Author Topic: Skyward Collapse 1.008-1.009 "Massive Bigness" Released!  (Read 6095 times)

Offline x4000

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Skyward Collapse 1.008-1.009 "Massive Bigness" Released!
« on: June 12, 2013, 05:41:41 PM »
Original: http://arcengames.blogspot.com/2013/06/skyward-collapse-1008-massive-bigness.html

This one has... quite a lot going on, as you can no doubt surmise from my tongue-in-cheek title for it.  Though the title isn't really an exaggeration, either.  This release has five groups of new features that would each be considered a pretty substantial change on its own, and then a myriad of other smaller awesome stuff.

It's been almost two freaking weeks since our last update, crazy as that might sound to people who know Arcen.  So no wonder this is giant.

TLDR of the rest of this post: it's a good idea to read the release notes on this one, although even if you don't most things will become pretty clear pretty soon in the game itself.  Anyhow, the groups of new things:

Group 1: Scoring System Improvements
Before, the score was linear.  You had a goal for score in each of the three ages, and things gave you a fixed amount of points no matter what point in the game you were in, and that was that.  This was all well and good... except that it meant you could "work ahead" on the goal for one age while still in the prior age.  The problem there was that this could make the Age of Gods a lot less tense if you did well in the earlier ages.

The new system makes the score gates and the score granted from each action go up 3x in the second age, and 8x in the third age.  This means that most of the points for the score gate of the Age of Gods now have to actually be generated in that age.

Offsetting this a bit is a new change where the deaths of your higher-level units (those that have been upgraded) are now worth more than those of level 1 units.  So this helps makes your scramble in the third age less than it otherwise would be.  It might also make the gate for the earlier ages too easy, but we'll see and will adjust as needed.

Group 2: Eleven New Unique Human Units For Bandits
Eleven new units!  Holy smokes, right?  All of the bandit human units are now completely unique to the bandits, and this makes them able to be a lot more specialized in playing against the player.

Two of the new units in particular stand out in that regard: the siege drill and the field mechanik.  These are able to burrow paths through mountains and build bridges over lakes, respectively.  This solves the cheese of just putting up mountains and lakes as a too-easy defense against bandits and the other side and so forth.  Once these bandit units come by, then any other unit can follow after; and you can't just replace or smite away the tiles they left behind, either.

However, this doesn't just nerf the cheese strategy away: it actually makes it a valid one.  Now you can build progressive rings of mountains if you want; starting with just one, and then building more as you are losing inner rings.  You an also be sure to kill those drills and mechaniks early in order to prevent them getting through your defenses at all.  And you can also "bless" the tiles to return them to an un-messed-with state using the new souls resource (see group 5, below).

In other words, what was previously a cheese strategy now becomes a real strategy with back-and-forth pull between you and the bandits.

The rest of the bandits are less spectacular, but they provide some welcome different art from the main factions, as well as a better balance in general.  In other words, because they are specific to the bandits, you're getting a better-tuned mix of types of units rather than when it was pulling from the much larger pool from all the factions.

Group 3: Limited Unit Stacking
The main thing here is that siege units can stack with one regular unit that it is allied with.  This lets siege units pass regular units, and vice-versa.  This is huge!  This prevents traffic jams with siege units, and makes things like trojan horses and battering rams way more effective.

The secondary thing here is that if two units are stacked in general, they will move to the sides so that you can see them both.  Thus if somehow two units are sharing a tile in some other way (they are not supposed to be able to do that, though), then at least it won't look wrong.

Group 4: Unit Leveling-Related Improvements
First of all, on-map visuals of telling if a unit has been leveled up or not are now in place.  This is a really big deal in terms of telling how the battle is playing out, and if your guys are a match for the opposing force, etc.  Previously you had to do a lot of tooltip hovering to figure this out.

Secondly, mythological creatures you place are no longer auto-leveled up in the latter two ages.  This was making them way too powerful compared to their human counterparts.  Previously there was confusion as to why your minotaur would get trashed by a bandit minotaur in a later age, but now with showing the levels of units that's no longer a potential concern.

