Arcen Games

Games => AI War II => Topic started by: x4000 on August 30, 2018, 11:05:12 PM

Title: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: x4000 on August 30, 2018, 11:05:12 PM
Release notes here.

Okay, tons of bugfixes in here.  Fixes, fixes, fixes, all the live long day.  I'm pleased with the result, though.

Mercenaries in particular have been made vastly more functional, and seem to work mostly correctly now.  They just hadn't had a chance to be fully tested previously, and so they needed to go through the wringer of testing like any other new feature.  Thanks for being a part of the first wave of that and helping us save some time internally, for those who did -- it really means a lot.

A cool side benefit of some of the changes to how things are seeded on the map is that now not only do things seed in a prettier fashion, and spread out better on planets than before, but it actually generates faster and thus cuts lag in the lobby way down when you're generating a new seed, etc.

One of the really big things in this build, also mercenary-related, are the six new mercenary factions created by RocketAssistedPuffin.  Badger created the other five or so factions, so between them they've created quite a pretty few.  We need to get the costs on Badger's to go up out of the token amount range, and I forgot to do that today, but it's on my list now that I thought of it again.

More coming tomorrow (Friday), and then possibly a bit Sunday, before we start all over with more releases next week.  Friday is a half-day for me because I have some personal things to attend to in the morning, but then I'll be back up and at it for the afternoon.  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
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: BadgerBadger on August 30, 2018, 11:41:14 PM
My Mercenary Groups were defined literally as examples of how to use the XML, so having groups with some actual thought behind them is wonderful.

Also, this is really nitpicky, but if we call the Mercenary Groups "Factions" then I at least am going to be really confused, because the Mercenaries themselves are a Faction in my head. And it seems weird to treat a single group of mercenaries as a Faction in the same way that the Dyson Sphere or Nanocaust is a faction.

I'm not committed to "Mercenary Groups", but I think calling them factions will just confuse people.
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: RocketAssistedPuffin on August 31, 2018, 05:58:56 AM
Ahh. I was going to go through the pre-existing ones and try to upgrade them a bit, while keeping the theme. No idea how to do that with the Lone Wolf guy though, since he's a single ship. Rest should be fine when I get to it though.

Good point Badger. Imagining I'm a new player, and I read that Mercs are a faction...it would be confusing. They don't work at all like the others. Groups might just have to do it for now though.
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: steelwing on August 31, 2018, 07:44:30 AM
I'm not committed to "Mercenary Groups", but I think calling them factions will just confuse people.
Imagining I'm a new player, and I read that Mercs are a faction...it would be confusing. They don't work at all like the others. Groups might just have to do it for now though.
What about calling them "Mercenary Companies"?  A merc organization in the real world is often called a company, not in the sense of the military unit, but in the sense of a corporate organization.
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: RocketAssistedPuffin on August 31, 2018, 11:15:01 AM
It's an interesting idea. It doesn't mesh well with some of the new groups, but for what people typically think of when hearing mercenary, it fits.

I like it, myself.
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: BadgerBadger on August 31, 2018, 11:54:54 AM
Puffin, you're welcome to tweak the existing mercenaries as you see fit
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: zeusalmighty on August 31, 2018, 11:59:33 AM
I think making a mercenary (or whatever they end up being called) might be a good way to learn how to mod--definitely have more ambitious ideas but got to learn how to walk before you can run

The idea I had was a merc group (asteroid miners; haven't come up with a name yet) that just straps engines and targeting computers on bunch of asteroids.

They go super fast, self-destruct on contact, and do quite a hefty amount of damage. I would like them to come in volleys but we'll see how my attempt works out
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: zeusalmighty on August 31, 2018, 12:00:48 PM
Could call them "freelancers"
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: RocketAssistedPuffin on August 31, 2018, 12:33:32 PM
Thanks Badger. I'd like to use their names at least - not great at that kind of thing, hence why all of the new ones are non-persons.

I like the name Freelancers...I'll take that in consideration as well.  So far I lean more towards that.

