Author Topic: Prerelease 1.005F now available.  (Read 3614 times)

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,231
Prerelease 1.005F now available.
« on: June 06, 2009, 10:33:28 PM »
Here's the latest prerelease:  http://www.arcengames.com/share/AIWar1005F.zip

That version is an upgrade from version 1.004, so you have to already have 1.004 installed. Just unzip it into your game folder (usually C:\Program Files\Arcen Games\AI War\ unless you specified something else). Please make sure that your unzip process keeps the folder structure from the zip file, rather than just unpacking all of the files into the base target directory.

What's new since 1.005E:

-------------------

-The auto-targeting logic for the ships has been changed so that they will now concentrate fire appropriately, still without causing overkills.

-The Resources display mode of the Galaxy Map now includes a single count in dark red on the scouted planets not controlled by human players.  This makes it easy to see where there are lots of resources amonst scouted planets, without reducing the ease of finding where there are unused harvester spots on the planets you do control.

-In the last prerelease version, the Last Scouted view of the Galaxy Map was not working correctly in the tutorials.  Fixed.

-Free-Roaming Defender Mode now has ships return to the location you clicked when putting them into that mode after all the enemy ships on the planet are gone.  This makes it work more like attack-move mode, and makes staging defenses on a planet even easier to oversee.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Quitch

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 154
Re: Prerelease 1.005F now available.
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2009, 10:47:47 PM »
The many additions are making this game not only a joy to play, but a hell of a lot easier to control.

Latest note (having finished the tutorial campaign now):

Tutorial player colour is incredibly hard to read. Recommend a lighter default like teal or yellow.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,231
Re: Prerelease 1.005F now available.
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2009, 10:55:01 PM »
The many additions are making this game not only a joy to play, but a hell of a lot easier to control.

Wonderful!  Glad to hear it.  There's still lots on my list from you and others, but that's coming. :)

Tutorial player colour is incredibly hard to read. Recommend a lighter default like teal or yellow.

Great suggestion, I've added it to my list.  I imagine that all monitors are not as high-contrast as I have mine set to be, which could make a big difference.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline keith.lamothe

  • Arcen Games Staff
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,505
Re: Prerelease 1.005F now available.
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2009, 11:31:11 PM »
Two versions in one day, that even beats nightlies ;)

I'll give it a go tomorrow, particularly the auto-targetting, gotta get some sleep.

Thanks,
Keith
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games? Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,231
Re: Prerelease 1.005F now available.
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2009, 11:40:28 PM »
Two versions in one day, that even beats nightlies ;)

Yeah, that's not going to be the usual habit, haha.

I'll give it a go tomorrow, particularly the auto-targetting, gotta get some sleep.

No worries, there's no rush.  I'm playing with my testers right now, and then I too am going to get some sleep.  Have a good night!

Chris
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Janster

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: Prerelease 1.005F now available.
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2009, 04:56:12 AM »
I wish I had some MP partners, but sadly my idiot internet is on a shared IP until I get it sorted.

That said, I tested your stuff, it cruisers now do their job, and combat lethality is better, however.
I still find the cruisers to be my weapon of choice, their range + hp is just good, the other units, just die, in BUCKETS as they get sniped/shot to pieces so fast. I still find no use for bombers, as I find it easier just park my cruiser fleet and let them chew down shields, it takes time, but I can use that time to build more ships. The casualty ratio is if anything less, you still can't get anywhere near a heavily defended shield with anything but cruisers.

More info, I find the starships useless, uhm the flagship puts out very little dps, and costs 60 x the price of a cruiser doing only 3x cruiser damage. Well this goes for the scout starship the regular starship and the flag ship, I can eventually unlock the one which does 9000 per shot, it may be useful I guess.

Since I don't know your philosophy on these ships, I can't tell if this is as intended.

One last thing, fighters are good against cruisers, while cruisers in general are good against fighters, making the fighters a bit useless, also fighters are useless against bombers, which is the one thing I'd like them to do imho, as bombers are fast and so are ceptors, but instead bombers are good against fighters, thus leaving me no chasedown force to deal with bombers.

That said, I'm still new, so my observations may be flawed.


Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,231
Re: Prerelease 1.005F now available.
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2009, 10:19:20 AM »
That said, I tested your stuff, it cruisers now do their job, and combat lethality is better, however.
I still find the cruisers to be my weapon of choice, their range + hp is just good, the other units, just die, in BUCKETS as they get sniped/shot to pieces so fast. I still find no use for bombers, as I find it easier just park my cruiser fleet and let them chew down shields, it takes time, but I can use that time to build more ships. The casualty ratio is if anything less, you still can't get anywhere near a heavily defended shield with anything but cruisers.

