Author Topic: AI War 2 v0.899 Released! "Intel Objective Difficulty Ratings"  (Read 383 times)

Offline x4000

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AI War 2 v0.899 Released! "Intel Objective Difficulty Ratings"
« on: October 10, 2019, 10:00:47 PM »

Release notes here.

More refinement! Lots of good stuff here.

  • The intel sidebar has a bunch of colorization improvements, as well as difficulty estimates based on things like what ships are at the planets on the way to the objective. These sorts of things really should help new players (and frankly, anyone) choose ideal targets. Huge kudos to Badger for thinking of and implementing this.
  • Logistical command stations now automatically watch adjacent planets to them, now further differentiating them from military and economic command stations -- as well as making it so that you don't have to spend hacking points to watch every planet on your hinterland.
  • There's a fifth tutorial in place now, thanks to Puffin, as well as some improvements to the existing ones. Please do keep up with the feedback on these, we really appreciate it. And I did notice folks starting in and adding in guides in the wiki -- DemocracyDemocracy in particular -- so huge thanks there, too!
  • Fixed a fairly long list of bugs and minor balance issues.
  • Added three new ship variants, two of which are new citadel types.
  • A variety of galaxy map improvements and other ui improvements, including the control group number still being visible but no longer replacing the count of contents in the fleet leaders.

As an aside, I've been personally having a rough time coming up on this release, so a lot of this content is developed by the volunteers (ever increasing in number, to my extreme gratitude). I haven't been nearly as productive this week as I'd have liked, although I do tend to discount things like marketing work and whatnot as not being "real work," so some of it's just that.

But there's a very palpable sense of fear that I have coming into this release, just because... well, it's been a rough few years, and the market is so saturated now, and the original game was something that people loved so much and expected us to surpass with this title. It feels like expectations are super high, the noise in the market is super high, and I have no idea if that will translate into actually being able to make a living making games again; I say "again," because despite laying off all the staff, I haven't been break-even (let alone profitable) on making games for... oh, four years now, I suppose. That's hard.

So I'm really heartened by all the various positive Steam reviews lately and over the last year, and I'm hoping the press has a similar reaction. I'm heartened by all the folks saying how they are finally feeling like the sequel is so much better than the original, and personally I agree, but it's hard to not let people for whom the sequel doesn't live up to their expectations set up camp in my head. I knew going into this that I could never please everyone, but the question is if I can please enough people, and keep pleasing them over time with more free additions and paid expansions, that I get to keep doing my dream job. Right now I don't have an answer to that, and I won't until the 22nd, so it's setting off my anxiety something fierce.

To compensate, I'm trying to get enough sleep, focus on specific tasks ]that I know need doing rather than the big picture, and in general just tidy up. It doesn't help that the Early Access release last year was by all accounts a big success and then I immediately got asked for a divorce and things spiraled down for a few months where I couldn't work. Things are incredibly much better now, and I'm actually really grateful for the turn my life took despite that temporary huge hardship, but that stuff still gets into parts of my brain and sits there.

You know, I'd really like to do this for a long time. It's been 10 years so far. I'd enjoy just making a living and making more games for another 10 or 20 or even 30 years. Hopefully with a lot less stress than the first 10 years had. Fingers crossed. Things honestly look to be heading that way, but it's hard not to be worried about it nonetheless.

More to come soon. Enjoy!

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Offline I-KP

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Re: AI War 2 v0.899 Released! "Intel Objective Difficulty Ratings"
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2019, 09:34:13 AM »
I can now tell from the galaxy map if a fleet is loaded. This has already stopped me from accidentally creating a suicide conga line several times. *thumbs up*

Not having vision on Military stations is weird; weird as in strange design choice to have blind Military stations on the front lines (or dotted around in isolated locations as I sometimes do).
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Offline kasnavada

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Re: AI War 2 v0.899 Released! "Intel Objective Difficulty Ratings"
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2019, 12:52:07 PM »
Logistical command stations now automatically watch adjacent planets to them, now further differentiating them from military and economic command stations -- as well as making it so that you don't have to spend hacking points to watch every planet on your hinterland.