Yep, mercenaries are fairly simple. They got a few additions that really open them up (more as AIP increases, donate to player (which works perfectly Badger)). You can look at PuffinMercs for those lines and examples of them.
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: BadgerBadger on August 31, 2018, 04:37:52 PM
Modding in mercenaries is a really easy way to get started. We should actually do a writeup for how to create your own mercenaries in the wiki under the Modding section.
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: zeusalmighty on August 31, 2018, 05:09:14 PM
I've been a fan of the ideas of the mercenaries from their inception--would definitely like to contribute to their proliferation!

On that note, since they are now subsumed in the AI Sentinels, the player has no means to add/subtract how many communicators are in a present game (as far as I know).

Maybe this should be tied to galaxy size? E.g. For every 10 planets, seed one communicator

Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: RocketAssistedPuffin on August 31, 2018, 05:28:45 PM
They're fairly simple, really.

Not sure how that would go with the seeding. Right now, on an 80 planet map, that'd cause 8 communicators. 2 Groups per communicator. We don't actually have enough to populate that, but I imagine that'll change very soon. I don't have any new ideas, mostly fixing up the current ones. Got some new things to add into them...

Or maybe it just pops one mercenary group into a few to make up for it.

You can probably just ask me directly in Discord about any of it, the reasoning behind mine, bits of the workings, whatever, no problem.

The wiki writeup is interesting. Maybe on a day where I'm not so confused (not as much sleep) I'll...try that. I'll put all the functions in it, including the new ones Badger just made.
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: x4000 on August 31, 2018, 07:53:41 PM
Lots of good discussion -- I like the term freelancer, too.  Is that for replacing "mercenaries" or replacing "factions?"  Basically "mercenary freelancers?"  I'm a bit confused on that.

On another note, I got absolutely nothing done today, sorry everybody.  I had an echo stress test on my heart, and fortunately the news was super good.  But it was still exhausting partly because I could not have coffee before, and partly because... well, still trying to figure that out.  Looks like maybe asthma instead, at this point.  At least it's not some sort of more serious heart condition, which is really good!

Assuming I have the mental energy on Sunday, I'll be on then; otherwise I'll have to slide to Monday.  Tomorrow is my son's birthday, so I won't be around at all here during that. :)
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: zeusalmighty on August 31, 2018, 08:09:22 PM
Glad to hear your heart test came back with good news, Chris!!  :)

We already got several updates this week so I don't think we'll mind waiting a while for the next one  ;)

I like the term freelancer, too.  Is that for replacing "mercenaries" or replacing "factions?"  Basically "mercenary freelancers?"  I'm a bit confused on that.

Freelancer instead of mercenaries. I like factions denoting what they do already and don't really see any reason to change that.
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: BadgerBadger on August 31, 2018, 08:11:13 PM
What I had in mind was

The Mercenary Faction is always enabled. Having that faction on causes a bunch of Mercenary Beacons to be seeded on the map. Hacking those beacons allows you to summon Freelancers, which are groups of ships that will aid you against your enemies.

or

A Freelancer is a group of units that is summoned as part of the behaviour of the Mercenary Faction.
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: BadgerBadger on August 31, 2018, 11:22:02 PM
I'm not sure I'm keen on a cap of space docks per planet at 2 without spending science. I always used to cluster a number of space docks with a bunch of engineers on one planet, and then heavily defend that planet. I worry that this will make it hard to coordinate what units I'm building; I like having lots of space docks, but I don't want to have to click between a bunch of planets to figure out what's going on. If we had a centralized build menu that would be fine, but I don't want to have to click on 4 different planets to see if I remembered to start building the fleetship from the ARS I just captured.

Edit: I like have space docks be something I can spend Science on though. If the default cap went 3 --> 7 --> 9 or something that would probably be okay. It's also a bit of a n00b trap, because if I spend all my science on upgrading my space docks I might not be able to survive the early game. I kinda think things like that should be gated behind Destruction Points, to make it harder for someone to shoot themself in the foot
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: RocketAssistedPuffin on September 01, 2018, 06:38:50 AM
Of note is people who have docks dedicated to one unit, and has those units added automatically to a control group. Such a low cap makes that a bit awkward early on.

