Author Topic: Prerelease 3.182/3 (Ship Type Buttons+, Balance+, Bugfixes, Lobby Code Revamp)  (Read 8634 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 3.181:
(Cumulative release notes since 3.120 are here http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=AI_War_-_Current_Beta)

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    *  When a large new AI Barracks is created, that can cause a momentary lag in the time, which we forgot to mention last game. Now there is also a message shown of "AI Barracks Created With Units: 1200" or similar, to let players know what is going on. These lag spikes are really temporary, not all that common (except when loading old savegames with tons of units over the ship cap), and lead to better performance on an ongoing basis in that savegame.

    * Previously, AI Barracks were not allowed to be created except when the attack + threat level was already over 1500. Before that point, it would cause border aggression only, which could be rather catastrophic with older savegames, especially longer ones. Now the AI Barracks are allowed to kick in at any time regardless of the attack + threat levels. This also will make the barracks more likely to be used during the course of normal games started in 3.181 or later.

    * Previously, Border Aggression could be really vicious, sending vast quantities of ships cumulatively into threat when there are a lot of planets all with fewer than 200 excess ships on them (the minimum to make a barracks). And it could also be really vicious in sending a lot of core or mark IV ships at the players when they were used to seeing mark I or II ships in a game.
          o Now the Border Aggression will never kick in at all if the attack + threat level is already 500 or more.
          o Additionally, when ships would be released via border aggression, and those ships have a tech level that is more than 2 marks higher than the current tech level of that AI player (so, mark IV/V ship with a mark I AI tech level, or mark V ship with a mark II AI tech level, basically), then these excess ships are simply exploded rather than being released. This keeps the ship caps pruned as needed without causing a ridiculous spike in difficulty and without having players ever get swarmed with core ships early in the game.

    * Refactored the ship category buttons at the bottom of the main screen to a two-tier model letting the player drill down to either the full list, the low-power list, the non-low-power list, or a list of a specific ship-type.

    * Command Stations and Guard Posts now get their own line of icons in the intel summary in the galaxy map. This prevents them from completely overwhelming all of the other special ship icons by their presence.

    * The ships that show up with an icon on the intel summary view have their own text line directly below in purple, but they were also still showing up in the larger lists of my/allied/enemy ships further down. Now they have been removed from those lower lists (but not the counts of enemy ships by mark level), so as to make those lists more focused and easier to read.

    * The non-core guard posts now have white borders like other ships. The core guard posts will soon.

What's new since 3.182:
(Cumulative release notes since 3.120 are here http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=AI_War_-_Current_Beta)

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    *  Since the ship-type quick buttons at the bottom now have a category-based first-tier, the "low power" button now lists manufactories, energy reactors, and constructors again.

    * The ship-type quick buttons at the bottom now sort ship types by category and then mark level, rather than the other way around.

    * Hybrid spawn time increased from 20 minutes to 25 minutes, to give the player a little bit more time before they start facing walls of hybrids blocking their advance.

    * Mark III, IV, and V Ion Cannons are no longer seeded on planets next to human homeworlds (they won't be removed from existing savegames, though).

    * Recent prereleases had a crash bug in the stats window code if playing a game where you had killed any of the old guard posts. Fixed.

    * The borders of the far zoom icons have been made consistent between all the various screens, including the lobby and the intel summaries, and in general look a little less ragged.

    * The lobby has been completely reworked in a way that will be easier to port to unity coming up, and in a way that avoids potential rendering problems that a minority of players were suddenly seeing based on the old way the lobby was redirecting window output from one window handle to another.

    * Added some basic alert messages when a human planet is under attack by Hybrids, Preservation Wardens, (hostile) Roaming Enclaves, or hostile warheads.

    * Neinzul Preservation Warden youngling build rate reduced to 1/3rd of what it was.

    * Neinzul Preservation Bomber attack power increased quite a bit (was like a mark I bomber, was intended to be more like a mark III bomber). Also applies to Neinzul Bombers spawned by bomber clusters seeded by the Neinzul Cluster Bomber AI Type.

    * The infiltrator bonuses have been nerfed about 10x, especially against heavy defense units, as mid-sized groups of infiltrators could kill them in mere seconds.
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Offline x4000

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My narrative text: http://arcengames.blogspot.com/2010/08/ai-war-prerelease-31823-ship-type.html

Copied:

This release is actually a pair of releases, one released this morning and the other released tonight.

This release pair has a lot of important stuff in it, but it's nothing game-changingly exciting.  The 3.181 release had an issue that would cause some long-running savegames to become absolutely unwinnable within a few minutes of being loaded (thanks to over-aggressive border aggression), and consequently these releases include updates to really revamp both the border aggression and the AI barracks for the better.  There are numerous other balance adjustments here for the base game and CoN -- important stuff, but individually minorish tweaks.

The Intel Summary in the galaxy map has seen some improvements, as has the lobby for launching games, based on making things easier, fixing a few bugs, and preparing for the Unity 3D changeover.  The ship category buttons along the bottom of the screen have also been revamped to have sub-categories now, which fulfills a few long-running requests.  There are also some new warnings that now pop up when planets are under attack by the new CoN minor factions: hybrids, preservation wardens, and so on.

Lots of important progress and polish, in other words, but it's not as new-toy exciting as the last couple of releases.  Still, for those players who were finding their savegames unplayable in 3.181 because of the AI incursions that was causing, this was exciting in a different way!
« Last Edit: August 17, 2010, 11:51:59 PM by x4000 »
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Offline Rustayne

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* The infiltrator bonuses have been nerfed about 10x, especially against heavy defense units, as mid-sized groups of infiltrators could kill them in mere seconds.

