Author Topic: AI War 2 v0.760 Released! "Only The Start of Discovery"  (Read 680 times)

Offline x4000

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AI War 2 v0.760 Released! "Only The Start of Discovery"
« on: August 24, 2018, 05:08:50 PM »
This is actually TWO giant releases in one.  Release notes here for the current one, and here for "Break the Sky."

It's a whole new game now, as well it ought to be after such a huge amount of time (almost a month!) since the last release.  We've entered an entirely new phase of development now, which I'm referring to as "The Era of Discovery," and which is based around the thoughts from that giant essay from two releases ago.  Things are coming along really well, although it's taking a lot longer than I had expected.

Sooo... how on earth do I summarize this?  The release notes just for the last two versions are about 12,000 words (39 pages).  Well, let's give it a sh0t:

  • All the savegames are broken, and we're going to break them again and again in the next couple of weeks.  Please excuse our dust.

  • The UI is still not done, but is in a vastly superior state now compared to what it was.

  • However, the tooltips in the UI are in what is a potentially-final state, pending feedback.

  • Tooltips actually tell you everything now, without giving the same sort of information overload as AIWC.

  • There are a ton of minor faction changes, big and small, thanks to Badger.

  • There are a ton of new notifications, and there is also a new objectives tab on the sidebar, with actual data.  (Though not ALL the data, yet).

  • All of the ship balance from before has been stripped away and replaced with something new, simpler, and way more powerful based around the new units of measurement.

  • The way we store the xml for ships and their systems and related data has been overhauled to an incredible degree, and is now a lot easier to work with.

  • We have a guide for those who want to help out with balance suggestions, or try tweaks, or do their own mods.

  • There's a whole new minor faction, the Instigators.  These aren't something you have to enable, it's just something that is a part of every game now and provides some interesting new twists midgame.

  • Bunch of new planet names, and map type refinements.

  • The tutorial is back!

  • Most of the game mechanics, ranging from cloaking to engine damage to ion damage and gravity fields have been completely reworked.

  • A whole bunch of new game mechanics, ranging from metabolization to incoming and outgoing damage multipliers, have been added.

  • Hacking works again, although it's mainly used for minor factions in the super short term.

  • A ton of units have been completely reimagined, such as Fighters becoming V-Wings, Bombers becoming Fusion Bombers, Infiltrators becoming Agravic Pods, etc.

  • Even more is coming in terms of unit transformations, hence some of the savegame breakages that you'll see.

  • The ship icon gimbals have a bunch of new updates to show shields more prominently, and flair in general more attractively.

  • Megatons of bugfixes and structural improvements.

  • Vastly smaller savegames, now.

  • Much better ship targeting logic, although there's still more to go on that.

  • And a whole lot of untested things that we hope you'll tell us about if they're broken. ;)


And... yeah.  This isn't quite the point where we want to say "come jump in if you're waiting for a near-EA release build," but we're getting there.  We're headed through the process of cleaning this up and finishing this pretty tectonic set of changes that make this feel like the sequel that we were wanting it to be from the start (while still honoring the original game, which was something that The Pivot -- the last phase of the development prior to this one -- accomplished).

Lots more to come next week.  Thanks for your support!

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
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Offline zeusalmighty

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Re: AI War 2 v0.760 Released! "Only The Start of Discovery"
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2018, 05:26:46 PM »
Excited to check this out over the weekend! My hype for this game just keeps getting rising!

Offline RocketAssistedPuffin

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Re: AI War 2 v0.760 Released! "Only The Start of Discovery"
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2018, 06:31:44 PM »
I've given it a prod already, and very much like it more. Might actually try to complete it, maybe even go further and do one of those action reports that there were so many of in the old days apparently...far before my time here.

It seems that at least one of my trait suggestions was already in the game before I made it! Agravic pods damage boost was one of them.

The UI tooltips for the units are amazing now, so much clearer and removes one of my biggest personal issues.

All in all, an enormous step forward, in my opinion! And this is before procedural...

« Last Edit: August 24, 2018, 06:34:24 PM by RocketAssistedPuffin »
Autistic, so apologies for any communication difficulties!

