Author Topic: Prerelease 3.176 (Hybrid Hives+, 6 new Cmd Stations, new warheads and mercs)  (Read 3629 times)

Offline x4000

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The latest beta is available via the Updates window in version 3.060 or greater of the game.  Just open the game and you can quickly download the prerelease through the updates tab.  If you don't yet have 3.060 or greater, you can download 3.060 here.  This prerelease version is compatible with any vendor's version of the game -- Steam, Impulse, whatever.

Note:  If you have bug reports related to this release, please log them in the bug reports subforum with one bug per topic.  It makes things infinitely easier for us.  Thanks!

Looking for a Patch That Can Be Manually-Installed?
Because of the time involved in creating multiple versions of each patch, we only create manually-installable patches for official versions of the game, not each beta prerelease.  But you can easily create your own manually-installable beta patch!  Please note that current betas can only be successfully applied to version 3.060 of the game or later (if you later wish to revert to the official version for any reason, you can download the full raw files from the above link to do so).

To create your own manual beta patch, simply download these two files:
1. Current Beta Director Xml File.
2. Current Beta Zip File.

If you try to open that zip file, it will say it's corrupt -- that's okay, it's not really a zip file.  Finally, create a new zip file on your computer, and put both the director and the fake-zip-file inside it.  Call your outer zip file something that starts with Beta and ends with an extension of .zip.  Beta.zip will work just fine, or you can name it after the specific version number if you want to hang onto it.  And that's it!  Now you have your very own manually-installable package of the AI War beta version of your choice, which you can install by simply selecting via your Updates window in the game.  Please note that "Beta" in the filename is case-sensitive.

What's new since 3.175:
(Cumulative release notes since 3.120 are here http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=AI_War_-_Current_Beta)

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

    *  X-shaped and Concentric-Circle maps now have a roughly 1/3rd chance of putting the eligible starting planets in the center, instead of always on the outer parts.

    * Some rebalancing of Hybrid Hives:
          o Reduced Hybrid Hive move speed from 50 to 30.
          o Reduced Hybrid Hive hull strength from 2 million to 1.5 million.
          o Changed Hybrid Hive main gun, machine gun module, and laser cannon module damage against forcefields and heavy-defense from 100% to 20%, and against command stations from 20% to 10%.

    * Added support for more selectivity (including Hybrid-class-based selectivity) on which ships are generated as drones. Notably, melee ships and autobombs will no longer be chosen, and stuff like Sentinel Frigates will be chosen much less often.

    * Added 2 galaxy map display overlays: detected hybrids and detected hybrid facilities. Only displays info on planets that you current have visibility.

    * Added the "builder" Hybrid classes, some of which build defensive structures on AI planets, some of which build Hybrid-supporting facilities. Roughly 5% of neophytes will become builders instead of attackers or defenders.

    * Concentric Circles maps with fewer than the maximum number of rings (7-8) will have the rings spaced out a bit more to make use of the extra space.

    * Added "Advanced Hybrids" AI Plot; if the base Hybrids plot is enabled and the Advanced one is not, then the highest tier of Hybrid classes will be disabled (including stuff like the re-coloinzer, which is not quite implemented yet). Also slightly influences the tech level of equipment available to the lower classes, for instance the first Attacker type will only be able to get a mkI forcefield (instead of mkII) if Advanced Hybrids is off. If you select Advanced Hybrids and not the base Hybrids plot for an AI player, once you start the game it will act as if you had checked both.

    * Hybrid Hive spawn time changed from 15 to 20 minutes.

    * Hybrid Hive maturity times increased slightly (Neophyte -> level 2 takes 35 instead of 30 minutes, etc).

    * Fixed missing texture for Hybrids in far-zoom (apparently last time only the close-zoom texture was added).

    * Fixed a bug that was causing move orders of thousands of ships to take more processing time than necessary.