Hmm, that's interesting, there are a number of things that Bombers (especially higher-level bombers) do over 10,000 time the damage of damage to.  Pus, there is a rock/paper/scissors relationship amongst all the units in the game.  Every ship in the game is weak to either fighters, bombers, or cruisers (as well as whatever else), so if you ignore bombers then you are missing out on something that is particular strong against 1/3 of the ships in the game.

If you're going to go lone-gunning with one ship type, I'd have to agree that cruisers are about the only one you can do that with.  But as the opposing forces get stronger, get larger in numbers, that's just not going to work.  When there are an equal number of fighters and cruisrs, heck even when there are sometimes fewer fighters, they will just eat the cruisers for lunch.  Cruisers are weak to fighters, not strong against them (if you have 200 of something against 40 of something else, or similar ratios, that doesn't count -- you can't maintain that ratio all over the map and still defend yourself throughout most of the game).

More info, I find the starships useless, uhm the flagship puts out very little dps, and costs 60 x the price of a cruiser doing only 3x cruiser damage. Well this goes for the scout starship the regular starship and the flag ship, I can eventually unlock the one which does 9000 per shot, it may be useful I guess.

Starships are intended to be used in addition to the rest of your fleet, not off lone gunning.  Very little in the game is useful for the long term when used by itself.  The scout starships are mainly just very resilient mobile eyes, their combat strength is very low.  The Light Starship and Flagships are each good at killing Mark I and Mark II ships respectively -- for their cost, they will do more damage without dying than the equivalent smaller army (and you can retreat with them and repair them when their health gets low, thus making their cost-to-benefit ratio even better).

The main things that will hurt the utility of your starships is if you:

1. Try to take lower-level starships against higher-level enemy ships (this often goes poorly).
2. Take only starships to an enemy planet (without support ships with them, they will take too much damage).
3. Ignore the arrival of anti-starship arachnids at the enemy planet (those will just eat your starships, so that's another reason you need to have support ships there).

The other benefit of Starships is that they are immune to nukes and EMPs, so they are particularly useful when used n concert with EMPs to take down a highly-defended planet, or a warp gate that is highly defended.  Also, massing your starships will tend to be a lot more effective than having just a few, but even then you still need supporting ships to take some of the fire from enemies and to deal with the arachnids that might come out, etc.

Starships are trickier to use than just staying with the smaller ships, and this is by design.  I had a hell of a time balancing these so that one of my alpha testers in particular couldn't just abuse them and obliterate enemy planets without ever building a real fleet.  Starships are not intended to be a substitute for a real fleet, but they can be a highly powerful augmentation to a full fleet if used properly -- but proper use does take time and is more difficult, so I can perfectly see why your initial impression was what it was.  I'm going to add this to the mini guide later today, it's such a great question.  Actually, I'll add the cruisers thing, too, because that also seems relevant.

One last thing, fighters are good against cruisers, while cruisers in general are good against fighters, making the fighters a bit useless, also fighters are useless against bombers, which is the one thing I'd like them to do imho, as bombers are fast and so are ceptors, but instead bombers are good against fighters, thus leaving me no chasedown force to deal with bombers.

Fighters are strong against cruisers, not the other way around.  But otherwise you are right on here.  That's one of the really useful things about bombers, there is nothing very good out of the base toolset for chasing them down.  Your enemies will use that to their advantage, and you can likewise use that to yours.  Another useful feature of bombers, that ship you find useless so far. ;)

That said, I'm still new, so my observations may be flawed.

No worries, these are great observations and stuff like this helps me to make sure that someone isn't finding balance flaws.  You have some great points overall here -- and in the early game, perhaps spamming cruisers is a fairly viable strategy on some planets, but that's really not going to work except in the first hour or two of a long campaign, so the strategy ultimately isn't something I've witnessed as sustainable.  My alpha group also went through a phase where they spammed cruisers, but in 4-person multiplayer that' no longer a valid strategy in our experience even during the early game.  So as we got further one, spamming that unit, same as we used to spam parasites or starships or cutlasses, eventually fell out of vogue.

Anyway -- thanks for the great observations and questions, those will make some very important additions to the FAQ.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline keith.lamothe

  • Arcen Games Staff
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,505
Re: Prerelease 1.005F now available.
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2009, 02:57:24 PM »
Just tested 1.005F a bit.

