Author Topic: AI War 2 v0.520 Released! "Formations"  (Read 613 times)

Offline keith.lamothe

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AI War 2 v0.520 Released! "Formations"
« on: September 15, 2017, 02:11:52 PM »
Release notes here!

This one's all about adding support for Formations.

AIW Classic had limited support for this idea: you could set up your group of ships and use J+right-click to have them move to the target point while maintaining their position relative to one another. There was also a sticky-formation setting so that you didn't have to hold J all the time. This was useful, but still tedious if you wanted a particular layout because you had to do it by hand at least once.

Now in AIW2 you can tell a control group to use a particular formation and whenever you give it a move order all ships on that planet will automatically arrange themselves according to that formation's algorithm.

Further, all the formations and their algorithms are defined in external code, so modders can make their own formations. I'm sure you'll come up with much more optimal ones than I could.

That said, I did take a stab at usefulness with the "Blob" and "Reverse Blob" formations, which are pretty good at packing your ships under your group's best shield-generator and putting the short range stuff up front and the long range stuff in the back. Further optimizations that come to mind are putting all carrier units in the inner rings of the aft wedge and any additional shield generation units in the inner rings of the fore wedge.

Oh, we also fixed some nasty bugs with the OSX build since 0.518. That honestly took way more time than the formations. Platform issues are such fun ;)

Enjoy :)

Keith
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 02:33:50 PM by keith.lamothe »
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Offline x4000

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Re: AI War 2 v0.520 Released! "Formations"
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2017, 02:18:39 PM »
I was so incredibly surprised by the addition of the formations, there.  That was not something I would have thought possible!
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Offline Draco18s

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Re: AI War 2 v0.520 Released! "Formations"
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2017, 02:19:41 PM »
Neato.
I am remembering some old Space Empires III formation stuff. Was a great little editor that you could use that would do its best to assign each ship in an arbitrary fleet to a position in that formation.  Of course, it was pretty basic, didn't take into account things like differing ranges, but it wouldn't have been too much more complex to handle it.

Online BadgerBadger

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Re: AI War 2 v0.520 Released! "Formations"
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2017, 03:40:45 PM »
Cool, I look forward to giving The Blob a try. You should give a quick summation of some of the recent changes for the blog, which is more than a month out of date.

Unrelated: Did my FindPlanet changes ever make it in?

Offline x4000

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Re: AI War 2 v0.520 Released! "Formations"
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2017, 04:20:50 PM »
A general update post for the blogs (blog and main site) would be a good idea.  Kickstarter is even more behind, but for that crowd there hasn't been much news to share since it's all been "things that are getting improved, but aren't where you want them to be just yet if you want to play less as a first-line tester."

We're really going to need more engagement from that crowd before we even think about doing an official launch on Steam (not that that has any bearing on launch backers getting their stuff).  We're still discussing options on exactly how to handle this side of things, but we'll update kickstarter before too long when we have that sorted out.  This is not surprising news to anyone who is frequenting the forums, despite the continual flow of new builds.
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Online BadgerBadger

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Re: AI War 2 v0.520 Released! "Formations"
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2017, 12:38:51 AM »
Well, the game is definitely trending toward "Not for first line testers only." A ton of awesome progress has been made. I can actually sit down and play the game without being deluged by bugs, and can start complaining about subtle things.

I spent a couple minutes brainstorming on "What are we missing". Hopefully this list gives y'all some ideas, though I suspect most if not all of this is on your todo lists already. I provide this list not to complain but to hopefully help guide development; that kinda goes without saying, but I like to say it anyway.

Things for game start:
Actual AI types, difficulty settings, and the ability to choose them
Ability to choose your colour and the colour of the AI (yeah, it's dumb, but I like it)
Are we getting a bonus ship type? If so, the ability to choose one of them
In-game map tunables (number of planets, etc. I might have already done some of this ;-)
An in-game tutorial (or at least the framework for it). We can't really have a proper tutorial until the game is closer to a real Beta and fewer things are subject to change, but the framework needs to exist.

Gameplay:
Showing on the galaxy map what path your ships will take between planets when moving units
Actual descriptions for all unit types
When you mouseover the resource bar, there need to be descriptions of what the resource types are in the tooltip. This is critical for a newer player.
Warnings for "Your planet is under attack". Speaking of "your planet is under attack", waves seem to be set on "Cross-planet attack" mode. Is that deliberate? I kinda miss knowing where the AI will strike and having to rush defenses there, and the sense of despair when you realize you can't get your fleet there in time. I could be open to mixing wave types; maybe sometimes a targeted planet wave, sometimes a mini-exogalactic attack wave, sometimes a "Threat reinforcement wave"...
More Music!
Generic balance improvements (I'm not sure the game is beatable right now if only because of teuthida/hunter guardian drones on high mark planets.)
Exogalactic waves? I kinda miss them
Functional multiplayer
Multiplayer across the internet (NAT punchthrough?)
More shot types (for the first-impression Cool Factor)

Overall lack of choices/strategy in gameplay (see also my comments in https://forums.arcengames.com/private-alpha-discussion/a-few-notes-from-playing-today-(-513)/)
Three examples
Economic decision making. I loved trying to get econ command centers and maximize my income, just like in generic RTS games I liked playing high econ strategies that were weak early but strong late. AIW2's only economic choice seems to be "I need more fuel, so lets capture another planet". This requires you to take enough planets to actually build a fleet. You are much more limited by fuel than by Science. A lot of the time I have a ton of science but nothing to spend it on; I can't build more ships, and I don't have enough Power to build more or stronger turrets. I've played games a few hours in where I am sitting on 10K+ science and don't have anything useful to do with it.
Edit: some improvements have been made in this area

How to use the Ark. At the moment static defense is basically a minor roadblock for any attacking force, so in order to keep your ark safe you basically need to fleetball and keep the ark with your fleetball at all times.