    * The lobby will now display the actual number of planets in the generated map, which can be less than the player-designated number on spokes, tree, and grid maps (and perhaps others). Those types sometimes run out of places to put planets according to their logic, so this indicator is provided to notify the player of the difference and let them decide whether they want to play the map or generate another one.

    * Fixed ambiguity in unexplored planets option description.

    * Gifting multiple units at once now combines into one game command, preventing hangs when gifting rather large amounts of units at once.

    * Fixed bug where the Zenith Trader's buy menu would display "X of Y in service" numbers for one of the AI players instead of the local player.

    * Regenerator golems now no longer regenerate ships if they are in low-power mode or are out of supply.

    * Gravitation turrets no longer have any effect if out of supply.

    * All tractor-beam generating units are now immune to paralysis.

    * Previously, ship modules would still show up via the still-show-stationary-ships-if-scouted logic if the player did not have ships on that planet. Fixed.

    * Shield hit effects were showing up as visually offset in recent prereleases. Fixed.

    * A bug in the last prereleases were causing regeneration chambers to actually kill the ships put inside them, instead of healing them. Fixed.

    * Previously, any ships taking attrition (even self-attrition) would stop at 1 hp, rather than dying outright. That logic made sense for the cursed golem, but for most other ships (especially the new Neinzul ships, but also Dyson Gatlings), it's mainly annoying. Now ships actually fully die from attrition, except for Cursed Golems (and even they can be killed via an attrition emitter -- this only applies to their self-attrition).

    * Units out of supply (that require supply) will no longer try to attack, chase, etc.

    * Fixed bug where loading a game with inbound schizo waves would display the wave alerts like a non-schizo wave.

    * A substantial new performance improvement has been made to units on "cold storage" planets with no enemies present: basically, the entire processing of the planet is skipped except every other turn (even for things like special forces or free units on those planets, if other ships on that same planet are in cold storage), which reduces background simulation processing (in other words, not human player ships or battles) to a pretty enormous degree.
          o To clarify, a turn is 200ms long.
          o The "statistics" for things like the number of attacking ships, threatening ships, etc, are also now only recalculated every other turn, which also helps with load to a much more minor degree.
          o Any ships that are moving on planets of this sort now move twice as fast, since they are artificially only moving half as often. This keeps it from actually altering gameplay in meaningful ways (though players will likely still find something!).

    * Warhead silos now only cost 10,000 energy to maintain rather than 80,000.

    * Fixed bug where Zenith Autobomb could aoe-damage secondary targets that normally are not auto-targeted (because they cause AIP on death, or whatever). Will still damage the target if directly targeted at it. Also did a sweep to ensure this behavior for other forms of aoe.

    * Fixed bug where auto-explore (and auto-gather-knowledge) would sometimes stop working when playing a second game within a given run of the application.

    * Added missing -100% value to handicap dropdown.

    * Fixed obsolete Munitions Booster tooltip.

    * Previously there was a bug in auto-knowledge-gather that would lead to the science stations bouncing endlessly against the command station in a rather amusing fashion. Fixed to be less amusing.

    * Previously superfortresses were inconsistent with normal fortresses in that they would box-select with other military ships while the fortresses would not. This was due to the fortresses having the IsScout flag, which has now been added to super-forts as well.

    * Removed some extra padding at the bottom of the mouseover text for buy and tech buttons.

    * The graphics for the Mercenary Space dock have been overhauled so that it now looks like an evil version of the regular space dock.

    * The Mercenary Space Dock now costs 0 energy to use (this is a mercenary outpost, after all), but the players are now limited to having two of them.

    * There are new Mercenary Parasites and Mercenary EtherJets which allow for new strategic options in any game, but with the usual overly-high costs of mercenary ships.

    * In Zenith-Remnant-Enabled games, there are now Mercenary Beam Frigates.