The auto-targeting now works beautifully.  In the intermediate tutorial my first significant exchange of fire is usually when my (100) cruisers warp into the first target system and engage the enemy command post and fleet.  Before my cruisers would pepper most of the targets pretty heavily but not actually destroy anything until several salvos later.  Now they warp in and immediately blast the command post itself to smithereens in the first salvo and proceed to take out the other targets 1 or 2 per salvo.  The fight lasts a similar amount of time, but the amount of damage the enemy gets to do is significantly less (like the area of a triangle compared to the area of a square).

Thanks Chris, that one change makes a huge difference for me.

This does tend to expose one thing quite a bit more than the "spread out" variety of avoiding overkill: the actual target selection, as in "I can do equal-ish damage to all of these targets, which one do I pick?".  When my cruisers dropped out of warp they fired on the command post, the enemy cruisers meanwhile were firing at my fighters (which jumped through first to "clear" the mines).  The enemy's choice makes both implementation and tactical sense in that they were the first ones to arrive (thus the first in the enemyUnits enumerable, I imagine) and the more theoretically dangerous (I didn't actually send them in, but they could have killed the enemy units much faster than the cruisers ultimately did).  My unit's choice made implementation sense but not necessarily tactical sense; the command post was probably placed before any of the other targets (or perhaps is just more vulnerable thus higher damage and hit chance), but was not nearly as much of a threat (particularly at range) as the enemy cruisers.  Ultimately that's not a terribly big deal, as the question of "what target is the best balance of damage-able and dangerous" is highly non-trivial and would probably require explicit instead of emergent sub-commander AI to really do correctly.  Just wanted to mention the phenomena and ask what you think.

Thanks,
Keith
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games? Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline keith.lamothe

  • Arcen Games Staff
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,505
Re: Prerelease 1.005F now available.
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2009, 03:34:07 PM »
Followup on the choice of target thing, what do you think of adding this to the end of that last set of rules:

Code: [Select]
else if
(   
   enemyUnit.MaxSpeed == 0
&& enemyUnit.UnitData.AttackRangeOuter < enemyUnit.WorkingRange
&&
(
   this.ObjectToKill.MaxSpeed != 0
|| this.ObjectToKill.UnitData.AttackRangeOuter >= this.ObjectToKill.WorkingRange
)
)
this.SetObjectToKill( enemyUnit, false, false, true );

So that, all other things being more or less equal, a ship will prefer targets that are either capable of shooting at it right now or moving towards it.  My code snippet assumes the existence of some MaxSpeed member and I don't know where you've put it but I imagine you've got it somewhere ;)  It'd be interesting if it was the "speed considering engine damage or tractor beams" property, too, as it would make long-range ships suddenly switch targeting from a ship that just had it's engines disabled to a still-mobile ship.

This new rule may only seem look a good idea from a fairly homogenous cruiser-based fleet composition perspective, however.  Sometimes the ships you want dead first are the short range fighter-eating turrets.  Theoretically these kinds of rules could be included or not included based on a ship's "attitude" setting (e.g. "long range bombardment" or "clear way for short-range attack' or whatever) but that would mean interface complexity.  Anyway, let me know what you think.

Thanks,
Keith
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games? Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline freykin

  • Jr. Member Mark II
  • **
  • Posts: 69
Re: Prerelease 1.005F now available.
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2009, 03:52:23 PM »
Just tried this out for an hour or so, good stuff :).  I chose Cutlass as my starting ship type and I'm liking them so far.  They're fun to throw in first to saw through chunks of ships, and I can see why you wouldn't want them repairable.  The new zoom is great as well, I love zooming out all the way so it is much appreciated.  Playing against a Fortress Baron and a Sledgehammer on 3 as a kind of learning game, as I haven't played one to completion yet.  I really like how much the A.I. Progress meter makes you think about which targets to take and which to try and bypass, instead of just going around conquering everything willy nilly.

Also, those cloakable tractor ships?  I can't remember their name, but they are amazing.  I had tons of fun running into a defensive position with them, grabbing some cruisers or bombers, and dragging them back to get focus fired on away from the relative safety of their turrets.

I had a question regarding the engineering drones.  How many can you have repairing something at the same time?  I've got a kind of silly strategy I want to try out, but it will be quite a few hours into the game before I can try it at my current pace of expanding (taking it nice and slow, to get a feel for things). 

Keep up the excellent work, I'm looking forward to seeing what the DLC and expansions will be like :)

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,231
Re: Prerelease 1.005F now available.
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2009, 08:56:43 PM »
Hey Keith,

You've got some interesting ideas about the ranging there, I think your addition for lowering the priority of immobile stuff that's out of range for firing at the attacking ship is really good.  Would definitely help minimize damage to friendly forces.  I'll play around with that tomorrow, but I have a feeling that it will work quite well.

