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AI War II - Modding / Re: AI Shield Generators [Reuploaded 03/08/20]
« Last post by cml on Today at 02:17:42 PM »
The mod has been uploaded again. Please delete any previous versions prior to installing.

Multiplayer is not ready yet -- but this is a big milestone on that path. We expect to be into the alpha for multiplayer sometime next week.

Since the last update post sixteen days ago, we've had ten releases, starting with notes here and ending here.

I recently talked a lot about multiplayer and our plans for that in the short and middle term. I think all that is still accurate, but I'm going to talk about things again based on what I now know. Our release notes page also has a section with the current multiplayer todo list for your easy reference.

What's New Other Than Multiplayer Stuff?

  • Relating to DLC1, the Scourge have gotten a number of new tweaks and fixes.
  • Various other UI tweaks and improvements, including a few to the lobby.
  • A fix to a memory leak and a crash to the desktop that were possible for some people to hit in the last month. Those had to do with some newer ways of loading assets faster that didn't always agree with everyone's computer.
  • We fixed a handful of cross-threading exceptions that were possible.
  • The imperial spire now always give you vision properly.
  • Several ship behavior improvements.
  • The music selection/change window is now much improved.
  • The Dyson sphere got a few buffs.
  • A couple of speed improvements in parts of the codebase, and a couple of serialization fixes.
  • A fix for the self-building ships owing extra metal above their actual cost.
  • Several improvements to how stacks of ships behave, balance-wise. This most notably improves Vanguard Hydras.
  • Campaigns in the load menu are now sorted by how recently something was saved in them, not alphabetically. Oh my goodness this feels so much better.
  • Some minor nanocaust tweaks, and AI Exogalactic War unit tweaks in general.
  • Some balance tweaks to the Fallen Spire ships.

More to come soon!

What's The State Of Multiplayer?

This is a screen (edited to blur out some names) that makes me very happy:

For multiplayer, the intent is to have three general solutions for HOW data is transmitted across the Internet. Two our of three of those are complete. This doesn't mean that the game is ready to play, though, because WHAT data is transmitted across the Internet (or LAN) matters a whole lot more, and that still has a ways to go. But we'll talk about that in a minute.

First up, how do we connect to players and how does data get between them?

  1. LiteNetLib. Originally FORGE Remastered, but that was not performing well in my tests, so I swapped it out. This is fully working. This is what you would use if you want absolutely no central services or servers, or you want to play on a LAN or a VPN with friends. It's extremely fast, and will try to do NAT traversal if you are playing across the Internet, but there's a very high possibility that you would need to use port forwarding with this. I built in a lot of things to make it easy to find your IP addresses with this, and it should support IPv4 or IPv6 with no troubles (though only IPv4 has been tested).
  2. Steam. This is fully working. Basically, the host opens the lobby in multiplayer mode, or loads a savegame. The client clicks join game and sees a screen like the above with all of their Steam friends. Click connect next to the one who is hosting, and Steam brokers a route through any firewalls you have, sets up a very fast relay through their own servers, and connects you with your friend without ever revealing the IP addresses of either of you. It's not possible that you would have to worry about ports or port forwarding or any of that sort of thing, as it doesn't use any of that in a traditional sense.
  3. GOG Galaxy. Not yet working. This solution will only work for Windows and OSX right now, and not also Linux like the other two solutions do. This one will work a whole lot like Steam, although with less in the way of relay servers. I'm still working with GOG to figure out a few technical bits at the moment.

At this point, this covers HOW data gets around. Other than GOG, which I'm waiting on information for, I'm completely done with this work (any future found bugs aside).

The work of this stuff is:

  • Getting you and one or more friends connected.
  • Then keeping you connected and data moving fast between you.
  • And finally, making sure you know when someone disconnects.

These have no idea what is being said while you are connected, or really any concept of what the game is or what it is doing. Their job is immensely complicated, but it's all about the shipping and transfer of data, and not about what the data is.

What's The Barrier To Multiplayer Alpha?

In order to play multiplayer at all, you first have to get connected and stay connected. That's done. The game also then has to have a system for talking between clients and the host, and keeping everything in sync. Someone clicks a button or gives orders to a unit, and everyone else sees the result. Etc.

A huge amount of that sort of data-sharing is already done:

  • The initial sharing of the state of the galaxy, so that everyone is on the same starting point, is done. It nicely pauses things until everyone is caught up, so that if someone is popping in in the middle that's not a problem.
  • The actual routing of all the GameCommands that the AI and players issue, and the central time clock ticking, and that sort of thing has been done since 2017, and something we've been continually working on keeping up to date. I'm sure there will be bugs, but I can verify that the vast bulk of this is working correctly already.
  • With the lobby itself, there's a bunch of UI stuff that is particularly complicated, more than the rest of the game in some respects, and that is partially done. Right now there are a number of known bugs in there that I'm sorting through.
  • We also have to know which players are controlling which factions, or who is choosing to just be a spectator, etc. That's on my list for early next week along with the lobby bugs.
  • During gameplay, certain things will drift out of sync because of the multithreading that we do, and because of floating point inconsistencies between machines in a few places. We need to have the game roll through and self-analyze itself and fix those sync errors. A lot has been built out here in terms of design, but the basic version needs to be implemented before people can play for too long without sync errors being hilariously in the way.

