Author Topic: BETA AI War 2 v0.853 Released! "An Officer And A Bunch Of Fleets"  (Read 497 times)

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
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Release notes here.

Reminder: to play the beta, you MUST go into your Steam properties for the game, go under the Betas tab, and choose the "current_beta" option.  Otherwise you're going to be stuck on the pre-fleets version of the game.

If you don't know what I'm talking about regarding fleets, then reading this link is a really good thing to do or you are likely to be mighty confused.

So what's new in this build?  This is obviously an incremental one, headed towards the non-beta full release of 0.900 that we're aiming at in the next... weeks?  That timeframe is unclear, and will be based on testing feedback, which has been rolling in well so far; but there will be loads of incremental beta releases during this period.  Anyway, what's new:

  • This build is perhaps the biggest example of why we wanted all this testing feedback prior to going to 0.900.  Just saying.  The number of things that irritated people in prior 0.850-era builds that are now fixed is pretty enormous.  Let's talk about those!

  • Auto-assigned hotkeys for your fleets (in new savegames) are now more likely to be useful for you.

  • Your command stations will now auto-rebuild themselves if you lose them but win the battle with battlestations or citadels in place.  Yay lack of busywork!

  • You can actually hack unexplored planets to explore them with nanites, properly!  This is a pretty big deal, as it's the only means of manually scouting without incurring an AIP cost.

  • Bunch of irritating bugs fixed, and the longwinded backstory has been condensed down to the important points.

  • Tired of having all of your fleets have giant centerpieces in them?  ME TOO!  I, too, like lots of little strikecraft for most of my forces.  Thus we now have Strike type fleets with just a transport at the center, and then "Officer" type fleets that are more like what you've been used to.

  • Protip: take Strike fleets against ion cannons and mass drivers.  Officer fleets are suicidal there.

  • Note: we thought about making lobby options for giving you more or fewer Officer or Strike fleets relative to one another, but frankly it's more interesting if you make those choices in-game (in my opinion).  If there absolutely aren't enough of one kind of fleet to find, then... we'll consider lobby options.  But choices made through gameplay rather than the lobby are so much more satisfying...

  • Most of the Officer-style centerpieces are a lot faster, so there's less waiting around for them.  Even though they aren't QUITE so central as before.

  • The AI's costs to purchase most things doubled, so you won't be getting wrecked with quite so large of enemy forces anymore.

  • Your higher-mark ships no longer cost more metal than your lower-mark variants, so you can't accidentally hose your economy by upgrading a tech.  Techs are 100% positive goodness now, no downsides (opportunity cost aside).  Don't worry, you'll still need that metal for all the other fleets you're getting now.

  • There's a whole bunch more cases where you get extra engineers, in new savegames only.

  • There's a whole bunch more cases where you get extra decloaking ships, in new savegames only.

  • Among those bugfixes, you can actually select between the different starting fleet types, now.  Enjoy those parasites... ;)

  • And the really huge one: there are no more mysterious AIP increase penalties for having too many fleets at one place.  We'll deal with the exploits that you can potentially get up to later in terms of fleetballing too much, but the first solution we had was just plain irritating and not good.  There is discussion about potential options here, if you want to get in on that.


More to come tomorrow.  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
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 WeaponMaster

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Re: BETA AI War 2 v0.853 Released! "An Officer And A Bunch Of Fleets"
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2019, 01:38:35 AM »
Now that I can finally test other starting fleets, I realize that the fix I had before where the Black Widow was tractoring ships outside its range was incomplete. I finally got around to looking at GetIsWithinRangeOf and as it turns out...

            int allowedDistance = this.DataForMark.Radius + Other.DataForMark.Radius + ExtraDistanceAllowed;

… the radius for the tractored ship also needs to be subtracted out. It only became noticeable because the new strikecraft are very big compared to the old swarms, the old ships would tend to slip into range inbetween distance checks. Even then I don't know if it'll be 100% foolproof because of the different methods for calculating distance for shooting and tractoring.

The fix was just submitted.

Offline Bummeri

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Re: BETA AI War 2 v0.853 Released! "An Officer And A Bunch Of Fleets"
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2019, 09:37:02 AM »
And the really huge one: there are no more mysterious AIP increase penalties for having too many fleets at one place.  We'll deal with the exploits that you can potentially get up to later in terms of fleetballing too much, but the first solution we had was just plain irritating and not good.  There is discussion about potential options here, if you want to get in on that.