Offline TheVampire100

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Re: AI War 2 v0.760 Released! "Only The Start of Discovery"
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2018, 12:41:06 AM »
I only digged into it for about 30 minutes, I will later give a better insight but here are my insights so far.

The overall UI is a lot better and the new combat interactions are SICK. This is exactly what i wanted to see from a successful sequel, not just recyclen the old stuff, reworking and improving on it.
The new triangle ship interactions are a lot better because it gives you a better understanding how you can use them. Also a lot more flexible too. The old Rock-Paper-Scissors system was easy to understand but not very intuitive. It all boiled down to "This is ship deals more damage to this ship simply because of the hull type".
Now we have different special abilities that directly influence how well ships will do against each other. For example the Fighter (now branded V-Wing) will slow down ships massively which opens up new strategies. Combined with their higher than usual movement speed they can slow down retreating ships for your other ships.
Corvettes deal now massively damage to anything that isn't heavily armored. The damage is INSANE. And the new use of personal shields together with Fusion Bombers ability to bypass these by a big chunk is also great.

This makes the game a LOT more intuitive for new players. In AOWC we had a simple rock-paper-scissors system that worked but the problem was, if you do not know all the different ships and interactions (which is basically impossible anyway) you had to look them up again and again.
Now a player can just look at ships and quickly decide what he needs. A ship has strong shields? Bombers? too fast for your fleet? V-Wings. And corvettes will deal with beefy targets. I cannot express how much I like this change.

Now, I also noticed soem drawbacks witht his change. All the new stats are important for special abilities (armored units will reduce effective damage of corvettes for an example) but all this boils down to "if it has X value it does not work on it". Do the stats have any other purpose besides that? Does a stronger engine reduce the impact of stuns/slows even if it does not reach the threshold where it is unaffected? Does armor reduce effective damage on the target or does it simply reduce damage when something like the corvette attacks it?

And oen of the stranger things is Albedo. I actually had to look this uop because I didn't even know what it means (I'm still clueless btw). It has soemthing to do with light reflection I think (or beam reflection, does not have to be light). Anyway, in AIW2 it seems to affect cloaking but the word in itself is not common. Players will look at the UI. Engine, hull, shield, these are all words that everybody knows and understands even if you do not know it in this context you will have a general idea what it does. Albedo however will confuse players and they will have to, like me, look it up first. Maybe you could change it to a more common term or explain it somewhere in the game?

Okay, now some balancing issues I have. I don't know how much Starships are integrated with these new changes, I guess they are still in the progress of working. An example is the sniper starship which basically isn't even a sniper, it has less range than corvettes, in fact it has less range than ANYTHING.
I have for soem reason TWO raid starships in my tech menu with the exact same stats but one costs twice the amount of tech than the other.

Sniper turrets are terrible compared to spider turrets. They are essentially the same but spiders do three times the damage and also slow/stun targets, they have also more hull and HP but both cost the exact same amount of metal, energy and tech.
In my opinion snipers shoudl be the damaging kind and spiders the supporting type but currently spiders are in everything superior for the same cost.

I don't see an attack on the military command station. Or maybe I'm just blind?

Anti Cloakers tell me that it decreases "x Cloak points". Where can I see cloak points on cloaking ships?

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: AI War 2 v0.760 Released! "Only The Start of Discovery"
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2018, 01:13:26 AM »
Thanks for the feedback! I have tweaks to sniper/spider turret damage and sniper starship range in my sandbox. Not going to push them till tomorrow though, since I'm juggling a bunch of other code.

Offline Draco18s

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Re: AI War 2 v0.760 Released! "Only The Start of Discovery"
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2018, 10:53:33 AM »
Quote
Another way to look at this is that a speed of 800 is equivalent to 0.055c, aka a little over half of one percent of the speed of light. That's very fast!