And in terms of a multiplayer alpha, that's kind of all that we have left to do. The main time question mark is just how many bugs I run into. I also do want to convert the GameCommands into a new format that is more efficient, and that will probably introduce even more bugs, but that will ultimately be a speed boost for both single-player and multiplayer games.

What Will Multiplayer Alpha Be Like?

Buggy, probably. And definitely not feature-complete. Hopefully you can play with a friend for at least 20-30 minutes before there are catastrophic pileups of sync errors, and then saving and reconnecting is fast (3-10 seconds, probably). But I would not expect to be able to play an entire game.

I also expect to see some funky things that we did not expect, such as trouble using certain interfaces or issuing certain commands. Those should be pretty quick to fix, on average.

There's also a bunch of features that are multiplayer-specific that will be missing. Want to trade ship lines with a friend? Too bad, at first. Text chat? Sure, that's there already. Science sharing? Yep, already there! Passing some metal over? Nope, not yet.

During the alpha, one of the things that we'll be soliciting feedback on is what features you want. We have a pretty good idea, based on all those years of co-op in AI War Classic, but it's still good to hear what feels lacking here, since there are a lot of concepts and features in this game that did not exist in the first.

What Makes Multiplayer Beta?

When we have all of the major features missing from the alpha, then that's a relatively feature-complete multiplayer experience. When sync issues are not routinely a problem, and other bugs are not prevalent, then you can basically have an expectation of a "normal multiplayer experience." Connect, play, disconnect when done.

The purpose of the beta period is to have lots of people attempting that, so that we find the strange edge cases. Or other features that are needed that we are missing. Or balance problems that are specific to having multiple players.

I'm still hopeful that we'll reach the start of beta during August, and at the moment that seems like a reasonable goal. The one real wildcard remaining is how much of a bear the sync code winds up being, since everything else is either complicated-but-done, or some type of code I have done many times over the last 11 years.

The Steam networking integration, and even to some extent LiteNetLib, were the other two major wildcards, and it's really rewarding to have both of those behind me. I do need some extra assistance from the GOG SDK team in the short-term before I get that platform up and running, but if that isn't ready until sometime in the beta period that wouldn't be the end of the world. I would just prefer it to be done sooner.

We will probably have a multi-month beta period, just to let people have lots of time to run into any particular issues. This will also give me time to then step back and do my work on DLC2, and then we can officially launch both that and the free multiplayer update at the same time. October still seems reasonable for both.

If you're wondering "when can I play with my friends and actually just have a good time doing it," my hope is that the answer is "during beta, later this month." Fingers crossed!

Please Do Report Any Issues!

If you run into any bugs, we'd definitely like to hear about those.

The release of this game has been going well so far, and I think that the reviews that folks have been leaving for the game have been a big help for anyone passing by who's on the fence. For a good while we were sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, but there have been a lot fewer reviews lately and so that has definitely had a material negative effect. Go figure. Having a running selection of recent reviews definitely is helpful, but at least we have a pretty healthy set of long-term reviews. If you've been playing the game and enjoying it, we'd greatly appreciate it if you'd drop by and leave your own thoughts, too.

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 super detailed, 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.



AI War II / On transports and ship lines in general.
« Last post by CRCGamer on July 30, 2020, 08:54:08 PM »
Frankly there isn't much differentiation between the transports. Sure the agile one has a bit less HP... but frankly the cloaked transport is far and away the winner almost the entire time because it avoids getting shot to pieces by AI forces the overwhelming majority of the time. We could probably do with a couple additional transport types and then on top of that change the maximum fleet lines allowed by transport type. Such that transports with exceedingly high utility like the cloaked one aren't also going to be packing an entire forty line fleet around. This would also makes eyes more relevant again because other than death balling it with a topped off standard transport you'd probably have to approach it a little more tactically or actually hack it again for a change.

So the standard transport, absolutely no advantages at current over the others really. I'd suggest letting it keep the biggest allotment of ship lines. After all its just a great big transport with nothing special. May as well lets its advantage being the ability to have the most ships possible.

Agile is fast and pays for it in HP at current. I'd say reduce the HP penalty a bit and make it more a matter of it only gets 2/3 the ship lines of the standard transport. Still quite a bit, but its getting that extra speed by not being able to hold as much.