I can now tell from the galaxy map if a fleet is loaded. This has already stopped me from accidentally creating a suicide conga line several times. *thumbs up*

That's awesome !

Offline kmunoz

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Re: AI War 2 v0.899 Released! "Intel Objective Difficulty Ratings"
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2019, 04:50:58 PM »
The three station types almost deserve different names at this point, to better fit their roles. I think some people are getting caught up on the word “military.”

What we really have here is:

Supply Station (Economy)
Forward Observer Station (Logistics)
Defensive Battery Station (Military)

Or some version of that phrasing.

Online BadgerBadger

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Re: AI War 2 v0.899 Released! "Intel Objective Difficulty Ratings"
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2019, 05:06:41 PM »
Why are "Military", "Economic" and "Logistical" not good names? The only one I could imagine wanting to change would be "Logistical" into "Utility", but I like the name continuity.

Offline kmunoz

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Re: AI War 2 v0.899 Released! "Intel Objective Difficulty Ratings"
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2019, 05:11:27 PM »
They’re good names, sufficient, but I think people can get tripped up on “military” because it implies that that specific station type is the one meant for participating in attacks (by being on border worlds). I don’t really have a problem with the names but I think they could be re-named for added clarity.

“Economic” is exactly what it is. “Logistical” isn’t especially descriptive of what the station does apart from its ability to speed up units. And “military” while accurate implies that the other two have no military function, which is definitely not the case for the logistical stations.

Not too bent out of shape over it, though - people will use these stations in different ways based on playstyle so after a little while the names won’t matter for individual players. It might cause a hiccup on the learning curve but probably not more than a couple minutes of going, “Oh, that might not be the best thing to put there,” and then getting on with it.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2019, 05:21:03 PM by kmunoz »

Offline kasnavada

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Re: AI War 2 v0.899 Released! "Intel Objective Difficulty Ratings"
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2019, 03:21:17 AM »
Sorry, wall of text incoming. This reflects only my opinion. It's not a major, major issue since release is near. But I think that making the player's learning curve shorter is kind of a big deal. So... let's go:

I don't think they're good names at this point because of what the word logistics means ???.

Logistics station, by name, implies that it's used to move stuff from a safe zone and / or a production zone, to the zones where the final product is assembled, used, sold or whatever (in commercial occupations) or to a dangerous zone (military occupation). While they can be at the front in a warzone, they're not meant to. In fact, lots of military tactics are about bypassing choke points and similar protections so that they can attack, not the production centers (which are often far and / or well protected) but the supply lanes, to destroy the enemies's logistics.

In AI WAR I there was a point using logistics stations if you had your factories far from your front planets, as it would move them faster (hence the speed bonus). But, in AI WAR II, there is no such thing, as ships are build on fleets directly. The decision to make fleet the production center This made the logistics stations essentially useless at their previous role.

In practice, I'm not sure what other players did, but as you could unlock a building that gave all unit speed boosts (or just build or capture a dozen of the ship that gave speed boosts, forgot the name), I used 99% military stations and economical stations, and, of course, the 5 warp jammer stations. Mostly I moved my factories closer to where I planned to attack too. Apparently, in AI WAR II, there was a large work done on logistic stations to make them halfway between military and economical stations. That's fairly good ! However, in practice, what was actually done from my point of view is gutting the military station into roles so niche that it borders on uselessness.

This change about watching buries it even further.

Why ? First because military stations don't produce energy, nor metal. Their production is so low that it might as well be removed. They also come with turrets and ships which by default cost about 1.3 million metal at level 1, and about 170k energy (you don't HAVE to build them, but that's what it brings).
Logistic stations, however, produce enough energy to power their turrets (about 70k of energy for a production of 200, and about 850k, of which a bit less than 500 are for ships). Of course the costs & energy change in the game, but what this means is that you can basically capture 4-6 GCA and still come out even by using logistical stations, while military stations will require, 1, 2 3 economical stations to function. Thing is, you already need economical stations to power your fleets & golems, so there is a competition for usefulness here.

