Author Topic: AI War 2 v0.877 Released! "The Strikecraft Goldilocks Zone"  (Read 1612 times)

Offline x4000

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Release notes here.

The nanocaust have seen a big revision as part of this one, and I was definitely tempted to name the build after that. But the strikecraft being better-balanced compared to everything else probably affects more people, so here we are. The list of short-term general annoyances is getting much smaller, and the discussion that started it all is here.

So what's new?

  • Lots of bugfixes, and some ui enhancements and AI improvements all over the place.
  • You can now see the history of the AIP increases and decreases by clicking the AIP section of the top toolbar, which is SO handy -- thanks, Badger!
  • In Badger's own words, the nanocaust changes: The nanocaust rework is basically a dramatic simplification of the code. I took the Fleets mechanism out and put in a mechanism that basically says "If there are no enemies on planet X, take all the ships on this planet and attack any adjacent planet that is weak enough for the local forces to take. If there are no adjacent hostile planets, go to a random adjacent friendly planet". This was what I did originally but it was too powerful so I introduced the nanocaust fleets mechanic basically as a nerf.
    However, the end result was a rather boring and not-super-menacing nanocaust. So now it's back to its original terrifying version. I may need to introduce some additional mechanics to slow it down, we'll see. The logic it uses is also essentially the same logic that Marauder Raiders use.
  • The strikecraft balance is now reduced to 2x hulls instead of 3x, and attack multiplier down to 1.5x. So now your turrets should have a fighting chance. Big thanks to Puffin for aggregating that feedback and making the change. The strikecraft previously felt too chaff-y, but now are hopefully in the ideal middle ground; let us know!
  • Bunches of balance changes based on player feedback.
  • I've personally been traveling for the last week, but have written up some things that might interest you. Specifically:
  • My plans for tutorials are a lot more traditional now.
  • My plans for 1.0, techs, and fleets are written up and hopefully make sense.
  • Same for my plans for multiplayer, although that news is probably less welcome.
  • Still lots of exciting things in the works, as noted via various links, mantis, and so on.

More to come soon. Enjoy!

Problem With The Latest Build?

If you right-click the game in Steam and choose properties, then go to the Betas tab of the window that pops up, you'll see a variety of options. You can always choose most_recent_stable from that build to get what is essentially one-build-back. Or two builds back if the last build had a known problem, etc. Essentially it's a way to keep yourself off the very bleeding edge of updates, if you so desire.

The Usual Reminders

Quick reminder of our new Steam Developer Page. If you follow us there, you'll be notified about any game releases we do.

Also: Would you mind leaving a Steam review for some/any of our games? It doesn't have to be much more detailed than a thumbs up, but if you like a game we made and want more people to find it, that's how you make it happen. Reviews make a material difference, and like most indies, we could really use the support.

Enjoy!

Chris

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Offline RockyBst

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Re: AI War 2 v0.877 Released! "The Strikecraft Goldilocks Zone"
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2019, 10:12:12 AM »
Out of interest, is the superterminal working as expected right now? Because I just spent 10 minutes and 160HaP and the response was ...anemic.

Looks like there's no acceleration of HaP cost anymore, and the individual spawns were suppressed by 50 strength worth of ships even on a 2.5 'extreme' response.

Offline x4000

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Re: AI War 2 v0.877 Released! "The Strikecraft Goldilocks Zone"
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2019, 02:24:24 PM »
Out of interest, is the superterminal working as expected right now? Because I just spent 10 minutes and 160HaP and the response was ...anemic.

Looks like there's no acceleration of HaP cost anymore, and the individual spawns were suppressed by 50 strength worth of ships even on a 2.5 'extreme' response.

That doesn't sound correct, but I think that Badger (and maybe Puffin?) have been doing ping-pong with the balance on it.  IIRC the response was recently so strong from them that it was devastating to use these no matter what.  This is probably worth throwing on mantis, with a savegame if you have one.
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Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: AI War 2 v0.877 Released! "The Strikecraft Goldilocks Zone"
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2019, 08:23:37 PM »
It was me I think; the last feedback I got was that the superterminal hack was much too powerful so I nerfed it. Looks like I went to far, though admittedly it's hard to balance without knowing the difficulty of the AI.