    * In Children-Of-Neinzul-Enabled games, there are now Mercenary Neinzul Enclave Starships (mark I). That lets you always build Mark I ships anywhere if you're willing to pay 300k metal/crystal for one of these. Of course, a much cheaper alternative is to spend the knowledge to get some actual regular Enclave Starships from the main Starship Constructor.

    * Players now get a Starship Constructor, Warhead Silo, and Mercenary Space Dock at the start of every game, to encourage experimentation and use of these other buildings.

    * Fixed bug where ship caps would display in the lobby as if there were always 8 human homeworlds. Changed to display the cap according to the actual selected number of homeworlds (or 1, if none selected) and to multiply the result by the number of homeworlds currently selected by the local player (or 1, if none selected). This may still result in some misleading cases, but may be the best that can be done for now.

    * The strong/weak vs data shown in-game has been recalculated to show for the new ships through this point.

    * The ship cap of lightning warheads has been reduced from 8 to 6.

    * The ship cap of EMP warheads has been reduced from 4 to 2.

    * The old lightning warheads are now lightning warheads mark II. New lightning warheads mark I and III have been added. The lightning warhead mark I does much less damage but in a larger area, and for one less AI Progress point. The lightning warhead mark III does much more damage but in a much smaller area, and for only one more AI Progress point.

    * EMP warheads mark II and III have been added. For extra AI Progress points, they will paralyze enemy ships for longer intervals. The higher-mark EMPs are more AI-Progress-cost-effective than using multiple of the existing mark I EMPs.

    * Warhead silos and starship constructors were seeded onto enemy planets as a capturable for human players to take over in the past, mainly so that players would be sure to eventually discover these constructors if the players were not diligent in exploring the build menus. However, now that these constructors are seeded at the start, this is no longer needed, and it was sometimes confusing to players anyway (some thought that the silos or starship constructors would be used against them, which was not the case). These will no longer be seeded into new games on AI planets.

    * Previously, there were only 4 types of command stations that could be built by players. Now there are 10, providing vastly more functionality and branches for varying strategies.
          o The previously-existing warp jammer command stations have not been touched.
          o The prior Mark I-III command stations have been renamed to Economic command stations, but their functionality is unchanged.
          o There are now Mark I-III Military command stations.
                + Military Command Stations provide very little in the way of economic gain, but have much more health and the ability to shoot at enemy ships.
          o There are now Mark I-III Logistical command stations.
                + Logistical Command Stations provide very little in the way of economic gain, and can't shoot at enemy ships, but they vastly increase the speed of all allied ships in the current system. They also have middling armor and a smallish force field.
          o Mark I of the Military, Economic, and Logistical command stations are all available at any time, and have no ship cap. Marks II and III have to be individually unlocked per branch, and each branch has a ship cap of 6 per mark II/III command station.
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Offline x4000

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Narrative news post with my commentary: http://arcengames.blogspot.com/2010/08/ai-war-prerelease-3176-hybrid-hives-6.html

Copied:

One of the big groups of changes here are the Hybrid Hives.  Their functionality has been tuned and extended quite a lot in general, and some new interface elements have been added to the galaxy map for working with detected hives, etc.  They have also been nerfed rather heavily, as they were brutally destroying most experienced players within the first two hours of the game.  These are meant to be an exceptional challenge, but not quite to that degree.  There is a new "Advanced Hybrids" AI Plot option available for CoN owners that adds on the nastiest parts of the hybrid logic, and keeps the challenge at a very high level.  This lets players adjust just how steep a challenge they would like.

Also in this release are a wide range of bugfixes, and one rather notable performance improvement.  Of course, all bugfixes and core improvements of this sort are free for all players -- they are never tied to any expansion or anything like that (we think charging people for bugfixes would be pretty unethical to say the least).

There's also six new command stations for players to choose from in two new command station lines.  Previously there were only four command stations total, split across two lines total.  This more than doubles the number of strategic options that players have for colonizing planets.  Best of all, these six new command stations are for all players of the game, not just CoN owners.  Though there will be some new CoN-specific command stations coming soon...

