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Ooooh!  Wow, that makes things easier on players. :)
For your consideration, a consolidation of map types.
MazeA-MazeD is now Maze with subtypes
Grid/Lattice/Crosshatch is now Grid with subtypes
Microcosm is now a subtype of Cluster and I tweaked the descriptions a bit.
The choices are Type of Clusters: Large/Medium/Small/Microcosm

Re: multiplayer. I'm happy to try to wrangle more machines to test on if you can tell me what additional debugging information you require. Or to try to reproduce the problem in other environments, etc etc, if given instructions.
MP is mainly a matter of me getting time to sit down, run some tests to find what's messing with it (is it trying to send too much over the network, is it bogging down the cpu processing the network messages, are we actually looking at desyncs, or is the timing logic just sitting around for a few extra frames instead of proceeding when it can, etc) and plug through it. There's not a lot you could do to diagnose that stuff since it's almost entirely in Core code.

And there's sorting out things like each player picking a starting planet, not stacking the Arks on top of each other if they pick the same planet (since we should probably allow that), and so on.

After that point, more specific testing would be good.

On a somewhat more philosophical note, I'm not a fan of things allowing failures to happen silently like
Code: [Select]
            if ( target == null ) // this really shouldn't happen, but in case the implementing code is broken                             
I entirely agree, that was a moment of my laziness that got copied over from Core to External with this release :)

That said, if you use the SpecialForces tracing (menu => system => debug => tracing => SpecialForces , and run tail -f ArcenDebugLog.txt or something like that) it would probably be evident where it was stopping. Having that branch add a trace message is probably sufficient.
I agree. Before you couldn't even tell whether the Special Forces was doing anything at all (and perhaps it wasn't). I think this release is a very useful step forward, both for Special Factions and for the lobby code.

Re: multiplayer. I'm happy to try to wrangle more machines to test on if you can tell me what additional debugging information you require. Or to try to reproduce the problem in other environments, etc etc, if given instructions.

On a somewhat more philosophical note, I'm not a fan of things allowing failures to happen silently like
Code: [Select]
            if ( target == null ) // this really shouldn't happen, but in case the implementing code is broken                             

Why not emit an actual error message to the log, so that if the code actually winds up broken then someone can open a bug against it? Or at least do something to register that there is an error for debugging purposes (spitting out errors every SimStep is probably not a great idea).  As written if the code is broken the Special Forces will just sit a round and not do anything, which is a much harder problem to diagnose.

Incidentally, I agree with the "I don't think this state can be hit" comment right now, but the concern is less for things breaking now and for someone (me? another modder?) who makes a dumb mistake modifying that function in the future.
I have to say, I really like this new modular approach to things like the special forces.  That was super clever. :)
Tidalis / Re: Tidalis Official 1.500: Linux Support!
« Last post by Vortidawg on Today at 08:31:13 AM »
I like this game! thank you for this detailed description of how to install it on Linux, it is very useful!
Release notes here!

This one had a lot of under-the-hood work to further the architecture goal of building the "Major" factions (human player, The AI) with mostly the same toolbox used for the "Minor" factions (Dyson, Devourer, Nanocaust, etc). This implicitly makes them all much more moddable and flexible.

But the result that stands out is that the Special Forces mechanic now stands out. Or rather, it used to be a mechanic, but now it's a faction in its own right. The main AI makes donations to the SF, but the SF decides what to build and where to go. As in AIWC it acts to defend the AI's planets against attack. Unlike AIWC, this behavior is more emergent (it should defend the AI against attacks from factions other than you, for instance) and is entirely moddable. If you want to make a SF sub-type that only builds long-range ships and only does sneaky drive-by attacks against the player, that can be done by modding. Or if you want a sub-type that only builds Etherjet Tractors and Widow Guardians and tries to tow the player's fleet to its destruction, that can be done too.

Thanks for the initial implementation of the color thing. I redid it to use a new technique that ties directly into a table (the TeamColorDefinition table, in this case), and otherwise patched it up.