Thanks for the suggestions!
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,231
Re: Prerelease 1.005F now available.
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2009, 09:06:29 PM »
Just tried this out for an hour or so, good stuff :).

Great to hear!  Glad you like it. :) 

I chose Cutlass as my starting ship type and I'm liking them so far.  They're fun to throw in first to saw through chunks of ships, and I can see why you wouldn't want them repairable.

Yeah, good eye with that -- I originally had those as being repairable, but that was too easy to exploit when you pair them with engineers. 

I really like how much the A.I. Progress meter makes you think about which targets to take and which to try and bypass, instead of just going around conquering everything willy nilly.

Thanks!  I was really proud of that idea, I felt like that really added a whole new level to the strategy.  Real-life commanders also can't just go around conquering everything for other reasons (pissing off other countries, unacceptable casualties on both sides, moral issues, etc, etc) and I felt like this sort of simulated that give and take to a degree.  Chess was the other big inspiration there, since except when you are lucky you are losing something every time you take an enemy piece, so the goal is usually to try to make sure that you are trading up so that you get up material compared to your opponent.  Glad that's a hit. :)

Also, those cloakable tractor ships?  I can't remember their name, but they are amazing.  I had tons of fun running into a defensive position with them, grabbing some cruisers or bombers, and dragging them back to get focus fired on away from the relative safety of their turrets.

Haha, yeah, those EtherJet Tractors are also great for guarding wormholes.  Watch out when the AI has them on the higher difficulties (I think 6 and up).  They send in the EtherJets, grab your guys, and drag them back to the nearest special forces command post for destruction.  Then wash and repeat until you manage to kill them.  It's one of the more nasty strategies of the AI, but I really have fun playing against that.

I had a question regarding the engineering drones.  How many can you have repairing something at the same time?  I've got a kind of silly strategy I want to try out, but it will be quite a few hours into the game before I can try it at my current pace of expanding (taking it nice and slow, to get a feel for things).

For repairs, you can have as many as you want.  For assisting the build speed of a constructor, the limit is 3.  Do be aware that engineers can't assist a target that has been shot in the last 3 or so seconds.  So you can't use engineers like you would a medic in TFC2 or something. :)  They are great for front-lines support, but they won't keep anything from dying that has a lot of repeated fire hitting it.

Keep up the excellent work, I'm looking forward to seeing what the DLC and expansions will be like :)

Thanks!  We're in our (I think) fourth week of DLC now, something like that, and there's good stuff every week.  Tons of player-suggested stuff this week, so much that I can't get it all in during this one week.  We're doing those releases through our site every Tuesday or thereabouts, and they then appear on Impulse a day or two later.

Thanks for playing, and glad to hear from you!
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline freykin

  • Jr. Member Mark II
  • **
  • Posts: 69
Re: Prerelease 1.005F now available.
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2009, 09:08:39 PM »
Ah, the delay in repairing will crush my idea, and it's a good thing.  I was totally going to try having a ton of engineering drones following a level forcefield around.  Still a useful idea, but not as gamebreaking as I thought it might be.  Kind of a mobile defensive repair base.

Oooh, now that I think about it, pairing that with a munitions ship (awesome idea btw) and some cruisers and other long range ships would be absolutely brutal.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,231
Re: Prerelease 1.005F now available.
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2009, 09:14:46 AM »
Ah, the delay in repairing will crush my idea, and it's a good thing.  I was totally going to try having a ton of engineering drones following a level forcefield around.  Still a useful idea, but not as gamebreaking as I thought it might be.  Kind of a mobile defensive repair base.

Yeah, we thought of that one during beta. :)  That's also part of why you can't repair force fields at all (well, that's also really helpful when you are fighting against the AI, as well, since you can whittle down a FF without them repairing it).  Hopefully there are no gamebreaking strategies in there, or we don't know of any at the present time, but if you find any then please let me know so that I can rebalance appropriately. :)

Oooh, now that I think about it, pairing that with a munitions ship (awesome idea btw) and some cruisers and other long range ships would be absolutely brutal.

Glad you like the Munitions Boosters! Yep, playing with those mixed with longer-range ships is pretty brutal indeed.  There might be some nerfing in the future for this, we'll just have to see what you and others find out. :)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,231
Re: Prerelease 1.005F now available.
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2009, 12:28:54 PM »
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!