The other big thing here is that now the upgrade-unit direct action costs you zero AP.  This means that there is not an opportunity cost in terms of actions take in order to upgrade units -- that's important.  There is only a resource cost.  This in turn will help to keep late-game resource stores from getting stupidly huge, which is a big plus.

A small but important thing has also been added to the tooltips for the unit-upgrade action and some other direct actions: a note that you can hold shift to do multiple upgrades (or the other actions) at a time.  This works with any action or unit/tile placement off the left sidebar, but a lot of people didn't know that!

Group 5: New Soul Imprints Resource
I'm excited about this one, as it not only is useful now but adds some new flexibility for later additions.

Anyhow, there's this new resource called Soul Imprints. The only way to collect this is by having your human units or buildings die.  Each time one does, you get one soul in return for your faction.

Souls show up in your right sidebar and so forth just like any other raw resource.  Right now there are only two abilities that use souls, but we may well add others later that do.  That's what I meant about being excited for future additions with this.  It's a whole new style of resource collection.

Anyway, the first of the new abilities you have is called Bless Tile.  This is a powerful (but expensive in soul imprints) way to turn certain undesirable tiles back into something that you can build on again.  You can get rid of onyx, lake bridges, mountain tunnels, and former building ruins (provided those ruins are in a town that is still alive, not out in the wilderness somewhere).  The strategic options this opens up are nontrivial, but also are strongly constrained by how much death (or lack of death) there has been among your human populace.

The second new ability is called Convert Unit, and it's even more expensive.  It causes any enemy unit to decide to join your faction, though, which is really useful.  This lets you correct or adjust all kinds of things... but only pretty infrequently.  It's another tool in your belt, but it's more of an ace in the hole than something you're doing constantly.

And when things get rough, of course we all want aces in the hole!  The tricky thing is knowing when and where to spend those soul imprints, and if you can afford to bless some tiles or if you really need to hang onto them for doing a unit conversion. :)

Miscellany
There's a bunch of other stuff, too.

- Military commandments now work properly again.
- The filters on the sidebar now work as a pop-out rather than cycling through.
- A new filter on the sidebar lets you see just tokens, which is really useful.
- Beacons now let you mark places on the map for talking with allies or for later recall.
- The marsh graphics are now way more attractive and not repetitive.
- And various other things!

Skyward Collapse: Nihon no mura
All of the updates in this release are part of what we are working toward for our big 2.0 version of Skyward Collapse.  This one 1.008 version takes us a ton of leaps and bounds toward 2.0, actually, but there's still more to come.  All free updates, and definitely exciting stuff.

Alongside the free updates, we're working on the first paid expansion for the game, as well.  This will be called Skyward Collapse: Nihon no mura.  It adds a new Japanese faction, as well as hamlets.

The Japanese faction is really exciting because they work so differently from a fundamental premise.  They have fewer human units, but more mythological ones.  Their gods have no direct powers and don't stand around passively, but instead wander around causing trouble -- and summoning mythological creatures unique to them.  Rather than three powers per god, it's three unique creatures.  Very different from the Norse and Greeks!

The design for hamlets is still ongoing, but I'm really excited about how this will extend the game into a civilian direction that can be played alongside the main military showdown.  Lots of things on this still need to be fleshed out, and then lots of playtesting needs to happen before those ideas are truly honed.  But we're expecting to hit public beta for the expansion in July, and then do our full 2.0 release alongside the expansion in early August.

UPDATE: As with any release of this scale, I guess we can't escape a few bugs that went unnoticed.  The 1.009 fix is out now for the ones reported.  Sorry about that!

Enjoy!

This is a standard update that you can download through the  in-game updater itself, if you already have any version of the game.  When you  launch the game, you'll see the notice of the update having been found if you're connected to the Internet at the time.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2013, 08:47:04 PM by x4000 »
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Offline Teal_Blue

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.008 "Massive Bigness" Released!
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2013, 07:30:00 PM »
Just updated and am going to try it out, looks Great!!


Offline DakaSha

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.008 "Massive Bigness" Released!
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2013, 08:14:00 PM »
I'm not getting any points for dead units of any kind. Also i do get points for smiting my own buildings. Is this intended?