When you think about it from the perspective of the AI the most logical conclusion would be:

If i am suddenly attacked by this unusually large mobile force, it means that the weak humans do not have many mobile reserves to defend with. If the human fleetball is not assaulting strategically critical location, I will;

...assault their most strategically important points with fleets specced for dealing with turrets/mines/forcefields.

... will make the attacks happen as far as I can from the human fleetball, so it will be late to defend.

... will try to keep the human Fleetball busy by engaging them with anything that can tank/slow units down/do engine damage/do paralysis/tractor units/block wormholes. I will also send these units to the lines of communication between the human fleetball and my strategic assault points to slow their retreat.

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

So I think there should be specific response to these fleetball events. I know this is sort of what the eyes did, but they were a local response, this would be a strategic response. And potentially a very dangerous one. We should of course explain it to the player. We can do it in many ways. When AI starts to act on a perceived fleetball, we should get a notification, when the AI is using its strategic reserves to contain large fleet movements. We should also make player see a change in the units that the AI is pushing at the player. Suddenly the AI does not care about defending the planet, instead just containing the fleetball for a moment. We get these mobility inhibiting/hard to kill units targeting the fleet-ball and staging at important points the Lines of communication.

Meanwhile we should also get announcements of multiple counter assaults to our rear. Accompanied by the old AI taunts that we suck at strategy and must therefore die.

I think this is in the spirit that we are fighting a stronger opponent, who only pays us attention when we get too cocky. But it wont actually stop the fleetball from doing its job that the player wants. But the player has to balance this risk versus reward. Do I risk my mobile fleet being stuck multiple lanes away when the AI is assaulting me? Or should I pick a good fleet or two for the job and keep the rest in reserve?

EDIT: From what I understand is that you want to utilise carrot instead of sticks. In my view this just isn't the place for it. The whole point is that we are fighting this much stronger but preoccupied force. This is the perfect place to let gameplay show that the AI does not mess about. If you present all your forces to the AI, it will bite hard. But the great thing is that it does not prohibit the practice of fleetballing. You just need to adjust your operations to take them into consideration.

But I think this is a positive shift since it changes the discussion from "how to prevent fleetballing" into "How do I deal with the AI response to my fleetballing?" or "is it too dangerous to fleetball right now?"
« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 11:21:54 AM by Bummeri »

Offline Vinco

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Re: BETA AI War 2 v0.853 Released! "An Officer And A Bunch Of Fleets"
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2019, 07:40:06 PM »
Cross-posting from Steam as not everyone is on both forums...

As one of the fleetballing turtles mentioned earlier, I've got a few thoughts on the subject as well.

To me, the question that needs to be answered to change my behavior is simple.  "Why would I want to have fleets in more than one place at a time?"

Right now, I don't.  When waves come, I want my fleet there to eat them.  When there are no waves, I want my fleet out securing new territory.

I think that's the problem right there.  With no waves inbound and threat mitigated by keeping major chokepoints and going around pruning threatfleets, there's no reason to keep my ships at home.  With a major wave coming, overkill reduces the cost of rebuilding from the assault.

I need a reason to be in multiple places.  And I think anti-waves are the solution.  Give me timed events to get a fleet elsewhere for a bonus.  Maybe a few research points.  Maybe a permanent boost to my metal income.  Maybe a special bonus for a ship type.  Make these happen at the same time I need to defend, the same time I want to take territory.  That'll give me a reason to split my fleet and take more losses.  Maybe even have new AI structures pop up that need to be destroyed in a certain time frame in addition to carrots.

Answer the question "Why would I want to have fleets in more than one place at a time" and I think you'll make progress on this issue.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
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Re: BETA AI War 2 v0.853 Released! "An Officer And A Bunch Of Fleets"
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2019, 04:22:47 PM »
Those anti-waves are brilliant, I think that should go on mantis if you don't mind.  I'm a bit tied up today, but will be back on that sort of thing soon.  Mostly next week.
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Offline tadrinth

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Re: BETA AI War 2 v0.853 Released! "An Officer And A Bunch Of Fleets"
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2019, 04:43:41 PM »
I wonder if you could bring back AI Eyes but tie their trigger to the number of human fleets present. 

Offline Vinco

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Re: BETA AI War 2 v0.853 Released! "An Officer And A Bunch Of Fleets"
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2019, 09:50:45 PM »
Mantised my suggestion: 0021134

Offline x4000

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Re: BETA AI War 2 v0.853 Released! "An Officer And A Bunch Of Fleets"
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2019, 07:44:06 PM »
Thanks!

(And on the eyes, we do still have those, but I like that they are more about total ship strength more than separate fleets, personally.  They also don't help against the Unbreakable Turtle problem.)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!