AI War 2 v1.014 Released! “High AIP Playstyle Viability”

Release notes here.

This one has a lot of cool stuff that should make more playstyles viable.  It may make the game a little easier than we want, but one step at a time. 

Balance Swinging Your Direction A Bit For Once

Next release will have some exciting changes to the outguard that StarKelp has designed and implemented, and that may swing things even more in your favor.  We’ll see how that works out, but it’s likely that the AI is going to need an economic boost or something. 

We’re actually very open to suggestions on that; in the current build this is essentially a tech nerf to the AI, and then there’s essentially an economic boost to players if they start actually using outguard as we had always wanted them to… so it’s not really a lack of strategy on the part of the AI or a need to toss more exo waves at you… it feels like they may wind up needing a compensatory economic boost of some variety as well, although exactly how that will feel in practice is something we’re interested in trying to predict based on your experiences in this and the next build.

Hey, The Website Work Is Done!

We went through a giant overhaul migrating our website and various services from an older VPS to a new cloud-based solution, and that — of course — took far longer than expected.  A few hours turned into a day. But the good news is that the wiki and mantis are running faster than ever, and even the forums are — knock on wood — back to running full speed again like they have for most of the last decade.  They’ve been painfully slow for the last few months, increasingly frequently, and then that started spreading to our other parts of the site.

Other Bits

  • Minefields should feel way better now, thanks to Puffin.
  • More voice lines are in.
  • A bunch of UI tweaks and fixes are in.
  • Peter Ebbesen gave us much better beginner tip text for science and engineering — thanks Peter!
  • The reason higher-AIP games are now more possible is that the AI techs up at higher AIPs than before, and that varies by difficulty more now.
  • A heck of a lot of player defenses are now stronger, too, wow.  Or cheaper in techs.  This might seem like overkill, but some people were not really using them too much because the mobile stuff was more cost-effective, and that was bad.  Again, if we’re swinging things too much in your favor, we’ll just have to swing the economy or similar on the AI’s side, too.
  • Actually your economy is now buffed as well, in terms of taking less science to tech up command stations, and you getting more energy out of a lot of the structures, too.  This again makes it more viable to have full proper defenses.

My Armchair Guesses About Coming Balance

I think that the player is getting enough buffs in this build and in the next 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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