Having to go look at multiple planets to see isn't very good either, as above. Paying science for a quality of life thing is ow.

Still liking Freelancer for the names of the groups.
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: x4000 on September 03, 2018, 10:51:19 AM
Works for me!

* Mark 1 space dock cap increased from 2 to 4.
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: RocketAssistedPuffin on September 03, 2018, 11:34:50 AM
I'd like to note that you can just buy Mobile Space Docks, and get 20 mobile versions of those that are much more durable and have repair en masse. I'm...not sure why I would upgrade normal docks. The MSDs are half the knowledge cost, cost less than 25% than even a MK1 Space Dock.

This actually touches on an issue I've been concerned with but not sure what to do - Gryn, the Void Home and the Orchid Arks. What they give seems to be fairly easily obtainable elsewhere. From what I've heard of...well, the one person who gives any feedback on Arks, Hegira and Thanatos are the only two who do anything unique - the rest are semi redundant.

I know from our discussion Chris that...that's probably now my domain, though again I've no idea what to do with those two.
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: x4000 on September 03, 2018, 11:51:13 AM
I guess that we should probably massively reduce the cost of the space docks, then -- maybe to half the cost of the mobile variant.  Maybe they also need to become more tanky.  The metal cost of the mobile space docks probably then needs to be shifted to be double that of the stationary ones (I know that's hugely expensive, but it was hugely inexpensive, before).

On the Arks, as we start getting more special abilities in there I want to make use of more of those.  For Ark One, I want to make that one use the knockback like a military command station when I get a chance to add that in.  For Gyrn... maybe in addition to its space dock abilities, it should have the Norris Effect (pushes forcefields of the enemy).  In fact... yeah, I just added that in there, that should be good. :)

No worries on having anything you're uncertain on, I am happy to talk about things when that comes up.  I'm not sure what to do with Orchid yet; let's wait on that until we get more abilities in.
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: Malkiel on September 05, 2018, 08:24:02 AM
I understand the concern with MSDs being preferable to standard spacedocks, but I had to throw in one gripe regarding MSDs:
Back in ancient times, when Romans were building their first chariot-starships, MSD was actually MRU- Mobile Repair Unit. (I  might be remembering my acronym wrong but this was years upon years ago)
In game 1, they repair multiple units at once. in AI war 2, they repair 1 unit at a time, or 3 if you're splitting engine/shield/hull repairs).
Claiming they have repair en masse as puffin did is frankly misleading.

On to the Orchid (the one Ark I've tried thus far, I never played with champions much either...) Perhaps it could steal the Multi-repair role? I know that I want my MRUs back but honestly, I don't think I'm going to get them back (totally modding it in myself aside). I even used MSDs for strictly non ship building in the first game, just for multi repair. This would give the Orchid it's own "thing" that nobody could do without it, and the shield pushing you recently gave Gyrn would serve as it's unique.

The .765 Gyrn "Norris Effect" ability would've been handy in my Orchid game.. 2 shields overlapping eachother = no hull damage from bombers on them until I beat one down below 60% strength to end the overlap. It took like 20 minutes with my whole fleet shooting the darn thing and killed my early game momentum. (this led to my defeat)