There are also four new warheads available for all players: the old Lightning Warhead is now Lightning Warhead Mark II, and new Mark I and III variants have been added.  This adds a bit more flexibility into lightning-warhead-related strategies, which should be quite welcome with many of our expert players (who use them extensively).  Similarly, there are now Mark II and III variants of the EMP warhead.  Often players were having to "stack" the effects of the EMP warheads to really make use of them, and these higher-level EMPs provide an alternative to that.  Though clever players can cause the lowest overall AI Progress increase simply by sticking with the lowest-tier EMP and combining that with transports and/or starships.

The last major addition is to the mercenary space dock.  First of all, it's been visually revamped and now costs 0 energy to run.  But players also now get a starship constructor, warhead silo, and mercenary space dock right at the start of each game; this makes for faster starts for expert players, and helps newer players realize what is available.  In the past, there were only fighter, bomber, and frigate mercenary variants, but that was somewhat limiting and basically only something people used in order to enlarge their fleets after they had already hit ship cap.  Now, there are also Parasite and EtherJet Tractor mercenaries for everyone, Beam Frigate mercenaries for Zenith Remnant owners, and Neinzul Enclave Starship Mark I mercenaries for CoN owners.  All four of these new mercenaries come with the usual 10x-cost-but-no-ship-cap-and-no-unlocks-required common to the existing mercenaries, which makes them much more interesting for during general  gameplay.  Players are much more likely to go for some of these specialized mercenaries, despite their exorbitant metal/crystal cost, to gain access to functionality they might not otherwise have in a given game, not just to pad out their fleets.

All in all?  This is one huge prerelease, and it substantially alters the number of strategic options available to players.  We expect there will be some rebalancing needed for a lot of the new stuff, but these initial versions look quite promising already.  Enjoy!
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Offline quickstix

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Awesome changes. I love the new variety and strategy it brings.

The change to seed the extra constructors into the home planet is a great idea. It took me a while to try all of that stuff out, but when I did it made a huge difference to my games, so encouraging people to try them can only benefit them. Other favourite changes are the merc, warhead and comm station expansions. There are some very important decisions to make now, especially for command stations. Playing on harder difficulties finally put a strain on my resources, so choosing between an economy boost or military/logistic boosts will be very crucial I imagine.

Fantastic work as always. Those Hybrid Hives sound like a real handful; I look forward to my first meeting with them. ;D

Offline Vinraith

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Great stuff all around, I particularly like the new command station options. My only concern would be that making certain bonus ships available via the merc dock "devalues" them as ARS unlocks by a small amount. Not that it isn't still advantageous to be able to get them massively cheaper, of course, but cheaper versions of ships you already had access to seems markedly less valuable than access to an entirely different ship type.

Offline quickstix

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If memory serves me right, Merc ships are only about Mk2 in power. The cost of them also means unless you're playing a very slow game, you're unlikely to be able to sustain a small (let alone full) fleet of merc ships during your offensive manoeuvres. I play very aggressively these days so my resources tend towards the low side, moreso if the AI is on the offensive.

The sheer cost of a single merc ship in comparison to a regular dock unit becomes quite significant in the long term. When you hit Mk3+ planets and the mid-endgame, you really need to be able to keep pumping out units, as well as unlocking Mk3 units yourself (let alone everything else you need). If you set merc docks to build in a loop, I guarantee your resources will sink faster than a rock in water. The only really valid long term merc strategy is lots of repairing and so forth, but that's not the easiest thing to do these days.

Offline RCIX

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I really gotta cram in time to pick up the expansion, then play AI war more :)
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Offline mlaskus

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Wow, that's a nice update. I'm going to try it out ASAP.
I really dig the idea of those new Command Stations.

