are the same, but there is a speed now that is Epic (quite contemplative), all the way up through Cheetah (very fast), all the way through Insane and Plaid (because why not).

Some folks feel like it’s too fast, some folks feel like it’s a little slow, and now everyone can play the way they want while leaving the in-game wall-clock alone.  Except when you want to fast-forward for a bit, which obviously you can still do.

Also?  Sabots are not so darn terrifying anymore, so your starships should breathe a sigh of relief.

Big Topics

It’s late and I’m quite tired, so I don’t feel like getting into these full discussions right now.  But basically I am hearing what you’re saying about things like the control groups being difficult to manage, and some of the things you want to be able to control with them, build queues, etc.  I’ve been thinking hard on some solutions for those, and I think there will be some good changes to come out of that.  Thanks for your patience, in the meantime.

The lobby is something that I desperately want to get fixed up to a nicer state, but with all the feedback pouring in on actual in-game areas I think I am going to have to delay that a bit more than I had expected.  I had figured the lobby would be done by the end of October, but now I think it’s better to say November instead.  The overall game experience will evolve a lot faster and more pleasingly that way.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to forget about it!

There are also some very valid concerns/wishes that folks have for more options on the galaxy map to find things easier, and some things related to making scouting easier (and/or results of scouting to be easier).  Those are also on my radar, and something I’m putting ahead of the lobby right now because I think that will help everybody more directly.

Oh, and getting some of the tutorial things a bit better, like it not skipping ahead on you, and telling you what a colony ship is.  I want to get a tip of the day in there, and maybe an in-game FAQ or something.

And then of course the growing list of small wishes, big wishes, small bugs, big bugs…  These last couple of days have been maybe too much talking on my part, so I am going to try to balance that more with the actual work of developing the game.  Even with a 10 hour workday, I still have 72 unread messages at the moment.  It’s a good problem to have!  Don’t get me wrong.  But it does require me to try and work on time management a bit better.

Expect more tomorrow, and each day this week.  We’ve been maintaining a schedule of roughly 3-5 releases a week for a while now, and we don’t expect for that to change anytime soon.  Thank you everybody so much for the support, and the kind words, and the positive reviews.  It’s making such a big difference to us.

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 v0.803 Released! “The New Attack-Move”

Release notes here.

Whew!  It’s been a really long day, but I feel like I didn’t get really that many things in.  Most of my day was spent on the forums, and I know I promised that a few things would be in this build that got pushed back — apologies to those folks.  I think it was three features.  I should be able to get them in tomorrow, but I’m going to be a bit more careful about my promises from now on when it comes to short-term schedule.

Basically I wound up spending a lot of my time listening to folks and finding out what gripes are bothering them the most.  That was a super useful way to spend the time, even though it caused the feature list to be a little shorter than usual.  Still, the list isn’t bad:

  • A couple of minor clarity improvements.
  • You can now see text and icons out further on the galaxy map, and you can customize when (or if) they disappear (it gets cluttered if you keep them all the way out).
  • The planet tooltips show you some substantially more useful info, so less clicking around.
  • You can build turrets and the like in groups of 5 by holding down Ctrl now, like in the first game.
  • The various modes that ships can be in can now all be mixed and matched (so group-move+stop-and-shot+frd, if you want).
  • There’s an awesome new attack-move mode, which is kind of a hybrid of several other modes and brings a much-needed way to automate small offensive actions.  Pursuit mode is great for defense, and this is basically the offensive equivalent now.  I spent a lot of time talking to Terrarius about the existing options, and eventually realized there was simply a gap that needed to be filled with something new.
  • The game should no longer submit anonymous hardware statistics to unity.  Sorry that we accidentally had that on; let us know if you still see it, please.  Thanks to lonetrav and Demerzel for bringing this to our attention.
  • A couple of other bugs were fixed, including the inability to save during the tutorial.
  • Ships being in hold-fire mode messing with their ability to re-cloak is fixed.

And then a couple of major balance tweaks!

  • Basically, people were too rich and the AI was too poor.  So…
  • You now only get 30 hacking points per planet, instead of 40.  Hopefully this feels just right, instead of being over-abundant or pauperish.
  • The AIP gained per destroyed command station is now 25 instead of 15.  Basically the amount of ramp-up that the AI has from AIP is a bit more tame than the first game, and so this balance shift should bring them more in line with the first game.  It also has the side-effect, Puffin noted, of letting the AI get substantially more mad at other factions, which is a cool side effect.
  • And ambush turrets also got a variety of buffs to make them more effective.