Offline x4000

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.008-1.009 "Massive Bigness" Released!
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2013, 08:47:20 PM »
Thanks for the report!

UPDATE: As with any release of this scale, I guess we can't escape a few bugs that went unnoticed.  The 1.009 fix is out now for the ones reported.  Sorry about that!
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Offline Misery

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.008-1.009 "Massive Bigness" Released!
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2013, 08:55:37 PM »
Aha, this sounds pretty good.   Glad to see that you went forward with the "soul" system as that had seemed like a good concept.   

And probably good that you undid the myth unit level boost;  some of those were really getting much too strong at high levels (minotaurs).


I'll post more later on this after some testing has occurred.

Offline Billick

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.008-1.009 "Massive Bigness" Released!
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2013, 10:30:52 PM »
I really like the changes.  The new bandit units are cool.  The Myth unit nerf feels about right.  It looks like the cooldown on midgard serpent was increased if I'm not mistaken.  I totally missed the bless tile and convert unit abilities, so I'll have to try those next game.

I managed to hang on and win an expert/expert/hard game.  The scoring is totally different, so I crushed the top score on the Steam leaderboard.  I imagine somebody will overtake my score in short order.

Offline x4000

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.008-1.009 "Massive Bigness" Released!
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2013, 08:31:57 AM »
Awesome! I didn't change the Midgard cooldown, but everything else was spot on. I knew folks would be ripping up the scoreboards with the new scoring, heh. :)

Very glad to hear this is going over well!
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Offline Billick

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.008-1.009 "Massive Bigness" Released!
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2013, 08:37:08 AM »
Are cooldowns longer on the higher difficulties?  This was the first game I played on expert, so maybe that's what it was?

Offline Misery

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.008-1.009 "Massive Bigness" Released!
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2013, 08:38:22 AM »
Good so far, though I havent had a chance to test all that much.   I had a game already going that I wanted to finish first, and that one got a bit funky;  the bandit units were actually backwards in that save.   The actual bandit forts were still producing normal units, but the inhabited-forest effect was producing bandit units on the red/blue side!  There were only so many inhabited tiles so the effect was slow and I only saw 3 or 4 bandit-type units appear from it, and they didn't get to do much due to other things going on.   I cant be entirely sure as to if it was just caused by that being a previous version save or not.   I'll be playing the game more later today with a new save, so I'll see what happens there and I'll make up a mantis thing if it still does it.

So I havent actually seen that much of the new units and such or been able to mess with the new direct actions.

I do really like the change to Unit Up though.  I used this fairly frequently before the change as it was, but now I'll be using it even more.  The removal of AP cost on this was a great idea; it gives some use for the "excess" resources that are built up in the later parts of the game.   I was already having to change the way I used myth units, so as to not spend a gazillion incense or whatever on like 4 giants or something.  It actually seems like the myth units now have more strategic thinking required on them because of this.  I'm surprised by just how much effect this one change has had.   

Cant say too much beyond that yet.   But in the course of finishing up that game I didn't run into many other issues yet.

Also Chair of Forgetfulness wasnt working right.  Had a few units on the Norse side (ones with Entertained on them, but not ALL of the Entertained ones) that were able to move and attack while under it's effect.  Unfortunately I didn't think to grab the save at that point.  I'll experiment with that bit more later and such. 


EDIT:  Also, if I might make a suggestion:   Allow the "bless" ability to undo normal ruins tiles (that havent run out of uses yet).  Turn them back into, I dunno, marshes or something.  Those tiles can be trouble in maps that they randomly show up in, so that'd be nice to have as an option for dealing with unwanted ones.  If it doesnt already do that, that is, I didn't get to mess with it at all yet (since I was at the very end of that game).

EDIT 2:  Also the new marshes look MUCH better. 
« Last Edit: June 13, 2013, 08:41:05 AM by Misery »

Offline x4000

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.008-1.009 "Massive Bigness" Released!
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2013, 09:00:26 AM »
Are cooldowns longer on the higher difficulties?  This was the first game I played on expert, so maybe that's what it was?