Offline Rustayne

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If memory serves me right, Merc ships are only about Mk2 in power. The cost of them also means unless you're playing a very slow game, you're unlikely to be able to sustain a small (let alone full) fleet of merc ships during your offensive manoeuvres. I play very aggressively these days so my resources tend towards the low side, moreso if the AI is on the offensive.

The sheer cost of a single merc ship in comparison to a regular dock unit becomes quite significant in the long term. When you hit Mk3+ planets and the mid-endgame, you really need to be able to keep pumping out units, as well as unlocking Mk3 units yourself (let alone everything else you need). If you set merc docks to build in a loop, I guarantee your resources will sink faster than a rock in water. The only really valid long term merc strategy is lots of repairing and so forth, but that's not the easiest thing to do these days.

The Merc ships are expensive yes, but depending on how you play, after awhile you can let it run without engineers and still be positive.  Unlocking mk3 stations does help alot in this, as they add a big chunk to your total production number.  In my latest game, I can run a Merc Space dock with 3 eng I's full time making fighters and still be +200 a piece roughly.  When the AI is sending you 3-4k waves, you need all the help you can get. :) 

As for all the other changes, fixes, and additions, just amazing.  I really look forward to starting a new game up with these Hybrids. :)

Offline keith.lamothe

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Quote
    * Previously, there were only 4 types of command stations that could be built by players. Now there are 10, providing vastly more functionality and branches for varying strategies.
          o The previously-existing warp jammer command stations have not been touched.
          o The prior Mark I-III command stations have been renamed to Economic command stations, but their functionality is unchanged.
          o There are now Mark I-III Military command stations.
                + Military Command Stations provide very little in the way of economic gain, but have much more health and the ability to shoot at enemy ships.
          o There are now Mark I-III Logistical command stations.
                + Logistical Command Stations provide very little in the way of economic gain, and can't shoot at enemy ships, but they vastly increase the speed of all allied ships in the current system. They also have middling armor and a smallish force field.
          o Mark I of the Military, Economic, and Logistical command stations are all available at any time, and have no ship cap. Marks II and III have to be individually unlocked per branch, and each branch has a ship cap of 6 per mark II/III command station.

I almost laughed out loud.  This is pretty much exactly what I was going to suggest doing, but you beat me to it ;)
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Offline superking

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OK, I like everything about this  :)



Offline keith.lamothe

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Those Hybrid Hives sound like a real handful; I look forward to my first meeting with them. ;D
So do they ;D
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Offline Ozymandiaz

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wow, lots of goodies :)
We are the architects of our own existence

Offline x4000

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Glad it's a hit!

By the way, on the comment for Mercenaries devaluing their non-merc counterparts, I think that quickstix summed it up right.  All you're getting are VERY expensive mark II versions of Parsites, EtherJets, and Beam Frigates.  The Enclave Starships are actually only mark I.  And all of those cost 10x more than normal, which makes them ludicrously expensive for most purposes, especially since they are only mark I/II and thus are going to be fairly fragile in the later game.

That said, there are a lot of specialized uses I can imagine for all four of the new ones, and I think they basically provide some -- expensive -- lateral strategic options.  So they're still pretty specialized, and if you're really wanting parasites or etherjets or beam frigates there's still no substitution for the regular non-merc version. :)
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Yea, parasites in particular tend to be so useful for certain play styles that some players only ever play with parasites for their first bonus ship type.  That's probably not as common with Leech Starships having been added, but providing a really-expensive way to get parasites without knowledge or bonus-pick cost seems like a great way to make a marginal amount of that functionality available to everyone.  Similar on the etherjets.
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Offline x4000

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Yep, exactly.  I figured it would ease the pain of some folks transitioning away from using the parasites always as their bonus ship.  Not that we've had as many reports of that of late thanks to the leech stuff.  For the etherjets, those can act as extra defensive tractors in a pinch, which I think has a lot of strategic uses.  As well as the more nefarious offensive uses of them. ;)
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