Second because logistical stations are better at what you want a military station to do (from what its name implies). You'd want them to build your fleet, but the difference between 2 or 3 factory is insignificant in my games, as the engineers from support fleets makes the number of factories insignificant. Also, the number of factories is insignificant in netflix time, when you're starving for metal. You'd want militaries to detect cloakers, but logistical are better at detecting cloakers. You'd want militaries to prevent enemies from passing through the systems they're in, but logistical stations are better at that too.

What military stations are better at is they shoot stuff, and have more turrets. But, the AI doesn't attack unless it thinks it can win. It somewhat protects them better from waves, but again, I found myself protected enough by logistical stations. Actually, I NEED logistical stations to protect me enough as they'll always be on the frontlane, as it's not sustainable energy-wise to have military stations. What I've been doing in my games is putting turrets and such on those is to clean regular waves and zombies. Then, when the AI attacks "smarter", the point of those is just to delay station destruction until my fleets or citadels or whatever I'm using gets in and defends. I've currently found that logistical defend themselves long enough, and their movement boost make bringing reinforcement faster. I'm not sure what the efficiency of the speed boost is when defending compared to most turrets, but as ships are rather slow it seems to make quite an impact and seems to reduce the quantity of time ships move without shooting. Especially when they need to catch-up to the snipers ships I seem to get at every single game in the enemy's troops. It reduces significantly the number of escapees when the AI flees in any case.

Let's look at one possible "bigger picture" situation you can find yourself into. You've got military and economical stations VS you've got only econ and logistical stations. In the first case, if the AI manages to kill one economical station, I'm at a risk of brownout because of the huge energy cost of military stations and the energy cost of your fleet. I have less spare power so more risk of brownout. I also need more economical stations, which makes defending all of them harder. In the second case, as a whole, I found that logistics station power themselves and I'm only at a risk of brownout if my fleet consumes all power that comes from economical stations. If I use military stations, as they are weaker at preventing stuff from passing through, my impression is that I'm making myself more vulnerable to damage than if I used logistical stations. Thing is, late game, a brownout is often a death sentence as the AI often beelines on your unprotected home station and kills it. That's not a behaviour I'm expecting when using "MILITARY" stations. I'm expecting to be more defended, but my impression is that I'm getting less defended by them.

Currently, the only time I'd use a military stations is as a backlane stations to protect target of importance behind the lines, like if I got to defend a GCA or something. They're way too niche IMO. That's competing with hacking too. Hacking makes this way safer.

Which brings me to a bigger point. Looking back, during all the years I've played AI War, I've only ever needed and used 2 "basic" stations. One to produce masses of stuff in safe zones, and another to protect my borders and important worlds. Econ + military stations in AI War I, now I'm going to either use Econ + logistics or econ + military depending on how balancing is done.

Of course I can't speak for other players, but, frankly, I'd need something unique and powerful to use a third type of station, like the warp jammer was before (that said, I'm not sure it's a good idea to put "the warp jammer" it back again into the game). As a player, if you want me to use a third type of station, they'd better give me something really unique. More pew pew, build power and turrets and so ain't unique enough to me.

Currently, what I would do is either:
- rename the logistical station to something more befitting of its current role, and give military stations something unique and powerful (fortress, or make it so it could make capturables immune to damage, or make it so that it spends remaining hacking point to auto-hack capturables, in the case the AI destroys said capturable...).
- give all current capabilities of logistical stations to military stations, and give logistical stations something unique and powerful and worthy of its name (like creating wormholes between logistical stations to enable instant long distance movement...).

That said, only my opinion.
In the short term, the only think I'd want on the stations topic is for military stations to give vision too.