Offline RocketAssistedPuffin

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Re: AI War 2 v0.877 Released! "The Strikecraft Goldilocks Zone"
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2019, 07:10:31 AM »
I changed the cost of AI Strikecraft in this update to reflect the power jump they had from the new balance multiplier (so it wasn't underpaying). Somethings like Hacking Responses need updating to match, I would think, as they have the same Strength (in more expensive, but better Strikecraft) but Player Strikecraft (and Turret) power increased (without any downside), so they're weaker relative to the Player as a side effect.

Same may be necessary for Mercenaries, Resistance Fighters and Marauders, as they use Strength instead of ai_cost_to_purchase, and seem to have the same issue.
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Offline PokerChen

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Re: AI War 2 v0.877 Released! "The Strikecraft Goldilocks Zone"
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2019, 10:09:29 AM »
Same may be necessary for Mercenaries, Resistance Fighters and Marauders, as they use Strength instead of ai_cost_to_purchase, and seem to have the same issue.

That was also my impression with the hacking response, mercs, and resistance fighters in my last game. They start off meaningful, but become outscaled as the player upgrades their fleet with science. On the other hand, I've been relatively diligent to take the AIP reducers as I played.

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: AI War 2 v0.877 Released! "The Strikecraft Goldilocks Zone"
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2019, 09:11:41 PM »
Anyone have a save game with a "much too easy" superterminal hack for some balance work?

Offline PokerChen

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Re: AI War 2 v0.877 Released! "The Strikecraft Goldilocks Zone"
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2019, 08:06:14 AM »
Before the player starts the hack, presumably. I'll keep a look out in my current snake game. (Incidentally, it reveals only one planet each time I conquer, so I intend to conquer them all up to the AI homeworld.)

Offline x4000

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Re: AI War 2 v0.877 Released! "The Strikecraft Goldilocks Zone"
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2019, 12:21:15 PM »
That snake map thing is definitely a bug, unless you have the option on in the lobby for that sort of scouting.  Can you check if that option is on?
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Offline PokerChen

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Re: AI War 2 v0.877 Released! "The Strikecraft Goldilocks Zone"
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2019, 12:32:46 AM »
It isn't. I'll open up an issue for it then.

Offline kmunoz

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Re: AI War 2 v0.877 Released! "The Strikecraft Goldilocks Zone"
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2019, 01:46:32 AM »
I hope the tutorials turn out ok! At the moment, I'm totally bouncing off AIW2, mostly due to the interface (which I still can't stand) but also because all the systems are different now. I haven't attempted to play since the switch over to fleets. If I can get past not having any clue what I'm looking at when a game starts, I can probably get past not liking the visuals of what I'm looking at when a game starts.

Offline x4000

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Re: AI War 2 v0.877 Released! "The Strikecraft Goldilocks Zone"
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2019, 11:31:48 AM »
What about the interface are you bouncing off of?  The icons sidebar (which is like the original) bugs me a lot and I find hard to read.  I've been considering a revamp of that to be more fleets/groups oriented.
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Offline kmunoz

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Re: AI War 2 v0.877 Released! "The Strikecraft Goldilocks Zone"
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2019, 12:07:57 PM »
I tried again last night and really the main thing I'm having problems with is that beyond the broad distinctions between fleets at the start, I'm not really sure what they *do.* What they're for. The strike fleet, for example, has a few different types of ships in them but I don't feel like I need to care because that's not the level of control the game is steering me toward. But if that's the case, and I really don't need to care, then why are there different types? And if I *do* need to care, then I'm not given the organic process required to teach me the differences. I just start with a bunch and am told to get started.

