Author Topic: New version .809 now out! (Dispatch missions! Tech tree improvements! Etc!)  (Read 1411 times)

Offline x4000

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Release notes: http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=The_Last_Federation_Alpha_Release_Notes#Alpha_Version_.809

Restart steam to force a quicker update if you like.

Good golly this one is huge.  Took us a few days to put this together, obviously, and we really have not been paying attention to mantis during this time.  It's been one of those "must keep our heads down and focus if we are to finish" types of things.  There are two dispatch missions left for Keith on Monday, and then beyond that I believe most of his time will be on responding to bugfixes and polish notes from both mantis players and myself.  So we will be getting into that again heavily at that point.  If there's anything game-breaking in there prior to that, my apologies. 

My focus is going to continue to be on solar map clarity stuff for the next bit, and solar map balance, and the new form of combat-without-SHMUP stuff.  My goal is for all of that to be handled by the end of next week.

So... lots of release notes there.  There are improvements major and minor all over the place, except in combat.  This has been pretty much solely focused on the larger game.  So what are the highlights?

1. The technologies work a lot better now in terms of your clarity of being able to understand them, the AIs making use of them, and you being able to make use of them.  Boy it just gives me tingles with the new tech stuff, because I love tech trees.  This has been where the vast majority of my time has been spent.  And yes, I know the descriptions for the buildings are still useless.  That's on my list.  So is making it so that your outposts don't get capped immediately, thus making the Property Development dispatch mission not really possible at the moment.

2. There are a bunch of solar map AI improvements, and balance between the races, to make things more varied in how they play out.  All of these things were pretty much intended from the start, but for either design or implementation (or both) reasons, they were not working as I had originally intended.  In most cases it was my nuts and bolts side of the design not living up to the larger vision.  A number of new mechanics and mechanics revisions were thus added to rectify that.

3. Dispatch missions are a huuuuuge new addition.  Keith has been working pretty much exclusively on this while I was on the rest of the stuff.   This was no small feat of an addition for such a short period of time.  Basically, dispatch missions let you trade "time" for results.  Aaaugh, right!?  That sounds like grinding.  But... smile... it's not.  You're trading relative time, not your actual human time.  In other words, it works rather like a turn-based game in some respects, where the length of the dispatch mission essentially correlates to how long of a turn the other "players" get in exchange.  On paper and in practice I find this really interesting.  The actual scrolling page for the dispatch actions that are going by as you are in a mission needs work for aesthetic purposes, but so does the after-contract screen anyhow.  I will work on that this weekend.

4. Some of the specific dispatch missions are absolutely essential now.  The ability to directly research techs for yourself, for instance.  Or to build outposts for the AI.  Although stealing the techs from the AI is a lot cheaper in terms of opportunity cost.  These new dispatch missions also provide you a great way to earn BP that isn't combat.  In theory, you could probably now play the game without doing much combat at all.  In practice you would still have to do some, but still.

5. Opportunity costs to combat (and some other deals/missions/actions)!  This is another huge thing.  It now costs you some small number of months to do all the combat missions.  Kind of like a dispatch mission, except much briefer, generally.  This means that if there is a giant cloud of armadas around an allied planet, for instance, you can't just grind it out by attacking them serially with the game essentially on pause while you do so (since solar map time does not -- and should not -- pass while you are in combat).  There is still no time pressure in the combats themselves, but choosing to do a combat at all now comes with that opportunity cost that means you can't essentially be a one-man time-traveling army.

6. Better randomization at the start of the game.  This one is smaller, but races and yourself now start with some random techs at the start, and you also get some random resources.  This lets you get moving faster in terms of gifting techs or resources to races from the get-go, or in terms of having more interesting targets to steal, faster.


Something I am not really happy with at the moment is the way that the balance on the solar map is playing out in terms of time that it takes the AI races to kill one another.  That's something I'm still working on, but right now it's still too fast.  I am extremely happy with the overall flow of the solar simulation and how the races interact, but the actual taking-over of planets should be something that requires more time investment on the part of the AI.  Particularly with the new dispatch stuff and opportunity costs on the combat, this is a big deal, because things can just get to a near-endgame too fast without your intervention.  I aim to solve that this weekend as well, but mainly it is a matter of tuning variables and looking at a few new rules, etc.  It's no major thing in terms of actual time investment, overall, but it is something that just takes a lot of iterating and watching on my part.

Anyway, that's it for now.  Cheers!  I am going to be working all weekend, but pretty unresponsive on the forums and mantis, FYI.  There's just some stuff I need to get through before I come back into focus here, for the sake of the overall workflow.  I'm sure those of you with project-oriented jobs know how it is when you are able to focus on the project versus constantly being interrupted by meetings or whatever.  It's kind of the same thing here at the moment, but that won't last forever. ;)
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Offline topper

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Nice! The patch notes keep increasing the interest level for me to get into the game.

I am looking forward to getting into the game. I think I saw somewhere that rounds 1 and 2 were going to be in full swing next week? Is that still the plan in terms of adding alpha participants?

Offline Histidine

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One million free BP at start :D

It seems to me that missions take too much solar time to complete (really needs to be measured in days for most things, not months...) Feels like the solar system's passing me by every time I go do pretty much anything. But maybe I just need to play it more like a 4X... I'll see what the others think.