Wanted to let you know that it is much more realistic now.  a MK2 guard post was taking me about 25-30 seconds to take down, with some pretty heavy losses, with 700 of them.   They still work well, but they aren't as overpowered as they were before.

Offline x4000

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Wonderful to hear! :)
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Offline Vinraith

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The new sorting options on the bottom button row are fan-freaking-tastic. In the past those had frequently been too clunky to be worth using, now they're too handy to ignore.

Also, having finally played a bit on the 3.182 patch tonight, I have to say I love the barracks. Those things are genuinely threatening, and make you think carefully about how (and whether) to tackle a high-level system that contains one.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2010, 01:17:46 AM by Vinraith »

Offline Ozymandiaz

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<3

I also tried a game against two Neinzul type AIs. I am glad I took Zenith Beam Frigate as my unit. They really help out against all thoos masses of units swarming me.
We are the architects of our own existence

Offline Sunshine!

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While I'm sad to see Infiltrators get nerfed, they were quite ridiculous before, so it's probably for the best.

Offline x4000

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Offline keith.lamothe

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Yea, those infiltrators were a bit much.  For them to have destroyed something the size of a FortressIII in that few shots they would have had to be firing chunks of antimatter or something ;)
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Offline carlosjuero

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3.182 fixed the problem with the massive game ending swarm on my 25 hour game :) - thanks much X. Now the threat only gets to about 2200 - tons (and I do mean tons, well over 10,000 ships) of ships are put into barracks which turns the start of the game into a crawl, but at least I don't get whiped by core and IV ships a few minutes after load now.

Do barracks have a unit limitation? Each hiccup was accompanied by a message of 1,200 ships or less being put into a barracks in various systems. Was that due to a limitation w/ the barracks or with the unit cap being more than 1200 over the new standard on those planets? (about 7 planets put 1200 units into storage, another 5 or so put > 600 into storage).

Haven't updated to 3.183 yet, probably later today. I was wondering about the Unity switch - the lobby changes are to prep for that, does that mean y'all have a timeline in mind for it? I want to have another copy of the game installed for that eventuality, in case Unity and I don't get along :) [I am sure it will go fine but I am always a little paranoid about the little things]

Offline x4000

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3.182 fixed the problem with the massive game ending swarm on my 25 hour game :) - thanks much X. Now the threat only gets to about 2200 - tons (and I do mean tons, well over 10,000 ships) of ships are put into barracks which turns the start of the game into a crawl, but at least I don't get whiped by core and IV ships a few minutes after load now.

Excellent!  That's more or less the expected behavior, with the first load of an older game.  The 2200 from threat shouldn't be at all from border aggression, as it's only allowed to even kick in if there are fewer than 500 ships in threat + attack.  So those presumably were already around, I don't know.

At any rate, I'm not surprised that in a game that length you're having 10k+ ships put into barracks, I had 12k put in from my 17 hour multiplayer game.  In some player savegames I've seen, I think it would put upwards of 40k ships into barracks.  The slowness on load is only the very first load of that savegame, once you save it again and load it again in the future, it will be faster to load than it was before, and with no lag at the start from barracks.

Do barracks have a unit limitation? Each hiccup was accompanied by a message of 1,200 ships or less being put into a barracks in various systems. Was that due to a limitation w/ the barracks or with the unit cap being more than 1200 over the new standard on those planets? (about 7 planets put 1200 units into storage, another 5 or so put > 600 into storage).

Yeah, I put a 1200 unit cap on them just to keep things reasonable -- I figured that more than that would slow the game to a crawl right when players pop them open.  You might wind up with multiple barracks on one planet because of that, each one will only ever have between 200 and 1200 units inside.  It's not really a technical limitation per se, but that was just the range that "felt right," per se.

Haven't updated to 3.183 yet, probably later today. I was wondering about the Unity switch - the lobby changes are to prep for that, does that mean y'all have a timeline in mind for it? I want to have another copy of the game installed for that eventuality, in case Unity and I don't get along :) [I am sure it will go fine but I am always a little paranoid about the little things]

It will probably be a good month before the Unity version is actually ready for public consumption, is my best guess at present.  Bear in mind that we won't be supporting the non-Unity versions in any fashion after the switch -- no bugfixes, updates, etc.  Really, a big part of the Unity switch is to make it more compatible with everyone's stuff, rather than the other way around, so we'll be doing everything we can to make sure that works well.  If Tidalis is any indication, it's a much more elegant solution than what we'd been doing, and we've not had anyone who just couldn't play Tidalis or anything like that.

The first few betas of the Unity version of AI War are rather to be rather buggy, though, so that's something we'll be labeling really clearly so people know what they are getting.  With any change that huge, the likelihood is that we'll be having some short-term issues, and that's why I then want 2-4 weeks of testing with the game on Unity in the hands of the public before we actually do the official 4.0 release.  Should be very exciting!  I understand the skepticism, but I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. :)
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Yea, if any of you are concerned about unity apps not running on your system, you can try the Tidalis trial version and see what happens.  If you run into any problems, please let us know :)
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Offline strangelight

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Feels like you're adding a crazy amount of content for a 'mini' expansion

I'm not complaining though

Offline x4000

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Some of it's not expansion-related, though -- some of it's mainly as part of our big "4.0" push that will add the OSX support, etc.  So we wanted that to be notable even outside of what we're doing with the mini-expansion, too.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Yea, it is a pretty crazy amount, probably more than a lot of games get in a normal-size expansion.  But probably at least half of what we've done during CoN's development has been for the base game (i.e. free DLC), so that's a large part of why the release notes have been so big lately.

We are pretty much done with adding new CoN stuff (except for the Neinzul Trader), and now are shifting towards refinement and fixes, etc.
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