I understand the reasons behind the switch to fleets and I agree with them in the broad strokes but the way they're implemented, they maintain the granularity of detail with much less of the interaction, which is frustrating. It's like being given a jigsaw puzzle already completed and glued together and then being told I need to understand how all the pieces fit together before I can hang it on my wall.

Specifically interface-wise, it still comes down to the disconnect between icons and the 3D models they sit on top of. I wrote a lot on this topic ages ago and while quite a lot of it has been fixed with the switch to fleets, the essential problem - the relationship between the two visual layers - is still there.

The best example from maybe the first 2 minutes of the game is the AI's stationary posts. I think one of them is called a guardian...? It's shaped like a soccer ball, whatever it is. But it's tiny. I mean, really, really tiny. Probably less than 10% the size of one of the player's ship groups. And if it has an icon, I either couldn't find it or it was so far away from it that I thought it belonged to something else.

And when I say tiny, I can't articulate how tiny it is. It's so tiny that when my mouse hovered over it at a reasonable zoom level for tactical control, a yellow selection ring popped up over EMPTY SPACE. And the only reason I was hovering over there was because I kept seeing laser shots coming out of EMPTY SPACE and thought maybe there was a bug in the game that had made the model disappear. Then I zoomed in all the way and saw it, dark against a dark background, a little floating soccer ball.

That's when I quit again. Since I couldn't even see, let alone identify, the things that were shooting at my fleet, I knew I wasn't going to enjoy playing any farther along.

The game really wants me to play by paying attention only to the icons (which are always visible), but overlays them on 3-D models that have not been fully thought through in terms of what kind of information they provide or prevent. The result is either a blobby incoherent mess (when I'm looking at my fleet) or empty nothingness (when I'm looking at something small from a game-appropriate zoom level).

Edit: My tone, as before, is less civil than perhaps it should be, and I apologize. But it's a product of my intense frustration. I adore AIWC. While I only have 140 hours in that game, that still puts it at #6 in my list of the Steam games I have played most in my life. Back in the heyday of that game, it was my #1. (For comparison, the #1 spot now is only 540 hours.) When I saw AIW2 was being developed I put my money down in a heartbeat, right at the start. I don't regret it - this isn't me angry that I spent money, I did so and would do so again even knowing what I know now - but I'm sad that I haven't enjoyed even this relatively polished version of the game, and for reasons that I feel could have been solved super early on if only someone had spent a little more time thinking about UX.

And with that said, I truly hope that I'm an outlier and that most people who come to AIW2 will find the interface useful and helpful and information-rich. But I'm really quite worried that I'm not, and that a huge chunk of the potential audience is going to bounce right off for the same reasons I did.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2019, 12:21:07 PM by kmunoz »

Offline RocketAssistedPuffin

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Re: AI War 2 v0.877 Released! "The Strikecraft Goldilocks Zone"
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2019, 12:28:33 PM »
The best example from maybe the first 2 minutes of the game is the AI's stationary posts. I think one of them is called a guardian...? It's shaped like a soccer ball, whatever it is. But it's tiny. I mean, really, really tiny. Probably less than 10% the size of one of the player's ship groups. And if it has an icon, I either couldn't find it or it was so far away from it that I thought it belonged to something else.

And when I say tiny, I can't articulate how tiny it is. It's so tiny that when my mouse hovered over it at a reasonable zoom level for tactical control, a yellow selection ring popped up over EMPTY SPACE. And the only reason I was hovering over there was because I kept seeing laser shots coming out of EMPTY SPACE and thought maybe there was a bug in the game that had made the model disappear. Then I zoomed in all the way and saw it, dark against a dark background, a little floating soccer ball.

That'd be just a normal Guard Post. The reason it's a tiny ball is because that's a temporary placeholder model. The selection area is larger to help in selecting these things.

I could probably find some unused model from the pre-pivot to put in them for now.
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Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: AI War 2 v0.877 Released! "The Strikecraft Goldilocks Zone"
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2019, 12:56:45 PM »
I would love losing the small temporary rock model for guard posts, even if the replacement is just something tempy.

 

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