AI War 2 BETA v1.015 Released! “Testing The Outguard Waters”

Sometimes when we introduce changes that are sufficiently large, we like to run it through a beta branch first.  This is one of those releases, with the changes to the Outguard.   We’d love it if lots of folks would give this a try, so that we can feel confident bringing this back off the beta branch and onto the main branch in the next day or two.

To play this beta branch, right-click the game in Steam, choose properties, then go under the betas tab and choose current_beta.

Release notes here.

Various cool stuff:

  • The Outguard have been completely rebalanced and reworked thanks to StarKelp, and there are a couple of new Outguard groups already.  These changes seem really good, but they are substantial enough that they need more testing than we can do internally.
  • We also fixed a pretty major bug with marauders that would degrade performance heavily if they were hanging around on planets that have no enemies on them.   This is one reason we want to get out of the beta branch asap.
  • Fixed another bug that could cause a lot of the planets to be named Murdoch in recent builds of the game.
  • Lots more voice line integration work done.
  • You can prevent your ships from pathing through specific planets now, to make it easier to give orders to your ships to go from point A to point B while avoiding some scary area you discovered (AI eyes, etc).

Repeat From Last Release: My Armchair Guesses About Coming Balance

I think that the player is getting enough buffs in the prior build and this beta build that essentially you’ll have better defenses — and actually use them — and thus more ability to wield your offensive fleets.  I think you’ll be able to take more planets with less fear, and thus have a stronger economy in general AND more fleets.  I think that once the outguard changes are in, people are going to start really using those a heck of a lot more, and that those will be decisive in certain close battles.

This is absolutely going to wreck balance (in your favor) for a short while, is my prediction. But getting it so that all your tools feel useful to you, and so that you use them all, is definitely worth it.

I’m NOT feeling like we need to then come in and start nerfing you in some other way.  I just don’t think that would be satisfying.  I also don’t think that the AI’s problem is going to be one of strategy — that it’s not smart enough and that’s why things are suddenly easier.

With that in mind, and also thinking about the spire frigate being a decisive thing against diff 10 AIs when people win that scenario, I’m thinking that we’re going to need to make the AI a lot richer to compensate for the fact that you have all these new things.  There are some interesting suggestions that people have relating to data centers and MDCs to make those more costly, and the discussions there are worth having for sure.  Maybe that will be enough, and either way something like that might be needed.

But I think that essentially in the endgame of particularly a diff 10 game, we’re going to want to make sure that if you have a spire frigate that is just ultra powerful… well, that these powerful machines have an equally powerful unit to send against you for an epic punch-out.  I think that may be lacking right now; we’re giving you some trump cards and superweapons and so on, but despite the praetorian guard I don’t think the AI can really be considered to have those right now.

And that’s okay, that’s just part of the arms race.  It being able to whip out more than the PG and exos in the late game, and possibly it doing more with dire guardians or somesuch in that timeframe… that might feel more like it has the same sort of endgame forces to meet your own strike teams. We’ll see how that evolves.  Thoughts will be quite welcome.

Please Do Report Any Issues!

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

We’re also really keen on your feedback in general, as the last couple of releases hopefully demonstrate.  Achievements are creeping up my shortlist on things to do, thankfully, now that a lot of the rest of my shortlist is cleared out.  I then need to really get a move-on with the first alphas of the multiplayer for people to playtest.  One thing at a time!

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.  At the moment we’re sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, and have been for the last three days, which feels really good.  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.

Enjoy!

Chris

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