There was indeed a bug in how it handled multiple custom fields; some bad bitwise math from me. Fixed now, and now all factions support color picking :)

Put in your patch to clusters-microcosm.

Folding microcosm into clusters is fine with me. Same with Grid/Lattice/Crosshatch/MazeA/B/C/D and other types that are just variations on a theme.

On scaling to multiple config options, yes, it is my plan to have a ui element that "selects" a faction and makes use of the space above to show any and all other options for that faction.

In general faction custom fields are a very different ballgame in the next version; the new implementation of the AIType dropdown (and the similar sub-type dropdown for the special forces faction) is a good place to look for how things were changed. As well as the way the color dropdowns wound up.
Private Alpha Discussion / Fun things to do with Message windows
« Last post by BadgerBadger on December 11, 2017, 09:53:55 PM »
This is a continuation of the discussion in I was brainstorming some fun things I could do with a Message window (aka the window in AIWC where you got Warnings messages and other messages). Note I'm not comitted to the exact interface from AIWC, but I do think having the ability to give both short form ("The Zenith Trader is on Murdoch with its wares") and long form game state messages ("Some plot/explanation of how the Nanocaust works") is valuable to in game immersion and giving the game some personality/plot.

A couple other fun things you can do with the Warnings Messages area. Note that it would be really nice if the messages were clickable (so clicking on "Your Ark is Under Attack" could jump you right to that planet, for example)

 The Devourer should be more or less chatty with warnings depending on the Intensity. Low intensity it tells you whenever it's going to attack one of your planets, for example.

The AI could give messages whenever it hit various in-game decision points ("My Threat fleet is going to Attack Murdoch," "Unlocking Eyebots for my use"). This could be turned into a "Novice mode" where the AI itself could teach you how it worked by giving you messages whenever it did something (with the verbosity/number of warnings as a tunable). Especially since AIWC was notorious for being brutally difficult, this might allow for more casual players to have success with AIW2.

A "Chatty AI" gameplay mode wherein it would be like Novice mode but it would insult you at the same time in an amusing fashion (imagine if the Devourer decided it wanted to provide amusing/snarky commentary on the war).

The Nanocaust could tell you when it was going to attack. And I'd really value the ability to have a long-form Journal where a player could get information about how the Nanocaust works, and to give flavour/plot elements.

The Dyson Sphere could tell you when it changed allegiance to hate you (for example, imagine a case where you'd left the Dyson Sphere Planet unowned and the AI recaptured it. Suddenly you have a crisis since the Dyson Sphere ships are now about to start attacking you). Also, a Journal message could appear when you freed the Dyson Sphere saying "Thank you for liberating us. Now leave us alone or we'll attack you" to give it some flavour and personality.

The Zenith Trader could also let you know when it's on one of your planets to trade with.
Off Topic / Re: Finally got myself a new monitor...the reaction was only natural.
« Last post by M├ínagarmr on December 10, 2017, 02:52:45 PM »
Just tested AI War, btw. It wasn't too bad. It just doesn't make very good use of the increased viewfield. (lots of empty space). But nothing was so small I couldn't read it and nothing was blurry. Tbh, it's one of the games that rather gracefully handles the increased resolution. Not sure what your problem was with AIW?

Maybe because of 2560x1440 but I found the text to be pretty dang small for relaxed playing ;/

Then again, I run 90% of websites at 120% zoom and have changed my opinion about what a acceptable font size in GUI's is quite a lot since I got this screen.... (my good old CRT died.. after only 10 years continuous use .. sigh)

I'm at 3440x1440 (and also getting goddamn old), but I actually found the text size to be completely legible. (Something which can't be said for the summary below the posting window, holy balls that's ant-sized text on this monitor). Some games tend to overcompensate with the scaling though. I can't remember one of the top of my head (I've tested like 50+ games in the last week or so), but some games really blow the letters up to ridiculus proportions at this resolution. "Oh you have a large monitor, better turn it into a freaking billboard so you can read it from across the street!"
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