Expect more tomorrow, and each day this week.  We’ve been maintaining a schedule of roughly 3-5 releases a week for a while now, and we don’t expect for that to change anytime soon.  I wish I had been able to get every last everything done in one day, but that’s of course not realistic.  But we’ll make quick progress.  Thank you everybody so much for the support, and the kind words, and the positive reviews.  It’s making such a big difference to us.

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 v0.802 Released! “Hold Your Fire!”

Release notes here.

I really wanted to make a Spaceballs joke as the title for this build, but all of the ones I could think of are both rude and involve keeping firing, not ceasing fire.

Anyhow!  If you have cloaked ships, and you want said ships to stay cloaked instead of breaking out in a murderous spree, now you have but to hit the N key.

Or whatever key you like!  This version also fixes the recently-added in-game keybinding… not actually properly applying said keybindings.  I’m on a roll!  Again, apologies for that.

Speaking of, this also fixes an annoying thing I introduced earlier today where if you were trying to place a bunch of units at once, it wouldn’t really listen.  This was a casualty of the double-click fix.  So again: my roll continues.

Badger made some tutorial improvements for this build, too, and both the AI and player salvage income got a boost since it wasn’t mattering enough.

If you restart your steam client, it will download the new build immediately.

Expect more tomorrow, and each day this week.  We’ve been maintaining a schedule of roughly 3-5 releases a week for a while now, and we don’t expect for that to change anytime soon.  Well, aside from today — three releases in one day isn’t the norm!

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 v0.801 Released! “Hotfix”

Release notes here.

Well, this is hugely embarrassing — we introduced a last-minute bug today that made the objectives menu (and some other menus!) completely illegible.  The fix is now out, along with a bonus fix for a much more longstanding issue with double-clicking units.  Thanks to pango and la_nague for bringing this to our attention, and thanks to everyone for being patient with us about this one.

If you restart your steam client, it will download the fix immediately.

Expect more tomorrow, and each day this week.  We’ve been maintaining a schedule of roughly 3-5 releases a week for a while now, and we don’t expect for that to change anytime soon.

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 v0.800 Released! “Early Access Launch”

Release notes here.

Early Access arrives at last!  Welcome to all the new players. 🙂  There’s nothing particularly huge in this update, but it fixes up a couple of last-minute bugs as well as a few bits of the tutorial.

Expect more tomorrow, and each day this week.  We’ve been maintaining a schedule of roughly 3-5 releases a week for a while now, and we don’t expect for that to change anytime soon.

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 v0.785 Released! “Controls Viewing And Editing”

Release notes here.

At last!  Finally you can view and edit the controls from within the game, rather than having to open a text file.  Sorry that took so long!

That’s the last of the important interfaces, except for the lobby in the custom start.  That one is still not going to be pretty (and bug-free) until sometime this coming week at the earliest.  Next week at the latest.

A bunch of other pieces of the interface are now prettier, and generally easier to read, in this new version.  A variety of bugs were fixed.  And engineers got a 3x speed buff to their function, while fortresses got an all-around offensive buff.

I still have more to fix up with the tutorials!  Augh, I feel like I’m running around like a madman, in some respects.  The tutorials have a few places that still confuse people, and the presentation of the tutorial text could be a bit nicer, could definitely stand to have a log, etc.  Hopefully I can get that done prior to launch tomorrow, we shall see.  It’s not a crisis without it, but I just want everything to be as polished as possible for the start of EA.

Either way, more to come tomorrow!  And each day after that.  EA starts tomorrow, but that’s not going to interrupt the schedule that we’ve been maintaining for the last few months.  Thanks for reading and playing!

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 v0.784 Released! “Dash And Destruct”

Release notes here.

Whew!  This one should feel a lot more fun to play, just from a fundamental low level.  Previously, various aspects of the UI were feeling kind of sluggish, and the keyboard and mouse controls sometimes did, too.  That wasn’t a framerate issue, but rather was a series of code issues that I inflicted on myself.  Lots of untangling happened today, and the results feel so buttery smooth.