AH!  Yep, that's exactly it. :)

I had a game already going that I wanted to finish first, and that one got a bit funky;  the bandit units were actually backwards in that save.   The actual bandit forts were still producing normal units, but the inhabited-forest effect was producing bandit units on the red/blue side!  There were only so many inhabited tiles so the effect was slow and I only saw 3 or 4 bandit-type units appear from it, and they didn't get to do much due to other things going on.   I cant be entirely sure as to if it was just caused by that being a previous version save or not.   I'll be playing the game more later today with a new save, so I'll see what happens there and I'll make up a mantis thing if it still does it.

That's not a bug, that's what that tile does! ;)  Always has done, and in fact it says right on the tooltip for the tile.  You're thinking of dead forests, which spawn bandits. So all is well there.  :)

I do really like the change to Unit Up though.  I used this fairly frequently before the change as it was, but now I'll be using it even more.  The removal of AP cost on this was a great idea; it gives some use for the "excess" resources that are built up in the later parts of the game.   I was already having to change the way I used myth units, so as to not spend a gazillion incense or whatever on like 4 giants or something.  It actually seems like the myth units now have more strategic thinking required on them because of this.  I'm surprised by just how much effect this one change has had.   

Awesome. :)  That was certainly the desired effect, and in my (time) limited testing was what I saw also.

Cant say too much beyond that yet.   But in the course of finishing up that game I didn't run into many other issues yet.

EDIT:  Also, if I might make a suggestion:   Allow the "bless" ability to undo normal ruins tiles (that havent run out of uses yet).  Turn them back into, I dunno, marshes or something.  Those tiles can be trouble in maps that they randomly show up in, so that'd be nice to have as an option for dealing with unwanted ones.  If it doesnt already do that, that is, I didn't get to mess with it at all yet (since I was at the very end of that game).

Good idea, I'll put that in.

EDIT 2:  Also the new marshes look MUCH better.

Thanks, Blue did an awesome job on those, I agree. :)
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Offline madcow

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.008-1.009 "Massive Bigness" Released!
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2013, 09:08:52 AM »
I like the souls implantation and potential.  It seems like it could mesh nicely with the sort of resource a hamlet could produce ;)

Offline x4000

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.008-1.009 "Massive Bigness" Released!
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2013, 09:15:47 AM »
I like the souls implantation and potential.  It seems like it could mesh nicely with the sort of resource a hamlet could produce ;)

I agree, but what precisely do you mean?  Hamlet producing souls, basically?  Turnover from births and deaths leading to those perhaps?  That would be easier than adding a Culture resource in some ways, but then again I think also having Culture would be a good thing.
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Offline Histidine

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.008-1.009 "Massive Bigness" Released!
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2013, 09:16:57 AM »
Wait... "Skyward Collapse: Japanese Village?" I'm not a speaker of the language, so I'd like to know: does it sound less "bland" in the original Japanese, or were you just going with "as long as it sounds foreign?"

I'm asking because I'd feel bad if an Arcen game were culturally insensitive, and I don't want to see that happen.
I'm sure you guys are better than that, I'd just like to be extra certain  :)

Offline madcow

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.008-1.009 "Massive Bigness" Released!
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2013, 09:19:29 AM »
I like the souls implantation and potential.  It seems like it could mesh nicely with the sort of resource a hamlet could produce ;)

I agree, but what precisely do you mean?  Hamlet producing souls, basically?  Turnover from births and deaths leading to those perhaps?  That would be easier than adding a Culture resource in some ways, but then again I think also having Culture would be a good thing.

Pretty much exactly that is what I meant, yeah.

Offline x4000

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.008-1.009 "Massive Bigness" Released!
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2013, 09:57:23 AM »
Wait... "Skyward Collapse: Japanese Village?" I'm not a speaker of the language, so I'd like to know: does it sound less "bland" in the original Japanese, or were you just going with "as long as it sounds foreign?"

Yeah, that's what it means -- and what it was intended to mean.  I don't think "as long as it sounds foreign" is particularly a goal here.  We have a number of people on staff (or married to staff) who are at least dual-language speakers, so we're not just "durr lets make something foreign-sounding."  The Japanese name here is hardly the only one, either; the game is filled with Greek and Norse names for things, after all.  Not in the title, but we do use the real names for things in most cases except when it would be unpronounceable to an English-speaker (and in those cases we typically mention the non-Anglicized name in the tooltip).

