AI War 2 v0.893 Released! “Usability and Tutorial Prep”

Release notes here.

There are a variety of interface improvements in this one, and some small bits of balance updates.  The quick starts are also completely reworked and should be more favorably balanced for new players to not have them get overwhelmed.

Tutorials

On the tutorial front, right now we’re still building the tooling for our tutorials/scenarios system.  This is a fully xml-driven system, so anyone can create a tutorial with just a text editor and no code experience whatsoever.  There’s a starting example that I’ve created that doesn’t do much except show off how to do the various stuff.

With this build of the game, the ability to fully design your own map starting state, complete with factions and what and where their ships are, is now in place.  That’s the end of part 1 of the tutorial/scenario framework, because everything stems from that original map design.

The next part is actually building a tutorial in that space which progresses along, etc.  The next part is a lot more time-consuming and something that we’ll likely be adding little bits to for months or years as people want new things added in, but the ability to have a general scenario with a set of goals that you have to achieve to win, and the ability to trigger certain things like waves from the AI, should be relatively quick to get in there.

A lot of things that get into more advanced scripting of things like AI behavior we wouldn’t want to do, anyway — this is still meant to be the same general game, of course.  But for the easier tutorials, making it so that you don’t have a wave coming until AFTER you hit some milestone is certainly a big deal.

Tutorial and Scenario Designers Wanted!

We’re going to be working on our own tutorials based on this system, but I’d definitely love to see a really robust number of scenarios from other folks, too.

Everybody has a different perspective, and maybe you want to teach some specific tactic or even set up kind of a small contained puzzle-like challenge cage-match with 5 planets against the dark spire and nanocaust with a quest you design with unusual victory conditions.

I think that sort of thing is just super fun, and it’s a way to play the game in a more bite-sized fashion.  Some of those sorts of things  aren’t even really tutorials, they’re more advanced challenges or puzzles.

But anyway, the tutorials system is a pretty robust framework that allows for all sorts of different scenario designs that I’d love to see people really lean into.  I’ve been explicitly trying to make this as easy as possible for non-coders to do — all you need is a text editor — and the idea of seeing what creative things people come up with to both teach and test players is exciting.

It’s more or less the same idea behind modding, where people add various map types or ship types or whatever else, except this time it’s custom scenarios for teaching or testing.

Map Generation Overhaul

While I was at this in terms of working on the tutorial map design components, I also redesigned how the map generation components worked in general.   Before if you had a low number of planets and a middling or high number of factions, the map generation process could throw errors about there not being enough room to seed all the things it needed to seed.

That was confusing, and then even in other situations it could be rather bland with only one thing of importance on any given planet; you rarely would see a big mean weapon and a big good capturable on the same planet, and you’d never see a big good capturable and a small minor capturable on the same planet.

The new system is a lot more flexible and it should be practically impossible to get the confusing error messages anymore on map generation.  Instead it just absolutely packs the planets that are there with all the things it is trying  to seed, and in general the maps are going to feel a bit more… varied and patchwork now, rather than quite as homogeneous as before.

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 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

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