Another really big item that has returned is the selected ships window.  That wasn’t something I had been planning on doing until during EA, but it’s something that acts as both an important informational aid (what do I have selected?), an important helper in battle (how much health, cumulatively, does my selected stuff have?), and a general self-teaching aid (hey, there are buttons for pursuit, group move, scrap, etc!).  Those various benefits, particularly the last one, convinced me to spend some time and get that in earlier.

Some bits of the UI have also been made a little prettier and/or a little more clear, and we fixed dozens of typos in the tutorial (sorry…!).

Forcefields and Tutorials

Oh!  AI forcefields are almost completely a thing of the past (all stationary ones are), and your own forcefields aren’t quite so darn sturdy anymore, either.  It was Not Fun sitting there firing forever on an overpowered AI forcefield that wasn’t even protecting much to begin with.  A number of people ran into that during the tutorial, and that should flow much more smoothly now.

There’s still more work that I need to do on the tutorial, following various feedback from th_Pion as reported by Sizzle, and with some more notes from Craig and Puffin.  But I’ll get to that tomorrow; it’s quite late now.  I hadn’t planned on spending a bunch of time in this area, but people brought it up as being the true first impressions item, and that folks were having a few issues related to it, so I’ve adjusted my plans accordingly.

Lobby?

This does unfortunately push back the timeline on the lobby into next week, after EA starts, but that is probably for the best given all the other improvements I’ve been able to put in instead.  I wish that wasn’t an early thing that people might run into, but Puffin has been working on making a lot more quick start options with more difficulty ranges and types of ships and AIs, so it’s… hopefully a case of most people playing those anyway, at least at first.  Those should be far less overwhelming to someone new, anyway.

Next Up

Aside from the tutorial work, and whatever bugfixes seem most pressing pre-EA launch, I’m going to do my best to get the view/edit controls screen in.  I think that will fit in the time I have left.  Some of the most important keybindings (pursuit mode, etc) are now directly exposed on the interface, though, so it’s not quite as dire as it previously was (it’s still really important to get ASAP).

More to come tomorrow!  And each day after that.  EA starts the day after tomorrow, but that’s not going to interrupt the schedule that we’ve been maintaining for the last few months.  Thanks for reading and playing!

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 v0.783 Released! “Go Ahead And Shoot Me, Eyebot!”

Release notes here.

The name of this release comes from a pair of contradictory bugs fixed in this build.  They’re best summed up by a fun savegame that HeartEater7 provided:

Longwinded Storytime

  • 200ish Eyebots and Agravic Pods of his are sitting on a planet, staring at an enemy Concussion Guardian.
  • They refuse to shoot it unless you tell them to shoot it manually.
  • Meanwhile, it has less than 1% health left and is slowly shooting at them, not doing much damage because it’s just one ship and they’re all pretty high-mark.

So… what was causing the problem?

  • The Concussion Guardian erroneously had data on it stating that massive damage was incoming from shots that no longer existed.
  • It’s almost a certainty that these shots were aimed at it when it was under a forcefield, and the forcefield blocked the shots but didn’t bother to tell the Guardian that the damage was no longer inbound.
  • Because of this, the Eyebots and Agravic pods ignored the Guardian as a potential target because — any second now! — it was about to be obliterated.
  • Manually giving them an order would cause them to go “whatever, pile on the overkill!”  And it would thus die.

The fix was fairly simple: I have the ships track their literal incoming shots now, not a cache of the incoming damage from them, and so they immediately notice when a shot has been blocked without hitting them.  If we later add some other mechanic that clears shots without them hitting a ship, this will also still work.  If the Guardian had managed to warp out of the planet via a wormhole right before incoming shots hit it, this also handles that sort of case.  So that problem was fixed, and your ships won’t ever be shy about murdering the enemy anymore.

So what happened next?  Well, this particular savegame then fell prey to another oft-reported (in the last month) bug.  Lucky for me, since it had been hard to repro otherwise.  Here’s what went down:

  • Those same 200 ships are staring down the concussion guardian when I load the save.
  • When I unpause, they all unload into it at once, murdering it before it can get off a single shot, and then they start circling the spot where it died, firing into the voice for a good 5 more seconds before being satisfied.
  • Good grief that overkill!  One light breeze would have knocked it out.  Take it easy, guys!