That's 5.5% ;)

Offline zharmad

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Re: AI War 2 v0.760 Released! "Only The Start of Discovery"
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2018, 03:41:23 PM »
Also had a go at it last night/this morning. Some notes:
1. I've noticed that the MLRS corvettes and turrets outperform the others by a decent margin, since there's almost always going to be lots of fleetships in the current iterations.
2. Mobile Builders don't yet have a niche since they can't build anything in hostile planets. Probably a known thing like the Ark.
3. The current build gives corvettes bonuses against around ~99% of AI assets, so they seem to outperform fusion bombers (bombers also have to get much closer to do damage).
4. Grav turrets maybe should have similar health as tractor turrets, larger in radius, and fewer in count.
5. Unit selection circles are a bit too small. I keep failing to chain attack AI turrets in sequence, and I keep having the army move next to their target instead of engaging from max range.

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: AI War 2 v0.760 Released! "Only The Start of Discovery"
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2018, 04:02:17 PM »
MLRS are nerfed next release. I've also put in a nerf to the concussion corvette armor piercing damage.

Offline zharmad

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Re: AI War 2 v0.760 Released! "Only The Start of Discovery"
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2018, 05:12:58 PM »
Will there be mobile decloakers in the plans, or is this intended only for the Ark? Currently, one of the main un-counterables is a navy of cloaked ships, since the only mobile decloaker right now is a scared scout starship (fragile, non-cloaked itself, high-priority target).

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: AI War 2 v0.760 Released! "Only The Start of Discovery"
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2018, 06:41:19 PM »
Scout starship will now be cloaked, at least.

Offline x4000

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Re: AI War 2 v0.760 Released! "Only The Start of Discovery"
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2018, 04:11:44 PM »
And oen of the stranger things is Albedo. I actually had to look this uop because I didn't even know what it means (I'm still clueless btw). It has soemthing to do with light reflection I think (or beam reflection, does not have to be light). Anyway, in AIW2 it seems to affect cloaking but the word in itself is not common. Players will look at the UI. Engine, hull, shield, these are all words that everybody knows and understands even if you do not know it in this context you will have a general idea what it does. Albedo however will confuse players and they will have to, like me, look it up first. Maybe you could change it to a more common term or explain it somewhere in the game?

I don't have it in the game yet, but it is explained on the wiki as follows: https://wiki.arcengames.com/index.php?title=AI_War_2:_Units_of_Measurement#Albedo

We need to get that sort of thing into the tutorial, though.

Regarding the various ship stats, they don't affect anything except how other ships interact with them.  Aka, a stronger engine doesn't mean anything except when something is dealing with engines.  Ships that are fast don't necessarily have engines that are stronger than average, although that varies; to some extent, just looking at engines, the gx is kind of like torque instead of horsepower, thematically speaking.

As far as those things go with the armor and whatnot, the main point is for there not to be a bunch of invisible modifiers, unlike the first game.  Much simpler that way.

I don't see an attack on the military command station. Or maybe I'm just blind?

It didn't have one, but in retrospect it really should have.  Adding that, thanks!

Anti Cloakers tell me that it decreases "x Cloak points". Where can I see cloak points on cloaking ships?

Ooh!  Wow, I missed that system entirely.  Fixed for the next build, thanks!

Quote
Another way to look at this is that a speed of 800 is equivalent to 0.055c, aka a little over half of one percent of the speed of light. That's very fast!

That's 5.5% ;)

Thanks, fixed that. :)

Quote
Many other things.

Thanks all!  The next version should address a lot of the things.  As far as unit selection circles go, though, that's not one that's addressed just yet.  We'll have to think on that, I guess.  Is it just turrets, or stuff in general?
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Offline zharmad

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Re: AI War 2 v0.760 Released! "Only The Start of Discovery"
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2018, 05:44:48 PM »
Quote
As far as unit selection circles go, though, that's not one that's addressed just yet.  We'll have to think on that, I guess.  Is it just turrets, or stuff in general?

It might be just the turrets? I haven't tried shift-queuing the guard-posts, but now I'm curious as to whether the icon and the selection area are the same. maybe I'm clicking off to the side?
Will have to get back to you in the next playthrough.

Offline x4000

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Re: AI War 2 v0.760 Released! "Only The Start of Discovery"
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2018, 01:28:48 PM »
The icon and the selection area should be the same, but if it's turning out not then please let me know and I can adjust that.  If it's the icons that you're concerned about, that's comparably easy to deal with compared to the ships/squads themselves.
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