This one contains a huge chunk of the “base game” (not part of the expansion) work going into 7.0. Following the expansion’s theme we’ve just put a lot of work into updating the AI itself to better deal with the many additions and changes made to the game over the last few years, and also take advantage of new things we’ve learned in that time.
So fair WARNING: this release has some significant “foundational upheavel”, mostly in the AI code, and may have some very strange and wonderful bugs (more strange than wonderful). That said, we’ve put many hours into testing it both in unit tests and just playing the game and it’s been stable, smooth, and fun so I think it’s ready for beta release. If/when you run into issues, please let us know! :) And please give us your feedback (positive or negative) on the changes in general. You may not even notice them very much depending on the situation, depending on how much time you spend actually looking at what the AI units are doing.
Anyway, a few highlights on the AI changes:
– The AI thread itself now runs much faster and thus the AI is now able to respond to changes in the situation more quickly.
– The AI’s normal “threat” (as opposed to the “threatfleet”) is now better at finding targets it both wants to reach and can reach and is now more responsive to changes in the situation.
– The AI’s “wait” behavior (when it’s sending units through a wormhole but realizes it shouldn’t send them in yet or they’ll just die) has been significantly improved to not wait right on the wormhole, to have a better understanding of the actual balance of power (and thus when to go through or not go through), and to “cut bait” if it’s waiting too long and a better opportunity is available somewhere else.
– The AI’s individual ship targeting priorities have been improved in several ways, including making some of its heavier combatants more serious about taking out the main human threats on the battlefield and making its units less concerned about secondary targets (and thus more concerned about primary targets) in major fleet actions.
– Various strange bugs and oddities that crept in over the years have been excised. There’s almost certainly still some hiding out, and others introduced in what we’ve just done, but now we’re in a better position to actually find and fix them. Notably, there are several new debug commands available to players who want to help us find out what’s going on when they see some strange AI behavior (particularly those that we can’t reproduce from a saved game).
And some other highlights of this release:
– Guardian seeding in a game’s initial map generation is now much less painful because each planet won’t start at full population, and guardian populations in general will be lower and less dependent on map type (because guardians will no longer spawn for Wormhole Guard Posts). But remember that alerting a planet will (as before) allow it to gradually reinforce up to maximum guardian population. That can be painful ;)
– Cross Planet Attacks now always deploy as carriers, and carriers auto-deploy much more readily in most combat conditions (and can now partially deploy, in those conditions). Also, we undid the recent change that made CPA ships start as threatfleet instead of normal threat, because the AI improvements have made normal threat much more immediately dangerous. Oh, CPAs can also syncrhonize with exos on higher difficulties under certain conditions now. That won’t hurt a bit, really.
– Fixed a recent bug that was causing _way_ too many counterattack guard posts to seed during initial map generation.
Update: 6.029 hotfix for a bug from a few versions ago where auto-loading with the ships in a control group with the new “control group always group moves” toggle would cause unhandled errors. Also fixed a bug (probably from the last version, not 100% sure) where threat could get stuck on a planet where the only human unit was a captured core warhead interceptor.
Update: 6.030 hotfix to fix a number of issues found in the recently started private alpha of the expansion.
Update: 6.031 hotfix to fix some more issues discovered by the alpha, as well as some non-expansion-related bugs.
This is a standard update that you can download through the in-game updater itself, if you already have 4.000 or later. When you launch the game, you’ll see the notice of the update having been found if you’re connected to the Internet at the time. If you don’t have 4.000 or later, you can download that here.