I had overkill-prevention logic in the targeting code, where ships would avoid targeting things that they knew were going to be targeted.  But that’s part of making a target list, which then the ships choose viable targets from for the next partial second.  Once they have the list, they have at least part of a second for some of that data to get stale (such as, in this case, one ship firing a shot that now means it will be overkilled — as soon as that first shot is fired, it’s time to stop any further firing at it.  If this was a larger battle, it would be time to shoot something else).

The solution to that was pretty easy: just add the overkill-check logic in the “get ready to fire at a target in our list” part of the code.  Then they say “he’s already about to die within 1-2 seconds, what else can I shoot?”  The answer in this limited scenario is “nothing,” so they just sit there.

In the case of a bunch of Ambush Turrets waiting at a wormhole, the situation was much different, though.  Puffin had a savegame where they would frustratingly overkill just a single ship in a volley, wasting tons of ammo while more ships poured in.  Why shoot that one guy so much!?  After this fix, the Ambush Turrets immediately and efficiently murder everything, like they were always designed to do.  Expect your turrets to be far more valuable now, along with… well, everything really.  But that goes for the AI, too.

So that fixed everything, right?  Not quite.  Now here’s what happened:

  • Same scenario with the 200 ships v 1 guardian.
  • Unpause, and a single shot from an agravic pod fires out and kills it.  Yay!
  • …and as soon as the guardian explodes, ALL 200 SHIPS START FIRING AT THE SPOT IT DIED AND CIRCLING IT!
  • Guys!  Seriously, cut that out!

But this was actually great news for me, because this meant that this was that other big bug and I could repro it 100% of the time.  Turns out that the problem here was kinda stupid, since I was able to instrument the code and see what was happening.  200 ships v 1 was absolutely ideal for that scenario.  Here’s what was happening under the hood:

  • Guardian is on death’s door, all the 200 ships read this correctly.
  • One shot is fired, all others correctly read that it’s about to die.
  • Guardian dies.  At this point, its object gets put back into the “object pool” for use.
  • At this time, the “HasBeenRemovedFromSim” flag gets set to true to let everyone know that it’s dead.
  • All is well so far.  Now it’s time to blank out it’s data so that it’s fresh to load next time as another ship, whenever it is needed from the object pool.
  • Uh-oh, like a moron I was immediately setting HasBeenRemovedFromSim back to false!  So they immediately thought it was alive again.
  • And even worse, we store health as an “amount lost,” which I was clearing back to 0, which meant that suddenly they thought it was at full health!
  • The only reason they ever stopped firing at that ship was that its object got repurposed for something else, and then they detected that condition (thanks to SquadWrapper noting the new PrimaryKeyID) and thus treated it as gone.

So… the solution was pretty easy.  First, have it not set HasBeenRemovedFromSim to false until an object comes back OUT of the pool.  Secondly, just to be on the safe side, set the health lost to an obscenely high amount so that everyone thinks the ship is dead no matter what.  Don’t set that back to 0 until, again, the ship comes back out of the pool.  Either one of these conditions should be sufficient for every reference to this ship to say “this thing isn’t valid anymore,” but having both in there just makes me feel a little more comfortable.

And now all that stuff works perfectly.  Yay!

So, What Else?

Mmm, lots of good stuff:

  • Yet more brief-ening of ship tooltips, which feels oh-so-good.  The original text is still there if you hold Ctrl, as it notes in the tooltip.
  • Improvements to the profile screen thanks to Dominus Arbitrationis, based on notes from Bobtree about how unclear that was as the very first thing the game shows you.
  • More improvements to the tutorial by Badger, thanks to a bunch of great notes by rkfg and Pepisolo.
  • Ships should no longer do that “blip into a different place for a bit” thing when they first enter a new planet, or when you first switch planets.  That was a really annoying one!
  • Ships staying selected when going through wormholes sometimes-but-not-always, in a very confusing way, is now gone.  So the “accidental orders to ships on other planets” issues should be gone.
  • Fixed the issue with really slow ships not turning to face their movement direction, and moving in a really jittery fashion.
  • Open-sourced several significant portions of the ship logic code.

More to come soon!  My hope is to focus on the view/edit controls screen, and the lobby, as probably my last main pre-EA-launch things.  Then we start EA and get working on whatever seems most pressing to people.  Only a few more days, now!

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