In terms of the name being bland... well, yeah, to some extent.  It's descriptive and it sounds cool when you hear it said.  Japanese has such a wonderful sound to it in general (ask Japanese people as well; they will tell you that the poetic nature of simple sentences often does not carry over at all when translated), so that's not particularly hard.  If anyone here is Japanese and would care to contradict me, I'll stand corrected.  But I've known many Japanese people, as well as studied their culture more than a bit in school and outside of it, and that's more or less the word on the street as it were.

I'm asking because I'd feel bad if an Arcen game were culturally insensitive, and I don't want to see that happen.
I'm sure you guys are better than that, I'd just like to be extra certain  :)

You know, it's funny: I speak enough Spanish to say a few simple things at a restaurant or other times when I encounter a Spanish speaker.  And more German than that, and enough Italian to get around Italy as a tourist (aka not much).  But when I encounter native speakers from those languages, I tend to clam up and not use my words at all.  I feel like I'd be butchering the language and I also feel somehow offensive "pretending" to know a bit of their language.  This is just my gut reaction, but it keeps me silent.  Except for the general danke and so forth with German, since I got used to that enough when I visited Germany.

My wife is extremely fluent in French, enough to in fact have taught kids in a French immersion program.  But she also tends to clam up around native speakers if it's been a while since she's spoken much French.  In her case again out of embarrassment/shyness that she'll get it wrong.  Not out of feeling culturally insensitive in her case, but still.

And last example, one of my two best friends growing up (and still) is second-generation Indian.  His mother and father came over from India as adults, prior to having him and his siblings.  I knew his parents quite well also (though I don't see them anymore, as they moved), and his mother tended to have embarrassment using English for the same reasons I do with Spanish.  By the time I knew her it was a lot less so, but she once told me a story about when she first came to the country, and basically she spoke to almost nobody in English for about two years, and was very isolated because of that, out of a lot of those same feelings.

The thing is this: I meet a lot of native speakers of other languages, living where I live.  And even here on these forums, a lot of the audience are native German speakers or other languages.  I don't know about you, but I have never once in my life been offended or disdainful of someone who is making an effort to speak my language.  They're making more of an effort than I am in that conversation!  If they have a heavy accent, the least I can do is try to listen carefully through that, rather than brushing them off like some people do.  Some family friends of mine (Italian and German, no surprise) speak English very well, but every time they go home to their countries and then come back, their accents have come back far thicker for a while.  It's not offensive, it's just the natural state of how the human mind works.

Okay, so I've been rambling a bit here, but I think all of the various examples are relevant.  My main points being:

1. I don't think that picking something because "it sounds pretty" is a bad thing in general.  We do that with literally every title we have, in English.  There were other possible Japanese titles that I discarded because they did not sound right; this wasn't the only one I considered.

2. If someone is offended that someone else tries to use their language, I think that is very surprising and not something I've encountered before.

3. That said, the fear of ourselves offending someone else by using their language is something that seems pretty universal.

4. But if you consider if from their perspective rather than yours, that fear seems unjustified.

5. Yes, the name "Japanese Village" is on the bland side, but it's only a subtitle and it's not our blandest title ever.  That would belong to "AI War" and "Fleet Command."  We have a number of other really evocative titles for our games, but I think that when the main title is really evocative (Skyward Collapse), then the secondary title needs to not be overly flowery or it gets crazy.  A Valley Without Wind: The Summer Of Lilac (or whatever) would be really cheesy, for instance.  Although The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past works really well, so I guess it really just varies.  I guess the more unusual name, the less it works.  Octodad: Monster Loves You doesn't work super well when you combine those. ;)


Anyway, this is my reasoning for why dipping into other languages is not a bad thing.  The future titles for the Skyward Collapse expansions would also be in the native language of whatever the faction is that we add, too.  So if we add Egyptian, then it would be an Egyptian subtitle, or whatever.  We're not singling out Japanese.
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