Offline Cipherpunk

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One million free BP at start :D

Yeeeeah...I just saw that. Any chance of a hotfix? I'm not sure I have enough willpower to not abuse this.

EDIT: If I'm not mistaken, this somehow means that the time travel tech is enabled for me at the start of the game! Woo-hoo!
« Last Edit: March 22, 2014, 12:23:33 AM by Cipherpunk »

Offline Misery

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Ok, some thoughts upon trying this....

1. Agh, choices!  Stuff to do!  There's so much of it!  It'll take awhile to figure out what in the heck to do with most of the new stuff added.  Probably wont be any more "nothing to do yet!" complaints here, heh.

2. The effects of many things are easier to understand now, particularly the techs.  It's good to see that the races actually do things with them too.

3.  Stuff happens too fast!  It seems very, very hard to really strategize, at the rate things move.  By the time I might have figured out what my next couple of actions are, suddenly 8 new techs will have been researched by various races, most of them will have like 4 more armadas, there'll be diseases and riots and maybe 3 Skylaxian elections and the Thoraxian Queen will have had like 5 mood swings (all of them "warlike", likely).... yeesh.   I havent had too much time yet with this update.... but much of it was spent wondering what in the heck to do.  With the new "stuff takes time" system in place, this definitely needs some major balancing.

4.  Everyone builds armadas too fast, they all look like a swarm of bees not that long into the game.  This also makes it nigh-impossible to take actions to try to reduce the size of their overall fleet... you might pop a couple armadas, but in the time spent on the solar map, they'll build 4 more!

5.  Am I supposed to start with thousands of various resources in my inventory?  Though I havent done anything with them yet, so I dont know if this sort of number is actually too high or not.

6.  Since when could I click on ships directly to attack them?!

7.  Battles seem to use a bit too much time on the solar map.  At least with the current rate that everything progresses.

8.  Some things seem to take WAY too much time to do.  Granted, that might be the idea, but.... if something is listed as taking 700 months to do, I'm not quite sure what I might do to reduce that number, or IF I can reduce it.  I'm going to guess that there are a variety of factors affecting how long different actions take?  Makes sense to me, that part of the strategy is influencing things in order to make different actions viable.   Though, even when their cost is "low", it's often still a bit silly.  20 months is pretty crazy for most things.

9.  I like the dispatch system.  Performing various non-combat, time-spending tasks for BP is a brilliant idea. 

10.  Andors are still broken.   Election in 9 minutes, 54 seconds!  Definitely one of the more major bugs right now.  These guys got virused early on, and I'd wanted to influence the election to get the pharmacists to get a good medical trend going, but.... the Economists apparently rule the world with an iron fist, and they just dont care.

11.  Techs are researched too fast, maybe?  They seem to happen OFTEN.  It's hard to say for sure though.


All in all, this is a great patch though, unbalanced as heck though it may be. I think you've increased the depth of the game by quite a bit with this one.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2014, 07:00:26 AM by Misery »

Offline Hyfrydle

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I have to agree with Misery this patch has opened up the true potential of the game and the number of thinks to do is staggering. I think the speed issue is due to so many thinks to do that by the time the player has decided on an action the game has moved on making the action less useful.

My game this morning has been a blast and I still have no idea how things are going to turn out. One thing I'm struggling with is actually starting the federation my influence is 100% with the Skylaxians but still no option to actually start the federation.

Overall the game is heading in the right direction and it's super addictive even at this early stage well done guys!!!

Offline Hyfrydle

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Should federation members declare war on each other?

Seems a bit strange.

The Acutians are really laying into the Skylaxians which were the second most powerful race, it's great to watch but I really feel for the Skylaxians they had all the tech and don't look like they'll survive much longer.

Here is a pic:

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=240933387
« Last Edit: March 22, 2014, 09:57:38 AM by Hyfrydle »

Offline Hyfrydle

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The Skylaxians survived but the Burlust are now history with a planet cracker attack.

Here is the racial grid from my current game:

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=240955904

Offline Teal_Blue

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Sounds like fun!!  Wish i could join in. Maybe soon. Am really excited watching all this come together so well. Am hoping also the new form combat for the strategy side will be up soon, am really really looking forward to that.  :)

-T


Offline Cyborg

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with a planet cracker attack.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBAZGtBfcY4


Edited: I found a better one!


Bring on the planetcracker.



« Last Edit: March 22, 2014, 04:13:42 PM by Cyborg »
Kahuna strategy guide:
http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,13369.0.html

Suggestions, bugs? Don't be lazy, give back:
http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/

Planetcracker. Believe it.

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Offline zharmad

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 I disagree with the lack of time pressure in battles, but then I also disagree with the amount of time that passes as it stands. 1 months is a bit too long for a simple firefight. If I've optimised my loadout to blast away those filthy Sklyaxians in a single salvo, why should I still take the same solar time to finish off their fleet compared to taking miniguns against Acutians model Xs?

 If 60 seconds corresponds to a day, and you spend a few days to gear up/wind down... how does that change the pace? Is a Burlust duel an epic 10-day affair compared to raiding a convoy? I have to find out..
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 04:38:54 AM by zharmad »