What would we call Multi repair? "Full bloom"? "Nanite Pollen"? "Hyper Synthesis"? I'm not that good at naming, as the cats will attest.
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: x4000 on September 05, 2018, 09:37:57 AM
In terms of multi-repair... what if this added a low-level regen effect to ships that are nearby?  That wouldn't be as fast as a true multi-repair (in terms of how fast it repairs), but it would also be metal-free.  I wonder if that would encourage bad behavior, though (waiting a long amount of clock time, not having fun, to play "optimally.").
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: TheVampire100 on September 05, 2018, 10:28:35 AM
Passive Regeneration could work in battles if it is noticeable (meaning, strong enough that ships survive another shot).
Outside of battle I don't know. You could simply just retreat the fleet to your planet and heal them up, I guess that would be faster?
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: Malkiel on September 05, 2018, 11:20:14 AM
If you're concerned about "waiting a long amount of clock time" for the passive regen, I came up with an alternate idea.
The aura repairs only shields. Out of combat, shields regenerate rather quickly. In combat, shields don't normally regenerate. This aura could bypass that rule and allow some amount of shield recovery during a firefight. Example:
A shield repairing pulse that goes out every 3 seconds restoring 100 (per rank) shields to all friendly things within (range determined by rank, similar to it's repair range).
The pulse would repair shields EVEN IF ACTIVELY TAKING FIRE.
An ability like that wouldn't be true multi repair but it would make this the "my fleet lives longer" ark without a doubt.
We'd having to make sure bugs didn't occur with things like armor ships (0 shield cap getting shields = possible problems) and so forth. I don't want it % based because it'd break golems, I think a number similar to my suggestion above is probably fair.

Another option would be to have the Ark generate "points" over time that amount to free repairs for nearby things, up to a cap determined by rank of ark. It would then expend those points repairing the things. This would leave the "optimal playstyle" issue in effect...
But what if the Ark experience points (or w/e they are called that you use for upgrading arks along with research) ARE the free area repair points? It might make ranking up the orchid harder, but since I tend towards having a fair number of points sitting around I doubt it would be a large negative impact... just have to hang back with the Ark away from the fleet combat to get the points to rank up with is all.

The least interesting option would be +(rank*X) armor aura. Not exploitable long term, notable survival buff, non game breaking, plays alongside theme. Not going to lie, I think it's good but not "flashy" enough. Arks are a centerpeice, they need to be flashy in some way.

Of the ideas I listed, I like the first as an alternative to multi repair best, personally. The third has the potential to be the most powerful, used cleverly.

One other point: those who wait long times to be optimal must be careful, for we fail to realize we're at the metal cap and could be adding engineers. :P
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: RocketAssistedPuffin on September 05, 2018, 12:18:44 PM

Claiming they have repair en masse as puffin did is frankly misleading.

I have a feeling I said that because it was a group of 20 units that could all repair. This was said before the caps were increased, so 20 repair ships really was a lot at the time. Though...yeah, probably was in error. Always looked like they had multiple beams when I used them.

Anyway. I'd like to point out MSDs in Classic could only repair when stationary for a while, and I...somewhat like the odd idea of those "aura pulses" actually helping remove debuffs from units, i.e speeding up recovery around it from slows, paralysis, things like that. Maybe as a later Mark thing?
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: x4000 on September 05, 2018, 02:46:57 PM
Let's start with this and see how that feels in 0.766:

* The Orchid Ark now has lost the ability to assist construction on other ships, but it's repair speed has gone up by 10x.  This isn't a multi-repair ability, but it's such a superfast repair process that it should act very similarly to what is imagined.  Let's see how that feels, anyhow.

Thanks!
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: RocketAssistedPuffin on September 05, 2018, 04:49:09 PM
What about some form of vampirism, like a parasitic rose? It feels weird that the Healer Ark cannot heal itself.
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: x4000 on September 05, 2018, 07:55:57 PM
Sure, that seems neat to me. :)  Feel free to modify it if you like.
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: RocketAssistedPuffin on September 05, 2018, 08:10:37 PM
Done! Gave it a rename on the weapon to Parasitic Cannon to suit. Maybe I can find an example of an actual rose parasite...put that in later.
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: BadgerBadger on September 05, 2018, 08:21:01 PM
I don't recommend parasite-related weapon names, since people who played AIWC will expect the orchid to be like AIWC parasites.
Title: Re: AI War 2 v0.764 Released! "Mercenary Surge"
Post by: RocketAssistedPuffin on September 05, 2018, 08:29:41 PM
Hm...good point. I'll revert that bit.