Cloaked pure and simple should get smacked with a significant maximum ship line capacity penalty. Outside of some tachyon detectors at the wormholes themselves or a couple sentinels with long range coverage it simply isn't at risk of getting hit. It should be a utility asset and not the primary flagship of the death ball of doom. Frankly the number of ships spawning from a fully stuffed 30+ line cloaked transport alone should be cluing the AI into where your ship is and getting it smacked. As a tactical asset it would still be stupidly effective at hacking things before your main fleet goes in. Or at raiding specific targets and then getting out.

As for additional transport types? Armored Transport, half the usual fleet line capacity but higher than usual defenses and takes reduced damage from things beyond a certain range. Great for kicking in the door and not getting rapidly shot to pieces by a mass driver on the other side of the gravity well if you didn't have a cloaked transport handy to hack it or raid it beforehand. And then the Escort Carrier Transport, again reduced fleet line capacity but comes with a built in allotment of drones that upgrade when it is upgraded. Additionally all ships being held within can be repaired at a certain rate unlike standard transports that don't repair ships at all while they are being carried. Functionally a great way to keep a fleet of frigates topped off as you move them to where you need them while the drones provide chaff so the more expensive frigates are less targeted.
Starward Rogue / Re: Does the direct purchase option include Augmented?
« Last post by Draco18s on July 29, 2020, 02:15:16 PM »
I do not believe so, but AuGMENTED doesn't have its own page. Or maybe it does?
(Hey Chris, might want to update that page nav ;)

Cart product listing ( doesn't list expansions either, and if I do poke at an expansion page it seems like its all bundled.

Starward Rogue / Does the direct purchase option include Augmented?
« Last post by Wacky Willy on July 29, 2020, 11:04:57 AM »
I see there's an option to buy direct from Arcen for a DRM-free copy, but I see nothing about the Augmented DLC or Gold Edition.

Is the DLC included or not?
Off Topic / Re: Gaming Mouse Recommendation
« Last post by BadgerBadger on July 28, 2020, 03:34:22 PM »
I use the Roccat Kone Pure Owl-Eye Optical RGB mouse, and it's been fine for me. However, it sounds like you have much stricter requirements than I did; I don't play games that require very precise control and rapid clicking.

Good luck!
Off Topic / Gaming Mouse Recommendation
« Last post by MetteoMercatale on July 28, 2020, 12:03:05 PM »
Hi guys ,

I'm looking for a new gaming mouse since my deathadder is now dead, i can spend $50 and $60 at most for gaming mouse and so far after research i have this list of gaming mouse under $50.

My top choices are the G403 and the G502 hero because they have the PMW3366 sensor from pixart, but i dont know if the other mice have it which is supposed to be the best. The idea is to find a good value. Steelseries MMO mouse seems solid too. I usually play RTS, RPGs and CSGO.

My hand-size is 18.8 cm x 10.4 cm. I will be happy about your recommendations and suggestions and i hope you guys are able to help me. Have a good day!
AI War II / Re: Standards for "Pure 10 or 10/10" Wins vs "Any% 10 or 10/10 Wins"
« Last post by Chazn2 on July 27, 2020, 01:17:44 PM »
"2. Any of the various sliders or knobs that change mechanics in galaxy options are off limits for a pure game."

This does not include it, but what about different map sizes? Consider that not everything will be seeded in a 40 planet run.
AI War II - Gameplay Ideas / Ideas for AI buildings and capturables.
« Last post by Spook on July 23, 2020, 07:14:15 PM »
In discord Chris asked for things that fit into "things I'd like to kill that the AI would have" or "things I'd like to have on my end in some fashion to make life nicer"

Here's a list of things I think would be interesting.

AI stuff:

Science Encrypter: Prevents science extraction on adjacent planets while alive.
AI Safety Consultant: Prevents hacking point extraction on adjacent planets while alive.
Design Backup Server: Veto a shipline like in classic.
Deepstrike Alarmist: The AI will always think you are deepstriking on planets with this building. Perhaps the timer is more lenient.
Minor Faction Pacifier: Killing this building makes that minor faction more aggressive towards this AI. Perhaps giving it more budget.
AI Vengeance Generator: Stuff dying on this planet makes it spawn more and more ships. Killing this structure grants science based on the amount of rage accumulated.

Human stuff:
I imagine these being capturables.

Taunter: Movable. Makes waves targeting this planet more likely.
Hunter kamikazeifier: Makes the hunter fleet suicidal.
Warden terrorizer: Makes the warden fleet cowardly.

Comments and additions are welcome.
Super easy mode was originally a debug mode, which is why you get the early debris. The AI will respond very ineffectually to all Spire related things.

 It's intended as more of a sandbox thing, and should make the game extremely easy. Intensity 5 spire with "super easy mode" is easier than intensity 1 by a good margin, if I recall correctly.
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