Attacking enemy planets is very boring. The technique I've used most effectively is "Bring your fleet in and park it right next to the wormhole. Let the AI ships come and fight your fleetball. If their fleet is winning, run away. If you beat their fleet, then destroy the static defenses." There is zero strategy to this.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2017, 03:05:24 PM by BadgerBadger »

Offline x4000

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Re: AI War 2 v0.520 Released! "Formations"
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2017, 10:49:47 AM »
This sounds like an incredibly useful list. :)
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: AI War 2 v0.520 Released! "Formations"
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2017, 12:26:37 PM »
You should give a quick summation of some of the recent changes for the blog, which is more than a month out of date.
I've been making posts to the website blog: https://arcengames.com/

But the dev blog wasn't on my radar. I've posted an update there now: https://blog.arcengames.com/ai-war-2-v0-506-v0-521-released-a-whole-mess-of-stuff/

Chris, which one of those is supposed to get the every-release updates, and which one is supposed to only get occasional updates? How often?
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Offline x4000

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Re: AI War 2 v0.520 Released! "Formations"
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2017, 12:38:33 PM »
Both are supposed to get the every-release-updates.  The dev blog is where you would ALSO crosspost things like videos or other general "here's an interesting dev diary" things that you post to the forums, though.

The dev blog is mostly a subset of the main blog, BUT we also won't post marketing-y things on there like "this is on sale over at X store" or press coverage or whatnot.

The purpose of the dev blog is to be a one-stop-shop for people who want to follow, well, development of our stuff.  The major and minor things, without having to go to the forums to see major topics that come up from the developers. (Obviously all the discussion gets missed on the blog, but still).

The front page of the site is more to show that we're alive, and what in general is going on at a larger macro view at the company.  All the deep dives shouldn't go there, but if there are a ton of releases then those should go there.  If there are three releases in one day, then often I'd skip putting those on the main site, though, because that gets excessive.  Dev blog is a tossup in that case; could be left to just the forums.

Once the steam community is set up, then crossposting to that, and then crossposting THAT to the steam forums, is basically a copy of the dev blog BUT only limited to a single game at a time, whereas the dev blog would cover any games going on at the time.

Hence my writing that software to quickly translate from blog-ese to smf-ese to steam-post-ese.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: AI War 2 v0.520 Released! "Formations"
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2017, 01:14:51 PM »
Hence my writing that software to quickly translate from blog-ese to smf-ese to steam-post-ese.
Right, I've got something similar where I type in the message and it pulls up the pages for me when I do the blog post and the forum post, with the title field pre-filled and the body text on the clipboard (prefilling that through a url is tricky). Adding another blog and later the steam stuff should be straightforward, unless the url behaviors are weird. But one way or another. Once we get things back up to speed on the kickstarter I figure I'll also post a comment on whatever the current post is, whenever there's a new release. Unless that's too spammy even in the comments.
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Offline x4000

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Re: AI War 2 v0.520 Released! "Formations"
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2017, 01:35:30 PM »
Works well for me!

For the comments in kickstarter, I was commenting in the global comments for the kickstarter itself, since that's more visible.  Nobody except us (project creators/collaborators) gets notifications of new comments, to my knowledge.  They just get notifications of new kickstarter posts.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: AI War 2 v0.520 Released! "Formations"
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2017, 02:06:23 PM »
Chris, quick question: I put the post in the AIW2 category on both blogs; should I apply the twitter tag on both as well? I did in today's release's case.

Unrelated: Did my FindPlanet changes ever make it in?
Just put them in for 0.521. Anything else out-standing? I know you did some cool stuff for various controls on the map screen, and some of that is intended for general inclusion (planet number count), but I don't know if it's all intended for that.

On that subject, you mentioned concerns about having different fields that looked identical in the xml but behaved radically different in-game, the Custom XML Data support in 0.521 (just released) should give you what you need to avoid that :)
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Offline Draco18s

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Re: AI War 2 v0.520 Released! "Formations"
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2017, 02:29:43 PM »
Just put them in for 0.521. Anything else out-standing? I know you did some cool stuff for various controls on the map screen, and some of that is intended for general inclusion (planet number count), but I don't know if it's all intended for that.

Galaxy controls are looked forward to :D

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Re: AI War 2 v0.520 Released! "Formations"
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2017, 02:42:08 PM »
So for the map screen stuff, I think the stuff pertaining to my maps can be readily included. The only two that I think are questionable are the settings for "Number of Planets" and "Golems". I'm not sure that you want the user to be able to literally set the number of Golems. I would expect that to be controlled via some sort of "Difficulty" setting that's not implemented yet.

For Number of Planets, it's a bit more complex. My code works, and you are welcome to include it. However, I'm not sure that setting the numPlanets with a Setting makes sense from a code architecture point of view. The Generate() function passes in the number of thusly: public virtual void Generate( Galaxy galaxy, ArcenSimContext Context, int numberToSeed, MapTypeData mapType ) and what I'm doing is always overriding numberToSeed.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: AI War 2 v0.520 Released! "Formations"
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2017, 02:56:26 PM »
Galaxy controls are looked forward to :D
Do you mean the display modes? Or what?
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